Marathon Tuxedo Go All Jackanory on Your Arse

by Marathon Tuxedo

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    Many thanks to our helpful collaborators:
    - Carrie Hitchcock: campfire banjo noodlings on A Bear and a Man
    - Michael Stanton: tinkling of the cockney ivories on Ullswater Basement, Remember
    - Louise Kelly Phillips was the jingle pearly queen on Ullswater Basement, Remember. She also took the cover photo.
    - Will Newsome/Wig Smith played his tune Kelefa Ba on the kora on The Trouble with Toby’s Granddaughter. Catch up with him at

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Now mentally recuperated by up to 27% in one case, the new material flowed Tourettically forth from the boys' mouths to create this magnificent collection of stories and puerile situations a full eight years ahead of schedule. WOO HOO!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!


released January 10, 2012



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Marathon Tuxedo UK

Marathon Tuxedo is Tash Rialto and Morsten Weens. Rialto does programming, vocals on the left, guitars, comb and paper, percussion. Weens does programming, vocals on the right, and percussion. Weens is also Sexual Ben and Rialto is in Von Bartha ... more

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Track Name: Driving Away From a Falling Rock on a Definite Collision Course
You’ll have to excuse the noise because I’m in my car, but I’ve got myself into a bit of a situation by asking the oracle questions again. I was in my bedroom trying to find out things I shouldn’t, but I suppose it’s lucky I did because otherwise I’d have stood more chance of being crushed by a meteorite than I already do. I asked it:
“What date will I leave where I’m living?”
“May 28th of this year,” it said.
“When will I no longer be working at the shop?” I asked it.
“May 29th of this year,” it told me.
So naturally I started to get suspicious.
“So when will I die then?” I asked it.
“May 28th of this year,” it told me frankly.
I panicked.
“How do I die, then?!” I shouted.
“A three metre wide sixteen ton meteorite made of iron and nickel crushes you.”

I probed the oracle more till it told me the meteorite would strike wherever I’d be at 17:21 and 45 seconds on that day, so therefore I’d obviously take responsibility for the deaths of anyone within a one and a half metre radius of me as well, plus any property damage. That’s why I’m currently speeding around a disused airstrip just before 17:21. I reckon my best chance is to be travelling at speed because I’m more likely to be able to get out of the way. See, if it’s supposed to hit me wherever I am at that time, if I’m on foot I can’t easily get out of range when I see it coming towards me. If I’m going very fast in an open space I still won’t be able to predict where the meteorite will crash, but if the oracle is correct (which it always is, of course) then I’ll be driving into the crash site at 17:21:45. I think at this rate I’ll at least have the chance of keeping an eye on the sky through my sunroof so I can swerve to avoid it at the last minute... unless it’s an invisible meteorite... but I don’t think they exist.

Back at home

Phew, so I avoided it just about, but when I got home and told everyone what had happened, all they said was: “Why didn’t you just hide in a deep cave?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I didn’t know beforehand how hard it was going to hit. I could be in that cave and still get crushed.”
“Well why didn’t you ask the oracle the best place to hide?” they asked. “There’s no oracle at all, is there?” they said.
“Course there’s a fucking oracle,” I said. “What do you think I did? Make it up?!”
Track Name: Death
“A lot’s been said about death, so I don’t have anything profound really to add to that particular record: I just want to get my head straight about my experience of demise. See, I suppose it’s not too broad a claim that everyone fears the end, even if this only becomes apparent when faced with it before you’re ready, but certainly I was always very fearful of dying when I was alive. I didn’t know if I believed in an afterlife of any kind, and I just didn’t want there to ever be a time when life just stopped.
I used to experiment with DMT: a naturally occurring psychedelic produced in the brain’s pineal gland. It is released in potent quantities when you’re born and when you die. I took a lot over a period of two years and two months to give me some perspective you can’t necessarily get normally, but when I decided I’d had enough of that particular experimentation I became immensely paranoid that repeated use of the drug had interfered with my pineal gland. I questioned why we have the thing at all and started to dread that there might be metaphysical implications: if there actually was an afterlife, was this chemical (for which the ingredients and enzymes exist in very high concentrations in the brain) needed to propel you to it…? I had a crisis. I started to suppose that maybe everyone believed in life after death because they knew something I didn’t. Had I scuppered myself for all eternity? But, you know, I admit that a little bit of drug-induced paranoia could have been responsible for this train of thought because I was smoking a lot of pot at the time and one night I had a vision I was twisting along a tunnel which forked in two: one fork carrying on upwards with a blinding white light at the end (so bright it obscured the rim of the end of the tunnel) and another that spiralled off down into darkness. My immediate instinct was to go towards the light, but my curiosity made me look at the dark one, and before I knew it I was being sucked towards it, only saving myself by opening my eyes, and then I was extremely worried about what this vision meant and whether or not this was an indication that I’d been living my life all wrong and that I’d pay for it in the next world. But after I knocked the pot on the head, I was able to laugh at this paranoia and remember that there was no need to take any stock in seemingly religious visions, all of which are most likely to be subjective interpretations of peculiarities of the psyche anyway. I felt OK again. I was still terrified of death, but when I did finally die, I took it a lot better than I expected. As I realised my heart had stopped and the sallow headrush I felt myself falling into meant there was no more oxygen getting to my brain, I panicked for a second as I realised: ‘This is it, this is actually it,’ but when I got a grip on what was happening and that it was not only irreversible but actually in the final stages of the process, I accepted it for what it was and got a very real sense of myself because it’s true what they say: it does all flash before you, and this is what gave me total self-understanding. I got perspective on everything: the choices I’d made, what they meant about me as a person: an overview almost from the viewpoint of another. I grasped that the most prominent attitude I’d always had about myself was that I loved experimentation and discovering new things, and that I’d been able to turn any bad experience in my life into a good one by seeing it all from a little distance and appreciating that although I might not necessarily want to repeat the incident in question, new understanding could be gleaned from it nonetheless, and in a way, it’s good that it happened. I was happy, therefore, to clutch onto the experience of death and realise: ‘I’m finding out what it’s like to die. Billions of people have been through the same process, and now I know what they know too.’ After all, I had to think like this: it might have been the last bit of learning I ever discovered.”

