Mark Harrington

chapbooks: "Residue"




A selection from Residue

From: Mark Harrington


I will now explain what I'm doing with the current writing project, and I hope to include the following as the actual preface of the book.

I am writing a string of loosely-linked anecdotal accounts of my recent experiences and musings. I am leaving out all names (where possible) to create a fairly anonymous feel (closer to autobiographical fiction than journal entries). The paragraphs will be interspersed with unedited short sections from actual e-mail messages I have been sent. These will be inserted with regard to maintaining the continuity, so each will relate to the preceding paragraph in some way. The common themes of the writing are: retro-80s music; beaches & nightclubs; residue or left-overs of our lives. All these relate, really, because retro music is a left-over, and it's heard in nightclubs, etc.

The very inclusion of private e-mail without the authors' permission forces the issue of information on the internet. It won't be edited, but I've been careful to take quotes out of context to preserve the identity of the speaker.


Calgary also brought the amusing tale of the brain cancer hotel room. I suspected something was up when we were given such a cheap deal on the room at the Travelodge which was booked solid. Myself and two friends were staying in the room. After the air conditioner had run ineffectively all afternoon, we turned it off in the evening upon returning to the room, only to hear a humming noise. "What is that?" I went about turning off lights and fiddling with switches to stop the buzzing. We asked the "room service" guy in the hall what was causing the hum. "You're next to the electrical room," he explained. "Is that also why it's so hot in here?" I asked. "Yes". We agreed that he was honest, and that the chances of getting brain cancer from sleeping with our heads against the electrical room wall were quite high. We agreed to run the air conditioning that night to cloak the sound of the generator. Ignorance is bliss. One of the room occupants that night also has a conspiracy theory involving cellular phones, brain cancer, and a phone company determined to destroy us all, but I'll leave that to him to relate. Perhaps in e-mail.

So I hope you are on the dance floor this very minute dancing to the fresh vibes of the 1980's - the classic decade of fantastic totally amazing music. Here I am at UBC e-mailing you this evening when I know I should be at the Rage.

©1996 Mark Harrington

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