Friday, September 13, 2013

THE WORLD'S END: the Cups of The Golden Mile

The short version: I think that meaningful imagery from the tarot has been skillfully woven into the fabric of THE WORLD'S END.

Here follows the long version…

The rendering of the sun used in the sign for The Rising Sun pub at the end of THE WORLD'S END called to mind the sunny artwork I've seen on tarot cards. I'd already made the deja vu comparison of the pub signs (and names) to tarot cards (as most Wright/Cornetto fans will have), each with its own significance…

And not by mistake. =)

But when I went looking for an image to represent that thirteenth pub in my previous rambling post, I got to thinking that there might be references in those signs to the actual "standard"—I guess?—tarot, used in games and the telling of fortunes. Clueless as to the meanings of tarot cards, I shall be leaning selectively on the interwebz for my (mis)readings. =)

Now, King James and Shakespeare might describe Gary and the Enablers as being "in their cups" on the Golden Mile, a rather classy way of saying drinking, drunk, sloshed, blotto. The suit of Cups in tarot is associated with the element water (aka, "f@cking rain" =), the west, and autumn. It deals with emotions, imagination, and following one's heart (rather than one's head), taken to both positive and negative extremes. If using a deck of playing cards for readings, Hearts takes the place of Cups.

Next, let's count the cups (where a pint = a cup) in the pubs and pub signs of The Golden Mile and read them as tarot cards.


We see two pints, clones of each other, ostensibly demonstrating the Starbucking of modern pubs. Two pints gets us the Two of Cups, which represents partnerships and unions, one-to-one connection, romance, and bonding. This seems to be a fair reference to the connections, mutual and not, between Samantha, Steve, and Gary.


The sign doesn't give us anything in the way of cups, but it's outside this pub that Gary downs the three unfinished pints. The Three of Cups. It represents celebration, community, and reunion, but reversed, it suggests isolation from others. This describes both sides of Gary's hopes for The Golden Mile. A happy reunion of old friends for which he plays the fearless (and oblivious) leader to the hilt, hiding his chronic depression and suicidal tendencies.


On the servant's tray, we directly see four pints, with a fifth obscured by those in the fore-tray. The Five of Cups gives us loss and regret. Hopelessness and farewells. That lines up with the fate of Reverend Green quite well and sadly. Not sure that those sentiments really jive with the Blankening of O-man, tho.

If we count the pints in the hands of the shadowy figures flanking the servant, that gets us to the Seven of Cups, which signifies wishful thinking, getting caught up in illusions, a belief in limitless possibilities, and overindulgence. Sounds like a fair description of Gary's behavior, no?


In this sign, we don't see any cups. Well, unless we count those strategically placed sea shells (we shan't). However, we do see three women, and three women are depicted in the tarot for the Three of Cups, which, along with everything described above for its association with The Famous Cock, can be interpreted as an experience that makes you feel like dancing.


Okay, *this* is where it all comes together. A hand, appearing out of nowhere, through a hole in the blue brick wall, offering the gift of a refreshing beverage. One pint. One cup. The Ace of Cups, a representation of love, forgiveness, and inner peace. All of which Gary is seeking, whether he will admit to it or not. The image is of a hand presenting a chalice overflowing in five streams that represent the senses.

Now, take a look at *this*. What do you think? Is that not Gary, contemplating the three pints outside the Famous Cock, momentarily oblivious to the affection and love of his friends? (As well as their talk of Newton Haven not being the heart of anything—"If there's a bright center to the universe, you're on the planet that it's farthest from." =)

And isn't that fourth pint presented as a gift offered by a mysterious hand, reaching thru a hole in the blue sky?

This is the Four of Cups, which positively represents meditation, but negatively represents self-absorption. Descriptions of the Four of Cups explain that the man in the scene is focused on the three cups before him, meaning he's distracted by personal, perhaps trivial, matters, and so, unaware of the opportunity offered in the fourth cup by fate.

Okay, I'm just gonna straight-up copy/paste from the wikipedia
The Four of Cups represents a period of self-reflection and inaction and/or quiet deliberation or contemplation. The querent is being pushed into a bad situation or forced to do something that seems undesirable to him. This card can also predict that the querent might have to undergo a time of tribulation and/or force him to self-reflect or self-sacrifice.
Also, the reader must acknowledge that the figure in meditation is staring intently at the cups before him. This shows a distraction with affairs already present, although not necessarily all that is pressing. He need only look in a new direction to find the gift he is ignoring.
Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, you sick monkeys! What an amazing and perfect connection/layer to embed in the fabric of your film! I may have been stretching to make the Two, Five, and Seven of Cups connect, but the Four (and the Ace and Three on their own and as elements of the Four) that's gotta be by crazy frickin evil mastermind design, right?

Umm… No? What's that you say? Just a coincidence? Sometimes a pint is just a pint? Oh. Well.

Cock it—works for me! =)

And I'll bet that it doesn't end there…

I'd really like to run this—and other elements from the film, like the gang's surnames (i.e. King, Knightley, Page), other tarot suits in the signs (i.e. Pentacles for The Cross Hands?) and possible cameos by the major arcana (i.e. Temperance, The Fool, The World, The Sun?)—by someone who's more well and truly versed in the reading of these cards. Anyone want to comment and illuminate me on where I've gone right / wrong / not far enough / crazy? Please do! After all, it's too easy for me to make things fit if I cherry pick from a pool of "learning tarot" resource online.

Keep on keepin on~

No comments: