Miserable Spirit

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Excerpt from Applied Ballardianism: A Theory of Nothing

“After a morning of museums, I was bored and restless. I caught the quaint tram to the beach at Scheveningen, a northern district of Den Haag. Although this seaside strip attracts ten million visitors a year, the weather was inclement that day and there were just a few souls wandering up and down the long, thin beach. I walked to the end of the once-famous pleasure pier. It was deserted. Pleasure piers, such as the famous pier at Brighton in England, have always instilled a deep melancholy in me. Their decrepit state in the modern era is in sharp contrast to their lost function as repositories of amusement and fun-filled dreams, and their sad projection into the sea is a baleful invitation to immersion in an unknown dimension of time. The Scheveningen pier seemed especially forlorn, with old, rotting rafters and crumbling beams providing a dank frame for unused vending machines and gleaming posters that promoted current Hollywood blockbusters to an audience of ghosts. Repelled by the miserable spirit that infested the structure, I returned to the beach and walked east.”