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It was a grey mediocrity of a day. Bureaucratic clouds overhead permitted only a dull, predictable light, not changing from sunrise to sunset. It was day, quite simply, when nothing unusual could happen. A day best reserved for standing in line at banks, or circling the city in search of parking.
Jeremy glanced at the weather forecast in the Sun. A ridge of high blood pressure approaching from the east. Scattered episodes of boredom, with 60% chance of frustration.
On the facing page all of the horoscopes were blank.
It's worse than I thought, he thought.
I look in the face of the doppelganger, who is death, and he is me.
Like a retouched photo of myself: a face completely familiar, somehow
made strange. There are some superficial differences between us.
I taste no blood in my own mouth. No bruise swells under my eye.
I touch my face to be sure, feel only sweat. This creature is not
me; its pain is not my own.
Drome prowls through the basement, checking his line. Too hot to sleep; too tired to think. The bait is gone from some of the traps, taken without tripping the release. Showing off, he thinks.
The mechanism of evolution is death. This much is clear.
As the organism evolves, the art of dying must be refined into subtler
forms. These rats are getting so damn smart, Drome figures, he could
sell them to the university for experiments. If he could catch them.
Let the biologists evolve the bastards, with induced cancers or a rodent
retrovirus. I've done all I can. If you can't tempt them with
cheese, offer them scholarships.
What would you say if I offered to strap you in a chair, clamp your eyelids open and force you to watch commercials for an hour and a half?
My own relationship with the media is diseased, and I would be ashamed to describe it if not for the fact that I suspect I am hardly unique.
Stock traders couldn't survive being unplugged from their information feeds. Take away just their cellular phones and they'd flop around like divers deprived of air.
Difference is the spice and the friction that keeps us warm in this cold land. This is the stuff we are born from, and this is the joy of living in Canada. The fact that I am unlike you, that we will disagree -- this is a prime feature of our common character, and no myth of unity should be permitted to obscure its peculiar and obstinate beauty.
The Trade Forum is directed at a level of production involving sums of money that are beyond reason. It excites and nauseates me. I feel like a loyal Soviet citizen at the height of the Cold War taking a tour of Western High Society. The Ninotchka factor is high. Decadence! Decadence! Appalling lavish indulgence. At a certain economic level, moviemaking becomes something like counterfeiting in reverse, a means by which great wads of loot are made to vanish into nothing.
Only a few things happen in The God of Small Things. Those things are terrible, on the small and human scale of things, but described with beauty and a sensuous brutality. Key events reverberate forward and backward in time, accumulating detail, wrapped in multiplying layers of description and emotion.
Of course the architect is unique among artists also in having his work periodically and deliberately demolished. This is something we understand intuitively in Vancouver, where redevelopment notices are plentiful as stop signs. And it seems appropriate to ask: is not a love of destruction intrinsic to the profession of architecture?
Except for Microserfs, almost all of Coupland's work has been written in the present tense. His characters operate in the tense of television, where even in flashback events are always happening now, in real time, as we watch. Laudatory dust-jacket quotes are drawn from fashion rags - Cosmo, Elle, Details - at least as often as respectable literary magazines. He flirts with the fashion vortex of absolute now, where being out of date is ample cause for mockery and abuse.
The drug of choice varies: sex, alcohol, junk, violence -- whichever best succeeds in imposing its own ruthless purpose on these random lives. Human connection must be guarded against, a feeling so rare that its eruptions become almost impossibly painful, like a frostbitten limb temporarily warmed to life.
We are willing to recognize art in propaganda like Triumph of the Will, or Soviet Socialist Realism where content is externally determined. Commercials could be called the flipside of Socialist Realism -- capitalist propaganda.
We've seen this tale before, I think, but the joyful savagery in this comedy of corruption makes it a worthy reprise. Somebody wins, but everybody's screwed, and it's a moral we need to hear from time to time, an occasional antidote to the voodoo glamour of celebrity dreams and fan magazines.
David Mamet is not a bulletproof playwright. Performed poorly, his dialogue limps along like a slow, sick dog. I've seen Mamet plays where the actors were embarrassed to have his words in their mouths, spitting them out like a bad taste.
There's a point where comedy eases over the edge into cruelty, and there's no laugh track here to keep you from feeling exposed.
Welcome to the dark side of the Fringe Festival: appalling amateur theatre that could never get produced anywhere else.
The English have their fair share of mass-murderers, to be sure, but none of them are quite so much fun as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
No need to worry about Ward and June. They'll be ground zero when the nuclear family finally explodes. There are bound to be other survivors, though -- mutated, but recognizable -- the freak show tent at the family circus.
These are not necessarily experiences you would want to have, but they certainly aren't ones you would care to give up if they were already yours -- and for an hour, they are.
Written by Christopher Hampton, Treats is a three-body problem. You know -- physics. When you have two bodies exerting gravitational forces on each other their motion is predictable, but when a third body is introduced the math becomes intractable, and there's no telling how they will behave.
Dunno what they feed those boys down in Texas. Human growth hormone, I'm guessing, from the size of the bass player. Jumbo shrimp and pituitary extract.