26-08-2016 Dubai - I am a copy of a copy of a copy

When you arrive to Cape Town's airport domestic terminal, there are a series of billboards of an investment bank that is promoting safe and responsible asset portfolio management. Most of the pictures are about people coming from different backgrounds and professions, sweating, exhausting and bleeding to achieve some conform or life status. One of the billboards' includes a picture of a young male working alone in an empty office. All the city is sleeping. The  person is there finishing some kind of work on top of a deadline.


I worked many times like the man in the picture. A recurring repetitive pattern in the knowledge era we live.


Music is that piece of art that I like to hear time and time again, contrary to books or movies, that I shelve, once I read or watch it. I particular enjoy song versions.


During the 80's, the music industry created a new revenue source, the 12" extended play mixes. In the beginning, those versions were merely black vinyl fillers, but afterwards, some of the remixes sounded better that the album, driven by the constraint of the 3 minutes and a half radio playlist slot. On my way to Dubai, I stumbled in a live version of Alien Sex Fiend - Dead and re-buried. That song contains a minimalist 3 tone baseline beat, produced by a drum machine, that was invented by a punk music band called Suicide and was used or reinterpreted by other bands like Soft Cell, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Nitzer Ebb, DAF and lately by M.I.A. in a song named Born Free.


When I fly, there is another repetition phenomenon. Watching others passengers movies. Flying bores me rotten. The announcements, the trolleys, the cheap wine and licor, the chicken curry and beef stroganoff. The partner sitting at your side that is afraid of sharing story worth listening to. Selling entertainment is what an air commute become to be. Once most of the movie selection is not appealing, I enjoy watching other passengers screens for some minutes. When I travel week after week in the same airline, the blockbusters are all over the screens. With some luck, I can watch during the flight, the same scene with some delay a hand full of times. This can be repeated in the inbound flight and during the weeks after, until the movie is offered as part of the catalogue.


Sometimes, I watch others passengers behavior. At this years birthday friends lunch, we were talking about peoples sex fantasies. There is one I like to give as an example - considered my many as dirty and disgusting - which is to put a woman's foot inside the mouth of the man and pour a bottle of champagne in the leg and let the man drink it trough the dripping process. A classic. What is the dirtiness of this act? It is for the fact of putting on someone's cavity a human organ full of filth? What about oral sex? Isn't that dirty enough? I remember during on of my passenger scanning's, a woman on her mid forties was sited in the next row. She looked clumsily. The clothes slightly worn out - a consequence of South African clothes detergent that are as aggressive to stains as with colours. The hair was a mess. She wore sandals. The heels were chapped. She cleaned the toes nails with her hands, over and over, she removed the dust and the dirt between the toes and proceed to the finger nails. Ultimately ended up in the nasal passages. Everything tidy and clean, ready to eat the beef with couscous.


I arrived in Dubai and I sat alone at the office, like the man in the billboard picture. The only noise it could be perceived was the hum of the water cooler compressor. There I was, again, creating some kind of piece of vision presentation for a customer that will turn out into a million dollar proposal award. We are always copying, even if we sware we will not repeat the experience again.



The title of  this post was stolen from the lyrics of a Nine Inch Nails song called "Copy of a".

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