“Ready?” she asks. I nod. And we watch…
I realise straight away that this broadcast will make a strange juxtaposition, for me, with the drunken whimsy of the picnic I’ve just had. As soon as it begins I sober up fast, for it is no kind of mirthful viewing: not that it’s entirely without flashes of implicit wit, but these are subtle rather than funny and in any case they must be engaged with on the broadcast’s terms, not on the viewer’s. The viewer is not in control of Sound & Vision at all—not even these two viewers, although we aren’t ourselves actually hypnotised by it, knowing far too well how we achieved the effects we did. In this, my first “outsider’s” viewing, I see more clearly that what my eyes achieved in the broadcast, aside from the scaring up of each viewer’s own internal magic for them, was a selective but rich celebration of one viewpoint on this bizarre state we call being alive—my own viewpoint, as it happens, but representative of a multitude of viewpoints.
What can I say except that it is powerful and beautiful, we are blessed that it happened, I am grateful for it and shall die much the happier for knowing it was put out so widely. It is itself, in sum, and funnily enough there is not a hell of a lot for her and me to say about it to each other: most of what is to be said has been said already, either by us in what we presented, or just by the fact of its broadcast and reception. Quite what it means that such a specific set of idiosyncratic material from inside these particular two individuals was transmitted and consumed so globally, I’m not sure. I suspect it may mean nothing more than that with good fortune we managed to effect such global transmission and consumption for ourselves, in place of some other duo’s effecting it for themselves. In other words its cultural meaning is a retrospective, simply historical one, rather than one deriving from any culturally prescriptive wisdom on our parts: it was these two who pulled that off by the method they did, and there it is.
Nevertheless, it is of course fascinating for me to watch my own eyes spilling out parts of other imaginations and memories, instead of my own. I suppose that in contrast with the broadcasts, the relationship in these spokes-sheep recordings between me and the four internal lives I’m conveying is more like that between an actor and four different characters being played by him.
“Alaia, you are so sharp, I wish I’d packed my thimble. Allow me to introduce you to the delights of the shared tune-in, to more than one person at a time: a new and exciting model of tune-in, which is responsible for the 2D, cartoony, more superficial bits you noticed.” I turn to Rik: “Those can be used for the spokes-sheep’s memory of being a small, uninteresting lamb.” I return to Alaia: “And perhaps you also noticed…”
“Oh, Jaymi,” says Evelyn after these analyses have run their course, “did you find anything out from Pippa this morning about you-know-what—the figure in her apartment?”
“The what? Oh no, sorry, I completely forgot about that. We were having too good a time together, getting drunk.”
“Well, a fat lot of use that was!” says Evelyn, raising her eyes to the ceiling.
I feel a trifle piqued at this. “It wasn’t meant to be useful, it was meant to be beautiful … and it succeeded, I can tell you.”
We split up into two pairs, for now, agreeing that we shall return here to the studio just before seven, to lay down the second of the three Big Bang sessions. As Alaia and I approach our rooms, she turns to me in the darkness of the corridor: “I saw that foreshadow of abuse you mentioned. I mean after Angel dancing on the street and after him as a wolf … that constant feeling of fear that he’s going to be eaten by something, or someone, with no let-up for him, ever. That constant sinking flavour, the constant churning and pumping and pressure and that spaced-out drive home, as if he was headed into horror or disaster… Something there smells terribly wrong to me. I don’t like it. It made me shiver, like a really bad dream or a horrible truth that grins through the wall.” I think back vividly on all she is referring to. “I’m worried for him, Jaymi. Where he’s headed…” She shakes her head. “See what else you can pick up on that, please.”
“OK,” I nod.
We split off through our separate doors.
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