The kids like zombie movies and vampire movies. Why?

Zombies are the people of every day, up out of the grave and staggering around in all their droop-lip banality, threatening to infect them, to engulf them, to make them one of their own.  The zombie is the guy in the street, a cross-section, as it were, the people you pass every day and look down on. As Chekhov says, "There is nothing more vapid than a philistine petty bourgeois existence with its small change, provisions, vacuous conversations and useless conventional virtue."  The walking dead.

Both are diseases. If they break your skin you become one of them.

The kids fear the zombies—but they long to be vampires, to be artists, night people, exceptions, drinkers of blood.  H. L. Mencken: 
"The great artists of the world are never Puritans, and seldom even ordinarily respectable. No virtuous man—that is, virtuous in the Y.M.C.A. sense—has ever painted a picture worth looking at, or written a symphony worth hearing, or a book worth reading."

If there is romantic interest in a zombie, that means that he/she is overcoming his/her zombieness, his/her deadness. Zombies come out of death, until they rot and sink back into it. Vampires go into death, and live happily ever after. It's a class system.

Also by Robert MacLean, the "Toby" books,
Will You Please Fuck Off? at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon ITAmazon ES and Smashwords;
Foreign Matter at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon ITAmazon ES and Smashwords; 
Total Moisture at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon ITAmazon ES and Smashwords; 
and these, too,
Mortal Coil: A Comedy of Corpses at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DE, Amazon IT and Amazon ES;
The President's Palm Reader: A Washington Comedy at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon IT and Amazon ES; and
Greek Island Murder at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon IT and Amazon ES.

March Weather

Contain me, contain me, I
Would be publishable, I
Would be small and inky, I
Would plant here the seeds of a
Mode of being and become
Great. Start with death, that, though we
Grunt under it, happiest
Of facts (what other faith but
Cloys with your self pity?), then
Redescend the tunnel of
Sensation, quivering with
Spasms. You cannot pick up
An image and be it, it's
Maddening. (Love me for this,
I am brave: death is not the
Annihilation of the
Personality: life is.)
Lightly across smouldering
Memories hasten barefoot
Toward unconditional
Absolution for all that
Does not concur with this your
Straightjacket, your own arms bound
Against remissive gestures.
Strain toward ignorance of
Self, for that is your only
Dignity. Say what in my
Civilized naivety
I could lately not have said:
The solution to problems
Is to ignore them. Do I
Pirouette? Shall I be held
Still? And to what project? To
The psychiatrist I will
Give no ground, I will hold what
May not be mine, nor guess at
Its nature: reality
No longer really interests
Me, frustration's final grace.
Everything can be taken
Two ways: Up. Down. (Two keys in
This score:) Only decisions.
There are no decisions. The
Mind not a thing but an act,
Though "act", you seeWell. Quicksand.
I exonerate myself.
I exonerate myself.
Reduce the impact on me,
I would enjoy. Nothing is
Stable. Sex, impersonal,
And when it comes knocking you
Can't quarrel with the shape it
Takes. Hold what ground? You know too
Much, you can't afford a
Personality. The whole
Effort takes more tact than that.
Tiger of wrath. Criminal.
They'll put you in a cage. I
Am in a cage! OK, think.
I worry about being
A less fortunate. How could
I bear the envy? Isn't,
Though, that other happiness
Accessible to all? Not
To you. Spring may yet destroy
You, wake your impatience with
Melancholy, so wait. Tear
Up your notes. Joy outstrips all
Formulae, and will recur.
In each of these, your phases,
Unsupported, you follow?
Clean. And then there's the moodless
Mood, backstage, in control. One's
Feelings on the john taken
Against one's feelings in the
Shower. You are a blot of
Mustard, an undigested
Crumb of cheese, your intestine
Plays you like a saxaphone
Until you are reduced to
Believing in miracles.
Hang in. The trouble starts when
You stop trusting your charm. Run
The whole bluff, go ahead. You
Don't want to know who you are
(What an intolerable
Burden that would be), for to
Know nothing is ecstasy,
Though granted not sustaining.
A gentle and erotic
Life, to speak tenderly, at
One with your trajectory,
Although to live is to be mad  
You do see that. A madness
Without glamour, an unrest,
An incapability
Of exhaustion. Unclean. Let
Us not transcend life, let us
Look into its mirror and
Go fucking nuts. Let us take
Life on its terms, if such can
Be deduced, like a poem.
The beyond but mirrors life,
The wonder, the completion
(Come on, now, bring it on), for
Is goodness not moving? Can
You help but betray it? No,
Forget that. Your being has
More import than your art. I
Can't keep track of what I am
Or what I feel. I squander.
On the other hand, no steps
Need be taken. Are you with
Me? Don't try to grab your soul,
If you like. Your body too
Knows more than you. Truth hard to
Come by, overrated. A
Low tolerance for crap is
The most you have. Between these
Horns, the charging beast's forehead
Bouncing back your shells of Faith!
Innocence! Joy! I will kill
You if I catch you. Come here.
Don't you trust me? I cannot
Contain myself but I can
Contain the world, in a way.
I can't get it right. Let slide.
Pleasure and amusement, the
Only discipline left. How
I spent my time on Earth. This
Is the Arc de Triomphe. The
Future is not as closed as
It looks. You were not meant to
Be prophetic. Forget your
Body's decay, your dramas
Of digestion, your dreary
Hypnosis. Walk another
Line. Dare to be shallow. Spurn
Especially the traps of
Sentimentality, the
Forsaken's arguments, the
Entertainer's ingenious
Ways of injuring you. Is
Not the naked spectacle
Sufficiently heartbreaking?
Speak gently. All suffices.
Something to believe in would
Compromise the perfection
Of your faith. Cultivate the
Principle of minimal
Effort. You can't become real
Anyway, you've tried that. And
Thank you. Your hysterical
Attempt has persuaded me.
You will never contain me.

