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Cello's Song

Posted 9 May 2005, 5.28 am by Princess

i hide behind intonation of someone else's
masterpiece,

a specific moment where psychological
movement is expressed in musical notes.
a thought a thousand years old.

the sound of the song resonates
through my chest, as if
not even i
am playing this
instrument.

Deathwatch

Posted 18 April 2005, 11.17 pm by jackwright


So, about the best friend I have was diagnosed with cancer in his bladder last summer. It was probably a good thing; he had been miserable for quite some time. The diagnosis forced a decision concerning a treatment program. This was difficult for him as he'd had polio as a child; back in the days of the iron lung, hot packs and all manner of torturous experimental stratagery designed to fuck up any childes opinion of the medical profession for years to come.

They elected to run him through an aggressive chemo therapy program. The program run three times as long as they had thought in the beginning and about half way through, he started to experience pain in the lower center of his body. deep.

The oncologists waited until his blood tests indicated that the cancer in his bladder was gone before they ordered a bone scan, despite the fact that they had to prescribe morphine for the pain. I also find it odd that they ordered a bone scan when the bladder isn't a bone at all. It really does seem like a heartless fuckin racket to me.

Well, they hadn't killed the cancer at all, it had simply packed up and moved, and they knew that and continued the chemo treatments in order to collect the $275.00, or whatever, for a bunch of useless treatments while the cancer spread otherwhere. It had moved into his lower spine, his pelvis and into one femar. They decided to hit it with 600 rads of the old glow in the dark, every day for a couple of weeks.

It gets a little complicated here. Due to the backwoods status of where we live, he had several different types of doctors, scattered over about 300 miles, in about four different towns. Not a goddamn one of them communicating with another.

A few days before he was to report to the cancer clinic to begin his radiation treatments he developed heavy fluid on his lungs; which I, as a stupid white trash redneck, reccognised as congestive heart failure.

Consequently, the local quacks, without running a single test, decided that it was pneumonia and sent him home with antibiotics, a nebuliser and a prescription for oxygen; when, if like they should have, they'd run an EKG, they would have hospitalized him, then and there, for congestive heart failure.

To make matters worse, the local doctors didn't communicate with the cancer doctors so when he started his radiation treatments, in a town 100 miles away, instead of admitting him, they stuck him in a hotel room with oxygen, on morphine, in heart failure, with zero instructions concerning the use of the oxygen, thinking he had pneumonia.

Well, for all intents and purposes that was like just killing him. He got disoriented, misused the oxygen, wasn't taking anything to relieve the pressure on his heart, and lungs, and wound up enlarging his heart. He wound up in the emergency room and admitted, they finally decided it was heart failure, and they just put him on a dietetic, a fluid restriction and massive oxygen. Then just waited around for him to die.

He recently give me the power of attorney concerning any advanced health care directives; that means that if the time comes, I'll be the one to decide when to pull the plug. He was pretty bad but I felt like there was still hope. However he was down because some jerk doc had said not. It was his intention to finish his last three radiation treatments, then move to the extended care facility, up here, to continue working on getting his heart back online. I was supposed to go up and see him a few days back. His sister got a call in the morning saying it might be best to come get his affairs in order as he didn't have long. When I called ahead to see when would be a good time to show up in order to catch his doc, they told me that he was gone.

It turns out that he'd rolled over in the middle of the night and knocked his oxygen mask off, and nobody was at the monitoring station to catch it and his brain was damaged before they got it back on. So, wa laa, they shipped his ass up here to hospice him. A mix up concerning two docs by the same name at different hospitals fucked me up a little, but I finally found him; he was just barely there. He was completely fuckin' out of it; laying nude in a hospital bed with a diaper under him and not a blanket in sight. His oxygen line was wrapped all around everywhere except where it was supposed to be. He didn't know who I was despite the fact that he had been asking for me. He didn't know where he was, how long he'd been there or how he'd got there

This was not the time to play the kissass, I went fuckin' bulistic. I demanded that they get his doctor and the charge nurse present just as soon as I got his oxygen lines untangled, hooked up and his body, somewhat covered. By the time the charge nurse got there, I had him sitting up in his bed and trying to put the last 36 hours together; he couldn't do it. A couple of hours later, when his attending doctor showed up, he was coherent; which blew the doctor away.

