Thursday, July 3, 2008
We reached the multi-storey car-park behind the air-freight buildings. I drove around the canted floors of this oblique and ambiguous building and parked in an empty bay among the cars on the sloping roof...
Twenty feet away across the empty parking bays a man with a camera sat on the bonnet of a carp parked against the concrete balcony. I recognized the tall man with the scarred forehead who had watched near the accident site near below the flyover, the doctor in white coat at the hospital....
Stanley meets Livingstone, Ballard meets Vaughan... later (need to find the reference) it also suggests that Vaughan witnessed the aftermath of Ballard's alerted to the scene from the police radio accident reports. More and more it suggests that the character Ballard somehow 'mentally dies' in the crash, that Vaughan is a psychopomp, the crash being a metaphor for a nervous breakdown, an Osirian disintegration. Remember in Atrocity Exhibition there is the chapter 'Eurydice in a used parking lot'
Eurydice was the wife of Orpheus. Orpheus loved her dearly; on their wedding day, Orpheus played songs filled with happiness as his bride danced through the meadow. One day, a satyr had seen her and pursued her. According to legend, Eurydice stepped on a snake and fell to the ground. The venomous snake had bitten her, leaving Eurydice dead. Distraught, Orpheus played and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept. In their saddened states, they told him to travel to the Underworld and retrieve her. Orpheus did so, and by his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone, his singing so sweet that even the Erinyes wept.'
Recently I have seen Ballard describe 'Crash' as a Psychopathic Hymn... perhaps he is hinting that it relates to the songs of Orpheus as he searches for his dead wife.... Again emphasising that Crash is in fact a tragedy about the psychopathological possibilities at every intersection of our daily lives. What most people refuse to admit in their criticism of Crash is that the language rendered by Ballard's genius is perversely beautiful, matched only in terms of outrage perhaps by Mirbeau's botanically infused cruelties in "Torture Garden"
Indeed there is a definite Pauline echo in the sudden and meaningless chance meeting of Ballard and the dead husband of Dr. Remmington, in the myth of Eurydice's snake bite in the meadow...
"Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape" 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5
Is there not a road safety, clunk-clink, think once think bike (or bite!), Public Infomation Film like quality to Paul's apocalyptic advertisement copy...
and as the 1st world war poet William Hodgson wrote so prophetically two days before he died:
I, on that on my familiar hill
Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of Thy sunsets spill
Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
Ere the sun swings his noonday sword
Must say goodbye to all of this;
By all delights that I shall miss,Help me to die, O Lord.