Sunday, 3 January 2010
Elvis and Ellis
I wrote an essay on 'Less Than Zero' and bought the album 'Trust' as part of my research. However, most people on my MA programme did not share my enthusiasm and disregarded the book as nilhlistic and dated. Back then I viewed it as a period piece like 'The Catcher In The Rye'. But rereading it now, I realise that the youth culture explored in the book is not so removed from the present. MTV back in the 1980s has exploded into the easy access of Youtube. 1980s amoralism and early 21st century paranoia induce the same political apathy and numbness. Answering machine messages are now text messages, tweets and status updates. Teenagers will always be the outsiders. Or perhaps we are all teenagers now, ensnared in a technological web of our own making.
I contributed three more flash fiction pieces for City of Shared Stories KL, both inspired by Ellis and Elvis: 'Clubland' is gathered from a series of late nights (not all experienced by me), 'Less Than Kosong' ('kosong' is Malay for zero) and 'Malaysian Psycho' were written as parodies nine years ago. I was unaware at the time that the parodies were to become observations of Malaysian society. The Patrick Bateman character in 'Malaysian Psycho' was originally called Patrick Budirman.
For the uninitiated, check out this online Bret Easton Ellis resource http://notanexit.net/
For Elvis Costello uninitiates, listen to, 'The Very Best Of'.