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. Her plays include Beaver, Trout Stanley and The Gwendolyn Poems, which was nominated for the Governor General’s Award and the Trillium Award. Her novels are “Stunt” (‘deeply weird and totally beautiful’ according to Time Out Chicago) and "Heartbreaker" ('a dark star of a novel' according to Lauren Groff). 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.’ More Claudia Dey here.