meet the press

it looks like harper is taking a few pointers from the bush administration when it comes to relations with the press. he has banned reporters from the floor where the cabinet meetings are held, making them wait downstairs until a minister is good and ready to talk to them. he has said that cabinet meetings are private, and that it is a constitutional issue. however, traditionally, journalists would be given advance notice on these meetings, even though the government kept the agendas secret, and it was common to see them flock to cabinet members as they left the room, sometimes getting some very candid, and even off-the-cuff remarks from the politicians.

i guess that is what harper is trying to avoid. the conservatives have been caught saying some really stupid things in the past couple of years, from everything dealing with race issues to homosexuality. and the liberal government before was often caught in some verbal miscommunication and stupidity as well. it looks like harper has learned something from all of that, and is tearing a page out of bush's playbook. it seems he wants to be able to control what his ministers say, at least when it comes to the natural jouranlistic buzz that swarms right after a meeting, as well as controlling how prepared reporters are allowed to be, even catching them off guard.

i just hope this makes journalists a little more resourceful, and don't become cowed to the government like the u.s. media had become up until only recently. harper is clearly trying to pull some of the teeth that the media has, because the media ravaged the liberals, with appropriate cause, and would most likely tear him apart if he made a bad move. there's a transparency to the government that was missing when the liberals were running the show, and now it seems to be missing again. harper said he would do things differently when he took over, and it looks like he's setting out to prove that. this may or may not be a smart play. it could backfire on him, because after all, hell hath no fury on a journalist scorned.

there's the benefit of the doubt, which i would love to extend to harper, but for some reason there is something absolutely bothersome about him. maybe it's because as soon as the election was over, he returned to doing his best howard hughes impression. he just seems to be alergic to other people. it just makes you really wonder what this government has to hide when it resorts to secret meetings seemingly just for the heck of it.

i do, however, have to give him props for showing up in afghanistan to support our troops, which is all the more important in terms of timing, because more and more of our troops seem to be coming home in body bags, with yet another soldier killed today. so far the haper government is standing strong. we'll see how far that lasts once public support erodes.

(source 1)

(source 2)

(source 3)


henry : i burned myself.
sam : you burned yourself? why?
henry : practicing for hell.

- stay

stay is the third movie written by the talented david benioff who wrote the highly underrated post 9/11 new york eulogy, 25th hour, and it is quite good. (benioff also wrote troy, but everyone has a bad day. i won't hold that against him.) stay is a movie about a young man named henry (ryan gosling) who is intent on killing himself by the weekend. saturday, at midnight, to be exact; 21 years from the date of his birth. sam (ewan mcgregor) is a psychiatrist, who takes up henry's case and becomes obsessed with trying to save him the way he saved his girlfriend, lila (naomi watts). henry wants to kill himself because he thinks he deserves it. he thinks he's going to hell, because of something he's done. but he doesn't want to die. he wants to be saved, ultimately. and sam can save him.

the movie has quite an interesting visual style, which seems a bit forced at first, but you soon ease into it. for example, this is the first time i've seen a movie start off from the point of view of a blown tire. the use of style in this movie is not there for its sake alone; it is actually the key in understanding the plot. the plot itself is quite involved, drawing in half a dozen characters that all seem to be going through their own tramas. the plot itself is very closed, in that it doesn't really want to reveal anything, save perhaps through the style of the movie.

the ending is an explanation but it only just touches the immense pain that henry has gone through. the ending itself is quite heartwrenching, not that you didn't see it coming, because you sort of do, but because of benioff's writing. he manages to write some incredible lines that are performed with just the right amount of desperation from ryan gosling to really give you a good sense of what henry wants and needs. it's like a kick in the gut.

in truth, i found my thoughts wandering through parts of the movie, sort of tiring of its almost too-involved sense of style, but benioff's dialogue would bring me back in. it wasn't until the ending that i finally thought, "ah, here we go. there's the heart of the story." i've seen other movies similar to this that have done it better, but all in all, the movie is quite good and worth checking out.


