The notion of the ‘free pass’ is as perplexing as it is omnipresent. Even the most enamoured couples allow themselves the indulgence of a night to remember with a celebrity. In fact, the more far-fetching the movie/ rock/ TV star, the better. Not one to shy away from any form of popular culture, I think I had nominated a free pass before I had a relationship. This slightly inverses the notion of the concept, but suffice to say my free pass has been appointed for as long as I can remember.
The fortunate recipient of my would-be affection for many years was the irrepressible and eccentric Johnny Depp. I think it was Edwards Scissorhands. Or maybe What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. By the time Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas hit the big screen, I had fallen truly, madly and Depply (cringe) into my teenage crush.
However, after watching him in Sleepy Hollow, I started to fall out of love with the carbon copy wackiness of Depp. The film, sadly, was meh. And Depp was kinda meh in it. So I moved on and so did my free pass. However, Washington Irving’s novella on which the film is based, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a fantastic read. Relatively short but incredibly sharp and engaging, the text showcases protagonist Ichabod Crane who proves to be a fascinating character study and somewhat at odds with Depp’s representation.
Irving’s Ichabod is brimming with contradictions. He can navigate a feminised world with ease while still commanding authority and power. He is driven by ambition and economic desire and yet is cripplingly superstitious.
This is an astute piece of speculative fiction that reveals pointed insights of eighteenth century American social history. Definitely worth an afternoon’s reading. If nothing to enjoy the inspiration for my former free pass.
* For those of you playing at home, my current free pass is Prince Harry. No judgement.