|Hey! When you commission David Bowie to go see, maybe talk to trip hop ingénu Tricky, you don't expect the standard Q piece. You except a bizarre, semi-poetic fantasy written in Burgess-like futurespeak in which the Dame and the Trickster, erm, climb up the side of a tall building... don't you? Don't you? Strap yourself in, then: protein pill and helmet combination once again essential. Invoice to the usual address, Dave...|
|"You Don't Wanna
Your Face Like That..."
The Beautiful, It Won't Rap, She Won't Dance, Very Tricky Piece*
*Spelling and punctuation: author's own.
Martina, you're soft spoken about what was sold. As safe as safe in Broadmoor
sitting high on the make-up table, piecing together the four-piece empire
of trip. And down the backstage, the glow of those tragic soft faces, for
tonight is all that is left alive. All that the auctioneer could rustle
up for the party from the backtown market of red doors and corridors.
It gets loud. It gets a Bristol-blues bruising buffered by the pace of dub. The pace of dub where Karmacoma shouts: "We don't look for music, it just hangs there". His stand, it's just like Tricky Thaws to say that. In vague memory of the slow-simmering garden wall where you, Martina, sang me down, under the turf. Fighting for air, I was. I stole away in the yellow nether regions round the corner. All the other sounds had been farmed-out and cut-up. So get cut thought I. Get cut and rough and raw like the end of the world. Excape this jonberry of a British Isle hell. Escape this heat-death diving into a gene-pool, just for a laugh, like Tricky and Martina. I was the Original Mesmer and they were just the clubbers, so I waited and watched the fat-tracks slither across the stage like slimey steam assassins. Eating all they slid over. Into those front-row mouths
trails of mucus on well-trained pink-chinned limeys. But, oh, Martina,
but we were so limey with the nod of "Yes" to Tricky's STOP, STOP, STOPPIT,
STOPPIT, STOP. A No-Bunch in what was an exercise in remembering America.
Don't hide the fragments. They're all we've got left. But you, Martina,
just following the night you'll be making some money. Follow the blues
lines and you'll make-up the future as you go along.
Don't look for the music, it will look for you. But meanwhile the quiet English faces on the front row, in what could have been the glow of shepherds' fire-baskets, nodded out their fleeting thoughts as they were Overcome. So is this the slow shimmering speed that loaned a few moments of the future to us all? A heartbeat pounds and clutches to the edge of the world. So is this just for the laugh, the crack? Good. It needs to be. Your soft spoken money-making glow of words cuts me up beautiful. The outlands are urgently required. For your mother Tricky Thaws. Do this thing for the boxers. Remember the Auctioneer in his dub-black tall hat and his blood stained white gloves, glowering over the new find, selling to the future. For the price is high but not high enough that's for sure. Oh but the night is young. It's not
|even on meat
yet but that comes, in time it comes. The teeth clamp down and pull brutal
at the flesh, ripping reality asunder, all our yesterday spilling out as
a gooey flood down the nice white front. Ribbons of meat and only the memory
"Dog? Right, right, write down dog. Big D, Dog, but the first hundred years are the toughest. Don't forget to write that".
BACK IN AMERICA DO YOU REMEMBER so
wound up in their immeasurable self-hurt aching and griping. They didn't
understand your loss. It was in parade form all aglow with sex and bass.
BEEN CHASING TRICKY FOR a number of weeks, diving down into the low bars
of Bristol. "He don't live
here no more," I'd be told. "He went to America". I wasn't going to buy that. He'd been spied by the Magpie girl only last Thursday, slipping in and out of the shadows down by the quay, drawing black lines on his own posters drenched in salty-sea splash, grinning synergy and singing swatches of malodorous song.
The dark wisps of rumor trailed him like tow-ropes and now I was reeling him in. I didn't know what to expect. The phantom was known to move as a group of one. Never took prisoners. You'd never catch him snorting vodka at the bar. You'd never catch him period, I'd been told. A shaman who'd never slept with the Others, he was still pure, his spells unblemished. "Maxinquaye," he would intone, his eyes rolled back into his head, the beads of sweat, jewel-like, rushing upwards over his skin, an eerie light, green and mouldy, circling his feet.
"Hurry up and be cool", I heard him intoning from four blocks away. "Control me", his voice sneered. The dark bassline moved me along to the shrieking doors. Door number two. That would be it. One on Earth and one in heaven.
"We're climbing tonight", I yell as I foot the latch and the mauve paint splinters off from the door panels. "Oh, there you go", Tricky accepts. "I'm tired a bit, soccer's no game for a man. I bin playin' all afternoon and I'm a sore man. But I can climb. Is it quiet out there?"
"Yes, it's sleepily lullish, I confirm. "We may need the coiling ambience
of a narcotic".
The building we picked is towering and uninformed. It's warm outside and very, very cold! Be less than upright and we fall.
there in the wound of the little house, winding bandages around our hands
and strapping on the little
my head clears I find Tricky's quizzical mug furrowed into mine. His mouth
moves. I hear nothing. Then I hear something. A swish of metal narrowly
misses my head.
"Keep statue-like", mouths Tricky. "It's a culture-jacker".