the mechanics of writing, part 2

a couple months ago, i wrote an entry that listed 10 things that i learned about writing over the years. well, i'm going to expand on that list right now, with a short list of what not to do when writing:

1) do not lie. or if you do lie, don't ever say it is the truth. what i'm talking about, is when books or movies come out and they say that they're based on a true story, when in reality there's only the slightest bit of truth amongst a sea of fiction. it's like saying every episode of law and order is a true story, when in reality all they did was take some minor associated press report in the middle of the new york times that mentioned someone go their head cut off, and turned it into an episode where most of it was made up except for maybe the crime itself. when you lie and say it's the truth when it turns out it's only the essense of truth, you risk making your audience / reader turn out to seem stupid. (i'm looking at you, james frey!)

2) do not break your own rules. i don't care how ridiculous the world is, but when you write something, and create characters that inhabit the world you've created, make sure you don't break your own rules. i don't care if it makes sense in the real world. your logic can be crazy, but if it makes sense in the world that you've created, that's all that matters. for example, in one of the friday the 13th movies, jason, the killer, gets killed by a girl who has telekinetic abilities. what? i mean, jason is this unstoppable killer that usually gets stopped in the end, and it doesn't make sense in the real world, but in the world of teenagers and serial killers that is friday the 13th, it makes complete sense. but then, all of a sudden, there's a girl that is telekinetic? it doesn't make any sense within the world that was created, so it seems ludicris (more so than usual).

3) don't use too many visual gimics. what i'm talking about is the type of gimic used in certain novels to portray a certain sense or style. for example, in irvine welsh's book, filth, where there is a character that is a tape worm, welsh uses text within text to show what the tape worm is thinking, but it not only looks hideous, it is distracting as well. it totally takes you out of the narrative. if you can't get across what you intend to through simple block prose, don't fucking bother.

4) lay off on the descriptions. descriptions are great when you're reading a fantasy novel or a sci-fi novel, or any other novel besides a contemporary one, because when you're creating make-believe worlds, you want to get across distinct visuals. but if you're writing about something that's happening right now, present day, don't bother to describe the way a chair looks in a room unless the chair itself is meant to be distinct and original or in some way important to the narrative. for example, when a character walks into a room for the first time, and there is a desk, a chair, and a lamp, just use simple discriptions. no one gives a damn how many cracks there are in the lamp. just say it's an old lamp. we get the idea. move on already.

5) when writing something that requires research, don't bother writing it if you're not going to research it all the way. for example, if you're writing in a police investigation, and you can't be bothered to research the way the police detectives would investigate a crime (e.g.: police procedure, interrogation, etc.), don't bother to write it, or at least keep it a minimalist part of the book. nobody likes it when someone is writing, let's say, a book about a trial, but clearly shows they don't know much about trials or court rooms or lawyers beyond what they see on t.v. if you're gonna do it, do it properly. that's why movies like to live and die in l.a. or lord of war are so great; the writers clearly knew a lot about their subject matter. i, myself, am a lazy writer, which is why you'll never see me write about doctors or something like that. i just can't be bothered to put in the research time. if you're going to write about stuff that needs researching but you don't want to bother, you'd better make sure you're really good at bullshiting. how do you know if you're good enough? well, if you can bullshit yourself into thinking you can write it, you're halfway there.

6) the work will end when it ends. don't try to force anything when writing. if your book ends up 100 pages, then so be it. don't try to do things where you stretch the novel or script or whatever, just so you can have more. more of what? i don't know, more pages, more sex, more violence, more... just more. when you put unnecessary things into the book, you get a situation where the reader will either a) get bored, or b) question the purpose. if either of these things happens to a reader, you're already starting to lose them and it's hard to reel them back in.

