Now oddly enough, "The Role of the Elevator in Contemporary Culture" was the topic of last night's public talk in the Wigglesworth Lounge at the Old Entomologist. Scheduled by head barmaid Evangeline van Holsterin on short notice instead of the regular evening of 'Pentastomidae reclassification and spilt beer puddles which look like political caricatures'.
"It will be educational," she informed us; "you loonies might learn something. At any rate there will be less bad language and broken glass."
"The S-word is hardly bad language these days," Another Kiwi vouchsafed.
"He who lives by the s-word will die by the s-word," tigris opined, staring pointedly at Swearing Bob.
"Excitement in the cause of invertebrate taxonomy is no crime," I said.
"Neither is charging interest on the Riddled bar tab," said Evangeline, and upon reflection we decided against pursuing the point any further.
----------------------------------------------------In fact it was an interesting talk; speaker Greenish Hugh had certainly done his homework. He soldiered on like a trouper even when his computer and Powerpoint presentation reverted to an overhead projector and a stack of acetate slides respectively.* As Keats once remarked to Chapman, "He who acetates is lost".
So we learned that elevators are a key component of Modernity. Without them there would be no highrise apartments or offices or vertical distance between corporate headquarters and hoi polloi. Their status in culture is central, valorised.
at least half-a-dozen -- "
"Schindler's List doesn't count," tigris argued.
"Usually there are muffins after these things," said AK.
" -- versus approximately 0.00 horror movies about escalators."
"Thomas Disch wrote a story..." AK remembered.
"Shut up," I vouchsafed.
Hipgnosis cover art doesn't countGreat Chaotic of Rome**... some transgressions even Borges could not get away with.
And now, heaven forfend, the technocrats have found an excuse to demolish the Life-shaft to Nowhere! They claim it is an earthquake risk!
Fritz Leiber has reviewed another episode of one technocrat's crusade against purely ludic architecture (in the cause of efficiency and mental hygiene). Reassuringly, events close with Carrsbury's departure to a peaceful place far away where he will be no danger either to himself or to others:
"The thought never crossed our minds," I assured her, slipping the spare key to AK.
* AK had been running the Morphogenic Flux Intensifier programmed with P.K. Dick's "Ubik", with the wholly predictable outcome that technology in the neighbourhood underwent an entropic degradation to earlier and simpler forms.
** "This noble edifice, which to some seemed a sphere, to others an ovoid, and to the reactionary a shapeless mass, and whose materials ran the gamut from marble to cow dung, consisted essentially of truncated bridges, of spiral staircases that gave access to impenetrable walls, of balconies to which entrance was impossible, and of doors than opened either into pits or into high, narrow rooms from whose ceilings soft armchairs and comfortable double beds hung upside down. Nor was there any lack of concave mirrors."