Invisible bully meaning

Detect & eliminate invisible bullying

Does your workplace tolerate a bit of banter with inappropriate underlying innuendo? Are there unhealthy cliques, or is it rumour filled? Or does your boss fail to give credit when credit is due? Such negative workplace behaviours are rampant in Australian workplaces and are on the rise.

We refer to these destructive behaviours as “invisible bullying”. Yet, because they are not as overt as more typical forms of workplace bullying such as aggression and sexual harassment, they tend to be ignored, or even worse, unrecognised as potentially destructive behaviours.

New research shows that these destructive behaviours can cause just as much psychological damage and harm over time as overt bullying and harassment

What are invisible bullying behaviours?

Invisible bullying behaviours are the “blink and you will miss” behaviours that result in us hitting snooze on the alarm clock instead of jumping out of bed each day. They are the behaviours that make you second guess whether you are imagining things, whether you misinterpreted that comment or if you are being overly sensitive when you were ignored in that meeting. They are often disrespectful, rude behaviours.

Examples of invisible bullying can also include unreasonably increasing workload pressures, unreasonably taking away an employee’s responsibilities, micro-managing, springing unexpected meetings on employees and ignoring destructive behaviours when they come to light.

Why invisible bullying behaviours cannot be ignored

These behaviours are the most common form of harmful behaviours in the workplace and the most difficult to recognise. Whilst bullying can be described as the cancer of today’s workplace, it is these invisible, subtle behaviours which are the toxic tumours spreading underneath the surface.

These more subtle, uncivil workplace behaviours can cause just as much damage over time to morale, productivity and intention to stay as the more overt forms of bullying and harassment. The costs of invisible bullying to productivity and therefore the bottom line are significant and growing.

How to detect invisible bullying

It is difficult to identify these behaviours compared to the more traditional forms of direct bullying such as physical violence, sexual harassment and stigmatisation because they are not necessarily intentional. Rather, recent research demonstrates that such behaviours are more likely to be symptomatic of ultra-aggressive, dysfunctional and bureaucratic workplace cultures that are often focused on short-term outcomes no matter the cost to employee welfare or engagement.

Characteristics of such destructive workplace cultures often include:

  • Organisations that have low morale
  • There is an extremely competitive obsession with internal competition, not co-operation
  • Organisations that have low levels of perceived organisational support
  • Recruitment, promotion and reward systems focus on individuals
  • Teamwork is not encouraged
  • Fear is a dominant desired workplace emotion
  • Work groups are often male dominated with no desire for diversity
  • There is high employee turnover

How to eliminate invisible bullying

Invisible bullying won’t be fixed with “bandaid solutions” or new or expanded policies. Its elimination will involve ongoing dedication to total culture change. This is no simple task and requires a significant investment in creating and maintaining a respectful workplace culture. Change must be led from the top. It will also require that the issue be addressed by everyone in the organisation in a way that engages and empowers employees, and equips them with an understanding of all forms of incivility, harassment and bullying and how to stop it.

To measure the progress of initiatives to minimise invisible bullying at your organisation, you should conduct exit interviews to examine the reasons why your staff are leaving, as well as regular 360 degree reviews to identify and manage all forms of bullying behaviours. In addition, you should conduct an annual employee engagement survey, such as Insync Surveys’ Alignment and Engagement Survey to measure your organisational climate and track the progress of change.

For more information about the costs, causes and how your organisation can adopt a positive approach to tackling workplace bullying, we recommend the article written by one of our specialist consultants currently completing a PhD, Laura Barker: A positive approach to workplace bullying: Lessons from the Victorian Public Sector.

Cyberbullying: The Rise of the Invisible Bully

October is

National Bully Prevention Month, and this month we want to touch on Cyberbullying and its severe effects. Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms, and mobile phones. It is repeated behavior, aimed at scaring, angering, or shaming those who are targeted. 

Examples include:
  • spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos of someone on social media

  • sending hurtful messages or threats via messaging platforms

  • impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf.

Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint – a record that can prove useful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse.


Being bullied can leave scholars feeling humiliated, isolated, depressed, ashamed, or even suicidal. Scholars’ mental and physical health can suffer, and there can be a greater risk of developing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. Scholars who are bullied are also more likely to miss or drop out of school. Cyberbullying can become more harmful than face-to-face bullying because it can happen at any time, in locations where a scholar typically feels safe, like at home. It can feel like there is no escaping the taunting and humiliation.

Cyberbullying is often done anonymously, and because cyberbullies can’t see your reaction, they will often go much further in their harassment than they would if they were face-to-face. Thousands of people can also witness cyberbullying. Emails can be forwarded to many; people can comment on photos and posts in a mean and demeaning manner. They can torment a victim 24 hours a day, and with a few clicks, the humiliation can be witnessed by hundreds or thousands of people.