7) finally, less is definitely more. don't explain things to the audience / reader. i find that sometimes people tend to go on and on about something, just to drive the point across, and in the end, they take away any sort of joy the reader / viewer might get from discovering something. i'm not saying to be cryptic as fuck like frank kafka or david lynch; but at the same time, don't be like spielberg. assume your audience is smart. a good piece of writing should allow room for the reader to discover something that makes them think they discovered it on their own; that it's almost a discovery that belongs to the reader only, when in reality it may be something that everyone can understand easily with just a little bit of thinking. if you've written in a symbol or a plot twist into the book well enough, the reader, living within the context of your words, should be able to get it. if they don't, well, hopefuly they will understand it in the end, and if they still don't get it, well, there's not much you can do. not everything has to be a usual suspects, keyser soze-style reveal. (that movie, by the way, destroyed the thriller genre for years because of all the copycats right after).


beauty in simplicity

i love music video director, mark romanek's website. it pretty much speaks for itself.


writers and their subjects

"Ever since I was a child, folks have thought they had me pegged, because of the way I am, the way I talk. And they're always wrong."
- capote.

i never cared for any of truman capote's writing. just not interested at all. and tell you the truth, after seeing capote, i still don't have any interest. but i will say, that as a movie about a writer, and the writing process, it's quite good.

capote is about truman capote and the time he spent investigating the murder of four people in kansas. he spends his time interviewing everyone touched by the killings, and he becomes fixated with the truth that perry smith, one of the murderers, has to offer. it's interesting to learn how obssessed a writer can get, to the point where journalistic integrity starts to take a back seat to personal obssession. and in the end, all that matters is the truth, regardless of how it is achieved.

the direction of the movie is amazing. it's very simple and controlled, with near still shots and wide angles and long, scenic (but clean) images. it's almost as if a movie was made out of a half a dozen photographs. the mood of the movie could be reproduced in just a handful of these images. it's amazing.

the lingering problem with truman and his inability to finish the book, is the fact that he needs to know what happened that night, from perry smith's mouth. i can understand that. i can understand being in a situation where you can't see the ending to the book, and it is just torture. that you'd do anything to get that ending down. even if it eventually destroys you, as it did to truman. something he did during the writing of in cold blood, eventually destroyed him. the screenplay by dan futterman is really sophisticated and complex and very well done for a first time actor-turned-screenwriter.

"Okay, James, I wish you hadn't shot my girlfriend's dog. Even though Poe and I weren't exactly what you'd call simpatico, that's no reason he should've taken two in the chest."

- wonder boys.

another movie about a writer who can't seem to get to the ending, is wonder boys, which i always thought was an amazing movie. one of my favorites. you have michael douglas as grady tripp, an aging writer who has been writing his second novel for years because he is unable to stop, with a book that is well over a thousand pages. then there's tobey maguire as james leer, his student, who can't seem to tell the difference between reality and a narative. and katie holmes as hannah green, another student who is attracted to douglas' tripp.

wonder boys, you have a similar situation where a writer is trying to get to the ending. although this time, it's not a simple truth that he's trying to get to, it's just a truth of the self, a self-realization. the movie is really entertaining, and it's great to see how real life problems can interefere with the progress of a book, and conversely, how a book can become a burden to the writer. steven kloves wrote the screenplay based on the book by michael chabon, and it is incredibly smart and whitty and funny. the strange thing is, i have no desire to read the original novel, which i'm sure is amazing and probably even better than the movie (all books that come before the movie usually are. except fightclub.)

watching both these movies makes me realize again how great it is to be able to write. it almost makes me want to start up again. almost.