[Over the last few sentences we’ve heard someone climbing the stairs, and now a door creaks open at the last moment]

Diane: “John, are you going on about dying again?”

John: “… No.”

Diane: “Well, yes you are: I could hear you from the kitchen. And turn that recorder off, I don’t want you to tape me.”

John: “I’ll do what I want, woman, and I won’t be told by you.”

Diane: “You little bastard. You little lying bastard. Going on about drugs. We’ve been married since we were eighteen and I’ve never seen you touch any. Honestly, I don’t know where you pick it all up from half the time.”

John: “How do you know what I’ve done and what I haven’t, woman?”

Diane: “Well, I know one thing? You’re not dead yet, that’s for sure.”

John: “I died when I married you, ya witch!”

Diane: “Oh, that’s very grown up, isn’t it? I’m going out. There’s mutton in the fridge if you want to do yourself some dinner.”

John: “If I eat anymore sheep I swear I’ll have a fucking aneurysm!”

Diane: “Well, I’ll keep serving it up then, won’t I? Then we’ll all get some peace.”

[The door slams]

John: “Yes, well… [Suddenly melodramatic] I died a lonely death and no one came to my funeral, and after twenty-eight years I discovered my marriage had been little more than matri-phoney, because still to this day there have never been any flowers left at my grave.” [Sniff…]
Track Name: Weird Twins
I saw those weird twins again today. [Shudders] Very strange. Monozygotic as fuck. They were walking in the High Street on the other side of the road, going the other way, and my sixth, seventh, and eighth senses kicked in and I knew I was being watched, so I looked round and my eyes went straight to them. They were staring at me, silently, in their weird wide-eyed way that they do, walking slightly bent backwards as usual, as if their brittle skeletons are unable to keep their weak willowy bodies fully upright. Their slight potbellies (which are no doubt full of bats’ wings and newts’ eyes) were poking out, as they do, and their jet-black hair hung lank either side of their severe fringes. Hmmmm. Scary. I think they’re trying to put some sort of love spell on me… It’s not working.
Rumour has it one of them fell off a cliff while having sex, which explains loads.
I didn’t know they were twins until recently coz I never saw them together. I’d see them one at a time in shops, or in pubs and clubs, or walking past my house late at night. Once, in a club the DJ played that song by Sixpence None the Richer. The one that goes, “Kiss me, buh buh buh buh buh buh buh,” and one of them appeared from nowhere, dancing relentlessly towards me, bent backwards, her slight pot belly pointing at me, stuffed with spell ingredients… I left.
About a month later I was on a bus and she got on. “Oh no,” I thought as she walked towards me, and I looked down at my lap. About thirty seconds later I looked up again and she was still in the same place, still walking. “Strange,” I thought. About a minute later my unnamed senses kicked in. I looked round, and sat behind me… “Oh my Lord, there’s two of them!” And since then I see them around together all the time. I think they’re after me. Needless to say, I don’t find either of them the least bit attractive. But I’m gonna screw seven shades of Hell’s bells out of the pair of them anyway, just so I can say that I have.
Track Name: A Bear and a Man
Jebb: Ah suppose Ah did feel a bit sorry for the fella after the hangin’ an’ all. Maybe things got taken a little too far, but Ah was a lot younger then and he did put a scar on me which’s stayed to this day.

Zee: So what happened to his bear, Jebb?

Jebb: Ah was gettin’ ta that, but Ah wanted ta get a few things straight in ma head about the story first before Ah did. [Pause] It was probably more ‘an ten years ago now, and Ah used ta give it more thought than Ah do now, and for a while it played on ma ole conscience, Ah can tell you.

Zee: What was the dude’s name?

Jebb: He wa’n’t no dude, though he coulda bin. He was called Larry and he named his bear Georg. It’s German or summin’.

Zee: German?! Now that’s what gets ma goat, Jebb! What’s wrong with a good honest US of A Christian name?

Jebb: Some folks choose to rock the boat sometimes. Do’ know why. They jus’ does. Now this fella was a wily kind. We saw him the day he and his bear strolled into town. Said he was just lookin’ for work and a place ta get his head down, so we set him up oud on the ranch with some pickin’ and he was happy enough for a while, only he had to sleep oud on the field because none of the other men felt comfortable with a seven-foot grizzly bunkin’ down with ‘em, and the man wouldn’t leave it oudside. But other than that he seemed to be a quiet young fella, all in all ta start. Jus’ used to sit oud in the evenings with this bear he’d raised from a cub, talkin’ to it, pettin’ it: then at night they’d curl up together and go ta sleep.

Zee: Sheeit, a real life bear?! What happened when the thing got hungry, or got sore ‘bout summin’?

Jebb: Ah ain’t never seen a bear like it, Zee. Ah tell you, you could grab that sucker by the balls and the worst it had in it ta do was ta push you away ta make ya stop.

Zee: And all through the right upbringin’?

Jebb: Ah don’t know what that guy did ta that bear, but whatever it was he did somethin’ all raaaad. It’s just a shame he couldn’ta done the same for himself when he’d bin drinkin’. He had a thirsty temper on him, Ah tell you. Hauled his ass out onta the street on many occasions coz he knew no one would cross him with that bear in tow.

Zee: Even though the bear was so gen’le?

Jebb: Even though the bear was so gen’le. Once when Larry had been a bit friendly with the ole whisky boddle and passed oud at the end of the bar after callin’ a load of dudes faggots…

Zee: …They let him get away with that?

Jebb: Well, almost. They heard about the reputation of the bear so they led it out into the street and pelted it with stones and whipped it with their belts.

Zee: An’ the big dumb thing just stood there and took it?

