Hotel Centaur

Have just returned from three days (felt like years) in a swank hotel in Coogee. A marketing seminar hosted by the federal film development funding body for selected project teams working on low budget features. On those odd occasions when I get to stay in hotels of this kind I am unable to get the picture Barton Fink out of my mind. Those lowered ceilings in the corridors, the absolute uniformity of decor and doors, the perhaps sinister absence of anyone else at all, most of all the sense of some kind of ambient music playing just beyond the reach of my hearing ... how many times has this air been breathed, I wonder? Whose lungs was it in before mine? What will I find when I swipe the card through the slot and re-enter my room? Not a murdered Judy Davis? Not, surely, a dead horse head in my bed? Not ... another copy of New Idea? Yes! Michael Jackson is moving to Australia just as soon as his trial is over. Bad Pit is entering a monastry. Princess Anne is dating Camilla Parker-Bowles ex. Lindy Chamberlain will save Chapelle Corby from her doom. Or should that be room? Also staying in the hotel is the NSW State of Origin team. These guys look smaller than they do on TV (which is not saying much - they are massive on screen). They never meet your eye. They do not stand aside if you intersect on the way to the breakfast bar. On the third morning, one of the coaching staff collapses with pancreatitis. I become Barton Fink. I am someone from the East Coast sent down into the West, except the terms are reversed: West is East. It is suggested that this is what we call our currently untitled film: East : West. My mouth moves but no words come out of it. A fat man in the horseshoe of tables is shouting out Virus Marketing! Nobody knows if his girlfriend is a/hypnotised b/transexual c/an android. The components of the Mazda promotional device he has circulated through the room will not go back into their cylinder. It's something to do with Batman. I come to on the beach with a cardboard box in my hands. I know that it contains a severed head, I just don't know whose. After an age of prudence, I open it. It's the horse's head! I don't know who to thank, I only know it isn't god. Then I see the horse itself, headless, natch, galloping along the golden sands. With a salute to those who have accompanied me thus far, I vault onto its palomino back. We ride together into the sunset.

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