Oi! Did you see the drink token on the ground? Did you? Did… you? Well??? Good, you’ll need it. The quartet we are seeing, or outfit as I will come to overuse throughout, BOAST influences stretching from the disparate corners of both proto and… post, with a sound so indie… it will compel you to go full circle and undergo a frontal lobotomy… for real autonomy is but a shroud.
“Reach for the clogs, but don’t TAKETH THESE POGS!” Kudos, kudos… certainly some witty lyrics from the aforementioned outfit right there, which I will now refer to as lyricism. I mean, tacking on a suffix or two just makes everything better DOESISH IT NOTISM? Like gifting a 10 pound note-superimposed rubber to a homeless person… camera at the ready! Let’s hope the flash doesn’t make his retinas glow… for that would spoil my op, warrant a mop (upon seeing the jaundice prevalent), and thereby render the whole thing a… box-office flop?
Actually, that was boring… recall the token? Well, time to put it to use, after all, only a Stanley Standard would queue up to buy a pint full-price, wasting what little dosh they… and probably you have, unlike I. What is it you’ve chosen? A Newcastle Brown Ale, is it not? A quench repulsive, you’d agree?A Salford Quay swig it is! *Smashes the glass on the ground* You ought to try Thatchers, it replicates the taste of Devon just enough for you to (genuinely) believe you’re a peak-cap certifiable! And accent wise, non-rhotic galore! Wowee, the outfit’s lyricism strikes once more unto, “Fuck this infernal crisp, for now I have… THE ETERNAL LISP!” clearly, the syntactical nuances of Anglo-Saxon are strong with this one; I’d wager 2:1 in Lit, 79% ENTJ and a gold star for P.K.Q (Pub Knowledge Questioning)… defferinos, for I do so believe…
Oh no! It looks like someone split their head open on the rafters while crowd surfing, ouchy. Now then, back to your drink of choice. Why, oh why… the Weiss Sturm, over the sacramental K, good sir? Sheet metals are hazardous to the sole, desecrate the greenery (like our Platt Fields) and makes you look like the non-toothed tramp we earlier encountered. By comparison; K is an offering smooth on the grip, caustic on the cracked-o-lip, elevates your social standing in the smoking area to about the rank of ‘hip’, and… In terms of the red-on-black branding… you can plonk it on top of your wardrobe as though a trophy, making your room, as they say: less a tip. Aho, the sonic-outfit-extraordinaire(s) have yet more food-for-thought to offer, “If I happened to be in possession of an accom FOB, I’d be sure to give it a hefty LOB, at that ersatz journo KNOB, known to most as Prince… JOHN ROBB!” Rivets and bolts man, rivets and bolts! Whether evoking the LYRICISM of the late Tom Weights or simply a cough from the Clever Clarence influenza… it matters not, the deified OUTFIT have cracked the code on this vault and placed the lid (right) on the genie, just as the horoscope prophesied!!!! If only a PR budget, un-prohibitive, were theirs to spend… Hey, let’s go backstage and steal shit from their rider!
The year is 2028… Wait, actually; what led to this year, many dozens of months prior, was a period of societal turbulence, related to the policies of those formerly in power. Having taken what was once known as the ‘United Kingdom’ off-piste; their ineptitude in administration, gluttonous mismanagement of the economy and persistent attempts at fostering division gradually turned an apathetic populace against them. Authority withering into disrepair, the ‘Ancien Régime’ stood little chance against the seething mob. Clamouring for new leadership, free from the decadence and limitations of the past, one man heeded the call of the masses.
Straight away, he got to work, and before long rectified the mischief. The formality of title occurs not with he, whom goes only by the given name and only… the name given. A return to the year of relevance; Vincent is a fellow who, as of late, has been in a coma. Awoken, the society once familiar has long since departed. Numbed with aesthesia and greeted by alienation; he has little grasp on where the tide has swept… with value and purpose each an axis disparate. A figure stands at his side… a doctor, an erstwhile friend, the unassuming harbinger…? Blurred perception receding, an ID tag sighting and a room adorned with ornamental oddities: it looks as though ‘Bill’ is about to say something…
Bill: Ahoy there!
Vincent: (No response)
Bill: You look well; I suppose you want an explanation?