Jebb: Hell, it didn’t know no different. It’d bin with Larry since before it was meant ta be, and it never saw no violence, never saw no other bears, never had no idea of what a bear’s s’posed ta be. Just got big but stayed like Larry’s liddle cub in its bear mind. And it waited there oudside for hours till Larry sobered up and came ta find it.

Zee: So how did you ged involved?

Jebb: Ah was working oud on the ranch at that time, and me and some of the other boys began to tire a liddle of Larry’s no good braggin’ and drinkin’. He was puttin’ a boddle away nearly every night towards the end, and seein’ as Larry was kind of a lonely fella stayin’ away from people because of their fear of the bear, he began to shood his mouth off, ya know, try and big himself up by doin’ other folks down. Maybe thought he wuz bein’funny. One night we came out ta his fire to say howdy coz we thought it was about time but he was already drunk an’ hollerin’. “So you faggots has decided ta come and grace me with ya presence, have ya?” he said to us. “Now, now, Larry,” we said ta him, “no need ta get all testy coz you’ve had a few drinks,” an’ he took a big slice a objection to that. Started wavin’ the boddle aroun’ and tellin’ us that if a man has ta sleep outside with a bear then that’s where he should stay: some garbage like that. We told him ta calm down and that we didn’t mean no harm, but he di’n’t wanna hear it. Then he shoved O’Rawke away when O’Rawke tried ta take the boddle from him coz he was wavin’ it aroun’ like a Cherokee squaw, and we got all fired up despite the bear coz we’d bin drinkin’ too.

Zee: What happened?

Jebb: The bear was just holdin’ us away with his big paws, not makin’ a sound, not gettin’ his claws in, just holdin’ us there and tryin’ not ta make eye contact.

Zee: Did ya wanna shood it?

Jebb: Ah sure as hell did. Ah knew the bear wasn’t no harm bud Ah also wannid ta teach that lippy sonofabitch a lesson.

Zee: So did ya shood it?

Jebb: Ah didn’t get the chance. This bear was keepin’ in between Larry and us and jus’ bein’ gen’le but strong, and Larry came oudda nowhere with the neck of a smashed bottle and pushed it right inta ma face.

Zee: So that’s how ya got ya scar.

Jebb: Sure. You can imagine we god our guns out fast and starded wavin’ ‘em around, but Ah knew if Ah did anything Ah’d go straight to the jail after the laaaas’ taaaam’, so we went back ta the town and got the Sheriff in on it. The sheriff at that time was ma good wife’s uncle and seein’ how livid Ah was, and seein’ the restraint Ah showed after the laaaas’ taaaam’, we had him blamed for some rustlin’ that had been goin’ on up North. We told him there’d been witnesses and that we don’t appreciate his kind of folk in our parts. Just like before, he flew into a spin and starded sayin’ all this stuff about geddin’ a fair trial, and we told him there’s only one kind of trial round here for his kind…

Zee: [Sucked in] Yeh, yeh.

Jebb: …So we carried him to the frame and hung him coz he was strugglin’. It took five of us ta hold onta him tight enough to get the rope roun’ his neck. He objected strongly ta bein’ treated like that.

Zee: So ya hung ‘im then?

Jebb: [Pause] Yip. An’ the bear watched.

Zee: Did it mind?

Jebb: Do’ know. It saw wut happened, bud it’s hard ta tell what goes through the mind of a huge bear. It watched the whole thing, waited at a distance for a while, then it sat down, then it jus’ got off and walked back ta the ranch to the bit of the field they stayed on and went ta sleep. Next day we wuz all talkin’ on the stoop about what we could do with this bear, and a lot of the fellas just wanted to shood it and leave it out for the coyotes, but Ah felt at least partly responsible for its situation so Ah said Ah’d take it up ta the woods if Ah was goin’ ta do it. Hell, makes more sense ta do that than leave it on our land and have the coyotes come ta us, so Ah led it up ta the woods…

Zee: And it jus’ let you do that?

Jebb: Ah told you: this was the most easiest bear Ah ever seen in ma whole goddamn life. Ah turned aroun’ to it and looked up inta its black eyes, and Ah tell you I ain’t never looked at a animal like that. Ah didn’t know if it had any idea of what wuz goin’ ta happen ta it, but if it did it sure as hell accepted it pretty darn well.

Zee: So ya shod it?

Jebb: [Pause] Ah didn’t have to. Another grizzly sniffed it out and came to look from a distance. Ma first instinct was to shoot both before Ah got inta any trouble, but the other grizzly didn’t come any closer. It just waided for Georg ta go over to it and then they both disappeared off inta the trees.

Zee: So you didn’t shood it!? It god away in the end? There are two grizzlies out there in them woods now, and maybe more if they’s breedin’?!

Jebb: [Pause] Nope. Jus’ one. Ah went up there some time later to grab me some chestnuts, only Ah didn’t find none, but Ah did find the carcass of the bear out there almost completely stripped of meat except for the face.

Zee: Did the other bear ead it, Jebb?

Jebb: I couldn’t tell ya, Zee. I couldn’t tell ya. But Ah can tell you that the lips and the eyelids of the bear wuz missin’, an’ from the looks of the struggle, Ah guess it happened while that bear was still alaaaav.

Zee: Sheeit, so the animals do always die for no good goddarned reason at the end of these stories.

Jebb: Yup. It seems that way, Zee.
Track Name: El Presidente's Speech Trouble
El Presidente became sick of young disillusioned men in their bedrooms cutting up recordings of his speeches to make it sound like he was saying things like “I am a completely gay dictator who will sleep with your elderly pets,” so he started using sophisticated software that analysed every possible combination of words to ensure his announcements couldn’t be negatively edited, but this was so difficult to do that quickly his statements became shorter and shorter and used such bizarre and antiquated phrases that no one understood him anymore. This was proof to the people that he’d finally gone completely insane and was no longer fit to govern. The final straw before the violent coup was a supposed morale-boosting declaration from him on Freedom Day that went like this:

“I Deshalolling the trumpish coupodntu of the nauraliata and denumonting on its boonami incongrua is really like the grananidrop tref art of the entirely solaristapnadri to you.”

