Tuesday 31 January 2012

The Top 50 Albums Of 2011, Reinterpreted As Short Stories (Part 5)

Click here for Part 4

Top Albums Of 2011 - 10. St Vincent - Strange Mercy

St Vincent - Strange Mercy

27 Sep
Art Pop

The smell of coffee wafted into the Angel’s nose as he calmly walked through the doorway of an unconventional cafe and gazed around, scanning the human faces for the particular disguise he admired the most. His eyes eventually settled on the Devil’s own eyes which had already noted his presence, and the two nodded at each other in greeting. Pulling off his wet jacket, the Angel walked over to the table and sat down opposite the man he was here for.

“Hello Lucifer,” he smiled to his old friend, and the Devil smiled back, stubbing his cigarette out on the table.
“Hello Vince, looking good. How’s The Father?” Satan smirked with a creepy wink, and The Angel laughed politely, appreciating the humour.

The exchange was interrupted as a beautiful young waitress in poppy attire placed two cups of coffee on the table before them.
“Would you guys like to order anything else?” she asked timidly as she pulled out a pen and paper.
“No, this is fine for now, darling.” The Devil answered seductively, and the waitress nodded in a flustered manner, leaving the table side as quickly as she could.

“I hope you don’t mind that I ordered for you,” Satan grinned, swirling his finger in his cup. “This place does a fantastic bean, I’m always here.”
“I’ll take you word for it,” The Angel responded with no intention of drinking from a cup ordered by the King of Evil himself. He had come to predict Satan's unpredictable Disney tricks and surprises over the centuries.
“So,” The Devil continued the small talk. “Some weather we’re having, huh?” and then burst into laughter.
“You know you can’t keep this up, Lucifer,” The Angel got down to business. “You lost the Ocean War, and you will lose The English War too. God is watching you.”
Satan’s eyes glowed red and his posture straightened, nearly coughing up his hot drink, before composing himself and returning to his joker smile.
“You don’t think I know this, Vincent? If he wasn’t watching me, I’d be a hell of a lot more concerned. How’s your coffee?”

They sat looking at each other for a few seconds, divinely aware of everything around them. They were aware that the waitress was two months pregnant, but her frame was already struggling to develop the baby inside, and they would both surely die before the child’s birth. They were aware that less than 10 feet away, a two-headed alien in disguise sat drinking its own caffeinated joe, laughing in an operatic way—the importance of the role which the two had played in the Prophecy not lost on the Angel nor the Devil. And more than anything, they were aware that despite the good vs. evil war which had been fought since the dawn of time, they had a deep mutual respect/borderline-love for each other. The opposite ends of the scale, balancing one another out; the jarring distortion of Hell necessary to sustain the purpose of the angelic chiming of Heaven—and visa versa. They needed each other to exist in order to exist, playing an almost game which granted each one meaning, giving all angels and demons satisfaction, despite the complete ignorance as to the Why’s and How’s—or if there was even any reason to this at all.

Regardless, that was just the way it was: pushing the boundaries and buttons of the original and perpetual war, and St. Vincent felt strangely uplifted from this brief encounter—as he always did. On some level it was calming to meet the enemy after such a long time, but as he had nothing more worthwhile to say, he stood up and put his wet coat back on.

“I’m not here to warn you of anything, Satan,” he said, using the Devil’s preferred name. “I’m here to tell you that you will not win. The Eternal Couple will defeat you this round, mark my words, and your army will grow even weaker than they are now.”
“I look forward to it!” Satan smirked, picking up the coffee he had ordered for The Angel and drinking it down in one quick gulp. “You’re not going to pay for that?”
The Angel smiled again. “Goodbye, old friend,” he said as he turned his back, walking out into the unseasonal rain.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 09. La Dispute - Wildlife

La Dispute - Wildlife

04 Oct

After sobering up and eventually finding his way home, James’ mind had done nothing for the last few hours but reaffirm that it was time. Time to remove himself from his pathetic being and die once and for all. He walked through the front door of his empty house with a new happiness for a life which found peace in the idea of death. Erika was gone; Gillian was gone; and the gut-jerking emotions he had dealt with every day since then had filled him to the throat; the powerful repetition of his grief traumatizing him to the point of illness. To James, it was surprising that it took him so long to make the decision to stop the noises, which made him laugh as he grabbed a cheap bottle of brandy and his favourite shotgun, making his way up to the attic.

He sat on the splintered wood of his unfurnished loft floor, slowly drinking a glass of the neat spirit, enjoying it slowly, as alcohol had become the only thing in his life he’d “enjoyed” these days—for lack of better word. His mind had come to terms with his fate, and he could think of no better place to go than right here, in the dustiest most desolate place in the house he once called a home. He admired the narrow crack of light slotting itself through the small window, highlighting the brown texture of the atmosphere. He followed the glow of sunshine as he continued to savour his brandy, until his eyes fell upon something he had never noticed before. A dark wooden chest, camouflaged by the same colour of the room but highlighted by the sun, the only thing in here with him.

Curiously and momentarily forgetting his internal pain, James put his drink down and crawled towards the large box. He sat in front of it, and placed his hand on the top, happy to find it was unlocked. He lifted the lid, and casually peered in. There lying at the bottom was one sheet of paper, dusty but not old, with something written on it. His eyes squinted in a blurry mess from the alcohol and the filth that burnt his vision, so he picked it up and held it as close to his face as possible. And with goosebumps, he read it.

“Dear Jimmy,
Do you remember the day we met? You had picked me up from that dirty party and took me to your home, while my world had forgotten me and all those had left me to die. You saved me. You took care of me. You taught me how to speak. You entered a life of torturing yourself in a city which decayed around us, just to support a victim you never even knew. I wanted to write this all down so you would remember. Not a moment goes by when I can forget. I travel backwards through time and space, and I disintegrate, become invisible, reconstruct the scene in fragments of memories.
Back in those days (and every single one of those days) I looked out at the streets, waiting for you to return home, before I even knew how to speak your name. I saw many things in that time, trying to work out where in the world I was. I saw things I never told you. I watched a drive-by where a man shot a kid by accident—I was right there by our window when the bullet hit. The incident was on TV later that day, and the police had surrounded the man in his apartment. He called out to God before shooting his head off. Do you think this man went to Heaven, Jimmy? Can we still get into Heaven if we kill ourselves? Do you believe in these things? It’s amazing—we spent so many years together and yet I don’t even know this side of you.
All those days I watched things move outside, wondering where a higher power could possibly be in a land withering within itself. Did you hear the story about the boy riddled with schizophrenia? He lived on our road and mistook his father for a stranger, stabbing him in utter delusion. It was these stories of children that I remember the most (especially once we had Gillian), like the endless headlines of the youth dying of cancer. Why would God kill children? I listened, and I watched, but I couldn't understand anything except that these were surely the last days.
But every night when you came home, it gave me hope that maybe there was a God after all. One who manifested Himself in you, and wanted me to keep faith. And so I did. It was like this before I could speak English. It was like this when we were only happy on dope. And it was like this when you were saving lives in the war. But you always came home. And I will never forget this.
Jimmy, you don’t know where I am right now, nor could I ever explain it to you. But I see everything. I am watching you and my time has come to take care of you. There is a new war, Jimmy, and deep down I know that you know this. It is a war we are a part of, and always have been. I see you wanting to die as you read these words, but know this: if you die now, all that is good is lost. You may have lost your powers, and you may have lost everything else too, and yet you must believe me that you are still powerful. It may not feel this way, but you are. Your mistakes have been many, and when you gave away our Gillian to the wrong men, that was my last attempt at trying and make sense of the so-called "peace and comfort" you displayed through a pain. You owe this to me. You owe this to HER, Jimmy. There is only way to fix this. There is only way to fix us. There is only one way to fix yourself. You have to fight in the war before it is too late.
I love you, and I am so sorry.

