skonen_blades: (Default)
When the pins and needles had stopped caressing her body, when her muscles twitched to life and she took her first gasping steps out of the cryotube and lit a cigarette from the old pack beside her old clothes, when she had her two whiskey shots from the bottle she took with her when she first went under, when she had picked up her guitar and tried out the fine motor control tests on the chords, only then did she notice the red envelope taped to the small desk in the middle of her waking chamber.

She opened it:

October 20th, 2344

Dear Janey Starr (nee Alice Winthrope)

Further to a shareholder’s/publicity meeting held on January 16th, 2337, we regretfully confirm that your employment with us is terminated from October 20th, 2344 with immediate effect.

This is due to your position having to be made redundant, and in no way reflects your performance of your job, which has been entirely satisfactory/excellent.
The last ‘Legends of Yesteryear’ concert was not entirely sold out and as you know, popular music has continued to evolve as the decades go by. In a ranking of longevity popularity, you have come to be on the bottom of the list. We’ve had to add higher-grossing artists to the top of the bill and remove the least popular acts from the bottom. (see attached studies and lists in appendix 1) That was you and three others. The other three are not from your time frame so their names will not be familiar to you. It’s a testament to your talent that you’ve lasted as long as you have with us.

As stated in the minutes of the meeting (included here), the terms of your redundancy are as follows.

A payment to the order of 800 NWD dollars adjusted for deflation (see appendix 2a for your time frame equivalent). An iStar credit rating boost of 11 per cent (see appendix 2b for your time frame equivalent). Class 4 mating, smoking, and drinking privileges. (see appendix 2c for your time frame equivalent). Free access to your savings from your initial investments with your original bank. (see appendix 3 for changes to your bank’s interest rates and company holdings during your storage).

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a letter of reference. Please vacate this cryochamber immediately. Make sure to take all your personal belongings. Temporary housing and employment options will be provided for you for one month.

A representative will be waiting outside the chamber for you. Have an enjoyable life.
Yours sincerely

Acquisition Entertainment Star Services Incorporated

Well, thought Janey Starr, it’s not the first time I’ve hit the ground running. All I need to do now was write some hit songs and sing them. Find a few bars close to where I live and show them my stuff. Let’s get out of here.

She stubbed out her cigarette not knowing that the pack in her chamber was the last legal pack in existence. She felt the taste of whiskey in her mouth not knowing that there was no naturally bottled alcohol like it left on Earth. She left with her backpack full of six outfits not knowing that matter converters could create any clothing she desired now. She strapped her guitar to her back not knowing that all music was created with brainwaves these days.

It was time for a comeback tour.




tags
skonen_blades: (Default)
The virus was in the music.

First contact had happened four months ago. We were receiving music from another planet. All of the deep space exploration dishes swiveled over to listen. A small bit of it was played on CNN when the story first broke. Not long after, the whole song was released. It was digitized and after the primary uploads it spread out over every radio, television and internet station on the planet. YouTube users produced homemade music videos to the music. A few experimental artists did their own cover versions.

It cured deafness. It was deemed a miracle by the pope.

It was immensely popular. Alien but catchy. A new rhythm we’d never heard before. An always repeating but never repeating pattern, like the branches of tree. A few notes we didn’t have but an accessible beat and in some places, an almost plaintive sense of purpose. It never quite hit completion. There was something maddening about it but also calming. It made a person’s mind search for what was missing. The scientists were finding that there were notes in the song that were too high and too low for us to hear, like it was designed for aliens with wider sound spectrums. Either that or it was a song designed for every race in the universe to hear no matter what kind of ears they had.

It didn’t have an ending. It had been playing since we first started listening to it. When people covered it, they merely faded the song out after a while. You could do a ten minute version or a two-hour version. A few film makers had released movies where the entire feature-length soundtrack was a snippet of the song. Mathematicians were likening it to pi.

We were all swept up in the craze. Musical aliens! People openly wept with joy on talk show interviews when they were questioned about it. It seemed so benevolent. For the religious, it was concrete proof of God. For the atheists, it was proof that the universe was a friendly place.

It wasn’t something that we noticed right away. I mean, people all over the world hate their jobs, right? People were quitting. A few at first, but then a lot. Soon, people started saying home in droves. Calling in sick or just not showing up. They walked around the streets with smiles on their faces in the sunlight. All turning up the music, smiling, and walking out of their workplaces.

Only the workers necessary to keep humans alive and listening kept going to work. And they did it gladly. For free.

The music caused an intense sense of peace. It affected everyone who heard it. It was also altering people’s bodies. They could get by on water and a few bare nutrients a day. Some people starved but most people just got much thinner. They sat in parks and on rooftops with earbuds humming all smiling and staring. There was no panic. It was a worldwide quelling of stress. Reporters stopped reporting.

