Seeing red

February 23, 2016 at 5:19 am | Posted in Short Story | 6 Comments
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Spin to win.

Spin out.

Guy and Jock were catching up over coffee.

It wasn’t real coffee, because they were 58 million kilometres from Melbourne.

And it wasn’t a real catch up, because they’d spent four years in training, 252 days on a dummy Mars run in a dummy spaceship and 126 days on a real Mars run in a real spaceship.

To say they knew each other well was a gross understatement. They weren’t merely used to living cheek by jowl, they were virtually in each other’s DNA.

Despite the best efforts of mission psychologists to match personalities, such extended intimate proximity can make a person twitchy. So double macchiatos halfway to the Red Planet were a no-no.

Jock looked down at Guy over his nano-wafer sippy cup. ‘So, how’re they hangin’, Man?’

‘Oh, you know,’ replied Guy with a shrug. ‘Same same.’

‘No shit?’

‘No shit.’

A single sphere of brown fluid escaped the straw. Jock trapped it in his meaty hand and mashed it into his mouth.

Guy watched him, noting that this was the seventy-seventh time he’d seen his crewmate do this. They really needed to upsize that cup for Jock’s big, coarse face. He took off his glasses and cleaned them on a napkin floating beside him. ‘How’s that video game coming?’

‘Finished.’

‘Already?’

‘Yep.’

‘That was quick.’

‘I’m getting better.’

‘How many’s that, then?’

Jock looked listlessly around the tiny dining quarters and sighed heavily. ‘All of ’em. And some of ’em twice.’

The geoscientist registered mild surprise. ‘You have come a long way.’

‘Yeah. But what am I supposed to do now?’

‘Shall I ask Control to send you a new game?’

‘You told me yourself; we’re too far gone. The files are too big. We can only receive text now – remember?’

Guy brightened. ‘Ah, yes. But that’s OK Jock; I’ll get them to send us more books!’

The flight engineer glowered. ‘You know damn well I hate books.’

‘Yes, but under the circumstances … ‘

‘Forget it. Always have and always will. Hated ’em.’

‘But what about that moon murder mystery? You seemed to like that.’

‘You read that to me in training. When I was sick.’

‘And?’

‘The drone of your voice sent me to sleep.’

‘Ah yes,’ said the smaller man. ‘How could I forget?’

The pair lapsed into silence. Guy began to look thoughtful. After a while, Jock noticed. He crushed the sippy cup to the size of pea and flicked it expertly into the reconstitution unit. ‘What’re you thinking about?’

Guy looked up quickly. ‘I was wondering if there’s any book you’d read.’

‘You mean apart from equipment manuals?’

‘Yes.’

‘You mean, read a book … for fun.’

‘Yes.’

‘No way.’

‘No?’

‘Never.’

Guy rotated pensively. ‘But what if there were one book.’

‘What sort of book?’

‘A murder mystery, set in space.’

Jock stretched his broad arms, which no amount of weightlessness had been able to atrophy. ‘Did we not just have a conversation about such a book?’

The cleaned glasses glinted. ‘Yes, we did. But what if this book were set in our spaceship?’

‘This one we’re flying in right now?’

‘Yes. Would that interest you?’

The broad arms folded. ‘A murder mystery.’

‘Yes.’

‘On our ship.’

‘Yes.’

‘Who gets murdered?’

‘Me.’

‘By whom?’

‘You.’

‘Why?’

‘Because I set you off.’

‘How?’

‘By bugging you about a murder mystery.’

Jock frowned as his brain caught up. ‘Not much of a f*cking mystery, is it?’

‘That depends’ said Guy.

‘On what?’

‘Whether you’ve noticed.’

‘Noticed what?’

‘The fact that I’ve been writing.’

‘You’re always bloody writing. You send the damn emails.’

‘Do you know what’s in those emails?’ Guy’s eyebrows arched.

‘No. Nor do I give a shit. I do every bloody thing around here and you send reports about it.’