Vincent: (Looks around cautiously) I don’t even… What…!? The decorum…? That light shining through…? An aged strobe-light…? or just another delusion? (In reference to a colour-shifting light source coming through the window, adjacent to his bed)
Bill: Oh, that’s just another one of those society-scaled generative art installations…
Bill: I’ll explain, you recall what Brian did for that hospital in Brighton, earlier in the century? Well, now the idyllic luminosity stretches beyond the 4 capacity room, and into the urban cityscape, far grander in scope. Its presence; placating and ever-changing, is here to reassure us Enonians we aren’t blunted ants tarred in the hierarchical pick & mix of before, but relevant entities within a dynamic ecosystem, free from the axe-job of Social Darwinism…!
Bill: Oh…? (Slight look of pity) Haven’t you a clue? E…N…O? You know from Roxy Music.
Vincent: (Squints eyes) I recall his production work on that Coldplay album…
Bill: You bet, a benevolent dictator of sorts… bit of an oxymoron I know, but in this case he’s the Crisp McCoy!
Vincent: You’re taking the piss aren’t you?
Bill: Not at all, not at all… You remember all that austerity bollocks; the unemployment, the rising cost of living, the proliferation of poverty, rampant corruption, reactionary-on-deck no.1, reactionary-on-deck no.2…? Well, to simplify things… that all got cast into a giant sinkhole, courtesy of our untitled-in-chief… (Proceeds to smile)
Vincent: (Gasping for air) Ho… how!?
Bill: (laughs) This sachet of wonder! (Proceeds to drop a pack of cards on the bedside table… they read ‘Oblique Strategies’)
Vincent: (Slumps into his bed) Oh boy…
(A mechanical clock, peculiar in design yet musical in chime… chimes, causing momentary silence)
Bill: (While offering a cup of tea, mug tastefully… bespoke) But the inception Vincent, but the inception…
Vincent: (Collects his thoughts, after observing the clock) What about education? I suppose we’re gonna be whizzing around on egg chairs equipped with florescent wheels, while the professor does some eyeliner?
Bill: (Smirks) Good question my friend, allow me to explain; Brian’s experiences at Winchester College of Art in the late 1960’s had a lasting impact on his worldview. Ironing out a new curriculum from the ground-up with his old tutor, Tom Philips, they have completely broken off from the inadequacies of the past… you know that OFSTED-led tripe? Well, SCENIUS now… SCENIUS tomorrow… and while we’re still on the subject (Bangs fist on the bedside table), SCENIUS for long duration!!! (Regains composure, and continues) They also borrowed from the Finnish system: children are now encouraged to be themselves and focus on what actually interests them. No longer are they cajoled into the generational sausage-maker of that ‘honest vocation’ crap, which seemed only effective at producing unwitting salarymen out of what were once… fledgling minds. (Clenches fist in the air) So far it’s been a gigantic success; I can show you some statistics if you’d li…
Vincent: (Interrupting) Another topic please!
Bill: Sure thing (unclenches fist)… Going back to your eyeliner remark, you recall the discourse about transgender people and the issues they faced from certain elements against their integration into the general fold?
Vincent: (Attentive) Go on…
Bill: Well, owing to Brian’s gender-bending antics in the 70’s, it indirectly afforded him a few qualifications in understanding the plight of the LGBTQ community… plus, his experiences as an ageing man with a lack of hair has…
Vincent: …created a mutual understanding between both gammon and… gammon-not?
Bill: Couldn’t have put it better myself Vince!
Vincent: (Whispers to himself) He really is the Third Uncle…
Bill: (Inquisitive) What’s that?
Vincent: (Slightly perturbed) Nothing, do continue…
Bill: Hmmm… (Scratches chin) Where next might we traverse…?
(15 seconds elapse)
Vincent: (Breaks the impasse) What of foreign policy? Has the international climate changed that much?
Bill: (Nods with satisfaction) Aha! Brian’s stance against human rights abuses, notably with regard to the Israeli Occupied Territories, has prompted him to break off and embargo all who violate the rights of their own citizens. Other countries followed suit and within months the Likud’s grip on power collapsed.
Bill: Odd coincidences aside… an appropriate settlement is now being negotiated, after nearly 80 years, peace is at hand!
