About the Author:: 10 NOVEMBER 2002

Dean Allen is six foot three, myopic, of Scots-Dutch descent, and losing his hair. A recovering graphic designer, he lives in the South of France with Gail Armstrong, two swell kids, a couple cats he despises and a dog. He is squeamish around insects and crying children. His favourite word as of this writing is rustle. Formerly an advocate of using the term ‘to clean one’s own rifle’ in reference to the act of onanism, he now prefers one coined by Corey Keegan of Toronto: ‘landing the Johnson account’. He likes the music hard and loud. Once, during a game of mock sloganeering, his friend Gerry shouted ‘French filmmakers out of Hollywood!’, to which Dean replied, ‘French filmmakers out of Candace Bergen!’ He’ll eat pretty much anything that casts a shadow. His favourite novelist is Saul Bellow, with Jackie Collins placing a close second. Money falls like water through his hands. Though well past the age where doing so would be feasible, were he to front a rock ’n roll band, it would be named Egregious Philbin. He needs to drink more water and curb his childish interests, though clearly these two needs have nothing in common. The funniest thing Dean has ever witnessed was some footage of narcoleptic dogs in a Nova documentary on sleep disorders. The second funniest was an interview with a farmer whose Tourette’s Syndrome manifested itself not in tics or verbal outbursts but in an overwhelming temptation to touch a running chainsaw to his pantleg. If Dean recalls correctly, that was in a Nova documentary on neurological disorders. A gifted mimic, he nonetheless eschews regional accents for comic effect. In a previous working life, he occasionally took respite from the stresses of the day by locking the door of the office bathroom, turning out the lights and just, like, standing there for a really long time. He admires several people. He is a lousy correspondent, and for that he is sorry. Except for the times when he is ridiculously overprepared, he is inevitably underprepared. In general, he finds patriots, professional actors, cult-stud academics, neoconservatives, chiropractors and usability experts to be silly. At the moment his favourite PHP function is extract(). Sometimes a nice piece of grilled beefsteak is all Dean requires to be truly happy. He has of late, with highly comic results, been seen using power tools. His pen of choice is the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint V5 Extra Fine. Casting back in time, it seems there are patches during which he worked very hard to destroy everything in his life that was good. If it were down to you and him, Dean would prefer to drive. He doesn’t understand golf at all. Right now he is several pages into a hundred books. Since moving to the country, he sometimes goes days without looking in a mirror, and when eventually he does it’s always a bit jarring. Dean enjoys card games. He can and – even when not called upon to do so – will recite Orson Welles’ cuckoo clock speech from The Third Man. After several tries, he has the waffles just about right, but still cannot prevent messy batter runoff. Though he has referred to it in the past, Dean is not entirely sure what the subjunctive clause is. He is likewise uncertain of the proper way to pronounce gerund.