We always enjoy listening to Benedict describe a project, or a role. He often takes something simple and commonplace, and substitutes something completely colourful and evocative. Note this example, from a documentary on Golding’s Sea Trilogy, To the Ends of the Earth.
“It’s a voyage that takes a year from Tilbury Docks to Sydney Harbour. The overall headline of the story is trying to get from one end of the earth to the other by sea, using ropes and pulleys, canvas and wood in order to try and battle against the ever-changing, ever-unpredictable and unmasterable sea.”
Now, it would have been so much simpler to just say ship, but instead we’re treated to a litany of objects that seem so small and insubstantial when compared with the power and fury of the sea.
“At one point there’s a crossing of the lines, where they go and cross the equator and Neptune arises and there’s this big sort of festival. And the Reverend Colley is the subject of the dunking — a sort of ritual to take one of the passengers and sort of baptise them. And it’s very, very fierce. I think Golding’s always been fascinated with that: how closely we rub up against barbarity. And that within the blink of an eye, you can have something very civilised and seemingly in control, turn into something that is monstrous.”
One of us remembers watching this video around the time of this year’s intensifying unrest in Syria, and that phrase — how closely we rub up against barbarity — has stuck with her ever since. It just sums up so accurately the state of so many parts of the world, and the condition so many people are forced to live in.