! - March 19 2004 -- it would seem that creatively at least, the Age of Pgotofraphy has come to a close -- maybe it will still continue but only at special times, like on my excursion to New Guinea. There is nothing wrong with that, because creativity has to move on -- and there is a new fad in town, the first creative fad tied to the freelance approach to my career which developed in 2003. It is the writing for money fad, and it has already seen to me receive my first money for a published story -- only US$1.81 I know, but it is a start. There will be new stories to come -- and my newest story is this little joyride here, called "Burn". But it needs a lot of work before it is ready to be sent out into the void! Mid 2000: In 5 weeks weeks I will be in Asia, not just on holiday but making the most monumental life change since finishing high school. With so little time to spare, I should now focus on what I want to take with me when I go away, and what I should discard. A new life is about to begin, and I'm sure the Internet will play a major role in it.>
part of the CASSIUS CROON adventure ... written by Robert Sullivan ... A freeware experiment in post-Bubblepop online technology!
WHEN CHINA ANNOUNCED IT WAS turning user-pays in early 2001, Jeremy decided it was time for a neo-Marxist revival. All the indicators were there. Class conflict had been out of style for more than a decade, the most liberal universities were teaching the new Systems/Management historical perspective. For once even Trax agreed.
>>Silikon's getting too mainstream for its own good<< he said. They were at the Capacitor one night, and the mood was ultraschnell. >>If it doesn't redefine itself in a month, I'm giving it up to the pre-pubescents.<<
The redefinition came, and just in time - from the rusty factory towns and unemployment queues of eastern Europe came Industrialism, the new, back-to-basic prequal to Silikon. For the first time in a while it seemed anything grotty, grey and low-tech was back in style. And, for the first time, Jeremy could feel proud his Dad was a mechanic.
He was so excited the morning the news came out in Sub he accidentally interrupted Trax interfacing some Flux swing-on named Rochelle. The Second Industrial Revolution would sweep Australia that Sunday, he told them hurriedly, breaking out of Silikon vokab, and it would be sparked at the Blast Furnace Insurrection Ball, the Yorkshire Moors, only $45 admission! Perhaps put off by the computer unliterate language, and perhaps because he couldn't stand Jeremy rambling so early in the morning, Trax was unimpressed. >>Sorry man<< not caring to cover Rochelle's torso with the sheet >>Yorkshire's just too far away.<<
After that day, Trax didn't expect to hear from Rochelle and the Furnace ever again.
TUESDAY NIGHT WAS ULTRANACHT AT the Capacitor and all the usual crowd were there. Unfortunately. As soon as Trax walked in, he saw Rochelle pounding the floor with her cluster of instant untouchables. What a nightmare!
There was only one solution: leave. On his way out Trax was surprised see, hanging on the door, a poster advertising dance holidays to the great manufacturing belts of the world. He was even more surprised to see, hanging next to it, a small leaf of paper with the plain typed message:
BLAST FURNACE INSURRECTION BALL
*Slide through the molten chambers! *Meltcore insurrection! * Lenin and Polycentric DJs!
Trax panicked. Industrialism could be mainstream within months.
Anyone can keep up with fashions; to get over these days you have to keep at least one movement ahead.
Anyone can keep up with fashions; to get over these days you have to keep at least one movement ahead.
>>YOU WON'T REGRET THIS, I PROMISE YOU<< Jeremy said. It was the next night, and they were standing at the back of a long queue at the Port Kembla Blast Furnace #3. >>I swear, this is going to be the hottest ooze!<<
>>Maybe<< Trax said. He'd come dressed as a British trade unionist circa 1920s, complete with cap, waistcoat and pockets stuffed full of thick cigars. Jeremy, a little less imaginative, was in his cousin's work uniform and hard hat.
>>Or the dampest fizz<< Trax continued. Sub often went in for hype; he had an uncomfortable suspicion the whole thing was just a gimmick to revive a depressed local economy.
The club was set in an actual working blast furnace, a vast dark chamber of volcanic orange vats, hissing steam, sliding molten steel and precipitous scaffolding where pretend welders sprayed sparks on to the dance floors below and performed short raps about exploitation. Jeremy was right about something, Trax thought when they finally milled in: the crowd was crude in the exteme, rattling in grotstained overalls and swiveling miner lamps, or Red Army rejects and flimsy Polish T-shirts.
They started the night at a workbench with a few vodkas and other corrosives, Trax's eyes a constant blur from girl to girl. This was the incubation period, the slow build-up: after two hours he should start labouring, and have something produced within four. After two drinks Jeremy was already at the tipsy, rambly stage.
>>The reason the unemployment rate's still at least 15 per cent is because, whether we like it or not, the age of heavy manufacturing is over - with the macro revolution all the jobs are migrating to Malaysia and New Canton, but we're so partisan that we keep blaming it on Howard...<<
Before Jeremy could say >>Now, what were we talking about?<< Trax sprung up from his chair and said >>All right, fuck this. I'm going for a roam.<<
TRAX ALWAYS WONDERED HOW PEOPLE MET, WHAT ACCIDENTAL encounters, collisions of eyes, sparked mutual smiles, bridging introductions. Not being a fatalist, all Trax knows is that his latest collision happened as he pushed his way through the crowd to the mens room, and that he'll be forever grateful.
