Desperate Romantic: My Life as a Stalker (A Lamentably True Story)

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2: The Best Piece of Art I’ve Seen (By No-One Famous)

The best piece of art I’ve ever seen by no one famous was a dance piece at a TAFE one year, somewhere in the late nineties. I went with my then-girlfriend to watch a young ballet dancer friend of hers doing a solo piece.

He danced on a stage with a large black-and-white photograph of a woman projected onto the screen behind him. There were three figures: him in the foreground, the woman projected onto the wall and the shadow that moved across it, linking his world to hers.

The spectacle was not simply a matter of his physical performance; it was the way he drew his shadow over her, greater and smaller, like a marionette whose long, spectral strings reached across the expanse of stage.

At the end, the dancer closed in, stretched out his arms and laid his cheek against the image of the woman, extinguishing the shadow. At no point had he seemed so entirely separate from her. The performance was ended and the shadow had gone.

True metaphor is a marvellous thing. A good one continues to elucidate the further you stretch it. The woman was projected onto the screen. So, too, was the shadow of the dancer. But does that make it part of her, or a part of him?

**

I knew Eurydice for a week in total. We were in a relationship by day five, she dumped me on day six and sent a scathing ‘fuck off’ letter on day seven. So I left it for a white-knuckle month and then wrote to her.

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