James lay in fetal position, his face now pushing deep into the hard wood soaking up his tears, his heart bleeding into his stomach and making him nauseous. His cries made no sound and he could not breathe, instead clawing into the floor with the worst anguish his soul had ever felt, playing back her words like a scene on a movie reel. This wasn’t fair. How did Erika get this letter here? And why did she? And how dare she. He wanted to die. He did not want to fight in another war he did not understand.

A high pitched screech leaked quietly from his lungs as he turned to look at his shotgun through watered eyes. He hated himself. But he knew what he had to do.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 08. Tom Waits - Bad As Me

Tom Waits - Bad As Me

25 Oct
Experimental Rock

Scuffling around in the most ancient junkyard in town, The Priest Giles clawed for lost parts to use in his latest of useless inventions, tearing his nails on gritty pieces of scrap metal which caused him to wince in discomfort, yet did not discourage his nonsensical objective. He had never been this deep in these parts before—although mind you, he hadn’t been in the dumping grounds for over seven years, and had no intention of coming back after last time. Yet here he was. And even though this should have developed into a very different place in his absence, it still ran thick with a familiar feeling, swamping Giles with nostalgia which added a hint of extra magic to the revisit.

But the real magic, Giles was soon to find out, came from a completely different source altogether. While comparing sizes of two rusty cylinders, he heard a rattling from deep within one of the larger piles of scrap just a few feet away. Intrigued, he followed the sound, pulling away at pieces of junk until he reached the root of the noise, and nearly fell back in surprise. And it’s very lucky he didn’t too, as such a jagged fall could have very possibly killed him.

Instead he stabilized his footing and blinked his weary eyes trying to comprehend or even recognise the thing he was looking at. There stood a wild creature trapped in a cage, as small as a medium-sized breed of dog, yet with the most vicious features Giles had ever seen before, an excess of brilliantly shaped horns and mouths and ears on an otherwise muscular and healthy looking body. This animal wailed loudly with gruff chokes, spitting and blaring howls in such a way that Giles couldn’t tell if it was crying or taunting him. It jumped around, shaking the bars with teeth fixed in a distorted smile, rough without losing its cool, self-assured but being naughty, with the charm of a child. Giles reached towards it and it backed away, either from an insecurity or getting ready to pounce, rabies pouring from its eyes which maintained deep with intelligence, and never looking away from him. There was a definite disease here, but Giles felt a strange desire to help this character, as if something was making the choice for him. He leaned forward towards the cage to get a better look, and the creature backed up even further, as far into the corner as it could. This timid act was enough encouragement for Giles to reach over and place his hands on either side of the cage, picking up the surprisingly light object and then bringing it to his eye level.

In a flash the animal struck. The cage slammed into Giles’ face and this creature attached itself right there, as Giles went tumbling down the piles of junk, cutting his sides raw and breaking a rib whilst gritty claws and teeth ripped into his face. The stench filled his nose and The Priest wanted to scream, but it was all over too fast to do so, as he lay on the dirty ground of the junkyard, seemingly dead. That was until the poisoned saliva of the animal began to sink inside and penetrate his mind, and in moments Giles found he could hear this animal speaking bad thoughts to him within his own head.

“Take me back to the orphanage, Giles. Get me out of this cage. You and me have much work to do.”

Top Albums Of 2011 - 07. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

21 June
Indie Folk

Jimmy and Erika stood still, scared to breathe, unable to move in complete awe. They had followed a shimmering light coming far from the forest’s river bank, and came to stop at a small mirror about the size of a pebble, reflecting the sun into their eyes. You would've thought this to be a disappointing discovery, but it was merely a form of bait to bring them where they were right now.

There before them stood a Woolly Mammoth, roughly the height of a one story house, its long trunk laying limply on the ground with the mirror fixed securely in its snout. Its fur danced in the wind, rising as it heaved in heavy breaths, frosty mist puffing out of its mouth. But despite all of this magnificence and the mammoth’s obvious ability to crush the couple in one move, it stood placidly, admiring the humans from behind sad and lonely eyes. “Jimmy...” Erika dared to whisper. “I think we should just slowly walk backwards and then...”
“NO, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ME,” the Mammoth said in a powerful yet uncharacteristically dainty, high pitched voice. To which both Jimmy and Erika jumped, screaming in such united freight that their hearts almost exploded. “I HAVE SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO TELL YOU.”

Jimmy and Erika stood there in shock, the voice of this creature so incredibly special that all of their hairs shot up on end. And the Mammoth himself just stood there too, looking at them with an almost painful compassion, so timid and yet sure of itself. And there they were in silence, the spacious forest beginning to get cold, nothing but a short space of breathing oxygen between them, blowing them away in its stillness.
Eventually Jimmy couldn’t stand it anymore and broke the silence. “What? What do you have to tell us, Elephant? This is madness...”

Erika swayed on her feet, the blood rushing out of her head, but Jimmy felt a deep and unexplainable connection with this animal. Sensing Erika’s waning, he put his hand on her shoulder to steady her, which comforted her as Jimmy concentrated on what the Mammoth was saying.

While the Mammoth spoke these dramatic words, Jimmy remembered something for the first time since the day he had met Erika. An old man on a mountain had visited him in a dream, and spoke of the Devil, this Prophecy, and the role Jimmy had to play in all of this. Everything this mammal relayed to him right here subtly blasted Jimmy with waves, echoing the old wise man’s tales, each word standing on its own and becoming deeper the more he listened. And despite it all sounding completely ludicrous to Erika, this information made complete sense to Jimmy, as if reading his own personal journal from the future. His whole life, he knew right then, had lead up to this point for some epic reason, and this creature was about to reveal something big which he had been waiting for.

Jimmy felt his previous new-found confidence slipping, and he let off a small laugh that sounded like a cough. “Me? You must be joking. How would I even begin to do something so insane?”
“And what am I supposed to do?” Erika pleaded, realising none of this speech had anything to do with her at all, which was reaffirmed when the creature completely ignored her and kept his words aimed at Jimmy.

Jimmy nodded with a relieved smile and without any thought. This was closer to what he had in mind, as a gift from the gods sounded like something he could have used a long time ago.
“THEN LOOK INTO THIS MIRROR,” The Mammoth began as layers of grey tears swelled up and spilled out of its eyes. It raised up its trunk to align with Jimmy’s face, and for the first time, this beast looked directly at Erika alone and said something she would never forget.

As Jimmy caught his own reflection in the mirror, a burst of light exploded into his face so forceful that he could smell it, knocking him off of his feet and onto his back. His veins flooded with superpowers and his head filled with the exact order of thoughts he needed to use them, all specifically designed by the heavens for him exclusively. And by the time he came back into consciousness, he could taste the sound of harps, The Mammoth was gone, and Erika saw a very different person lying before her.