Within a year, industry collapsed and communication networks hummed with only the music. Gardens sprang up on every block. People stayed in touch through the internet but after a while, even that went silent. We were all connected through the song.

It was a lullaby that put us all to sleep.

It had caused everyone to sit down where they were and just appreciate the beauty around them.

The immense, black, pointed ships showed up in the sky two days ago. They’re collecting us.

We don’t mind.



tags
skonen_blades: (thatsmell)
The shadow of what I’m perceived to be is growing longer than the part of me that casts the shadow. People want who I was, not who I am. Used to be thin, used to be a dancer, used to look forward to the future, used to chase.
The talent I have pools in my extremities. Regular exercise just makes me tired. I see the whippet thin replacements walking around like they’ve got forever and it makes me happy. The future is slowly being poured into new heads while we of the last generation pass on our outdated knowledge to deaf ears. Just like our parents.
My life is measured in different chapters. It’s a ghost-written autobiography. Each chapter plays out like a DVD biopic that gets most of it wrong. A life can’t be summed up. But everyone wants the short version. An amusing anecdote with no black ice. No sneak attacks. Palatable and fit for public viewing. Not unlike a tidy corpse.
I’ve truly forgotten heights that a lot of people will never reach. Truly. The mind is a rebellious bastard. Memories fade, leaving me wondering why I did anything in the first place. I’ve striven. Sure. I’ve competed. Yeah. I’ve struck while the iron was hot. Did me a great deal of good, too.
But so what?
My face adorns bookstores now. My words drip from the lips of pundits and scholars. My smile still charms from the cover of bus-shelter advertisement posters. The picture’s ten years old, though. Even I look at pictures of myself back in the day and marvel. I was really something.
Fame presents you with an immortal version of yourself you can’t compete with. A mirror universe doppleganger that has trainers and makeup personnel. An always-fresh idealistic avatar created by public perception. It makes balancing on a pedestal look easy.
It’s a suit you used to put on but not so recently, it ceased to be comfortable. It’s too tight, for one thing, and that makes it hard to breathe. Sometimes the eye-holes slip and your vision is impaired. I let the backup dancers do the high kicks these days. Every time I’m onstage, every time I’m talking to an audience, every time I’m signing a book or listening patiently to someone telling me that I’ve changed their life, I feel like it’s Halloween.
My past self, prettier and better at everything, is tying me a noose and winking at me. It was adept at battle. I am fat and ready for the fire now.
But I have not stopped being profitable. I’m one of those whores that you see on the way down to the bottom of the stairs. There are bucks left in this old horse. There are dollars to be wrung out of my dirty laundry. There are cents in the couch cushions for the cops to go through.
It’s the agony of being loved. And I did it all voluntarily. My fans are cupids shooting arrows and I am my former self’s meat shield. For someone who doesn’t exist, he sure does rule my life.
I suppose in that way, it’s like a religion. The cult of personality made flesh. In my nightmares, he stares at me with pity.
Our younger self, who art in hyperbole, hollow be thy name.
Crowds that love you are vampires and you come to miss them. When the roaring of your fans dies down, you can really hear what little goes through your skull. It’s a sobering experience. It’s why substance abuse is so rampant in celebrities.
We can’t live up to your expectations. You are the farmers milking our souls dry. We are embarrassed every time the light hits us. And it only gets worse.
I am an animated corpse. You, my fans, are necrophiliacs.
Buy my books. They are my flesh. Buy my music. It is my soul.
And maybe, just maybe, with the blood smearing your wolf-in-sheep’s clothing mouths, I’ll escape you while you’re newly fed.
And sneak into new headlines to sell a final thousand newspapers, a new box set of my work, and some posthumous lifetime achievement awards.
And I’m still grateful. I am so insecure that I’m still grateful.
Look at me. Look at me. Look at me.



tags
skonen_blades: (gahyuk)
The cost of admitting the truth is the price of admission to honesty.

If you can’t face the music, you can’t hear the orchestra. Life is music and lies are earmuffs. They keep your ears warm but they make you deaf. If you scream your lies, you will disturb the other people at the orchestra so just think them. Keep them to yourself and no one will ever have to know unless they talk to you. Not many people will do that because they’re here for the orchestra but you’re sitting the wrong way, pointed away from the music, and that’s hard not to notice.

We are all so easily read. I don’t know anyone who isn’t freakishly perceptive. It’s just that most people don’t know how to act on what they’re seeing or would prefer not to. Like Eeyore said, “Not all of can and some of us won’t. And that’s all there is to it.” Helping hands help themselves here. Rounds of applause merely add to the noise. Like one hand giving the other a spanking for being bad, punishing yourselves to show your appreciation for the orchestra. If you’re paying attention to it.

