Blade Runner

London is crowded and full of party. Halloween season is in full swing. The streets are thronged with smiling drunk zombies, kissing vampires, serial killers, Donald Trumps, minotaurs, Rick and Mortys. All the things you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley. Every year it gets bigger in this town. Halloween is a huge party in America but was never such a big deal in good old reserved blighty. I remember being surprised three years ago when I was in small town Texas for Halloween. Every door was dressed in town. I ended up at my first and only ever frat party. Hundreds of bewildered men (and some women) with toilets on their heads or blood on their faces, leering and shouting in the direction of an improvised sound system in a garden – going it large.

We had come prepared with boxes of beer. Turns out that beer was a scarce commodity. One of our number swapped two cans for a small bag of weed and the obligatory “oh my god you’re English” conversation. After that, people were regularly coming to barter for beer with the English Shakespeare people. Word got around we had booze. Beer for conversation, beer for poetry… we had to check people’s ID so we didn’t get into trouble as we were being employed out there.

At one point some guy pressed a pill into my hand. “Here just take it.” “What is it?” “Does it matter?” “YES!” “It’s cocaine.” “You’ve made a cocaine pill?” “I just want a beer.” “Have a beer then, you lunatic, and take your cocaine pill and… well yes, I suppose shoving it up there is a viable option… but not for me. I’m flying tomorrow. Here’s your beer.” These guys weren’t kids either. They were full grown. We left early, the party was bigger than us. Plus the cold air was blowing in, even in Texas.

It’s a whole hell of a lot colder in London. I wish I was in Texas right now in terms of the temperature.

I broke a lazy day because I really wanted to see Blade Runner. I loved the original for its alienation effect. For the fact that the world felt complete but we only saw a slash of it and had to read between the lines. I won’t spoiler the new one as far as possible. But I’ll say that considering Vangelis wasn’t on the soundtrack, whoever has taken the baton did well keeping the soundscape consistent. I’m surprised it wasn’t the man himself considering his work was mirrored. That original soundtrack is a true work of art.

Also worth saying that it’s an extremely compelling and beautiful big screen movie. I’m thrilled I saw it in the cinema. They’ve made that world so well and the story is compelling throughout. It’s great. Depressingly it’s a patriarchal future vision, where women’s bodies are still commodified. But for the genre, women are much better represented that usually, and there are lots of valuable conversations and questions about agency and consciousness threading through it.

Halloween itself is just around the corner. The doors of my neighbors and local pubs are festooned with disposable plastic guff that will give momentary pleasure and then get thrown into landfill.

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I’ll get some sweets in just in case they ring my bell, and if any of them ask me what my Halloween costume is, I’ll tell them I’m a replicant.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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