“We need to move closer to the ocean. The war is starting very soon, Erika” was his response. And as magical as all of this was, and as much as she could still see love for herself in Jimmy’s eyes ... Erika was now occupied with a light sadness. A sadness like a minuture heartbreak that she could never quite explain nor understand until many years later.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 06. Mastodon - The Hunter

Mastodon - The Hunter

27 Sep
Progressive Metal

The lift stopped at one of the many underground floors, and the Devil angrily paced out of the doors before they even opened properly. He was fuming—literal smoke rose from his horns as spittle leaped from his teeth, his feet leading him further down into the depths of Hell. He ventured along the dirt path of this hollowed out cave, dark and red, until he was a mere few feet away from the creature he had come to visit for the first time in over a year, or maybe even two.

“Your sea being failed! We lost the fucking Ocean War!” Satan verbally attacked the massive Mastodon before him, who (despite towering over Lucifer with her gigantic size) knew she was much less powerful than the evil Dark Lord. That being said, she smiled from tusk to tusk, unfazed by his aggressive dissatisfaction, as if she didn’t owe him anything.
“You smile? YOU SMILE? Is this a joke to you, Mastodon?” The Devil hissed at the ginormous demon-animal before him. “You gave birth to a fucking DEFECT! Your white whale was nothing more than a sluggish and expensive waste of my time! Spectacular upon my initial impressions, granted, but ultimately defeated by MORTALS!”
“DO NOT FEAR, MY LORD,” The Mastodon now spoke, booming echoes in the chamber of its habitat. “WE STRIKE AGAIN, AND WE STRIKE NOW. I HAVE GIVEN BIRTH TO ANOTHER.”

Satan was disarmed, his original fury taken back and soothed by those simple words. “Another? Already!? Well, why didn’t you say so! Go on then, give us a look-see!” He bounced on his feet, giddy like a child on Christmas.

This over-sized beast stepped out of the way slowly, each stride shaking the cave, until it unveiled a small deer-like creature with many mouths and horns, seated in a cage that it hardly fit in, but still full of energy and frantically bouncing around within this confinement.

The Devil paused, looking at the small and fragile appearance of this creature in disgust. “This? THIS?? This is ... a mongrel! The runt of all your litters! This is a post-abortion! You must think I am a fool, Elephant, and your age is showing. Your womb grows stale! Your anatomy is taking shortcuts! I do not accept this blasphemous deformity—it is a waste of my fucking time!”

Just as The Devil turned to walk away (already mentally preparing the termination of the Mastodon who had served him for eternity) the huge voice spoke again.
The Devil stopped in his tracks and laughed, turning to face the two again, extending a long pointed nail at the new born.

“Your best creation?? Do not make me split myself, Elephant! You must be losing your mind!” Satan coughed.
“Not to mention, I can control weaker minds with a simple thought,” The Hunter whispered smartly into The Devil’s brain, to which Lucifer’s spine straightened in shock and other sharp feelings.
“How did you...?” The Devil began out loud until the whispers came back into his head.
“We will win this war, My Lord. You and me. We will win just like we won all those medieval centuries ago...”

And with that, Satan began to laugh again, this time for different reasons. And The Hunter began to laugh out loud too, crying like a jackal. This was followed quickly by the deep hollow laughs of The Mastodon herself, and the three of them stood there, cackling at the skies, unable to stop imagining the potential havoc that could occur.

And they say on this day, Hell laughed so loudly that many angels died instantly from the sound alone. And without warning, the Heavens wept epic tears of blood for many years to come.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 05. Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me

08 Feb
Alt Country

Behind every great man, there is a great woman, or so they say. And in the case of Jimmy and Erika, not only was this true but the roles were interchangeable. Having her entire tribe slaughtered in front of her eyes, and then being whisked to America by some strange Siamese-twin type creatures (only to be forgotten at some washed out party); her turmoil would be enough to leave anyone in a deep state of confusion. I think any of us would lose trust in life itself if we experienced anything even remotely similar. But when Jimmy took her in, fed her and keept her warm while she adjusted to a world she never knew existed, it’s fair to say she invested the last of her trust into this stranger.

But as we have seen before, he was true to his word, and their lives slowly got easier. And, of course, once they stole that money and ran away together, things couldn't seem to get any better. And that’s about the time when Jimmy became the superhero we all loved. And just after that was when Erika fell pregnant, giving birth to Gillian, ready for the credits to roll with the catchy words “Happily Ever After” on the screen of life.

It nearly happened too, until she received that phone-call informing her of Jimmy’s past infidelity, and she did what all of us would do: she reacted. The feeling of sadness filling her core was what she considered to be a weakness, and she refused to allow that to happen. She didn’t want to work it out. She wanted to take her strength back. She wanted her independence. Which brings us to the part of the story where Erika briskly walked into her bedroom, packed a suitcase, and then left her soul-mate and daughter behind without a word. She had nothing to say. The feelings inside of her were saying enough.

She hitchhiked across the country until she had run herself into the ground, and then hid out in a countryside barn on some large plot of land. This lasted less than a week, when the owner grew suspicious of missing food items and swore to kill whoever had been ripping him off. But as his shotgun came face-to-face with Erika, he had a change of heart—like so many who had crossed her path before. She was flawless and (despite being quite young) so mature, with her intelligence and driving strength. She offered him what little money she had, if he would just allow her to sleep in this barn until she got back onto her feet, and her sad and soulful voice strung his guts into an atmosphere of guilt like only Erika knew how to do. And so he refused. Instead he desired to help her, and granted her the spare room of the main house, in exchange for a little help with the daily chores (to which she readily agreed). Of course, she knew his country flirtations were not about kindness, but rather about lust for her body and love for her mind, as Erika was a very easy girl to become obsessed with. But all of this was pointless, as Erika didn't live for much longer any way.

Mind you, at first she felt very strong living in this house. Her powerful survival instincts were enough to drive her onward, as if she was much better off, a woman by herself. She felt proud, and her mood became bouncy and happier in this place of thought. But little did she know at the time, the longer her and Jimmy spent apart, the sicker each one grew. Jimmy lost all of his powers instantly, and found his only escape in a bottle. Erika wasn’t quite so easily fixed.

Depression consumed her no matter how she tried to keep her head above water. Her dark introspection had begun to rot her finger nails, and her hair had started to fall out. She could always taste metal. She shat blood everyday. And it didn’t take long until the tumour rose up her throat and began to choke her, eventually rendering it impossible to even get out of bed. I think we all remember how this emotional period ended: with a final cry of grief. A vocal pitch of such unique brilliance that her entire existence evaporated into pure audio, and her physical self was gone forever.

So how Jimmy had found that tear-jerking letter beyond the grave is a good question, which we will answer in a moment. But all you need to know for now, is that he did what it told him to do. He went to war, and somehow (without any memory of it), he came out the other side as one of the few survivors. And having filled what he considered to be the obligation Erika had demanded of him, he was relieved the day he returned home and finished out his plan of death, throwing himself in front of that train.

And now they were both dead, this Prophecy fully complete. But their destiny was to meet again, right here:

Top Albums Of 2011 - 04. The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World

The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World

21 June
Turntable Music

Jimmy gasped for air and his eyes shot open, already preparing himself to deal with the aftermath of this night’s nightmare. Instead he found himself mid-embrace with another person, as they both stood on their feet in a large ballroom of sorts. Some 1950’s style music echoed and crackled, panning through the warped walls of neighbouring rooms, as they waltzed perfectly in time together. Which was even more unusual because Jimmy had never learned to waltz before.

