If Hell is other people, why are so many people complaining right now?
Here at the Batthaim, our personal Hell has become a routine of clothes folding, washing dishes, computer work, online teaching, Dungeons and Dragons, TV, movies, cool drink, crisps, home cooking, sleeping in until gone 9 in the morning… wait, what was the question?
I frigging love social isolation. I could do it forever.
The truth is, I’m already beginning to turn into exactly the kind of person people have been worried about me turning into for years. Another couple of weeks and I’ll be eating raw fish, complaining about tricksy hobbitses, and lava diving with the best of them. But, you know, quarantine is all the reasons I’ve been enjoying living in Karratha writ large: the lack of pressure, the lower social crush, the slower speed of living, the lack of external options (cinemas, restaurants, etc) giving me more time to spend at home….
Seriously. I could do it forever.
My own personal descent into Leonard of Quirmishness aside, it’s music time! And who better to describe the geography of my inner mental tesseract than that time-displaced voyager of electric steamfuturezappowcracklepunk, Thomas Dolby?
Dolby hit the 1980s like that distant Uncle who came back from the War full of stories, with strange objects hidden all around his person and a chest in the attic which you must never — under any circumstances — open, and who just didn’t give a fuck what your parents thought. His songs She Blinded Me With Science and Hyperactive and their accompanying videos were, well, hyperactive screams of squirrel-chasing insanity at a time when electronic music was typified by the pimple-free soft-skinned baby faces of Howard Jones, Nik Kershaw*, and their blonde-tipped ilk. Mainstream radio laughed nervously, asked Auntie to pass the salt, and resolved never to invite him to dinner again.
In response, he’s gone on to create a career of singular wonderfulness and individuality, positioning himself as some sort of steampunk Uncle Fester of electric satire. This particular track is from the soundtrack to the movie Gothic, and if anything could be said to sum up his approach to the music industry, and my approach to being removed from having to interact with the outside world, a madman screaming about scorpions having sex inside his head and becoming poet laureate of Satan’s playground is just about it.
*Just for the record, I like Nik Kershaw, and totally love Howard Jones. But, you know, they really are Dik Brownes** to Dolby’s Charles Addams.
**I love Dik Browne, too. This is not a comment on quality, just approach.
***If you can read this, you’re too close.
If you’re late to the party, dive into the fetid swamp of past imagination and have a splash:
- A is for the Angels
- B is for the Butthole Surfers
- C is for The Cat Empire
- D is for Dead Kennedys
- E is for Everclear
- F is for Faith No More
- G is for GANGgajang
- H is for Hilltop Hoods
- I is for Ian Dury
- J is for James
- K is for Kinky Friedman
- L is for Lisa Mitchell
- M is for Madness
- N is for Nina Simone
- O is for Orbital
- P is for Painters and Dockers.
- Q is for Queen
- R is for The Reverend Horton Heat
- S is for Squirrel Nut Zippers