A Wrestling Match With Adamski

We tried to hide our errant columnist’s blatherings, but looks like you’ve found them anyway. This time he’s got an interesting theory he’d like to tell you about…
Illustration: joel benjamin

Gird your Union Jack cummerbund and hump Big Ben until your ding-dong falls off – I’m here to talk about all things British. Old Blighty. Great Uncle Albion. Land O’ Bowler Hats. I was born in a small British village called Manchester, just north of London, and on my travels I have seen many wonderful British things: a half-bedraggled sheep on Anglesey; a pencil-skirted reveller vomiting into the River Clyde; a shopkeeper being chased by a vole. Famous Britons have skid their marks throughout world history, from Queen Victoria to Winston Churchill to Timmy Mallett. But perhaps Britain’s most famous achievement is that we invented electronic music.

The first synthesiser was created by a man called Fred in a shed in Lancashire, which is just north of London. Fred was sandpapering his pigeons for aerodynamic advantage when he noticed a synchronicity between the screams of the birds and the gentle waft of flat caps on the neighbouring bowling green. 

“What if ah could reproduce th’sound wi’ electronics,” he said, his words quickly muffled by smoke from all the chimneys because in those days northern England didn’t have houses, it just had chimneys. Fred set to work [can’t be bothered to write this bit, just copy and paste from Wikipedia] wrestling match with Adamski and the rest is history.

The influence of electronic music is everywhere in United Britdom. In the English countryside, Morris dancers strike tiny bells while skipping around poles, like a drum machine going berserk in a strip club. In the Welsh valleys, you can hear the deep throat of choirs as they mimic the vocal presets of Casio keyboards. Scotland’s bagpipe is essentially a Hammond organ made from a skinned panda, or whatever they find in the bins at Edinburgh Zoo. And Northern Ireland has, erm, hold on, let me just google… Snow Patrol?! Jeez. Is that all they’ve got? Just Snow Patrol and nothing else? Oh, the humanity. Some places in the British Isles operate under different laws, therefore they haven’t invented music yet in the Isle Of Man, Jersey or Stockport. Which is just north of London.

Stockport’s not alone. Over in Germany, the only music you’ll hear is people muttering in beer tents while playing Scrabble, which is really difficult because the words are very long and also I can’t speak a word of German. France is famous for never having produced any music whatsoever: the only sounds you’ll hear in Paris are the soft pafs of baguette duels. This may sound ignorant, but I am simply following the logic of Brexit, which is short for “Britain is Excellent, Isn’t It”. Brexit is a common-sense plan in which the British Isles are untethered from the European mainland so we drift slowly towards the giant wall of ice surrounding the flat earth before sacrificing a wicker man to Princess Diana the lizard god. I know Brexit is a spiffing idea because there are good British men in pinstripe suits on the telly assuring me that it probably won’t reduce the United Kingdom, which is just north of London, to a smouldering pile of rubble and sadness.

From the engineering genius of Robert Moog, to the jaunty bleeps of Gershon Kingsley, to the experimental collages of Faust, all of whom are definitely British, the history of – sorry, hold on, someone’s at the door. Hello, yes? You’re from the government? I’m being deported for being an idiot? I didn’t mean any of this, I was just being silly – get your mitts off me – why are you dressed as Beefeaters? Unhand me. I’ll report you to the Queen. Help. Help!

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