Round 2: Track Six: Nürburgring


ROUND ONE: 12 3456789
ROUND TWO: 12 3 45678 9

  • Again, this track is named for a race track in Germany in the town of Nürburg, which means “black castle”. And Hallorann’s basically that, isn’t he? A black castle of awesome.
  • But we’ve also got this spooky black bear on the ground next to the spot where Hallorann will die, which is where Danny’s trike is sitting with a Bugs Bunny on it, the only other time we see this black bear is where it’s sitting atop the East Wind album, which means that it appears in synch with the start of Black Flame. I never made an entry to link you to about the black bear, because I could never find a doll that resembled it, which I figured would be easy if it was some kind of well-known figure, but if you remember what Ullman looks like in his bomber jacket, the black bear doll matches his colours perfectly. So my feeling is that the black bear represents the hotel wanting to see Dick die. And Nürburg looks exactly like Nürnberg, as we’ve discussed, so there might be some light Nazi business going on here.
  • Actually, now that I think about it, it kind of resembles a golliwog, which would go along with the general theme of racism in the film. But for now I’ll assume it’s a bear.
  • The tone of this song, as I said last time, is fairly procedural Joe Friday kind of thing, so the shift in the shining conversation at this moment to what’s so scary about this place, and what is up with room 237, and all that jazz, feels apt. Also, the fact that Dick’s trying to pressure Danny to think of what Tony showed him about the Overlook as Wendy floats up upon her great horrorshow, discovering Jack’s writing, seems delicious. Also, Wendy almost saw what Jack was writing at the start of Loxycycle, which was exactly one song ago. This pairing with Jack being dragged across the floor, out cold, seems apt. Her husband’s a dead man.
  • This is my kinda image. I love how the All Works go right along with the steps in the staircase, how the hanging knives cut right through the dull boys, or how the “Jack” that floats over Jack is spelled JACa in this moment. The “work and play” floating over Wendy and Danny finding the “Dead end” in the maze seems pretty delicious too.
  • Actually, aside from everything else we could say about this moment, the most important thing to point out here is that this is the moment the album will end, on the other side of the midpoint of the Twice-Folded Shining. When we reach that midpoint, there won’t be much point in doing the kind of analysis I’ve been doing, where I’m looking at the subtext that’s going along with all the synchronicity in the music. Or, at least, there won’t be as much point, because we’ll have covered it already. So, here we have Wendy and Danny finding the “Dead end”, Dick saying, “Nah, I ain’t scared a nuthin here”, Wendy finding the All Work papers, and a half-dead Jack laying ruined at the bottom of the stairs. This is the final moment of The Rum and the Red, a narrative exercise that began with Hallorann’s Florida-based shine vision stretching out in opposite directions while Jack’s drive to the hotel and photo Jack’s photo imprisonment began their runs for opposite ends. That side essentially started with Danny shining Dick 237, and this side essentially starts with Danny asking about the room. That side featured a kind of dead Jack, and this side features an almost dead Jack. That side featured a 110-second scene with Dick split perfectly in two, and this scene is 2:50 over and has 2:20 to go. That side had Dick watching the news, and this side ends with Dick sitting in the place where Wendy watches the news. That side featured Jack driving up, and this side features Danny’s only trike-less lesson. That side featured Jack frozen in a piece of art, just like he always wanted, and here Wendy’s finding the art her husband hoped would immortalize him. I guess what I’m saying is…could it be folded a third time? Is this movie like some kind of endless origami, hall of mirrors, echo chamber? Well, if so, you wouldn’t make the fold here, you’d make it at a much more interesting moment, but…well, we’ll get there shortly.
  • Oh man, as Jack tumbles up the stairs, the All Work papers go with him, and check it out: the JACa is now, still, right above him while Wendy’s clubbing him. It’s as if he can’t outrun his creation. This reminds me of how the Beatles wrote Carry That Weight about the fact that none of them would outlive or surpass the celebrity they enjoyed at the height of that experience. Kubrick must’ve known that he was creating something the likes of which might never be tried again. Sad to think he almost lived long enough to see Mulholland Dr.
  • Also, Dick is saying how some people and places shine and some don’t. So it’s neat to think of Jack’s creation being the result of the place shining upon him, even though he himself is not a shiner. He’s trapped in a box of shinelessness.
