Saturday 8 April 2017

Mary Stephen - A durassienne moment in Singapore

... a local version of a durassienne setting ... an old-fashioned fan turning overhead, a colonial villa shuttering out intense daylight and a sleepless night, a veranda that stretches 'round the whole floor of the structure so that perhaps some nameless lover could escape into the tropical greens in the back while the other equally nameless but legiti-mate came in the front door (durassienne did I say) ... writhing mysterious bee-flies in their death throes somewhere on the bathroom floor or the wide antique table ...
in the back garden, in the middle of sumptuous greens, a number in the series is missing, bombed by the attacking army planes, while the garden pushing up from the remains sometimes yields old bones belonging to some poor 40-something caucasian bugger (the analysis report comes back saying) ... further down, it was the occupier's cemetery long bombed by its own military on the eve of defeat, tactic to be sure that its nationals wouldn't suffer humiliation even in death at the hands of the previous occupiers their prize recaptured. All these stories in a night with young talents, young dignitaries, young bourgeoisie as young bourgeoisie anywhere rubbing the borrowed glamour of art like some vintage perfume on their wrist, many thoughts about art and money, insects and trees, satay and chilled wines, Duras and beauty, age and wisdom, daughters and mothers, sons and lovers, ghosts and shells, and pragmatic thoughts on a project proposal to finish writing, a film to finish restructuring, 3 borders to cross before getting home ... and so on and so on ...

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