The lies that deafen us keep us focused inward and the orchestra is magnetic, unavoidably THERE at the front of the hall playing lovely music to distract us. Playing songs of the future and songs of the past. Keeping you here in the now but above all, playing. Playing to help us be comfortable and to entertain us. It’s necessary to pay attention to it.

But you also have to look around. You have to look at each other. Hardly anyone ever does unless they’re bored. That’s a valid reason but it’s much better to look around on purpose. To watch your fellow patrons.

And maybe see someone looking back.





tags
skonen_blades: (meh)
My entire celebrity life is online for people to experience.

There are over a million people looking out through my eyes, breathing in time with me, feeling my exhilaration as six months of rehearsal come to a head and I perform my number-one hits to a crowd of fifty thousand people in a Barcelona arena. My body is taut with the proportions of a goddess thanks to Olympic trainers and amazing surgeons. The online population’s hearts are racing along with mine. They’re smelling the air of a packed coliseum and tasting my Evian in between songs. Women and men both are dialed in behind my eyes and being me.

Each one of them is paying six hundred dollars to experience it. In my peripherals, the ones that have kicked in an extra hundred are chattering to each other and sending me messages. Scrolls of text run up either side of my vision that I have trained myself to ignore.

My encores end with a massive fireworks discharge and the stage goes dark. The crowd screams my name as I strut backstage along with my backup dancers and band.

A swath of names in my peripheral vision pops and fades. Their tickets have expired.

The half a million that are left have paid a thousand dollars each for the backstage experience. My body’s vital signs pump through the optical cables all over the world to wherever they are. Other celebrities are backstage crowding me for smiles and handshakes. Fans with real-world passes are there. There’s one girl with cancer who got her ticket as a last wish. I pose for pictures with her and I nearly cry. All over the world, five hundred thousand people nearly cry with me.

That lasts a half hour. I say a prayer with my fellow performers, we talk about how good tomorrow night is going to be in Los Angeles, and I head down to my dressing room. As I walk down the stairs, many of the names in my field of vision wink out.

There are a thousand people left in my field of vision. The super rich who can afford to be at this level at most of my concerts and a bunch of lucky strangers who have scraped together ten thousand dollars each to get this far.

Once in my dressing room, I undress slowly in front of the mirror and let them stare at my toned, sweaty body. Then I climb into the shower for a long, long time. Even when I close my eyes, I can see the names in my peripheral talk to each other about how amazing this is.

As soon as I reach for my towel, most of the names wink out. There are sixteen left and they have each paid a million to still be here. There are four new names but the rest are familiar to me, almost old friends at this point.

The door to my room opens and my lover with that famous smile. His body is also perfect. He won another Oscar last year. Behind his eyes, people lean forward in their sense chairs, aching with the knowledge that they are about to have sex with one of the best-selling pop musicians on the planet. Behind my eyes, sixteen people brace themselves , ready to athletically fornicate with a dreamy leading man.

The only time we’re alone is when we are asleep or going to the bathroom.

He touches my shoulder, going in for a full, hungry kiss, and my towel dramatically slips off of me and onto the floor.



tags
skonen_blades: (borg)
Tonight! Live and in person! A concert centuries in the making! Musicians from bygone eras playing their number one hits on Earth Prime at the Penndale Arena!

What most people don’t understand about musicians and comedians that tour all the time is that they crave the isolation, she thought as she woke up. They like the sense of detachment. Spending one night here, two nights there and then moving on is how they like it. Outwardly gregarious but inwardly private, they enjoy the rootless feeling of being constantly in transit.

They like to witness and entertain the world but when it comes to their own satisfaction, they prefer the pursuit of their art, not human contact.

The coagulant and accelerator worked their painful way through Janey Starr’s veins. She was one such musician. Janey was stirring to wakefulness after 87 years of sleep. Aside from touring the honky tonks, bars and dives of what was the United States when she went to sleep the last time, Janey Starr had two number one singles that had made her a large pile of money. Enough to go time-touring. Enough to do cryo-concerts. Enough to do popsicle gigs.

It was a pretty sweet deal. Go to sleep, wake up and everyone you knew is either dead or ancient. No baggage. All Janey had to do was a contract concert tour with other has-beens from back in the day, spend a hefty per diem in what she saw as the future, have a little vacation in the new world, and then go back to sleep to be woken up in another double-handful of decades to do the same thing. It was a lot like touring from small town to small town when she was younger except that it was through time.

It was a way to be permanently on the road and bringing her art to appreciative fans, even if it was more of the ironic retro museum type of appreciation.

