Yellow Afternoon


One night this week, Monday perhaps, I had a dream which lingers only vaguely in memory. Indeed, I would not remember this dream at all if it wasn’t for the fact that aspects of it recurred in a second dream the following night – Tuesday I suppose. In this second dream a fragment from the first was re-presented, as it were. Then, on Wednesday, a fragment of that fragment came back to haunt me a third time. Evidently there was something there that some part of my mind wanted preserved. To re-iterate . . . in the first dream an interlocutor mentioned to me the title of a movie that I have not seen and recommended it to my attention. It was (is?) called Yellow Afternoon and is (was?) of Middle Eastern or possibly Mexican provenance. There was a poster, in predominant shades of bright yellow with flashes of red, which looked a little like one of the posters for those Clint Eastwood movies of the 1960s. A Fistful of Dollars, perhaps; A Few Dollars More. The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. I had been looking at the paintings of Arthur Streeton and the palette resembled that of some of his pictures, too. I made an oneiric note to check out this movie then forgot all about it – until Tuesday’s dream reminded me. In that second iteration the poster made a fugitive return; in the third, the Wednesday dream, just the words of the title recurred: Yellow Afternoon. Next day I did a google search and came up with nothing much – a song from a record called Our Man in St Petersburg by a fellow from the town in Florida who calls himself Small Literature (or maybe it’s the other way round); a pic with obscure antecedents of a group of long riders in a desert, certainly Mexican, landscape; closer to home, a link to an exhibition, at Sydney’s Ginkgo Artspace, of the paintings of Neil Ernest Tomkins. One of the paintings in that 2012 show was called Yellow Afternoon and the image, off the web, is at the head of this post. It looks a little blurred to me; a touch under-resolved; I preferred other paintings from that show but what could I do? This was the one I was directed to – if I indeed was directed. Now I think it might have been otherwise; now I wonder if the poster wasn’t a precognition of a movie that has yet to be made; perhaps even a provocation towards the making of it. I feel, strangely, as if a plot might be forming in my mind, the lineaments of a story beginning to manifest; as if, while he in St Petersburg tinkles away at his jazz-inflected beats, the dust from the hooves of those long riders’ horses might be clouding my dream horizon, as they gallop some implacable doom towards that hazy, that blurred, yellow afternoon where destiny unfolds . . . I can’t, you might say, wait . . . to go back to sleep.


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