Hazily, he pulled away to take a look at this person. And soon he began to recognise them, to which his heart thumped a deep additional beat, sucking the air from his stomach. After all the time of picturing this moment, he found himself looking directly into Erika’s eyes. She smiled at him in loving ambiance, her face impeccably clean, her body decorated with a frilly white dress, and what looked like an expensive yet tasteful pendant around her neck. “You did very good and I’m proud of you,” she whispered to him. “I’ve been waiting a long time to tell you that.”

“What’s going on?” he queried, but didn’t entirely care. He was here in this cold room with the girl he thought he’d never see again, and this needed no reasons. Erika opened her mouth to answer, but then quickly glanced up to the corner of the room, smiling at a camera like they were in some black-and-white film. Before Jimmy could question, she turned back and proceeded to explain things that would have been completely unbelievable for anyone else to hear.

She spoke of how she'd killed herself by evaporating into sound. And in her death, she watched Jimmy in battle: first with his own madness and alcoholism; and then bravely in the English War. She explained how important his role was, as (in his blank madness) he'd managed to kill The Hunter, one of Satan’s most prized soldiers. It was always his destiny to do so. And even though the planet Earth had suffered and lost so much to that war, his duty had been accomplished, and this version of The Prophecy had been fulfilled. She reminded him that he had chosen to end his life by train at this point, after which she had waited for him in this room for longer than he could imagine.

“You mean ... we’re dead?” Jimmy spluttered, even though he knew this could be the only truth. He felt it in his being, even if it was a bit too much information to swallow in one go. Sensing his overwhelmed thoughts, Erika put her index finger to his lips and shushed him with a smirk. This chilled him out a little bit, and so she continued to remind him of things far more peculiar than those before.

She reminded him of a time many centuries ago, when his father and her father (two great kings) went to war. She had a curse placed on her which was broken by his kiss, only for the both of them to die later that same day. And then Jimmy began to really remember.

She reminded him of times even before then, times after then, and times beyond ordinary comprehension. Times when they were insects and times when they were bears. A time when he was a machine and she was a diseased little girl. A time when they only knew each other for a small amount of minutes, both victims of a plane crash. Even a time when he was an inspired scarecrow and she was a humanoid fish-breed. There were an infinite amount of times, many surreal and ridiculous concepts, some of which were more vivid than others. But Jimmy remembered them all. His ego and the life he had just endured fell further and further away, realising in this moment who he truly was: an energy. Destined to repeat the same story in different ways, forever suffering these lives always in relation to “Erika”. They were two soul-mates cursed to be born and then find each other, but ultimately die in turmoil, their love never fully realised in physical realms.

“But we will always meet right back here,” The Eternal Female concluded, and smiled at him again. Her features were fading and becoming more generic as her relationship to the mortal known as Erika turned to dust. “No matter what, we will always end up here.”

Love filled the Eternal Couple as they were now in full knowledge of who they really were, and the greater purpose that they were involved in. Physical life was temporary, and all the painful hardships they had experienced in all of their previous lives did not matter. What mattered was that they were here now, slow dancing in pure spirit, slowly forgetting the conversation they'd just had, calmly dissolving into the music which wafted the air away. Their energy was leaving this haunted dimension, ready to be reborn when called upon, just like all those times before.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 03. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

14 Feb
Alternative Singer/Songwriter

But the England War had continued without them, Jimmy one of the few who managed to escape with his life. His murder of The Hunter had ensured it did not spread much further into the grounds of the United Kingdom, but what was left of these lands was no more than acres of countryside flooded with mud and the raw bodies of soldiers lined up like fallen lumps of meat. A feast for the flies, who laid their eggs within the deceased, the only species to flourish in such an apocalyptic decay.

The war itself was the most vile and memorable the world had ever seen. The soldiers were fearlessly optimistic and ignorantly patriotic at first, laughing as they rolled their smokes and assembled their weapons before battle, preparing for the bellowing sound of the bugle declaring attack. They marched quickly through the echoes of damp stone alley ways with classic call-and-response songs, drunk with mood under the grey skies. Many of these young adults had romanticized about these fights in their imagination due to poetic stories from veterans at their local pubs, deeply in love with the idea of experiencing the thrill of protecting a nation. But every corner hid a demon more powerful than any human, with a sole thirst to kill every one of them. And unlike those old pretty war stories, no showering of bullets could impact the endless stream of these filthy creatures. They dominated our artillery and were far too advanced for our planet—much like the flies, finding it far too easy to navigate and conquer our open lands. And as more and more arms and legs decorated the trees, it became less of a war and more of a massacre. Every able man was sent to fight and die, and every day filled the sky with more doom and smoke from the stink of these corpses, poisoning the air like a grey watercolour painting. Subtle yet chaotic. Soft yet so hard.

And the rest of the world watched as England grew legs and then fell to the Devil’s army. How it ended was never fully recorded as no one was there to see that stray bullet hit The Hunter in the middle of its left eyeball, cutting off its genius and connection to the other monsters. This simple act left them all lost and confused with inner turmoil, no motivation to do anything but rest without their instructor, eventually moving on and dying by their own hands and starvation. And just like that, the war was over.

Now only a chilling calm smothered much of the once rich and solid British landscapes, the bitter taste of evil still lingering, the haunting cackle of an ancient witch the only sound on the wind. As far as the Heavens, the Hells and the Earths were concerned, enough chaos and sin had taken place to rule that the cruel Prophecy had won again. Lived and died in England. Nothing more than a few widowed wives with crude words carved into their foreheads, left to rebuild with some toxic pregnancies a few of them were lucky enough to carry. What is the glorious fruit of our land? The fruit is deformed children. Oh America. Oh England.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 02. Little Dragon - Ritual Union

Little Dragon - Ritual Union

25 July

Bopping his head from side to side, The Robot skipped down the warm pathway made of rich chocolate, while candy canes decorating the road like streetlamps reaching for the sky. The entire place reeked due to an excess of sugar, which strung his thoughts down the trail at an increasingly faster rate. Despite being a construction of shiny metal parts and electronic systems, he felt a love for this place that he could never quite compute properly—nor did he have any desire to do so. Because he registered this place as home.

From the distance he could hear the familiar noises of pleasure, and he strutted, following this sound just like he had been programmed to do. Eventually his mechanical legs reached the intended destination, a golden platform where two small dragons were perched, turning to greet him without stopping their lustful thrusting. These were his parents (for lack of better term); one blue to distinguish himself as the male, one pink for the obvious opposite reason. The Robot knew they would be here—as they were always here—effortlessly making love for eternity, never stopping for any reason, frequently screaming out in passion to the Candyland that homed nothing but them.

“So, Robot, how goes the pale-skin girl?” the male queried this machine with a teasing laugh, as he already knew the answer.
“I lost her.” The Robot replied sheepishly.
The two dragons changed sexual position, the blue male now lying on his back, and the pink female climbing on top of him, their wings cocooning each other’s bodies in a way that revealed only their heads.
“Yes, you did,” his mother confirmed between grinds. “And now both her and her lover are dead.”

