Author: S.T. Lore
Designer: Nicholas Mangan
METABOLISING CAFFEINE INTO CODE (FOR NICHOLAS MANGAN)
'Outside his door, she hesitates. His office is shrouded in near darkness. Beyond a venetian blind, a desktop phone casts an eerie blue light across his face. Seated at his desk, Viktor is motionless. For a man on the verge of bankruptcy, persisting to be a major media tycoon he looks dead to the world: drifting outside linear time, with little use for human conversation. The unwashed plates at his feet complete a cartoon facsimile portrait of the laziest man she has ever known or ever seen and having little time to stamp her authority, inhaling a deep invigorating breath, she enters his room and using a neatly manicured fingernail prods a soft fold of skin sagging beneath his third rib. Sniffing, snorting, farting in a hideous release of gas, Viktor rubs his belly under a heavily stained t-shirt and using the thin slits still functioning as eye sockets inspects the pale apparition of her face: “Ambition is a bloody traitor … a real sallow faced bitch …” he mumbles — sotto voce — without a trace note of regret. The main problem for Viktor is that his initial fortune came too easily. Riding a tidal wave of luck on a local chain of gymnasiums called POWERSLAVE outfitted with red vinyl floor coverings, kettle bells and electronic stair masters, Viktor soaked up the exercise habits of office workers and of computer technicians watching TV shows and jogging side-by-side. By expanding his snack counters to include micronutrient smoothies, pea protein powders and a wide-range of dietary supplements (linked to vague trending research on Ketosis) he quickly raked in over ten-times the initial membership fees. Visual merchandising went unchecked: branded water bottles, embroided sweat towels and tie-died headbands, with ideas being drip-fed on a steady diet of late-night TV: “I only ever watch the foreign channels … our domestic networks are utter dogshit!” Inspired by a diverse range of programs, such as the cruel, voyeuristic Japanese masterpiece Susume! Denpa Shonen and US Public Access show Let’s Paint TV —“with dynamic artist-host John Kilduff”— Viktor directed a series of promotional adverts called POWER TIME. Each episode began with him being lowered in a body harness while singing a Motley Crue inspired theme song: ‘It’s Time! It’s Time! For Power Time!’ Call it luck. Call it timing. But his motivational delivery and shameless self-promotion collided perfectly with a population of sedentary telecommunications workers. The viewers ate up his new-age health recipes, treadmill exercises and home-gym giveaways and all the while Viktor kept repeating: “There are no limits! You can have it all’ ...'