A Post Encounter with Casper Jean Rimbaud
Casper Jean Rimbaud is an author and multi-media artist from Melbourne. His first novel, Post Encounter (Fiction Terrifica, 2015), tells the terrifying story of an ordinary middle class Australian family held captive in their home by a silent yet deadly alien. Now in his 30’s, Casper has struggled with the mental illness Bipolar since his early teens. Fittingly, Casper agreed to a little Social Work to celebrate the release.
Which member of your family influenced you the most?
CJR: My family were the stock photo Western suburbs family. My old man worked in factories and my step-mother did a lot of ironing. I had this childhood fantasy that Spielberg was my real dad. I’ve since reconciled the fact that Steven Spielberg isn’t my father, and the one I did get is pretty okay.
How do your values differ from those of your family?
CJR: I rejected the suburban dream – get a job, climb the company ladder, get married, have kids, quasi-worship a sports team, have lots of bbqs and then die. I had to be inventive with my choices. And by that I mean devastatingly foolish.
Do you have a favourite family story?
CJR: My step-mother’s family had jacks (police) in it and we’d have to see them every Christmas. One time this cop family member growled at me like a dog, trying to intimidate me. I was about 11 years old at the time and he was trying to impress his girlfriend, or something. I was so full of rage I went outside with a fork and stabbed a tree.
What do you hope for?
CJR: A resolution to the terror problem and another album from East 17.
What do you think is your main purpose in life?
CJR: Much like Kanye, I believe that if they wrote a modern day Bible, I’d be one of the people in it. A low-level dude though. Someone behind the scenes.
Do you think its ok to lie?
CJR: Could you imagine a world without lying? “Hey, your hair looks shit and you swing your arms like a bloke when you walk…”. I was at a funeral one time and I tried to convince the father of the deceased that Jason (the guy who died) owed me $25. He only owed me $20, but I lied and added the extra five on because I didn’t really like Jason. One time we had a photo taken with some mates and when it was developed, Jason was staring at me coldly whilst all the other guys were smiling. Things like that stick with you. Jason’s dad only had $30 and I ended up feeling bad because I had no change for him. So, you see, lying can lead you to dark places.
What does freedom mean to you?
CJR: It’s indescribable. As Corey Haim once so eloquently stated ‘it feels like seahorses swimming up my bloodstream’ [Haim’s quote from Me, Myself and I refers to kissing and dolphins – ed]. That good, I really appreciate it now because I used to work in a department store where red and black were the uniform colours. Going to work was like spending eight hours voluntarily marching in Red Square. Now I write things for a living and wear what I want. That’s freedom baby. Stacking paper to the ceiling.
What do you think are the most important social issues today?
CJR: Outside of the terrorism, the rumblings of civil unrest in Europe and the continuing degradation of females in the media, I really worry that 50Cent has fallen off for good. That last record was beyond sub-par.
What beliefs do you have that you think will never change?
CJR: Art is most perfect when flawed, and that the government put a wire in my head to control my thoughts.
Do you believe in the supernatural?
CJR: I asked a Ouija board once if Elvis was alive and it said ‘yes’.
Is any religious text important to you?
CJR: This is a progressive arts magazine, yeah? In that case all of them.
Have you ever come close to dying?
CJR: I don’t know, did you bring a pack lunch? One night I did 400mg of oxycontin, a bottle of Robitussin and enough Bupe strips to kill a triceratops. Walking around gasping for breath looks bad when at home at three in the morning, but totally unprofessional at 11am when your supervisor is questioning you over fact you’re wearing the wrong shoes and slipping in and out of consciousness.
What do you like the best about your body?
CJR: The fact that it hasn’t totally shut down in the last 16 weeks.
What do you think would be the best thing about being the opposite gender?
CJR: I used to have a recurring dream that I was married to Chaz Bono and we were on Oprah together discussing how we fell in love, but Chaz goes ape-shit and starts smashing up the set. Oprah’s crying, screaming through her fingers and I’m asking ‘why isn’t anybody stopping this?’ Make of that what you will.
Who is the best teacher you have ever had?
CJR: Western Suburbs dude. I lived in St Albans and Sunshine. The teachers there took self-defence lessons at lunchtime, and could often be seen scraping pens against the concrete to make a shiev, or shank, as it is more classically known.
Have you ever been lost?
CJR: I used to do door to door sales but would lose my map and wander around the suburbs like a dazed nomad. I’d literally get lost every day and wait for the company bus to find me. I was too timid for door to door sales.
What was your favourite book as a child?
CJR: Alice in Wonderland.
If I asked a good friend of yours what you were good at, what would they say?
CJR: They’d most likely say ‘Who?’ I don’t have many friends. I have acquaintances. I suppose my acquaintances would say I’m good at playing pretend, but then again that’s not always a good thing.
What stays the same in your life, no matter how much other things change?
CJR: The fact that reality is a program and wise elves who exist in another dimensional frequency have complete control of it. Our race and everything we see, think and hear is merely a projection. We’re simply data in a computer. Our reality is monitored and controlled.
What is stopping you?
CJR: The ankle bracelet. I have to get my mail with a fishing pole.
Casper’s debut novel Post Encounter is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. Casper has just launched his own art website titled Melbournian Psycho, and has a feature length film, Dark Night of the Werewolf, which he made during a bipolar episode, ready for release early 2016.
A Burrinja national touring exhibition project that commemorates the 60th anniversary of the British atomic test series at Maralinga, SH Ervin Gallery, Watson Road/Millers Point, The Rocks (NSW), 24 September – 30 October 2016.
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