afghanistan: ownership

i am glad the liberals sided with the conservatives against the idea of a free vote on whether to continue our mission in afghanistan. here's what they said:
"We are against a vote because it's a responsibility of the executive and because we should not second-guess when we have an important mission to succeed," Liberal foreign affairs critic Stéphane Dion said yesterday on CTV's Question Period.
should there be debate? of course. there should always be debate on issues like the future safety of our troops. my only issue is that we can talk all we want, but in the end, we have to stayin afghanistan. i'm not saying forever, but for the forseeable near future. afghanistan was our first combat mission that wasn't involved with peace keeping. we were there to back the united states against what was percieved to be a hostile and malicious leadership (the taliban) that helped back al qaeda. we now own afghanistan, in the sense that we went in with our troops, started a war, and we now have a responsibility to help rebuild, just like the united states has a responsibility to not only afghanistan, but to iraq. will there be casualties? of course. but in this day and age, you can't just go into a country, bomb it to bits, and then high tail it out of there once the casualties get too high for your liking. there is a responsibility to the people of that country to help them rebuild, and in effect, by helping them rebuild, we can help irradicate many of the reasons for why terrorism breeds.
in the end, however, if there are enough bodies, people will call for a pull out, and the politicians will follow because they want to be elected. but for our long term security, we owe it to the people of afghanistan, and to ourselves, to help see this through.


sudan: hell on earth

so, don't know anything about the violence that's going on in sudan? here's a video from the hour. gives you the basics in under ten minutes.


priorities, people

a family in minnesota, the mclellans, wrote a letter to canadian senators denouncing canada's seal hunt calling it "horrible" and "inhumane." the mclellan family said they loved canada and had canadian ancestors, but they scrapped their vacation to canada because of the seal hunt and plan to continue to boycott if the seal hunt continues.
well, a liberal senator, céline hervieux-payette wrote them a blistering letter, saying that what is truly horrible is "the daily massacre of innocent people in Iraq, the execution of prisoners – mainly blacks – in american prisons, the massive sale of handguns to americans, the destabilization of the entire world by the american government's aggressive foreign policy, etc." she went on to say that the seal hunt was a centuries-old practice for both local whites and natives, and she said that "they must start to look at their own behaviour, the permanent heightening of the planet's insecurity since the election of bush."
i suppose the letter was a bit harsh, but she does have a point. it's interesting which causes people chose to take up, and what issues end up offending them. some people chose to fight for animals, others fight for women's rights, while others fight for the right to go to group sex events. you pick the battles you can win, i suppose. to each their own.


the possible clash of civilizations?

the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principle conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. the clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. the fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.
- samuel p. huntington, the clash of civilizations? foreign affairs 1993.

years ago, in the early nineties, a political scientist named samuel p. huntington wrote an article that outlined what he believed to be, the next great conflict. the cold war, while ended, was still a bit luke warm and while most politial theorists were struggling to name the next great conflict, samuel huntington came out with the article,
the clash of civilizations, which hypothetized that it would be the difference of cultures that would drive conflict in the near future. well, he was pretty much laughed off. every first year political science student has read this article, and yeah, in the 1990's, it seemed silly, but then 9/11 happened. all of a sudden, there was talk about islamic revolutions all over again. this, after we all thought any sort of major islamic revolution died in the late 1980s along with the failed pan-arabism. suddenly you had every right-winged nut with a camera crew in the united states starting to call for some sort of holy war. as if they had forgotten the lessons from the much hyped and failed crusades of centuries past. even the bush administration named their initial fight against terror "operation infinite justice" until criticisms that only god can dole out infinite justice forced them to change it to the less religious but much more american, "operation enduring freedom." would you like some freedom fries with your holy war?

