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Web of Stories offers you the chance to listen to some of the greatest people of our time telling their life stories.
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Cheating death even before birth

Desmond Morris

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Stanley Kubrick’s house

Brian Aldiss - Writer

Supertoys Last All Summer Long. When you think about that pretty title, it's not so nice.

Summer doesn't last forever, and that, in a way, is the essence of the story. And people liked that story wherein a small boy is programmed to think of himself as a small boy, but he's not actually, he's a machine. But, he is made in a world where the population has grown so much that you have to get some form of permission to have a child so that his 'mother' has this boy and the boy thinks he's real. There was something touching about that story – oh, and this little artificial boy has a little artificial teddy bear that keeps him company. And this story touched a lot of people... well, it touched me. I thought it was a charming story. And eventually I heard through my agent, that Stanley Kubrick wanted to make a film of it. Would I go and work with him?

At that time, we were living rather comfortably on Boar's Hill, and a limousine would come every morning and collect me and take me north of St Albans to where Stanley Kubrick and his wife and daughters lived. And the funny thing was that I knew something about that house. I knew that it had been built – or I thought I knew, let's put it that way – I thought I knew that it had been built by a millionaire known as Solly Joel. How did I know of Solly Joel? Because my father, after World War I, was not in the best of health and the doctor had said to him, look, Stanley, if you want to survive the winter, you better go somewhere warm. And so Stanley had got on a liner that was going to South Africa for the winter, and on that liner was Solly Joel. And somehow my father got to know him and be friendly with him.

That's the end of the story, but it was curious to go to that house and to know that about it. And it was full of vast rooms, many of which were full of antiquated machinery: cameras, etc which, of course, was part of Kubrick's hobby, and one of which he developed to use in a movie without overhead lighting.

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