Category Archives: the Theory Cadre at the Ambiente Hotel
Learn to exactly mimic having written a story, an ageing science fiction hack once advised me: then learn to write a story in a way that exactly mimics having written a different one. Write each separate sentence, paragraph & chapter of every book as if they’re mimicking some other sentence, paragraph or chapter. Soon there’s this odd, constant sense of implication in the text. It seems loaded. It seems like the alienated echo of something else. That something else is your gift to the reader. Your gift to the reader isn’t a lot of words. It’s to have a grasp of syntax & inflexion that lets you load more into the text than it seems to be able to accomodate. He’s dead now of course, his books passed over as ragtime & illiterate, but I’ve taken up where he left off.
[Lecture, "AE Fankle: Interrogating the continuity of human behaviour", to follow. Book early.]
CARS PARKED AT OWN RISK. Ask Mary for the key.
Please do not distribute leaflets.
For some years a sub-basement beneath the hotel’s parking facility was used to store texts generated by the guests. These, ranging from thin volumes of verse to literary horror novels the thousand pages of which might be read in any order, were discovered in predictable circumstances: an immaculately tidy room with fifty years of stored nail clippings & a mysteriously opened window; urgent written or recorded warnings against reading or even turning the pages of the manuscript; the death, wandering-off or unexplained evaporation of the writer in circumstances which suggested they too had been an item in a text. During the pre-war period, the Theory Cadre threw open this library three times a year, but though its contents drew visitors from most major universities, no scholarship emerged & in May 1946 the sub-basement, along with the passage that leads to it, was sealed.Elements of the Closed Architectonics Committee of the Theory Cadre visit Le Tourniquet, circa 1930.
Access the hotel archives.
K, who for some years has lived on the fourth floor rear corridor of the hotel’s retirement wing, attributes an unremitting depressive disorder to (a) birth at the outset of the “atomic age”, (b) secondary school food in 1957, (c) the decaying John Calder publications which even now take up sixty percent of the bookshelves in Room 444. But the event that most shaped his view of the world was, indirectly, the death of Sacheverell Sitwell. Faced with the incompleteness of Journey to the Ends of Time, K’s intellect–such as it was– became trapped forever in the first & only volume, a book he can’t remember except by its dustjacket, which featured the layered colours of a dull yet ferocious sunset.
There is no one like Jonathan Meades for fizz, self-aware bluster & insane eclecticism picked out with two- or three-word phrases which in context seem almost divinely accurate (here, for instance, “recriminatory caricature”). He is truly the Will Self of British cultural criticism. You don’t even have to agree with him to enjoy him. Watch how that first paragraph aims itself in a weird, writhing, multidimensional way (as if a straight line would not be the shortest distance between these points), from an English cliche to a syphilitic German Modernist, before pulling the perfect wingover, turning on the siren & screaming down at its target. Then enjoy the howls of defensiveness & childlike misery of the victims below the line.
Appetites braced by JM’s finely trimmed red herring, the permanent residents at the Ambiente Hotel will be looking forward even more keenly than usual to both Christmas dinner in the Function Room & the traditional Boxing Day immanence vs transcendence debate (taking place this year in the downstairs back bar).
Best of luck to everyone!
Alyssia Fignall discusses the Christmas menu with an unnamed member of the Architectonics Committee.
(above) A view of the Function Room windows, as seen from the pavement in Codmorton Street.
A reader from Leicestershire asks, Why are guests seen so rarely at the hotel ? Reader, there are plenty of guests, but you only see them when you first arrive! The rest of the time they are stored in humane conditions.
Deployed primarily in the dining room and the lobby, the guests in this picture are for the most part kept underground. Of the guest problematic, AE Funnel has written recently: “Their hold on reality is tenuous. Although there is a sadness to their voracity & yearning, the behaviour of guests resembles that of any other flock or swarm. They pour constantly through a given room even though there is only one of them resident at a time. To the long term habitues of the hotel,” she concludes, “they don’t seem very robust.” For this reason, never address a guest seen in a corridor late at night.