samuel p. huntington's hypothesis suddenly made him look like he was nostradamus. some of his more major points in the article suggest that the difference between cultures is not only real, but basic, and that it is easy to solve socio-economic problems like going from poor to rich and vice versa, than to go from being russian to to estonian or azeris to armenian. he said that the world was getting smaller, and these differences were becoming more apparent; such as the different ways civilizations view man's relation to man or man's relation to god. he also tends that nation states, while still viable, are being swept up in the grander notion of civilizations and likeness - e.g.: the western countries banding together. and he's right about a lot of this; yes the world is getting smaller, yes cultural differences are real (e.g.: canadians band easily with americans who in turn can band easily with the british, etc.) and yes, getting rid of poverty is probably easier than getting israelis and palestinians to just share the land and live together. he's also right about how civilizations view the relationships amongst men and men with god. for example, the individuality that is so worshipped in western civilization, and the freedoms that come with it (freedom of the press, freedom of religion, etc) don't necessarily exist in many arab nations, or if they do, they have a different meaning or different limits. for example, take the whole cartoon row that occured weeks ago with all the rioting after a danish newspaper published cartoons of the prophet mohammed, which is strictly forbidden in the islamic faith; in the west, you can lampoon such figures, but in the arab world, that's grounds for rioting and death. you have crossed the line. some might say that in the west, when it comes to free speach, there is no line.

samuel huntington also isolates the age old battle between islam and christianity that has been going back for centuries, and has now resurfaced with the figureheads of bush and binladen at the forefront. (although binladen seems to have dropped off the radar as of late. whatever happened to "dead or alive"?) even 9/11 fits into huntington's hypothesis. people said that 9/11 was the day the world changed. well, the world had changed long ago; it's just that the west was just waking up to it. but i think if you examine closer, you'll find that these are really small groups of people pushing an agenda. one side lives in caves and wants nothing but the destruction of western civilization and the dominance of islam. the other while encrouched in christianity, really is all about money and power and the desperate need to cling to it by clinging to out-date, pre 1990 political thoughts. but then, one can never underestimate the power that a small group can have over the masses; whether it's instilling fear or stoking the fires of mistrust, which is sort of huntington's point; that there is an underlying difference between civilizations that can and probably will be exploited to bring about conflict.

to his credit, huntington doesn't completely call for the demise of nation states, and this is clearly evident today. just look at the european union for example. for decades there has been a push for a unified europe, a superpower europe, with its own currency, own constitution, own army, own flag... well, two out of four ain't bad. with the french voting against the eu constitution, it showed that people still do believe in nation states. even the british, champions of the eu cause, don't want to take up the euro. britain's relationship in the eu, i have long said, is much like king arthur and the knights of the round table. everyone is equal at the table, there is no head, but there is only one king arthur. in europe, as in many places, there is the fear that everything will become one: fear of races blending too much, fear of borders crumbling to allow the free movement of criminals, fear of pretty much anything even amongst their own countrymen (re: recent race riots in france). never underestimate the power of a flag, or an anthem, or even a soccer - er, i mean, football team. in my case, it's a hockey team. (how the fuck did canada lose to switzerland in the olympics anyway?)

while i see where huntington is correct in many ways, i believe that when you get down to it, when you sift through all the bullshit, what every conflict is really about, is property. one way or another, it has always been about property - the direct or indirect control and influence over it. everything else is a smokescreen. that's not to say people don't believe and that there aren't differences between civilizations that can be explosive, because people will die for beliefs. i'm just saying, while everyone is throwing around words like "culture" or "race" or "language" or "religion," just try to keep your eye on the real issues that give politicians and generals and fundamentalists ideas to start wars: these are of course property and power. it's like homer simpson said: first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women! in the end, it's all about the chicks, right?

pearl jam

i've been waiting for a good rock album from pearl jam for a long time. hopefully this song is a harbinger of good things to come on their new album out in May. this new single, world wide sucide, is quite obvious. sometimes eddie can be a little too heavy handed. the lyrics are pretty self explanatory. still, it rocks your ass.

