A Paris Story

‘Somebody came and sat next to Alice, on her right. Not that the place was filling up. The rows before her were still empty. Had he just entered? Perhaps he had been there all along in the dark somewhere behind her. She glanced at him. He was young, North African, no older than her son. She stiffened, clutched at the arm-rests, making to move away. But his eyes in the half-light were wide and afraid, staring at her. And how young he was. She felt he had fled to her. Should she then flee from him? She turned to face the screen again and before long sensed that he had done the same. So they sat side by side as though they had arrived together or met there by arrangement, watching the woman’s strangely, beautifully troubling film. Alice sank again into the dread that at any moment something would happen that she would not be able to avoid seeing or ever rid her mind of afterwards. And all the while she felt the boy close by her, staring fixedly ahead and trembling. She sensed, she could even smell, his undiminished fear.’

Every time I read one of David Constantine‘s short stories I feel a kind of breathlessness. Afterwards, sometimes for days on end, I’m astounded and have to keep going back, over and over, trying to work out how and why. This excerpt is from ‘A Paris Story’ in Under the Dam and other stories published by the wonderful Comma Press, of course.

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quarenta anos

Jonas Savimbi, Agostinho Neto, Holden Roberto

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“images simulated, sequences shortened”

Times Square, October 2015 51 (2)

Demo TSq, October 2015 52

ad tsq, October 2015 61

Cowboy Cop, October 2015 55

Photographs, my own. Times Square, New York, October 2015

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astonishing things in 1977

“Rust organized a writers conference at New College, in Sarasota. It was 1977, I believe. Astonishingly, he got William Gaddis and William Gass to come and actually confer with students.”


Photo by Anne Dalton

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the hedge

‘The hedge must have swallowed it, man. It swallowed it I tell you.’

‘Swallowed what?’

‘Oh, madam, our tennis ball. We’re looking for our tennis ball.’

‘Playing tennis out here, are you?’

‘That’s right, miss.’

‘Without tennis racquets? Do you think I was born yesterday? A tennis ball!’

‘Have you got it? Did you take it? Can we have it back?’

‘What? Your tennis ball? I’ve got loads of tennis balls. I can give you one if you want.’

‘Your hedge has swallowed it miss. It’s swallowed it.’

‘I can give you one if you want.’

‘We were smokin’ it miss. We’re respectful. But the hedge has swallowed it.’

‘It likes a smoke.’

‘We can’t find it. It’s gone. If you find it, miss, will you give it back?’

‘I might.’

‘Don’t smoke it will you miss?’

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at the museum II

MOMA lady 2

At the Met, New York, October 2015.

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to the museum I

Moma lady

“Fuck you, Van Gogh! Look at me!” At the Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 2015.

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