The Robot did not know that. After misplacing the pale-skin girl at some party, he had spent many months trying to find her before giving up, opting to make the long journey home instead.
“That’s not what we sent you to do, Robot. You were supposed to protect her, and by doing so, protect the planet Earth. You didn’t do very well, did you?” the blue father laughed in inappropriate joy, as he pumped up harder inside the pink dragon who yelped in ecstasy.
“Sorry, sir,” was all the Robot was programmed to say in this situation.
“It’s okay! It’s okay!” the father concluded, excitedly fucking his mate even deeper with each word. “This is the Prophecy! We cannot meddle with the gods after all!”
“Oooh, I love it when you talk dirty!” the pink dragon moaned. “Say it again!”
“The Prophecy!” the blue dragon repeated.
“Oooooh! AGAIN!” the pink dragon begged, tears of pleasure filling her eyes as if these words were her g-spot.
“The Prophecy! The Prophecy! We cannot meddle with the gods! We cannot! We cannot!” the blue dragon slammed his crotch as hard as he could into his pink lover’s vagina, as she continued to scream louder and louder. It didn't take long for this to result in an explosion, as they both came together in unison for the hundredth time that day, yelling at the top of their lungs which echoed throughout Candyland.

The Robot just stood there, entertained by his parents expression of mutual love and lust for each other atop of this golden platform. And once again, he computed that it was good to be home. No, it was perfect.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 01. James Blake - James Blake

James Blake - James Blake

07 Feb
Art Pop

As the Earth shone its ocean blue, The Creator floated naked amongst the empty darkness between the stars, observing the full circle of time once again. He was sad and he was lonely, forever lost in the vast spaciousness and cold lengthy silence that surrounded him. The story he had written, for the most part, was a repeat, which did not end well for the planet’s otherwise natural ambiance. Like a slow motion ejaculation, his synthesized tears fell and distorted out of the places his eyes should have been, and every now and then, he would sob to the dense universe—a loud and deep bassy sob, subtly shaking everything in existence before returning to nothing: the immense tension of his presence hardly even detectable.

His intellect and imagination had got the better of him once again, and he never wanted to allow the destruction of all things like this. Contrary to popular belief, he was not the representation of all things good, but the dictator of all things full stop—from the disturbing rebirth of the Eternal Couple; the alien’s minimal attempt at an invasion; the opening of Satan’s Portal; and the consequent victory over the Devil’s army. All of this was a result of boredom within his own thoughts, his infinite presence still no more appreciated than when time began. And he cursed his own focused cruelty which existed only to serve him, all of life turning in on itself and swallowing everything for his own entertainment, so much happening for so little.

And now all things vibrated in completion to the Prophecy he had written. The Prophecy which ensured the world would always be at war, time would always be a deep reign of evil, and there would forever be a love which ended in tragedy. And this stuffed the Creator’s soul with heavy despair.

The fragile second-hand on the universal figurative clock ticked over into conclusion, and thousands of years passed in that moment. It had started all over and at this point, the Creator felt he had no control over it. All he wanted was to catch his train back home and sleep, but was instead left to suspend in his sparseness, witnessing the whole thing duplicate itself yet again. A new girl was born. Another pact with the Devil was made. Just as it was in the beginning and as it will be in the end...

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Some Kind Of An Announcement

Juice Nothing On Hiatus
I greet you: Hello.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated this news section - about two and a half a months to be specific. Now, I am sure (generally speaking) most people would account any lack of work to an excess of laziness. And (generally speaking), most people would be right. But to anyone who has frequented this site recently (and God bless you, really) you will know that quite the opposite is the truth.

For this reason (and for more detailed versions of this reason, which I will go into shortly) I will not be wasting any time with attempts of making this post humorous, worthwhile of your time, or anything besides just a plain old boring informative bunch of words, telling you nothing more than what I have been up to lately. So get ready for the most below average ride of your life, and feast your eyes on whatever it is I am about to type.

Since the last time I updated this news section, I have essentially launched SIX FUCKING BLOGS. Read that again if you like. People wonder why I am so goddamn moody - it’s because my entire Christmas holiday was spent sitting where I am right now: my room, in front of the computer which is slowly fusing my contact lenses to my cornea. And it’s not even like these were some small “throw-away” blogs either - these were really fucking big! Possibly the biggest I’ve ever written.

In case you missed them, the blogs were Dear 2011 (my ode to the year that already feels miles away) and The Top 50 Albums Of 2011, Reinterpreted As Short Stories (Parts 1 - 5). Let me be the first to say this: I went too far. I hate myself for it. And I am burnt out beyond any of you could probably imagine. I have written more words in this short time than most people write in 10 years, I am sure of it.

What’s even worse is that I have another one about 95% written; another one about 60% written; my best short story yet about 50% written; and five other really good ideas partially written (not to mention an entire in-depth guide for the Top 50 Albums blog half way through). Upon which realising, I had to turn to myself and say “By God, Jared. STOP.” Because if I don’t, I will surely die.

So that’s what was so !important; tah-dah. I announce my indefinite hiatus from Juice Nothing right here, right neow. This is not to say one or two blogs might not slip in over the next few months, but it is to say that I am not pressuring myself or even allowing the thoughts to enter my mind. It will have to happen stress-free and na-tu-ra-lly. And my main reason is this:

I have said this before, and here I go again: by far the most important thing to me right now is the EP I have been working on since the end of 2008. A few months ago I announced the release date as February 2012. Surprise, surprise - no. What I will tell you is that all the vocals are recorded, some final mixes are going down, and mastering is being discussed. What I won’t tell you is that there are still some major problems. It’s killing me, I am completely over it (notice a running theme here?), and a part of me wants to scrap the whole fucking thing.

However, I won’t, because I have aged much faster due to the stress, and I’d hate for that to go to waste. Instead, I am pushing back the release date to 05 April 2012. I feel I can make this in good time, and it is also the day Kurt Cobain died, so viva la symbology.

In summary: fuck Juice Nothing, and fuck you. I need full focus on this or it will never happen, because it hasn’t happened, and I have worked fucking hard.

That said, one thing that will definitely be out before Coming Down Happy is Nitrous Of The Living Dead 2: HELLium On Earth. The last version I saw was a bit over a week ago, and it was all that and a bag of decent crisps. It makes the first one look like that Lily Allen shit. No idea exactly when this will bless your interwebz, but it’s soon. Ash and Ammr are slaving away and it is truly a last remaining happy creative in my life.

So yeah, that’s all I have to say. As promised: nothing humorous or really worthwhile. I guess if you love me or something, you could always follow me on Twitter, because that’s where the magic happens, and is a good place to check if I gone and done something.

I love you all and will miss you so, but will be back with a vengeance and a hard-on, believe you me you me you.

I bid you farewell: Goodbye.

Thursday 12 January 2012

The Top 50 Albums Of 2011, Reinterpreted As Short Stories (Part 4)

Click here for Part 3

Top Albums Of 2011 - 20. Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights

Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights

08 March
Melodic Hardcore

After experiencing the unique driving force behind group mentality; the determined irritation of figurative marching drums; and witnessing his best friends’ faces getting blown off ... our protagonist is finally discharged from the relentless shouts of the war, and wearily makes the journey toward the only neighbourhood he knows he can still go to. The world was a different place now—the majority of it in ruins—but he was relieved to walk through the gate of his old family house, still intact, with his aging parents welcoming him with open arms. Lovingly, they sit him down to his first home cooked meal in a long time, and he tells them his shaken stories of previous years. Stories of his free-spirited youth. Stories of Erika and her hardships at the hands of evil. Stories of his life of crime, and his polar opposite life of super-heroism. And then the final stories of Erika’s disappearance, the abandonment of the granddaughter they never knew existed, and how his journey had ended up in the English War against The Devil himself. The war he had just come from, somehow managing to survive despite no recollection of how this had come to be.

