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11 May 2004

From the Dept of Conspiracy Theories: I went to the theatre last night (okay, a divagation, from the Dept of Contrasts: I went to the theatre on Friday night, to see the Dance Theatre of Harlem - who I always think of as the National Dance Theatre of Harlem, which is just a mindslip, but actually it feels kind of fitting - and they were marvellous, magical, an extraordinary evening; and then last night it was Footloose, a musical version of the movie with Kevin Bacon, and - well, not marvellous, not magical, not at all extraordinary. A song íní dance show about a town where youíre not allowed to sing and dance - they could have had so much fun with that, but I think they failed to spot the irony. Certainly I failed to spot any use of irony. Mílearned friend went home at half time; I stuck it out. Not exactly grimly - hey, itís still a musical, young people strutting their stuff for my entertainment, there are compensations - but stoically for sure) and I came home and unlocked my door to find that only one of the locks was actually locked. Which is weird, peculiar, because it is my absolute habit to lock them both. And I shrug, and come upstairs, and find that a favourite picture has fallen off the wall in my office, where itís been hanging for the last eight years. Much broken glass and mess. And okay, this is just coincidence, you need a third element to say itís enemy action - but oh, the temptation, the vision of the govt agents picking my locks, sneaking up here by torchlight, going to plant a bug behind the picture and knocking it off the wall, no time to fix anything, just get the hell out of there and forget to work the bottom lock as they go... Itís so easy. This is how paranoia begins. When I was a young man, half my radical friends were convinced their phones were bugged, Ďcos they got all these clicks and buzzes on the line, and hey, they belonged to CND, yíknow...? Even then, I tended to put it down to cheap phones and bad connections, but it must be such fun to be a believer, to see causal links where I only see casual happenstance. At least I get to do it professionally, though; this is how a novelist works, building connections between ideas and events and emotions, constructing a textual web. Conspiracy Theories íRí Us, really.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2004
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.