I felt the earth on Monday
It moved beneath my feet
In the form of a morning paper
Laid out for me to see
Saw his face in a color picture
I recognized the name
Could not stop staring at the
Face I’d never see again

It’s a shame to awake in a world of pain
What does it mean when
the war is taking over?
It’s the same every day
I heard my name
Why can’t they say that
The world be left to hold her

The whole world
World over
It’s World Wide Suicide

The whole world
World over
It’s World Wide Suicide

Medals on a wooden mantle
Next to a handsome face
That the President took for granted
Writing checks that others pay
And in all the madness
Thought becomes numb and naive
So much to talk about
And nothing for us to say

It’s the same every day
And the wave won’t break
Tell you to pray while
the devil’s on his shoulder
Laying claims to the tainted soldier said
I’m not a quitting
The truth’s already out there

The whole world
World over
It’s World Wide Suicide

The whole world
World over
It’s World Wide Suicide

Looking in the eyes of the fallen
You’ve got to know there’s another


It’s a shame to awake in a world of pain
What does it mean when
the war is taking over
It’s the same every day
And the wave won’t break
Tell you to pray while
the devil’s on his shoulder

The whole world
World over
It’s World Wide Suicide

The whole world
World over
It’s World Wide Suicide

The whole world
World over
It’s World Wide Suicide

The whole world
World over
It’s World Wide Suiciiiiiiiiiide


over and out

i can't do this anymore. there won't be any new writing for a while. i'll still continue to update and talk about politics, but in terms of me actually working on my next novel, it's fucking done. i'm stuck, i'm frustrated; mostly over myself, so that's it. this is hardcore will be my last novel for a while. at this point, i don't even know if i want to finish anything ever again. i'm not saying never, i'm just saying that for the forseable near future, my writing career is done. writing was the one thing in life i knew i could count on to enjoy, but it's been less than fulfilling as of late. i always told myself that if it started to be a chore, i would stop. so i'm stopping. honestly, i'm starting to see that there was never really a point to any of it to begin with.


milosevic dead

slobodan milosevic, the "butcher of the balkans" is dead, having passed away in his jail cell, apparently of natural causes. this was a man who, as president of serbia, sent tanks into slovenian borders to crush the independence hopes of croatia and slovenia, killing over ten thousand people. three months later when bosnia-herzegovenia declared its independence, he backed a bosnian serb rebellion that ended up with over 200,000 people dead by the time the dayton peace accord was reached in 1995. he then famously tried to crush an ethnic albanian uprising in kosovo, which resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of albanians. the kosovo war involved systematic rape campaigns, the results of which the local population, especially the women, is still dealing with today. as a result of all this, he had plunged serbia into complete and utter economic chaos, where serbs are no longer allowed to travel to the rest of europe, their currency isn't recognized, and now they are forever the pariah of europe.
he was facing trial at the hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity, which were later broadened to 66 counts of genocide. to put things into perspective, there have only been three official instances in recent history where genocide had occured: 1) the 1915 genocide of 1.5 million armenians. 2) the holocaust. 3) the 1994 genocide of 800,000 people in rwanda.
death by natural causes is a denial of justice to his victims and the rest of the world. he was supposed to stand trial in this world, to face up to the devastation he has caused, and now, he won't ever have to do that.
there have been some monumental failures in the cause for human rights in the last ten to fifteen years. somolia and rwanda to name a couple. this time was supposed to be different. milosevic was the first sitting head of state to be indicted on war crimes. his case was supposed to be an example; a true historical record that showed the world that the cause for human rights was not a fruitless one. with the united states currently shunning anything even remotely dealing with international law, as well as committing its own human rights violations, and with saddam's trial becoming more and more like a circus every day, milosevic's trial took on greater importance. but alas, it wasn't meant to be. hopefully he is in some place very uncomfortable right now.


popularity contest

hmmm... sometimes i wonder who exactly is visiting this blog and what they're thinking, because no one really posts on here. perhaps i should change up my material. perhaps instead of blabbing on and on about writing and politics, i should try talking about paris hilton or the o.c.

or perhaps i should just inject more politics into this site and less writing, because political blogs do pretty well, like terrorism news. i think that's what i'll do... more politics. now, i just have to feel like getting my ass in gear... but then, paris is pretty easy, don't you think? or maybe brangelina? oh, the possibilities! and to think, we get this and the kids in the congo get to decide which of their friends they get to cannibalize first. ah, making genocidal tribal war jokes in relation to one-dimensional pop cultural icons. too much? this, is precicely why i love living in canada.