  • Q Danny has just asked if there’s something bad here, and Hallorann is struggling to think of how to answer, and says, “You know, Doc, sometimes when something happens, it can leave a trace of itself behind.” This goes well with the fact that Wendy is finding these papers that have all these repeating lines, not unlike the repeating patterns of scrolling lines within the labyrinth map, which, again, is not the actual map for this maze, any more than Jack’s book is a piece of popular fiction. So if you ever scoffed at Hallorann’s woo concept of events leaving psychic thumbprints, consider that what it might mean is that environment shapes us in ways we find it hard to understand. Not everyone who sees a wrongly-displayed map writes the same phrase 1000 times without realizing it, but we may tend to behave in ways that are “wrong” if the “map” we have for life is “wrong”. Danny’s question was simply, “Did something bad happen here?” And Hallorann could’ve joked about the overcooked broth last Thanksgiving, but he attempts to explain how there are phantasms that reverberate through this place, and how to cope with them psychologically, since that’s all they are. Psychological phantasms. That occasionally strangle you, or open doors, or cause things to open and close and to appear and disappear, and so on, you get the point.
  • As a counterpoint to the horror of Jack’s endless, blind repetition, backwards Quick Wendy has just been instructed to stop swinging the bat by Jack. But she’s swinging it on autopilot at this point. She’s no longer considering any of the psychological implications of anything Jack’s saying. She knows the score now: it’s kill or be killed. And because she has no skill or training in matters such as these, she lapses into a kind of instinct of repetition, and it does save her.
  • Here’s the moment where the music switches to like something out of a slasher film while Jack threatens to bash in some brains, but what’s cool about the Dead side of the film is that this moment marks the moment right between Wendy saying “And you’re gonna lose” and “You better run fast!” after which she makes a “dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun” sound, while chasing Danny with her arms out like a zombie. So, Wendy’s play at being killer Jack comes during the cop show music, and her “you’re gonna lose” kicks off the intensity. Another thing to point out is how this little road outside the hotel, at this exact spot, in fact, is where, during the tour, Ullman is almost hit by a car. The same car that John Lennon crashed before recording Abbey Road, which almost resulted in the deaths of him, Yoko, and all or most of their children. One of the many things that tipped me off on the veracity of that whole theory. But speaking of things leaving traces of themselves, eh? That the music would go sinister at that exact moment.
  • As for the kitchen talk, Hallorann is still expounding on the “traces” idea. The music goes sinister right after he says “burns toast”.
  • As for Wendy flipping pages, it goes sinister when she’s on the 7th page out of the 18 we see her see, and it lifts just after the shot cuts to her from below, still flipping. In fact, she seems to be on the 23rd page during the whoosh sound. 23-7.
  • Actually, here’s a cool thing, the music returns from the sinister passage right as the backwards Dead Jack action is panning down on his blank typewriter. So on the one hand, you’ve got this idea of us returning to a world where Jack hasn’t written all his crazy nonsense, and on the other hand, this ADLER typewriter, with its eagle insignia, is white, not dark silver, like the one that’s there now. So, it’s like we’re returning to a world where Jack is good. And for what it’s worth, as we head toward the other side of this sequence, murder Jack will seem to get nicer and nicer.
  • As Danny says “237?” in “What about room 237?” breakfast Jack is saying “every corner” in “It was almost as if I knew what would be around…every corner…” and creeper Jack is just about to creep around a corner behind Wendy, and stair fight Wendy is making a backwards turn around the corner in the grand stair, while talking about how she’s “very confused”. Which is probably what the Wendy flipping through All Work papers feels. Also, Danny’s probably confused about room 237 (a number he plucked out of Hallorann’s head, seemingly), as would a first time audience be, since no one’s mentioned it before in the film. Whole lot of Babylonian fear and confusion flying around.
  • Also, I don’t want to have to reproduce all my work on 237s just to point out how many are going on in this sequence, so head here for more on that.
  • As Danny asks what is in room 237, bacon and eggs Jack is saying how he fell in love with the hotel right away. And creeper Jack has just asked “How do you like it?” So in both Dead halves Jack and Wendy are having a battle of opinions about what’s to like. And, honestly, how could you not like the Overlook? How could you not fall in love with it straight away?
  • As Wendy confides in Jack about finding the building “kinda scary” Hallorann chastises Danny to stay out of room 237, and their faces in both shots last about as long, and are hovering in the same size and position on the screen. This almost never happens, so it’s neat it would happen so close to the end. And with two Jacks on the opposite side in similar fashion. Actually, the one Jack is just saying, “What are you doing in here?” echoing both Hallorann’s words here, and his own from when he first banished her.
  • Also, going back to the idea of royalty that we were discussing at this moment in Round 1, it’s neat that this Nürnberg-sounding track would pair with Jack ranting about signing “a letter of agreement, a contract“, since some Nazis probably felt that way about their own deals with their own devils.

Click here to continue on to Round 2 Track Seven: Seasons