Saturday, 26 September 2009


That Bastard We All Love To Hate

Across from the cinema there is a corner shop, maybe one of the 24 hour ones, or at least a late night one anyway. A lot of the people who go to the cinema come here to get snacks and drinks, rather than being tied to the over priced brand restricted stuff you can get inside. That’s what I’m doing here, its what the couple in front of me are doing. He has just asked her something about her relationship, to which she responds - it depends on my mood. He is taller than she is, shaven head, a bit stubbly, a smart jacket over totally casual clothes. She is short, wide, long red hair, a skirt and bright red tights. She shrugs when he repeats her words, he adds - that doesn’t sound too good. She laughs, well, I’m thinking about dumping her. But yes, I am that bastard, she says, I’m trying to decide whether I’ll sleep with her one last time before I dump her. He makes a sound, she shrugs, laughs, I am that guy, she says, that bastard we all love to hate.

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Friday, 25 September 2009


Ars Electronica (7)

There is a couple at a table in the outside part of the café, it’s a warm day, we’re sitting out there. He is sprawled. Brown trainers kicked off on to the ground. His legs across a neighbouring chair. Black socks, blue jeans, a t-shirt. He has long hair, straggly, tied back. A beard to match, a dusky, sandy kind of colour. His arms are covered in tattoos, long ones, extending all the way across his hands, right up to the knuckles. He smokes and drawls in conversation, utterly relaxed. She looks a little more “proper” in her manner. A black dress, casual, a red cardigan. Her hair is bobbed, jaw length, straight – like a librarian slash dominatrix. She has a stud in her nose and no apparent tattoos. She leans on the tables, her elbows, seemingly hanging on his every word. She smiles, and laughs when it seems appropriate. They are there for a good while, just hanging out. Till eventually they leave, he cycles by 2 minutes later, that blue vinyl courier bag over his shoulder, absent minded making his way to wherever.

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Thursday, 24 September 2009



I’m trying to park, it’s a Sunday, so parking is free. But its getting harder all the time to find a space. I find one in Hope St, in front of that bus stop where S parks all the time. The space is big enough, but traffic is heavy, so I make a mess of getting into it. Ideally I would come out and try again, but with the buses, and traffic, its easier to make stop starts back and forth till I’m in. A bus stops killing my visibility. A bus stops and people flood off, wandering around me, behind me. So I have to wait till they clear, till I can be confident I won’t hit anyone. I’m touching curb, and I’m not happy about it. Nothing I can do about it till its clear. The two shuffling old women getting off the bus stop at my car and wave at me, they point at the curb, they think they are being helpful. I throw my hands in my air, in a yeah, tell me about it fashion, and mouth I KNOW! They smile and wander off, and I can get the space to park properly. That done I wander off. I go to see a film, I buy some books, I have dinner, I go see a film. I come back to the car, hours later. Its dark now, late, the street is clear. Just my car, and the bus stop, and a couple. He is standing in the road, about a car length behind my car. She is standing behind the glass of the shelter, and you can hear her a mile off. She is shouting, a familiar scene, one I’ve seen too often - I want you out of my life! I’m sick of you! I want you to go away! I don’t mean for now! I don’t mean till morning! I mean forever! I want you to fuck off! People stop at the junction and look down. I get in my car. I lock my doors. I drive away.

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Ars Electronica (6)

In the main square there are a number of installations and temporary venues as part of the Ars Electronica. The Japanese Media Festival is touring Europe, part of its contribution to Linz is a game dome here, a constant draw for people to pop in and play games. Then there is the shiny surfaced block of the 80+1 building, which has a handful of interfaces, video displays, and an information desk. Between these two structures there is a fountain and a virtual taxi round Tel Aviv and a sound installation with recordings from a Swiss tunnel. Staff flit between the pieces, with their orange shirts, with the Ars logo on the breast pocket. We pass this at various times through the weekend, every time we do there is a blonde girl loitering around. Short hair, trimmed at the back and sides, floppy on top and at front. She is always wearing a t-shirt, something sleeveless, and baggy jeans. Sometimes she has her hands in her pocket, sometimes she is standing smoking. The last time during the festival she is sat on the tunnel simulator, one arm resting on the side, the other with a cigarette in hand. She has curled tribal spiral earrings through her ears. And at another point I see her and a guy with dreads cycling the street close to the 80+1. After the festival is winding down we are still wandering round the city as it gets quieter, as they already have that shiny surface stripped down to the wooden interior. We sit in the upstairs of the kebab shop, eating a duran for lunch; I glance outside at that wooden building, a security fence round it, components on the ground. And there she is again, that blonde girl, part of the crew taking the building apart – at last, after all that waiting, she gets to demolish.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Ars Electronica (5)

