Archive for December, 2008

Moonstone Silhouettes

December 25, 2008

Moonstone Silhouettes by R J Dent

This is R J Dent’s latest poetry collection, entitled Moonstone Silhouettes.

R J Dent says: ‘In this collection, which I edited in Paris, I’ve focussed mostly on the ethereal and the mystical, although there are a few elegies for lost friends, and one or two poems in praise of major writers who have influenced me.’

‘The landscapes that I describe range from the exotic (Ancient Greece and modern France) to the bizarre and the out-and-out surreal. The characters that I describe are often strange and other-worldly.’

Included in this new collection are translations of poems by Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Ibycus and Sappho. There are also elegies for four great writers: Jean Genet, Anna Kavan, Charles Baudelaire, and Tarjei Vesaas.


Here’s the back cover:

Moonstone Silhouettes - back cover



And here’s a link to five poems from Moonstone Silhouettes:


R J Dent says: ‘With Moonstone Silhouettes I’ve tried to create a poetry collection in which each poem is a door that opens into another world – hopefully a beautiful world you can enter through the poem and which you can stay in for a while and enjoy – a world where warmth, beauty, joy, laughter, pleasure, happiness and eroticism co-exist peacefully and harmoniously.’


Moonstone Silhouettes is available from: 



or from R J Dent’s office:

Further  information regarding R J Dent’s book-length translations of Alcaeus, Lautreamont, and Charles Baudelaire is available at:


Moonstone Silhouettes

Poems by R J Dent

© R J Dent (2013)



Betty Blue and 37°2 le matin

December 8, 2008



There are four Betty Blues that I love – one is the novel 37°2 le matin by Philippe Djian; one is the film that was based on that novel, Betty Blue, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix and starring Beatrice Dalle and Jean-Hughes Anglade; one is the Cesar Award-winning film poster; and the other is the Betty Blue film soundtrack by Gabriel Yared.

The novel:


The novel, 37°2 le matin, originally written in French and translated into American English by Howard Buten, is a beautifully written book, full of enigmatic and haunting writing.

It tells the story of Betty and Zorg, lovers who live in a shack on the beach. He works as a handyman who does odd jobs to pay the bills. As the story begins, they have only been going out for a week and are in a very passionate stage of their relationship.

Zorg narrates the story of their relationship. In the film he provides the voice-over. He describes Betty as being “like a flower with translucent antennae and a violet Naugahyde core.” She longs for a better life and has had to quit her last job as a waitress because she was being sexually harassed by her boss.

Zorg’s boss asks him to paint the five hundred shacks that populate the beach — a fact that he keeps from Betty who thinks they only have to do one. She attacks the project with enthusiasm that quickly turns to anger once she learns the actual number. In response, Betty covers the boss’ car with pink paint.

During an argument, Betty accidentally discovers a series of notebooks that contain a novel Zorg wrote years ago. She reads it and falls in love with him even more. She then makes it her mission in life to type every hand-written page and get it published.

They move to Paris and Betty’s mental health declines, with her becoming more aggressive, violent, withdrawn and uncommunicative. Finally, she becomes self-destructive, with tragic consequences. Despite the bleakness of the plot, the tone of the book is very warm.

The film:


The film stays faithful to the novel and has become something of a French film classic. It should really be watched by everyone who wants to have an insight into human nature and the extremes of passion.


Although I’ve now seen Betty Blue at least twenty times, I first watched Betty Blue when I was in my twenties, which is probably the best time to watch it, because it has stayed with me and etched itself into my psyche from that initial viewing.

There are a number of reasons for this: the wonderful use of colour in the film, the locations, the acting, the sex, and so on, but another very good reason is the beautiful, haunting soundtrack by Gabriel Yared.

The soundtrack:


Below is a sample of Gabriel Yared’s haunting score for Betty Blue, to give an idea of just how moving the music is.


The poster:


Take a look at the Cesar Award-winning film poster, designed by Christian Blondel, and see how easily the ethereal (and sky-framed) Betty, staring into the distance, super-imposed onto and above an evening/dusk image of the beach-house in Gruissan, became such an iconic poster image.

So, look at the Cesar Award-winning film poster, read the powerful novel, watch the lushly-photographed film, and listen to the haunting soundtrack. It’s unusual for one piece of fiction to extend into so many other areas so successfully, but Betty Blue has done just that. It is a truly wonderful experience looking at it, reading it, watching it and listening to it.

Betty Blue and 37°2 le matin

© R J Dent (2009 & 2015)

Revised 2015

Bill Hicks (1961–1994) – stand-up comedian

December 3, 2008


Bill Hicks was the funniest and profoundest stand-up comedian ever.

Since his death on February 26th, 1994, there has been no other comedian to rival his incisive wit, his cutting, analytical insights and his incredibly funny delivery. He was compared to Lenny Bruce, mostly because his material seriously challenged accepted conventions and mores. He wasn’t really like Bruce at all; Hicks was original and unique.

Several of his live performances are available on DVD. The best one is Revelations, followed by Relentless and One Night Stand.

Here is an edited version of One Night Stand, which will give an indication of Hicks’ stand-up style:


If you want to listen to a CD performance, then the best one is probably Philosophy: The Best of Bill Hicks, because it does actually contain the best material from several CDs.


Dangerous (1990)

Relentless (1992)

Arizona Bay (1997)

Rant in E-Minor (1997)

Philosophy: The Best of Bill Hicks (2001)

Love, Laughter and Truth (2002)

Flying Saucer Tour Vol. 1 (2002)

Shock and Awe (2003)

Salvation (2005)


Sane Man (2005)

One Night Stand (2002)

Relentless (2006)

Revelations (1993)

Totally Bill Hicks (UK Only) (2002)

Bill Hicks died of pancreatic cancer and his untimely death left a void in the comedy world that no one else has ever been able to fill.

There is a new Bill Hicks documentary, American: The Bill Hicks Story, out now. Here’s the official trailer:

If you’re not familiar with Bill Hicks, then check him out. He’s funny and profound – a winning combination.

© R J Dent (2010)