Edit point

The indifference of the ambulance crew came as a surprise. Flashing lights sped down the motorway to attend the scene. A severed head. Lying in the bushes at the side of the road.

No newsflash. The reports now 24hrs and lost in the deluge of media noise, local and international. Unmonitorable without the aid of elaborate software. A severed head. The image that arrests the flow of other images in the editing suite. The image that makes the VT editor scroll quickly back through the footage to confirm what it was he thought he had seen.

On the other side of the road, a headless body. The camera averts its gaze, digitising the instant at the equivalent of thirty frames a second. The road smeared with rain and the reflection of the flashing lights of the emergency team. The corpse slides in and out of the frame. The jog shuttle wheel manipulated with expert disinterest. Time code noted. Exit point marked.

Testing the line, the open space – “the sky above the port was the colour of …,” what? That line, the opening line of Gibson’s Neuromancer, “ the sky was the colour of a dead television.”

A severed head. Coitus interruptus in the editing suite. A severed fucking head. On the radio, later – a report that the lyrical terrorist, has been taken out by special branch for writing bad poetry. The VT editor flicks nervously through a battered paperback, not registering the words anymore, just the slow ritual of reading and re-reading. CCTV is omnipresent.

The syntax is rigid, the timings absolute and what can be seen is strictly regulated. For our own good. The VT editor nods a little, the ash falling from his strictly not allowed cigarette.