During my little pow wow with the doc and nurse I learned that it was their opinion that his body was riddled with cancer, it had moved into his brain, his heart and lungs were completely shot, and, at best, he might live six, very miserable, months. When asked what they were basing their opinions on they didn't have a fuckin' answer. Not to mention their amazement at how much it helped to get him back on his oxygen. Too bad that the assholes didn't amaze themselves before the brain had been damaged. I impressed upon my friend his need to concously keep his oxygen on and headed down to see his cancer doctors, a hundred miles away.

The doctors weren't in at the cancer center but I talked to a receptionist/nurse. I give her a copy of my power of attorney concerning advance care directive and demanded some answers. I was told that his body was not riddled with cancer; that it was localized and, they believed, stopped. Their wish was still to get him in for the last three radiation treatments, and they still believe that he can go on to enjoy a decent quality of life for years to come.When I asked her what she based that opinion on, she replied the original diagnosis, bone scans and the fact that the radiation treatments had stopped the pain. Not much but more than the last doctor that I'd spoke to.

I then explained to her that I'd talked to a dozen different doctors in the last week, each one with a different diagnosis and not a single one of them with a current fucking test to back up their opinions. I suggested that she inform her boss that if he can't do something to get a few of these fuckin' quacks on the same planet, that he should let me know so that I could find somebody that could. I also informed her that I was about one more stupid answer away from retaining the greediest fuckin' shyster ambulance chaser I could find, and instructing him to sue until it was impossible for any of them to afford malpractice insurance again.

That was last Thursday. On Saturday when I went in to see him he was sitting up in his bed, he ate fruit that I brought. His thoughts were still, somewhat, fractured but he was aware of his surroundings. When I went in and seen him on Sunday, he was up, and dressed in his own clothes, and sitting in his wheelchair, feeding himself. He is just about all there; we give him his gituar and some pot brownies. When I left, I did so, for the first time in weeks, with a good feeling. He just called me at his house, on his own,(Sunday he couldn't remember his own number), and we had a good talk. I'll visit him tomorrow. I'm reasonably sure that he is going to get to come home soon.

It looks like the deathwatch may finally be nearing an end and I can go home and get some decent sleep, for the first time in weeks

Had I left the various quacks and their flunkies to their own devices last week, my friend would be dead today. What really bothers me here is that I know that this isn't an isolated incident, it happens all the time, in clinics and hospitals all over Amerika. I had to do the same thing for my mother a few years back up in Reno. My family called and offered to come get me and try to get me up to see her before she died. When I got there the prognosis was grim...nothing that they could do, and all that shit. Well, to make a long story short I started raising hell; I fought with my family; I had a falling out with my younger sister that still hasn't been repaired, but my mother is alive and well today. And, quite simply, she would not be if I'd left the doctors to their medical journals and insurance guidelines.

So what about you, is the doctors word written in stone ? Losta luck if it is...you're gonna need it.

Democratic Despotism

Posted 18 April 2005, 11.32 am by Anton

I was reading the paper yesterday, The Daily Mail I think it was. There was an article that was built around Democratic Despotism, a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville in which the power of state spreads so far and invades so many different things that its basically a despotism.

It got me thinking about how true this is becoming. Every problem seems to result in yet more legislation, more committees, in essence more shit to try and cover up the problem. I was always lead to believe that a Government works for the people so why are we being placed under greater and greater control by that which works for us? It seems quite foolish.

The utopian ideology of any Government should be to render itself obsolete, create such a paradise of a country that its inhabitants can run themselves like clockwork without an ever present Big Brother telling them what not to do. What we have today appears to be opposite and its not getting any better.

This wouldn't be as bad a situation if politics and business were further apart but as it is so much of political action is influenced by business and the mighty magnificence of currency that this ever increasing control cannot be a good thing whilst profit and productivity arguably have greater worth than the needs and wants of the people.

This part appears to owe a lot to World War 1. Before we didn't like state interference at all. We were a collection of small communities acting under the collective name of England. However the war brought about a necessity for increased production. Drastic changes occurred some of which were for the better: improved work conditions, more rights for women.

