1984: Misc.

February 26, 2010

Now the Photism legal team assure me this is in the public domain, so if you are George Orwell’s aunty please sue them… Here’s a 1949 radio production of 1984 staring David Niven no less, as Winston Smith. It was originally broadcast on 27 August 1949 at 9 pm as a one-hour production on NBC radio. It was part of their N.B.C. University Theatre, which adapted the world’s great novels for broadcast. This was the first time 1984 was done as a radio play and there’s been speculation that Orwell would have listened to it as he lay in hospital dying of TB. It sounds a bit creaky to modern ears, but what makes it interesting is that Nineteen Eighty-Four wasn’t yet ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, by that I mean it was still a new book, it hadn’t become a classic yet, it had none of the cultural resonance it eventually aquired. But as the short discussion in it’s interval makes clear, it was already recognised as a powerful book and people saw parallels with their world
(see the post below).

I can’t imagine anyone reading a novel on a computer screen (not ordered my iPad yet) – don’t be a cheapskate, buy the book, but if you want the text of 1984 online to search etc. you can find it in lots of places including here. Or, if you’re very lazy as well as tight, there are rumours I’m working on 1984: The PowerPoint Presentation or my forthcoming adaptation for Blurb;  Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Four: Set in Zapf Dingbats. Alas one project (not mine) that seems to have stalled is 1984: The Comic which got as far as Chapter 2.

Bradford’s National Media Museum have produced an interactive timeline which sets different editions of the novel and events in it’s ‘life’ in a historical context. See it here.

Glad to see that all three film versions of 1984 are now readily available in the UK, but I think you’ve got to have read the book to really follow what’s going on.

Talking of 1984 won’t be like 1984, (pay attention it was a couple of paragraphs up) here’s the text from Apple’s famous advert which launched the Macintosh computer, portraying IBM (Big Blue) as Big Brother.
The advert itself can be found online here amongst other places.

Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion.
We shall prevail!

Finally, if the lawyers of George Orwell’s aunty have left the room, above and to the left is the cover of the first edition. Readers are reminded my birthday is coming up and there is a lack of this particular example in my collection.


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