Lifeboat

All aboard for another wild wordy ride with our, what do call it? Oh yes, columnist. There are sick bags under your seats should they be required

Illustration: Joel Benjamin

You’re on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. Squally wind, choppy waves, an occasional squid riding a manatee like a jet-ski. On the lifeboat with you is (1) Depeche Mode, (2) the Inspiral Carpets, (3) Moby, (4) Erasure and (5) Yazoo. There are three Vince Clarkes, but let’s not worry about that right now.

The lifeboat party is going great guns. The mop-haired Inspiral one is lapping up the seaweed punch, while Alison out of Yazoo is playing pin-the-tail on a haddock. But there’s a catch: the lifeboat is only built to hold four music acts. Unless you jettison an act, the boat will capsize. You’ll be underwater with plankton munching your undie elastic. Unless it’s no-pants Tuesday, in which case the plankton are in for a real treat. Let’s not get caught up on the plankton; there isn’t time. Who do you chuck overboard? Which music act should become juke box jetsam? More importantly, who is worth saving?

Let’s take each act in turn. You could dump Depeche Mode. The pretty-boy popsters just could not get enough, and they fell into a swamp of drug-drizzled electro-gothism. If I had a mother, which I don’t because I was manufactured from bits of old typewriters, she’d warn me against them. “That Gahan lad will nibble your pants,” says mother, who often confuses pop stars with plankton.

Or how about ditching the Inspiral Carpets? Like all old carpets, this Madchester band is well-trodden, whiffs of the past and often gets piddled on by cats. Their greatest contribution to popular culture was the ‘8:15 From Manchester’ theme tune, a TV programme so dull, it was named after a search result on TheTrainline.com.

You might want to shunt Moby into the mighty swell. The problem with Moby is fire: he thinks it’s an animal.

When passing a dumpster blaze, Moby will stroke the flames and say, “Who’s a good boy then”. He feeds dog biscuits to candles. Moby thinks we shouldn’t eat fire for ethical reasons, and won’t be happy until all known humanity is set upon by a Zippo.

Maybe Erasure deserves a dunk in the damp. No other duo is as environmentally disastrous, with the exception of Robson & Jerome who famously leaked methane. Erasure painted a desert blue just to match their song lyrics. Andy Bell’s stage Speedos reflect so much light, they cause more global warming than a tract of farting bovines. Or perhaps the act to throw overboard should be Yazoo because, er, they’re named after a chocolate drink or something. I dunno.

Water is gushing into the lifeboat faster than the drivel spewing from Kanye West’s mouth. Quick! Which one will you ditch? (1) Is being an electro-goth a crime? (2) Maybe carpets are a good thing. (3) Is baby fire a mammal? (4) Perhaps all deserts should be painted blue. (5) Something-something about chocolate drinks, whatever.

Actually, all these musicians are brilliant. They moulded the landscape you long since drifted away from. How dare you even judge their merits based on some idiot columnist’s lies. There is only one way to lighten the lifeboat load. As you strip to your saggy Y-fronts, you wave goodbye to your pop star shipmates. You belly-flop into the water: a million plankton trill with desire. As you disappear into the deep blue depths, three Vince Clarkes watch from the edge of the lifeboat, a grateful tear tumbling down their cheeks. “Thank you,” they mouth as Clint Boon cracks open a lobster martini.

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