IT WAS Christmas Day and Danny the Car Wiper hit the street junksick and broke after seventy-two hours in the precinct jail. It was a clear bright day, but there was warmth in the sun. Danny shivered with an inner cold. He turned up the collar of his worn, greasy black overcoat.
This beat benny wouldn’t pawn for a deuce, he thought.
He was in the West Nineties. A long block of brownstone rooming houses. Here and there a holy wreath in a clean black window. Danny’s senses registered everything sharp and clear, with the painful intensity of junk sickness. The light hurt his dilated eyes.
He walked past a car, darting his pale blue eyes sideways in quick appraisal. There was a package on the seat and one of the ventilator windows was unlocked. Danny walked on ten feet. No one in sight. He snapped his fingers and went through a pantomime of remembering something, and wheeled around. No one.
A bad setup, he decided. The street being empty like this, I stand out conspicuous. Gotta make it fast.
He reached for the ventilator window. A door opened behind him. Danny whipped out a rag and began polishing the car windows. He could feel the man standing behind him.
"What’re yuh doin’?"
Danny turned as if surprised. "Just thought your car windows needed polishing, mister."
The man had a frog faceand a Deep South accent. He was wearing a camel’s-hair overcoat.
"My caah don’t need polishin’ or nothing stole out of it neither."
Danny slid sideways as the man grabbed for him. "I wasn’t lookin’ to steal nothing, mister. I’m from the South too. Florida – "
"Goddammed sneakin’ thief!"
Danny walked away fast and turned a corner.
Better get out of the neighborhood. That hick is likely to call the law.
He walked fifteen blocks. Sweat ran down his body. There was an ache in his lungs. His lips drew back off his yellow teeth in a snarl of desperation.
I gotta score somehow. If I had some decent clothes…
Fiona lived in her parents’ house, in the town where she and Grant went to university. It was a big, bay-windowed house that seemed to Grant both luxurious and disorderly, with rugs crooked on the floors and cup rings bitten into the table varnish. Her mother was Icelandic—a powerful woman with a froth of white hair and indignant far-left politics. The father was an important cardiologist, revered around the hospital but happily subservient at home, where he would listen to his wife’s strange tirades with an absent-minded smile. Fiona had her own little car and a pile of cashmere sweaters, but she wasn’t in a sorority, and her mother’s political activity was probably the reason. Not that she cared. Sororities were a joke to her, and so was politics—though she liked to play “The Four Insurgent Generals” on the phonograph, and sometimes also the “Internationale,” very loud, if there was a guest she thought she could make nervous. A curly-haired gloomy-looking foreigner was courting her—she said he was a Visigoth—and so were two or three quite respectable and uneasy young interns. She made fun of them all and of Grant as well. She would drolly repeat some of his small-town phrases. He thought maybe she was joking when she proposed to him, on a cold bright day on the beach at Port Stanley. Sand was stinging their faces and the waves delivered crashing loads of gravel at their feet.
“Do you think it would be fun—” Fiona shouted. “Do you think it would be fun if we got married?”
He took her up on it, he shouted yes. He wanted never to be away from her. She had the spark of life.
Read the whole short story here
Illustration by Ilana Kohn Originally published in the New Yorker
Ive searched the world over- well in a way- for someone who shares a taste for type,text and image.Turns out I didnt have to look very far, Australian Andrew Macrae has a fetish for typewriters and produces these ephemera typeology's. Writes interesting little anecdotes as well alongside on his blog which can all be viewed here
Just finished Blind Willow Sleeping Woman, Haruki Murakami's latest book while I was coming back from Shanghai on friday. This one is a book of short stories - one of which has been made into a movie. Follow the Continue Reading link to read the whole short story.
UPDATE: DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. IT IS A STEAMING PILE OF POO.
54 page hard cover book, 25 x 20.7cm
A photographic narrative in which the addition of an explicit text not only directs and heightens the potential reading of the image, but serves to question the reliability of photography. The text remains confidently authoritative (under the pretence of a simple inventory) as its relation to the photograph gradually breaks down to describe elements beyond the image in sense, space and time before beginning to refer to the next image, breaking abruptly and starting again with a basic, ‘truthful’ description of the new photograph. As the book progresses (there are 26 photographs - a mix of found, commercial and personal) the transitions between images, along with the descriptions, become increasingly absurd and start to suggest an overall narrative (introducing reoccurring figures, objects and a fictitious timeline). Text is traditionally present to support, clarify or tame the open image; to supply the answers. Here, that support is shown to be fallible and is replaced with a mysterious narrative thread that demands a patient and sustained reading of both image and text.
One of my absolutely favourite authors is Will Self - I'm loving reading The Book Of Dave at the moment. Picked it up on my way to Bangkok - haven't put it down since (except for once when it slipped out of my hand when I was struck by a tuk-tuk).
Will has a blog, bless him, and there I was thrilled to find 71 pictures of his writing room. I'm guessing they must have been taken while The Book Of Dave was in progress, judging from the maps of London with topographical tide marks in red felt tip pen on them.
And I was fascinated to discover the secret behind his method is actually not heroin, but post it notes.
When I was a kid, my friend’s mother used to collect eggcups. Every wall in their house was fitted with lots of narrow shelves, and each and every shelf was stuffed with eggcups: hundreds upon hundreds –if not thousands and thousands- of eggcups.
Collectors really are the cleverest people.
Just like they know they will never boil thousands of eggs for their breakfast, they know they will never be able to collect all the eggcups in the world. They will never solve the eggcup puzzle.
Collectors have uncommon sense, but hoarders have even more uncommon sense.
There is a solution to everything but not enough time for anything.
So really we should be collecting time. But who can afford it?
Time really slows down when you are bumming around.
So instead of wasting time, you are actually elongating time.
Work harder. Kill for Satan. Have a nice day.
Live properly. Sweat blood. Become superior.
Eggcup. Eggcup. Eggcup.
Man is a senseless thing.
I believe in everything.
I'm about 75% through Jpod and I have to say that the first half really yanked my chain - in a bad way. It seems that the more books Doug writes the more he likes to hold out on the payoff. You know it's coming, but can you wait for it? I was about sick of the pop culture/web culture references but I was on a flight to Seouless so thought what the fuck, I'm not going to sleep anyway, I forgot the Valium, so pushed on. It's getting close to the gold now I can tell, but not close enough to tear myself away from free flow bad wine in the lobby between 6 and 8...
If only Doug's books were as good as his sculpture. He should be famous for that instead... but who gets famous for sculpture?
P.S. Don't get me wrong, I love Douglas Coupland's writing, he's just got to that stage where he has created so many great works that the latest ain't necessarily the best... And when I say that his sculpture is better than his writing, I'm complementing his sculpture, not knocking his writing.