We are sitting in a bar when a girl comes in, a friend of a friend, so she comes over and chats to us. How are you liking Austria? She asks me. I’ve only been here a day, it’s rained most of that time, we spent the afternoon in a museum. What can I say? She has come in with two shady looking guys, who don’t come over to join us. They sit at the bar, watching everyone, talking to each other. We leave about then, so she goes back to join them. Later, we are in a packed club, a crush of bodies, and I see her in the crowd, amongst the cloud of smoke and flashing lights, the pounding music. We don’t stay long, having wandered in long enough to get a flavour of the place, before wandering on to the next place. We manage to get a table in Cubus, in the corner, with the lights of the AEC’s façade still going through their colour spectrum beside us. We’ve been there a few minutes when the two shady guys appear at the next table, no sign of the girl this time, just the two of them at a table, looking shifty. A waitress appears almost immediately. I swear I hear her say – so this is the bag? To which they nod. And she grabs a bag from the floor by their feet, where I hadn’t seen it. And she is off with it, returning a minute later with a beer for each of them. Five minutes later a waiter comes along, stands and chats to them, he is grinning, pleased about something. The two guys sit a while, the beers barely touched, instead nursing soft drinks, smoking, looking shiftily around.

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Running Man

It’s a Saturday night, gone Sunday morning. About 1am, if I recall. Five lanes sweep into Charring Cross, over the motorway and down onto the motorway. The lights are at red, most of the cars stopped are taxis at this kind of time, though there are a few people like me, driving home after a night out. There is a guy wandering along the pavement, till he spots the red light, the stopped cars. Suddenly he breaks into a run, out into the road, to the empty outside lane, and he is building speed. Like he is racing cars going nowhere as he hammers through the junction. And I watch bemused, wondering what that was about, thinking he was lucky not to be hit by cars coming through the other side of the junction, wondering why he didn’t just wait for the crossing lights.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Ars Electronica (4)

We’ve gone round to a bar, wear a friend of the people I am with works. Winding through streets which are unfamiliar to me, and teeming with people. The wine festival coincides with Ars Electronica, so every bar has a stand outside, people are wandering from place to place carrying large glasses, and we wove our way through this mass. While we wait for the friend to appear we are served by a plain looking girl with long dark hair tied back, wearing the shirt with the bar’s name like the other staff. When she is done serving us she goes back to the bar, where she is tearing mint. She has bushels of the stuff, and is tearing it into manageable chunks for cocktails. She pops a bit in her mouth and chews, the air full of the smell of fresh mint. Beside her one of the other waitresses is on pineapple – she approaches it with a knife, trying to decide the best way to get it to do what she wants it to do. Whatever she does, it doesn’t work, and is soon taking a cloth to her shirt to soak up the spray of juice. Beside her there is a guy, making pink cocktails for the couple at the end of the bar. The girl has very short hair, bright and blonde, wearing a striking shoulderless dress, while he looks much plainer in his basic smart shirt and jumper. The bar man slices a strawberry just so, and perches it on the rim of the glass, smiling content with his work.. Before taking the two pink drinks and delivering them to the couple. The friend arrives, we chatter, we get more drinks, and laugh, then we leave, heading to the AEC once again.

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Ars Electronica (3)

FM4 have a group of people performing on a small stage in the square at the back of the Ars Electronica building. People are milling around the square, leaning against the tables, smoking and drinking. There is a flight of steps at the back, which could double as seating – which some people are doing, others are standing. The building flickers and shifts, the façade going through a range of colours, though not quite as well sequenced and timed with the music as has been suggested. We watch for a while, before wandering round the back of the stairs, which act as a roof for another part of the building, so the sides here are also flickering with colour. Round the back there is a path, lined with concrete bollards. Here there is a man by himself, an older man, with a heavy jacket. He is crouching by one of the bollards, where a laptop is balanced. On the screen we can see various windows open, including a live video of a woman talking to him. He sits and chatters, talking to this woman who knows where, with this spectacle going through its rainbow motions behind him, unnoticed. Oh yeah, C says, they have free WiFi all round the AEC, and we wander back to listen to more of the music.

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Ars Electronica (2)

Saturday is the busiest day of the Ars Electronica weekend. We wandered through the OK centre during the day. In each room there was a member of staff, most likely a 20-something girl, in a blue OK t-shirt, with a picture of the Ferris wheel from the roof on it. In the second last room, the one with the lamp shade, the video about the pillars which have been written on, before the vortex, there is a girl with long red hair, the blue t-shirt, casual black trousers, and floppy boots, with little heels, which look a little out of place with the rest of the outfit. Back at the OK about 10-11pm, and the place is mobbed. There is a club in the top floor, the walls covered with binary projections, and blipping glitching electronic music, we’ve been up there, but come back to the lobby. There is a bar on this level, another down stairs, and a video store, we’ve caught up with friends here, loitering around, and waiting for other people. And I spot her again, the red head, shoulders curled, slouching, looking bored, standing by herself amongst the crowd of people. R is hitting on girls, smiling as he steps into their path and says something clever. Mostly they ignore him and keep going. He is a dedicated ladies man, but for all that he misses the red head, who might just be bored enough to humour him. She finishes her drink, looks around and seems to shrug; she wanders behind the counter of the reception/video store desk and retrieves her jacket which has obviously been shoved down there out the way. Pulls it on, a black jacket, tugs at the zip, and slinks out into the night.