What are some of the warning signs that your scholar may be experiencing cyberbullying:
  • They are using their device much more or less frequently than previously

  • They appear more anxious than usual when on their phone or computer

  • They hide their phone or devices from you

  • Their social media accounts are suddenly shut down, or new ones are opened

  • They may withdraw from friends, family, or activities that they typically enjoy

  • Their grades are suffering

  • They change in mood, appetite, behavior, or become depressed or withdrawn. 

  • They become irritable or distressed after being online.

If you think that your scholar is a victim of cyberbullying: 
  • First Notice – Pay attention to the signs above and prepare to discuss them with your scholar.
  • Talk to them – Find out how it started, what is happening, and who is involved.  
  • Keep Documentation – Keep a record and take screenshots, if possible. Most laws and policies note that bullying is a repeated behavior, so keep records to document it.
  • Report –  If a classmate is cyberbullying, report it to school. You can also contact social media platforms (details in resources below), report illegal behavior, and report it to the police.
  • Support them– Parents, teachers, counselors, mentors, and trusted adults can sometimes intervene positively to influence and redirect a harmful situation. They can also reach out to the scholar who is doing the actual bullying and work with them. And they can determine if a more serious intervention is necessary. 

 Being online is a massive part of our modern culture. It is critical to teach your scholar how to create a healthy space and keep themselves safe. 

Tips for dealing with a scholar being cyberbullied: 

You do not want to punish them, but it is necessary to limit access while your scholar recovers.

It is also critical to monitor their technology in the future, no matter how much they resent it.


Use parental control apps on your scholar’s devices, set up filters, and block inappropriate web content.


Insist on knowing your scholar’s passwords and keep updated on what is popular with kids online, in social media, and text messages.


Know who your scholar communicates with online. Go over their contact lists and ask how they know each person.

Encourage your scholar to share when they feel threatened or targeted by cyberbullies, assure them that they will not lose privileges, but how serious the situation can become.

Learn about your scholar’s life. Talk to your scholar about what they are going through. The more you understand their experiences, the easier it is to detect a problem before it gets out of hand.

Educate your scholar about bullying. Share with your scholar the repercussions and harm that bullying causes and how one mean comment can alter a life.

Manage stress. Monitor your scholar’s environment and what is going on that could be causing them stress or harm. Share ways to manage their stress through meditation, exercise, discussing it, and more.

 Cyberbullying and bullying, in general, are severally detrimental to our culture as a whole. Our responsibility as parents, teachers, and counselors is to change the direction of this behavior and teach our scholars what a difference their words and actions make in shaping the world. 

 Below are some valuable resources to help deal with cyberbullying.


Guide to deal with bullying
Community Standards
Help Center

Parent’s Guide and the central hub where you can learn about our safety tools
Community Guidelines
Help Center
Moderate comments on your posts

Help Center
Bystander reporting – To report on behalf of another person.
Enforcement actions 
Mute – Removing an account’s Tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking that account.
Block – Restricting specific accounts from contacting you, seeing your Tweets, and following you.
Report – Filing a report about abusive behavior.

Dealing with Bullying – Help for dealing with bullies and bullying. (TeensHealth)
It Gets Better – Videos for LGBT kids and teens. (It Gets Better Project)
Resilience Guide for Parents and Teachers – Building resilience in children. (APA)

Bullying helplines:
Child Helpline International
Help for gay and lesbian youths being bullied:
1-866-488-7386 – The Trevor Project
If bullying or cyberbullying leads to you, or someone you know, feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-8255, or visit IASP or


Home Accounting

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Exhortations were in vain. The prince did not even think of stopping, and the voice, heard by him alone, incited, laughed, teased, calling him a fool, then a weakling. The young warrior turned around at the sound, he clearly heard where exactly the voice was coming from, but every time his sword cut through the void. And the invisible hooligan just burst into laughter.

- Come on! Now it will work! I'm after you! Behind you! How slow are you! Silly! You're half as slow as my grandma! Oh, laugh! Have fun and that's enough! You forgot about your recruits, Arthur! What will the father say? Oh ho ho! You have overlooked everything!

Only now the prince stopped. Heavy breathing and a sweaty body - that's the whole result of his tag with the invisible. The knights looked at Arthur in bewilderment and apprehension. The young man met his servant's gaze. From the way Merlin looked at him worriedly, the prince realized that he seemed to be insane.

"I'm fine. " He exhaled heavily and handed Merlin the sword. - Take it.