ps: i bet you forgot about the congo, right? this year's congo is the ukraine (yeah, that's right. it's all about AIDS), which was all about darfur last year, which was all about iraq before and about kosovo and sierra leone and somalia and michael jackson... michael jackson? where did that come from? i mean really, it will
always be about michael jackson. even when it's not about michael jackson, it's about michael jackson. for me, michael jackson has become a bit of a coping mechanism for all the harhness of reality. i mean, all you have to do is say his name and you end up giggling. think of rwanda... now think of michael jackson. see? now that's turning a frown upside down.



novels update: this is hardcore has been printed up; well, at least the first draft, and it has been tossed about between my friends who are eagerly (some of them) hacking away at it. we'll get some reviews soon. in terms of my next project, i have managed to get through a bit of my block and i've written a little bit. only a little bit. my problem has been that i've planned maybe ten or twelve scenes, but they all take place halfway through the book. it's reaching that first eighty pages which is the tough part. so i have decided to just try and write something, just based on what i'm feeling, and it's slowly getting out. here's one of the opening sequences to my next novel, cooler than the millions. I've been takinig a less-is-more attitude with all of this. Elmore Leonard, the famous pulp crime writer of books like get shorty and kill shot once said that when writing diologue, all the writer should have to write is "he said/she said." Anything beyond that is unnecessary. If the writer has correctly worded his dialogue, there is no need to use adjectives like "he exclaimed" or "he cried." I have taken it further and simply not bothered to write "he said/she said" at all for the most part. i think it still works. see for yourself... (forgive the odd formatting. i'm too lazy to reformat the work, so all i did was cut and paste from my word processor.)

Sean takes a sip of the champagne, sparkling golden hues with frothy, bubbling head. Alien nation. It’s the theme of the event, the art show. People wander through and around and beyond the photos that display faces, some overexposed, some underexposed, all black and white, all displaying one emotion: apathy. the photos are headshots, blown up so large that one can see every single visible pore. Heads, blown up six feet tall, four feet wide. This one, the one with the young blond girl with the slightly long nose and wet, slicked back hair is called grace under pressure. Another, a black and white of a young man with a patchy beard is fire it up. Another, a man wearing a toque, is called head space no space. And so on and so forth… In the background, the music of Interpol plays, with the echo from Next Exit’s droning vocals and hymn-like rhythm slowly filling the empty spaces of the gallery. Going all over. It’s killer filler.

Sean folds her slender arms and turns to Norm, who admires the photo for all it’s worth through a pair of thick, large lens, black Rayban sunglasses.

- What’s the deal with this one?

- What do you mean by that?

- It’s torn. The corner. – He touches the bottom right corner of the image of an elderly woman.

- Oh, that. One of the interns dropped it. – She leans over. Anyone asks, it’s a statement on the breakdown of civilization. Even empires crumble.

- You smell good.

- I know. – She leans over and kisses Norm on the cheek. Don’t kill me, but you look sexy.

- Shouldn’t say such things, babe.

- I can’t see your eyes. Don’t wear your sunglasses at night.

- It’s so I can, so I can see the light that’s right before my eyes.

- That’s funny, Normandy.

- Don’t call me that. Only my mother calls me that.

- I’m naming my first child that.

- Where’s John Doe?

- Oh, he’s around. – She brushes her fingers over his shoulders, flicking away a few pieces of lint on his navy blue suit.

- Yeah?

- He’s preoccupied with his own history. Just stay away.

- Beware of dog, ha ha.

- Fucking rabies, baby.

She turns back to the photo and takes another sip of her champagne. She picks at her dark blue dress that fits close and strapless against her frame. She pretends to watch the photo stand still but really has her sight on Norm by the corner of her eye. Norm tilts his head to the side and sniffs and she offers him her champagne which he finishes. He puts the glass down on the floor and walks away. She asks him something but he doesn’t respond. Sean doesn’t watch him go. She hugs herself. She stands there until a blond walks up next to her and asks – What’s the deal with this one?