While they listened intently, his parents could not hide their eyes from gaping as wide as their mouths, consumed by the tales that they had been completely oblivious to. Their shock was partially due to the violent and unbelievable content their child had been exposed to, but more than that, it was due to the way he spoke of his adventures. His words had become slow, his eyes were paranoid, and his mannerisms were that of a completely different person. It was right then that they knew their little boy had been changed forever. Yet they still had no idea how much worse it was going to get.

That night (and every night afterward) the mellow atmosphere of this family home awakened to the screams of their son. He'd been dreaming once again of the emotional turmoil which had doused his mind with sickness, stripping it of all compassion, and psychologically damaging him permanently in the process. He wets the bed. He feels no love. He cannot control the aggressive flashbacks of Erika and Gillian and warfare which haunt his every thought. And these sleepless nights tear them all apart.

Day after day, it creeps closer to breaking point, until the morning it finally reaches just that. Unable to handle his own memories anymore, our protagonist wakes up early, makes the journey to the closest station, and jumps in front of a train, cutting his tortured and complicated life to a premature end. The family mourn in deep depression, the aftermath now a cold calm. The house’s regular screams of nightmares once again replaced by chilling acoustics, leaving behind nothing but the mild insanity of empty days.

Call him what you will: Jimmy. James. Buck Jacobs. After everything he had been through, our protagonist was finally dead by no hands other than his own, and in some ways our story ends here. But the spaces in this tale are many, and you, the reader, deserve to know exactly how this man came to destroy himself and for what reasons. But before we give you that, let's look at another important bit of this history, where The Prophecy had begun to take effect a long long time ago...

Top Albums Of 2011 - 19. Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch The Throne

Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch The Throne

08 Aug
Hip Hop

After much anticipation, the day of celebration had finally arrived. Earlier in the morning, fair maidens had sprinkled feathers on the paved entrance, as King West rode into King Jay’s castle within a carriage decorated by gold and diamonds which flickered in the sun. West was never one to be shy from flashing his wealth to anyone who would notice, and Jay (being the smart guy he was) knew this. To ensure he was not outdone by West's blatant flaunting, he welcomed the arrival with the most ambitious party his land had ever seen. Here they ate the largest of the kingdom’s turkeys and drank the finest quality of wine, while Frank (their prized talent and entertainer) sang beautiful and socially conscious melodies much to the audience's delight. Occasionally Jay’s wife, the Queen, interrupted the performance with a song of her own—to which everyone quietly rolled their eyes but applauded politely in order to keep their heads intact.

After a few too many drinks and much fun and dancing, King West and King Jay retired outside to marvel at the stars; at their successes; and some quality smoking material. A few laughs were exchanged until West turned to Jay and said what he had been wanting to say since he entered the kingdom.

“I know I’m relatively new to the game, Jigger,” he began. “But you have to admit, I am coming up fast. I own five lands already, and have many more wives than you. My assets are growing steadily and are getting even bigger than yours...”
Jay laughed heartily, and condescendingly patted West on his head.
“Just wait Yeezy. It gets tougher as it goes on, my boy,” Jay calmly replied as he bellowed smoke from his lungs. He paused to appreciate the taste, and then added “I own twelve lands now. And I invented the Blueprint that all rulership is based on today.”
“I mean no disrespect, Jehovah, and I’m going to let you finish,” Kanye replied quickly and bitterly. “But I helped you build that Blueprint you speak of.”

And as we already know, this was the case.

The two stared out into the night as the party behind them got louder in their honour. There was a silent animosity coupled with a mutual respect between these kings, to which both found as fascinating as it was difficult to understand.
“I’m just saying,” West eventually added. “Watch the throne, Jay. Watch the throne.”
“No, you watch the throne, Kanye,” Jay responded slowly. “And I’ll still be on it.”

But as we already know, this was not the case.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 18. Bjork - Biophilia

Björk - Biophilia

10 Oct
Art Pop

Amongst the closest of constellations, a race of childlike beings observe our earth. They are fascinated by us, especially the contrast between the organic nature of our planet and yet our literacy of the most advanced technology—most of which these beings had developed specifically themselves. Their extensive studies had proven that the vast differences between us humans were far more contrasting than any other species they had ever recorded before. While some of us chose to relax and keep our lives simple, going with the flow like chimes in the wind; others preferred the fast lane, making massive decisions which threw us into hardcore situations, the loudness of our choices dominating our already intense existence. It all looked like fun to the observers, sure, but we seemed oblivious to the bigger picture—and for any advanced outside creature, witnessing this type of behaviour was a jarring and uncomfortable lifestyle to analyse. But these specific beings were won over by the charm of our planet and inhabitants, finding it near impossible to tear their eyes away from our activity even for a second. To a degree, one might even argue that they had fallen in love with such a unique and complex race.

This was all scientifically put, of course, as when the Tension Coil they had planted in the Earth’s core began to vibrate, the adoration was ordered to stop. It was the Mother Being with the message they had been waiting for. They had collected enough data about the humans using a series of products they had built in conjunction with Apple, which they controlled remotely with their own custom tablet systems. The moment had come. Despite their fondness of the race, the next phase of the invasion had to commence, for The Prophecy had once again started to turn its clocks, and the child had been born. It was time to send in The Beasties.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 17. Braids - Native Speaker

Braids - Native Speaker

18 Jan

On this warm Autumn day, Jimmy lay on the soft grass gazing up at the spacious clear sky in euphoria. Leaves gently fell from nowhere and brushed his face in a manner that almost felt sexual, as if nature itself was trying to seduce him. And it was succeeding. He wasn’t sure if he was on drugs or not, but the words that the magical elephant had told him were enough to literally knock him right off his feet, where he remained for an unknown amount of time. This sort of uncertainty was as trippy and bewitching as it was sweet and arousing, and he smiled at his own thoughts in total comfort, falling in and out of day dreams and meditation, the entire universe breathing and expanding all around him.

It was in these moments that he realised he was the center of life, and his center was powered by love alone. He was brilliant. He was special. He was a small piece of a puzzle which touched everything. He was free and invincible. He was definitely on drugs after all.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 16. Fink - Perfect Darkness

Fink - Perfect Darkness

19 July
Contemporary Folk

An old man looks across a bridge at the birds flying in the wrong direction towards the sunrise, the darkness now moving into a state of unseasonal light and warmth. Below his feet, jellyfish push upwards using hope alone, their centuries of specialized evolution bringing them safely to the surface. Street lamps flicker as a young couple touch hands for the first time. A lady walks into her bedroom and sees a dark impression of Jesus on the wall, as she falls onto her knees in incomprehension and praise. Power-lines hum in their original brilliance and an abstract painter begins a piece using only blues and greys, looking through a talented eye only few can see. Rocks begin to fall into water and their ripples reach the ends of the ocean. A man believes he can see his ex-wife coming out the corner of his eye again, an image of a ghostly bride that haunts him as much as it fills him with the emotional love they once had. He cries in adoration for the third time that day. All of this happens at the exact same moment, the moment The Portal is opened and infection spills onto the earth, changing the skies to red and altering the world some claim they once knew.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 15. Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

09 May

After spending a lengthy amount of time on the run, code names Li and Br snickered in New York City over an organic cup of coffee. What felt like just a short time ago, their life had been very different, and they discussed these memories with mixed feelings. The original plan of invasion had all started to go wrong when their spaceship got caught in the Earth’s atmosphere, spinning them in orbit for days to the point of nausea. This inevitably resulted in their discovery by the planet’s inhabitants (in this case, the Japanese government) who wasted no time in plucking them out of the night sky and holding them captive in a secret location. Here they experienced complicated incidents they could have never imagined the humans to be capable of, the worst of all including an implantation of synthesised electrons all over their alien bodies. These electrons were as cruel as they were kind, randomly transmitting either mass amounts of endorphins to their brains or immense shocks of jarring pain to their every limb, forcing the pair into a constant state of tension and goosebumps, perpetually anticipating the next wave of suffering or pleasure. The men at the lab felt no pity. Quite the opposite in fact, often finding Li and Br’s discomfort amusing as the two headed alien was unable to predict when the next surprise would come—naturally building up huge resentment toward their captivators.

