Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

by Daniel Depp

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Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby Liz » Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:30 pm

I know we got into this a bit yesterday, but I want to see if there is anything to explore further.....

What do you think about Spandau’s behavior during this drama?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby gemini » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:34 pm

Funny, I started to answer this right off with one word, disappointed. Then I started to wonder which behavior you meant. I immediately thought of his drinking, shooting raccoons, and gripping Dee’s throat. I guess we could include the fist fighting comedy of errors with Vignon as they went through their male ritual of beating the tar out of each other before they could decide to get along. If I didn’t know we were talking about a grown man I might say he was immature.

I am trying to think of how else we saw him in this story. He is faithful to doing his job well even though fate stepped in and someone else won the day this time. He seems to be making an attempt to move on from Dee and continue with his own life but he really wasn’t the dominate one in his new relationship, Anna pretty much had to throw herself at him for him to make his move.
I thought of him more as a take charge fellow and he seems to be coming apart at the seams this time around.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby fansmom » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:46 pm

I heard a very moving true story on the radio yesterday, on NPR's This American Life. It was told by a journalist in his 30's who had been violently sexually abusted as a 7-year-old, by a 15-year-old family "friend." As he grew up, he did some reading about sexual abuse and learned that most abusers had themselves been abused, and feared that he would become an abuser himself. He made a deal with himself that if he ever felt sexually attracted to a child, or violent toward a child, he would kill himself before he acted on any compulsion. He had a very difficult time maintaining relationships and, although he's now married, he's afraid to have a child. The story was more complicated than that, but both yesterday's question and today's about Spandau made me think of that journalist. How can we trust if we've never learned to trust? How can we love ourselves or others if we've never learned to love?

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:23 am

Gemini wrote: I thought of him more as a take charge fellow and he seems to be coming apart at the seams this time around.
I would second that. He struck me very much as a can-do guy in Loser's Town, but this time out he is sidelined, perhaps by the outside US location of much of the action, but it's more than that. He just seems to hang there. I did run across this tonight.

Here he is in Loser's Town, beginning of Chapter 4
"He thought about sitting up some night in the dark lurking behind the open window with a pellet rifle and catching the damned raccoons in the act, and the fact that he did think seriously about this worried him a little. They were just animals, after all. Thinking about them in human terms like revenge was already halfway to being crazy and best not explored."
And here he is now
"He was outside on the patio, in a sleeping bag in the lounge chair. He waited. THere were the emptied vodka bottle and the half-drunk bottle of Jack Daniel's on the table beside him. In the sleeping bag, next to his chest, were the flashlight and the pistol......This is the gun that won the Civil War. Show those f**kers who's boss. This is America. Scare the s**t out of them. Rid yourself of the raccon jihad."
Stunning state of affairs for the boy. Yep, he's in deep I think.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby gemini » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:51 am

fireflydances wrote:
Gemini wrote: I thought of him more as a take charge fellow and he seems to be coming apart at the seams this time around.
I would second that. He struck me very much as a can-do guy in Loser's Town, but this time out he is sidelined, perhaps by the outside US location of much of the action, but it's more than that. He just seems to hang there. I did run across this tonight.

Here he is in Loser's Town, beginning of Chapter 4
"He thought about sitting up some night in the dark lurking behind the open window with a pellet rifle and catching the damned raccoons in the act, and the fact that he did think seriously about this worried him a little. They were just animals, after all. Thinking about them in human terms like revenge was already halfway to being crazy and best not explored."
And here he is now
"He was outside on the patio, in a sleeping bag in the lounge chair. He waited. THere were the emptied vodka bottle and the half-drunk bottle of Jack Daniel's on the table beside him. In the sleeping bag, next to his chest, were the flashlight and the pistol......This is the gun that won the Civil War. Show those f**kers who's boss. This is America. Scare the s**t out of them. Rid yourself of the raccon jihad."
Stunning state of affairs for the boy. Yep, he's in deep I think.

Again you are reminding us of points that had skipped my memory but very telling when you compare his actions in both books. He is doing the analyzing himself in the Losers town excerp.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby Liz » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:39 am

Interesting how his viewpoint on those raccoons has evolved--and not for the better. I think it is indicative of his deteriorating state of mind.