Going. Along the wall, the beetle crawls. Going. Into the corner the beetle scurries. Going. Down the crack it squeezes through. Gone. Legs and blazing armour and all. A long way down town. Absolutely gone. John rubs the back of his neck as he watches Sean lean over and kiss Norm on the cheek. This is a wasteland now, he thinks. A girl comes over, decked out in a white blouse with black vest and slacks with a black bow tie, carrying a tray flat against her upturned palm. She’s got his scotch on the rocks. He takes it and watches her walk away in her heels. John takes a whiff of the sweet vanilla liquid before taking a sip. The ice presses against his upper lip, contrasting a chill against the warmth and eventual burn of the scotch. He watches her, Sean, a sleek and sexy blue waif. She’s wearing the silver ankle bracelet he likes so much. Taking it off her ankle. Hand rubbing down the calf. Slowly.

She chats with a blond, a hard body. No doubt someone who’s here just because. Because is the perfect reason these days. Because I want. Because I can. Because… just because. She glances at him from over her shoulder and smiles at him, giving him a childish flick of her wrist. Sometimes he forgets just how young she really is. But talent and looks sometimes intersect, sometimes in someone young, and when it does, it’s tough to let that ship pass by. Get on it. Especially if she’s willing. Hungry. Naked, she’s a peach. A lifeline when she finds her way into his bed. Smooth. It’s how she does it. Those fucking lips. He often wonders how it is she found her way to this windy city. Because you can see California in her hair.

All the others, suits and cocktail dresses, emphasis on cock. Meander on by. Not a care in the world. Like this world is better than the next, like the next doesn’t even exist. Like werewolves. Or vampires. Phantom planets and phantom pains, but with real, real death. Baked on existence. A yuppie gang-bang.

She sits herself down on the couch next to John who manages a smile at her. She sighs and puts her arm around his neck, drawing her legs up. She’s slight and curved. She mentions to John how much she likes the charcoal suit and emphasises this by tugging on his collar. She thanks him for wearing it and he smiles like he means it.

- So what do you think?

- It is possibly more vacuous than the last collection.

- Baby tell me what you really feel.

- I’m sorry.

- No you’re not. – She turns away. Ever not impressed, that’s you to a T. At least I created something. Can you say the same? You work in a fucking shipping bay.

- I thought this is about you, not me. Now you’re gonna pick me apart?

- You know what I mean.

- It’s good. It is.

- That’s almost the perfect compliment.

- I love you.

- Now you’re being an ass.

- I mean it.

- Don’t tease me.

- I never tease you.

- You do too. You can suck your own dick tonight. – She gets up off the couch. I hope you choke on it.

John watches her make her way across the polished white floor. Imagine that, he thinks to himself as she laughs at a comment an admirer makes. His eyes pan away from her to the other end of the couch where Norm has taken residence. He leans back in his seat and turns his large black shades at John and smiles. He looks like an insect. What with the glasses all dark and large and metallic. Shiny.

- Way to go, kimosabe.

- You look ridiculous.

- Should be careful with her. She’s likely to flit on.

- Is that a threat?

- Just saying. – He takes a sip from the bottle of red wine he’s got in his hand. Gotta ask yourself if you’re up for it. ‘Cause she’ll be gone.

- That is a threat.

- Gone baby, gone.

- I wouldn’t blame her. She can’t help it. From her heights, you’re bound lose sight of the ants around you.

- You know, when we were graduating from highschool, she was just learning long division.

John laughs.

- You-sick-fuck.

- Don’t cause a scene, John. – Norm’s attention wanders. John follows his gaze towards a red head that’s wearing a thin brown dress that is slightly see-through under the bright white lights. You could see she’s not wearing any underwear.

- What are you looking at?

Norm touches his tongue across the front of his teeth and says, Dinner.