Also by Robert MacLean, the "Toby" books,
Will You Please Fuck Off? at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazonITAmazonES and Smashwords;
Foreign Matter at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazonITAmazonES and Smashwords; 
Total Moisture at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazonITAmazonES and Smashwords; 
and these, too,
Mortal Coil: A Comedy of Corpses at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DE, AmazonIT and AmazonES;
The President's Palm Reader: A Washington Comedy at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazonIT and AmazonES; and
Greek Island Murder at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon IT and Amazon ES.

Film Investment Strategy

Portfolio theory suggests that diversification across asset classes is an attractive way of taking some limited incremental risk for an overall higher return.

If you’re wealthy, you’ll have much of your portfolio in government bonds, quite a lot in corporate bonds, a little less in property, something less again in equity, a very little in derivatives, and a tiny amount in uncorrelated high-risk investments.
The cash in the bank is earning interest—unless it’s in a Swiss bank, in which case you’re paying them to keep it safe.  Such are our times.  You have a minimum cushion there to cover your obligations, but you want to keep moving it up the scale of risk to increase your return, and your joy.  Ah, life!

Your government bonds may be the fruit of your futures investments, but we’ll get there in a minute.

Investment-grade corporate bonds of course are issued by large companies.  From property you have income in rents.  Your equity is committed to shares in companies, and possibly film investments; the cash is no longer in the bank: it is irretrievable, and therefore high-risk.

Past this point on the chart, everything can go to zero. 

Derivatives include options and futures.  A government bond can have a future; i.e., you can bet on the price of the bond down the line without owning it; but if you hold a future you are obliged to buy that bond at a certain point in the future.  If you hold an option you have the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell at that price.

Finally, we come to uncorrelated high-risk investments.  Let us call them “derivatives plus.”  Typically they mean films and musicals.  They are uncorrelated because, if the economy fails, the safer investments can tank, but films and musicals can be hits even in a depression.  They are high-risk because they usually go zero.

Why on earth should you put money in a film?  Because the incremental risk (the extra risk, on top of what you already have), in the context of the total portfolio, is minimal.  And you give yourself the opportunity to meaningfully increase the portfolio return.  The joy.

