The opening of Pleasure Dome’s Winter 2018 season begins with the launch event for Andrew James Paterson‘s new book, Not Joy Division, hard-boiled mystery novella cast in a post-punk social media glow. It is being published by Eldon Garnet’s Impulse B press.

To celebrate Pleasure Dome is throwing a party that will feature Andy’s group Derwatt, along with a short screening, including the best movie he ever made, the neglected masterpiece Basic Motel. Patterson was also a member of Toronto’s late 70s art-punk band, The Government.

Basic Motel (22:30 minutes 1980)

Made during a residency at the Western Front, Basic Motel features the artist taking a star turn as Robert Monitor, a rock god recluse on the run from fans and fame. He renames himself as David Stinson before checking in to a get-away-from-it-all hotel. Mostly he lounges in bed in glam gear, chain smoking, receiving flashbacks and watching TV between visits from the attentive front desk lady who brings Scotch and unwanted conversation. Their scenes escalate until she recognizes him as the wayward pop star on the lam, a charge he too adamantly denies. 

As mega popstar Robert Monitor, he finds himself caught in a vortex of acting (who am I?) where even conversation has become performance. During his getaway he takes on another identity in order to find out who he really is. Let’s rewind: he takes on a false identity to protect himself from his false identity. The artist might have named this tape: vertigo. 

The basic motel scenes are interwoven with media moments that arrive as flashbacks from his once and former life: a photo shoot, a book launch, a TV appearance. Each offers the inflation of personality, the cultivation and projection of public personas. A double take on The Randy (TV) Show finds the interviewer host dishing the same questions in two separate takes. At first his enigmatic guest arrives visibly stoned, and then appears a second time carrying a guitar and literally playing with his answers. Both are scenes of refusal, the lines of connection broken, the replies making clear that replies are impossible, that the question that underlies the questions: can we communicate  – can only be answered with a resounding: no.

Back in the hotel the TV is always playing the same rerun, offering court scenes and a tearful heroine. The media appears as a place of judgement whose result is never in doubt, a stammering compulsive addiction and funhouse mirror. In Basic Motel everything happens again and again, caught in a media loop where small moments (a head resting against a wall, a knock on a door) appears amplified, imbued with extra significance. The whole frame trembles with sexual tension, everyone is so young and perfect, wondering what version of their lives to offer up for cameras hungry to turn them into next year’s model.

This tape provided a model for the lead character, also named Richard Monitor, and a scene in Andrew’s first novel The Disposables, published by Art Metopole in 1986.

Andrew James Paterson: Book Launch! Live Music! Movies! 
Monday January 15, 2018
Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton Street
Doors 7:30, Screening 8:00pm, Reading 9:00pm, Band 10:00pm
$8/$5 Members + Students
The Monarch has a portable ramp for their entrance, but they do not have accessible bathrooms. 

Facebook Event Page
Photo by Kim Tomczak

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment, and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors, and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats. Reach out -