In prison awaiting execution, El Presidente was played a re-edit of his final speech by a young lad living on the outskirts of the capital. It was short and sweet and went like this: “I really really like to fart on you.”
Track Name: A Victory
Need some, er, fucking carrots.


How many do fucking we need?


Ok. One fucking carrots. We could fucking do with a broccoli.


Oh look, aubergines are half price fucking. Do you know another name for aubergines is fucking eggplant?

Do you have to keep swearing all the time?

Do I?

Yeah, you swear all the time.

I don’t think I fucking do.

I don’t like it. It makes you sound common all the time.

Right. In that case can you stop saying all the time all the time.

Whatever. Where’s the cereal?

Aisle fucking three.

Jesus Christ.

What sort do you pissing want?

One with swans’ eyes in it.

You’re just being flippant now.

Should have gone to Waitrose. They do them at Waitrose. And kittens’ faces.

Well, we’re not in shitting Waitrose so pick one. How about Brown Flakes?

I don’t want to eat the cocking Brown Flakes.

Ummmm, you sweared.

Oh shitflaps. I did, didn’t I.


That’s what hanging around with you does, see?

I think that’s what one would call a victory.
Track Name: Ullswater Basement, Remember
Shemmus: So I heard a tale about you the other day – something about you nearly drowning or something in an underwater cave.

7ft: Yeah, I did. I can’t quite remember the details though. My memory’s quite poor.

Shemmus: Yeah, mine too.

7ft: Who did you hear that off anyway?

Shemmus: Hmmm, good question. I think it was Brian Benford, the albino porn star.

7ft: Oh yeah, I told him, I think.

Shemmus: So what happened?

7ft: Did Brian not say?

Shemmus: He couldn’t remember all the details, and I want to hear it from the horse’s gob anyway.

7ft: Well, I was up in the Lake District near Ullswater.

Shemmus: I don’t know it.

7ft: Yes you do. We went there in the noughty noughts, remember? Or was that you?

Shemmus: I don’t think so. I don’t remember. Anyway, you’re up in the Lake District…

7ft: …I was up in the Lake District looking around an underground room we’d found beside the lake when two guys walked in and blocked off the door, so we turned around to say hello and they told us to shut up. One of them stayed by the door with a knife in his hand while the other started hitting us with this club.

Shemmus: Why did they do that?

7ft: They’d come to collect some money they stole and stashed earlier, so when they saw us they freaked out.

Shemmus: Was that because you’re a massive seven-foot dwarf?

7ft: Well, that’s what I thought, but no, it was because they didn’t want to leave anyone who could identify them.

Shemmus: So they tried to kill you?

7ft: They had a bloody good go but we grabbed the club and pushed the first guy onto the other one. Chod and Joey were able to leg it out and get away but the guys kept hold of me by the neck and threw me back on the ground. That’s how I got this:


Shemmus: [Over-reaction] Whoa, no way! [etc.]

7ft: Then they got a length of chain and tethered me up round the throat with it and left me in there to drown.

Shemmus: Drown?

7ft: Oh yeah, I forgot that bit – They turned a big tap on in the room before they left, and cold water from the lake flooded in quite quick.

Shemmus: I can’t believe you never told me this. How did you get out?

7ft: Well the chain around my neck wasn’t so tight. I could get it up over my nose but it wouldn’t quite go past my massive forehead, so quickly I realised I’d have to get some lubrication from somewhere.

Shemmus: Yeah, this is the bit Benford remembered, I seem to remember, although I can’t recall what he said – if he told me in the first place, that is. I think it was him.

7ft: I had to try and wank onto the back of a ram they’d trapped in there with me for a laugh because I only had one hand free. They roped both my wrists to steel rings embedded in the floor but I managed to get one out, although I realised that if I was using my one hand to wank then I’d have nothing to catch the giz on, and the ram was the nearest available option, which was a pity because it wasn’t very tame and as the water got higher it started to freak out.

Shemmus: Why didn’t you just aim up at your neck?

7ft: I thought about it but I was scared of lacking the range.

Shemmus: So you wanked on a ram. I can’t believe you still managed to shoot under all that pressure.

7ft: That’s the thing, see: I didn’t manage it.

Shemmus: Then how did you get out?

7ft: Well, I was panicking about drowning and the water was very cold as well, so I just couldn’t do it. Now don’t freak out on me, Shemmus, coz I reckon anyone would have done what I had to do in that situation.

Shemmus: [Very suspicious] You didn’t?

7ft: I held the ram up and wanked it onto my neck. I grabbed it with one of my giant stubby arms and propped the thing up on the great girth of my shoulder then tugged it off.

Shemmus: Didn’t it try and kick you?

7ft: It did, repeatedly in the eyes. But I made it giz down my front in the end, and then I dropped it and wiped the stuff all over the chain.

Shemmus: Did it work?

7ft: No, it was still too tight. There’s quite a circumference up there around the top of my head, remember.

Shemmus: I don’t have to remember: I can see.

7ft: Quite. Anyway, a tabloid journalist who just happened to come by helped me get the chain off the ceiling fitting by force and cut the rope around my left wrist with his forked barbed tongue.

Shemmus: It was sharp enough was it?

7ft: More than.

Shemmus: I see.

7ft: In fact first of all he took pictures on his phone and ran away but when he was halfway across the field he had a change of heart because apparently his mother had passed on in a very similar manner, so compassionately he ran back to help me. Then he published the pictures in The Sun. They were running a series of shots of mainly asylum seekers caught in embarrassing and perverted situations, but they put that one in of me covered in ram spunk chained by the neck to a ceiling in a dark room, the bastards.

Shemmus: [Long pause] Oh, yeah. I do remember that.

7ft: Yeah, everyone remembers the most humiliating thing that ever happened to me.

Shemmus: They called you “The Beast of Ullswater Bestiality,” didn’t they. And the “Ram Raider”.

7ft: Thanks, yeah.

