February 17th, 2021

Baron2

The Adventures of a Well-Known Film Composer, and Me

Last night's dream was wistful and kind of lovely.

And inspired by at least one real event.

I was driving around a rural, semi-desert area much like the outskirts of Hermiston, Oregon, where I lived in the late Nineties. Wide-open spaces with center-pivot irrigated farm fields and low bluffs, and sometimes miles between any structures or intersections. Taking care of business, some of which involved helping Eliza Dushku (hey, I'm allowed thirst traps in my dreams) in some kind of high-tech control tower...

...and in other travels through that rural area, I met someone else. Orchestrator and film composer Michael Kamen, who worked with Pink Floyd, the Eurythmics, Kate Bush and others, and wrote the music for the first three Die Hards, the Kevin Costner Robin Hood, Band of Brothers and more; plus he wrote two of my all-time favorite scores, for Terry Gilliam's Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. We had to find something, so Mr. Kamen and I were looking around various complexes, and we found at least one of the things we needed...

...and in my dream I realized this was all a flashback. To something that didn't happen, because I never met Michael Kamen in person, and he passed away from a heart attack in 2003. (He'd lived for several years with multiple sclerosis.) But. I met him over the phone. February 1996, when he consented to a phone interview about his Brazil and Baron Munchausen work. This remains one of the neatest, geekiest things I've done, and he was a delight to talk to. He was funny and sometimes colorfully blunt, telling me how Brazil was daunting but ultimately very satisfying, while Munchausen was a frustrating and seemingly endless experience.

This dream had me and Kamen running into each other again. The timeline sort of works: I moved to Hermiston for my newspaper job in 1997 and was there until 2000. And in the dream I was geeking out (quietly), but also aware it wouldn't last. It would come to an end, and later his life would come to an end. Which made me wistful, even as I was enjoying the search and the views.

Kamen did enjoy his life, from everything I've seen. I can do that.