However, it also marked the journey down the long slippery slope of control by the Government. During the war they had pretty much complete control over the country and as we have seen in hundreds upon thousands of fictional and non-fictional works alike if you give a man power he seldom wants to give it all back. In fact they want more and more until they are so gorged on power they vomit everywhere and leave everything as a semi-digested garbled mess of society in absolute turmoil.

Do I have any solution for this? Not really, its simply a case of looking out for yourself and keeping an eye on the Government. Don't be sucked in by their lust for control, humanity has survived for millennia not because of Government but because of people.

Beyond Oblivion

Posted 12 April 2005, 2.31 pm by Green Mamba

[This part precedes "When Darkness Falls", but is not the beginning. I'm doing things a little back to front me thinks]

So, I live alone on the last habitable planet on the outskirts of the known universe and maybe it’s nothing more than a piece of sun-dried rock, but it’s my rock. After my father died and my brother left Oblivion to chase after some bitch in high heels and an easily removable skirt, I kind of got used to the idea of having a whole planet to myself. It’s not as if I don’t get any visitors, with Oblivion being the last stop for any would-be explorers who wants to “boldly go where no man had gone before”. So I almost always have some company and make a decent living, importing and trading valuable last minute supplies. Besides, Oblivion may look like dead rock on the surface, but underneath its rather dreary exterior is one of the Universe’s richest supplies of Twisted Matter.
After the great war of 2083, the world finally had time to heal from the wounds the Boy-Thing and his hoards of cyber-demons had inflicted. Without separate nations battling for superiority over the rapidly dwindling resources on Earth, the human race sore easily and quickly from the ashes of its dark past. Despire this, humanity was still limited to the confines of their birth solar system.
That was, until two students of quantum physics literally stumbled onto what was later to be called, Twisted Matter. As their undergraduate study, they were investigating the differences in the quantum processes that occur in the mind of patients suffering from disassociate identity disorder, as compared to normal healthy members of society. Or so the story goes, anyway. The whole world was about to change, when they found that the physical reality within the mind of their subject literally changed with their subject’s personality switch. Not only did their patients perception of reality change, but so did the physical reality within their brain. The phenomenon that was first discredited as a hoax, and then “bad science”, soon set the whole world of science ablaze. Within years of its discovery, now Nobel-laureates Henry Archeron and Dave Selbourne published their findings in a book called Twisted Matter wherein they had successfully pinpointed the physical aspects of thought. Later, geologist and physicist John Hindshaw discovered that planetary core’s also contain Twisted Matter, older planets more so than young ones.
From this team of Earth’s top quantum physicists eventually developed the Mind Warp. Synchronize two or more bio-organic super-computers, hook them up to a few milligrams of Twisted Matter, upload the precise co-ordinates of where you want to go and together it’ll literally bend reality to get you there. Well that’s the non-scientific version of it. In reality it’s a hell of a lot more complicated than that. Not to mention the literally thousands of would be space explorers that disappeared from this plane of reality before the process was perfected.

So, where does all this leave me and my little rock at the end of the known universe. Simple, there are no co-ordinates beyond Oblivion and nothing other than physical matter can break though the edge of our universe. Not radio waves, not light waves or even telepathy. Probes disappear into the darkness and never come back and so does everybody who dares to follow suit. They nicknamed it the Big Nothing and for all intents and purposes, I am its keeper.

We are about three steps away from the door when it opens. Semjaza smiles, the wrinkles in his face converge heavily on his face, but his eyes tell a tale of great concern, maybe even fear. A look I have never seen from him before.
As I make to step through into the house, he gently rests his hand on my shoulder.

I am glad you are here, master Gideon.
Not that it would do much good, from what he’s told me.
He’s not human, so he knows not much about hope in the face of certain death. Thus it is good to have another human here to carry the burden of what is happening.
And in your capacity as a witness, what exactly is that burden?
Darkness, master Gideon. Darkness like we have never seen before.

By the time we reach the living-room, the Man in the Moon is standing by the window looking out. Without unfixing his steely gaze from the scene unfolding in the window he calls us to his side.

Come, the darkness is about to give birth to the destruction of the Universe.

[Written by Rudi du Plooy, Edited by Ben Wright]

Mortal, and Trivial too.