When the pins and needles had stopped caressing her body, when her muscles twitched to life and she took her first gasping steps out of the cryotube and lit a cigarette from the fresh pack beside her new clothes, when she had her two whiskey shots and her baloney sandwich on sourdough as per the rider in contract, when she had picked up her guitar and tried out the fine motor control tests on the chords, only then did she notice the red envelope taped to the small desk in the middle of her waking chamber.

She opened it:

October 20th, 2144

Dear Janey Starr (nee Alice Winthrope)

Further to a shareholder’s/publicity meeting held on January 16th, 2137, we regretfully confirm that your employment with us is terminated from October 20th, 2144 with immediate effect.
This is due to your position having to be made redundant, and in no way reflects your performance of your job, which has been entirely satisfactory/excellent.

The last ‘Legends of Yesteryear’ concert was not entirely sold out and as you know, popular music has continued to evolve as the decades go by. In a ranking of longevity popularity, you have come to be on the bottom of the list. We’ve had to add higher-grossing artists to the top of the bill and remove the least popular acts from the bottom. (see attached studies and lists in appendix 1) That was you and three others. The other three are not from your time frame so their names will not be familiar to you. It’s a testament to your talent that you’ve lasted as long as you have with us.

As stated in the minutes of the meeting (included here), the terms of your redundancy are as follows.
A payment to the order of 800 NWD dollars adjusted for deflation (see appendix 2a for your time frame equivalent). An iStar credit rating boost of 11 per cent (see appendix 2b for your time frame equivalent). Class 4 mating, smoking, and drinking privileges. (see appendix 2c for your time frame equivalent). Free access to your savings from your initial investments with your original bank. (see appendix 3 for changes to your bank’s interest rates and company holdings during your storage).

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for a letter of reference. Please vacate this cryochamber immediately. Make sure to take all your personal belongings. Temporary housing and employment options will be provided for you for one month.

A representative will be waiting outside the chamber for you. Have an enjoyable life.

Yours sincerely

Acquisition Entertainment Star Services Incorporated

Well, though Janey Starr, it’s not the first time I’ve hit the ground running. All I need to do now was write some new hit songs and sing them. Find a few bars close to where I live and show them my stuff.

She stubbed out her cigarette not knowing that the pack in her chamber was the last pack in existence. She felt the taste of whiskey in her mouth not knowing that there was no alcohol like it left on Earth. She left with her backpack full of six outfits not knowing that matter converters could create any clothing she desired now. She strapped her guitar to her back not knowing that all music was created with brainwaves these days.

It was time for a comeback tour.





tags
skonen_blades: (whysure)
You are a treble clef, a bright scythe of high notes flashing down through my life at a time of harvest. A candelabra reminding me that as I grow, the world shrinks and that as we sow, so shall we reap the percussions. I like the cut of your gibberish.

If our sleeping clasped hands are a cage that captures the sunrise, then we’ll add it to the collection of good days in our hearts. We are, all of us, zoos for suns. Epic atomic hearts, more than we can count, trill brilliantly within us and it’s when we hear the music that we smile. You are a conductor with a twirling baton, bringing merry melodies and love notes.

An afterthought like an aftershock hits me in post-crescendo absence of you. Music without notes is just straight lines, and heartstrings are silent unless they’re played. Different layers of the universe grind together and hum but there are vast areas of quiet. A rest in the music of the spheres.

I was a monarch of the clouds, making each rain a reign. Now I am a repository trying hard to become a conduit. I want to be lighter, less heavy, and I want to enjoy the forward motion of life. I want to run to keep up and smile while I’m doing it. I know that it’s possible because I see you do it.

So, let me show you my bass clef and I’ll try to harmonize using the lower notes. I want to duet. Let’s make of this universe a song, play while we practice, and fill the silence with our suns.




tags
skonen_blades: (bounder)
I was in her bedroom
And we were on her bed
My sweaty chest was heavin’
My cheeks were blushin’ red
We were finished rockin’
My clothes were on the floor
Sweaty and exhausted
I turned to her for more
I looked into her purty eyes
As deep as they could be
She opened up her purty mouth
Here’s what she said to me

Pick up your pants, she said.
While you’re at it, pick up the pace
Pick up your pants she said
You’re gonna leave this place
Pick up your pants, she said
And socks and boots and shirt
Pick up your pants, she said
I have to go to work.

(in progress)
They say that men all want one thing
And women all want twenty
Well Angie only wanted men
And wanted them a-plenty
She didn’t want their talkin’
Or their struttin’ or their tales
She only wanted that same thing
The same as all us males

Not really sure where it’s headed but it’s got a good twangy, country rhythm to it in my head.
skonen_blades: (incredulous)
Radiohead. I don’t have the words but I have attempts.

