Axolotls are salamander-like creatures that can regrow their limbs, jaws and even spines. DBC Pierre on why he is collaborating on a symphony inspired by the creatures he once kept as pets.
By DBC Pierre
Kismet – don’t knock it. I mean the little flurries of coincidences and symbols that seem to herald approaching change. I’ve been informally watching the dynamics of change for as long as I can remember. It seems to me change comes in clusters, and its triggers seem to fire independently and simultaneously, mostly in areas of life already pregnant with something: anything from a death to an unexpected success or an unforeseen setback.
Take the infuriating fairground game Penny Falls, where you feed coins into a slot and they drop onto a moving ledge of other pennies, forever on the verge of falling. It’s like that: energies, purposeful or not, gather and gather and eventually reach a critical mass, at which point a trigger sets them all falling.
I’ve also found that change-clusters send a signature up-front: a notice of impending change. A couple of pennies fall in advance, and you can see the area of pressure they fell from. This is how change seems to work. My first novel, Vernon God Little, came from watching the signature of a high-school massacre. The matter of affluent teens exploding was about to arrive, the culture was overheated, and these were the first pops – and it did arrive, and arrived to stay. Likewise, I sketched the setting of my most recent book, Lights Out in Wonderland, an allegory of late capitalism, when times were booming; but it was clear, once banks started giving loans to people without incomes, that the pennies were ready to fall.
Hence, strangely, axolotls. Bear with me: I don’t feel it’s wishful or magical thinking to say we appear to be approaching a change in the very foundation of thought about life and the universe. The pennies are stacking up. The signatures have appeared in the last year. I feel the kismet like the drawing-back of the tide before a tsunami. Towards a sudden time when the internet seems as baroque as wax-sealed parchment. Cancer treatment as dumb as being bled. Our notion of space as arcane as the flat earth.
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