I surface from Angel, like an astronaut departing the down-bent light and acid clouds of Venus, at ten to nine. I fetch Alaia, head downstairs with her, find the screening-room and settle down in front of a large wall-mounted television screen. “Jason just called to say he and Marc are watching in New York,” says Rik, lounging back in his seat and operating a remote control. The start of the main G.N. channel ident appears, with the sound muted. “I tell you, having been up all night on this edit, I am seriously glad just to kick back and watch TV!” He dims the house lights with the same remote. “Nine o’clock, on the nose.” He fades the sound up during the moment of silent black after the ident, and it begins.
Throughout the whole of Big Bang—from the anticipation of the stadium audience before the first notes of Alaia’s song of death, until we disappear into space on our run to the sun—I feel as if Alaia and I are sitting here in a small bubble together, sealed off from the rest of humanity, including from Rik and Evelyn.
Any viewer’s awareness of the commercial undertones attaching to sequels is likely to have dissipated not long after the opening, as it is a truly hypnotic and sumptuous presentation. Compared with Sound & Vision it has a somewhat slicker feel, owing to the effects Rik has inserted in post, whereby snatches of music or imagery are plucked from the rest, sampled and repeated amid our continued input. For example, in time with a cadence of four deep-twanging notes of Alaia’s, the angle from which my face is viewed travels from camera one to camera three, right to left, insulated cleanly in the notes’ elastic looseness; then it flicks back to where it was, travels again in time with the notes’ repetition; flicks back, travels again with the notes; and again; and again, periodic and addictive. The effects have not been drastic or intrusive: they have simply made Big Bang a bit more flashy and (this is the most accurate term) slinky than the first broadcast. In fact, I decide—this is probably the slinkiest thing I have ever watched!
Just as when she and I watched Sound & Vision, what can I say except how lucky we have been? By the end credits, so much of the landscape of my own internal life has been channelled through lenses, entwined with a magical voice, enhanced through high-end software and beamed around the world for a planet-ful of people, that I could almost be content to die tomorrow—because these two monster broadcasts feel to me, right now, like the reason I was born.
Who could ask for more?
For more about "The Imagination Thief" by Rohan Quine, see
For some great reviews of it, see
And to pick it up from whichever retailer you may prefer, the retailers’ links for the paperback are at
and for the ebook at