The prince no longer needed any other evidence that he alone could hear the voice. Cursing with annoyance, Arthur looked at the youths gloomily.

- That's all for today. You should have memorized the exercise. Tomorrow repeat yourself.

Oh, yes, an attempt was made to get away with it, but Arthur had no time to judge how successful it was. One of his wards was asleep from his face, even the freckles on his cheeks and nose turned pale, the redhead's body cramped, his eyes rolled back, and the young man collapsed into the dust.

- I overlooked everything, - almost sympathetically noticed a voice just above the ear of Arthur, who fell to his knees next to the recruit. Arthur involuntarily turned around and, of course, saw no one.

- Call Gaius! the prince shouted to Merlin, who had not yet managed to leave. The servant took off, he did not have the quickness to leave the sword on the platform, it would have been faster without him. But the red-haired warrior lying in the arms of the prince did not need the help of the court physician. Arthur's attempts to bring the young man to his senses on his own did not make sense, the recruit was dead.

- Well, what are you, prince? Don't shake the dead man, his heart is broken and won't beat again. If you had been at the review yesterday, you would not have taken such a weakling under your command, right? He would not have died, because he would not have tried to keep up with you in the hope of praise. But you were late for the show yesterday. There was no need to kill my boar. You owe me, prince! And now, Arthur Pendragon, you will obey me! Or your people will continue to die one by one!

As is customary for such an occasion, the voice burst into a terrifying laugh.

After waiting for Gaius, Arthur left the site. Little by little, the prince gained fame as a messenger of troubles, but a sense of guilt did not allow him to shift the responsibility of informing the recruit's family of his sudden death onto someone else's shoulders. Last night, he circled the lower city with his detachment almost until dawn. I had to split up to make things go faster. The prince himself knocked on the door of the woman whose children were killed by the river in front of Arthur. This time there was no need to look for the family of the deceased, the prince quickly found out who to go to. Among his recruits were friends of the redhead, they caught up with the prince already outside the square. All his resolve was for nothing.

- I was a close friend of his, sir. Let me tell his family about the grief, - the young man froze in anticipation of an answer. Perhaps he noticed how hard this consent was given to Arthur. "You must be expected at the castle, sire?"

Here he was probably right. Arthur nodded and stepped aside. Merlin's call made him turn around. A skinny servant hurried towards him, looking lost. The prince allowed himself rudeness, clinging to someone else's confusion.

- Does death impress you that much, Merlin? We live in a cruel world, you have to get used to it, - he squinted in the daytime bright sun and looked somewhere past his servant. The desire of the prince to seem worse, ruder, angrier than he is, the magician was not clear.

The sorcerer hurried to Arthur in a half-conscious attempt to support him, something was clearly wrong with the prince. But Merlin ran into condescending, unkind words. His face immediately changed from a worried expression to a habitually sly mine.

- I was impressed by the chivalrous ardor with which you cut the wind... sire.

Arthur raised his eyebrows but said nothing. Then his gaze latched on to what Merlin was holding in his left hand.

- Do you still carry my sword with you? Stupid. Give it to me. You'll break your legs too.

The mage was offended, and he did not reach into his pocket for a word.

- It's so nice to know that you care about me and think about my legs, sir!

Merlin got a slap on the back of the head, but for some reason the offense subsided. Mostly because of the blushing cheekbones of the rude prince. The skirmish was stupid, but it helped Arthur wake up from the horrors of night and morning, merged into one chain of terrible events.

The need to report to Uther was removed by Gaius. The doctor explained to the king that sometimes heart disease cannot be detected ahead of time, and neither he nor anyone else could have predicted what happened on the training ground. The storm over Prince Arthur has temporarily dissipated.

An unknown enemy knew how to be persuasive. After the death of a recruit and the direct threat of more assassinations, Arthur complied. The feeling of guilt for the deaths of people burned like a red-hot iron. After all, he did not prevent the nightmare. Could, but did not prevent.

The Prince of Camelot swore that he would not allow tragedies in the future, that he would do everything that the voice sounding in his head would not demand from him, if only not to pay for his rebellion with the lives of those whom he was obliged to protect.

- Have you guessed what's what? I'm glad, - lazy voice oozed self-satisfaction. “You are just impenetrably dumb at times. And stubborn to the same.

Arthur walked along the gallery, quickening his pace. He told himself to ignore the accompanying remarks until something else was required of him. It's one thing to hear voices that other people can't perceive, and it's quite another to start a conversation with them, and this is already hopeless. Therefore, Arthur decided not to enter into a dialogue, although he wanted to answer!

“I must be crazy after all!”