Vincent: Whoa… (Hint of suspicion) As great as this all seems… there has to be a cost to all this…? (Thinking cap attached) Surely anyone with that kind of authority would succumb to… what was the word… ah, megalomania…? As certain “case studies” have indicated?
Bill: (Passively acknowledges) Ah the Cult of Personality thing…? Well to be honest, the only aspects I can think of are… the construction projects he favours, as you have already seen, (whispers) slightly… Yet, the employment opportunities generated from this construction boom and the benefits subsequent… have played a big part in the economy’s defibrillation! In turn, the supply & demand situation buoyed, stabilising the prices of commercial goods and public necessities… which, unbeknownst to you, plagued the preceding ‘system’… To take an objective viewpoint (doesn’t take an objective viewpoint), even if society continues to be moulded in Brian’s image, who cares? Taste will always triumph over practicality! (Looks up at the ceiling momentarily)
Vincent: (Visibly perplexed) …Over practicality? I don’t recall any proponents of that idea? Maybe IT IS time I see those statistics…?
Bill: (Looks back at his friend) Yeah… gains and losses or something (waves left hand dismissively)… Anyway, to wrap up this subject, don’t expect to see any gaudy statues or 50ft by 70ft posters portraying Brian as yet another striped-sash strongman, for he is not… Although, I hope you don’t mind hearing more of his ever-expanding discography? Take for instance my earlier train journey; they played the entirety of No Pussyfooting through the speakers, surround sound…!
Vincent: (He flinches… followed by faux-enthusiasm) Oh goody, should I expect to hear ‘After The Heat’ while I’m out shopping for garden ornaments? Or maybe his co-credits on David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, as I skip about on a narrow-boat I’ve just stolen!?
Bill: (Appears unsure) That’s entirely possible, although predictability has never been a word I would dare associate with a man… such as Brian…
Vincent: (Ponders what next to discuss) Slogan…eering… That Scenius thing you were oddly raving about earlier, that’s taken central fiddle?
Bill: Just a bit… Communities are once again being subsidised… and the aspirants of that god awful Neoliberalism ‘experiment’ are being rightly penalised for their former exploitation. Remember Richard Branson? Well, the bearded prick’s assets have been expropriated; take Necker Island for instance, its only purpose now is to house in-transit refugees fleeing from what was once the United States. Even Brian’s old chum, Bono, whom thought he could get off easy owing to their past working relationship, has been made to pay his fair share in tax… for wise-man Brian makes no distinction, friend or stranger.
Vincent: America’s no more?
Bill: Balkanised, some parts are better off than others…
Vincent: Huh, well… (Sense of satisfaction) Sayonara, Uncle Sam! (Laughs)
Bill: Seems there wasn’t a particular care for that… Laissez-faire! (Joins in on the laughter)
(Laughter ceases after 30 seconds)
Vincent: So… would it be correct to assume Branson and Bono are toiling in a cobalt mine somewhere…? Perhaps shackled together by-foot, as they pickaxe the earth to help fuel the Eno-Bahn or whatever next is on the construction roster?
Bill: Not quite, reprisals and score-settling of that nature would conflict with the tenants and teachings of Brian…
Vincent: (Tilts head) And what might that be? Thou shan’t slapeth thy head?
(The clock chimes yet again, its Geneva wheels gyrating as ever)
Bill: (Turns to look out of the window) Musings like altruism and egalitarianism were just the ‘speak of the turtleneck folk’ some decades prior, but now, via the Big Here Initiative, they are inveterate to our society, by order of the Eno! (Looks around nervously, before resuming his previous position)
Vincent: (Detached) Swell… I presume Stoicism has been deemed obsolete, owing to the damaging effects it can have on one’s mental health?
Bill: (Turns away from the window, visibly humoured) Been consulting EBSCO while on the drip, eh Vince?
Vincent: (Inverted smile) But a measured hypothesis, Bill…
Bill: (Visibly impressed) You know, scholarly types are in much demand nowadays… getting your foot in the cupboard would be an easy triumph, I’m sure…
Vincent: That’s a new one (Snorts)… Actually, what about law and order? How could that old hippie understand such a concept?
