Results tagged “writing” from Andy Best
This pleasant domestic idyll, with its delightful promiscuities, was brought to an end by the reappearance of Robert Vaughan, nightmare angel of the expressways.Let's recap a bit, because the story is about to plunge back into the spaces of the mind hinted at in chapter one.
In the lavatory of the casualty department I stood beside Vaughan at the urinal stalls. I looked down at his penis, wondering if this too was scarred. The glans, propped between his index and centre fingers, carried a sharp notch, like a canal for surplus semen or vinal mucus. What part of some crashing car had marked this penis, and in what marriage of his orgasm and a chromium instrument head? The terrifying excitements of this scar filled my mind as I followed Vaughan back to his car through the dispersing hospital visitors.
Six hundred yards behind us the traffic waited on the raised deck of the motorway, the afternoon sunlight crossing the windows of the airline buses and cars. My hand moved around the outer curvature of Helen's thighs, feeling the open zip of her dress. As these razor-like links cut my knuckles I felt her teeth across my ear. The sharpness of these pains reminded me of the bite of the windshield glass during my crash.Their encounter in this chapter is detailed, precise and very specific with both of them following a kind of ritual. Many juxtapositions and images flood his mind at the height of his ecstasy.
This small space was crowded with angular control surfaces and rounded sections of human bodies interacting in unfamiliar junctions, like the first act of homosexual intercourse inside an Apollo capsule.
'Do you want a cigarette?' Her strong fingers tore away the cellophane. 'I started to smoke at Ashford - it's rather stupid of me.'And then ... ... yes, he drives them to the exact spot of the crash and piles down the off ramp at full speed, losing control, bouncing off the centre island and careening out of control through the traffic circle at the bottom. Miraculously, all the other cars swerve out of the way. During this, his erect penis rubs up against the steering wheel and he cums in his pants.
'Look at all this traffic - I need every sedative I can get my hands on.'
'It's much worse now - you noticed that did you? The day I left Ashford I had the extraordinary feeling that all these cars were gathering for some special reason I didn't understand. There seemed to be ten times as much traffic.'
'Are we imagining it?'
She pointed to the interior of the car with her cigarette. 'You've bought yourself exactly the same car again. It's the same shape and colour.'
Like the other cars I had hired, this one was covered with scratches and heel marks, cigarette burns and scuffings, translated through the glamorous dimension of Detroit design. On the pink vinyl seat was a deep tear large enough to take a flagstaff or, conceivably, a penis.Driving about the surreal artificial landscape by night, and experiencing the traffic around his crash site, proves too much. Ballard picks up an airport prostitute - who waits on a traffic island of all places - and takes her to the deserted open roof of a multi-storey carpark.
As he reached the balcony his face was lit by the headlamps of the police car. I realized that I had seen his pock-marked face many times before, projected from a dozen forgotten television programmes and news magazine profiles - this was Vaughan, Dr Robert Vaughan, a one-time computer specialist. As one of the first of the new-style TV scientists, Vaughan had combined a high degree of personal glamour - heavy black hair over a scarred face, an American combat jacket - with an aggressive lecture theatre manner and complete conviction in his subject matter, the application of computerized techniques to the control of all traffic systems. In the first programmes of his series three years earlier Vaughan had projected a potent image, almost that of the scientist as hoodlum.Now it is Ballard's turn to follow him deeper down the rabbit hole.
I realised that the human inhabitants of this technological landscape no longer provided its sharpest pointers, its keys to the borderzones of identity. The amiable saunter of Francis Waring, bored wife of my partner, through the turnstiles of the local supermarket, the domestic wrangles of our well to do neighbours in our apartment house, all the hopes and fantasies of this placid suburban enclave, drenched in a thousand infidelities, faltered before the solid reality of the motorway embankments, with their constant and unswerving geometry, and before the finite areas of the car-park aprons.He returns to his office and orders a rental car. After a brief and distracting meeting he takes his coworker Renata out for a drive. They clearly have had regular sexual encounters in the past. This time he drives back to the site of his accident, parks and starts to initiate the sex. Someone has been following them and taking photos. It is Vaughan.
At my feet lay a litter of dead leaves, cigarette cartons and glass crystals. These fragments of broken safety glass, brushed to one side by generations of ambulance attendants, lay in a small drift. I stared down at this dusty necklace, the debris of a thousand automobile accidents. Within fifty years, as more and more cars collided here, the glass fragments would form a sizable bar, within thirty years a beach of sharp crystal. A new race of beachcombers might appear, squatting on these heaps of fractured windshields, sifting them for cigarette butts, spent condoms and loose coins. Buried beneath this new geological layer laid down by the age of the automobile accident would be my own small death, as anonymous as a vitrified scar on a fossil tree.Cometh the autogeddon.
The crash was the only real experience I had been through for years. For the first time I was in physical confrontation with my own body, an inexhaustible encyclopedia of pains and discharges, with the hostile gaze of other people, and with the fact of the dead man. After being bombarded endlessly by road-safety propaganda it was almost a relief to find myself in an actual accident.As he makes himself useful around the hospital he sees who we assume is Vaughan. A youngish looking man in a white doctor's coat going around the building confidently, consulting with staff and patients alike. There are some tell-tale details: he is bare chested under the coat, his face is criss-crossed with scar tissue and he carries a briefcase of photographs. Ballard imagines he is pedaling pornographic x-rays, or maybe he is one of the new doctors who is fashionably aggressive to his patients.
