The Goldblum Variations: Adventures of Jeff Goldblum Across the Known (and Unknown) Universe

The Goldblum Variations: Adventures of Jeff Goldblum Across the Known (and Unknown) Universe

by Helen McClory


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“Fantastic!” —the actual Jeff Goldblum (for real)

The essential companion for any fan of Jeff Goldblum, Hollywood’s most beloved and otherworldly icon.

You like Jeff Goldblum. We like Jeff Goldblum. Helen McClory really likes Jeff Goldblum.

So lie back, Jurassic Park-style, and prepare to enjoy The Goldblum Variations, a collection of stories, musings, puzzles, and games based on the one and only Jeff Goldblum as he (and alternate versions of himself) travels through the known (and unknown) universe in a mighty celebration of weird and wonderful Goldbluminess.

Maybe he’s cresting the steep bluffs of a mysterious planet on an epic treasure hunt, maybe he’s wearing a nice sweater, maybe he’s reading from this very book. The possibilities are endless. Treat yourself . . . because all that glitters is Goldblum.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143135227
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/22/2019
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 531,343
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Helen McClory is a writer from Scotland. She has an undergraduate MA in English and Classical Studies from the University of St. Andrews, an MA in Creative Writing from the University of New South Wales, and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. She has lived in Sydney, Australia and New York City and currently resides in Edinburgh. While in NYC, she worked as a dog walker and had the distinction of walking Lou Reed's dog. Most recently, she volunteered on a horse farm in central Portugal, despite finding horses slightly alarming. Her other interests include cooking and absurdism.

Read an Excerpt

A Variety of Jeff Goldblums
The Jeff Goldblum that lathes and sands down a pine table, brushing the grain with the heel of his hand, bends down and takes a spirit level to it, saying gently to the wood, well done, you.

The Jeff Goldblum that wakes up in the morning, opens the curtains and says, softly, "Oh!"

The Jeff Goldblum that, in an excitable mood, makes his maid an origami peacock and leaves it on the top of the fridge (where she, being short, cannot reach it without his helpful boost).

The Jeff Goldblum that has never forgotten your birthday, having chanced upon it in the Wikipedia article about you, which he has started to contribute to, although he doesn't really know anything about you at all, and, while his contributions are always peevishly removed by moderators, he is only writing kind and harmless things, like saying your favorite color is pink, when, citation needed, it might not be so, though it might be, because he, Jeff Goldblum, has surmised a favorability toward pinkness in you, stranger.

The Jeff Goldblum that lets tears flow when he deadheads his roses in winter.

The Jeff Goldblum that is reading these stories with his chin in his hands.

The Jeff Goldblum that is reading these stories with his head in his hands.

The Jeff Goldblum that stands in mirth in a frosty walled garden with an armful of ranunculus he has just set alight.

The Jeff Goldblum that lies awake at night contemplating the creator/the existence of the creator, debating out loud on top of his blankets in a lengthy diatribe, or coming to conclusions rapidly, and without a frisson of despair in the least.

The Jeff Goldblum that is a sometimes murderous, sometimes mundane figment in the dream of a woman with aching ankles in Kirkintilloch.

The Jeff Goldblum that rages at the impossibility of opening hard plastic packaging, and, growing increasingly frantic, throws the offender in question (a sealed-shut package of scissors) across the room, frightening a visiting dog, and leaving him (Jeff Goldblum that is) with a momentary feeling of vertigo at his own emptiness.

The Jeff Goldblum that cannot find his glasses (I think you know where they are).

The Jeff Goldblum that is being the best version of himself.

Jobs for Jeff Goldblum

Firefighter in a ghost town in the desert of Arizona, Jeff Goldblum sits in his bunkroom (one bed, neatly against the wall, a calendar with monthly pictures of Jeff Goldblum in sexy poses, which he did for charity, and also for himself) listening for the alarm to sound, which it has never yet. A brusque wind is lifting the sand outside in thin laces, and at the same time shoving one tumbleweed (that he can see) inexorably around the chain link fence that marks the perimeter of his station.

Artist in a cold war bunker, Jeff Goldblum is running out of things to sketch and paint. Undeterred, he begins a new project, a re-creation of the world itself, as he experiences it: delicately following the lines of the corridors, finding and painting each rivet and scuffmark on the blast walls onto canvas after canvas. He does not think of the world up top. Gray, pink, yellow, gray, gray, gray. There are quite enough colors, even here, and even though he does not know all their names, for him to turn his mind to, to forget.

Sprite in a computer game, Jeff Goldblum persists on going against his programming. He is in a battlefield sim, but he has decided he should be much more about gardening, right now. The main part of his army has massed at the foot of the hill and is being charged by the cavalry of the enemy. Jeff Goldblum's apple crop, despite lacking detail, is coming in well this year.