Bill: Well, rather than brutalising his subjects with batons and tear gas, Brian has made rehabilitation and fairness the norm. His vocal criticism of the former United States’ prison system, ya know; lobbyists bending legislation, inmates as penal labour and… the general shoddiness of the whole thing have compelled him away from coat-tailing the stars-and-stripes, as was the norm prior…
Vincent: (Briefly does jazz hands) Most riveting… err, how’s the field of invention looking… any quantum leaps there, during my comatose absence? Permanent hair restoration…? Speech recognition software for pigeons?
Bill: Ah, the technological angle… Well, Eno’s… (Pauses, then clears throat) Forgive me, Brian’s retrospection on the Manhattan Project, you know, what birthed nuclear weapons… Was summed up by him as brilliant in what could be achieved by humanity’s collective efforts, albeit for entirely the wrong reason! Being the egghead he is, Brian has put the entire scientific potential of our nation to work, away from the capital-drainage of that research & development shit, which he always much despised. Investments are now being directed towards things relevant to progress… cures for diseases still ravishing the modern world for instance. How do you think you recovered?
Vincent: Huh? (Walks over to the mirror and examines where his wounds once were… not a trace)
Bill: (Winks with a thumbs up)
Vincent: (Pleasantly surprised) I’d buy that for a Brian…
Bill: (Agreeable) You certainly would… (Briefly glances at the clock) Right then, you’ve probably heard enough talk of our bald-headed saviour, go and get yourself ready and we’ll hop on the ENO // RAIL… it makes those old bullet trains look like foil-wrapped rolling pins!
Vincent: (Unsurprised) Nice… how did our Brian manage that?
Bill: (Playfully points at his friend) I believe… (pointing ceases) it had something to do with… an oversized living room, a few soldering irons… and quite possibly a set or ten of those Hornby Railway carriages, not to scale of course (half smiles).
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
Declining an offer of free entry to a live improvisation, featuring a temp paisley retinue at the Chameleon Arts Cafe (quite the steal I hear), I opted instead to purchase a ticket of entry for the festival in question. My relative proximity (visiting, not living) towards Salford, the titular ‘Other City’, proved decisive in my (momentary) deliberation. The day fit the ideal of being outdoors, with the queues plentiful and the logistics respectable. In venues all over, a spectrum of performers obscure and not did the predictable thing.
Yet… oddly enough, what provoked my memory of this receding event was not a stagger-some performance (of which there were a quantity) or a o’Man’o’Pint being unceremoniously escorted from the premises, owing to preceding (bacchanalian) behavioural patterns… It was a picture I took of that day (see above), which just so happened to be in the month of just 3 letters. Upon tripping (clicking*) on it within my documents folder, I couldn’t help but think allegorically; the apex-ed few, the ‘captain’s at the helm’ of this much-disdained cylinder represented, to me at least, a societal commandeering. These tins-on-deck (barring the Lucozade) could be applied to any edifice of authority, be it government or sleazy record executive, for all below, in spite of their numerical superiority, looked but trash-designate in comparison. The denizens inside, the ‘fellow travellers’, could perhaps be afforded certain benefits and stabilities… though remember, subordinate to the arbitrary whim of the upper caste, they remain. As for the urchins beneath, the ‘peons’, seemingly they appear disallowed to reside within. Languishing at the gates, they are compelled to congregate further and further away from the placidity of roof and wall, and into the peripheral of uncertainty… for all lodgings were taken.
The rubbishing of hierarchical structures aside, I now move to anecdote the security apparatus; staffed largely by student volunteers unintimidating in disposition, with a smaller cadre of bouncers guarding such sites of importance as the performer’s cafeteria, and the odd *staff only* door, varying in paintwork and wooden sourcing. Passing through the various ‘checkpoints’ clustered about; the standard protocol of bag searching was in place. The implication of this was that attempting to smuggle alcohol, external in origin, into this parameter of fanfare was predictably… verboten. I offset this by (superficially) covering the contraband with clothing and/or leaflets relevant to the ongoing day. Usually it worked, for the auxiliaries lacked both the incentive and vocational doctrine to perceive my economic subversion. Yet, for the stoic guardsman I had to do something a little different… for this event was but one of many in their distinguished service record. I didn’t wear a particularly baggy jumper that day, so the obvious scheme of stuffing all the tins into the back of it was out of the question. Recalling the concept of dead-drops, I hid the majority of them in a hedge, while keeping one at hand, albeit concealed. Passing through these checkpoints with frequency (you know how it is with the timetable) eventually lulled them into a false sense of security, with the general assumption being that since it was empty before, it must be empty now… I traversed unopposed!