Too late, Arthur noticed Gwen coming around the corner with a stack of fresh laundry for Morgana. The prince collided with the girl, almost knocking her off her feet, and barely managed to grab the underwear before it collapsed to the floor.

- Oh! Sire, I'm sorry, - Guinevere staggered, stepping back.

The impudent voice reappeared:

- You just amaze me with your rudeness, Pendragon! Snobby idiot! Almost knocked a girl down and she apologizes to you? No, that will not do. Am I supposed to teach you politeness? Well, lesson one. ..

Merlin failed to catch up with Arthur in the square in front of the castle when the servant had a hunch, but succeeded because of a hitch in the gallery. His prince was damaged by the mind, and now it was impossible to leave Arthur unattended. The magician was breathing heavily, exhaustedly leaning against the cold stone wall. He was finally convinced of what he had only dared to casually think about before: the crown prince of Camelot had gone mad!
The picture he saw simply defied any other explanation.
Gwen is frozen in the middle of the gallery, her back against the wall. Convulsively squeezing the pile of laundry in her hands, she looked at Arthur in fear. The prince stood before her on one knee and… recited poetry?!

The magician's blue eyes widened in silent surprise, and Merlin suddenly thought that madness might well be contagious. In any case, the young man had a strong feeling that he was sleeping or that he had also lost his mind and was seeing mirages in reality.

The echo picked up Arthur's loud voice, helpfully carrying the lines of the ballad through the galleries.

- Rose of Roses and lightning lightning, thunderstorm of thunderstorms and queens queen...

Noticing Merlin, Guinevere looked at him with fright and prayer. This was the signal for action.

- Arthur, please - Merlin awkwardly pulled the knight by the shoulder, forcing him to stand up.

The prince allowed himself to be lifted to his feet, gazing vacantly over Gwen's head, as if he were listening to something the others couldn't.

- Perhaps I'll ask Gaius to brew a tincture for him. From nerves. Probably because of that recruit in the morning, - Merlin shrugged, apologizing for the strangeness of the prince, and smiled at the discouraged girl. Nodding sympathetically, Guinevere hurried away.

- You see, you're just an exemplary knight when you want it, - the laughing invisible man had a good time. “Maybe you can serenade her at night?”

- Arthur, I see you appreciate Gwen, but you shouldn't have been too direct, it scares the girls…

- Shut up! - Arthur hissed through his teeth, and it was not clear to whom exactly he was addressing. Surprisingly, both obeyed.
The heir of Camelot did not sing songs at night under Guinevere's window. The mysterious voice did not insist on this and did not frighten Arthur, so that the rest of the day passed without eccentricities.

The next morning, the prince went hunting with his knights. Merlin always felt sorry for the deer, but the death of noble animals did not bring consequences, as happened with the unicorn, and all worries about their fate were only sentiments. Yes, and the sorcerer himself was not in the habit of refusing meat, and so infrequently fell on his table. Knowing such a double weakness, the magician chose to take the chance and not participate directly in the hunt. Last night, he had begged Gaius for a cure for hallucinations and delusions, without bothering to explain anything, and his usual evasions and silences had only partially worked. The doctor agreed to meet him, only to begin with Merlin had to collect some herbs for him. The list handed by Gaius was a little discouraging, but the young man had no choice, so without much complaint he began to search while the hunters pierced the unfortunate animals with crossbow bolts.

The strong aroma of wild mint made Merlin think that such an herb would make a dubious sedative, but Gaius knew better what to send him for. Or, which was more like the truth, the doctor decided to stock up with a vengeance, since such a good opportunity presented itself.

The magician has quite a distance from the hunting knights in his wanderings for herbs. The sun rose higher and already began to bake a bent back. Stuffing the bag with mint, the servant reasoned that Gaius would be able to distinguish one from the other, and all other herbs could be tamped down over the fragrant leaves.