Shemmus: Said you lived up there and had relations with local cattle and could be seen from the school bus running alongside the dry stonewalls in the fields with your stunted phallus hanging out.

7ft: Yeah, I remember.

Shemmus: So didn’t your mates come back to help you?

7ft: No. I questioned them about it in the pub later and they apologised and said that as soon as they got back to the car they completely forgot why they were there and just went home.

Shemmus: Sods.

7ft: Not really: just forgetful. So who told you the story?

Shemmus: I can’t remember. Oh, I do. It was Brian Benford, wasn’t it?

7ft: That’s right, I remember you saying. So how did he find out?

Shemmus: You told him, didn’t you?

7ft: No, I didn’t tell him.

Shemmus: Maybe Jan John told him then.

7ft: Well, how would she know?

Shemmus: Maybe Heggers Tt told her.

7ft: Oh yeah, I remember telling him.

Shemmus: Do you?

7ft: [Long pause] Naaaaaaaah.
Track Name: Dungeon
They’ve imprisoned us in a mud-floored lower chamber of a small castle on a hill for thirty years. The chance of escape for one or both of us is nil. No shoes, a long habit with a hood, no objects of any kind, essentially in a high-sided pit with one wall open high up where the guards walk on stone ridges between the dungeons, but luckily the floor is often dry, and we have one diagonal drain for a toilet which rushes straight to the outside, a distance of a metre or more. We’ve never communicated with the people in the other dungeons because we’d have to shout up to the high opening, and if you raise your voice then the guards chuck buckets of water into your pit until the whole ground ends up a muddy puddle, and that can take weeks to dry in the winter. The only way we know there must be others is because we hear the guards shouting at them and throwing down their bread and watery gruel where it’ll surely be apathetically devoured. When the guards come, we must sit silently against the wall with our hoods up and our hands and feet covered, not moving till they’ve definitely passed. Never break the rules. Much as you disagree with them, it’s not worth it. We have no power, and they only have to use a tiny bit of their great power to end our lives or, more likely, make them unliveable. When we’re sure they’ve gone we can have a sneaky look to check then take our hoods down and go about as normal.

You get to know someone very well when you share a pit eight metres by five for three decades. You build up a bond because you have to: there's nothing else to do. It makes it easier for you to keep your head down when the guards are goading and jeering because you know you're in the same boat as your comrade. If you do anything except sit motionless and silent, your lives will be nasty for weeks. Once, they goaded us for hours, and then they went silent for a while only to wail into shrieks of laughter when they pulled up my habit with a hook on a long stick. Then they beat us both with long poles because I “exposed the body” within their sight, (so they said) and when in defence we tried to grab the poles, our tormentors shouted “Get more poles!” and more guards came rushing out to beat us harder with extra pointy poles. And they beat us on the ground too: shoved us, thwacked us and poked us as we lay there. Most of the time now though, the guards leave us alone when they’re patrolling or lowering down our bread and gruel (yes, that’s right, actual gruel. Vile). In the evenings they just come by to pull the water jug out. (They gave us the same jug for ten years once and we didn’t see it again for ages, but when it came back I remembered it and I got a lump in my throat. Silly really, getting attached to a jug. Silly old man.) In general you learn to emotionlessly absorb a lot of bad experiences: anything at all except perhaps a swarm of trainee guards. It takes the new recruits a while to settle down until they start leaving us alone. They’ve taunted us for half a day at a time before, and they’ve done everything you could just about conceive to make our lives misery, but never once have they just thrown stuff at us. I bring it up because sometimes that’s all I want. I wouldn’t even mind if they threw rocks because the wounds would heal, and at the end of the day we’d have more rocks to play with. Maybe that’s why they don’t throw stuff in. I find it funny that in thirty years not one guard has ever thrown a single object at us other than our basic dietary needs. I assume that must be a deliberate jailers’ strategy, to deny us all things other than the very basics of what we need to stay alive (if you can call it “alive”): a way of demoralising us and keeping us placid. I suppose it works very effectively.

I know everything about my companion, and he knows everything about me. We agree we’ve been given a harsh sentence for our crime.
Very over the top.
But that’s what everyone gets.
We suspect we’ll die here, we’re already so old and pained and broken-over, but who knows, we may be released at any time. We never hear any news about anything…

I have a story to tell – one real story, a learning experience. No others, just this one:

I learned even after three decades of being denied everything but a large cloth (essentially) to cover myself, and the most basic of nosh to keep me alive, that a person can still be the same cunt they were on the outside:
Last year around Christmas time, we assume, one of the guards put a cranberry tart on the rope. We didn’t know whether to save it or chomp it down straight away. Eventually we decided we might as well just eat it rather than put it on the muddy ground in a corner and wait for it to rot or get stampeded by mistake. “All right,” said my mate, “half and half. What can we cut it with?” We glanced around, but as usual there wasn’t anything to cut anything with, so I said, “Go on, eat half and I’ll have the rest,” but I knew – I knew – the moment I said it that he’d eat the lot. And so with a repressed gleam in the eye and a slight tugging up at the edges of the mouth, my companion crammed the lot into his gob and swallowed it noisily and with difficulty.
Can’t believe it.
Even after all these years. You’d think a person might change…
…Still a cunt.
Track Name: Deep Within the Boat
I’m not altogether sure if it’s an improvement being in the boat. The dungeon was possibly the most tedious thing any human could be subjected to, but I can’t tell you if the boat is a step up from that or not. The company’s the same, which could be seen in any case as a partial blessing, but at least the castle felt sturdy in comparison. This old thing creaks like a sod. I’ve never heard anything like it. For years I’ve been convinced that at any moment the wood is finally going to creak too far and the entire ship will burst open and plunge into Davy’s in an instant. At least we’re generally left alone here though, not like the old place, but who cares: on the other hand we haven’t seen land for decades. Sometimes when the two of us are doing the bilge I think I might just stop and wait for the murky smelly water to seep in and finish us all, but something keeps me going. I suppose it’s the thought that no matter how low you get, there is still, despite how preposterous it might seem, the vague chance we could enjoy freedom again one day and meet up with our old families and friends – not much chance of that though, what with all of them being incarcerated in remote dungeons and boats as well.
As far as I can tell, there are hundreds of people on this boat, but that, as I say, is only as far as I can tell. I can hear them groaning and shouting in the night and sometimes they call my name, but the name bit tells me it’s all in my imagination and it must just be the sound of the straining wood confusing me. Why would anyone shout my name? Who would know my name other than my companion and me?

