More on Mohicans

Montcalm is also a chain of UK hotels, which is odd considering it’s named after the Marquis. (Imagine if it were Magua Hotels…) He died at the Battle Of The Plains Of Abraham in 1759, 2 years after the siege of Fort William Henry, as featured in Mohicans. General Wolfe also died in the battle, making me wonder whether it’s the only battle in which both opposing generals died. (Answers on a postcard, please… The reason I know all this is a because of a project I did at Easter 1975, about The Seven Years’ War, with plenty of drawings of military uniforms.) Montcalm’s deputy Bougainville (also namechecked in Mohicans) is famous for going to Tahiti; bougainvillea is named after him – a better outcome than Montcalm Hotels, I suspect. The hotel in Chiswell Street, where I used to park for concerts at the Barbican, has conference facilities and is the site of ‘mid-cap’ events at which my old friend Laura helps out (she also loves Mohicans). In a previous life, the old Whitbread brewery, whose buildings the Montcalm now occupies, was – in the 70s – the resting place of the Overlord embroidery, commemorating D-Day, whose 75th anniversary is happening as I write this. It was supposed to be a rival to the Bayeux Tapestry (actually an embroidery) – but now it is kept in comparative obscurity, Wikipedia tells me, at The D-Day Story, Southsea, Portsmouth. I visited in 1975, I suppose, not with my father (with whom I’d gone that year on a 30th-anniversary pilgrimage to the Normandy Beaches and cemeteries) but with my mother, who was assiduously preparing for her Take-A-Guide tourist-escort course…

While I accept that The Last Of The Mohicans (1992 version, not the inferior original in 1936, with Randolph Scott) may not be central to everyone’s experience of the world, it is to mine. As a child of 7, when another The Last Of The Mohicans was on the BBC (with Philip Madoc as Magua), I actually dreamt an overhead shot that was recreated – 21 years later – in the 1992 version.

Another example: in 1997 I visited the Edinburgh Film Festival for the premiere of my* short Magic Moments (it opened the show for Lost Highway!). The festival was being run for the first time by my friend Lizzie, whose friend Ruth was dying of cancer. It was, in short, a maelstrom of emotions. I was walking one evening at the bottom of the Mound with my old friend Matthew, a fellow enthusiast, when we heard the theme from The Last Of The Mohicans being played on massed bagpipes. We were so excited and moved that was ran up the Mound to the castle, where it was being played by a Highland regiment band as part of the Edinburgh Tattoo. And my father played the bagpipes when he did National Service in the Black Watch…

And so on…

‘…Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning -‘

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strokeofbadluck

I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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