That’s why high-risk investments exist.  It’s where the demand comes from.

All of these elements can be probability-weighted.  You could argue that the expected return in film investment should be viewed as zero.  But this fails to take into account that tail-end events can and do happen, with a frequency that cannot be correctly estimated.

If your portfolio includes 20% in equity, and 5% in option-like investments, then it can include all sorts of derivatives, as well as venture-capital funding, and investments in films and musicals.

Now, if you’re still with me, I’d like to propose something that will weigh lightly on your portfolio, and can give it joy:

I’m making a film for the looooooow budget of one hundred thousand euros, aka one hundred and thirty thousand dollars.  And I’m selling twenty shares in that budget for five thousand euros / six thousand five hundred dollars each.

Why on earth should you put five thousand euros in a film?  Well, you already know.

How can I do it so cheaply?  We’re making it in Greece, where costs are low, technicians are out of work, and actors (like actors everywhere) are ambitious enough to defer their fees (which will afterwards come out of my profit, not yours).

How can I promise you joy?  It’s a romantic thriller we’re making—the most popular, the most saleable, the most profitable genre in the world. And the story is compelling, something we’ll all be proud to be associated with. 

With a budget of that size the risk is rock-bottom—and if you’re new to film investment, it’s not a bad place to start!

A business plan, a slide show on the project with details on everyone involved, and of course the script, are available on request. There's a brief overview here, and there are some details about me here.

Call me up and we’ll chat.

Greek mobile +30 ​6980 137 483
Land +30 210 725 1596
Skype bomac007

Casanova, Come Back!

Reg’d © Library of Congress

The modern Casanova longs to settle down with one woman, but she resists him.

He’s coming to Oxbridge to give a poetry reading and speak to a few classes…

…and the girls are sort of interested!

The great lover's great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson—
(You didn’t know he was secretly married?  It happened in England—a nun who had already taken her vows, the Mother Superior outraged, powerful people to please…)
—has the same name, the same weakness for women (and they for him, or at least for his reputation), sports the same drag, and is a so-so poet on the campus circuit.
How can he get steady work as a teacher when trouble dogs him everywhere!  No one takes him seriously except as a—Except as a—
So when he arrives in Oxbridge he announces that he’s impotent.
Ah, but he’s played here before, and now his past rises up to confront him.

Proposed cast: Ulrich Thomsen (Casanova)
GIACOMO CASANOVA (“Just make it Jack”) takes advantage of his ancestor’s reputation to spice up his act as a performing poet with eighteenth-century costume, and it works on the ladies.  But what he needs is a steady job, and a life.

Proposed cast: Anna Friel (Henrietta)
He doesn’t remember her but some years earlier he had played Oxbridge and it had worked on HENRIETTA PASTORLY, now a lecturer here with a young son who speaks a private language—one that only Casanova can speak with him. Could it be…

Proposed cast: Donald Sutherland (the ghost)
The GHOST of the original Casanova haunts his great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson, criticizes his choices and kibitzes the action. No one else can see him and sometimes Casanova almost thinks he’s real.

Proposed cast: Emma Thompson (Deborah)
Chairwoman DEBORAH BLAKE, the no-nonsense head of the Oxbridge English Department, can’t help but be intrigued by Casanova’s reputation.  Or is it excited?  Or is it, as her husband suspects, in love?

Proposed cast: Dianna Rigg (Cissy)
LADY CISSY SNABE, a benefactress of the University, falls from a dangerous height into Casanova’s gallant arms, much to everyone’s relief. She’s beyond suspicion in such matters, but who is that mysterious visitor at her bedroom window?

Proposed cast: Alan Rickman (Rafe)
DEAN RAFE HARWICK’s wife and underage daughter are both in erotic trances over the arrival on campus of Casanova–and so, it turns out, is the Dean!

And the seventh character is Oxford.  Or rather Cambridge.  Let’s call it Oxbridge, as so many do.  Hell for some; heaven for others—like Jack, who could live happily ever after here as a simple lecturer.