‘So, you wouldn’t know if I’d been writing a book on the side.’

‘Have you?’

‘Maybe.’

‘And why exactly would you do that?’

‘That’s the mystery!’

Jock propelled himself to the snack machine. Not because he was hungry, but to break the annoying patter. He grabbed a tendy sandwich at random. Curried egg. Not his favourite. But he munched into it just the same. He glared at Guy through big bites. ‘Are you trying to tell me that Control have been happy for you to write a damn book instead of doing your work?’

‘Maybe they don’t know. Maybe I’ve done it during your sleep cycles.’

‘But they log every keystroke. What’re you writing it on – toilet paper?’

Guy paused, as if contemplating whether to proceed. ‘What if Control were in on it?’

‘In on what?!’

‘The novel.’

Jock laughed shortly. ‘Bloody hell, Man; have you been sniffing the coolant again?’

‘What if Control said it was OK for me to write a novel to entertain you when you ran out of computer games?’

‘Entertain me?!’

‘Yes.’

‘But why?’

‘To stop you thinking murderous thoughts.’

Jock stuffed the last of the sandwich down this throat. ‘Mate, if you keep this shit up, I’ll have more than murderous thoughts.’

Guy smiled. ‘Maybe that’s the idea.’

‘Oh for f*ck’s sake; are you deliberately trying to wind me up or what?’

‘Easy, Tiger; we don’t want to reach the climax too soon.’

Jock screwed up his face. ‘I really wish you wouldn’t use that word.’

‘It’s a literary term.’

‘Yeah, well keep it up and you may just climax on your own pancreas.’

Guy laughed heartily. ‘That’s very good, Jock. Do you mind if I use it?’

Jock pushed himself from the table towards the VacuJohn. ‘I’ll give you something better than that, Guy.’

‘What?’

‘The murder weapon.’

‘Really? What’s that?’

‘This dunny.’

‘How so?’

The flight engineer opened the cubicle door. ‘I estimate that, with a good seal and enough pressure, I can get your eyeballs out of your skull, down this chute and into the hydroponic radishes in time for dinner.’

Guy’s smile wavered. ‘That’s very … specific, Jock.’

‘It is.’ Jock gazed at his hands – opening and closing. ‘But I’ve been thinking about it.’

Gif by Lookang.


If this was entertaining, you may wish to:

Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.


Blade Runner for town planners

May 16, 2015 at 11:23 am | Posted in Short Story | Leave a comment
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A fresh look.

A fresh look at a cult classic.

I love Blade Runner. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. So it’s a brave soul indeed who dares review it. Chris is one such.

You may recall Chris from this post. Lately he sent me this comment. He’s a fine writer. And his town-planning take on this amazing movie was a perspective I’d not considered.

It made me want to watch it yet again. And that’s surely a sign of a good review.

So thank you Chris – and take it away!

Blade Runner is set in a bleak, decrepit and perpetually rainy Los Angeles megalopolis in the year 2019 (now not so far away as it seemed in 1982!). This cityscape looms large as a character in its own right and speaks to the urban-planning related themes of sustainability, climate change and environmental determinism. It also frames and gives context to Blade Runner’s examination of bio-ethics, morality and what it means to be human … or not.

In the film, so crowded, degraded and polluted is planet earth that ‘Off World’ colonies have been established for humans seeking, if physically and financially capable of acquiring, a better life.

To help build and service the Off World colonies, Tyrell Corporation has created all manner of genetically engineered, humanoid ‘Replicants’ (as well as a few feathered or scaled ones). Replicants are illegal on earth, and it is the role of the ‘Blade Runners’ such as Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) to track and kill, or euphemistically ‘retire’, those Replicants who have made their way back to earth.