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Wednesday, 16 September 2009


The Quietest Buskers Ever

I pass them Saturday night and again on Sunday afternoon. A couple busking, a pair of teenagers, nice respectable looking kids. This afternoon he is wearing a cardigan and jeans. She has shoulder length hair, a green and black checked dress. The skirt has body, ruffled, but then she also seems to be holding it up some. Showing off her knees as though she is trying to be daring. He plays guitar, she sings, and it’s obvious that they are new to this – because they are far too quiet. The quietest buskers ever – you would barely know they were there, even walking by them. Though they do have a handful of coins in the guitar case, so they can’t be that bad? (Unless they put them in there themselves to look convincing?)

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Just Like In A Film

There is a Polish girl floating around the book shop. She has long brown hair, tied back. She has a pronounced nose, short skirt, great legs, brown boots, and a pink jacket, which is embroidered with patterns. She sits on the floor by the crime section, and then later is perched on a chair beside the table of chick lit. She seems to have been there for ages before finally going to the sales desk. The girl
at the check out has just taken the books from her when there is an announcement. Someone has handed in a lost phone, it belongs to the person they name in the announcement. Its her phone, she gasps. The girl calls down to the front desk, and they bring it to her. Explain that someone handed it in, and they only know her name because her husband phoned looking for her. Is just like een fillum, she says,
grinning, her English heavily accented.

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I'll Be Batman

A couple walking along the street. She small, dumpy, thick ankles, big cleavage, with out being fat, but hardly dynamic. He finishes telling her a piece of gossip. She then says, I’ll be Batman, you be Robin.
Pardon he says?
I’m Batman, you be Robin, she repeats as though it’s obvious. I am so obviously Batman in this couple, she clarifies as they walk by me and continue up the street.

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Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Ars Eletctronica (1)

We are watching Shrink for the 1st time. Three human beings becoming shrink wrapped for an audience. A girl appears, kneeling at the front to take pictures. She has dusky skin, suggesting an Indian heritage. She is slight, bobbed fashionable dark hair, a short black dress, tights, flat shoes. Round her neck she wears...a scarf? It is some kind of three dimentional fashion art object, one almost suspects she fabricated it herself in one of the labs in the Ars Electronica basement. Its streaked with orange chunks, hanging off a black net frame. Its kind of intriguing.

The next day, we are back in the Brucknerhaus, this time for the gig by Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda. And there she is again, with her boyfriend. He looks stylish too, that pimped out hipster gangster kind of style - shirt, tie, waistcoat kind of deal. She is wearing a full length skirt, but its kind of a double skirt. The top part, which comes down to mid thigh is solid and black, from there down to the ground it is sheer, black and pretty much transparent, stick legs, and flat sold sandshoes are visible.

After the gig we head to Cubus, the bar at the top of the Ars Electronica, various parties meeting up at the end of the night. One to hit the road, and all that. And there they are, the same couple, sat at the next table from us. I guess thats the nature of events like these, seeing the same people over and over, especially when you have a style as eye catching as hers.

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Shrinking To An Arrow

She wears a white blouse top. Has long brown hair, propped up on her head, held back by black sunglasses. She wanders round the book shop for a while, before heading into the café. She sits along one of the sides, overlooking the floor below. She has a coffee and a packet of crisps. She eats them carefully, one at a time, each thin slice of cooked potato held between finger and thumb. Poised while she reads, and then eaten. Then the next, in hand, ready. When she is done with the crisps, she produces a lollypop – a rectangular candy on a stick. She eats this the same way, slow, precise, careful – savouring it. The stick wiggles in her mouth, protruding as the turns the page, before being poised again. With time, it gets smaller, shrinking to an arrow
head, then smaller still.

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Sunday, 6 September 2009



A couple stand in the central reservation, waiting for an opening in traffic to complete their road crossing exercise. He is wearing a brown jacket, hands in pockets of blue jeans. Standing side on to her, intent on the traffic. She is animated, recounting the days adventures, or just telling him off. It is unclear. She has short
blonde hair, a red blouse, black trousers, and a fitted black waist coat. The ensemble is effective, smart. You can see her mouth form words, big and exaggerated. Her arms wave about, gesturing at herself, a clear “me” moment in the dialogue. Is she conscious of her movements, I wonder, sitting in traffic, is she imitating someone? Her
shoulders and hips move, the conversation as dance move, a non-verbal statement, which speaks volumes if you are listening. With her movement she is voluble , with his you would barely hear him at all.

