This month's guest edit comes to you courtesy of published author Dave:
As always, the night kicked off with cordial greetings and polite pleasantries; if there was any after work tension, it soon evaporated as wine glasses were filled and lifted to eager mouths. Conversation turned to one of our missing: Lara and the wonderful news of her growing tummy. With this, whatever remaining English and German reserve, quickly disappeared; the floodgates opened and a great torrent of emotion and love swept forth. Sitting there in a circle, our arms lightly touching, our voices softly cooing, it felt as if we were little wise owls, snug in our little nest, with a brand new unhatched egg before of us; and we the guardians, keeping it warm with our bushy wings.
This dream like reverie was not to last; we had to get down to the subject at hand. Not the book, the food. It was a veritable feast: caramelised bangers and mash with thick, juicy onion gravy slurped all over it; a side of steamed broccoli with just a hint of seasoning. And for desert, a touch of class: Lisboa custard tarts. If you stopped to think about it, it was pure, classic Brucie: “sausage and tarts”. And sure enough, just as he had planned, the atmosphere turned from protector of young to hot under the collar. We were now in the zone and ready to discuss A Visit from the Goon Squad.
Ideas spun around the room, faster than a dizzy yoyo. The word goon it was explained, was American slang for a thug hired to intimidate, thus explaining the underlying violence and abuse pervading almost all the characters. There was Dolly’s public rehabilitation of a genocidal South American dictator; Bennie’s infidelity; Sasha’s kleptomania and the attempted rape of Kitty. The book worked because of its interesting narrative structure. Was it worthy of the Pulitzer Prize? Overall, the group agreed it was. It was clever; even if you didn’t like the power point presentation, you had to admit it was clever. AC felt it was the best bit of writing in the book. The characters were interesting and the imagery rich. AC delighted in the image of the melting oil dropping from the chandeliers. As for the image of Lou getting a blowjob from Jocelyn whilst holding onto Rhea, some let out a mighty “Yuk”.
We then moved onto discussing the exhibition: Postmodernism – Style and Subversion 1970-1990. Everyone put in there two penny’s worth; there was a long pause and then Ian spoke. We should have known. As our very own post modern man, he knew the subject inside out and his mouth gave forth: “Postmodernism is about what it isn’t as much as what it is. It’s a mish mash, a jumbled up, broken mirror reflection of what’s already been”. The girls sat, jaws hanging, mesmerised; he was like a prophet; he was amazing. He continued “modernism was simplicity, this was contradiction. It’s about Memphis and Motor town. It’s about resistance to authority, freedom to do what you want”. He spoke at length, he crafted words into the most exquisite poetry; he began comparing Foucault to Zen Buddhism. He was radical, youthful, dynamic. And I realised this wasn’t Ian; with his long hair swishing from side to side, his intellectual eyes and cultured nose, his prominent jaw. This was Jean Paul Sartre. Mary sitting next to him was transformed. Wearing the tightest, leopard skin leggings imaginable, she slowly folded one leg over the other and inhaled deeply from her long cigarette holder. She fixed him with her stare, paused and exhaled two neat jets from either nostril. It made complete sense, as a means to an end, she had become Simone de Beauvoir. And the others were no different; they wanted Ian or was it Sartre? Oestrogen was pumping like mad. We were practically drowning in it. I knew then where this was heading: Ian was going to get lucky. There wasn’t a moment to lose if I was going to get in on the action. I had to say something to get their attention. “Err, I liked the exhibition too, but I didn’t really get it”. The female gaze turned briefly towards me; there was an audible groan and then all heads swivelled back.
This was awful but at least I wasn’t the only nobody; Bruce was also feeling it and kept hitting his head saying “why, why, why?” It was true; we had lost these pure, innocent girls to Ian. With their eyes glazed over, they were edging closer and closer towards him, murmuring “more, more, more”. There was no use fighting it. As Bruce and I got up to get our coats and made our way to the front door, not a soul turned or even noticed us. We just didn’t cut it. Bruce was now crying; sobbing he declared “we’ve been visited badly by the Goon squad”. It was time to get out, shutting the front door behind us, we caught a glimpse through the window of a jumper being pulled off, then another and another. And then at once, the air was filled with flying shoes, skirts, panties and brassieres before we lost all sight of Ian under a jumbled up, mish mash of groaning limbs and naked flesh. Squeezing a hand through all those limbs, he flicked us two fingers, before the hand withdrew again and got down to business.
As I walked down the road, one thought kept ringing in my head, “why can’t I be a post modern man?”