I think that he is off his game, and it is Dee who has messed him up. Not that she is responsible. It is his reaction to her leaving him and marrying someone else. It messed him up big time.....his self worth and his sanity.

In this book he just reacts. I think he might have done that in Loser's Town too, but I can't remember. But it was quite obvious that he took major risks both times when he chased Perec. His pursuit was fueled by adrenalin and emotion. He reacted instead of thinking about the consequences. He had lost all rational thought.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:16 am

I just keep thinking that Daniel has defined the male person for us. I guess in my experience men think and feel and act in such crazy unfathomable ways. The men in my life would find his loyalty to work as a true virtue and the true measure of a real man and all the rest of it is either nonsense or silliness. Spandau represents a clear picture of the male of our species to me. Maybe it is not fair to lump guys all together that way, and maybe it is because I have blue collar men in my life, but I see not only my husband but my sons in Spandau in varying shades and hues. And I salute Daniel for portraying Spandau just as he does.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:36 am

nebraska, they probably we are just as crazy and unfathomable! :lol:
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:49 pm

nebraska wrote: I just keep thinking that Daniel has defined the male person for us. I guess in my experience men think and feel and act in such crazy unfathomable ways. The men in my life would find his loyalty to work as a true virtue and the true measure of a real man and all the rest of it is either nonsense or silliness. Spandau represents a clear picture of the male of our species to me. Maybe it is not fair to lump guys all together that way, and maybe it is because I have blue collar men in my life, but I see not only my husband but my sons in Spandau in varying shades and hues. And I salute Daniel for portraying Spandau just as he does.


I agree. Nice post.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby Buster » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:16 pm

I actually have a lot of empathy for Spandau, and I don't see it as gender-related, necessarily.Men certainly don't have a corner on remoteness in relationships, nor are they the only ones who resort to alcohol and/or childish behaviors when forced to face issues. I can relate to his responses, and also to his frustration with his life and choices. It can be a pretty vicious circle.
I do agree that Daniel has a good handle on what it looks (and feels) like.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:39 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:nebraska, they probably we are just as crazy and unfathomable! :lol:

:highfive:

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby Liz » Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:40 pm

I agree that a lot of men are like that, nebraska. I am married to one.

But I also understand Spandau because I used to be like him myself. I had very few friends or family that I was close to. But the ones I had, I was fiercely loyal to. I have, over the years, become much more social and open to new friends. I think it comes from having kids.

I can also relate to Spandau's anger. I've felt the type of rage and hurt he felt when he took it out on the raccoons. I would just never go that far and act it out. I'd take it out on myself instead.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby Buster » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:34 am

But I also understand Spandau because I used to be like him myself.

....and maybe I still am a lot like him.
Spandau is definitely struggling here, but he has a lot of very positive characteristics as well as his obvious faults (many of which seem to be fueled by alcohol). He certainly had friends who cared about him.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:37 pm

I am very interested in where Spandau is going. I get this sense he is headed towards some crisis, some defining point where he finally needs to climb outside his comfort zone of pain (i.e. it being easier to stay in the soup of self-pity, self-excess) and choose. He babies himself (ah, lots of men baby themselves whereas lots of women baby everyone around themselves, forgetting they are worth that level of care too). The racoon hunt, the drunk with Walter, the fight with Vignon: all little boy stuff when you come down to it. As harsh as Anna can sound, she is not babying herself, not excusing bad behavior as ok because "let's face it I feel really bad." Given Daniel's proclivity for killing off his good guys as well as those standing on the precipice of goodguydom (Potts and even the very benighted Vincent who senses more is possible), I worry about Spandau. Is he going to grow up, suck it up and learn to love or is he going to go down in flames, one more could of, should of guy? Does it matter? Will he go down anyway? Frankly, I'd like to see him make it. Better a redemptive ending, no?
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #17 ~ More on Spandau

Unread postby Liz » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:30 pm

Good food for thought, firefly.

I am probably harder on Anna because I can't relate to her as well. Plus I don't think that her character was developed as well as Spandau. But, of course, Spandau should be more clearly developed, since he is the major character in the series.

I hope it ends well for David. That is what we would expect, right? The detective hero lives forever. But we know that Daniel doesn't necessarily give us what we expect. And I like that. :cool:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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