The Replicants are smart, agile and tough, but they are also mortal and have a programmed lifespan of 4 years. The current Nexus 6 model Replicants are however so lifelike that they can only be distinguished from their human counterparts through the analysis of their emotional and empathetic responses. Those responses are more limited than their human counterparts’ because Replicants, being ‘born’ adult, have not developed the full range of emotions and values based upon a lifetime’s experiences and memories.

It is this mortality, and the desire to unlock it, that triggers a group of rogue Replicants, led by Ron (Rutger Hauer), to make their way back to earth and to stage a murderous mutiny intent on seizing Tyrell Corporation’s founder, Eldon Tyrell. So begins the film’s cat and mouse game.

On the surface, Blade Runner is an action sci-fi action movie. However it actually presents plenty for urban planners to reflect upon. The setting of a climate-changed planet in which mankind’s blind faith in its own abilities and supreme (god-like) power, and the willingness to adapt (by creating Replicants and moving off-world) rather than addressing the causes of environmental devastation, reflects uncomfortably on our own society’s (and our government’s) tepid responses to tackling anthropogenic climate change and upon our willingness to adopt technological solutions in lieu of behavioural change.

The film demonstrates that humans are inherently flawed, self-destructive and, where it suits their needs, willingly oppressive and segregative (of Replicants, and of the lowly earth-bound humans). At the same time, Blade Runner depicts certain essential and meritorious human qualities that cannot be replicated, such as Deckard’s questioning of his own morality, and that one’s eyes (symbolised by, for example, Eldon Tyrell’s glasses and the eyes of a Replicant owl) are a window to the soul. Moreover, it underscores the message that when mankind meddles with things that it doesn’t understand, then things inevitably go wrong.

As an urban planner, I am drawn to films that in some way explore or present utopian visions. Blade Runner’s Off World settlements are portrayed as ‘sunny, clean and happy’ places. The utopian ideal of settlement is one almost as old as planned habitation itself, and in Blade Runner the Off World utopias sit in contrast to the grimily-depicted Los Angeles, which, as the “City of Angels” itself portrays a utopian vision that has decayed into a Sodom-and-Gomorrah-esque state. The city’s streets have been relegated to utilitarian status by the miserable climate and by the creation of airborne transport corridors (yep, the old flying cars routine). There are visual references to the city’s heritage and formerly distinctive character, which helps to ground the hellish vision of the city in a reality to which viewers can relate, yet at the same time symbolises that which has been disregarded, devalued and lost.

The streets below are inhabited by the sub-classes because they have no other choice, not because it is a setting to which they aspire or from which they derive pleasure. In such places, what social, cultural or environmental cues, other than an overt police presence, can inspire its inhabitants to refrain from anti-social or criminal behaviour and to express their humanity instead?

I can’t help but think that the real-world corporations that presumably paid for the advertising and product placement opportunities that litter the film (e.g. Coke, Pan-Am, TDK, Atari) were unwitting pawns in director Ridley Scott’s game. Blade Runner’s Los Angeles condemns as doomed and unsustainable the dystopian world where corporate control and power has prevailed over that of society and the individual. Even Tyrell Corporation’s headquarters, reminiscent of a Mayan temple soaring above the congested and polluted streets, is representative of an empire and a utopian ideal in decline. Yet the fact remains that the Off World utopias, if based upon the endeavours of an oppressed and disenfranchised Replicant sub-class and the skewed moralities that this engenders (people barely bat an eyelid when Deckard ‘retires’ a ‘pleasure model’ Replicant in the street), surely too must fail.

It can only be when we rise above our own imperfect and destructive nature that utopia can be found. And it’s usually right under our noses.

The Latex Beanbags

August 31, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The following week, Rodney bought a new lawn mower …

Wolfgang was a tall, rangy homosexual who spoke with flamboyant gestures and a heavily contrived German accent. His acerbic wit could slice the knees from anyone foolish enough to consider him a stereotype.

He was into latex, but not in the biblical sense. Despite looking and acting like one, Wolfgang really was an eccentric and innovative fashion designer. He did all his own work, jealously protecting his exotic techniques. He worked exclusively in latex and had repeatedly pierced the membrane of accepted thought on its use.