I am reborn. He calls the tune. By reborn I mean baptized in the unending sheets of blood-temperature rain at the Thunderbird stadium. By ‘he’ I mean Thom Yorke. I am soaked to the bone. We, all twenty thousand of us, had fun. Not in spite of the rain, but because of it. It was quintessentially Vancouver.

My tears mixed with the slickness on my shining face, turned up to the gospel of a band that never even veered near to playing Creep. And the crowd was grateful for it. I felt myself experience moments of bliss. I was far from the only one crying openly. There were thousands of people. Thom Yorke was right there in front of me. It was raining steadily on the steaming, smiling crowd. It was intense.

I felt something similar when watching Sharon Jones and Dap Kings at the Commodore back in February. Like I was in the presence of true magic, true artistry, true legend. I tell people that if everything happens for a reason and that I came back to Vancouver to be close to my father while he died, then I also was pulled here so that I could see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings in concert at the Commodore.

Not that I’m equating the two events in my life. But I’m glad in parts of my very soul for both experiences. That’s how amazing Sharon Jones and Dap Kings were in concert.

I felt that again tonight. The rain, the people I went with, the people I met there, all of it. I feel like it was the high-water mark in an already incredible summer.

A woman I was desperately in love with in a different city married someone else two weeks ago. This concert made up for it. That’s what I’m talking about.

On Saturday, I dressed as a zombie at noon and then as a rampaging space beast in a play that night.

On Sunday, a woman killed two giant crabs in my kitchen, cooked them, and then we pigged out on them and got good and drunk while slathering our fingers in garlic butter, crab meat and smiles. Afterwards, we watched The Princess Bride and Labyrinth.

On Monday, I read poetry to a packed house at Café Deux Soleils. Living legend Shane Koyczan was there. Afterwards, he shook my hand, called me by name, and said that I had done a good job. I practically floated home in a trance.

And now tonight. Radiohead in the rain for two hours of solid transcendence.

These are typical experiences in these hot months. This is only the latest batch of days in a summer that is threatening to be the best summer I have ever experienced in my short life.

I am grateful and stunned and filled with love.


tags
skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
There are forests of wild instruments.

Clarinets wrap themselves around tree branches and lie in wait for inchworm harmonicas. Vast herds of wild piano roam noisily between grazing clearings. French-horn trees split open their cocoon pods to reveal the shining brass of their young. The fresh brass twitches with new, scared notes. The male fiddle bows court the female fiddles with outrageous dances.

Tubas float lazily down the river like hippos. Bassoons haunt the surface like swans before diving down to the bottom to feed on the silty riverbed. The bongo trees create a cacophony when it rains. Every gust of wind sends the ghosts of notes up through the reed-bones of instrument’s mouths.

Wild instruments have no concept of structure, harmony or tempo. They sing wildly with abandon to express hunger, sadness, challenge or attraction. They are rarely quiet. They even moan or whistle in their sleep. It is the calls of the instruments in the wild that are the bane of music teachers but a delight to children.

The wild instruments must be caught and tamed before they are put in stores, purchased like slaves, and given to students.

The hunters have earplugs. There are tales of hunters being entranced by the proto-music and wandering off into the jungle while shedding clothing.

The instruments must be harnessed, polished, and taught the rigid structure of 4/4 time, quarter notes, and rests. The must be trained to follow the black lines on the page. They must be broken and made obedient.

There is a true moment between instrument and human player that happens only in two instances. The first is when the human player has no concept of how to play the instrument and fires it up for the first few times. At that point, there is a synergy between player and instrument. That is the instrument’s true voice.

The second moment comes near the end of a professional’s career when he’s had the same instrument for many years. His mastery of music is so complete that his addiction to form is waning. He recognizes the greater truth of notes not played. He plays the instrument in a solo that has no structure to speak of. It couldn’t even be called jazz. That is also the instrument’s true voice.

That is the full circle moment. This is the gift of a wild instrument.





tags
skonen_blades: (hluuurg)
Nervousness cascades through me, little trickling slivers of ice through my body.

My focus can’t be held for very long. It’s a lot like fear but on the thrilling side rather than the terrified side. I feel like I’m in the roller coaster and I’m being pulled to the top of the first rise. I will most likely escape the coming hour unscathed but the fact that I have made the choice is making the animal in me want to chew at my ankle joint to escape the trap.

I breathe deep, once, to quell this feeling.

I’ve committed.

Every button that I fasten on my uniform is another pebble in the well of my growing resolve. My back is getting straighter. All expression is leaving my face. I feel like I am running down a mental checklist of my personality and turning off all of the switches that make me social and connected to humanity.

I am becoming practice. I am becoming a collection of well-rehearsed moves in a state of mental here/not here. I am the no-mind of imperative, directions, and training.

