Inside outside, outside in

Chan, JJ (2021) Inside outside, outside in. Lune : The Journal of Literary Misrule, 5, pp. 17-25.


'Inside outside, outside in' is an annotated version of a script that had earlier become the monologue for a short film titled 'Unbecoming Boy: After Taylor Swift' (2019). In response to the issue's theme of 'Disorientation', these annotations consider a piece of writing 18 months later, following the many significant events in 2020 and 2021 which have affected local and global relations, publics, and politics. These annotations draw from existing literature that includes sources which informed the original script and new sources which have since informed readings of it. The writing begins by reflecting on excerpts from Zadkiel's Dream Book, which had originally informed the short film. Thoughts then 'return' to Nietzsche's famous text Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None. "Precisely, what conditions shape my selves?" I ask upon my return. Revisiting lyrics by Taylor Swift, and now also Harry Styles, the writing shifts back and forth from thoughts to rhetorical questions around repetition and accumulation, identity and gender non-conformity, interdependence and Covid-19, the city and its fall, as well as the imaginations and conceptions of time in capitalism. These thoughts and questions remain unresolved, but finally, we return to Chinatown in London, to what used to be the Sun Luen Snack Bar, where my father and his uncle used to work: "Sun Luen" meaning "New Union." Diffracting the 'new' of 'New Union', the final thoughts and questions in this article begin with "Excuse me, is anybody sitting here?"

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