Fictionalised Excretions

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Photo of the author by Michael Shaw, circa 2000.

Excerpt from Applied Ballardianism: A Theory of Nothing

“Throughout my postgraduate years, I eked out a meagre living as a sessional tutor in the Centre for Comparative Media Studies at Chadstone University, one of Melbourne’s less prestigious tertiary institutions. Of course, after detonating my PhD, there was no more work for me as a failed postgrad. I signed on for unemployment benefits and spent my days drinking, clubbing and writing sub-Ballardian fiction, for I was still in thrall to Ballard’s benign influence, yet no longer had recourse to an academic structure within which to exorcise it.

Let me be clear: these fictionalised excretions could hardly be called ‘stories’, more accurately stream-of-consciousness drivel, acutely mortifying as I recall them now, that poached superficially Ballardian elements and molested them like a teenager bursting blackheads. At their core was a narrator who engaged in bestiality on the median strips of freeways, watched by bored passengers in onrushing motor vehicles.

Instead of giving papers on Ballard at important cultural studies conferences around the world, as I had begun to do in my former life, I chose to read my demented fictional leavings at spoken-word events around Melbourne to embarrassed silence every time.

On and on it went, for I was possessed, unable to stop, despite the crushing uselessness of my efforts. I came to realise that taking leave of the academy was just the beginning, that taking leave of my senses was the logical extent.”