The Secret Life of Flat Eric
October, 1999

He'd looked so down and lonely there in the store window, part of some Levi's display, when we found him. Naturally, while watching to learn German, we had seen his ads on TV and knew that be he either creative genius or struggling actor, on display in some store window was hardly the place for him. Tense negotiations followed and Flat Eric was free.

Perhaps some of us had actually lived with a celebrity of one stripe or another before. But I don't think anyone was expecting the mayhem that would become a regular part of our existance with Eric.

Not to say we regretted our impromptu liberation that afternoon. Life was crazy and unpredictable when it was normal; what was a little more chaos? Besides, who can resist that disorderly yellow fuzz, that manic grin, that voice that speaks nothing but vowels?

He insisted on going out regularly. Dancing and lots of people were best, but there were times when a quiet pub would do nicely. We discovered he liked all sorts of music, not just the techno he was associated with thanks to his commercial work. The guy could dance to anything, even things without any obvious rhythm. Give him a beer, a nice, tall weissbier, for instance, and he'd dance to the rhythm betweenthe songs.

Fame had spoiled him, just as it does everyone to some extent or another. And we indulged him; Eric's just too damn adorable. He'd get some crazy idea in his head, bring it up gradually, and before anyone really stopped to think about it, he was openly going on about, oh, the necessity of swinging from the table lamps in that earnest, squeak-quacking voice of his. It was important, for this reason, for that one, and since he was short, he needed help up, didn't we see?

Because we were in Europe, the camera naturally went everywhere we did. Eric, amazingly, didn't shy away from the lens, as one might expect of a celebrity. Instead, he played to it and then ignored it, like someone who had become accustomed to the constant presence of cameras and was yet unaware of the possibility of tabloids lurking off-stage.

Of course, innocence is always a fleeting thing. The following pictures are posted with the assumption that the existance of this page will be kept very hush-hush. Not all of the pictures are flattering, some are downright incriminating, and Flat Eric believes that the rolls of film documenting his party-crazy days early in his celebrity were destroyed in a freak luggage accident.

Clearly, no sense of boundaries.

Strict adherence to Flat Eric's recommendations leads to highly unique billiard games.

Holding court.

...and the night had just begun...

Catatonia: it would just creep up behind Eric and quietly push him from his chair. He'd be carrying on just as he had all evening, bobbing his head to the rhythms only he could hear, critiquing both our billiards poise and our dance styles, then suddenly falling silent. We would turn to find him in an unconscious pile, lightly twitching as he danced in his sleep.

When we carried him home, his even whuffling breath wouldn't catch at all, no matter how misdirected we became. Invariably, Eric would have been the one choosing and leading us to the venue of the evening, each time claiming the destination to be better than anything we unfamous people had ever seen. Getting home often had us wandering narrow European backstreets in the bleak hours of the morning with only his unconscious body for guidance.

To see the things that made Flat Eric the party-obsessed celebrity you see here, check out:

100% Unofficial, 100% Flat - includes a collection of ads and shorts in quicktime format.

60 Seconds in the head of Flat Eric - the only interview he ever gave to the press, kindly reprinted in The Gaurdian.

Punchbaby - an astonishing collection of clever, disgusting, and amusing clips and shorts, including Flat Eric's commercial work. I couldn't get any sound, though.

Flat Beat - Mr. Oizo's music video, starring Flat Eric as a record label executive. I've had trouble watching it on my Mac, but it works just fine on the PC. Many thanks to the mystery person who sent me the link. :)

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