2020 Edition Three

Page 22



Charlotte Armstrong

Note: As this reporter has a personal vendetta against known pretentious wanker T.S. Eliot, all literary allusions will be explained in footnotes like so1.


ublishers globally are preparing for the true pandemic that will follow social isolation — the flood of vanity project2 novel drafts. With a deluge of unfettered hubris expected to hit submissions inboxes, publishing veterans have begun preparing the way they know best: stockpiling tea, chocolate and copious amounts of alcohol. What drives someone into taking the dramatic and unnecessary step of attempting to write the next “bestselling” novel? “I just thought the timing was right,” said a soggy croissant of a man, unprompted by anyone within the allotted safe social distance. “This pandemic has truly taught me the limits of human suffering, and now I feel ready to create a masterpiece.” When asked whether it was the massive loss of life, socioeconomic effects, or even emotional isolation that prompted this declaration, the pit-stain of humanity replied, “What are you on about? My Wi-Fi is down, so I’m embracing my Byronic3 En-noo-ee.”4 While creativity should always be supported, hesitant caution is offered to people who believe the only requirement of novel writing is being able to construct a sentence. This sentiment is echoed in the editorial team’s howling at the sheer gusto it takes to believe that yet another novel about a newly-divorced man “finding himself ”, then marrying the character equivalent of a female cardboard cut-out is, by anyone’s standards, revolutionary. Publishers are hoping this epidemic of completely unwarranted chutzpah will spread beyond the printing press straight into the online realm, where they can go back to ignoring it. BREAKING — It appears this epidemic of vanity projects is not limited to the written word, with music streaming services straining under the number of self-published artists releasing covers of songs, such as the 44,568,364,127th cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. More to follow.



3 4


T.S. Eliot wrote The Waste Land, a bullshit poem whose primary purpose was to use a series of classist, elitist references to accuse the ‘lower classes’ of degrading society. Audience members will be familiar with this concept if they have ever heard anyone in their life say meaningless blather like “Oh, I’d totally write a great novel if only I had the time” or “I’ve been working on a story that’ll put me up there with the greats” or the far more sinister “You sound just like a character for a novel I’m writing about a man’s journey to find himself ” as if the only prerequisite for sounding like a character from a novel is to express one opinion at any stage in your life. Lord Byron is the father of Ada Lovelace, whose understanding of mathematics helped build the first computer. Oh, and Byron wrote some poetry. Ennui (pronounced EHN-oui or AHN-oui) — a state of dramatic boredom and longing, such as staring into the fridge for the fifth time in a day waiting for new food to just manifest itself.

Illustration by Bethany Cherry

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