I Once Was Lost (redux)
He first sang a song called “Brave New Defalcation Rocket.” I had no idea what he was on about — a caterwaul that passed for singing, I suppose.
He desultorily strummed on an electric ukulele, placing his fingers randomly along the de-tuned strings on the fretboard. Everyone else in the tiny bar was transfixed.
There was a man behind a mixing board, in the corner, who worked the lights and added all manner of distorting effects to the performance — yellow, red, and blue lights swirled to the fuzzed-out ukulele. This strange man on stage had loaded up his uke with transducer pickups and he was kicking distortion pedals — flanged and phased skronks of noise panned left and right through the sound system.
A dozen people chanted, a lap dog barked by the open door. A busboy and bartender slapped each other, by turns, at the beer taps and drew blood from their noses.
Some sort of animal flesh, slathered in citrus, burned in the kitchen. Acrid smoke filled the place.
The man on stage unspooled long phlegmatic strands of spit down, and sucked them back up to the rhythm of his syncopated feet: down-up, down-down-up, down-up-down, down-up…
I tell you, it was madness — a bedlam overflowing from every corner — akin to screening a scrapped David Lynch film, scuttled on the cutting room floor, because it was too much to bear.
And the crowd sang in unison:
Dig my grave, man… the streaming darkness… oh my golly… oh my golly… gonna lay down in that dark hole… dig my grave, man… oh my golly…
At once it occurred to me — I found my people.
My searching was done.
“I don’t think my parents
—born in the swing toward ubiquity—chew
& chew & chew on plastic. But of course they
do. Bits in water, food-flesh, air.”
— Elizabeth Bradfield / “Plastic: A Personal History”