Darkness brought about a new dimension to the whole scenario, as did my fatigue from 4 days of consumption, with the orange lighting emitting from an adjacent takeaway giving me moderate cause to dislike the notion of artificial illumination. In cooperation with my bandana, I tied an inflatable bird to my head, as though I myself had been commandeered. Whether or not it remained on my head with regard to longevity mattered not; it was this act of individuality, this… executive decision… the most arbitrary of whims even, that I placed this item, almost salmon in colouring, on one’s (very own) noggin. I dare not fathom what could have been, had I been the one at the wheel of society’s course, or conversely a tenant in that infernal peripheral. Sometime later (maybe a year?), bandana and faux-Flamingo long since departed, I heard that the organisers of the aforementioned spectacle had curtailed its size? So, the event in question, one that had ended nearly 3 years ago… laden with capital-dispensing consumers (people, not cans*) and capital-inducing performers… had passed by its zenith (Sunday, 36th of April, 2018 AD) and would be right-sizing itself, much like the book-cooking theme park administrators of old, from now… on? Well, what went wrong?
Angus: I have no idea, but I suspect it’s monetary in reasoning.
Most familiar will know that history, with its tepid reliance on sources; first-hand, second-tense, tertiary-hand?, the fourth wall and oriental-whispering has an evident habit of getting misconstrued and/or tilted in favour of one agenda over an opposing one. This might not seem interesting in general, but actually; if you think about it in terms of your own circumstance as a living organism, we’ve all had friends fall into arguments that can often lead to a kind of informal-factionalism that may convolute what the actual truth is, for example – (try to imagine you are visiting an exhibit):
Subject A: “They stole the gilded, Byzantine-era figurine from the artefact display!”
Subject B: “Aha, they planted stated figurine from late-Antiquity on me so as to incur the wrath of the museum-originated law enforcement investigating!”
…In turn, this will obligate you to take a side, leading to all kinds of transgressive complications that you may very well have had nothing to do with, simply because of a hapless figurine! (Or any other placeholder object you may decide to tack onto this swiftly constructed scenario).
Anyway, through morbid curiosity I edited a Wikipedia page on Pigeon Fancying; the art of tending to a domesticated feather-friend for the typical purpose(s) of sport, food or dispatching messages if (should?) childhood curiosities with the Hanna-Barbera metaverse somehow persist into hypothetical adulthood… By adding a fictional entry under the ‘Famous Fanciers’ subheading, with the entry of salience being none other than producer-musician-all-round-gizmo: (metaphorical drum roll) Brian Peter George St John le Baptiste de la Salle… Eno (RDI). I then proceeded to edit his own page to further construct the lie that he took part in this multi-millennia spanning hobby, (supposedly) around the time of his pre-Roxy, Art College youth; for a number of intermittent months in 2020/21 (check the edit logs) it remained un-rectified by the thinly stretched, overworked and largely unremunerated censor-editors in the employ of that donation craving, smaller-net-worth-than-I-thought entrepreneur, Jimmy ‘this article is semi-protected‘ Wales. Irregardless of their meddlesome tenacity, the editing will continue.
Yet, by writing about what I have done I risk bringing something along the lines of the Hawthorne Effect into the equation, which of course would be detrimental to my aspiration of tricking internet-goers into thinking this ploy is a *Certified Factoid*, complimented by bibliographic insulation. To loftily project; maybe it will spring up on a message board relating to the aforementioned pastime? Perhaps it emerges in a clickbait article via Consequence of Sound as part of a ‘Celebs Who Are A Bit Odd?’ ad-revenue-over-substance web traffic defibrillator…? Percase (a genuine word) some unwitting fourth-estate operative will bring it up in an interview with Lord Eno himself and make themselves look like a post-chlorinated clown because they thought they were being clever by doing some pre-interview research, only for them to be rebuked as ill-informed and possibly blacklisted from future journalistic ventures… or (judging by the polymath’s perceived demeanour) more likely be corrected and it laughed off, but at least still reference and thereby validate my journeyman attempt at disinformation.