To make sens of the world as it stands right now, we must look at it slantways, sideways, and upside down, I think. And what better way to achieve that than by immersing ourselves in the most bizarre representations of the world? It also just so happens that these bizarre representations are post-apocalyptic, as well.
So the theme for day 5 is bizarreries, as illustrated by one book, one film, and one music album.
Book: Angela Carter, Heroes and Villains
Definitely one of the more bizarre novels in my pantheon, Heroes and Villains first appeared in print in 1969, the year of the moon landing, and of the release of The Beatles’ Abbey Road. Its action takes place in the kind of world that may well emerge once the world as we know it has collapsed.
In this world, there are those who are civilsed to the point of dehumanisation… and then the savages, who have grown wild to the point of dehumanisation. Marianne, the book’s heroine and daughter of a Professor from one of the “civilised” communities, finds herself wavering between the civilised and the savage, and having a hard time deciding who the heroes are, and who the villains.
You can borrow this book via archive.org.
This French jewel of a film was directed by marvellous duo Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, and it was released in 1991.
It takes place in a grim world, where there is no virtually no food to be had, and people are willing to do anything — and I mean anything — to eat, while also maintaining a superficial semblance of civility.
This is a film about an apartment building… run by a butcher who rules through his power of distributing meat. But where does this meat come from? Everyone in the butcher’s building knows the answer to this question, except the newcomer: hapless ex-circus entertainer Louison.
Thankfully, one person is keeping an eye out for him: the butcher’s sensitive, classical music-loving daughter, Julie.
You can rent Delicatessen on Amazon Prime or buy the DVD online.
Music album: Bauhaus, Burning from the Inside
This Goth classic, originally released in 1983, is the very definition of delightful, sprightly bizarre. From ‘She’s in Parties’, all the way up to ‘Hope’ (or ‘Sanity Assassin’, dpending which version of the album you’re listeningto), it is a feat of Postmodern lyricism and synthesiser magic.
Not for the faint of heart, but definitely for those who love to jam to some grungy bass echoes.
Also features a personal favourite of mine, ‘Antonin Artaud’.
One man’s poison another man’s meat
One man’s agony another man’s treat
Artaud lived with his neck placed firmly in the noose
You can listen to one version of this album for free on last.fm.