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Mr Jones and the Shame of the Spolier Scolls
by Xavier Jones-Barlow

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'All we had to do was go down to the bookshop...'

'All we had to do was go down to the bookshop...'
Right, OK, so I am actually pretty angry right now, it is not your fault but- I am going to take it out on you. Sorry. With this column I had several million ideas. There were a couple of individuals that I wanted to appease and please. I had some sort of plan. The fact is that the content of this piece was something I wanted to save until the dying moments of this incarnations run, an insight and perspective that I would have relished the chance to develop and get right. In the fourteen months (minus six weeks) that I have held this post I have never really ranted or vented. I am going to attempt a half-assed, British, polite version right now.

You see, this week, the new Indiana Jones movie gets a general release. Hurrah! We all collectively cry. And yet I am filled with anguish, despair and utter bewilderment, as a mere twenty-four hours before the aforementioned hallowed moment, the cursed books get delivered.

As with anybody in my age group, Dr Jones held that magical, heroic and almost perfect representation of a cinematic idol. As a child the continuous festive re-runs were a joy. The adventures and shenanigans were a source of inspiration, wonder and let's face it, most of us either wanted to be with him or actually be him. The new episode naturally was something to get excited about. To top it off this was to be not some pale re-imagining, it is the same guy! I daresay that like most of you, I was really looking forward to going to the cinema this weekend.

Then, to my utter dismay and confusion, something unbelievable occurred; the novelisation arrived. A mere day before general release, I had the opportunity to find out what was going to happen before handing nice Miss cinema lady my
Apparently there is also a film!

Apparently there is also a film!
hard earned cash. In addition, I had a variety of formats; I could choose the adult adaptation, the childrens 'Shia' version or the graphic novel. Is this something I should be pleased about? Am I supposed to be eagerly using my sallow-skinned nose to soak in these words? Will this enhance my viewing experience? The short answer is; no, it really won't.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. Almost nine years to the day a very similar thing happened. The other stalwart Lucasart franchise was getting a re-boot and the novelisation of THE PHANTOM MENACE was teasing me in its spoiler-bound tomeness. Back then I fell prey to the temptation, and read it a full week before joining the queues of geekiness. Three years after that the same thing happened with part the second and again, I succumbed. Should I be grateful? Am I happy that the book nerd in me gets to read a film?

No, no and thrice no. This behaviour is unacceptable! It is one thing to have read the novel before or after the movie is made. It is one thing to get snooty and judgmental about a shallow or superior adaptation. If this was not the case then I would have less to write about and I wouldn't be half as grumpy. It is another matter for the reverse to happen, I ask myself and I pose the question to you; what's the point? Does a successful movie series - and I think we are in no doubt that Indy represents a classic and successful movie series - really require translation to the written word?

I am finding it hard to balance any sort of argument in my head. This is how angered I am. The source of my anger is not just the existence of the book but the fact that I am tempted to actually read it. I am getting into quite a state

and I keep spilling my tea, which is not a good look. Then the realisation hits me, this is likely to be my fault. I am the one who buys and reads books. I am the one who, half my life ago purchased a copy of the STAR WARS novelisations and raved about them. Lucas clearly took this as a cue to continue the trend. I am sorry.

A brief walk around my bookshop yields more nasty shocks. Sitting there proudly with little shame I discover 'official' novelisations for IRON MAN, INCREDIBLE HULK and SPEED RACER. All produced as an afterthought, all with nothing to add to the movies themselves and all still begging me to pick up and read.

I sincerely hope that this is not any tip of any iceberg. I really do not want to discover that there is a book version of BACK TO THE FUTURE. Or THE GOONIES. I am hoping that I will never find a copy of SPONGEBOB volumes I-IV.

Please, please leave some things as they are. It is not as if the merchandise will not garner all that extra revenue. Some things, some films should be left as they are, these movies are sacred to us!

OK, that is quite enough. I'm starting to feel unwell. At this point I think I can safely assume that I will not be reading CRYSTAL SKULL. In my currant frame of mind, with the fact that the cinema is only a fifteen minute walk away I think I can manage not to open that book. Even if it is sitting there, goading me.

At first glance you may struggle to find the point of my ramblings, There is one, I swear. I implore you, don't read or even look at these books, I have plenty of other things for you to read! That and I hope you enjoy yourselves this weekend.

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Xavier's Book Club
Every other Saturday

Xavier analyses film, literary. A bizarre melding of books and movies.

Other Columns
Other columns by Xavier Jones-Barlow:

My Month As A Teenage Girl

Fragment: Consider Revising.

Proof Reading The Movies #1

The Cinematic Chicken And The Literary Egg

Indifferent Imaginations

All Columns

Xavier Jones-Barlow
Xavier lives in Scotland where it is very cold. He spends his time writing about live bands and people dreamt up in his bizarre imagination. Quite huggable .

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Xavier Jones-Barlow by clicking here.

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