In Wolfgang’s hands, latex swooned and surrendered its deepest secrets. It danced for him, happily assuming the appearance of any fabric he cared to nominate, from lace to hessian.

One spring, Wolfgang was suffused with two urges, one of which was to create something truly new in latex. After much deliberation, he decided to construct a set of beanbags. He told his hetero friends, Rodney and Susie. Wired into their Friday night cocktails, the couple embraced the idea and threw in their own thoughts. Most Wolfgang rejected as passé or unviable. A few, however, entered his fertile mind and began incubating.

**********

It was Saturday. Wolfgang bid his hosts a shaky farewell and returned to his studio. He slept for most of the day, rising as an alien orange moon clambered into the dusk, an hour ahead of schedule. The designer looked up bleary-eyed from his basin. The cratered disc filled his window, commanding him to work. The tides in his brain surged. He towelled himself dry, snatched a handful of sweet biscuits from the packet beside his shaver and stumbled into his workroom.

Four hours later the studio was alive with the stench of latex. Faint from fumes, Wolfgang cut and bonded the freshly prepared fabric in a trance. Above hundred year old slate, the moon kept up an even, insistent pressure. It dandled its servant from silver wires, guiding Wolfgang’s hands with supernatural precision. He had become a conduit, and pure inspiration flowed through his abused veins.

The possession continued until the moon sank beneath cold sheets, drawing comfort from the night’s mischief. The sober sun took charge, pouring light over the prone form of Wolfgang, slumped amid three perfect beanbags.

**********

Susie opened her door to three huge tumours. She gasped, then realised they were the beanbags Wolfgang had threatened to construct. Laughing with embarrassment, she invited him in.

‘They’re marvelous, Wolfie! How’d you manage to knock them up so fast?’

Wolfgang smiled. ‘I vas possessed, darlingk. You haf no idea vat it vas like. I verked like ze demon all night. I just hat to show you zem. I em fery prout.’

The beanbags were indeed handsome. One was a dappled military farrago of four earthy colours. The others were of the same design, but employed only two of the hues of the first. One was olive and russet, the other brick red and ochre. The members of the set complemented each other perfectly.

Susie ushered Wolfgang to the terrace. Rodney stood in long grass before an ancient lawn mower, worn components strewn over sun-warmed concrete.

‘Hello, friend,’ said Rodney.

‘Hallo, darlingk.’ Wolfgang tossed the beanbags onto the terrace and stood arms folded. Rodney gave a low whistle and pulled the nearest towards him. He rolled the smooth latex between his thumb and forefinger and tested the seams. Holding the units together, he marvelled at how the colours worked. Then he turned one over and over, hunting for its zipper.

‘You von’t find him. I haf hidden him mit much cleferness.’

Rodney rose to the challenge, but Wolfgang’s prophecy held true.

‘Bloody ingenious; I think they’re fabulous. Why don’t we have a beer and try them out on the grass?’

‘Vell … perheps a small portion. Ya, O.K.’

Rodney beamed, happy to abandon his struggle with the mower. He nodded to the beanbags.

‘Like to do the honours?’

Wolfgang gathered up the four-coloured beanbag and with patent pleasure, hurled it from the terrace. It described a slow, graceful arc through the azure sky and fell deep in the lush lawn.

The moment it hit the ground, the beanbag disappeared.

The three friends blinked. The grass was fifteen centimetres high at most – nowhere near tall enough to conceal a beanbag at ground level, let alone from their elevation.

‘Fok me! Vere did ze fokker go?’

‘Buggered if I know,’ replied Rodney. ‘Chuck one of the others out.’

Wolfgang nodded and threw the olive and russet beanbag after its sibling. It landed close to where the four-coloured unit should have been, but remained clearly visible.’

‘That’s where the other one went,’ marvelled Susie. ‘So where is it?’

