FEEDBACK FROM CLOUD CITY AND OTHER BIRD STORIES
SELECT pr. PlacingRequestID, s.NAME as Frank FROM Cloud_City;
SELECT Date, Location, Wind, Locality, Appearance FROM [Frank];
Cloud City, West wing, row 201 about a mile away from cable C394193.
South fanning system,
White stone cladding, from the right, a stand with a bulky looking microphone at the end hanging above an oak-colored desk. On the desk,a laptop, headphones and a white mug.
White-collar, generally well-maintained.
Matured plumage with well-scultped wings.
SELECT pr. PlacingRequestID, s.NAME as Frank FROM Cloud_City;
SELECT Time, Actions, Call FROM [Frank];
Fixed gaze, unflinching. Puts both hands on the table.
Welcome to episode 253.
That’s right. That’s right.
Pause. Then points at the audience.
Thanks for tuning in.
Comedy meets podcast.
Soundbite of people cheering. He checks the laptop, scrolls down.
You know what am I thinking right now?
Short pause. He inhales. Weary.
I am tired. Nobody’s here.
Points the desk with his right index. Stares at the audience.
My point is, you’re stuck with me.
It’s episode 253 now.
Short pause. Scolls. Dissapointed.
They don’t make them as they used to.
Plug in laptop charger.
Constant reminder to recharge.
Don’t get too far from your charger or you might not even know what time it is!
No GPS. No direction.
Do you even know how to speak?
He leans back in his chair. He adjusts the microphone. Continues scrolling.
My point is, if it happens to you to get stranded on a no-internet island get ready to experience some withdrawal effects before accepting your situation.
Nods. Short pause.
Set a reminder.
Five stages of grief.
Rises right hand and starts counting. Continues scrolling with the other hand.
Lowers hand on the desk then rises it up again to put it under his chin while leaning on the table. Thoughtful.
You know how sometimes you see these kids on the streets?
Soundbite of upbeat music. Prepares himself.
Impressions from the gentrified corner of the town.
I was in this cafeteria.
Looks sideways still head in hand. Brings both hands on the table. Assumes straight position. Decided.
I managed to camouflage myself again in the industrial design bushes of a coffee shop to binge-watch the latest trends among the neighbors.
Points up. Raises eyebrow to the audience.
Short series, I tell you.
Lowers hand. Amused and a slightly baffled.
Never saw someone getting so easily bored.
Pause. Starts scrolling again. Resumes story.
Some youngsters enjoying their dairy free lattes seemed to have found the latest place from where to post for curious eyes. Another beanie-birded one seem to have put his hands on the latest gadget. I witnessed the ritual of its unpacking from the back of my table, amazed by the precision he had balancing the recording camera on his head. Nature is still amazing out there, I tell you.
Caches breath. Waves looking dreamy beyond the audience.
Looks at the audience. Mocking.
Slowly closes the eyes while he puts his hands in prayer. Brief tableau.
They are all blessed by the gods of capitalism, I tell you.
He sighs, resumes scrolling, eyes on the screen.
A flock of youngsters approached the coffee shop.
Maybe attacked by the freshly brewed Colombian coffee.
Careful. Lower voice.
They analyze thoroughly the lighting conditions inside the locale before shyly entering and asking for a table for four.
The group sits down and considers what the menu has to offer. They settle for the classics, sign that the youth still appreciates damn fine coffee.
Sound bite from Twin Peaks of agent Cooper talking about coffee.
While waiting for their coffee, they opt for some vegan cookies to nibble on, to balance the sugar levels in anticipation of the upcoming afternoon downtown, the inevitable vlogging sessions and the photoshoots in the sun.
Coffee arrives. Typical bird’s eye photos of the cups with annexed hashtags and exact location before going in for the first sip.
Raises right pinkie and starts imitating somebody drinking. Gets the imaginary cup at his mouth and sips. Puts it back on the table. Slightly startled
By the time one of them starts finger-cruising on the phone screen, you know it is time to get going. Payed with their face and off they went out the door.
Pause then soundbite of upbeat music. He gets ready for a sponsorship interlude. He adjusts himself on the seat, then gets closer to the microphone. Eyes read script on the screen. Pronounced advertisement voice.
Today’s episode is sponsored by our local start-up company that need your heads-up.
Fake grin at the audience maintained for a few seconds.
By entering my mother’s maiden name at the checkout, you’ll get 10% off you first purchase.
Pause. More relaxed. Soundbite of upbeat music marks the end of the interlude. He resumes scrolling. Thoughtful. Decided voice.
Maybe we should talk about the current situation.
My point is, what is happening right now is the outcome of our current situation. What current situation you say?
The last 48 hours I say.
Short pause. Then looks at the audience.
Enumerates slowly, eyes moving from one side to the other with every word. Weary voice.
Rises left hand as in showing something.
Puts hand back on the table. Short pause.
Last two days I say.
Resumes scrolling, looking at the screen. Contemplative.
Life is short. So make sure you spend three fourths of your day seeking validation from strangers with the same para-social FOMO anxiety and needs as you.
Contemplative. Eyes looking up.
Ah, the sense of community!
Sound bite of "Imagine" by the Beatles. Looks at tge audience.
I am, after all, one of you.
I am among you. With you...through good and bad.
Short pause. Slightly surprised remark.
I am you!
Not startled anymore. Monotone. Eyes return to the screen.
I am here spitting words into a microphone and trying to avoid plosives, so you don’t hear a sloppy mouth chit-chatting away.
Pause. Eyes fix the audience once again
But who are you?
