[…both albums look toward the left of the screen; camera pans out to reveal empty third chair… the curtain twitches. Out steps Cleft‘s new album Wrong, a creature aristocratic, innocent and ironic, and open minded as is apparent by its dress: a once expensive silver linen suit, ripped and torn, bristling safety pins and careless smears of brightly coloured paint; the trousers ripped unevenly below the knee, showing scabby shins and rainbow coloured odd socks, thankfully concealing the yellowed toes beneath the sandals. It flicks its purple fringe from its supercilious eye and with a caustic smile at those present, flops slouching into the armchair and throws one leg over the armrest, throwing a petulant glance and a raised eyebrow at each camera in turn. Wrong sits opposite Bosh! and Onan’s Boulder/Me, Sugar who have also endured similar live cross-examinations…]
Onan’s Boulder/Me, Sugar: Well… we’re glad you could make it.
Wrong: Gladder than I’m not. [affects disdain]
Bosh!: Um… So you’re the last of our kind, am I right? What can you tell us?
W: Well clearly, my sense of humor is better than yours. I was listening out there, obviously, and frankly I find you both, and this whole operation, tiresome. I simply don’t understand the point of these sorts of conversations.
OB/MS: Well that’s very interesting…
W: Perhaps you were a new direction, perhaps not. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I’m the final return home to a rawer, more naturalistic approach.
B!: What, so more humor? I mean, because that was what we felt, I mean that between the two of us there may have been a maturing. So that I’m, um, less refined…
W: Well you see, this is it, I don’t find you funny. I mean certainly, you are fun. Or can be. But then so can you both. But neither of you are particularly funny.
B!: Ok but you very clearly said, that you had a better sense of humor than me.
W: …also there is no reason why maturity can’t be fun. With maturity comes clarity, and technical and creative ability, but also the ability to make snap decisions to repeat the hell out of something for a laugh…
B!: Well there again you see, humor.
OB/MS: I must say I’m with Wrong on this. There is a hell of a lot of fun to be found in a groove.
W: Yes and even the word implies warmness, the tropical heat of the mosh pit, enjoyable abandon. Can a groove ever be cold?
OB/MS: …but it is certainly not impossible to imagine a serious, or refined, groove.
B!: But that element of maturity strips this tropical, fun groove of the very rawness that makes it so. Surely.
W: Think of a baby: may a baby enjoy a moshpit?
W: [impatient] Clearly, no. Youth does not prescribe abandonment to the groove. The humidity alone would cause problems. Indeed the close press of the bodies, remember that the heat is created by a community, is all sorts of things that a baby cannot even begin to understand.
OB/MS: Yes the fleshy, inviting jungle of the moshpit created by knowing abandonment to the groove, is not accessible to those without knowledge of intimacy, of community…
B!: …of sex…
W: …and of those darker desires.
B!: Ok, it sounded fun until this point.
W: Come now, surely my friend the definition of perversion is to enjoy something because it is unenjoyable.
[Pause; OB/MS laughs shortly]
W: Ok i’m not talking about extremes here, ok, I know it’s a big word but we’re all grown ups…
OB/MS: Lets slightly back track, because there’s something in that i wanted to clarify. Those darker desires… yes, absolutely, expression of angst, anger, perhaps even self hate…
B!: Ok well I see what you mean now. So, dissatisfaction, righteousness…
W: But of course desire itself can cause jealousy, manipulation…
B!: Perhaps violence, I mean… but why are we dwelling on this? [Turning to W] are you like, deathy blast hardcore all of a sudden?
W: But aren’t all of our abrupt structural lurches and arrhythmic riffery violent to some extent? Is the speed of change jarring? …and of course we are all pretty heavy.
OB/MS: But we have moved away from fun now, haven’t we? I mean, is heavy fun? Wait a minute…
B!: [completes] What are you saying?!
W: Heavy is joyous. Heavy is seriously joyous.
B!: To be fair, let’s not forget the Rage medley. I mean, Rage Against The Machine are a band who are uber fecking serious. [all smile] And totally active in promoting all sorts of very serious issues, but who are uber fecking fun. To see anyway. Talk about a moshpit.
W: [still smiling] I remember thinking that I could think of no other situation where a Rage medley would go down without at least SOME resistance.
OB/MS: Ok. So we’ve got this sense of a sweaty, loved up moshpit, expressing their darker emotions with some abandonment, perhaps darker is the wrong word, but still having hella fun. How can we define darker emotions better?
B!: Well if we’re talking political, I mean one could express the emotion of those sentiments without describing the sentiments themselves. Similarly with the less knowable emotions, if you like, that we mentioned: envy, shame…
W: Unknowable emotions? Opaque emotions?
Ob/MS: Ok let’s say the complex emotions… that covers positive emotion too, or even aggregated emotion…
W: Such as, spying on one’s neighbour? Or partner?
OB/MS: Yes these are complex emotions both. Or, scheming intently… that’s a complicated emotion that neither positive nor negative.
B: Well I’m not sure that’s an emotion to be honest but I see what you’re saying. How about, bad things are happening, but you are staying positive in the face of it? Hella complicated.
W: Yes, bravery. No-one is brave until the shit goes down; not having a choice and doing it anyway, that’s bravery.
B: [falsely admiringly] Did you make that up?
W: [ignoring B] One other point that does relate to maturity is that rawness need not be messy. The rawness of a newborn chick, rather than an old plucked chicken. Or of the spotty butcheeks of a burly young wrestler rather than the freshly shaven chin of a no longer bearded man, and in total opposition to the shaggy physique of a feral human left to fend for themselves in the forest since birth. Abandonment can have some focus.
B!: Can it?! I mean, that is literally not what it means, right?
W: What i mean is that in the nature of expressing something is focus. Perhaps in the moshpit the revellers sweat and pogo with abandonment but the performers focus on their own abandonment, concentrate on letting go, on hijacking the flow to shape it to the expression of their desires.
OB/MS: Yes, and less can become more. In many ways this is another implication of ‘stripping back’: you strip back the Ford Astra to make it suitable for the banger race – what it loses in body parts it gains in speed and power.
W: …and nobody can deny that banger racing is fun.
B: Great so we’re back to fun!
OB/MS: A fun but muscular, streamlined expression of complex emotion embedded in a pit-inducing groove which is capable of some damage. And or scheming.
B: The music or the crowd?
OB/MS: Well, either…
W: That’s a great analogy actually. The moshpit, loving created for joyous expression by a community, which causes harm and damages members almost by default.
B: An analogy for what?
W: Well maybe more of an epigram, don’t split hairs. Christ.
B: …so why are you wrong anyway, Wrong? What went wrong? Are you, in fact, wrong?
W: [sighs.] Well life is an odd bean, and therefore not divisible by two, among other things. Perhaps talking about the wrongness or otherwise of things is futile: at any rate, I think so. Wrong implies right but there’s no evidence for either. Similar to the queen*. Maybe I am the wrong album, the album not intended to have been made, the wrong last album. Maybe I am an open letter. Maybe it’s just a bleedin’ word.
W: Well, there’s a few rrrrr- dddddtdttuuu- unnnnnngngngngng- chrk –
[The tape freezes, and the tracking goes. Stripes of fuzz vertically ascend the screen again and again. The TV is in a front room, recently vacated. There are still indents on the sofa cushions and steam rising from the cups of tea. All is still and quiet. A bird sings outside.]
*the queen of england
Instrumental, math rock, progressive, turbo prog, chin-core