Lush clusters of foxglove bells shone purple on the other side of the clearing. And Merlin moved straight towards them, mercilessly trampling on other forest flora. Flowering plants, uprooted, squeezed in the bag and squandered their poisonous juice on the mint. The sorcerer did not yet know that he had ruined all his efforts to collect herbs, but he was distracted from his selfless occupation by the rustlings coming from the nearby trees. He froze, not reaching his hand with another bunch of purple flowers to his shoulder bag, carefully straightened up and began to make his way to an indistinct muffled rumble and rustle. Magical caution was characteristic of him only in those moments when Arthur was not around. The magician did not step on dry branches, did not rustle with bushes, was generally quieter than water, lower than grass. But this time Merlin was not happy that he managed to find out what was happening and not disturb in advance those whom he had inadvertently begun to spy on. It was embarrassing and somewhat late to reveal oneself. The sorcerer's feet were rooted to the ground, all confidence in his own caution had gone nowhere, he did not dare to move and could not look away. In the cozy shade of lush crowns on the grass, two knights from Arthur's detachment settled down. Merlin had known them for a long time, had seen them almost every day, and that made him even more embarrassed. The men sat close together, their coats of mail lying side by side on their roots, catching the glare of the sun with links, and their cloaks were spread out on the grass, replacing them with a bed. Knight Gurir's chest pressed against Yvain's back, his palms vanishing under his comrade's red shirt and laced trousers. Merlin could only see Yvain's chin as he rested his blond head on Gurir's shoulder and sighed frequently. The dark-eyed lover kissed his neck, then moved with caresses to his broad shoulder, biting him at the moment when Yvain suddenly arched in his arms. The magician was not particularly versed in the field of male love, but he understood what had just happened. However, the signal to escape from the clearing for him was another moment. Knight Gurir licked his lips as he lifted his head from Yvain's shoulder and whispered something in his ear, causing the blond to smile. He laughed softly, above a couple from a spreading branch flew up and whirled like enchanted, bright fluffy-tailed birds. From under Gurir's eyelashes, pure gold of magic flared distinctly, which finished off Merlin. It was all too much! The servant gathered his will into a fist and, with all the care he was capable of, scrambled away behind the trees.

Merlin retreated, hearing only the sound of blood in his ears and the booming beat of his own heart. He took a breath, only when he was near the place where he had recently collected mint, purple foxglove bells fell from his unclenched hand onto the grass. Merlin pressed his fist to his temple and twisted his lips tensely. The whole thing gave him a headache. The sorcerer has not yet decided what surprised him more: the connection between Gurir and Yvain, or the fact that at least one of Arthur's knights owns magic, while the other knows and is silent. An hour later, all the hunters with prey returned to the castle, and everything that Merlin brought from the forest, Gaius had to throw away, at the same time telling the prince's personal servant that the foxglove was poisonous.

Merlin nodded silently, successfully ignoring Gaius' lecture.
To be frank, he didn't care if the purple flowers were thrice poisonous. More important thoughts occupied my head.

- Merlin? Merlin! - the old doctor unsuccessfully tried to shout to him not for the first time.

- Huh? – the sorcerer lifted a completely absent look at Gaius and inappropriately answered: – Of course. Yes. I'm sorry, I'll go, I need...

He didn't say exactly what he needed, and went up to his room, followed by the old man's bewildered gaze.

After throwing the rubbish off the bed onto the floor, Merlin collapsed on his back on top of the covers and stared unseeingly at the shelves. He had something to think about. The young man blushed painfully, remembering the picture he had seen. All this seemed like a dream, and the sorcerer once again doubted his own sanity.
Purple bells, the smell of mint and forest herbs, Arthur's knights, Yvain's groans and gold in Gurir's eyes. Enchanted birds above them.
The closest associates of the Prince of Camelot, they... The magician's face flared up so that it seemed that now it was easy to roast a wild boar or forge a couple of swords on it.
No, Merlin, of course, knew about the fact that it happens that men share a bed, but he has never experienced it firsthand. Immediately, an echo in my memory shot up vague and hot half-dreams, half-thoughts about Arthur's lips and about an indistinct trembling that pierced from head to toe under the long look of the prince.
The young man rolled over, clasping his temples in his hands, poked his face into the pillow, cursing himself, Arthur, his knights, the Dragon and all of Camelot at once. And then he jumped up, sitting on the bed, intently crumpling the bedspread with his fingers.
Gurir was a sorcerer, and that was a lot more troubling now, brushing everything else aside.
It was impossible to explain what happened otherwise. Merlin himself saw the molten gold flashing in the knight's eyes, felt the flash of magic.
All this time, there was a mage knight next to Arthur, in his inner circle, and moreover, at least one other knight knew about it and was silent. Could it be that the prince was in the know, or does he know everything? All knights? Rave!
The magician closed his eyes, completely confused. He leaned back on the pillow, miscalculated, and, driving the top of his head along the wooden headboard, hissed in pain.
On the other hand, the flickering of thoughts, chaotic and almost panicky, has subsided surprisingly.
- Merlin, - Gaius, who looked into the room, almost sympathetically looked at the guy clutching his head, - what's going on?
"Nothing," the mage hissed through gritted teeth, trying to sound as convincing as possible. Judging by the incredulous look of the doctor, it turned out badly, but Gaius remained silent, only shaking his head.
- Tomorrow you will go to the forest again. Looks like you could use a sedative tincture too. And, Merlin, don't stuff everything you find under your feet in one bag anymore. Especially with roots and earth. I only need leaves and stems. You are listening to me?
- Yes. I remember. Leaves, stems, and foxglove are poisonous.
- Drink motherwort, - Gaius definitely decided that Merlin was a little out of his mind. And, in all honesty, the wizard was not at all sure that the healer was mistaken.
"Arthur is still waiting for you," the old man reminded him as he left the room. The work day is not over, remember?
Nodding silently, Merlin slid off the bed, deciding to silently put all thoughts out of his head for the time being, except for the urgent one, which at the moment was the prince's dinner.