Posted 12 April 2005, 7.22 am by Villager

I was taking a shower, one evening. I was exhausted, and just wanted to get clean so I could collapse into bed in comfort. I was thinking about how I really didn't want to go to class the following morning when my hand, dutifully spreading soap about my person, came across something that instinctively felt wrong. I retraced my movements and found that where there should be two, there were three. A large, reasonably solid lump in the exact place where you least want to find a large, reasonably solid lump. I hadn't exactly been checking for these things, despite what the adverts say, but I felt sure that I would have noticed something of that size had it developed slowly over time. So I was alarmed mostly because of the speed with which it had grown. I didn't think too much of it at first, for two reasons. One, I knew that age and general physical condition were on my side. Two, I've never been one to worry unduly about things beyond my control. Still, I was alarmed enough to make an appointment get it looked at.

I've never really feared death. It's one of those really pointless phobias given the utter inevitability of departing from this world. No, my fears are much more modest. Dogs, severe physical disability, American “friendly fire” and so forth. That's not to say that I don't wish to live along life; there’s plenty that I look forward to experiencing. Growing up I only really had one brush with death (that I was conscious of, at least). I was at the top of a tree in my grandparents' house, about 40 or 50 feet up. With me was one of my partners in mischief, Richard his name. Being about ten years old, I was rather reckless in matters of personal safety (I was later to fall from the same tree, only from, a somewhat lesser height, sustaining only a broken thumb). I was seeing just how high I could go before the branches became too thin to support my weight when such a branch (more of a twig, really) snapped as I pulled on it. My one grounded (branched?) foot slipped from its perch, I began to fall earthwards before being grabbed my fellow climber. I still fell to a lower branch, but without serious harm. A horrible, young death was thus averted. I didn't speak or think of this for some years, and had forgotten about it until, on occasion, such as crossing a bus road and almost regretting it, it would be dragged from the depths of my memory.

In the week or so I had to wait for my appointment, I more or less forgot about it, having other things to worry about. When the appointment came, I ambled along without too much thought, and had my new companion inspected. The doctor said it felt like a build-up of fluid, which probably meant it wasn't serious. I was sent for a scan anyway. So far so good. I was told to call for the result later that week, but when I did I was told I had to come in for it instead, and they wouldn't say why. This had me a little concerned, thinking there must be some terrible news awaiting me that couldn't be given over the phone.

The day or so that followed that phone call (I couldn't go straight away) were surprisingly anxious times. I always imagined that I would be a picture of calm resignation when I received bad news concerning my physical person, yet I found myself fidgeting and dwelling at length upon my impending death. Death is always impending, of course, but it's somewhat more apparent when you have an idea of how and when it might happen. I suppose it's comforting to assume that I'll live until I’m grey and old. I didn't get an urge to do all manner of things that one feels one ought to do in one's lifetimes, but rather, I sat there and thought 'what should I feel about this?'. I was anxious, I suspect, because of the uncertainty. I wasn't sure how I'd feel if the worst was confirmed, though plenty of things crossed my mind. Perhaps I'd be distraught, but I doubt it. Perhaps I'd feel relieved, knowing roughly how long was left and knowing I didn’t have to think about medium or long term consequences anymore. More likely, I'd just sit there and think about it.

I wonder how many people would come to my funeral. Thirty or forty, perhaps, not a bad showing. My mother would cry, perhaps my sister too. Who would miss me? I can think of two probable people. That's not so good. But then, why would I want people to miss me? No sense in causing them undue misery. It occurs to me that I'd have next to nothing to leave behind, save a few impersonal personal items. What would I do in my last months/years? Take out a whopping great loan and do as many crazy things as I could think of? Live my life as usual? Or succumb to anxiety and depression and expire in an orgy of drugs and terminal velocity? Probably I'd just go home and do nothing. I miss having time to ponder in peace, free of responsibility and the drag of life. Before I left for the results, I was ready to hear the worst. I would thank the doctor and go sit outside and watch the birds.

