The Benefits and Consequences of the (Concealed) Sacramental Tin

Sly, a blessed bev, and The Family Drone…

By Angus C. Rolland

A friend of mine (A) enquired if I was going to see Bo Ningen, a band (unknown to me) hailing from that four-island archipelago, at the Night & Day Cafe… I was not, but after a brief discussion, I decided to tag along. The preceding part of the day was largely uneventful; I ate something derived from a cow while watching an episode of Firing Line, the one about the looming danger of hippies. It featured a declining, blisteringly crocked Jack Kerouac being repeatedly shushed (that’s right) by William Buckley Jr. Though seemingly inarticulate, there was some sense to be had of Kerouac’s gargled interruptions. 13 –

Before long I reached the Gardens, swiftly assembling an inventory sufficient for illicit consumption. Another friend (B) happened upon a random pin, buried inside a bag; through curiosity, I agreed to their request to pierce my right ear… with it, the venue but a metre away. The pain was feeble, short in duration and un-prodigious in blood. A momentary mishap with the pin’s whereabouts, followed by a slight misdirection, proved insignificant to the relevant lobe’s biological integrity. Of course, what caught my eye in the midst of this ad hoc modification was neither the chitchat of cafe-residuals nor the fleeting movement of vehicles. It was the ground itself, a grey not quite in the vein of George Clooney’s steel thatch, but of a worn concrete. Through the footborne battery descending above, absolutely no mind had been paid to its labour-some efforts of providing platform to all whom value structural buoyancy. Feeling no need to pull a Pope John Paul (II), I went inside. The support acts performed as obligated, but an unforeseen challenge in the form of a bouncer emerged. Pragmatically, he suggested I hide my cans offsite, for the familiar protocol was sacrosanct. Overcome by sheer hubris, I attempted my old trick, but he proved a shrewd foe. – 10 –

Cast out, and left with nothing to spectate, I walked in the general direction of Salford, without an aim to call my own. I contacted yet another friend (C), who happened to be attending a gig-of-length. The headliner, previously unknown to I, was said to be drone in stylistic… tone? A walk of pace toward the Partisan Collective, a peripheral (literal & metaphorical) hub, which to me (at least at the time*), supplanted the likes of the other “peripheral” hubs, much too absorbed in their magnetic pulling of the (perpetual) safety-pin types. There was only one act left by my arrival, and the added risk of a full-priced fee. Fortunately, with the help of C, the guard protecting the passage allowed me through, free of charge, my previously incriminating Taurus(s) also permitted, so long as I dare not consume within… Sly and the Family Drone, as I came to discover them as, began their set in dimmed lighting, unfavourable to conventional eyesight. They were far better than anything I could have envisioned, following that recent debacle. Eschewed were the tropes of standard rock and/or roll, and brought forth were the usage of brass, decibel delinquency and what I can only describe as… percussive participation. Towards the middle, one of them took out a singular cymbal, and placed it out near the audience. Handing myself, C and some other guy each a stick, he ordered us to bang on it as hard as we could. We did, though I feel my sense of rhythm somewhat (unsurprisingly) lacked when compared to my fellow draftees. Time placement not exactly known; I soon broke my earlier promise, but I knew (with confidence) that initial crack… superseded then by the all-familiar sip… would be masked to all sensory elements, courtesy of the external impediments our senses are loathe to match. – 18       

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