Chapter 2
- Already prepared to die of hunger, - the prince stood at the window with a gloomy look, and the reason for his condition was not only a servant who was late with dinner.

- I can bring raw next time, - Merlin, as usual, defiantly smiled serenely, but the correct scheme of their relationship, which has worked flawlessly so far ("courtesy" in response to "friendliness"), has failed, the prince has not become kinder. Something clearly tormented Arthur, he began to eat without appetite, occasionally throwing frowns at Merlin. The servant raised his eyebrows in surprise, he sincerely did not understand what was happening, and, frankly, was afraid to find out.

- Wine, Merlin! - Arthur's voice sounded reproachful and irritated at the young man's incompetence, the Camelot leaned back on the high back of his chair and, with a careless movement of his fingers, pushed the forged goblet away from him. “You will never learn anything.” His exhalation was so heavy, as if all he was doing was fighting over the agility of the magician before the competition of all the servants of the kingdom for the title of the best of the best.

- Oh! Yes, sir! Now! - the sorcerer fussed with the jug and surprisingly did not spill a single drop past the goblet. Attributing the prince's irritation to a domestic cause was calmer than drowning in a chilly sea of ​​conjectures. But the situation turned out to be more complicated.

Arthur took a sip of wine and froze, looking into the fire with a mournful air. The sorcerer wanted to sympathize with his master and support him, but in what way? Merlin could not stand his helplessness before the thunderstorms that walked over the prince.

"It barely burns," Arthur remarked casually without even blinking, and the servant began to fuss again. The proximity of Pendragon did not allow magic to be applied to the fire, and everything had to be done with one's own hands. And while the servant was busy by the fireplace, squatting and feeling someone else's eyes on his back, the prince put the goblet on the table with a noise, pressing the metal against the wood.

- You will stay with me tonight. You will sleep on the left side of the bed...

“…furthest from the door,” Arthur added to himself. The blue eyes of the heir looked somewhere in marvelous distances. He clenched his jaw so tightly that his jaws bulged with exertion and his lips turned white.

Merlin hesitated for a moment, then got up and turned around cautiously, as if if he hurried, someone would grab him on the side. In the hands of the magician cradled a couple of logs, and not released into the fire.

- So… sire?

Time slowed down while the sorcerer tried to catch the eye of the prince, who, in turn, stubbornly did not look the servant in the face. The silence was broken by a sharp shot of tar in the fireplace, Merlin shuddered and closed his eyes, hiding the golden glow of irises, Arthur grabbed his sword and looked around with a wild look, the chair overturned from his sharp jerk and crashed to the stone floor.

Both of them felt embarrassed, but now at least for their nervousness, and not for the perspective drawn by the prince a minute ago. They immediately began to move: Merlin turned around on the spot, deciding what to do first, then he nevertheless threw the logs remaining in his hands into the fire and rushed to pick up a chair, Arthur for some reason walked around the table, then looked at the door and went to her decisive step. At the threshold, the prince turned around and pointed his finger halfway in the direction of the servant.

- I'm serious. You stay here, - even pretentiously raised light eyebrows spoke about how serious he was. Pendragon left, stocking up with a decent excuse to escape from the surprised eyes of the servant: he left to check the guards.

Merlin remained standing in the middle of the room, staring thoughtlessly at the slammed door. The prince resolutely left the chambers, as always leaving the last word for himself, and the servant - alone.