‘I don’t know, but I’m goingk to find out.’ Wolfgang prepared to jump down beside Rodney, then seized the last beanbag and sent it after the others. In utter amazement, he watched it vanish on landing, along with the other bi-coloured bag it hit.’

‘Sh*t!’ exclaimed Rodney. ‘That’s some camouflage. How’d you do it?’

Wolfgang strode to the site. ‘I just mixed up ze colours like I alvays do. I don’t haf any formula, so zey alvays com out a bit different. I don’t know vot ze fok hes heppened here. But I’m fokking goingk to find out.’ He stomped around the landing zone, crushing innumerable blades of grass and releasing a fragrant promise of summer.

Susie joined the search. ‘This is crazy; they must be here!’

Much later, the group sat on the terrace. Too exhausted even to open their beers, they glared at the trampled lawn.

The following week, Rodney bought a new lawn mower. Delighted with its power, he gleefully scythed through the grass and filled his compost bin with catcher after catcher of clippings. He failed to notice the soft resistance midway through one of his turns around the rose bed.

Not until a white jet of polystyrene balls shot over his shoulder and dispersed in the hot air did he realise he’d found a beanbag. He spotted the red and ochre fabric of one of the bi-coloured units and excitedly scanned the ground for its mate. It lay behind him and to the left – out of range.

**********

These days the two bi-coloured beanbags live in Susie and Rodney’s house. Whenever Wolfgang visits, the couple put them away. He cannot bear to be reminded. When the beanbags get in range of each other, they disappear – and usually remain so till vacuuming day. The four-coloured unit is still somewhere in the garden.

It’s like anything.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Penny for Your Thoughts?

August 29, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Short Story | 2 Comments
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mind memory memories remember thought

Barbra is a Mobile Consultant for Piece of Mind Inc. A seasoned psychiatrist, she earns more than most of the folk at Accenture – which is a sh*tload.

Piece of Mind deals in memories. Barbra’s job is to assess, price, acquire and resell the recollections of prospective clients. The longer and more significant the memory, the more it’s worth.

For instance, the memory of a wedding night invariably fetches more than that of watching Billy Crystal in ‘Forget Paris’ – while the complete record of a dead relative is generally worth more again.

Once Barbra has negotiated a contract, she connects her new client to her ‘Think Tank’, which looks like an early Toshiba laptop. This device copies the memory onto triple-density double-sided disk(s) and electrically wipes it from the vendor’s brain. Barbra then emails a backup to Piece of Mind’s memory bank, in case she comes to grief on her journey back to the office.

Contrary to widespread belief, it is impossible to install a memory into anyone other than its originator. The brain’s insanely complex circuitry ensures that any foreign thought is rejected as surely as a bamboo hip joint.

This means that for each memory acquired, there is only one potential customer. Surprisingly, 23% of Piece of Mind’s clients want their memories back within a decade of selling them. Since the firm charges ten times the purchase price to reinstall a recollection, it earns more than enough to cover the lease on Barbra’s V8 Lotus Esprit.

Barbra enjoys her work and is happy to recount authorised case studies. These help explain why so many clients change their minds.

‘A’ gives up smoking by having all pleasant associations with the habit removed. These are so numerous that his personality alters dramatically and his friends desert him – whereupon he turns to alcohol.

‘B’ sells his memory of childhood abuse for $15,000 (which he spends on vinyl cladding). A year later, police ask him to identify his attacker to help break a pedophile ring. After agonising deliberation, ‘B’ sells his house to repurchase his memory for $150,000. His wife leaves him and the offender escapes on a technicality.

‘C’ sells her memory of mediocre nightclub evening during which she has a fleeting encounter with a charming man. She returns the following week to spend her earnings and the man approaches her, keen to continue their conversation. She cannot remember him and he withdraws offended.

Tired of chronic conflict with his mother, ‘D’ sells his entire memory of her, from infancy to adulthood, for $200,000. The mother subsequently begs for reconciliation, but neither party can raise the money.