I choose to tell you my situation again because a thing which happened yesterday is relevant to something that happened before in the dungeon. My companion and me were sanding down the rigging at the top of the tallest mast (they don’t tell us why we have to do these things. Half the time the tasks seem either pointless or damaging to some vital feature of the ship) and I was looking down the great distance to the deck to see if I could get a better stare at any of the bent-over figures skulking below in their lightless pits when I became convinced that if I didn’t get a sip of liquid then the dry husk of my body would probably just flit away in the breeze.
“God, I’m so thirsty,” I managed, feeling a bit grimmed out by the laziness of the sticky tongue lolling around inside my numb but prickly mouth.
“So am I,” settled my companion with distracted resolution, “but what can we do about that?” A drip of sweat emerged through the battered skin on his brow and ran down to a waiting index finger which mopped it up and sucked it off.
Down below me in a pit I could see a naked, white-faced hunchback with no hair on his head or body emerge from a shadow for a second with a startled upwards glance, and as he did, something in my line of sight that I hadn’t noticed before jumped into focus. A glass!
“What’s that?” I shouted. Then, remembering the trustworthiness of my companion, I grabbed it before he had a chance and peered through the side of the opaque tumbler at the tiny dribble of yellowy fluid left in the bottom.
“Who would leave a glass up here?” asked my companion.
I shrugged. It did seem far-fetched, but we were thirsty and you don’t look a gift horse etc.
“But there’s such a small amount of drink there. It’ll be quite difficult to split.”
In spite of my thirst (who knows, it might have even been delirium caused by dehydration and heat-stroke) I handed the glass to my mate. “You first,” I tempted him, poorly suppressing the masochistic beam on my face. I decided I wouldn’t mind if he drank the lot, it would be worth it to see if he was still a cunt or not, because then I’d know. My companion took the glass from me in silence and held it in front of him, staring solemnly into the bottom. I don’t know what was going through his mind, maybe he remembered about me going on at him for twenty years about the cranberry tart, maybe he was overcome by the will to change his ways, but slowly he leaned back over with the glass and bent right into my cracked and strained leather face with the smile of my-old-selfless-compadre: “You know what, friend? Why don’t you have it?”
“Just have it?”
“I don’t want any. Have it if you want.”
“Thanks,” I said as I took it back off him, a little ashamed I’d had the arrogance to think I could test my mate, my lifelong buddy.
“Hey, don’t mention it,” he said, smiling amiably and turning back to his sanding. And as I went to take the beery liquid to my lips I happened to glance at the bottom for a moment – long enough to see that the drink was laced with what looked a lot like spunk.

I told my companion to finish the sanding himself and sloped off back down to the bilge pumps for some peace and quiet.
Track Name: Love Part 2
As we lay there wrapped in each other’s semi-amputated limbs she asked me “How do you know when you’re in love?” “Well, it’s like this,” I said, “you can shut the stable door after the horse has bolted but you can’t make it drink.” “That makes a lot of sense,” she said, and I said, “Thanks, I know,” and then I had another wank in her and briefly for a while I suspected I might actually be in love. Maybe I dreamt it but who knows, I dremp all kinds of things. That’s the funny thing about love, you see, it’s like herding cats. Once you pop, you can’t stop, and the longer you leave it, the harder it gets nudge nudge wink, or as they say on the continent, nudges nudges, winkez winkez, yes, they know what they’re talking about, the French, or at least that’s what she told me, and I believed her coz that’s what love is, isn’t it, unconditional belief, and sometimes it’s similar to a feeling of mild food poisoning but we’ll live. Talking of winking, that’s how we met, I really ought to sort out this terrible facial tick of mine, it lands me in all sorts of trouble, but luckily enough she thought my winking was somewhat fruity in a Carry On style of fashion so here we are now. Life’s a funny one, isn’t it? “Do you believe in fate?” she asked me. “What’s not to believe in,” I said, “I’ve been to several and they were perfectly charming. Won some York Fruits in a tombola at one,” I said. What was I saying? Oh yes, so we’re lying there, basting ourselves on that boiling summer’s afternoon, and she says, “What would you say if I told you I was falling in love with you?” and I said, “We’ll burn those bridges when we come to them, and my Daddy always told me ‘Have the strength to change what you cannot stand and to stand on one leg with your eyes closed is a skill indeed is a friend in need’.” “Wow, you’re a real romantic,” she said, and I said, “Thanks, I know.”
Track Name: Sandbank
It’s good news bad news time. We were due to be transferred from the prison boat onto a prison submarine, which would have been an extremely unimaginably depressing alteration to mine and my colleague’s situation, but as luck would have it the vessels gruesomely collided as the sub tried to surface, sinking them both frighteningly quickly. We were shackled on deck awaiting relocation along with one other prisoner, the captain, and two officers; so only the six of us got into the water safely as the ship went down. My colleague and me managed to grab tightly onto the two officers thus persuading them to unshackle us quickly before we drowned them with us, then we drowned them anyway, and the captain too for being such a sadist. We didn’t see what happened to the other prisoner: the weight of his shackles must have done for him.

Also, as luck would have it again, after a day passed and fatigue had nearly finished us off, the warm currents washed us up on a long sandbank, but it was just a temporary respite because with no land in sight, no other vessels, and no food or water, it wasn’t long before we both died. We started drinking the sea towards the end out of desperation but I suppose that only sped things along. And now what? A living death I suppose. I could no longer feel my body or the temperature of the air, but my sight remained with a milky sheen over it, fixed towards the horizon, the leg of my colleague just in view. Gradually I began sinking into the bank, and a good few months that lasted, until my eyes rotted out. And now this. For years. Nothing but the whirring of my own despondent mind and the forced repetition of unendingly more alien philosophies. It’s fucking boring. I assume my colleague faces something similar. I don’t suppose there’s anything left of our bodies now, what with their incarceration in the damp sand for what must have been decades so far.