Mathematician in a well-regarded university, Jeff Goldblum has written out one (1) formula on the giant whiteboard for his students to copy. Its purpose is unknown to Jeff Goldblum and to his students alike; but look closer, and you will realize swiftly-he has intuited the formula for the perfect tortoise.

Town drunk in a glaciated plateau, Jeff Goldblum tries and fails to get into trouble. The town is forty yards below him, locked in the ice. One must admire his devotion to attempting minor breaches of the peace via graffiti and public urination, here, where there is no public, where there are no longer any buildings worth cherishing.

Detective in a gated community, Jeff Goldblum expected he would swiftly run out of things to investigate, but has found that there is always plenty of drama, even laying aside all that come from the clichéd notion of residents as prisoners inside the various matryoshka of their days. Consider, as he does, the mystery of the last leaf on the maple tree in front of the concierge's office. When will it fall? Who will take it when it does?

Clown hitching from habitation to habitation across Russia, Jeff Goldblum is filled with a sense of freedom, but also deep unease. His pockets are full of dusty balloons and lollipops. He keeps hearing bees. Bees, and men yelling. There is never anything around him but the open road and the forest or fields through which one large tractor is slowly charging.

Pubic defender in a small unnamed country, Jeff Goldblum is unfamiliar with not only statute and case law but also with the basic practice of being a lawyer. He is trying his best to provide adequate representation for those who cannot afford to secure a lawyer themselves. Mostly, the people of the courtroom are pleased to see him, a celebrity. Quite often there is undue noise. One day, a joyous fight broke out between a witness for the prosecution and a juror. Jeff Goldblum resolved this by signing both of their stomachs in his blood, allowing proceedings to continue.

Writer of short absurdist fiction, Jeff Goldblum-no, I cannot. I should just stop it here. Look, I'm already getting dizzy. Dizzy and sick. I am thinking too much of his fingers typing through and over my own, sliding into the space where my joints are (although, being longer, the fit is not correct and we hit the keys at a delay from each other). Oh, no, this is just wrong. I apologize for ever beginning on this path.

Cooking with Jeff Goldblum
Announcer: Good evening and welcome to another Cooking with Jeff Goldblum, or rather, hello for the first and final time. It's midnight, the clocks are all asleep, and we're . . . Cooking with Jeff Goldblum! Now give a warm "witching hour" hiss to the man himself . . . Jeff Goldblum!

Jeff Goldblum (enters and crosses the room in big lanky strides until he reaches the cooking space. Pushes his glasses up his nose, smiles, puts his hand on the wooden counter, takes in the audience and the noise of their hissing and cheers): . . . 

Announcer: So, Jeff Goldblum, what are you preparing for us tonight? We're all hungry. We're all waiting. I have my bib on. I love you.

Jeff Goldblum (pulls up a basket from under the counter. An overhead camera shows the audience that the basket is full of mushrooms, homely, white and brown things with little flecks of dirt on their warm-looking nubs and gills): . . .

Announcer: Wow! Look at those lads!

Jeff Goldblum (pulls up a large stock pot and puts it on the stovetop then shows the audience inside his sleeve. There is nothing. He shows the other sleeve. Nothing. He waves his hands and claps-suddenly he is holding a peeled shallot. He begins chopping this on the counter. He minces it very finely and puts it in the stock pot. He lights the flame under the stock pot and sweats the shallot. Then he produces a jug of vegetable stock): . . .

Announcer: Is that vegetable stock? Nice. Can't have soup without a liquid, I always say. It can be any liquid. If you have any liquid, you have imminent soup.

Jeff Goldblum (pours the vegetable stock over the sweated shallot and adds a bay leaf and some cracked pepper. He begins to chop up the mushrooms. An overhead camera shows his hands holding the mushrooms carefully. He chops each mushroom with consideration of its size and form, so that the resulting pieces are more or less the same size): . . .

Announcer: Battle to the death!

Jeff Goldblum (turns down the flame under the stock pot and adds the mushrooms by great handfuls. He stirs the mixture. The quantity of mushroom is greater than the quantity of stock. Once the stirring is done, he puts a lid on the stock pot and stands in a pose. This pose changes slowly over the course of ~25 minutes as Jeff Goldblum mimics Michelangelo's David, Rodin's The Thinker, a generic version of Herakles, several Moore sculptures, a Giacometti and, with a startling chrome finish, Koons's Rabbit): . . . 

Announcer: Looks like that soup's ready. We're hungry, Jeff Goldblum.

