At nine o’clock someone pulls the fire alarm and fire trucks slowly pull into the square with fully dressed firemen ambling in front of them.

The fire is not real. We step inside the building to grab waters on our impromptu break while we watch one of the male dancers do a striptease in front of the flashing red lights. He pulls down the top half of his jumpsuit and leans over before the camera while his troopmates shout from the railings.

It isn’t real but it is the most real thing to happen that night.

There’s much food and the guests only seem to want a little of it, taking tiny bites and leaving containers full of steaming french fries next to overflowing drinks missing just one or two sips. When everything is free and nothing is necessary everything is excess.

One woman spits her appetizer out on another server – the server is a recent immigrant and I imagine that’s why. She is a woman and a recent immigrant. I am unscathed.

The building raises itself on its hind legs and men and women scramble to climb it, their four-hundred dollar shoes kicking off the hard surface. All of their money is going somewhere.

A train of photographers moves through the party. I imagine some of them have been hired by the event, some by media, and that some belong to specific people in attendance.

Would it be better if the lake were to swallow us all? That’s an honest question.


I like the work but I realize I am a prideful shit (I already knew this) when I find myself thinking “I have created a work of art that is unfathomably beautiful.”

It’s just a novel and no one that I would protect myself against can read.

Guests set their drinks down on the subwoofers and they bounce and shake for a bit before tumbling to the floor. I sweep up much glass.

A woman sets her iPhone next to her purse on a subwoofer and I watch as it shakes off. Moments later the purse is gone but the iPhone is still there, lying in the space between a floor light and the subwoofer.

I imagine getting blamed or accused for the missing phone. It is only in that moment that I consider taking it, but of course I leave it where it is.

Who knows what might have happened if I had picked it up with my fingers and set it back in its place?


Near the end of the night people start finishing their drinks. The limits imposed by time have finally introduced scarcity.

Two women come to the rescue of their drinks while I am clearing empties from a cube. “Please don’t take these,” they say.

“But it’s so hard to resist.”

They turn to each other. “He’s so cute, isn’t he?”

I’m already gone.

I am breaking in a new pair of shoes. I am in so much pain that it is like I am walking underwater. I can’t imagine moving any faster through the crowds, but I see people doing it. In any case I don’t stop. I want to make a good impression. When I change pairs at the end of the night for the clean-up I feel euphoric. I can move again.

The dance floors empty. They deflate the tent. People start to leave.

Now that there’s no one there I like doing circuits under the big white tent that howls like wind through a mountain canyon as all of the air is being let out.

The money has found its home.



Wolves howling in the air vents. The only actor I recognize is pregnant and I feel relieved every time I see her. Even if her character is just as empty as the others. I don’t know what anyone is thinking. In that sense it is very close to the source material—I assume, though I haven’t read the book. JG Ballard liked to maintain a clinical distance from his characters, like his protagonist Robert (D?) Laing.

The boy seems to stand for something. So too the dogs. Everything is supposed to mean something else. Utopian social commentary. Action doesn’t follow itself (making allegorical correspondance paramount) and the correspondances are impenetrable. The actors perform, but to a wall. Ballard’s seventies futurist setting is charmingly preserved. Unfortunately, so is seventies misogyny. There’s a very disturbing rape.

It’s not a bad movie. The music is very good. The photography, too, and the stylistic choices that the director makes. Somehow I was able to watch the entire thing. But I found myself wishing that the scriptwriter had taken Ballard’s book as tonal and thematic inspiration without feeling the need to be perfectly faithful to the story—something like what Ridley Scott did with the (two dimensional) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I wondered what it would be like to rewrite the movie as a novel—there can be so much life in Ballard—only having seen it once, and never reading the book.