Pretentious Pictures presents an elegant comedy.
Reg’d © Library of Congress

Attack of the Giant Feminists

(Exerpted from Will You Please Fuck Off?)

Naked, zombie-eyed, they loom over the landscape, advancing slowly, almost aimlessly, arms limp.

We fall to our knees in wonder, rabbits in the headlights of a final revelation. Their gaze excludes us.

Tall as banks they tower over us, are almost upon us. We must act or be trampled. Some of us run forward open-armed only to be flattened by the great feet. 

Their size and savor force us to rethink the line between desire and disinterest, and turn gay.
Others scatter and hide in the hills. Arms reach over the horizon, groping for us. We squirm together in crude hiding places, not daring to breathe.

Those who trust their gifts for flattery venture forward to negotiate, and are pounded down by huge fists.

We jump into our Porsches and race back to the city.
Behind us whole sections of countryside rise up as giant women, wounding our eyes with their beauty. They spread their arms and fly over us, menstruating on us until the sky is red. Their odors, which we have always understood to be natural, terrify us, and we speed on.

Under the wail of air-raid sirens we abandon our cars and crowd into the downtown trains. When we arrive the streets are already being barricaded.

They will not accept our surrender. Huge catapults are erected from which volunteers are shot into the arms of the enemy. They catch us in mid-air, wantonly suck our heads and swallow us whole.
We watch, appalled. Behind us our own women swell monstrously, bursting buildings as if being hatched, and rise against the sky.

Searchlights whirl. Huddled in a darkened bar we can see their silhouettes as they wander without, seeking what they might destroy.

On the radio they exhort us in flat, dead tones to submit. We will not be harmed, they say. We exchange looks.
A familiar calf appears in the street, and I run to the window. Carol!

Only now I have been consoling myself with thoughts of her shoulders, her proud kiss, her childish mouth—gifts I acknowledge with little gestures of passion. It hurts me that I do not install her in rooms, tell her my secrets, impregnate her. But no, the hell with that.

Now, rampage. She lurches on, unseeing.

We are calm. What has happened transcends our understanding, a thing we are used to.

Drinks are poured, rumors murmured. Brain-washing, the hot knife.

“Big,” says Chester, “sure they’re big. But they can hide in grass you wouldn’t think a cat could crouch in.”
We drink, pour. After a little silence Fulton speaks up. “What they need,” he says, glaring defiantly around, “is a good fuck!” Of course he is drunk. We stretch our jaws, study our drinks, glance up at one another.

Soon the mission is organized and we are stealing through the streets with each a bottle of Chivas in his shirt. It is less dangerous among the ruins of the core than in the flatter precincts at the edge.

We move along rail tracks, ducking when a giant profile moves past. A flare bursts into agonizing seconds of broad day and we flatten ourselves to the ground.

Not until we reach the suburbs can we be sure we have penetrated their lines. Patrols pass. We take cover in gardens, garages.
We have regrouped and are squatting for a drink when suddenly we sight it: the camp. One by one we rise to our feet while hilly farmland emerges as a vast terrain of sleeping giantesses. The horizon alters as one of them stirs.

We scurry across the road when our awe subsides and prowl in among them. They lie in loose array. Many snore heavily.

We freeze when one of them moans and threatens to roll over on us. Fulton gives us a knowing look and we pass on.

Suddenly another one rises to her elbow and nuzzles through the whimpers of her neighbor. They wrestle. Big as cinemascope they roll and thrash before us, shaking the earth. Only when they have mutually extorted whines and shudders do they drop back into sleep.

We stand rooted. It is some time before we can shake ourselves to and resume our purpose.

Arguing over specifications we search among them until we find her. She is lying spread-eagled with exhaustion. We leap into the air with glee and tiptoe around her, appraising as we go, until we stand midway between the sweeping forelands of her feet.
Cautiously we move in, subdued by the height of the canyon and the deepening darkness as it narrows. We can no longer see the upper slopes of her thighs outlined in moonlight.