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Dancing to the Music

It’s a week or two since Jackson died. But you still can’t escape him. There are two women sitting having coffee. Perhaps in their forties, but the kind that look good with it. The kind that look like they’ve probably put careful effort in to look good with it. Tall and thin, affluent and casual. As they leave, they stop to talk to someone. Walking away, the red goes up on her toes, Jackson style, in accordance with the music that is playing. The spins round from who she is talking to, to make her exit, to find the blonde, bent double with laughter. So, grinning, she does it again. Across from them, there is a mother, dressed in black, with two daughters, about 10-12,
one in grey, one in green. Thriller starts and the one in grey starts to dance as they make their way through the shop.

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Friday, 4 September 2009


Bore Hunting

The twins are big and blond and loud. Good grief they are loud. They have the stature of rugby players, rich-people-casual jeans, white t-shirts strapped across muscular backs, a receding hairline and they cackle. One of them works for a bank. The other one for a consultancy firm. They are my age and their hobbies are waterboarding in the tropics. And sailing on their own boats. And trout fishing. And boar hunting. They complain about night swimmers getting in the way of their midnight yachting. Why would anyone swim? Let them ride boats!
But the economy is nibbling on their jobs, that, once you ask them what they do are little more than teamleader positions. An uncle owns the fish pond. They are trying to sell the boat they co-own and that isn't really a yacht. A rich friend owns the hunting grounds. And he likes to shoot moles in his own garden, when he's not boar hunting.
"Does he mount the little mole heads on the walls, too, with little plaques?" I ask. That stops the cackling.
"Oh. No. Not that kind of hunting", one of them says kindly.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


That Girl, The One In The Zebra Print Dress!

I am in the photograph that she takes, writing this I guess. Perhaps, depending on her focus. Sitting in the cinema bar. Two guys came in and got themselves drinks. They chatter away – foreign – but I’m not sure from where, some where Mediterranean? One is tubby, his hair straggly and thinning, his belly pronounced, a tufty goatee. The other is younger, more handsome, dressed more smartly, though they could still be brothers. They’ve been here a little while before she arrives. And she is eye catching. Carefully styled hair, shoulder length, wavy, dark, with her fringe a blonde tint. She wears a short, tight, zebra print dress. It shows off her nicely shaped rear and props up and compliments her cleavage. The dress leaves her shoulders bare, it has a back slit that shows a bra strap and bare flesh, it is short enough (and rides up when she sits) to show her nice legs (wearing black tights). She wears gold rings, one with chains across the back of her hand, connecting to a bracelet around her wrist. As soon as she sits down the produces the camera and they take turns snapping each other. The tubby guy get the camera and tells the two to get together. So she clambers into his lap and they snuggle together. Staying that way even when they stop taking pictures. The younger guy running his hand up and down her bare back, his hand through her hair, and they kiss, wetly. At times they switch to English as though they are not quite all from the same place, or they can easily express certain things in a different language. The dress is thin, it clings to her flesh, his hand through that slit, grasps her pink bra, and undoes the clasp. Holding the ends in his fist. She looks at him, a stare, until he does it back up again. Then she moves off his lap, back to her own chair. About ten minutes pass and words are exchanged. The tubby guy stands up and leaves, there almost seems to be an element of hostility in the air. The couple exchange glances after he has gone, before a moment later and she is back in his lap, kissing and having her hair stroked. He fiddles with her bra again, this time she slaps him, enough to get his attention focussed. After a while the pair get up and leave, looking at their watches, time for the film to start. Heads turn all around to watch her leave, to watch that dress cling to her body. She really is something, and totally over done for a Sunday afternoon in the cinema, but she doesn’t care. That’s that then? But five minutes later, the tubby guy reappears, coming round the corner to return to that table. He stops, looks confused. Presumably he popped out for something, but took longer than expected – they aren’t there, so he turns again, and goes off to find them.

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Bold Statements

A girl wanders through the art and travel section of the book shop. She wears a light black jacket, has a black t-shirt, and her long black hair is tied back in a pony tail. She looks about 18, fairly young, with a ring through her nose. She wears short, short, denim shorts that look like they are in danger of disappearing into intimate places. She has long, bare legs, is wearing chunky, chunky boots, soles that are several inches thick, then several inches more. Her legs are a riot of colour from the knees down. A rose to the side of one knee cap. Other bold large scale tattoos coming from the boot line, more flaring flowers. Quite what they all are I don’t really see, but one thing is clear – these are not casual tattoos – these are bold statements.

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