Sure enough, round the corner of the building disappears a guy called Gerald. Well known and well done on the skyjack circuit, Gerald made headlines by jumping from three buildings in two nights.
"Clever kid" grins my companion. "Never misses a trick".
"When do we jump?" I ask. "When do we see what's what?"
"Patience, older guy, let me tell you why we even stick to the wall. Let me tell you stories. I'm like Jesus. I have an
argument with the cloying mass of this town. The petty. The posse I left behind. I think of them. Did you know that cars can fuck you up through your body. It's the energy, any 15 year old kid can tell you this. I get rude, knocking crockery, but I'm not the kid anymore. I graduated. I'm no more the hard affair.
"I'm like Jesus. I see the first overripe thing, all slowed down. It's a saddness and it does big changes. Bad ones. And
you smoke too much. Here we go calling notorious the young townies. This means you have to learn the young kids' peace. Learn them peace. Beware that you don't run into personality. The warehouse, the homewares, the rampage crime against yelling out loud. You look at a young one and he's breaking into a cancer. He should have a going at-home woman but he's
become a Knowle-West disease, using the town badly.
"I suppose it's got an off-beat kick to it, all sinister, dark and distorted.
It pisses me off that you talk and get arrested. They give you the time
and trippy delusions of what it's like to be demented. I've learnt though.
I've gone through big changes with a load and a hard".
"What about your enemies?" I ask.
"He's fucked-up, ole what'sisname. I thought I was unknown but I was robbed. It's a bad thing, stealing names like that. I stayed in my area, laying low, like. What to do, I thought, now there's a war on? So I grabbed a song, seeing through and watching the machine stealing.
"What'sisname gave me some scary look, mouthing off and all that. But you learn when you're raised all dark and distorted. You run into a little black and things get high in the pulse department. I get rude but look..."
He points into the glass next to our faces. A bang of YMCA-rinse ladies are pulling some powerful stuff from their bottles. Eyes expectant with the raising of an affair, they catch sight of our two faces, white and black, on the night and run screaming to the office door. You've never heard such sobbing pursued by clattering billows of exits ringing the air.
"I'm running solo myself", chants my small griot, chanting as he is, to the chimes of loneliness and far distant traffic.
The mists of the '90s surround us, permeating every pore with their grey clammy fingers. should be on the jump any time soon.
I LOOK SIDEWAYS AT THE TRICKY AND watch his flattened cheeck scruff at the brick, so hard as it pressed that I swear he's listening to the heartbeat of the building. With his eyes slowly closing and his lips moving, I sense his breath as a broken circle of vapors hits the pane.
A missile of babble rises through the night. I look down. Word is out that
there will be a jump tonight. A quite large crowd of urban jollies have
gathered at the base of our mountain. Frying thoughts, I suppose, passing
round the warm epithets and bon mots no doubt. The fires are lit
and I spy a news team. Their lights strike up the face of our man-mountain
speed of lizards. I'm caught in a bright-beam and I can't see.
"Don't look down", says the voice. "Look up. It's the only place.
"You know something" he continues, "only the kids shoot each other off. The children-to-be. The baby-guns. Don't you just thrive on this behaviour? It's the haunting '90s, man. It suddenly turns out we've never heard of it. They've been here before, y'know. The '90s, I mean. I remember them. Long, long ago they brooded on the side-lines when Christ was crucified, and then again when the rats brought the plague to Europe in the dark-time. They keep cropping up, the intolerable '90s. Heh heh heh.
"Just don't look down. We're gonna jump in a minute. But first I want you to think back. It's a Saturday. You're tweeny-little, just a speck of a spindly-stick. You're deprived of gaggles. No friends to speak of. Pleasure starts slowly from that
place. It raises itself up like a crimson monster, hauling its huge limbs with an ever increasing strength. Huffing and puffing its nature into your heart. Weaving little deeds to inspire the smartest hooligan out of you."
By the time your a teen, you're in a renegade-chapter, carrying on and off with the pick'n'mix, selling and stealing,
shooting the others and sobbing at home. To protect yourself, to not let you sadness contaminate, you dream of the smartest moves, ringing the sexual sponge dry, crimes against a tricky kid. You're soon to tour. What pleasure will
lurking by those shopping-mall escalators? The first carry-on despicable
crime. Very nice. You're now a known associate. You're soon to tour but
can already contaminate the dead.
"I was like Jesus. 15 and spinning. Breaking into the Saturday afternoon Knowle-West perils, using sex as a threat. They swarmed all over me, brooding and grabbing and threatening. Hard life innit? The smartest go to war, deprived, so they tell me. No longer guardians they let the hollow nausea of failure drip out of their blown out stomachs. They go off with a bang.
Not for me though. That's powerful stuff that is.
"Going out and hunting down death on some wretched field in god-knows where. Deluded, some men are. Pisses me off, do-gooders lying on the greasy paving slabs, it's petty. Deluded they are. I'm just gonna press the alarm button, so don't be alarmed".
A BLUR OF LEATHER WHIPS
OUT AND his boot cracks me on the arm. My fingers straighten in panic and
© D. Bowie 1995
photos: Mark Allan
from: Q magazine, October 1995
|analyze me (Tricky)|
|Shepherds Bush Empire, 3.8.95 (concertography)|