We are close. Under the faint fish-cannery smell we form up defensively. And there, yes, as our eyes grow used to the dark, it is.

We hold back. Someone has to be first. I steal forward. The seam is a pucker of delicate elephant skin, so tall I must arch my head back to see the summit. I pat it with both hands, gentle it, put my ear to it for oracular rumbles.

Pulling nervously at my pants I glance up at the crests of her thighs. If they close I am done for.

Holding it, as it were, by the lapels, I engage. It is a potential cavity! I press my cheek to it and give it my best stuff, pry at it with my tongue, surrender to its warmth.

The fear seizes me that, tickled, she might bring her finger into play and pop me into the pit. I hover, do I not, before the primal abyss, and could easily slip in and be swallowed.

The moment passes. I’m going good now. From high over the mound comes a dreamy sigh. Pride engorges me. I grin back at the others, perhaps foolishly, for who can be dignified with his pants at his ankles, humping at a pair of theater curtains.
But they have already gone, scattered each to his tryst. And I, when I have confessed and collapsed, nestled and smoked a cigarette, I too buzz off to another flower.

It is a big night. We push ourselves to the limit, not noticing the streaks of dawn when they appear in the sky.

In sudden military unison they sit up and smash at us as at ants at a picnic. We scramble madly, colliding with one another, striving only to survive another second. At each blow the ground bucks beneath us and worries our confusion.

I dive for a ditch and skitter into a culvert. Fingertips block the ends. It is unearthed, lifted, shaken, bent in two, in four, thrown down. I lurk, peek out, run like hell. 

Oh, how I run!

An acre of shadow around me. She crash-lands almost on top of me and seizes me in her hand. “I want you,” she breathes. Wanda. She twists my testicles.
I am strapped to a chair, Wanda pacing before me. Her legs are so-so, and I have never found it necessary to look at her during conversation. Normally I pluck a hair from my chest and examine it. Even now my attention drifts.

Around me, debriefings, lectures on hand-to-hand combat, greased vibrators. A squadron in training chants, “Kill! Kill! Kill!”

I am slapped awake. Electrodes are taped to shaved patches on my head and thoughts are implanted, doctrines of sameness as dreary as all the wisdom of the East.

How long it goes on I can’t say. I am tired, tired.

Suddenly I am on my feet straining at the straps. “I’ve tried!” I scream. “I’ve done my best! I just don’t have a position!”

I slump to the ground still bound by the wrists, but the motion has freed my ankles, a fact that I am able to obscure as I am forced back into the chair. All night I work the thongs against the arm-rests. When they give I rub my wrists, look furtively around and vanish into the darkness.
It is days before I can get back into town. The bar, still undiscovered, observes black-out. Some of us haven’t made it.

We start on the Jack Daniels, exchange stories, back-slap to keep up our spirits. When troops pass in the street we appraise their ankles.

Mere bravado. We are beaten.

One night we catch one in a covered construction pit. She roars and kicks. We stake her out like Gulliver and whip her until she hurts. Then we let her go. What’s the point?
Then, slam-bam, everything changes. I am doodling on the bar with my swizzlestick when a nudge directs me to a shape on the ruined skyline—a shape with a swollen abdomen! We run to the window: more of them! Pregnant profiles everywhere!

They break ranks, forage, claw at delicatessens. Now they’re really mad.
We swagger against the bar and puff cigars, stand rounds. The rucus outside delights us. Have we fathered giant versions of ourselves, we wonder, or will hundreds of our own size emerge? Bets are arranged.

But even as their bellies swell the women themselves begin to deflate. Soon, with only a few exceptions, they are on a human scale again, and come looking for us. Now they want to get married! This is no good either.

At the last minute the Nude Police arrive to restore order. After months without contact the outside world has sent help. The Nude Police wear day-glo jockstraps color-coded according to rank, and affect high voices.

“OK there, that’s enough of that!” they shout. “Form two lines!”
Now there is only uneasy calm and the work of rebuilding civilization. When we invite the women to dinner they discuss the merits of their fathers’ as opposed to their husbands’ surnames. We are silent. They seek reasons to laugh at us, and stand when we leave the table.