There’s a note in my head. It’s a taut string vibrating in a high whine. It won’t go away until this is over. I focus on it and let myself unite with it. I visualize my mind as a frequency buried in this meat construct and erase all other feelings of doubt or fear.

I let my heart rate and adrenalin levels become input and nothing more.

I can hear the crowd outside, muted through the metal, rising in a single sound. It’s a powerful emotion that floods through me when I hear that sound. It provides the lacquer and the polish to the rest of my inner preparations. I am theirs.

I belong to the crowd now. To fail or succeed is immaterial. I need only be flawless execution. The rest of it is up to the powers above me.

The door opens. Sound and light hits me with the force of a blast wave. It sounds like a riot in progress.

I pull down my face shield and step forward, out into the light.


tags
skonen_blades: (Default)
Apologies if this is old hat. Not having a television or having my finger on the pulse of the music scene in the slightest, this might a track/video that people have been grooving to for the last six months without my knowledge. It's new for me, though, and I can watch it over and over and over and over. Genius is a word that gets tossed around too often but this...is genius.

Inspired by all of those logos from the eighties. Enjoy.




tags
skonen_blades: (bounder)
Hooking up the chimps for musical instruments was the latest craze.

They played hits from the 80s all the way up to present day. They were a huge hit. Each club wanted one for a house band.

The monkeys had little drill-bit nodes peppering out of their skulls. Their tops of their heads looked like silver porcupines that had been given brush cuts.

The metal wires that invaded the folds and warps of their small, gray brains wriggled into every nook available. The result was that while one could not teach a chimp how to play an instrument, it was possible, through motion capture and note analysis, to manufacture a tape that could deliver the nerve impulses needed for the chimpanzee to play the correct song.

They could even be fed signature motions like Pete Townsend’s windmill guitar stroke or David Lee Roth’s acrobatic leaps.

Like player pianos but alive, stated the posters. The monkeys had USB ports in the backs of their necks.

It was the fad now to have them dress up like the bands they were imitating. The vocals were hopeless but it was funny. There were four songs on the Billboard Charts; I Ran So Far Away by Flock of Monkeys, Jump by Chimp Halen, 99 Luft Baboons by Nena, and Smells Like Teen Spirit by Chimpvana.

Everyone wanted a copy and the world was running out of monkeys. There was talk of cloning. There was talk of grafting prehensile hands onto other animals in place of claws or hooves.

It was the dawn of a new age.



tags
skonen_blades: (Default)
By the way, the lovely and talented Dan Mangan is playing this Wednesday at The Railway Club. I'm sure there'll be a cover charge as per usual but he's awesome. I've never seen him do a solo show before but he's really nice to listen to. It'll be cool if you can swing it. Check out his music.

->DAN MANGAN<-



[EDIT] $8 unless you're a railway club member, then it's 6


tas
skonen_blades: (meh)
The ten definitions of love are inscribed in barber-pole Arabic around the slender neck of the instrument.

It’s carved from the heart of one of the first oak trees. Some say it’s carved from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden itself.

It’s red, naturally, stained by a resin of tears and blood.

In Ireland, they call it the Priceless Pennywhistle. In Italy, it’s called the Cupid’s Tongue. The Scots just call it Red.

It came from the region of the world that gives us the best horses and most of the oil: The Middle East. The first great storyteller, Schezeradze, was from there. Magic flowed there at one point. Genies. Flying Carpets.

The people there merely call it the Apple.

In amongst the twisting spirals of the names of love entwined around the instrument’s body is a snake, each overlapping scale precisely carved in the shape of a heart.

This is the instrument given to African Eve. She didn’t know how to express her love for Adam. The Serpent gave it to her and taught her how to play it.

“Breathe into it” the Snake said. “Use your breath. Use your fingers.”

She played.

Adam was lost to the music. He was hers for all time because it was the truest expression of love there can be. It still is.

That’s why they were kicked out of Eden. It was a power greater than God and He became jealous.

The Apple was lost to time. It surfaces in myth and again throughout the ages. If one plays it without being in love, it merely sounds like a well crafted wind instrument.

If the player is in love, however, the instrument cannot lie. The music that comes out of it leaves audiences rapt. If the subject of the song is within earshot, they will not be able to resist the person playing it ever again.

It can only be played once.






tags
skonen_blades: (hluuurg)
Turns out aliens love jazz.

Well, they could have it, as far as Jeremiah was concerned.

He hated that noodling, unstructured, fifteen-minute-solo wankery that they called jazz these days. They say that the aliens have a lifespan of three hundred years. Jeremiah could believe it. It would make sense that they had the time to waste sitting in jazz clubs for hours on end listening to this new-age soul-less garbage.