The sorcerer slowly sat down on the newly raised chair, trying to calm down, and still did not take his eyes off the door, as if hoping that now it would open, and Arthur who entered would announce that it was a joke, and Merlin, of course, an idiot, if you take it so seriously.
Time passed, the prince was in no hurry to confess, and this made him seriously think about the future.
In the sleepy stillness of the room there was another loud dry crackle, Merlin shuddered and immediately swore, cursing the resinous firewood and his own fright. Mental coaxing that he shouldn't be so nervous, that magic would spiral out of control if he didn't pull himself together, didn't have much effect.
“Probably should have drunk the motherwort. Maybe it's not too late to go to Gaius? And he should be warned about the night's absence ... ”Cutting himself off, Merlin angrily shook his head and resolutely moved towards the door. Had he seriously considered the prospect of spending the night in the same bed as Arthur? That's bullshit! His prince is not himself, and he himself is just an idiot!
Memory started, inopportunely giving out a picture seen in the forest. The magician jerked open the door, blushing once again. Something did not let him leave, and it is unlikely that he took Arthur's order seriously. But Merlin turned in the doorway and looked around the room.
- This has nothing to do with me, - the magician announced loudly to the prince's chambers, angrily looking at the fireplace, as if he was the main instigator and culprit of all the troubles; the flames shot up as if in mockery. The night wind blew in through the open window, and a sudden draft slammed the heavy door right in Merlin's face. In a moment, the magician was convinced that he had not imagined the click of the lock, and the key to the chambers still dangled in a bundle on the prince's belt.
Arthur walked through dark corridors lit only by smoky torches on the walls. Coolness walked through the galleries of the castle, only the guards who went on guard did not sleep. The prince knew this path by heart, he could have walked it with his eyes closed, in a dream, and he would never have made a mistake in where the fighters were standing.
But now he deliberately slowed his pace, forcing himself to go slower, delaying the moment of returning to the room.
- Are you a coward, Pendragon? This is unworthy of a knight, - the voice, to which Arthur had already begun to get used, was calm. It seems that he even triumphed, if at all it is possible to guess the mood by ear. - You still have to go back.
Arthur rounded the corner, stubbornly clenching his fists, he continued on his way and each time nodded to the greetings of the next guards, moving farther and farther from his rooms. He had the hopeful thought that he might very well be on patrol around the city, say, until morning, while Merlin was sleeping in his bed, as the invisible broadcaster demanded of him.
- Do not even hope - a quiet whisper in his ears sounded menacing, and Arthur involuntarily sucked in the stomach. This is how the invisible stranger became, before issuing another threat and immediately embodying it. The premonition did not deceive.
- You know, Prince, sometimes it's too late to come back. There is no one to whom, - from the intonations of Arthur's Voice, a cold sweat broke through. This creature, whoever it was, made it clear that Merlin would have a bad time for another attempt at disobedience.
- No. Not!
Turning sharply, the prince rushed back to his quarters, accompanied by a low laugh, especially ominous in the gloom of the corridors. Arthur brushed the stonework of the wall with his shoulder, turning at the next turn, but did not even notice it. Breathing rapidly from fast running and excitement, he slammed his body into the door of his rooms, naughty fingers shook a bunch of keys, the metal gnashed in the well, but the lock did not give in, the prince was convinced of a bad suspicion - his voice tried his best, locked. The magician on the other side of the door froze, listening to the convulsive rustle of keys and not knowing what Arthur was up to?
- You see, I'm late, - the voice chuckled and fell silent, but the prince only got worse from the silence.
- Merlin!
An echo swept down the corridor, Pendragon slammed his shoulder against the door, the sorcerer flinched from a resounding blow and a familiar voice in which fear that had not sounded in him before was clearly heard.

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"Ecstasy" by Gaspard Noe. Oil-free film City 812

“And why shouldn't I go all the way? I love clearing the table,” Nietzsche once wrote. In the world of modern cinema, there are far fewer directors who know how to go to the end and who love to clear the table than is commonly believed. This is a cautious world, a neat world, bright and unclear, and Carax or even Cronenberg in it are inveterate outcasts. But even they, perhaps, fade somewhat next to the inexorable and violent radicalism of Gaspard Noe.

Paraphrasing Nietzsche, Carlson declared: "After me, only the table remains." Noah cleans up so that there is no table left. According to the filmography, one of Noe's films is called Enter the Void. But this is not true. In fact, all of his films are called that. And the last, released in the Russian rental "Ecstasy" - too.

“Radical” does not mean a hooligan and lawless person. The ability to go to the end, going beyond the limits of not only what is permitted, but also, at times, possible, in Noe (as, indeed, in Carax or Cronenberg), is provided by an iron structure. It would seem, why is she in "Ecstasy"? A group of young dancers, after a rehearsal in a country hangar, gets drunk on Sangria, which, apparently, is mixed with some kind of drug, and the bohemian party turns into an orgy of savagery, rage and death. Given the virtuosity with which Noe controls the movement of the camera (about three-quarters of the film is just two extra-long shots) and manages color aggression, a gradual immersion in the dark, burgundy, seething elements of instincts and ambitions did not seem to require any additional constructions and internal roll calls; the effect of presence - more precisely, the effect of involvement in a branching nightmare - and so it would work to the fullest. But such cute and cozy tasks like manipulating the audience's reactions are not for Noe. Not his swing. He asks questions. And with his long plans he squeezes out the answers from the very matter of screen life, like paste from a tube. From the ending tube.