When I arrived, I was a bit nervous, but less than I had anticipated. I calmed myself during the wait, and even managed to feel chirpy as I was invited in, having flirted with one of the nurses. I was caused a moment of alarm when the doctor looked at my details with an expression of distinct consternation, but this was not because the news was bad but rather that there was in fact no reason why I shouldn't have been told over the phone. The growth was harmless, and I later had it removed. I thanked the doctor, went outside, and found some birds to watch. 'Thank God', I thought, though I wondered quite what I was thanking him for. Had I learned anything? I felt a somewhat pressing need to make my life purposeful, but wasn't sure how to go about it. So I watched the birds, and threw my sandwich to them. It occurred to me that this was the first activity I had enjoyed in a very long time, so I stayed there until the sun came down and it started to get cold. As I walked home, I felt a sense of unexplained joy, freedom, rejuvenation and even a little energy.

Or maybe that was just the cold.

When Darkness Falls

Posted 8 April 2005, 3.17 pm by Green Mamba

Its late afternoon and the yellow sun start to climb the bricks on the East side of the building, setting them ablaze in a haze of dark burgundy. The shadows are growing longer and the wind picks up, as it does every day at this time while the street fill with people deep in their daily business.
Emma sits on the window sill of their first floor apartment, mesmerised by the strange mix of characters in the street below while her feet dangle dangerously over the edge. She likes watching people, listening to the passing conversations from simple greetings between friends to shopping lists swapped by couples or business deals by the occasional person of importance. Listening gives her a better understanding of how the world works, of how people think and of what she could be when she grows up one day. At least, that’s what she thinks.

She notices a strange boy in the alley across the street, hiding in the shadows,. She has never seen him before, which is unusual because she sits here every afternoon after school and knows everyone in the area. She squints to try and get a better view but his features remain obscured by darkness. The boy looks up at her as if he is aware of being watched and then he shuffles deeper into the alley until he disappears from her sight. She shrugs, thinking that her imagination is playing tricks on her mind. Besides, she is old enough already to know that there is no such thing as monsters. That is just fairy tales from a very long time ago.
From all the way down the crossing at Mahogany Lane, she watches little Gary Hallows running along the gutters. A real little monster that one, she thinks. He takes an apple from Mr Dickson’s cart, almost tripping over a stray cat as he makes his getaway with Mr Dickson shouting behind him in mock anger.
Jane Hallows, Gary’s mother, will come by later and offer him something for the apple and Mr Dickson will decline. I remember when we were his age, he will say; do you remember how bad I was? And they will recount their childhood memories yet again, which would eventually turn into an invitation for dinner. Fred Hallows died a few years ago in a dockyard accident and Mr Dickson has taken to looking out for them. Or maybe his teenage crush on her never went away. Either way, he’s a good man and would make a great husband and a much needed father for Gary.

Emma watches as Gary as he comes up the lane, skipping past the dark alley with his face buried deep in the side of the apple. Suddenly and without any apparent reason, he stops and slowly retraces his steps. For a long moment he stands there, unmoving at the gaping mouth of the dark alley. Emma sees the shadows shift inside the alley and leans forward, her eyes straining into the darkness. A small light comes to life from within the darkness, like a shiny metal object making lens flare halos in the sun. Gary takes a step towards it. Emma looks up and down the street but not one person notices what is happening. Fuelled by curiosity, Gary starts towards the light, crossing over into the darkness. Emma gasps in silent fear and watches helplessly as Gary Hallows disappears into the darkness.

“Hello, little boy” says the voice in the shadows.
“Hi. Who are you?” asks little Hallows
“Oh, I’m the Devil.” answers the darkness.
“What’s a devil?” asks Gary
“It’s a whole lotta fun” says the voice.
“Cool,” says Gary Hallows.
Wanna see?” asks the voice.
“Uh yeah, ok.” Answer Gary, his voice slightly unsure.