Science said that the aliens had the mathematical minds to appreciate the music on a level much higher than us mere humans. It was how they could build the star drives that they were trading for our natural resources. It was how they could prove that most of humanity’s theories were flawed. It was how they could give humans the answers to questions like “What is gravity?” and “How can we cancel covalency bonds?”

Humanity’s recent leaps in tech were looked on with amusement by their many pink eyes. Their mouth tentacles would twitch in what humans learned was a paternal gesture every time one of our top scientists showed them a breakthrough.

It was like humans were kids learning magic tricks and Houdini was being patient with their progress and encouraging them to keep going.

The young people were having a great time.

The old folks, like Jeremiah, were pissed off.

The alien gene-splicing biotechnology couldn’t help people past a certain age, at least not with longevity. Jeremiah’s soul had gotten used to this body, he figured, and didn’t want no changes. This was why he was working in this bar, listening to music that he hated, and serving refreshments to the aliens. The people with better bodies had the better jobs.

Another thing that pissed him off was the fact that the aliens brought all of their own alcohol with them on the ships. It was offloaded and carted to the bars where they congregated and then it was Jeremiah’s job as a waiter in one of those bars to serve it to them. He existed only to bring imported drinks from imported bottles on imported ships to the tables of imported life-forms.

The job was getting to him.

He knew he was part of a section of humanity that was on the way out. His unaugmented type would be looked on in the history books the way that humans looked at cavemen now.

The band on stage finished with the piano solo and moved into the drum solo. Jeremiah looked at the clock. Two hours until his break.

He’d count the seconds.




tags
skonen_blades: (whysure)
This was an accordion to love.

Bright red enamel finished with mother-of-pearl scalloped inlays racing each other around the edges. Ornamental etchings decorated the keys and the traditionally black keys were coated with silver and engraved with famous names from South American history.

The chord buttons were black jet polished to a sheen interspersed with white ivory in a checkered pattern that made the eye hurt.

The fabric between the spines of the bellows was a naked woman laid out on a bathing mat with a shower of cherry blossoms falling down. She stretched and contracted, became visible and invisible, during the playing of the music.

It was a masterful instrument. The insides were tuned to perfection. The Master Accordion maker Guglielmo himself had made it without apprentice help.

It sat on the pickup shelf in Guglielmo’s accordion shop. It had been waiting for years. Durango, the master accordion player who had ordered it, had ordered it two years ago and then disappeared.

The front door swung quietly open and the bell jingled at the front of the shop, disturbing the dust playing in streaming sunbeams coming through the front windows. Guglielmo snorted awake. He’d been napping behind the cash register. He did most of his work late at night for foreign orders. Actual foot traffic was slow. Quickly, Guglielmo slicked back his hair and stood up straight.

The stranger was immaculately dressed but about a century out of date. He was tall and thin and wearing a top hat. His suit was elegant with violet brocade across the vest and a gold watch chain dangling in the sunlight between the lapels of his jacket.

His nose had been cut off some time ago and he was wearing an eyepatch. It was hard not to stare at the twin holes in the center of his face so Guglielmo maintained a steady stare at the man’s good eye.

“Are you Guglielmo Sartori, son of Vincenzo Sartori, master accordion craftsmen with no equal?” the apparition asked.

“I am.” Said Gugliemo.

“I am here to pick up an accordion on behalf of an acquaintance. I had a deal with him and he has forfeited. I’ve given him a last request. That last request was that I should pick up the accordion he has been pining for. He says that it is here. His name was….sorry, is Durango.” Said the tall stranger.

Guglielmo looked past the dark stranger at the accordion on the shelf. He’d gotten used to it over the last few years and there was no doubt about it being the pinnacle of his profession. Craftily, he walked over to a blue accordion with hummingbird feathers shining iridescently under the etched enamel.

“Here it is.” He said with a smile.

It got dark outside the store. Maybe a cloud had passed over the sun. The stranger’s good eye grew larger.

“I’ve no time for games. That is not the instrument I seek.” He said. His voice was suddenly pitched a little lower than Guglielmo would have thought humanly possible and he heard tires screech in the distance.

“Right you are sir. Where was my head? It’s right over here.” Guglielmo picked up a dark green accordion, elegant in it’s simplicity with all the colours of the rainbow on the chord buttons. The keys themselves had been yellowed to look like smoker’s teeth. It was definitely macabre enough to interest this gentlemen.

The first few drops of rain pattered onto the storefront’s window. A rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. Guglielmo heard a dog whine.

“You are a master of your craft so I shall give you another chance. I warn you, sir, it will be your last.” Said the stranger. On the last word, blood trickled down from behind the stranger’s eyepatch and Guglielmo noticed how long the gentleman’s teeth were.

