“An old-time jazz band had started playing, greeted with much applause. Harry Stone performed a brief hairy-legged cakewalk, his eyes sad and grim. Nigger could be heard barking in the distance, presumably locked up in some lavatory. The trousers, Edwin found, were too short: a lot of sock was visible. Still, they would have to do. The jazz band, having given each instrument a virtuoso chorus, now crashed into its shipwreck climax with every man for himself. Teenage screams laced with applause. Harry Stone went back to his twin, and Edwin watched from the wings the turn that followed. A sloppy young man was greeted with ecstasy. He sang of teenage love, how that and that alone was the real thing, and how life ended at twenty. He treated the microphone as a very thin teenage girl and, after bestowing various caresses upon it, he threw it to the floor and lay on the long rod of the stand, kiss-singing into the mouthpiecewhile his body made perceptible rutting movements. The girls’ screams became orgiastic, orgasmatic. An austere age, thought Edwin, an age of economy. The opulence of Tristan had once been required to produce a like effect in an older generation, though a tactile effect only.”

Posted June 25, 2003

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