Did Catherine respond to the image of these which had been caught, like a photographic plate or a still from a newsreel, in the dark bruises of my body and the physical outline of the steering wheel? In my left knee the scars above my fractured patella exactly replicated the protruding switches of the windshield wipers and parking lights. As I moved towards my orgasm she began to soap her hand every ten seconds, her cigarette forgotten, concentrating her attention on this orifice of my body like the nurses who attended me in the first hours after my accident.
I stared pointedly at the clock over the door, hoping that she would soon leave. This bogus commiseration over the dead man irritated me, merely an excuse for an exercise in moral gymnastics. The brusqueness of the young nurses was part of the same pantomime of regret. I had thought for hours about the dead man, visualising the effects of his death on his wife and family. I had thought of his last moments alive, frantic milliseconds of pain and violence in which he had been catapulted from a pleasant domestic interlude into a concertina of metalized death. These feeling existed within my relationship with the dead man, within the reality of the wounds on my chest and legs, and within the unforgettable collision between my own body and the interior of my car. By comparison, Catherine's mock grief was a mere stylization of a gesture - I waited for her to break into song, tap her forehead, touch every second temperature chart around the ward, switch on every fourth set of radio headphones.Finally, he is spurred into recovery and motivation by the rumbling of his first erection since the accident.
I began to understand the real excitements of the car crash after my first meeting with Vaughan. Propelled on a pair of scarred and uneven legs repeatedly injured in one or other vehicle collision, the harsh and unsettling figure of this hoodlum scientist came into my life at a time when his obsessions were self-evidently those of a madman.Chapter two is taken up wholly by James Ballard describing a car accident he had in great detail.
I sat there, dressed in another man's blood while the urine of his young widow formed rainbows around my rescuers' feet. By this same nightmare logic the firemen racing towards the burning wrecks of crashed airliners might trace obscene or humorous slogans on the scalding concrete with their carbon dioxide sprays, executioners could dress their victims in grotesque costumes. In return, victims would stylize the entrances to their deaths with ironic gestures ...Ballard has seen the horrific and surreal inside of the crash and he won't look upon the world the same way again.
the retired prostitute crashing into a concrete motorway parapet, her overweight body propelled through the fractured windshield, menopausal loins torn on the chromium bonnet mascot.Vaughan and Ballard cruise the highways around London Airport at night photographing accidents, imbibing all the details. Then Vaughan walks erect around his apartment going over over the videos and photos as he imagines and creates myriad violent and sexual possibilities. It is only when recounting the details of his planned death with Taylor that Vaughan can achieve calm.
Vaughan was obsessed by many wounds and impacts - by the dying chromium and collapsing bulkheads of their two cars meeting head-on in complex collisions endlessly repeated in slow motion films, by the identical wounds inflicted on their bodies, by the image of windshield glass frosting around her face as she broke its tinted surface like a death-born Aphrodite, by the compound fractures of their thighs impacted against their handbrake mountings and above all by the wounds to their genitalia, her uterus pierced by the heraldic beak of the manufacturer's medallion, his semen emptying across the luminescent dials that registered for ever the last temperature and fuel levels of the engine.Hail, the dark poet of the autogeddon.
Vaughan died yesterday in his last car crash. During our friendship he had rehearsed his death in many crashes, but this was his only true accident. Driven on a collision course towards the limousine of the film actress, his car jumped the rails of the London Airport flyover and plunged through the roof of a bus filled with airline passengers. The crushed bodies of package tourists, like a haemorrhage of the sun, still lay across the vinyl seats when I pushed my way through the police engineers an hour later. Holding the arm of her chauffeur, the film actress Elizabeth Taylor, with whom Vaughan had dreamed of dying for so many months, stood alone under the revolving ambulance lights. As I knelt over Vaughan's body she placed a gloved hand to her throat.The narrator, a fictionalized version of the author called James Ballard is going to recount his friendship with Vaughan, whose ultimate fantasy was to die in a head on car crash with Elizabeth Taylor. See you after chapter one.
Just a quick post to link to some writing I did which is now running at Dissident Voice. A quick warning - it's political. Maybe you guessed that from the Dissident.
Here is the article.
And here is a sample:
Whether life is imitating art or art is imitating life, mainstream society is in pretty bad shape right now. I am a self-confessed movie addict and 'nerd' and recently watched three movies that culturally literate society, and the media, have been very excited about: 300, Wanted, and The Dark Knight. What shocked me more than the movies themselves was the almost complete lack of outrage from the majority of people who saw those movies.
Me and Cam are not far away from starting our Web 2.0 Kung Fu magazine and we have this nice software in our new space (Movable Type 4). So, I have a personal blog again. Well, I stopped the last one because I was too busy to actively market it and Facebook is fine for social stuff.
For those of you who don't know me I'm from Liverpool UK, I graduated in drama and have worked the first ten years of my career in writing and education. I will stick up an about page soon. I am based in Shanghai and get up to all kinds of stuff.
This post is mainly for me to start of the site widgets so I can have a think about them.
Tarra for now.