But to cut a lengthy part of the story short, the Japanese grew weary near the end of their experiments, and as a result, their work grew tired too. And the very moment they stopped looking over their shoulders was the exact same moment the aliens stopped playing possum and pounced. Needless to say, they escaped, but the Japanese weren’t so lucky.

The two managed to get far away from Japan using various modes of transport, and then spent some time hiding out in the more traditional parts of India. Here the people treated them well and in secret, mainly due to Li and Bri’s resemblance the Hindu deity Brahma, their unique appearance worshipped as a god rather than investigated as an extraterrestrial. And here they stayed for many moons, studying the culture and living the high life; feeding on fine food and wine from glass jars, romantically decorated saucers, and other such holy and luxurious items. This part of their story was a highlight which remained fond in their hearts, and restored much of their damaged faith in humanity from the hands of the Japanese government. But even this grew tiresome, and they knew it was only a matter of time before they had to complete the mission they had been sent to do. So after the careful planting of their suggestive seeds into the right minds, they managed to cross Africa to find the pale-skin girl, and then slid into New York with ease. And that’s where they sat now, their appearance completely disguised and unnoticeable to the public eye.

“YEAH, AND THEN WE LOST THE GIRL AT THAT PARTY,” the more cartoonesque head cackled as coffee dribbled down his chin.
“She is in the right hands now,” the more calm head responded, his lips barely moving. “Besides, we cannot meddle with The Prophecy anymore until we make contact with The Mothership. What good is a mission without instruction?”
The cartoonesque head’s permanent smile waned a bit, and then curiously he turned to his counterpart. “SO WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE BR?”

Br shook his head and looked to the sky. He didn’t know. They could just embrace the wonderful human culture like they had always wanted to do whilst marveling over the creatures from space—this fascinating planet with so many differences had so much to love and was beyond inviting.

“Or, we could just eat them all,” Br laughed, and Li joined in, spitting coffee all over the table in fits of hiccups and coughs. Soon they were both laughing so hard that their chair shook and sugar stung their noses, causing them to cry out in pain as well as hysteria. And yet still no one noticed anything peculiar about this two headed alien, drinking organic coffee in New York city.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 14. tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

19 April
Art Pop

The wife’s frantic screams could be heard throughout the small African village. Her already difficult pregnancy had resulted in an even more difficult (albeit short) birth, and her voice flooded out from the openings of the Witch Doctor’s tent; layers and layers of weird noises and prayers—which isn’t always the most welcoming sound. A girl had been born, but unlike any child who'd ever been seen by this tribe before; her skin was that of a pale colour and her eyes were glazed as blue as the sky their kind worshipped.

That was many years ago to the date of this story, and her presence was much different now from what it was back then. The pale-skin girl lived healthy and happily among the kids of her age, completely oblivious to any differences she might have had from those around her. Much like her birth, she was full of personality and bubbles—a very powerful presence, forever singing and making jokes, running around and causing mischief. But much unlike her birth, she was relaxed, fearless and iree by nature—not terribly phased by the wild living conditions this tribe's village was a victim to. And in particular, on a day like today, her uniqueness towered above everyone else, as this was the day they celebrated her coming of age.

As it was tradition to honour such occasions, everyone wore their most varied attire and the joyous vibes were plentiful, but none were as joyous or original as the unmatched quirkiness of this teenage girl. Covered almost entirely in bright feathers and coloured mud, she reveled in the extra attention, singing and thumping rhythms on primitive instruments she had taught herself how to play, purely out of blissful instinct. Their pale-skin daughter, outshining them all.

And as the ceremony played on, the Witch Doctor leaned to the Chief and whispered “It looks like The Prophecy has come true after all.”

Top Albums Of 2011 - 13. Matana Roberts - COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres

Matana Roberts - COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres

10 May
Avant-Garde Jazz

“And next up, we have the lovely Gillian!” a screechy voice consumed the room, and Gillian felt a wooden stick prod her back until she stepped bashfully out from behind the curtain.
“Gillian is a 6 year old girl; healthy, strong, obedient and rewarding, with some very special talents!” the voice boomed again. The girl blinked in the spotlight, finding herself facing a dark room full of adults sitting towards her with expressionless stares. “Born from a mix of an African mother and an American superhero father, she has been blessed with a sense of smell unlike anything any one of you have ever seen before!”
“Prove it!” a male's voice echoed from the back of the audience and Gillian shifted on her feet nervously, visibly scared, not quite sure what she was doing here. In particular, the mention of the parents who had traumatically abandoned her in ways she still didn’t fully understand filled her with despair.
“We will certainly prove this!” the voice responded from the ceiling. There was no sign of who spoke these words, but anyone could hear that they were definitely tainted with madness. “Gillian, tell this man what is in his pockets by using your powerful nose alone!”

Gillian froze, until the wooden stick poked from behind the curtain again and stuck her right in the small of her back. She yelped for a moment, but quickly swallowed her instinct to scream out in pain. Instead she did what she was told to do, and concentrated on where the man in the audience was seated. For a second, fear consumed her as if she had forgot how to use her powers at all, but then her automatic skill proceeded to separate the smells in the room and she relaxed a little. That lady on the left side was wearing a cinnamon type of perfume. That young man a few rows from the front had touched a dog recently. Her nose sifted through the waves of scent until it pin-pointed the origin of the man in question, smelling his trousers from a hundred yards away.

She cleared her throat and her voice quivered like a freestyle saxophone as she picked apart the contents of his pockets. “Keys... 3 keys. A leather wallet with, uhm... two notes inside? Two notes and... uhm... fivesixseven... twelve... thirteen copper coins? No, twelve copper coins, sorry. Uhm... a photograph that’s a few years old and a piece of paper with ink on it... the ink is new from today. Uhm... a tissue with bacteria on it? Bad bacteria. You’re not very well, Mister...”
The crowd roared with laughter and the man who Gillian couldn’t even see in the blackness of the room was quick to confirm this all to be true, to which the audience murmured and whispered in impressed excitement. It had gone from quiet to noisy in an instant due to the magic they felt they had just witnessed here, and the whole thing to Gillian was reminiscent of some spiritual gospel service with demonic motives.

