‘You know, the trouble with the whole cog in the machine kind of resignation is that it still justifies inactivity or, rather, a kind of distant activity. It suggests that your existence, that your continued servitude, is essential to the operation of all things; that you have the power to watch it all crumble down, if you wished it. The truth is that every cog is actually a link, a miniscule, molecular section of a great chain, wrapped so tightly around humanity’s wrist that one, two, a hundred, a thousand, could shatter at once and it wouldn’t even weaken the shackles.’
He was talking so passionlessly, so devoid of emotion, that I was inclined to believe him. He didn’t speak with the fire of revolution; he didn’t want me to follow him into hell and fire and the furious sound of the Idiot – I don’t know why he spoke to me as he did. He was reading Dostoyevsky, he told me, and he thought it was funny as anything and that larr really wanted his audience to hate him, didn’t he, that ol’ Dossie? I mean, why’d he use such big words and why bother printing on paper at all, when Amazon made it so easy these days and he’d have made more money. Hell, if he’d have been clever, got hisself a good agent and used the bad vodka he drank as a marketing strategy, he might have got a movie deal like that J.K. Rowling and he could change the world with Twitter. After all, ain’t it about time that someone did?
He’d been shredding his vocal chords for hours, man, long after the guitar player and the keyboardist and the drummer and the backups had gone home. It was just him and the bass player left, and the bass was a tall pale, lugubrious fellow who kept putting Smirnoff ice’s into a pint glass he took from behind the bar and kept whistling with brain freeze. His voice was a little horse, a pony maybe, and it kept breaking loose from his stirrups and bursting into the plains. It was passionless in his throat, like grammar and written words and passionate when it dropped to a croaking gasping breathing whimper.
They’d been on tour for a few days and he’d already started noting his philanthropic notions down on receipts and toilet paper cos’ he thought it was more artistic than paper. When he went to the toilet, which turned out to be an alleyway a few feet beyond the smoker’s area, bass told me that the singer had bought a pack of paper and binned the paper and wrote poetry on the receipt – he’d said it was metapostmodernism and then he’d giggled himself to sleep in the driver’s seat when they stopped at a red light. He’d started making a note of all the change he gave to charity and was tallying it up and kept it in his underwear in case he died like Hendrix in the middle of the tour and he’d be able to bribe his way past St. Peter and his AC/DC/CDs and bluff all the vomit flecks and bloodstains on his jeans.
He came back foaming with rabies and said he had syphilis, so bass rang the rest of the band up and they reappeared in their ratty old van and I thought about letting them sleep at mine, but my wife had just bought a new carpet and anarcho-punks who were reading Dostoyevsky and living their poetry rarely take their boots off and they have loud voices and I didn’t want my living room to smell of horses and sound like piss.