But it’s ok, friend, for I have had plenty of time to think and to meditate and I have seen the future. Things are bad for you now, and I’m afraid that in your lifetime, and in your children’s lifetimes, they will only get worse. From the very bottom of society to the very top there is crime, there is destruction, there is greed. There’s no respect. Every man’s out for himself. It’s rife. Every fucker’s at it. What is anyone to do about it? There are too many people for nature to sustain. There’s no point burying your head in the sand – pardon the irony. Something has to happen. Mass deaths. Perennial misery. The best that can possibly be hoped for are rare beacons of virtue and moral courage poking their gleaming heads out intermittently from the vast oceans of solipsistic despair. Death and wretchedness will reign. And at the end of that phase the people will be crying out for what they resisted before, and they will get it: ultimate social control by the state, genetic alteration of people and the entire environment, automated surveillance, sperm and ova frozen upon sexual maturity followed by enforced sterilisation and applications thereafter for pregnancy to be processed by a department of the central World state. Sounds good don’t it? But how do you get to this utopia? Only after things gets unimaginably worse, my friend. The have-nots will continue to try and destroy the haves, as has always been the case, and the haves will fight tooth and claw to hold onto what they’ve got because they see it as their right, and they will use their considerable resources to continue to suppress the have-nots, but it won’t be enough. In the end it can never be enough. There is a grand blueprint playing itself out, and you are floundering somewhere along its arc. Good luck.
Track Name: Buried on Boot Hill
Hmm, we buried him up there on Boot Hill, right by the point he fell. Shot by Three Fingered Jack. Wasn’t no surprise to any of us. That clown was gonna get it sooner or later. Most folks was just sore they weren’t the one to give it to ‘im. Anyhow, Three Fingered Jack caught him up there foolin’ aroun’ with his girl. Shot ‘im dead on sight. Hmmm, that damned clown. Always up in folk’s faces. Thought ‘e was funny. Never worked a day in his life. Thought he was doin’ people a service, tryin’ a make ‘em laugh. I didn’t see what was supposed to be so funny. Ridin’ roun’ on that darn stoopid horse, makin’ strange noises, pieces fallin’ off it all the time. Comin’ up to us in the bar: huge pants, curly damned wig, and where in hell’d ‘e find all that make-up from anyways? Not even the girls over at the dance hall could muster up half that much face paint between ‘em for a whole week, let alone everyday.

I nearly shot ‘im myself just yesterday. Came up to me in the bar, asked me if I was thirsty. I’d been out workin’ the cattle all day so I said “hell yeah”. Damned son of a bitch squirted me in the neck with a flower he had on his multi-coloured lapel. If it hadn’t been for the sheriff drinkin’ next to me… Well, anyways, Three Fingered Jack got to ‘im first. Jack’s girl said they was jus’ foolin’. He was showin’ ‘er some jugglin’ tricks, and how to fall down right without hurtin’ yerself. Well, I hear he fell down all right. Jack said he thought that clown was armed. Turns out the gun ‘e had, ya pull the trigger, an’ out pops a liddle red flag with the word “Bang!” wridden on it.

Well, that clown had no business up here anyways. Should a stayed in the circus.
Track Name: Fat Metallers
THOR: So what shall we do today?
METHUSELAH: How about we boast about our non-existent sexual conquests and lie about the size of our willies in a rather uncomfortably transparent way?
T: Nah, bored of that. Why don’t we pretend to be orcs and have a battle?
M: Ok, that sounds fair enough. Later though, later. I tell you what, I saw this … [surprise me] … earlier. Can you lend me some money so I can get it?
T: I don’t even know what one of that is.
M: It’s … [tell me]
T: Are you having a zebra? I’m not lending you money for that, you nonce.
M: Oh go on, you’d lend me money if I was starving, wouldn’t you?
T: Yeah.
M: Well I’m starving for a … [repeat name of thing]
T: [Makes noise] Oh sorry, I’m feeling a bit tourettic today. [Noise]
M: That’s a rather fetching skullcap you’ve got there. Where did you get it?
T: Thanks, I found it.
M: Where did you find it?
T: … [Here’s where I surprise you] …
M: Really? What’s the story there?
T: It’s tragic really. … [I say another sentence here] …
M: It looks good though. It really sets off the ginger in your bumfluff ‘tache.
T: Thanks, I thought so.
M: Hey, I’ve got a joke for you.
T: Go on then.
M: What did the down-on-his-luck farmer say when he got in the Guinness Book of Records for growing the biggest turnip?
T: I do not know.
M: He said: “That’s a turnip for the books!”
[They laugh riotously then suddenly stop]
T: Oh dear, I think I shat myself a little bit there.
M: I’m going to see your cousin later.
T: Oh dear, why would you want to do a thing like that?
M: Why would you say this? He’s all right, isn’t he?
T: Yeah, he’s all right, but there’s something unsettling about him though.
M: What do you mean?
T: I think it’s the questions he asks. It’s like he’s smugly contriving to elaborately run you round the houses of your own cuntness.
M: I know exactly what you mean. I don’t let him get to me though. When I start feeling nervous I just picture him naked.
T: Does it work?
M: No, it just gives me a boner.
T: I don’t know what that is.
M: Yeah you do: it’s when your willy goes hard.
T: Your willy goes hard? That’s nasty, man. Is it treatable?
M: Yeah, you just rub it till all this glue comes out and you uncontrollably shout “Release the hounds!” or “Fly my pretties, fly!” or “Go AIDS!”
T: Glue? That sounds horrific and weird and I don’t want anything to do with it.
M: It’s all right actually. I quite like it sometimes.
T: Oh hang on, is this what I’ve got my hand in?
M: Oh yeah, sorry about that, that happened earlier.
T: Do you mind if I?
M: No no, go ahead.
T: [Lip smacking] That’s disgusting. Really salty.
M: Yeah it is. I don’t get it: even when I haven’t eaten any salt for weeks it still comes out like that.
T: Wow, you must have loads of salt in you.
M: Yeah, I think it’s from when your cousin assaulted me.
[They laugh riotously then suddenly stop]
T: I don’t get it.
M: I’ll explain it to you when you’re older.
T: Oh, did I tell you? I’ve got a hugely ginormous willy and I’ve slept with loads of girls.
M: I thought you said you were bored of talking like that.
T: Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot.
M: And besides, you don’t even really know what it means.
T: Don’t be ridiculous, what’s not to understand about going to sleep with a girl? Anyway, I’d like to have that orc battle now.
M: Cool, ok, you start.
[We hear a variety of intimidating low roars and battle sounds like blasts and arrows thunking into wood, with a metal soundtrack]
M: Ah, that was great.
T: Too right. Best of two?
M: Nah, I should go really.
M: Oh all right then.
[Roars and battle]
T: Cor, you ok? You appear to have an arm off there.
M: Oh that’s fine. I didn’t really like that one anyway. But are you ok? You seem to have broken your neck.
T: Yeah, I don’t mind. I like to consider things from a different angle sometimes.
[Raucous laughter]
M: Ok, bye!
T: Bye!
Track Name: Drafting a Report for the British Journal of Applied Physics
[Read while writing it out. We hear the words and also the scratching on the paper.]

