Bob Shell: Letters From Prison #15
Letters by Bob Shell, Copyright 2018
I’m sitting here listening to some wonderful music. It’s the soundtrack album for The Collector, a late 1960s film by William Wyler, based on the novel by John Fowles. I consider Fowles to be the finest writer in English of the second half of the 20th Century. The Collector may have been his first novel; it’s certainly one of his earliest. By very happy synchronicity, Maurice Jarre was given the task of composing the score, and that seductively sensitive music stuck in my mind when I first saw the film and wouldn’t let go. Samantha Eggar was the actress, but I’ll be damned if I can remember the actor’s name. It’s just the two of them for almost the whole film, and they both did spectacular jobs. Simple plot, but beautifully realized.
I rushed out and bought the soundtrack on vinyl LP as soon as I could find it, and probably wore the grooves off a copy or two. Somehow, when my music collection changed from vinyl to CD I never could find this music on CD and after my turntable broke down I was without a lot of music. Some came out on CD, but much didn’t, or my sources just couldn’t get it.
Naturally I was delighted yesterday when my regular search turned up a hit and I. was able to buy the soundtrack of The Collector. I have a list that I search for regularly, and periodically I’ll get a hit and once more listen to music that’s only a memory in my mind.
Another album I played the grooves off in the 60s is Puzzle by The Mandrake Memorial, one of the best of the psychedelic genre. That one did come out on CD eventually, but is still absent from our music catalog. We get our music downloads from a company called JPay, which has an exclusive deal with the Virginia DOC. There are terminals on the wall of each pod, and when we’re allowed out in the pod we can log on and search for music to buy and download, and send and receive email. Most songs cost us $ 1.99 each, with albums running around $ 15.00 – 17.00. Unfortunately, JPay doesn’t have any Beatles, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and several others, but otherwise their selection is pretty good. They even have some pretty obscure groups like Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies that I used to listen to back in the day. I even recently found an odd old album I like, Hard Rock From The Middle East by The Devil’s Anvil, perhaps the only American rock band that sang in Arabic and Turkish!
Music makes the long, sad, boring hours of prison pass a bit faster and carries me away from this sordid existence that is my life now.
Maurice Jarre is one of my favorite modern composers. He’s been lucky enough to write the musical scores for some of the finest motion pictures. I have a collection of movie music, and have more by him than any other composer. There are few outlets today for composers working in the classical mode, so I’m glad movies still provide an outlet for this talent. Rich patrons who support art for art’s sake are all too rare these days. Of course, this applies to all arts, not just music. We can’t all be Jeff Koons!
About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Center, Pocahontas, Virginia for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models. Mr. Shell is serving the 11th year of his sentence. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/bob-shell-letters-from-prison-14/