“not a particular one, but just some ad with beautiful young people in it having fun”
From Tom McCarthy’s Remainder, which I’m rereading to teach this week. The protagonist is sitting at a coffee place in Soho and is watching people on Old Compton Street outside:
They reminded me of an ad – not a particular one, but just some ad with beautiful young people in it having fun. The people in the street now had the same ad in mind as me. I could tell. In their gestures and their movements they acted out the roles of the ad’s characters: the way they turned around and walked in one direction while still talking in another, how they threw their heads back when they laughed, the way they let their mobiles casually slip into their low-slung trouser pockets. Their bodies and faces buzzed with glee, exhilaration – a jubilant awareness that for once, just now, at this particular right-angled intersection, they didn’t have to sit in the cinema or living room in front of a TV and watch other beautiful people laughing and hanging out: they could be beautiful young people themselves. See? Just like me: completely second hand.
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