Rapture begins with a series of video interviews for casting for a dance show that are shown on a TV screen in the middle of a movie screen. On either side of the TV there are two stacks: on the left are books, on the right are video cassettes with films. This is not just a sign of the author's biblio- and cinephilia, the selection here is piecemeal. In the anamnesis of extra-long passages of Noe's camera - a tram ride from Murnau's "Sunrise" and a flight over the world of his own Faust, and Lotta Eisner's great book "Murnau", lying on the left, is evidence of this. But the hypnotic subordination of heroes to the arrangement of space is, on the contrary, the legacy of Fritz Lang, so Eisner's book is based on a book about Fritz Lang. And in the literal sense, on the contrary: the amazing scene of the hysteria of one of the heroines against the backdrop of a photo wallpaper with an enchanted forest is a pure synthesis of the prologue to Argento's "Suspiria" and Isabelle Adjani's run along the subway crossing from Zhulavsky's "Possessed"; both cassettes are right there.

"What is your motto?" an invisible voice asks one of the dancers. “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” she gives one of the dumbest answers in the world (and in general, and given the further events in the film). A volume of Zweig's Nietzsche almost winks at her from the left. This whole scene is, in the exact sense, the exposition of the film: it is all born here, from the great verbal and visual texts that surrounded the characters. They will be treated in the film according to the rules set out on the sides of them. Noe manages to use even such a dense bogey of independent cinema as Buñuel's Andalusian Dog, which usually works simply as an indulgence from any norms and rules, in a practical, practical way; except that instead of a razor slashing the pupil, LSD is dropped into the eye in the last frame from a pipette (which one of the dancers briefly mentions in her interview). Noe's film is dedicated to "those who made us and who are no more." Well, here they are. In two stacks.

Videocassettes are here because the film takes place in 1996. If only for this reason, the “presence effect” here, if needed, is much more complex than is usually accepted in modern cinema, which imitates newsreel shooting with drunken simplicity. Before embarking on the main, almost hour-long shot of the film, Noe divides the dancers resting after the rehearsal into small groups, two or three, and gives a montage of their conversations, outpourings, chatter, obscene jokes and showdown. This is not a mix, not a kaleidoscope, in this montage, wonderfully classical in terms of dramaturgy, storylines are laid and morals clash in contrast: while one confesses his love, others talk about how he would “put her, without lubrication, dry.” And this montage is so technical and clear, so cold, almost laboratory detachment emanates from it, so it forbids preferring one hero to another - that when all these germs of plots merge into a single nightmare of a long plan, the texture of individual characters and their relationships will no longer obscure gaze. The editing has already emasculated the material. And that will be the “effect of presence” not with the torment of individual people, but with the torment as such, spilled in the red-green air of the corridors and dressing rooms and, like a single substance, penetrating souls, inflicting wounds and vomiting cries.

Since the very "Entering the Void", in fact, Noe's extra-long shots are a sign of post-mortem vision. Of the authors of books and films presented in the exhibition, some are still alive, many were alive in 1996; but now, in 2018, these heroes, together with their torments and aspirations, are definitely “no more”. We cannot be "present" at what happened in 1996, as if today, it would be a vile falsehood; but we can, thanks to Noah, see it as once accomplished, irrevocably and irrevocably. To see with the vision given to us after the death of those we look at. About why Noe appointed 19 as the point of no return, the point of irreversibility and entry into the void96, let cultural experts argue, for them a lot of clues are scattered around the film, starting with the snow-white plain, as if written off from the Coen brothers' Fargo, 1996 release. Something else is important. “Have you seen the movie “Rapture”,” reads the opening credit of the film. Like it reminds me. We really have already watched it - then, more than twenty years ago. Now let's look again.

Andrzej Zulawski, the author of "The Possessed", lying to the right of the TV screen, once said that he measured the quality of films - especially his own - by the amount of "margarine" contained in them. I mean by this the component that allows the film to gently penetrate the viewer, imperceptibly take possession of him - that bourgeois manner, that compromise of form that the director allows himself, so that the film turns out to be as acceptable to the viewer as possible. The more margarine, the worse, the more false the film. Zulawski's "margarine" is something like the notorious butter from "Last Tango in Paris" or the "grease" mentioned by one of Noe's heroes. What Noe definitely learned from Zulawski (or, in his words, what Zulawski “did” in Noe) is the absence of margarine.

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