Frankie the Bum lives in an old wooden freight container, in the back of a small, dark alley. He was born slow and lost his parents early on, or maybe they lost him. Either way he was alone in the world before he was fifteen. Now he lives in a wooden crate behind Basil’s Restaurant. Basil found him picking through the garbage one night and instead of chasing him away gave him a meal, a blanket and a place to sleep. The crate originally contained a new gamma stove that was shipped in from Halo 17. After the stove was installed, the crate got left behind and has been sitting there ever since. Now the crate contains a mattress with scratchy blankets, a small electric light, a FM radio, an old electric kettle, a folding chair and a pile of books. The same extension cord that powers the humble kettle also gives life to an FM radio, and a small electric light that hangs dangerously from the ceiling. Every night he gets a hot meal from Basil and the extension cord that powers Frankie’s home is plugged into a socket in the kitchen with a label on it that reads, “DO NOT TOUCH,” in big, threatening letters. Once a new apprentice chef switched it off by accident and Basil had him scrubbing dishes for a week.
So all in all, aside from living in a wooden box in a dark alley, Frankie has a good life. So maybe he’s not the sharpest crayon in the box and the kids laugh at him when they see him searching for a book in the children section at the library, but he’s happy. As long as he has a roof over his heads, one hot meal a day and book to read by free electric light, the world is all right by him.

Gary Hallows makes his way through the alley of shadows, towards a big wooden crate in the back. There is a man inside. Old Frankie the Freak, who likes to read children’s books and combs his greasy hair with a parting right down the middle and flat against his head. He’s fast asleep. Right there in his reading chair with a book still in his hands. Gary moves closer to the sleeping body, keeping to the shadows while he tries to read the title of the book. It’s obscured by Frankie’s big hands slumping heavily over the cover and he can only make out the beginning and the end. “Pigl... ...ture,” or something like that.

“This will be a whole lot of fun, you’ll see” says the darkness.
“It doesn’t feel right” protests the boy.
“But it will, believe me it will” says the darkness.

Frankie’s wooden box doesn’t have an actual door. The front just lifts up, which he then holds up with an old broomstick to keep it from falling back down. Gary Hallows sneaks right up to Frankie’s front door, so to speak, smiles at the sleeping owner and then, in one swift swoop, kicks the broomstick-doorstop from underneath the door. It comes crashing down with a loud bang. Inside the wooden box, Frankie throws the book in the air and jumps to his feet. He forgets that his home can’t contain his full length and hits his head against the roof before sagging back down into his chair holding his head. Outside, Gary Hallows secures the door by slipping a nail through the iron latch that came with original wooden crate. By the time Frankie gathers what little wits he has, it’s too late. He starts to bang against the door, pleading to be released. Gary Hallows laughs at his plight, the darkness spurring him on every step of the way.

Little Gary Hallows has a box of matches and a small tin of lighter fluid. Later that night, his elders will question him about where he got it and he will simply say, “The devil gave it to me”. They will look at each other with raised eyebrows and for days thereafter discuss the tragedy of Frankie the Bum’s untimely death. Such a horrible end to such a sad life. No one deserves to be burned alive, least of all intentionally ... by an eight year old boy.
Garry Hallows will be confined to a room in his parents house, where he will sit for the duration of the elder’s discussions. By the time his parents return to open the door, their son will be gone, replaced by fearful madness, foaming at the mouth and eyes bloodshot with murder and rage.

[Written by Rudi du Plooy. Edited by Ben Wright]

Catharsis

Posted 28 March 2005, 5.19 am by firebrand

“I can’t have kids.,” she says, fiddling nervously with the ring on her right hand. “It doesn’t really bother me – I mean, I’ve always known I can’t have kids, so I’ve never really wanted them. Whenever I tell people I can’t have kids – it is just a Fact of Life, after all – they always tell me how sorry they are for me, and that Modern Science can probably solve my problems. I don’t think they understand that it’s not a problem for me. They might as well tell someone they’re sorry their eyes are blue.”

“But I wonder, sometimes, if knowing I’ll never have children has made me live differently. Have I been more irresponsible, more selfish because I won’t have to settle down and share my time, space and love with someone not of my own choosing? I don’t think I have, but I can never really know.”

Walking over to the bookshelf, she extracts a slim, dog-eared novel. She fingers the pages, smoothing each fold back. “You know, really, the thing that gets me is the future. What if I meet some wonderful, perfect guy and he dumps me because he wants kids? I mean, I’ve always been willing to adopt, but what if that’s not enough? I don’t want to find a Hagar to birth my husband’s children.”

“I hate feeling like other people think I’m incomplete. We live in a modern society! Completion shouldn’t be tied to my ability to reproduce, to bear strong sons for my husband! There is more to me than my womb!”

Suddenly, she flings the book to the floor and walks out. I suppose it bothers her after all.