He felt a soft elbow in his backbone, span to see her eyes first, a smouldering ozone blue, gleaming in the neon.
>>Sorry<< he said shyly; like all his introductions, he left plenty of room for a retreat. But she smiled broadly, running one hand through the fringe of her short dark hair, cropped at the back to show the hollow of her neck. She was wearing torn blue overalls smeared with what looked like real grease.
Before she was pushed away by the crowd he anchored her with a >>I'm Trevor. You look pretty manual.<<
Thankfully, she took it as a compliment. >>I'm local, but you can call me Lidija.<< Then, more seductively >>How strange it is to see a tourist here, in a city with our reputation.<<
>>I was apprehensive at first<< Trax confessed >>but I swear tonight's been fucking wild. I guess having such a hot party in such an awful place sort of justifies its ugliness.<<
>>This must be our 15 minutes<< she said.
Though she was gorgeous, Trax suddenly picked up a twang in her voice - definitely first generation, almost state school. It was unfortunate this observation coincided with the bloom of nearby sulphur jets. >>If we made every factory and factory town in the nation like this<< he said feeling the opening thumps of a migraine >>Industrialism will last a few months at least!<<
A new work came on, with an anvil bang and hard guitar mess, decorated with samples of Stalin's speeches, 1950s washing machine soap ads, coverage of the Korean War. Trax was ready to come in with a witty oneliner when she said >>There's someone I have to catch up with. I'll see you later.<< and disappeared into the press.
>>Maybe in the revolution<< Trax said. Jeremy was no relief back at the table. >>Trax, where's it all going?<< he slurred, girl-less, over his empties. >>Socialism's dead, the Third World's getting poorer every day, fundamentalist Iran burns as we dance. What's going to fill the vacuum?<<
A vat near the table burst into flame, showering them with sulphur. >>Not Industrialism, that's for sure<< Trax said. >>Honestly, how can you build a viable scene out of this? Pre-pubescents or not, give me a smart, user-friendly club any night!<<
Even as he said this he saw a familiar shape looming over him inside a unfamiliar plastic yellow ESSO suit and mask. >>Rochelle...<<
>>I would have told you I was coming<< forcing a smile >>if you had given me your right phone number.<<
The music broke down and DJ Lenin said >>Clubbers of the world, the moment of change has come! Five minutes to the sparking of the Industrial Revolution!<<
>>We can't miss the revolution<< Trax said and made a dash to Chamber B. A large space had been cleared at the centre for a huge pile of Ikea furniture, striped shirts and cardigans, Elvis and Eagles records, on top of it all a middle-aged disc jockey in a leather swivel chair and cradling a record turntable. A group of Bolshevik clubbers approached him carrying DJ Lenin on their shoulders.
>>The heathens<< Lenin said >>wallowing in their outdated mires, fail to appreciate the explosive power of Industrialism and have tried to suppress it. Well, you can't suppress an explosion without getting burnt!<<
He lit a torch and threw it on to the pile. >>The revolution has begun! But the forces arrayed against us are formidable. The only was we can win, the only way we can build an industrial-strength utopia, is to show the heathens how to dance - through stomp.<<
He kicked in a heavy track called Burn and the crowd began stomping and crying >>Meltcore, meltcore!<< Trax, noticing Jeremy and Rochelle behind him, bore his way the front.
A dark hand clasped around his wrist and a voice so lusciously familiar said >>Trax, how's it?<<
It was Lidija, bright-eyed and open. Oh well, one door closes... But he didn't have to make the move: she quickly grabbed his other arm and said, as if there were no question about it, said >>Let's dance!<<
She knew how to stomp, Trax thought: he was hard-pressed keeping up. She saw his eyes stray from her face to her propped breasts and trim waist, played upon his sleaze with more adventurous dance steps, bedazzled him with sizzling, molten looks.
Shunting forward, he rested his hands on her shoulders as they stomped, prompted her to do the same. He chanted >>Meltcore! meltcore!<< as her arms slid down his back, stiffened. Their lips moved slowly together, hesitated, then met briefly. More passionately, she gripped his head like it was a vice and kissed him again, body still moving, headless chicken frantic, in reasonable time with bass.
The pile was really blazing now, flames licking the belly of the dag, a plundered prince writhing in his chair and ranting >>"Turn that rubbish down!<< and >>Strewth, you call that music!<< >>It's getting hot in here<< Lidija whispered.
Jeremy and Rochelle were closing in, so Trax took the hint and dragged her quickly into a nearby chill-out room. With the revolution near fever-pitch the room was deserted so he slumped Lidija into a mine trolley nestled in a corner, climbed on to her. >>In cleansing fire the commercial state is consumed and recycled<< Lenin said >>and from its ashes, Phoenix-like, the next stage of human development will arise... the Industrial Utopia!<<
Squirming together to the metallic bass, Trax rose, entered her, climaxed, lay still glossy with sweat mouthing Meltcore! meltcore! >>That was so... industrial<< he sighed. As Burn extinguished they heard the crowd cheer and the death scream of DJ Dag echo through the furnace.
<<Next week's the EnviroBall<< Lidija said, getting dressed.