While we insist dealings with our so-called columnist are strictly email only, it’s nice to hear he has a friend… sort of
This is Geoff. Look at him. He stands lop-sided in the middle of your living room like a bad lamp. Your television is showing an especially thrilling episode of ‘Scrapheap Challenge’. You cannot see your television because Geoff is in the way. Instead, all you can see is his moth-bitten cardigan and pond-scum green cords that sag dejectedly around his crotch.
Geoff has an important job: he is an ambassador for electronic music. He brandishes a clipboard, which somehow makes his job official. “I just want to watch my programme, Geoff,” you say, but Geoff snaps a sheet of paper off his clipboard and holds it at your face. The paper shows a colour-wheel diagram, but instead of words like “mauve” and “burnished tangerine” it says words like “post-industrial EBM” and “Britpop electronica”.
You point at one of the colours, just to humour Geoff. You have chosen “nu-romantic synthwave disco”, words that make little sense to you. On the television you can’t see, a goggled woman has made a pedalo out of a greenhouse. Geoff leans forward to inspect your choice. He stands so close, a tart stench of market stall cologne invades your nostrils.
Geoff rifles through his saggy pockets and produces a cassette tape. The label says “nu-romantic synthwave disco”. He hands you the tape, and before you can ask him for a cassette player to play it on, Geoff gives a satisfied harrumph, tucks his clipboard under his arm, and shuffles out of the living room. Has he left the house? Has he gone to kitchen to sponge the Cup-A-Soup dribble from his chin? You don’t care because things are hotting up: on ‘Scrapheap Challenge’, the makeshift pedalo has crashed into a tree.
In reality, Geoff doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as a door-to-door electronic music ambassador. I realise my evocative use of the Queen’s English made that very real for you, but at no point will a shabby man invade your lounge and proffer diagrams. I have also never seen an episode of ‘Scrapheap Challenge’. “What?!” you gasp. My Keyser Söze-levels of narrative trickery have rendered you agog: I’ll just give you a moment while you pick this magazine up from the floor.
Why shouldn’t electronic music have ambassadors? There’s plenty of promotional dross for everything else: genital-based medical procedures clutter your inbox, YouTube is blunderbussed to tatters with investment ads, and you can’t go shoe shopping without a loud-hailing evangelical threatening to knock your block off with a bible.
I’d much rather see a commercial for an acid house track on fluorescent marbled vinyl than an over-produced John Lewis advert in which a ferret falls in love with a postbox or whatever schmaltz their marketing department vomited up after an especially lucid cheese-dream.
There should be electronic music on billboards, on the sides of buses, on football pitch hoardings, on flyers pinned to cluttered corkboards in every household, given away with every Happy Meal. An underpaid call centre dweeb from Uttar Pradesh should be ringing you up every half hour asking if you’ve had electronic music any time in the last three years.
We need people like Geoff. As the information superhighway increasingly shatters any illusion of objective truth, battering our timelines with fake news, social media bots and Facebook memes planted by KGB agents hiding in bushes (probably), Geoff may be all we have.
Look at Geoff’s innocent face. Would that unshaven soup-smeared fizzog lie to you? Ah bless, he’s pointing at his diagram again. “Chart-friendly dance pop”. He wants me to listen to chart-friendly dance pop. I hate chart-friendly dance pop. Screw you, Geoff, and the clipboard you rode in on.