Today I read that the director of the Russian space programme referred to Venus as a Russian planet. I also read that Venus spins backwards and there might be life there. So many things to think about in regards to the future with those three pieces of information.
Down on The Edge, The Fluids sat improvising with the lanterns and the spread of light. Ivan had been on the planet since the last eruption and now he stood underneath the gaseous clouds breathing in the intelligence. He was one of a select group sent to investigate since the planet had been wrested from the Americans. War in space was inevitable and Venus had always been considered a Russian planet, Mars an American one. For all the talk of the underground ice, microbes and ancient life on Mars, the battle that won it for the Americans was something of a Pyrrhic victory. Resources drained and lost souls and ultimately the real prize was Venus with the intelligent gas. The Russians knew and the battle for Mars was a smokescreen for the gas prize. Ivan breathed in and immediately felt the presence of the entity.
The streets of Penzance at the weekend have that awful feeling of desperation. The pubs are full, the streets are busy and everyone seems to be heading to a night of headaches. Ivan knew this and when he landed just outside the town limits with the entity inside him and the gas canister strapped into the seat he knew that the experiment was the first step for alien cohabitation into the future. He rolled out of the pod and onto the ground. He’d already changed into his nondescript clothes, beige pants, open short-sleeved pale blue shirt and brown shoes with a small twisted bow. The entity wasn’t happy but Ivan unstrapped the canister and rolled it onto the grass. The entity inside him signalled readiness and Ivan put his mouth to the valve and turned the wheel. In just over 5 minutes he had taken in the total content of the canister and was already walking up the main street towards Wetherspoons.
At the doorway the Friday bouncers looked him up and down, one of them commented on his beige pants – “nice” – and he was let in through the door. He’d heard that there was some kind of pandemic on Earth at the moment but in these parts, people were casual about it and the masks wouldn’t be a problem when he released the intelligent gas entities into the bar. He stood there for a moment just looking at the people, they were a mixed bunch, old and young, male and female, no masks, all sitting rather close to each other and talking and drinking different coloured beers, black and golden, brown and some with froth and some rather flat looking. He wondered about the appeal and then saw a man red in the face, swaying towards him, glazed eyes and a belly protruding from the top of his trousers. Ah, Ivan thought, the art of drowning sorrow.
He found himself a table in a corner at the back of the bar and sat down. He could hear the voices inside of him, a strange language indecipherable but the feeling was something else, he knew what he was about to do and the time had come. He closed his eyes and breathed in and then out again quickly and then continued breathing in and out like this for a few minutes. The table next to him noticed his strange behaviour but before they could be fearful or suspicious, a large grey cloud was exhaled from his lungs and hovered above the clientele. Not everybody noticed at first but slowly everyone began to look up as the mist descended.
At first, nothing, but then you could see the pupils dilate in people’s eyes, they had literally been possessed and the new corporeal Venusian gaseous entities sat in wonder in Wetherspoons staring at each other and their new forms. Laughter broke out and then everybody began to talk at once, every lip was moving, every limb was being examined, faces being touched as the creatures felt what it was to have flesh. It didn’t last long and Ivan sitting at the table was surprised as all the gaseous clouds rose out of the bodies all at once and returned to him.
Music today has been the polarising Frank Zappa, too smart for his own good, unable to take anything seriously whilst being absolutely serious and a challenge across the hundreds of albums he has released and unreleased. Zoot Allures, released in 1976, starts with Wind Up Working In A Gas Station but soon guitar lead heavy Black Napkins and the great The Torture Never Stops take over. This is where I get to tell you about something you’ve probably never heard of that relates to this album, incidentally the only Zappa album released by Warner Brothers.
Xenochrony is a studio-based musical technique developed at an unknown date, but possibly as early as the early 1960s, by Frank Zappa, who used it on several albums. Xenochrony is executed by extracting a guitar solo or other musical part from its original context and placing it into a completely different song, to create an unexpected but pleasing effect. He said that this was the only way to achieve some rhythms.
The dubious subject of Ms. Pinky with some Captain Beefheart on harmonica but although the list of musicians that sang and played on this album is long. Zappa plays all the guitars, bass on 4 tracks, synths and keys and lead vocals on 5 tracks. Terry Bozzio plays drums. Find Her Finer (more Donnie on harmonica), like most of Zappa’s lyrical content, always entertains the philosophical:
According to the song, Zappa feels the best way to win a girl over is to show that you are less intelligent than her. His reasoning for this is that women do not care for smart men, but instead a romantic. This parallels the stereotypical belief that men prefer unintelligent women.
More mad guitar on Friendly Little Finger, I wonder how this music sounds to the modern teenager – the lyrics, the parodies, the skills, the politics, the absurdity, the humour, the technique, the out there arrangements, the visions.
Wonderful Wino is next with that voice, those words, they either make you smile or cringe. I met his daughter Moon a couple of times, I’ve seen Dweezil live three times, the last time seeing him perform Hot Rats in Manchester, plus a long complex set of Zappa’s music. I was in Berlin in the seventies outside the Deutschlandhalle, listening, too poor to get inside to see him.
The title track is next, it’s intelligent gas. The final track, Disco Boy, well what can I say, the man’s a genius.
The amazing Hot Rats, you can discover for yourself, take the opportunity now whilst you are being reminded.