What are you after?
You won’t get that from me, pal!
Maybe you are alone. I am alone too. I am you.
Hands on his chest.
I am whatever you want me to be.
Returns to scrolling. Short silence.
Vulgar preacher from another generation.
Generating content in a sea of contents, pouring down over your five senses.
Short pause. Thoughtful. Doubt.
Maybe...Maybe it will spark joy.
Returns to self.
My point is, maybe it will make you think about the bigger picture.
Rises hands. Points to the right.
Outside your bubble.
The sea of bubbles.
Of melted snowflakes and crushed identities.
Hands on his chest. Guilty.
I know...I know.
I am a pessimist.
But I know you are here for the gloom and doom.
My point is, you wouldn’t be here if I would tell you bed time stories.
Gets closer to the microphone. Slowly whispering. Mocking.
There’s ASMR for that.
Sound bite of Rock-a-bye baby. Rocks with his eyes closed for a moment, then returns to self.
Makes you think.
Makes you interrogate yourself.
Short pause. He approves.
Returns to scrolling.
I suppose you already know the latest news.
I don’t feel like it.
I am getting old.
Old and tired.
Tired as in “existence-tired”.
Tired of everything happening at the same time.
Being the witness of all the times.
All the time.
Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen to me. No.
I am the eye.
Soundbite of someone reciting the beginning of Dziga Vertov’s manifesto.
Vertov meets the content creator, am I right? Hah.
Who would have thought?
The youtube celebrity.
Laughs. Short pause.
That’s what I am talking about.
Rises right index. Attentive. Brightens up.
Thoughts and feelings as revenue.
Pay per monologue.
Laughs. Soundbite of upbeat music. He dances a bit to the rhythm then gets serious.
How-to lists and easy guides for better living and better feeling.
Better living as a way of living.
Rises eyebrow. Thoughtful as he remembers to look at the audience.
Do you remember the glossy magazines? Giving tips on how to be your best selves?
It’s all around you my friend.
Shows off the space in from of him with his right hands, smiling. Rises hands.
Now just click and link and your life will be better!
Soundbite of "Harder, Better, Faster Stronger" by Daft Punk.
The thing is, it has to be easier.
Good vibes only.
Ah! Glitter, neons and fairy lights.
Overpriced feel good situations that you can share with your closest strangers out there.
Tested and approved.
They approve of your lifestyle choices!
You may proceed.
Live parts exposed.
Soundbite from "Do you really want to hurt me" by Culture Club.
Relieved. Sigh. Hands on the table. Ready.
Let’s wrap this up, shall we? Alright.
Looks at the audience.
Thank you guys for listening.
Thank you for your support.
Points up right index. Reminder.
Make sure you tune in the next time.
I’ll see you next time.
Winks at the audience.
Until next time.
Hand up and waves.
Outro plays while he removes his headphones. He stretches his hands above his head then closes his eyes for a moment. Lowers hands and moves the microphone away. He starts his neck stretching routine again.
Frank sits on his armchair in front of the desk, laptop in front of
him. He plugs in the microphone. He makes sure the height of the stand
is right. He starts his warm up stretching. He rolls his shoulders
back and forth then starts doing head nods. He turns his head from
side to side a couple of times. Next come the head rolls. He puts on
the headphones, not before checking the right from left. He always has
trouble figuring out which is which. He takes a few deep breaths then
starts the intro.
His working setup is located in an open-space department on the 25th floor of a well known corporation. They decided to get rid of the cubicles to encourage socialising. He shares a long desk with other people and their computers, stretching along the glass walls of the skyscraper. Very instagramable view.
With the capitalist excuse of being up to date, his position in the company helps him get his hands on the latest tech gadgets. His own acre in the internet of things. Everything synched and updated to the latest OS. Slick design is a bonus but it is much appreciated since he is very mindful about his appearance. Being fit and toned comes along with various degree of commitment to physical activity and dietary restrictions. He knows it is important to switch routines, so as of now he is into cardio.
Tempo is very important for him. His favourite is 135 BPM but he can oscillate between 113 and 176. He can run for miles keeping this pace. After his 6AM fitness workout, he is more pumped than ever. Click. Feel good vibes on Spotify Premium Extra Light. His pet algorithm greets him with a freshly brewed playlist from the 80s. Whenever he lets the algorithms chose his daily songs, his life opens up to new horizons. Meet Elton John. Vibe check. Alexa, play “I’m still standing”. As always, he matches his socks with his smartwatch bracelet. Today is midnight blue.
Time runs faster when somebody tells you about the latest CrossFit technique you should incorporate in your routine. Click. He discovered podcasts while smart working in a hipster eatery. He knows he is too old for these places but he enjoys the plant-based caffeinated beverages and their free wifi. Gentrification got the best of these places. You can smell the “we are plastic-free” signs from afar.
Go-pro videos in POV is the best thing that happened to extreme sports. His current let-down is this technique being exploited by teenage internet users for their day-in-the-life-of videos. They call them vlogs, these kids and their compounding tendencies. Compounding occurs when two or more words or signs are joined to make one longer word or sign. The meaning of the compound may be similar to or different from the meaning of its components in isolation. He wonders what George Carlin would have to say about this, may God rest his funky soul. Those were the days.
He saw one of these kids standing on the sidewalk while he was on his way to work. The kid had a big grin on his plaster face. He was manoeuvring a camera extended in front of him - 45 degree angle above eye level, to make sure no one acknowledges the double chin. A donkey following the carrot at the end of the stick. Digital donkey.