Jeff Goldblum (nods, takes a ladle and begins stirring the soup. He pulls out the bay leaf and discards it. He opens a brandy bottle and tips a little in. Then produces a stick blender, blending the soup to a creamy finish. A pair of black opera-gloved hands reach over across the stage, far longer than the span of a human arm, and hand him a stack of bowls. He begins ladling the soup into the bowls):  . . .

Announcer: Yes. Salvation is here, folks.

Jeff Goldblum (carries bowls on a large tray out into the audience. The camera pans round. The studio is full of all kinds of strange figures; some like blue-gray vapor with eyes, others harried looking men from early-eighteenth-century comics, a stick figure, still more contemporary humans in jeans and T-shirts that say 'Cooking with Jeff Goldblum É and me!' on them. Everyone takes a bowl. Even the person who appears to be a mushroom-they eat heartiest of all. Jeff goes back to the stage with two bowls. He looks up): . . . 

Announcer: What is this? What is this?

Jeff Goldblum (still looking up, beckons): . . . 

Announcer (descends from the ceiling, a creature of gold and whalebone corsetry): . . .

Jeff Goldblum (waits until the announcer has a spoon and bowl in hand, then picks up his own bowl and begins to drink from it directly and purposefully): . . . shhlll

Announcer (begins soup, finishes soup, places the bowl back down, and in a voice both similar to and remote from the voice they had used earlier, spun with strange threads of intent, addresses the camera): And that's all of Jeff Goldblum for tonight. Now back to our regular programming. This was not a test. When the bell chimes, please leave your home through the front door, making sure to help anyone in the household who needs assistance, but leaving any bags and shoes behind. Thank you. God speed!

Jeff Goldblum (waves, smiling, steps back into a pool of darkness): . . .

Big Mood with Jeff Goldblum
Louche, in a shopping cart, legs adangle, forearms at rest on the metal rim, in an empty megastore at midnight, being pushed up and down the aisles by a pair of twins (adult, male) who have not fully realized who they are pushing, since, on their part, certain substances have been recently inhaled (glitter, newborn star-matter).

Pensive, in a DMV (department of motor vehicles) office, thumbing through the dollar bills in his wallet, sure he has forgotten something, while a small fire is roiling in a waste paper bin behind the counter, sending up a reed of smoke.

Joyous, in the cathedral of light that is the forest on a spring day, green light and beams, bluebells, birdsong, oh, and trembling susurrations in the canopy, he goes roaming on his long legs like a cryptid and the sight of him, a mere glimpse, brings gladness to the hearts of ramblers, and they in their part will never raise their phones or their cameras to record his passing, so as not to pierce the air of precious calmness this vision has laid down upon their hearts.

Irrepressible, in a room full of dust-a ballroom in a formerly sealed up castle in France, untouched since the war-as he walks up to the mantelpiece (precise footsteps, watching them make their mark in the years' gray sediment) (a wide floor, a few sad velveteen chairs and end tables with empty champagne glasses perched on them, a window out onto the decrepit estate) to stare a moment in the tarnished mirror (gilding, scrolls of ivy and grapes), slowly a smile breaking over his face, as he puts his head down lips first on the surface of the mantelpiece and goes "bllllrrrrrppp," blowing rolls of dust away, getting dust on his nose, which he claps off with one quick hand, turns, and chugs away through the room, kicking up as much dust as he can on the way out (with a giggle? Yes, if you'd like, a giggle).

Desperate, in a white, denuded landscape, checking his watch as the horizon begins to close down on him, as day begins to get lightheaded and the sounds of whispers take up in the reeds beside the river (he is walking by a river, he thinks it is a river, but it could also be the long train of a dress).

Lusty, at the top of a mountain, wearing goat legs, throwing his arms up, up, as a huge spring tide full of fishes and catastrophe splashes over the world.

Sympathetic, as he sits alone in a theater watching a play on its opening night (he knows, its only night), a play about a man who has been all things to everyone but has also been trapped in a painting for many years unable to, as he very much would like, wink at his favorite occupant of the house (a charming but lonely individual named Firdy who always wears gloves and communicates in warbles).

Severe, as he addresses an audience at a university graduation ceremony, telling them, each, individually, of the futures they can expect for themselves, not sparing any detail of a sorrow or wrenching moment of self-abasement, and granting each graduate, after telling them their fates before everyone, there in the graduating hall, a tight dry hug and a respectful nod.

Restless, as with tears in his eyes he stands at the racetrack willing an errant fly (which has been caught up in the tumble of the horses) to be the first across the line, poor little beast, though he knows as soon as the race is over he must run, even before collecting his winnings (if indeed the fly wins) to catch the train waiting to take him onward through the blue snows of a vast, impersonal northern country.

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