Of course the Nude Police are vigilant. They are posted on each corner and shout “Just watch what you’re doing!” at everyone who passes. But incidents occur.

Some women snatch cigarettes from our mouths and break them. Others travel in groups and wait for chances to ambush us.

Two of them catch me in an alley and shove me back and forth between them, do the point-to-something-on-your-chest-and-tag-you-on-the-nose trick, and shove me back and forth again.

The other day I saw a rehabilitated feminist walking down the street and saluted her cautiously.

“Don’t forgive me unless I ask you to,” she said.

(Exerpted from Will You Please Fuck Off?)

"Attack of the Giant Feminists" was the last story to appear in Writers Magazine, and may have contributed to the demise of that organ. Here it is exerpted from ebook Will You Please Fuck Off?, available at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon ITAmazon ES, and at all Kindle outlets on our sweet sad planet.

Also by Robert MacLean, the other "Toby" books,
Foreign Matter at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon ITAmazon ES and Smashwords; 
Total Moisture at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon ITAmazon ES and Smashwords; 
and these, too,
Mortal Coil: A Comedy of Corpses at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DE, Amazon IT and Amazon ES;
The President's Palm Reader: A Washington Comedy at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon IT and Amazon ES; and
Greek Island Murder at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon FRAmazon DEAmazon IT and Amazon ES.

My Husband Suspects

A short romantic comedy without much dialogue

A woman in love, frustrated by every circumstance, stops at nothing to achieve her desire. 
A restaurant.  The patrons are in evening clothes, the waiters formal.  There is no music, only the soft sound of voices in conversation.  Michaela, elegant in a black dress, participates in one such conversation.

We can't hear what's being said but the atmosphere is happy, polite.  Her husband presides with an easy charm.  Over her shoulder we see the couple they are dining with, Philip and his wife.  Philip's eyes are toward the other two, perhaps carefully so.  
Michaela is absorbed in the general conversation, self-forgetful, but she too is restraining her gaze.  When it does rest on him it is with a gaiety that seems a touch contrived.

She gets up and walks away, pausing to greet friends at another table.  As her husband and the younger woman continue chatting Philip permits himself a discreet but lingering glance at Michaela.  She is several yards away in profile, smiling, nodding.

Suddenly, absurdly, she is naked.  She stands there talking with someone, in heels and necklace, tiny purse in hand, oblivious to her nudity, as are those around her.  This is Philip's fantasy.  
But now, even more absurdly, she does notice!  She looks down at herself, shocked. The others don't see.

She does not convulse and cover herself but stands her ground, purse lifted in her hand, and glances at Philip—too briefly to be eloquent, but sharply: he looks away mortified.

Instantly she is dressed again and, taking leave of her friends, she proceeds to the bathroom....
Michaela has reached a certain age, and worries about her beauty—but Philip, her husband’s business associate, is mad about her. And she about him: lightening has struck. 
They do everything they can to meet but are constantly frustrated—each episode an assault on her dignity.
He's not a bad husband; she loves him. And his passion for her is keen, so keen that he can tell something, or someone, is on her mind, and watches even as the lovers try to elude his eye.
So does Philip's wife. He's starting to disappear at odd times. In fact she's sure there was a stranger in their bedroom while she was asleep. Did someone reach the balcony from the street outside and—?
As Michaela climbs a steep street past Philip's apartment, where the balconies hover near the steps, her friend hails her from up high—from where she spies down at the other couple. That night she steals down and steps over onto the balcony—

And the co-star is Athens, the only place this story could happen.
Every opportunity, every chance meeting, every frustration is a piece of Athenian realty.
Always elegant, always in a little black dress and heels, she hangs from balconies, climbs cliffs, crosses deserts, clings between moving taxis—but her dignity prevails, and the sound of her steps as she threads the Athens labyrinth is the music of the film.
Pretentious Pictures presents a short romantic comedy without much dialogue.