Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Blank fiction

Blank fiction
Through reading a section of “Blank Fictions: Consumerism, Culture, and the Contemporary American Novel,” by James Annesley.  Annesley concludes that “Black Fiction does not just depict its own period; it speaks in the commodified language of its own period.” This defines that the context the text is written in doesn’t represent its period but portrays what was contemporary happening during the time.  As it is acknowledgeable that Ellis belongs to a generation of writer that have adapted the term “Black Fiction” introduced by Elizabeth Young and Graham Caveney, where the subject matter within the novel consists usually of violence, indulgence, sex, drugs and consumerism. 

The definition that Annesley provides helps to understand how the novel could be seen as a representation of the 1980's. The  comments  on the themes continuously portrayed throughout the book, but one identity that has been shown to be consistence within that decade, that are linked within the concept of “Yuppies” Fashion, the objectification of materialistic items. “Black fiction constant allusions to retail outlets, brand names and styles”. In which throughout the text the characters are identified first through name then through the name brands and clothing they are wearing depending on their social status.

Annesley comments on Ellis approach within his previous novels, taking into consideration the approach and similarities displayed within his novels that represents the mind-set of these types of people at the time. Outlining that “His characters don’t drive cars, they drive “BMWs”, they don’t eat in restaurants, they eat in “Spago’s”, they don’t wear sunglasses, they wear “Raybans”.  The range of mass culture that is reference within “Less than Zero” characterises blank fiction but also positions it very precisely in a particular time and place.

I would say the representation within the Novel that defines the period or show what existed within that period that it’s still identified today is the constant reference to MTV , Elvis Costello associated with the first wave of the British Punk & New Wave movement. Below is a list of every song that is mentioned within the book as the songs itself represents the music that was either popular or noticeable within the 1980's.

1. New Kid In Town - The Eagles (12)
2. Crimson & Clover - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (20)
3. Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage - Killer Pussy (25)
4. Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? - Culture Club (30)
5. Artificial Insemination - Elton Motello (40)
6. The Earthquake Song - The Little Girls (45)
7. Straight Into Darkness - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (48)
8. September Song - Sara Vaughan (67)
9. In The Sun - Blondie (74)
10. Hungry Like A Wolf - Duran Duran (120)
11. L.A. Woman - The Doors (147)
12. On The Sunny Side of the Street - Judy Garland (164)

Reference: Blank Fictions: Consumerism, Culture, and the Contemporary American Novel  By James Annesley, 

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