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Trainwreck / Raincheck

by Simon Bookish

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Crab Lawn 02:43
Standing on the gravelled approach to a country manor, looking out over the verdant lawn. I find my body has become infested with lice-type insects. They crawl all over me, but I am neither panicked nor disgusted. The lice are growing very rapidly and after a while they have become so large and heavy that they can no longer cling to me and fall off onto the lawn. They continue to grow, eventually becoming bona fide crabs, in the marine sense of the word. Although they have the deep orange-red colour of cooked crabs, they are very much alive, several hundred of them, scuttling around my feet. I realise that I should tread on them all, and do so, one by one. As I stamp on each crab, it explodes in a spurt of... 'Toffee Sauce' After a while they are all dead and the lawn is bit of a mess. I feel neither happy nor sad.
Invasion 03:13
So, it could have been Berlin, I suppose, or perhaps a large city in the North of England. Wherever it was meant to be, it exuded a particular kind of familiar greyness. When the alien spaceships arrived, no one seemed especially surprised, although the crowd did coo with some admiration at the massiveness of the vessels and the gracefulness with which they arced gently and exceedingly swiftly in and out of the atmosphere. They swung across the skyline as if suspended on strings, 'Devil amongst the tailors', two at a time, maybe eight in all, each one gleaming chrome, insect-shaped, miles across and utterly silent. This fly-by was following by a sort of ceremonial landing/invasion. As the final ship slowly descended, it's angular edges allowed it to land flush against the surrounding skyscrapers, like the final piece of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. The walls of the spaceship then concertinaed out magnificently, forming an instant chrome railway line on which the aliens trundled out in a little wooden tram. ...spindly grey anthropomorphic bodies, big, bald egg-heads, beady eyes, disgruntled, puckered little mouths... This anticlimactic entrance, coupled with the alien's unexpectedly cliched appearance caused the crowd to erupt into cruel, mocking laughter.
I hide in a log cabin with a large groups of strangers. We don't know what's outside, but it's making us pretty nervous. Channel Four make a terrible fuss of appointing a dwarf to present all of their children's programmes. He turns out to be really rather good, exceptionally engaging and handsome. A long-term documentary of his life is commissioned. I go to the park, it's very bright and looks like plastic, like a cartoon. The grass is very green and the sky is very blue. The ducks have left a lot of duck shit all over a little island in the river. I sit on the grass and explain to George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld how ducks stand on one leg to avoid getting shit on both feet. They're very interested and ask me to demonstrate. I go to the supermarket and buy weird fluffy toys for my little brother. They all have ineffectual little limbs, grey threadbare fur, irregular numbers of eyes and ears. I am delighted that the supermarket stocks them since I know that my brother has real-life creatures like this living in his backyard. I wander about barefoot in the duck shit then feel guilty because I promised my friends in the log cabin that I wouldn't talk to George Bush. And now I have. The dwarf on Channel Four has become very old. He resembles a miniature Edith Sitwell, with his headscarf and sunken cheeks and is apparently now an iconic figure in the art world. He has been asked to appear on the catwalk show of Vivienne Westwood's new collection and Channel Four are covering the event for the documentary, naturally. My father and I have a ridiculously melodramatic argument. We're both like Lawrence Olivier doing Greek tragedy, all flailing arms and accusatory eyes. The lighting is suitably stark: we're spot-lit from below. All the clothes are black and yellow, striking geometric patterns on enormous angular outfits. Westwood explains to the cameras that if she can see the faces of the people in the audience she gets nervous, so everyone has had to come wearing an animal head over their evening wear. The camera pans out for the last shot.
