This began with a photo. My friend Push was rehearsing a burlesque routine, and I was taking pictures. One of them came out really nice in black and white. I posted it to flickr with the caption: "What would the title of this lost silent classic film have been?"
My friend Rob replied "The Lady Who Waits", which was good. But then Allana comes along with this frankly incredible title: "The Boxcar Boudoir!" I leapt to the chat client...
Bill: Boxcar Boudoir!
Allana: Can you believe I wasn't your Flickr contact until today? I mean what's that all about.
Bill: I thought you had been FOREVER because I was yours for, like, EVER now!
Allana: I am actually just going to append something to that picture-comment-thread.
Bill: Append away!
Over on the flickr page for the photo we are talking about, Allana adds the comment "I feel it's important to point out that the oversized Bs on the movie poster would be wisps of cigarette smoke floating in from some source off-screen."
Allana: Apparently I am not good at the Internet. At least not the socializing aspect of it. Well, I'm not really good at the socializing aspect of anything, so I guess maybe that was redundant.
Bill: You just need to reframe that - consider your social attention to be a premium grade luxury, for which others must wait, much the way Paul Masson will sell no wine before it's time.
Allana: After much careful deliberation, I accept your premise.
Bill: The smoke "B"'s were already in my head. If I wanted the imaginary movie to be more dangerous, maybe skirting the edge of acceptability for censors of that era, but in a compellingly lurid way, I might riff on your title and make it "Boxcar Cabaret" But "Boudoir" has that authentic period feel to it, and it subliminally suggests "noir" as well. Hmmm...
Then a short detour into talking about truck trailers and shipping containers as living spaces...
Allana: So it's, like, a trailer, right? Transport truck type?
Bill: Yes, it's a semi-truck trailer, that we have rented as a creative space.
Allana: I have been driving myself crazy over this tiny tiny sliver of land between two buildings, nearby. It has a For Sale sign on it and everything. It's like five metres wide. I keep thinking I should buy and put shipping containers on it. To live in.
Bill: YOU TOTALLY SHOULD!
Allana: I KNOW RIGHT! And it's this long grassy strip so I could have a big outdoor cafe out front in the summers. Maybe rent out the bottom container as an art space and live in the one/two stacked on top. With a rooftop terrace, of course. $3,000 in building materials? Rent a truck and a crane for the day? Tada, instant home.
Bill: It'll probably be a little more complex, in that you'll need to get it past buliding codes and inspections, etc, but it's doable. It'll probably ultimately cost you almost as much as a regular house, but you can probably piecemeal construct it so that you don't have to go in debt to get it together. I've wanted to make a shipping container Roman style villa for a long time!
Allana: Yeah. One crate at a time is probably a better plan. I figure if I can get some experimental-housing/enviro-activists behind me, and pitch it as more of a publicity stunt, I'll just get the living space as a sort of happy accident.
Bill: I'm sure there are architects in the Toronto area who have code compliant plans for scenarios like the one you are describing. Cool Canadian homes like that show up in Dwell magazine all the time. Maybe you can find someone with plans you can vaguely follow or adapt.
Allana: Fingers crossed! Although I'm sure the 5x40m plot of land alone will cost me a lifetime mortgage.
Bill: Yeah, but land will generally always be valuable. It's probably worth it.
Allana: Until the apocalypse. Which will be even more worth it.
Of course talk of the end times reminded Allana of something she's been meaning to get to...
Allana: ... And now I'm thinking about joining Robin at that boxing gym and learning how to fight....
Bill: You should! Fighting is awesome!
Allana: I know! I'm really good at grappling, as it turns out. I just need to learn how to punch a bitch.
Bill: Though if you ever spar with Robin, she will crush you.
Allana: No way, she's tall and long-armed and tough but I'm small and wily and hyperactive. It'd totally be a fair fight. Is what I keep telling myself.
Bill: Maybe, or it might end like Rob Roy - you'd be all Tim Roth dancing around, peppering her with injury, and she'll just wait her moment and then Liam Neeson kablam you in half with one punch.
Allana: Yeah. That'd be super entertaining, though. So, again, worth it.
Bill: I cannot argue with your view of this, as I agree.
Allana: We're positively hive-mind-y today.
Here's where we get to it...
Bill: OK! Then it's time for a new co-writing project! Let's blog-write the screenplay for Boxcar Boudoir!
Allana: Bahahaha! I'm so tempted to say yes; the only things holding me back are how I know nothing about screen-writing, or being funny, or boudoirs.
Bill: Oh, I don't want to make it funny - I think it should be a real period noir... some kind of crime movie where the situation spirals away from the protagonists into a bad ending for all.
Allana: Oh man. Then we should start with collaborative cross-continent old-movie-watchings.
Bill: YES! Oh yes.
Allana: And write up our findings as "things to include for maximum authenticity"
Allana: But then, you know, actually do it well.
Bill: You don't need to know anything about screenwriting. The less you know, the better.
Allana: Surprise! Aw man, really? I've been hoping someone would say that to me for YEARS.
Bill: Yes. I have already claimed the http://boxcarboudoir.blogspot.com/ and am in the process of tricking it out.
Allana: Oh my god. I'm just in awe of your forward momentum. I'm still congratulating myself on the title.
Bill: (I'm still congratulating myself on the photo, so we're not all that far off.)
Allana: Oh, good.
And so we started another group blog.