As soon as we are left alone, we find ourselves gripped by such a sense of anticipation at the whole direction of events, that with very little warning our usual professional demeanour devolves into a fit of whispering, nudging and uncontrollable girlish giggling. Angry at myself, I whisper furiously to her that this is hardly our best self-presentation to the General Network and we should cool it, because it’s quite possible we’re being seen and heard right now through cameras and microphones hidden around this conference room. Alas, this just sets us both off even more, till we are heaving and drooping off our chairs for minutes on end, with tears of adolescent mirth streaming down our faces.
At last we get it together.
Tickled by this smooth opacity, I’m curious to take a quick look inside him—strictly a passive one, of course … and the first thing I find, Jason Carax, is a memory of twenty years ago. You’re boarding a bus, on which you slip away west across the marshes on the highway from New York to the airport, sealed in your headphones, through airport lounges, over moving tunnel-floors, through the gates to a plane, and the music seals you off while you shoot down the runway and climb through the air and curve around and streak across the ocean, sunset-crystal through the moving glass, and down again, through gates and further tunnels, to a city where you bus, train and quick-change and out through the streets under European skies… You walk, meet and talk, part and meet, look and ride and run and drink, then you head for another town and start the show again and fix those Internet connections and make a rendezvous and shine again with the people, then slip away, blurred in an audio-electrical cultural haze of many countries, chic hotels and continental glamour, plane-wheels and plastic, foreign coins and fluid motion, from nation to nation: “London—Paris—Rome—Berlin—Athens—Barcelona,” say your eyes, “cities never-ending—a playground, almost like a video. So come with me now, we’ll escape, don’t you think?”
Jason, you manipulator, player, analyser! This is fun. Fast-track to yesterday, and there you are planning, scheming, framing, mixing on your laptop and phone and even diagrams on paper—slip and slide, and take us on a streak through the airwaves and out across the Web in fashion spreads. Turn poison into mercury and measure our temperatures; gauge the looks and market them to next year’s beat. Is that fire in your eyes or the glow of machines? I take another peek in you, to settle this dilemma, and I smile then with pleasure, as a clear silent stream of words glances through the air at me and onward far beyond me, like quarks in a particle accelerator… “Allure is a beautiful lie… Some people have a crackle… My people’s people will talk to your people’s people… Your entourage will have an entourage… Image as a second language… Plastic daydream… Dying young is such a good career move… I like to pit one demographic against another… I was skinny in Paris… French philosophy has the rigour of a good perfume… Media-genic… My fire is a glazed fire… There are those who make you and those who buy you… The secret of success is to be the ultimate extreme edition of yourself… It’s so sterile, you could write an essay about it!… I’m too famous for a business card… It’s without irony, and defeats any you bring to it… The public wants an Icon to be first euphoric, then tragic… It’s always reassuring to see other people’s frenzy… Making tragedy’s too obvious—I like to make myth… Abstraction: the perfume… I want to make a drama out of my inability to resolve an identity… If I ran a club, then even if you were refused entry it would still feel like sex… Perfect, sanitised angst… I’m your wispy myth… I can’t breathe in this mask!…”
What a hoot he is, I do confess. I feel like responding to his quarks with a fillip of hypnosis, saying “OK Jason, picture me a face like the sound of the slinkiest and coolest pulse of electronic music, with space between the cheekbones of its high flicks of treble and a wet bass weight within those lips I want to kiss upon a poster on my bedroom wall! It’s Jaymi’s face—mine, the face you need to see on me, for now it’s up to you to frame it to perfection, for the world. Angles of glamour on a face so bewitching, it is painful to the viewer—that’s the brief, so get going—off we go now, chop chop!”
For more about "The Imagination Thief" by Rohan Quine, see
For some great reviews of it, see
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