Review Bindlestiff, Wayne Holloway

Bindlestiff Wayne Holloway cover bookblast review

BookBlast reviews Bindlestiff, Wayne Holloway’s satirical exposure of what lies behind the Hollywood dream and the image on screen.

So, you get the picture. A town with a lot of flashing red lights floating above heads. That’s show business. Dead phone lines and a lot of blow jobs.”

From film classics like Sunset Boulevard  in which an unsuccessful screen writer is sucked into the fantasy world of a faded silent-film star, to Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel Ape and Essence, and my all-time favourite, screenwriter George Axelrod‘s mischievous satire, Where am I Now When I Need Me? . . . Los Angeles has played a leading role in too many books and films to mention. 

Image vs. Reality

Los Angeles, with 10 million people, is America’s largest county, and Hollywood is the film capital of the world. The divide between the rich and the poor is one of the biggest in the US.

Wayne Holloway’s satirical pen punctures the Hollywood dream to expose what lies behind the image on screen. He creates a masterful, impressionistic mosaic of fiction, novelised screenplay, and screenplay; present and future.

He takes in race, identity, family, friendship, war, peace, kids playing the computer game World of Warcraft, the grit of trailer parks and strip malls alongside the glamour and starfukries of tinseltown.

His main man is a British director trying to get his movie made, whose main man in turn is Marine Corp vet Frank Dubois surviving in a post-Apocalyptic world. Bindlestiff was the word used during the Depression to describe hobos or tramps.

A line of what looks like refugees queue up outside the barbed-wire fence/checkpoint. Two very young looking soldiers are checking ID’s. One of them hands back some papers to a frail-looking old man.

Sorry, Sir, says here you retired from active service in 1998. Our quota cut off is 2000. We let you in, what about the others?

I served my country for twenty years . . .

We all suffer, Sir. With all respect, this isn’t the same country, Sir, now move along.

I got a purple star, injured outside Falluja, came home and worked for KFC minimum wage fifteen years. I was a chef.

Thank you for the story, Sir. Now move on.

It’s not a story, soldier.
That’s my life.

He doesn’t move on

What’s the difference?

Move on where? Where exactly
should I move on to, Sir?

The cast of characters includes  washed-up actor Tommy and his mother, a Holocaust survivor who sells antiques in Westwood Village; Sally Ann, the girl on a bridge; the Freight Train Riders of America; Jim Hawks the epitome of hobo chic; Morris the agent; the “black Charlie Chaplin” . . .  

Bindlestiff is experimental, very clever, deftly constructed and deliciously bizarre. Writer-director Wayne Holloway may work in commercials and movies in London and in LA, but he resolutely needs to add fiction to his repertoire. His writing is superb.

LA will always be a city of the past, a distant place where its vitality was both won and lost. Its constant reinvention is repetitious.
“The movies we consume, that become ‘the great movies’ of whatever canon (east/west/north/south) we subscribe to, are little more than stand-ins for all the unmade movies we never get to see. Thrillers typed up and filed away, Rom-Coms left forgotten under mattresses handwritten by fountain pen, heist movies imprisoned on corrupted hard drives, Sci-Fi masterpieces conjured on lunch breaks, fleetingly imagined worlds left burning on retinas of so many night shifts, only half remembered by morning and forgotten soon after. Illiterate fantasies projected onto the mind’s eye, horror scripts hidden in the cracks of prison walls, indie classics composed by solipsistic minds, confidently plotted out scene by scene and stored safely in memory palaces. Pub stories, bedtime catechisms . .

As audiences turn to on-demand content and margins shrink, Hollywood’s glory days may have gone, but it is not dead yet.

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About Georgia de Chamberet 372 Articles
Bilingual editor, rewriter, anthologist, French-to-English translator. Has written for 3am magazine, words without borders, The Independent, The Lady, Banipal, Prospect Magazine, Times Literary Supplement. Currently writes for The BookBlast Diary. Founder (1997) of London-based writing agency BookBlast.