Barbra’s work is not without risk. Recently, one of her colleagues was abducted and forced to remove incriminating memories from a murder witness and then himself. Despite these efforts, the suspect still met justice on failing a lie detector test (having neglected to have his own memory purged).

Most would agree that memories are precious. So can they be given a price? Think for a moment; what is your most treasured memory? Would you sell it for five million dollars? Such a sum could certainly finance a galaxy of fresh experiences.

We can perhaps conjure memories that we would trade on the spot for two slabs and a bottle of Bacardi. But which memories can we truly afford to renounce: those that are repetitious (our daily commute), those that are substandard (some of the later ‘Muppets’ episodes) or those we’d like to experience over and over (first pet, first car, first love etc.)?

Since they comprise a record of what has and has not worked during our lifetimes, it could be said that memories are what make us. Bad memories could even be considered more important than good ones, since they teach us to avoid dangerous situations.

What reminiscences, then, would you sell and for how much?

Piece of Mind’s switchboard music is the theme from ‘Men in Black’. Few recall that this is a rip off of ‘Forget-Me-Nots’ by Patricia Rushen and Freddy Washington. In light of this and other disturbing phenomena, Piece of Mind’s detractors have accused the firm of stealing memories en masse from the public.

The conspiracy is said to involve an ingenious synergy between mobile phones and fast food additives that exploits the brain’s delicate electrochemical physiology.

Australia is the world’s highest per capita user of mobile phones and a voracious consumer of fast food. Perhaps this is why crucial political promises containing the words: ‘no child in poverty’ and ‘never ever GST’ have been forgotten by voters. Were they to be remembered, surely neither of the parties involved could still claim the right to govern.

Barbra’s take on the matter is philosophical, if not evasive. As far as she’s concerned, ‘memories may be beautiful and yet, what’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget’.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Hurt Couture

August 29, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Article | 1 Comment
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Look bad, feel worse.

In a little while, an extremely avant-garde fashion house will be formed. Rejected by all established organisations in their respective fields, two bright graduates will form a partnership. Their names will probably be Oskar and Vivienne and their company will almost certainly be called ‘Hurt Couture’.

Oskar will be a breathtakingly innovative designer. Vivienne will specialise in artificial intelligence and have a good grasp of nanotechnology. They will make catastrophic love once, swear never again to touch banana advocaat and then settle into to a close and productive friendship.

Hurt Couture’s mission will be ‘To make it impossible for people to look bad in our clothes’. Its slogan will be ‘No More Sneers’, ‘Look Bad, Feel Worse’, or something of that order. The logo will be a pair of stylised scissors suspended, like the sword of Damocles, by a thread.

Hurt Couture will not use fur, leather or feathers in any creation. Vivienne will argue in interviews and documentaries that since vanity is a purely human trait, its impact should fall accordingly.

The unique selling proposition of Hurt Couture will be revolutionary. Their garments will be engineered to punish people who don’t look good in them. ‘Countermeasures’ will range from gentle warnings to execution, depending on the severity of the offence.

Successful use of a Hurt Couture outfit will mean, by definition, that the wearer looks good. Rapid public adoption of company standards will flow from their intrinsic logic. Base directives will prevent shirt sleeves being rolled above the elbows, blue and green being seen without a colour in between and single breasted suits having all their buttons done up. Forbidden accessories will definitely include braces, bow ties and berets.

Countermeasures will be categorised, allowing clients to nominate their level of risk. Elegant contracts will set precedents for signing away common law rights. To the dismay of Hurt Couture’s left wing founders, this will quickly spill into the industrial relations arena.

Countermeasure severity will be expressed in ‘hurts’ (microhurts, millihurts, megahurts, gigahurts and terahurts). In a confusing nomenclature, ‘killerhurts’ will be reserved for terminal countermeasures. Mired in a non-metric system, US consumers will drop like flies until instructions are translated into their archaic terminology.

