Published Oct 21, 2008Head Eels man Mark Oliver Everett, aka E, has made a move to the small screen for a new BBC documentary entitled Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, which makes its North American debut tonight (October 21) on PBS. However, dont tune in expecting some by-the-numbers music doc. Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives brings a much more personal story to the table one involving a father Everett never knew, a troubled family life and, above all, parallel universes.
The one-hour documentary follows the songwriter on his quest to learn about his now-deceased father, the quantum mechanic Hugh Everett III, who first proposed concept of parallel universes, or has he called it, the "relative state" formulation. Hugh wrote his controversial theory back when he was student at Princeton University in the 1950s, but for a good 20 years, it was largely ignored by the scientific community. Faced with rejection, he abandoned his life in academia and took up a career working for the American defence industry, only to finally have his theory finally taken seriously near the end of his life. Hugh died in 1982 of heart attack in home, where his body was found by a then 18-year-old Mark.
In Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, Mark now takes a journey back into his fathers life, meeting with old college friends and colleagues and, in the words of the press release, "[delving] deep into the Everetts family history, including the bouts of mental illness. Marks father and paternal grandmother both suffered from severe depression, as did his deeply troubled sister.
Mark, whos also written a memoir, Things the Grandchildren Should Know, says this about his relationship with his father: "My father never, ever said anything to me about his theories. I was in the same house with him for at least 18 years, but he was a total stranger to me. He was in his own parallel universe. He was a physical presence, like the furniture, sitting there jotting down crazy notations at the dining room table night after night. I think he was deeply disappointed that he knew he was a genius but the rest of the world didnt know it.
Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives plays at 8:00 p.m. EST tonight on PBS and can also be streamed now on YouTube.
Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives