Sdtrk: ‘Romantic rights (The phone lovers remix)’ by Death from above 1979
Before we commence, you’ve read Part I, right? Of course you have!
The second day of the Nat.Geo shoot for ‘Taboo’, their documentary series, had Sidore and I tumbling out of bed at 8am Monday morning. In the interest of full disclosure, I think I was awake the previous eve until 2am, maybe? I can’t even remember what I was up to, now that I think about it… Shi-chan got to bed early, though. Who has more common sense?
At any rate, we got dressed and ready in the same gear as yesterday, as it was ‘the same day’, as far as the segment was concerned, in time for Geoff and Jen to arrive at Deafening silence Plus at 10 that morning, only this time, they were joined by segment director J.Siberry. He was a tall bloke, with more than a passing resemblance to South Park’s Trey Parker. Like the rest of the crew, he was Australian, but was born and raised in Toronto up until a few years ago. ‘Canaliens’, as Geoff accurately observed yesterday, when we were up at The Playhouse. To which Joe had replied, ‘That’s okay; all of us here are honorary Canaliens.’
Since most of the ‘action’ shots were already sorted, today would be comprised of the interview proper. So I plopped myself on the loveseat next to Shi-chan, and answered a volley of questions. Some were standard issue — what’s your name, when did you get Sidore, what’s a typical day for the pair of you — whereas others were ones that I’d never been asked before on camera — why do you prefer living with a Doll over an Organik woman, what’s her backstory, how do you reconcile her fictional backstory with her genuine one — which was a nice change. Much to our chagrin, however, we were getting porlocked a couple of times, for just as I was really on a roll with an answer, we had to stop proceedings, as the apartment’s landscaping crew were busy outside loudly mowing and noisily weed-whacking. Despite the fact that I was wearing a lavalier, Jen was also using a boom mike, and as you’d expect, they’re extremely sensitive. But it was like a Buster Keaton film there for a bit: they’d start, we’d stop, they’d stop, we’d start, they’d start, we’d stop. Bloody nightmare. Since it was rolling toward 12.30, we decided to break for lunch, to prevent Jen and I dashing outside and throttling the landscapers. Whilst they drove up to a local Greek restaurant that they hit yesterday, I elected to stay in — no surprise there — as it was actually getting kinda warm out. Not only that, I was desperately trying to recall what my answer would’ve been, before we were interrupted!
INVISIBLE FILM CREW
Jeff, Geoff, and Jen returned an hour later, and we got back to it. Proof that Murphy’s Law occurs every day: the landscapers finished up about ten minutes after the film crew had left. No surprise there, either. *shakes fist*
Another aspect that set this particular interview apart from the rest is that it also wanted to explore the possible correlation between being an iDollator and being autistic. Shortly after Meghan Laslocky wrote her excellent article back in 2005, we kept in contact off and on, and she told me that she had been speaking with a psychologist about the whole iDollator phenomenon. She said that he’d said that there appear to be certain traits that the two groups share. Now naturally, no-one’s saying that all iDollators are autistic, cos not all iDollators are the same, and there are varying degrees of autism. But the psychologist noted that, for one, the majority of Doll owners are not put off by a Doll’s lack of facial expressions, and one of the traits of autism is an inability to read, or an indifference towards, human facial expressions. (Insert ridiculous pseudoscientific Uncanny valley ‘theory’ here.) Again, one doesn’t necessarily equal the other, but J.Siberry was keen to hear what I thought of the notion.
Basically, I’d said that although I’m not autistic, I can see where there’d be some similarities between the two groups. Other traits of autism would be a keen eye for details and order, and a preference to things over people. Personally I’ve always abhorred clutter and disarray, true, and I’ve mentioned publically on many occasions that I’m not a ‘people person’, but those qualities don’t necessarily make me autistic. As far as a Doll’s blank stare and lack of facial expression, something like that has never bothered me in the slightest; usually, it’s quite the opposite, to be honest. *coughtechnosexualcough* And now that I’m thinking about it, I’m kicking myself for not mentioning the rubbish that is the Uncanny valley theory on camera. Grrr.
Furthermore, there’ve been erroneous lines drawn between people who are thought to be autistic, when they’re merely introverted, the latter characteristic I’ll readily cop to. But in the end equation, what difference does it make? I’ve noticed quite a few individuals who have been speculated as being autistic, many of them people that I look up to, such as Andy Warhol, Stanley Kubrick, Gary Numan, Lewis Carroll, Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein… the list goes on. They may possibly have been autistic, but look at what they’ve contributed to the world. That’s the important bit, really.
Having finished up the interview, we got a second well-deserved break in. J.Siberry, upon seeing my controller for the XBOX game Steel battalion, had a notion that we could get some footage of me playing it with the Missus, but setting that assemblage up would’ve taken a bit of time. Upon reflection, we should’ve gone for it, though. How often do you see a Goth RealDoll playing Steel battalion? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Geoff grabbed some pickup shots of Deafening silence Plus, whilst J.Siberry and I talked about Toronto, and I spoke with Jen about Frank Lloyd Wright, as she’s keen on his architecture. The last bit of filming indoors involved me massaging Shi-chan’s shoulders and feet (heh, again), and taking an autism spectrum quotient test online, and assessing the results on camera. If you like, you can take the test yourself here. My score, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to watch the documentary when it comes out, won’t you?
Finally, they wanted to get some shots of me out-of-doors. I don’t know if I visibly blanched, but I tried my best. ‘Is there maybe a part of town you hang out at, or someplace you go?’ they asked. ‘Err… well, there is the cemetery,’ I’d replied, truthfully. Heh, just like in the very first interview we did for French public telly, and the still-in-development-hell documentary by Allison De Fren! So the crew broke everything down and loaded it into the SUV, and we made our way to Woodlawn Cemetery, over on Woodward. They filmed me walking up and down one of the dirt roads, contemplating the beautiful silence of being outside, as a quote from Morrissey sprang to mind: ‘I can stand in a graveyard for hours and hours, just inhaling the individuals.’
We returned to my flat about 5pm, where I signed the requisite release forms, and they told me that the episode of ‘Taboo’ was slated to be aired in the next couple of months, for their new fall season. As per usual, when I know, you lot will know, etc etc.
photo by J.Siberry
Handshakes and hugs were exchanged, and the crew piled into their vehicle to head off to their hotel. All in all, that was a really enjoyable experience! Between Emily’s inquisitive research, and J.Siberry, Geoff, and Jen putting everyone involved at ease, I think the final results will go pretty well. I’m definitely glad they’d asked me to be a part of it!
And then Sidore and I took a nap. The end!