I have somehow conned the administration of the Trainwreck into believing that I am qualified to operate a train. My ruse was to visit the head office each day and just walk in and sit down in a room which I decided was 'my office', although it more closely resembles a dirty cupboard. I am able to convince them because I am extra, extra friendly to the man who sits at the security gate. I wave and shout in a cockney accent, "alwight Charlie!" and he smiles, opens the gate and lets me in. On the train itself I am enjoying 'my job' very much. My lack of training, however, means I do not have the special key to open the doors automatically, so people are having difficulty getting in and out. Fortunately, since the train drives itself, I don't have much else to worry about and I chat away to the passengers, who are fooled by my blue uniform and hat. Two women have no tickets and I explain that they will be subject to an on-the-spot fine. I then realise that I do not possess a little book to issue a fine from, so pretend I'm being benevolent and let them off. Back in my office. But I am worried. The managers are on my case and are waiting for me to slip up. Someone's been rifling through my files. My suspicions are confirmed when I fling open the door and find my yacht has been taken away (a yacht being a perk of the job). I wander away from the office and everything becomes calm. Outside is a long, verdant lagoon, with weeping willows by the water and thick green moss underfoot. In the distance is a house on an island. People are slowly swimming around it.
En Bateau 04:07
En bateau On Board A luxury yacht or a cruise liner Out in the sun Cheerful With rails all around Enclosing the deck Walls so high So the sea is not visible The Captain comes out onto the deck White beard, uniform Faux-pirate 'Ah-ha, me hearties!' Steps out from a flimsy pair of French windows "There is no need for alarm, everyone must go inside urgently." Everyone files in We mill about In a large, low ceiling-ed 'observation deck' It seems to be made From cardboard It might even be a film set You demand to know what's going on The Captain explains, for what seems like hours With diagrams, flip-charts: a lecture with overhead projections, "We are about to perform a common nautical proceedure known as 'Pairs'" "As we submerge a smaller vessel hitches a ride... piggy-back style" As the explanation ends the windows begin to fill up with a bright blue liquid. You stand up in the middle of the crowded room and shout at the top of your voice...
Interview 03:19
I find myself in an imposing boardroom lined in oak for a job interview On the long table in front of me is a sheaf of papers I rummage through (I) come across a brief, a job description but haven't time to read further as the door opens The interviewer turns out to be the raincheck ex-prime minister She sits down next to me I forget who she is immediatedly The questions she asks are very vague I forget them too I mumble vague responses Question 10 is very clear: "Leo, which British monarch do you most identify with, and why?" I reply, with conviction, "(Qu)ee(n) Victoria" I lied, I am very embarrassed. Before I can apologise, The raincheck gets up and leaves the room. She is obviously upset by my tactless insult.
A weird little train on the dock (surprise, surprise) Hot with financial activity (automated) The world's slowest, dullest rollercoaster Routes creeping out like mineral arborescences
Houseboats 02:25
Vivid architecture An enormous university Vast domed ceilings Huge, tiled resonant halls 15 story high towers in ornately-laid red brick Minarets, labyrinths and oubliettes In utter disorientation Wheeling a library trolley Visiting a series of strange sunken houseboats Grey mists Men and women Sinking slowly
Long Haul 05:02
(195 ft 8 inch wing) Above the cloud: the weather perfect in perpetuity (175.3 cubic meter cargo) Food in a tray: re-heated to fake gourmet (9,800 km range) Forever never lingered as quickly (Rolls-Royce RB211-524B2 engines) No blade or flame: we're immortal in the cabin (Typically cruising at Mach 0.84 at 35,000 feet) The air tightens and we drop through altocumulus


Floating, digital ambient music; strange, distorted beats and sinister passages of spoken word: the second Simon Bookish album betrays its origins in transcriptions of dreams, alternately absurd and haunting.

The album's narrative is fixated on vivid images of transportation: a sinking cruise liner, a spectral train, a 'disappointing' spaceship and finally a breathlessly calm Boeing 747.

Originally intended as a disorienting radio drama, or "electronic Hörspiel", the album was presented live as a "surreal cabaret" in solo performances across Europe, in both art galleries and concert venues.


released September 1, 2007

written, performed and recorded by Leo Chadburn
Mastered by Shawn Hatfield at Audible Oddities
Artwork by Leafcutter John
Photography by Vicki Churchill


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Leo Chadburn / Simon Bookish London, UK

Leo Chadburn (London, UK) AKA Simon Bookish is a composer of experimental and 'avant-pop' music, vocalist and writer. His unpredictable work includes music for classical ensembles, dramatic solo performances that merge his voice with electronic music, and music for film and installation art. It has been broadcast on BBC Radio 1, 3 and 6 Music, Resonance FM and internationally. ... more

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