“You see, Ladies and Gentleman, a fine specimen of human being!” the loud speaker voice rose again. “A perfect addition to your establishment! So shall we start the bidding at $500? Can I hear $500?”
A man in a tattered suit raised a yellow card. “$500 to the gentleman over there, can I get 550? 550?” A lady in a red dress near the front raised her yellow card. “$550 to the lady in red, can I hear 600?”

The room had sped up and became frantic as if these people were calling to their ancestors from the underground, while Gillian stood there confused and miserable, tears swelling up behind her eyes. The last few days had been a blur, and all she wanted was her daddy back. Instead she had been whisked away from her home by creepy men and kept captive in a small room, treated like an animal, her groans met with physical punishment. This went on until this morning where she was washed and given a blue dress with a matching ribbon for her hair - which was pretty, but she knew it was not hers for keeps. And now suddenly here she stood, the reality of the situation beginning to weigh heavily upon her. At first it didn’t make sense, but she now understood that these grown ups were playing some sort of a game where she was the centerpiece, her soul feeling raped and ripped away for money. And she didn’t like it one bit.

BANG! A noise rang through the room as the voice excitedly announced “SOLD! $13,500 to the man in the black hat!” The loud speaker was addressing a male near to the front, who looked at Gillian very curiously with a sinister smile as the voice continued its poetic blarings. “Chain her down Roy, put the next one on!”

Top Albums Of 2011 - 12. The Weeknd - House Of Balloons

The Weeknd - House Of Balloons

20 March
Contemporary R&B

Jimmy woke up on a thin dirty mattress, bass-lines blaring all around him like a thunderstorm, creating tension within his already killer headache. How long had he been here? He didn’t know, but the dark mood coupled with the bodies of strung-out figures fidgeting around him was enough to get him up onto his feet. A few days ago this party seemed full of joy and love, but had now turned into something sinister; the minimal decor with cracked floors and frosty brick walls haunting Jimmy’s existence. He stumbled around, moving from room to room trying to find a way out, until he heard someone call his name.

He turned to see a naturally sexy yet obviously worn out girl he didn’t recognise, her eyes hidden underneath a damp fringe. She called out to him once again with a voice so stunning yet cold that he felt he had no choice but to oblige. He walked over, sat down on the sticky floor beside her, and she offered him a line of some yellowish powder. He didn’t know what it was, but felt compelled and snorted the foul smell into his brain which choked him immediately, causing his thumping headache to dull a little bit as he coughed up bile. The girl put her arm around him reassuringly and then kissed his ear, undeterred by his fits of sickness.

And by the time he finally got his breath back, the girl was already undoing his jeans and sitting on top of him.
“Wait,” he spluttered. “Do you have a condom?”
She laughed and replied coyly. “Does it even matter?”
He guessed it didn’t. He couldn’t remember why, but he was sure going to die soon anyway.

*Please note: I could hardly decide between this album, Thursday or Echoes of Silence. The Weeknd is just that good.

Top Albums Of 2011 - 11. Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting

Jamie Woon - Mirrorwriting

4 April
Blue-Eyed Soul

Intoxicated and lost, James’ foot slid off the wet pavement and he tumbled face first onto the concrete. The world spun above his head and he could hear the dull laughter from some distant passers-by. None of this upset James—he felt indifferent to it—the misfortunate misstep seeming somewhat symbolic, now finding himself in the gutter where his life had been for so long now. The unseasonal rain poured onto the back of his neck and he opted not to move, lying nose-down on the drenched cold surface, shivering yet unable to feel sorry for himself—or even feel anything at all. Quite some time had passed since he'd given Gillian away to those smart men who promised to find only the best home for her, but something about their reassurances was unconvincing, and that was the final straw which ripped all of his self worth from his grasp. Why he had done that to his own daughter, he still didn’t know, but ever since Erika disappeared and he had lost all of his superpowers (getting rid of his moniker once and for all, and changing his original birth name to avoid eager pursuers), raising Gillian by himself was as unhealthy for her as it was irritating and too great of a task for him.

He felt his stomach churn from the mix of junk food and alcohol, and he lifted his head up, ready for his next puke of the day. Instead he caught his reflection in the puddle of water he lay in, his stubble and his dead eyes rippling from the raindrops, and it captivated him. Images and oily colours swirled in front of his face, and almost as if looking at clouds, solid pictures began to take shape within his imagination—some of which were almost frighteningly realistic.

And that’s when the clearest picture of all began to form, becoming more and more apparent. It was the likeness of a couple, the figures in some quiet ballroom scene, slow-dancing circles in an aura of love. It was beautifully mesmerising and beyond vivid, captivating James as he watched them like a movie on the sidewalk.

On and on it went, until the girl (who had an impeccable cleanliness about her, decorated in a frilly white dress and what looked like an expensive yet tasteful pendant around her neck) turned her head and looked straight at James, as if looking right into the camera like they did on TV. And it was there he realised it was Erika. Not a random image in a puddle anymore, but the lady he had loved for so long staring directly at him curiously, almost as if recognising him, and it took his breath away at a gut-wrenching speed and urgency. Her skin was as smooth and pale as he had always remembered it; her stunning allurement as strong as the day they had first met, and this didn’t make James feel very well at all.

After a moment, she turned away and looked back at the partner she was dancing with, speaking inaudibly through the smile James could never forget, and in his head he could picture her sultry voice which always resembled that of a gorgeous falsetto melody. She looked so fresh and in great health, completely content, and no part of her face exposed any thoughts of James, instead spellbound by this new playmate as they embraced and adored one another. Upon viewing this, James could almost feel her next to him, his wet clothing sticking to his skin as if it was her soft body hugging his. And this thought felt far too good, resulting in the realisation of something he never wanted to realise.

Whoever this man was, Erika had very obvious feelings towards him on a deeper level, and their sparkly expressions were so full of sweetness and mutual admiration that James’ heart broke for the millionth time. He tried his best to hide the sharp pang of pain that ran through his organs (somewhat out of fear that perhaps she could indeed see him right now), but the gravity which dropped his guts to the pits of his stomach overwhelmed him with so much emotion that his expression became tight in anguish. Because what hurt the most was this: whoever this man was, he seemed so much better for Erika than James had ever been. His own incident of infidelity had removed Erika from this world and wherever she was now, he could see she was much happier without him - in a state that he could have never fixed himself. And there was a bitter-sweetness in this. His cold misery yet her warm happiness, an internal conflict that things may have turned out for the best after all. And these thoughts formed tears which stung his already bloodshot eyes.

Suddenly, the puke he had anticipated earlier blasted out of his throat and ruined the ballroom-dance setting, replacing the puddle’s motions with assorted colours and half-digested contents. Now just a mess in front of his face remained, reflecting nothing but the sorry state his person was in. Never in his life had he felt so dead inside, and the instant he grasped this realisation, he knew what he had to do. He had to kill himself once and for all.

A hand tapped him on the shoulder and he looked up to see a business man with a concerned look on his face. “Are you alright, buddy?” the man asked cautiously.
“Feeling much better now, thanks” Jimmy responded quickly to remove the already awkward tension swelling up between them, and hastily got onto his feet, wiping his mouth of sick and swallowing deeply. It was true. He did feel much better now. He was going to go home and blast his thoughts out with a shotgun, and that would solve everything in the fastest time possible, relieving himself of the life he no longer valued.

And if one looked closely, you could argue a corner of a smile cracked the side of his face, albeit a small sliver within an abyss of sadness.

Click Here For Part 5

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