A majority of the camera and sound and make-up crew are female, but a lot of these, too, have a similar look: 30ish, makeupless, insouciantly pretty, wearing faded jeans and old running shoes and black T-shirts, and with lush well-conditioned hair tied carelessly out the way so that strands tend to escape and trail and have to be chuffed out of the eyes periodically or brushed away with the back of a ringless hand – in sum, the sort of sloppily pretty tech-savvy young woman you can just tell smokes pot and owns a dog. Most of these hands-on technical females have that certain expression around the eyes that communicates the exact same attitude communicated by the somebody’s use of the phrase “Been there, done that.” At lunch several of them won’t eat anything but bean curd, and they make it clear that they don’t regard certain grips’ comments about what bean curd looks like as in any way worthy of response. One of the technical women, the production’s still-photographer – whose name is Suzanne and is fun to talk to about her dog – has on the inside of her forearm a tattoo of the Japanese character for “strength,” and she can manipulate her forearm’s muscles in such a way as to make the ideogram bulge Nietzscheanly out and then recede. A lot of the script people and wardrobe people and production assistants are also female, but they’re of a different genus – younger, less lean and more vulnerable, without the technically savvy self-esteem of the camera/sound women. As opposed to the hands-on woman’s weltschmerzian cool, the script and P.A. females all have the same pained “I-went-to-a-really-good-college-and-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life” look in their eyes, the sort of look where you know that if they’re not in twice-a-week therapy it’s only because they can’t afford it.
- David Foster Wallace, David Lynch Keeps His Head, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Aagin
And it came to him then, as clearly and as certainly as if he had been watching it on the big screen at the Odean, Leicester Square: the rest of his life. He would go home tonight with the girl from Computer Services, and they would make gentle love, and tomorrow, it being Saturday, they would spend the morning in bed. And then the would get up, and together they would remove his possessions from the packing cases, and put them away. In a year, or a little less, he would marry the girl from Computer Services, and get another promotion, and they would have two children, a boy and a girl, and the would move out to the suburbs, to Harrow or Croydon or Hampstead or even as far away as distant Reading.
And it would not be a bad life. He knew that, too. Sometimes there is nothing you can do.
- Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere
When does it start?
There are very few starts. Oh, some things seem to be beginnings. The curtain goes up, the first pawn moves, the first shot is fired* – but that’s not the start. The play, the game, the war is just a little window on a ribbon of events that may extend back thousands of years. It’s always a case of Now Read On.
Much human ingenuity has gone into finding the ultimate Before.
The current state of knowledge can be summarized thus:
In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.
*Probably at the first pawn.
- Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies
Now the brave actions of a coward are very valuable in psychological novels and are always extremely valuable to the man who performs them, but they are not valuable to the public who, season in and season out, pay to see a bullfighter. All they do is give that bullfighter a seeming value which he does not have.
- Ernest Hemingway, Death In The Afternoon
One can argue that, in the end, the British Empire did Britain surprisingly little good. Other European countries that had pathetic or nonexistent empires, such as Italy, have recently surpassed England in standard of living and other measure of economic well-being. Scholars of economic history have worked up numbers suggesting that Britain spent more on maintaining its empire than it gained from exploiting it. Whether or not this is the case, it is quite obvious from looking at the cable-laying industry that the Victorian practice of sending British people all over the planet is now paying them back handsomely.
- Neal Stephenson, Mother Earth Mother Board.
I felt despair. The word’s overused and banalified now, despair, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. For me it denotes a simple admixture – a weird yearning for death combined with a crushing sense of my own smallness and futility that presents as a fear of death. It’s maybe close to what people call dread or angst. But it’s not these things, quite. It’s more like wanting to die in order to escape the unbearable feeling of becoming aware that I’m small and weak and selfish and going without any doubt at all to die.
- David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again