This picture on Go Fug Yourself today brought back many entertaining memories about my old office mate in Singers.
A bit of background: he taught experimental film at the college (if I had trouble teaching basic 2D and clay animation, I cannot imagine the woes he had teaching this subject).
He would encourage the poor Singaporeans to bury their film stock outside, splash on Ribena, vinegar and even piss to ‘explore the wonderful, elemental texture of Film’. Then turn off all the lights in the office, project the film and make us appreciate Every. Single. Frame.
He would develop completely inappropriate crushes on all kinds of staff members, then try to fob them off onto other people. Like me, for example. He tried to set me up with one velvet-eyed gent by flattering me: “He LOVES big women. His girlfriend’s a plus-size model in the States, you know.”
He was in love with my friend who used to live in the apartment opposite his, with facing kitchens. He told me that when she looked at him, it was “a look of love, and admiration I think”. She told me she would look out of her kitchen window and think: “who is that creepy guy? Why does he keep looking at me like that?”
He told me about his trip to Tasmania, where he addressed a society of unsuspecting Super-8 lovers. He wandered lonely as a cloud along a forested highway, and hitched a lift with some kindly strangers. Spying a large gum tree from afar, he commanded them to stop the car. Leaping into the bush, he cast aside all his clothes, climbed up into its heights and nestled in its branches. Then sat there awhile, taking photos. Apparently the kindly strangers thought he was fantastic.
One time I was bailed up for a full 45 minutes in his apartment, to critique his 5-minute movie. I could not escape until I had considered it from every moral, emotional, spiritual, textual and visual angle. He took down every word I said in a dog-eared notebook.
I once overheard him hotly defending the right for his students to film outside a military installation, by telling Colonel Whoever that ‘the cameras were facing the other way’. Then demanding that the military return the confiscated footage.
It was through him that I met Annie the Buddhist Clairvoyant, a story for a whole other blog post.
He used to have an alter-ego called ‘film boy’. There was a photo of this on our office door. He’d fashioned a scanty loincloth made of Super-8 film strips, which he wore with a large headdress. Despite the scantiness of the loincloth, he felt that it was best to be unfettered, and wore it sans jocks. He would spring this disguise upon unsuspecting students, friends and visitors to his flat. I have two independent witnesses to the fact. Someone should set him up with this woman I think.