Monday, May 25, 2009

Among Statues

Having key moments of one's life reenacted by familiar-looking strangers is not something very many of us are afforded, however we might wish it. As such, the closest approximation I can manage is happening upon your doppelgänger at a bank robbery; the mere realisation that you haven't, in fact, misplaced your sanity is a struggle not easily resolved, and the guilt, unjustified though it may be, never quite leaves. It's hard, too, to avoid lapsing into solipsism at the secular wonder of it all — I won't say it's not flattering.

I admit I was a shade disappointed when I strolled through the facsimile. Everyone was either bored or on the verge of a migraine. An overweight man whom I supposed to be the director nodded faintly as I approached. No point easing into it.
"I object, foremost, to my being portrayed as infinitely more attractive than I ever was." He seemed only curious, so I continued. "At my peak I was an average mannequin with waste-bin hair, as similar to this magnetic fop as I was to a stretch of freeway. I can assure you I never turned a single head. But that crime I would be willing to overlook, if the opposite problem did not present itself with your heroine."
Perhaps it was unwise to engage him in earshot of all concerned, but it's hard to feel anything but indignant when you've been ejected by your own hack biographer. I should have noted immediately that a middle-aged man who thinks a baseball cap conceals baldness knows little about beauty, and not pressed the point.

And now I await the result. If bigger people exist, and they might well not, I'm sure they would be severely uninterested in the whole business (eschewing it in favour of, I don't know, being a c---), but — and I speak as something vaguely human — how could this not fascinate you? How could this horror not intrigue you?

Forgive my language, I was born into it.


Kathryn said...

This naturally, and no doubt intentionally, evokes the film we saw recently. I'd shudder like I did at the time, but the effect has largely worn off.

(I don't wish it, for the record.)

And: cunning joke.

Anonymous said...

Hugh, Angus's friend Adam here - I find it incredible that this assured, elegantly worldweary drawl comes from such a young man; it's like you're channeling the spirit of some erstwhile poet-spy grown tired of his own brilliance... And there's so much implied history here, all of it totally opaque to me, but making for a very attractive mystique. Extremely impressive.

I'd send you the start of a story for us to collab on, but our writing styles are so different - I dunno - do you want to give it a go anyway?

Hi to you too, Kathryn - was very nice to meet you both.

Hugh said...

Hello — and thank you. It was nice to meet you too.

I wouldn't mind giving something a go, although perhaps a little later than soon. I'd best spend the present keeping the lecturers from the door. Vastly different styles can make for glorious messes, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Ok - when you have some time, send me an email on - got a story idea set on a spaceship powered by tigers you might be interested in.

Kathryn said...

Ill-placed, and it's all your fault! Picture me with that poor-puppy-dog face and channel the responding emotions into writing something new. Something great, something flash, something extra ordinary. Pwetty pwease, with sugar and a cherry* on top? Or don't. But you know the consequences.

* Not a disgusting fake one.