Claudia Dey

Alone With A Friend In The Absence Of Hipness


Paul Linklater, “Sleepwalker” (2008)

Initially it’s the falsetto, the desolate choir of his voice singing to all the girls in hospital gowns walking the shoulder of the highway. And then it is the utter homemade-ness of the thing. Too often, the Internet is some modern creep who does nothing but advertise for dog food and bikinis turning whatever tenuous insularity you have into strobe lights and billboards. The modern creep wears a turquoise suit and he steals you just as you are getting to the real or realer thing.

By contrast, “Sleepwalker” makes me feel I am alone in a basement with my best friend in grade eight while he allows me into his private weirdness. He asks me to hold the camera while deciding to have a blue balloon for a face. And he consults with me about his crude psychedelia of graphics. And then the cat walks through the frame. And then we joke about his hat for rice farming while he makes more coffee because we want to feel high all of the time even if this means glue, markers, crushes and nutmeg.

I love the total absence of hipness. And at the end, the bright pastels are surely some topographical map of a volcano or an offer of oblivion. Then for a moment we get a glimpse of our creator before the blue balloon flies up again and takes his face like a decision made by a primitive god.

- Claudia Dey

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Claudia Dey is a novelist, playwright and columnist. She writes the weekly ‘Group Therapy’ column for the Globe and Mail, and during its brief but illustrious life, Claudia also wrote the sex column for Toro magazine under the pseudonym Bebe O’Shea. Her plays have been translated into French and German and produced internationally. They include Beaver, Trout Stanley and The Gwendolyn Poems, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Award. Her debut novel, “Stunt,” has been praised by – among others – the Globe and Mail, Quill and Quire and Time Out Chicago, which called it ‘deeply weird and totally beautiful.’ The Toronto Star, in its description of Dey’s writing, said ‘It’s as if poet Anne Carson and satirist Mordecai Richler accidentally collided at a drunken PEN fundraiser to produce a mischievous, magical and observant girl-child.’