I’ve … been … spinning … a … full … narrow … glass … with … a … pointed … bottom … and … a … wide … rim … for … three … decades … or … so. … I … refill … it … after … each … spin … once … the … liquid … has … flooded … out … because … of … the … adequate … centrifugal … forces … compelling … it … to … do … so. … Many … times … I’ve … felt … like … giving … up.
I … went … into … this … venture … to … dispute … so-called … scientific … research … detailing … experiments … proving … the … consistency … of … the … physical … law … of … the … reactive … centrifugal … force … under … normal … Earthly … conditions, … presuming … that … if … I … span … the … glass … enough … then … at … least … once … eventually … the … liquid … would … stay … in … it … instead … of … flooding … out … onto … the … table.

It … hasn’t … happened … yet.
Track Name: The Trouble With Toby's Granddaughter
Toby: Good morning, old boy.
Miles: It’s the afternoon actually.
Toby: Well, whatever. Does it matter?
Miles: Just being funny, that’s all.
Toby: See, what you’ve done there is confused humour for pedantry, haven’t you.
Miles: Right.
Toby: Again.
Miles: Yes, well anyway, what are you up to over there, Toby?
Toby: Mmmm, I’m getting a re-cap of my eldest granddaughter’s week.
M: Oh dear, does it make the usual compelling viewing?
T: Mmmmm, yes, one could say that.
M: Still out painting the tiles red every night?
T: I’m afraid so.
M: Gosh.
T: Well, you know, one tries not to disapprove of such things.
M: That’s spiffingly charitable of you, old thing. I don’t know if I could put up with it.
T: What can one do? And besides, it’s been such a long time since we were youngsters. The standards seem to be so drastically different these days.
M: Have you tried talking to her?
T: I appealed to the Council of Seraphim and they let me warn her in a dream but unfortunately she was too squiffy and didn’t remember it when she woke up, and now they won’t give me another chance.
M: That doesn’t seem very sporting.
T: I know, they said it didn’t represent enough of an emergency. Said there’re plenty of us here in exactly the same bus.
M: Can I see?
T: If you must.
M: Gosh, it’s a pretty far cry from the last days of the Raj, what?
T: Depends how one looks at it.
M: Who’s that she’s with? Is that her new suitor?
T: I have no idea. Impossible to keep track.
M: What’s he done to himself?
T: I know! Ridiculous isn’t it! It’s like seven haircuts on one head!
M: And what’s she done to her hair?
T: I believe it’s the young fellow’s sick.
M: It simply won’t do.
T: No, no.
M: Oh, I’ve got some good news though. Taffy Fetherington will be on his way in a day or so!
T: Really? Oh that’s splendid news!
M: Isn’t it!
T: Cancer is it?
M: Indeed. Liver. Not long now.
T: Oh good, I always liked Taffy. We should put on a little party when he gets here. Make him feel at home.
M: Yes, the poor fellow will be a bit confused at first.
T: Shall we have a look?
M: Yes, what have you done with the remote?
T: Good question, it’s around here somewhere.
M: Oh there it is, by that massive pile of contradictory scriptures.
T: Ah yes, well spotted, Miles, old boy.
M: Prepare yourself, Toby, it’s not pretty.
T: Mmmm, I see what you mean. Sad, isn’t it, they keep them going with all those tubes and drugs. Silly! If only they knew!
M: Ha, yes, the divs!
[They laugh smugly]
T: Come on, Taffy, shuffle along now.
M: Quicketty quick. On the double!
T: I might make him a cake.
M: He never liked cake. Bake him a pie.
T: I will. Leek and liver.
[They laugh]
M: He’s bound to see the funny side of it. Terribly good sense of humour, old Taffy, for a queer.
T: Anyway, I’ve had enough of seeing him like that, I’ll just finish checking up on my granddaughter. Pass the remote would you.
M: Cripes, the silly girl’s fallen right on her cunt!
T: Seems to find it all jolly amusing though.
M: So what’s a man to do?
T: I really don’t know. I succeeded in making the cash machine swallow her cash card once but she just flashed some clit all night and got her drinks bought for her.
M: Well she’ll have to be careful or she’ll end up like old Taffy.
T: You mean homosexual?
M: No! I mean jippy liver.
T: Oh yes, quite right.
M: What do you fancy doing now?
T: Drink?
M: All right, I’ll meet you at the Beelzepub in ten.