He came to the realization that it would be his life or the accordion. He valued his life more.

”It’s the red one over there on the pickup shelf. He paid in advance. It’s yours.” He motioned with his hand and walked back behind the cash register.

The stranger looped a long-nailed hand through the shoulder strap and lifted it up. It wheezed just a little as it was hoisted on the back of the stranger.

Without further ado, the stranger opened the door of the shop and made to leave.

Guglielmo started and shouted for the stranger to stop. The stranger stared at him.

Guglielmo gulped and said “If you could, please request for me that he play The Lover’s Lament on it as the first tune. It was part of the bargain I struck with him. It was my wife’s favourite tune.”

“Hm” the man said and smiled. It was a terrible thing to behold. “I’m not familiar with your wife. However, the idea of an inaugural song, while touching, is quite moot. Durango has no hands anymore with which to play. I just want to give him something to look at.”

With a smirk and a tip of his hat, he left the store.

The weather got better outside immediately.

Guglielmo thought about that day for the rest of his life. He never made a better accordion than that one.



tags
skonen_blades: (incredulous)
The virus was in the music.

First contact had happened four months ago. Music from another planet. It was digitized and put out over every radio on the planet. It was immensely popular. Alien but catchy. A few notes we didn’t have but an accessible beat and in some places, an almost plaintive sense of purpose.

It wasn’t something that we noticed right away. I mean, people all over the world hate their jobs, right? But soon, people started saying home in droves. Calling in sick or just not showing up. They walked around the streets with smiles on their faces in the sunlight.

The music caused a fanatical sense of peace.

It affected everyone who heard it. Within a year, industry collapsed and communication networks hummed with only the music.

It was a lullaby that put us all to sleep. It was the opposite of an SOS.

It was like a planet-wide dose of prozac had caused everyone to sit down where they were and just appreciate the beauty around them.

The pointed ships showed up in the sky two days ago. They’re collecting us.

We don’t mind.



tags
skonen_blades: (Default)
Here are some fun things that I thought I would like to share with you in the last few days that I've seen. I'm aware that some of it is old hat but I like the pretty pictures and I know that some of you do, too, so here you go. I hope you like them.

Two versions of a Snickers commercial. Which one do you like the most? I'm not sure which music (or lack thereof) or editing I like better.







Gummi Bear Chandelier



Knitting fights boredom campaign.






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skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
We’re wrapped up in it. Dwindling flowers of notes still hang in the air from that doomed man’s violin. A heart the size of a cabbage, they said, and a brain the size of a pea. No one knew where this idiot got his talent but the church claimed it was from God. To hear him play made most atheists become agnostic. To watch him play was almost like watching pornography.

It was obscene the way he ripped those notes out of the violin only to caress it seconds later and with it, the audience. He was a man captivated. It was like the violin played him and us with it. It was as if a door opened to us from a world of pure music that never stopped and we got to hear a little bit before the recital ended and the door closed. There was never a doubt after listening to him that he was a conduit. A normal human could never play like that. A normal human had not the hours in a lifetime to practice that much.

And this fool, this dimwitted savant, was only seventeen with a life expectancy of twelve. Every note was stolen from time and every concert borrowed from Death. Every concerto was his last.

When he stopped playing, his eyes opened, glassy and serene and vacant. A thin line of drool spilled down from his rubbery guileless smile. Stubby legs and monkey arms. Already balding. An Alastair Sym of a teenager. This chosen messenger of the divine. He could not talk. He wet himself at every show. He could not play with a symphony because no one knew what he would play.

Sometimes it would be an original composition that always hit its target and left the audience libidinous or melancholy. Sometimes something classic from Mozart would skitter out of the wooden box or something feral from the gypsies. He added new twitches and touches here and there and improved or revolutionized the emotional point of each piece.

Devil or angel, none could tell. He was profitable and mystical. He died before twenty. None of his music survived him. It was as transient and ephemeral as his life. His ugliness begat him no portraits. We only have accounts of those who saw him. They’re written in diaries whose authors struggle to capture in words what cannot be captured. To write that music down would have been to blaspheme it. Another player would only butcher it.

He haunts the dreams of great grandchildren of the nobles and paupers that saw him play. He is the fiddleman. He gives to the children heated dreams of talking violins that scream when touched. He comes from the closet of the gifted in the night and chides them into becoming talented possessed waystations for the music. His music warped into the very dna of each listener and he carries on.

He carries on.

This musical necromancy continues. They number in the hundreds and they are here and there throughout the world. Some kill themselves. Some join symphony after symphony and are always kicked out. Some are alone and play by themselves in squalor. Some can’t stop hearing the music and have gone crazy.

He carries on.



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