Connections: From strange fruit pictures to hidden gold in the Mexican mountains, but nothing much to do with Fulham

(Humphrey Bogart in the treasure of the Sierra Madre)

One of this website’s main source of lost visitors comes via the search term “Arcimboldo”, the name of an Italian painter whose work included strange combinations of things like fruit arranged so as to resemble something else. (For example, see picture at the bottom of this post.)

So? Well Arcimboldo was almost certainly the naming inspiration for Roberto Bolano’s Benno von Archimboldi in the phenomenal 2666.

In the book, Archimboldi was the pen name of a (fictional) writer name Hans Reiter.

And Bolano’s inspiration for Reiter was the mysterious writer B Traven, who wrote the Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a fantastic adventure story set in the mountains of Mexico and later turned into a film starring Humphrey Bogart (who, it must be said, got to play some fantastic characters, didn’t he?).

Anyway, have a read of that Traven link. It’s one of those wonderful things that make you happy to be alive: nobody knew who Traven was, and he seems to have spent a considerable amount of time pretending to be his own representative in various business discussions, which is a tremendous concept and one I’d happily replicate were I ever to become mysteriously famous (Claude Wormbridge would certainly be an important member of my staff).

Anyway, I highly recommend both The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (I finished reading it last night, and what a terrific old school read it is; makes you feel about eleven years old again, in a good way) and 2666 (a rather heavier read). The former is almost a parable at the dangers of greed, the latter a vision of hell in modern Mexico (and beyond – essentially Bolano’s describing an apocalyptic future that might be nearer than we think) (I like this article’s description: “The great appeal of the film is that Huston allows Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) to destroy himself without having to resort to anything less than universally recognized values..” which might also apply to Bolano’s (and therefore our own) world perhaps.) 

That’s all really. I could try to link this around to football but I think it would be too forced. Although Clint Dempsey would make a fine Dobbs in the Treasure of the Sierra Madre.  Enjoy the weekend, COYW, and here’s to another win. Villa don’t half look vulnerable, so presumably another Swansea/Norwich disappointment awaits.  No matter – all is good.

5 thoughts on “Connections: From strange fruit pictures to hidden gold in the Mexican mountains, but nothing much to do with Fulham

  1. B Travens best work was his first, “the death ship”; about an American sailor abandoned in Europe who can not prove who he is, having lost his passport, and with no family or friends in the USA. Same thing happened to me in Glasgow once during an old firm match; “which school did you go to?”

    “I am not from here”

    “Prove it”


    didn’t realise I needed a passport in Glasgow, but there you go.

    1. Oh excellent. I have two more of his books (they have a few of them (and loads of JP Donleavy) in My Back Pages in Balham) so will see if that’s one of them. I think it is. If so will read this weekend.

  2. We could just as easily lose tomorrow’s game as win it. I never know what to make of the potency of McLeish’s sides.

    Other than they’re extremely boring.

  3. Feel pretty strange when I saw the word Arcimboldo at the beginning this post. I´m a huge a fan of Bolaño, and 2666 is one of my most rejoiced books, so it´s great to mix it with the fulham crew. Nice one Rich!

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