"Coffee House" at the Student Lounge

Posted 25 March 2005, 7.00 am by Aqua

Honestly, I was afraid. Upon entering the student lounge, immediately the words “this definitely isn’t my scene” came into my head. “’Scene’? Did I just say that?” I took a seat at a tall round table while my roommate Lilly and her friend Jeff took a seat at a couch with their friends.

It was like walking into a room and suddenly tripping on ‘shrooms, and I’ve never had the pleasure of that experience, if that says anything. I felt so alienated. It was dark, and people were strewn about this small niche seated on couches, tall tables, and stools, all intensely gazing at the main attraction at the end of the room; the main attraction that just happened to be behind a wall of white sheets. Well, at least you could make out their shadows from the blue light… sort of. A form with what appeared to be antlers on their head hunched over an amp, a bunch of sticks in the corner, and… is that a scythe?

But that wasn’t the half of it. The music hit you like a ton of bricks over and over, repeatedly violating your ears and ravaging the innermost portions of your brain; you know, the ones that you never knew existed until that time your friend ran their fingernails mercilessly down the chalk board in 6th grade. I forgot about that area. That is, I did until now.

Then came the plastic doulble-sided axe.

Interestingly enough, it made you want to stick around if for no other reason than to see where this all was going. Sounding like a combination of an electric guitar with a serious echo effect on, some keyboard with erratic tempos and pennies in an oatmeal container, it was strangely fascinating. It rocked and scared me to the very core. I loved it.

The haunting beats disturbed you as the slow crescendo came, went, and came again to finally end with much applause. As I clapped, the lights were turned on, foreign objects were tossed out from behind the curtain (there’s the axe, a reindeer head, and… an alien?), and the artists emerged from their white womb: three guys in their plaid glory, glasses, tight pants and all. All of them upperclassmen I recognized in passing.

Slightly disoriented from this new… music… experience… I decided to get some coffee. Lilly and Jeff started setting up their instruments with three other upperclassmen and I prepared for what I had originally come for. It was fantastic. Starting with a few impromptu “poetry slams” backed by Jeff on the electric guitar, Lilly on bass, and a sweet drummer, the lead man had such enthusiasm and power in the way he sung into the magnificent old mic on his stand, you couldn’t help but like it, whatever it was he was singing. His moccasin-clad feet pounded at the table he stood upon as his whole being, not the drums, seemed to shake the very ground. These were followed up with Lilly on vocals to American Music and I Touch Myself, with a twist.

I don’t want anybody else.

After another impromptu jam, the main feature (for me) came on. The skinny drummer with the tie and the lead singer in sweat pants and a beige plaid shirt stood high on the low table and sang a version of Hey Joe. Of course this version was a bit different than Jimi Hendrix’s original version with their heavy bass of the drum and the intense sound of the electric guitar. Not to mention after the first verse the drummer declared over the music it was the only part they knew, and that they were going to continue with just the opening, revising a little along the way with their passionate screams inbetween switch-offs of "Joe", and "not Joe".

You know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man.

Followed by an original musical piece with only the drummer on electric guitar and another guy on the drums, I was blown away. I remember now, this is why I love live music.

It was perfect.

As this was the end of this group’s section I wasted no time getting out of there to head home. I needed to savor this feeling. I had to cling to it while I could. As I walked down the dark streets I knew so well, I was euphoric. Somehow I felt esoteric, enlightened, special; I had some sort of otherworldly knowledge and power endowed to me through this deafening music. I stepped and heard my footsteps with a new perception, stars seemed increasingly familiar, and smoke from a chimney was tangible, there for my use as I wished. I understand. This is why people actually make music, even if it doesn't get them anything. The adrenaline and natural high is beyond all else and somehow I forgot. And yet, this time was different. As I walked alone I reveled in the cold and the mantra flowed all around me.

If it feels good, do it.

When I think about you, I touch myself.

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This piece was inspired by Andy Warhol's famous 'marilyn monroe' piece in which the same picture is used several times to create a pattern. If you look closely, you'll realise there's a lot going on here with the detailed background against the simple pixelated images create a convergence which I thought would be nice to experiment with. It was created in Photoshop and took me 5 hours to perfect.


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Hmph

80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

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