Spectacular garments like gowns and dance costumes will carry the gravest countermeasures – particularly if designed for high profile events. Television industry awards will consequently suffer numerous embarrassments.

Garments will be both solar powered and able to harness static electricity. State-of-the-art sensors, microprocessors and nanobots will put the price of even a tie beyond the reach of average wage earners.

All countermeasure sequences will begin with a warning, allowing reasonable time to either cease committing the fashion crime or leave the scene.

Electrical countermeasures will comprise audio and visual messages, lights, alarms and shocks. The common mistake of putting on odd socks will be countered by a friendly warning (‘microhurt’).

Chemical countermeasures will involve garment discolouration and self-destruction as well as acid irritation and injury. A white suit worn in sufficiently poor taste will generally dye itself piebald or corrode its owner’s wrists (‘megahurt’).

Mechanical countermeasures will include garment tightening and self destruction, cutting and pricking and emetic or poison injection. Any lapse of concentration at a fashion event will swiftly lead to incapacitating illness and/or the rending of every stitch (‘terahurt’).

Hurt Couture’s logo will be prominent and actively lit on every creation. Inside, fibre optics will feed a powerful central processing unit. Depletion or compromise of any countermeasure mechanism will disable the glowing scissors, defeating the purpose of wearing the item.

For safety reasons, pregnant women will be prevented from wearing Hurt Couture by hormone sensors. At least one dancing queen will watch her logos short circuit as she conceives atop the boom boxes at a three-day rave after a heated encounter behind the vegieburger tent.

Hurt Couture will capture public imagination and become a killer brand. Though industry bodies like The Cotton Board will strive to influence directives, consumers will reject their obvious self-interest and cling more firmly to ‘source’ dictates.

Vain people will become addicted to the brand and wear nothing else. By refusing to cover the risk, insurers will trigger mass policy cancellations – negating the effect of government rebates and dealing the industry a well-deserved kick in the teeth.

There will be no website; word of mouth and reportage will do everything. Production will be subcontracted under strict licence to accredited manufacturers. International standards like ISO 9001 will be rewritten to incorporate Oskar and Vivienne’s visionary ideas as to what really constitutes a quality organisation.

Ruined clothes will be refitted as clients try again and again to wear them correctly. This repeat business will create exponential growth of such magnitude that Hurt Couture will single-handedly revitalise the Australian dollar.

A leading footwear juggernaut will try to knock off company designs. Hundreds of Vietnamese children will die in a factory explosion as unscrupulous directors seek to minimise countermeasure substrate costs.

In a desperate bid to reclaim market share, a Swedish homewares firm will purchase the right to produce a complementary range of ‘Hurt Furniture’. Its first product will be a banana lounge that delivers high-tension piano wire wounds to incautious recumbents. Insufficient field-testing, however, will result in a string of gruesome self-assembly accidents.

Death by deliberately induced fashion crisis will account for a statistically relevant proportion of suicides.

Charities will forbid donation of Hurt Couture garments, owing to the high risk of injury to recipients.

Representatives from the bondage and discipline community will lobby Hurt Couture to create garments that punish wearers who look GOOD. Vivienne will decline to produce a range, but concede to re-engineer bespoke items.

One day a crowd will accost Oskar in the street, demanding to know what right he has to decide who wears his designs. Oskar will be deeply troubled by this and will rationalise that while he has no moral mandate he is, like a lawyer or accountant, entitled to choose his clients.

This will not sit well and he will continue to be agitated until he discusses the issue with Vivienne over an impertinent Verdelho. She will suggest they expand their range to include styles suitable for all body types, with the aim of making everyone on the planet look their best.

As the sun sets over their cliff-top studio, the partners will agree that if, despite this accommodation, some paedophilic scoutmaster still insists on cramming his fat arse into their beloved Lurex ‘Marching Boy’ hotpants, he deserves everything they can dish out.

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

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