Excerpt from Applied Ballardianism: A Theory of Nothing…
That year, I lived in perpetual fear, divining signs everywhere of a forthcoming suburban apocalypse, like the series of Hummer billboards plastered all over the city. The angle of the photo in the billboards emphasised the car’s bulbous grille and fat tyres, evoking the gaping maw of some vicious creature raised on its hind legs, ready to strike. Any trace of human occupancy was effaced; it was all about the machine.
Was my apocalyptic mindset down to events in reality, or to the fact that 24/7 saturation news coverage made violent incidents much more visible and reportable? Whatever, inner-city Melbourne seemed increasingly lawless. Each day brought more reports of roving gangs attacking passengers on trams, of refugees bashed senseless in the street, of drunk nightclub patrons targeted for severe, sometimes deadly muggings.
I wanted to test the validity of these accounts, because, despite my righteous anger at the unwashed masses and the carnage they unleashed, I am ashamed to admit that, deep down, I was beginning to enjoy the spectacle, that I was getting off on the artificial parades of violence fanned by the media machine.