The Sea Close By

Model and Actress Clara Paget's Beach Reading Marks the Centenary of Master of the Absurd Albert Camus

The contrasting shoreline of Bournemouth on the English South Coast lends an evocative backdrop to Clara Paget’s reading of a passage from philosopher Albert Camus’ essay The Sea Close By, published by Penguin Classics in August. Shot by director and photographer Tom Beard, this visual interpretation of Camus’ text is part of the centenary celebrations of the Nobel Prize-winning writer’s birth. “I always had an image in my head of a chapter from A Happy Death by Camus,” explains Beard, who recently shot music videos for both FKA Twigs and Florence and the Machine. “It’s a sunny, rich portrait of his life growing up in Algiers—the heat, the sea, good weather; he paints an amazing picture. I wanted to try to do this in a very English way and create a sense of being transported through this extract.” Beard turned to rising starlet Clara Paget to narrate Camus’ dense, lyrical text in her husky, cut-glass British tones. “I am very fond of his blunt and honest style of writing,” says Paget, currently involved in the Michael Bay-produced TV drama Black Sails, set for 2014. “I was familiar with Camus’ novels such as The Outsider and The Fall and the smaller essays inspired me to delve further in.”

To celebrate Camus’ centenary, NOWNESS and Penguin Classics are giving away original signed artwork and a set of the author’s works through a competition. Enter the competition here.

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    A Dictionary of Portmanteaux

    The Roots of Twerking, Cronut and More are Unraveled in a Frisky Animation from Christian Borstlap

    A portmanteau is the result of linguistic liaison: two words come together and create a single offspring that combines the meanings of both parents. One of the stars of today’s vibrant animation from Christian Borstlap is the ‘cronut’—for those not too busy queuing for one at Dominique Ansel’s New York bakery, the cronut is a ‘croissant’ and a ‘donut’. While it’s not quite a genetically modified ‘Frankenfood’ (‘Frankenstein’ and ‘food’), the cronut still has the feel of something devised amid steam and Bunsen burners, while lightning splits the sky. The word portmanteau was first used in its modern sense in Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel Through the Looking Glass; the term itself derives from a French portmanteau, combining porter, to carry, and manteau, cloak. When Carroll came upon it, it meant a suitcase with two compartments; he reinvented it so it would apply to the textual process itself—“two meanings packed up into one word,” Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice. Carroll invented the portmanteau ‘galumph’ (a blend of ‘gallop’ and ‘triumph); ‘chuckle’ and ‘snort’ gave birth to ‘chortle.’ The fashion that he inspired produced ‘electrocute’ (‘electricity’ and ‘execute’) and ‘prissy’ (‘prim’ and ‘sissy’). Yet portmanteaux reach their pinnacle when they exist away from the page, appearing before your very eyes in the form of crossbred animals. ‘Liger’ is of course a lion and tiger cross. ‘Wholphin’ is a whale and a dolphin—though just saying wholphin out loud induces the feeling that we passed through the looking glass somewhere near the last bus stop.

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    Roman Coppola x Jason Schwartzman

    A Quick-Witted Love Letter From Indie Hollywood's Favorite Cousins

    Film royalty Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman conspire with YouTube virtuoso Graydon Sheppard of “Sh*t Girls Say” fame to create today’s videogram, which features the cousin duo bantering on love and obsession. Shooting six-second vignettes on the iPhones inspired by Twitter’s new mobile app Vine, Sheppard pays homage to Coppola’s latest feature A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, whose comic flavor hinges on absurdist amorous pursuits. The film stars Charlie Sheen as an unrepentant LA playboy who spirals out of control when his girlfriend leaves him and enlists the help and guidance of best friend Kirby Star—played by Schwartzman—to win her back in a 1970s-style romp complete with surreal revenge fantasies and winking parallels to Sheen’s own very public meltdown. A recent Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay, Coppola is the son of polymath Francis Ford and brother of fellow filmmaker Sofia; Schwartzman, meanwhile, has made a name for himself starring in Wes Anderson films from Rushmore to Moonrise Kingdom, on which Roman collaborated, and cousin Sofia's Marie Antoinette. From major film production to casual smart phone clips, Coppola and Schwartzman know how to keep their sense of humor, while keeping it in the family. We caught up with Roman to go deeper into his amorous inspirations. 

    First serious kiss:
    It was in Morocco. I was 16. The girl was an actress in a movie I was working on. We started off kissing through a piece of fabric—as a tease, she was holding back. Then, the real thing.

    Favourite romantic exchange in movie:
    Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window. Or a more cynical choice, from Gilda:

    Johnny Farrell: I want to go with you, Gilda. Please take me. I know I did everything wrong...
    Gilda: [sobbing] Isn't it wonderful? Nobody has to apologize, because we were both stinkers, weren't we? Isn't it wonderful?
    Johnny Farrell: Wonderful.

    Craziest thing you've ever done for love:
    I can't think of anything too crazy.

    Love song-cum-guilty pleasure:
    “I melt with you,” by Modern English.

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