Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Slash! Aah-Aaaah! 

It's been a while since we turned our attentions to the icky world of slash fiction, but with a bitterly cold frost coating the outside world, it seems only right that we attempt to warm up our readership with a heated tale of pop passion, the likes of which have never been seen before, nor, if libel lawyers have anything to do with it, ever will be again. So why not join us as we bring you a little tale that we like to call The Virgin Suicides (or How The Noise Next Door Tried To Make it With Some Ladies). Enjoy.

It's October 2005, and throughout the land a sense of optimism hangs in the air. The Sugababes are at number one with Push The Button and they all seem so happy in each other's company that it's quite clear they'll be together for many years to come; the idea of someone getting to number one with an embarrassing song about a JCB seems like nothing more than the deluded ramblings of a madman; whilst people are still looking forward to seeing Peter Jackson's King Kong remake, reckoning that it won't be an overlong pointless mess with no redeeming features whatsoever. The country, in short, was happy. Or at least, it would have been had it not been for a pocket of depression, centered firmly on a three bedroom flat, somewhere in London, where The Noise Next Door were busy crying into their super noodles.

"Waaaa!", cried Ed, as he looked miserably down into what was laughably described as their lunch. "Waaaa!", cried Craig, as he half-heartedly pushed the watery/noodley mess around his bowl. And "Waaaa!", cried Scott, as he wiped away a tear, nearly poking his eye out with his noodle laden fork in the process. "WAAAA!", they all cried, together in unison.

Eventually, having run out of tears to cry - and having suitably salted their super noodles - the boys weeping turned into nothing more than a handful of pathetic sobs and they began to vocalise their feelings more.

"It's so unfair!", moaned Craig, "We should be getting it on with all sorts of lovely ladies every night, yet the only action that goes on in our bedrooms is our weekly Hungry Hungry Hippos contest. It's all wrong! We are pop stars after all!". At the use of the term pop, Ed raised an eyebrow, mindful of the fact that they played their own instruments, just like U2, Busted, and A1 in their latter days. At the use of the term 'stars', Scott too raised an eyebrow, mindful of their less than impressive run of chart positions. But while they might have disagreed with the language used, they had to admit their brother had a point. They were involved with the music industry - no matter how tenuously - and that should have meant a whole host of girls throwing themselves at them, if only in the hope that they might later introduce them to a proper pop star, such as Harry from McFly, Kian from Westlife, or maybe even Dane Bowers, but they weren't even getting any cast offs. "Does anyone have any ideas where we're going wrong?", asked Craig, "Let's hear them".

Hesitantly, Ed raised a hand and Craig motioned for him to speak. "Uh, do you think maybe it's because we triplets and we all have the same haircut, dress identically and all hang around together all the time, which people quite rightly think is a bit weird and icky, as if we only have one personality between the three of us, a bit like those transformer things you had to combine to make a big transformer.". "No!" yelled Craig, slapping Ed for his impertinence. "That's not it at all!". He paused, wheeled around on his foot and waggled his finger under Scott's nose. "How about you, do you have a bright idea? Come on, let's hear it, it can't be any worse than your brother's". Scott swallowed nervously and, with a slight stutter began to speak, "Uuh... Could it... I mean... I'm just saying, but... Uhh... Could it be because we're all as ugly as sin and would put the fear of God into any warthog who happened to catch sight of us?" As he finished speaking, Scott cowered away, fearful of the slap he thought was coming, but while Craig briefly raised his hand to strike, he lowered it thoughtfully a second or so later. "No...", he said softly, "It's not that. After all, Danny from McFly is much more hideous than us and he still gets more than his fair share. Our celebrity status should more than cover our, ahem, deficiencies in the looks department. There's something else, and I think I know what it is...".

Craig sat down on the sofa, fiddling aimlessly with an old copy of Time Out, while the other two looked on expectantly. After an hour had passed, and with Ed beginning to urgently need the toilet, they decided to press him on the matter. "So what...", began Scott, before being interrupted by Craig. "Silence! I'm still formulating a plan!". Another hour passed and Ed was looking more and more uncomfortable, tea time came and went before Craig finally spoke up again. "OK, brothers, the problem is this: It's not the melted plastic quality to our looks that's the problem, and it's certainly not our disturbing commitment to dressing in an identical fashion. No, it's the fact that we haven't stepped outside this sodding flat in months!"

A look of relief spread over Scott and Ed's faces, though the look that spread across Ed's face - and another part of his body - was markedly different to that which spread over Scott's. Of course! It seemed so obvious, no wonder they weren't meeting girls when the closest they came to making contact with a female was on Friday mornings when the cross-dressing postman was doing his rounds. The fact that most pop groups have hordes of girls waiting outside their front door was not a point that either brother thought pertinent to raise at this point, and even if they had done, there wouldn't have been a chance, as Craig had carried on talking regardless: "So the plan is this! We all leave this flat and none of us will return until we either get our ends away or it's time for the Smash Hit's Poll Winners Party on Channel 4! Are we agreed!"

Scott raised his hand, "Uh, why is the Smash Hit's Poll Winners Party the cut off date? Are we playing?", he asked hopefully.

"No.", replied Craig, tersely, "But I really want to see it and the video's on the blink again.", he looked at his audience, "Any more questions? No? Good. Right, let's go. Oh, and Ed? Go and get changed, you've soiled yourself again. It's not an attractive look."

Craig's Story

After leaving the flat Craig took himself down to a local cafe to think about the challenge ahead of him. He'd never had much luck with girls. At school they never really paid him much attention and, after an awkward incident involving a biology textbook and a pair of ill fitting gym shorts, the townsfolk decided that it would be in society's best interests if the entirety of the young female population was kept away from him. "Hah!", thought Craig ruefully to himself, "Their decision to imprison every girl under the age of eighteen may well have scuppered my chances of making the beast with two backs in any reasonable sort of time, but it did inspire our hit song, Lock Up Ya Daughters, so that showed them!". He paused in his thoughts for a moment, wondering whether a song that limped into the number 12 slot could really be described as "showing them". He shook his head to clear it and concentrated once again on the task in hand. As he did so he stretched out his legs just as a pretty young waitress was walking past laden down with plates of food. She stumbled over them, lost her footing, and looked on in horror as the plates came crashing down, all over Craig's slightly rubberised face.

"Oh my god!", she yelled as she produced a bundle of napkins and began wiping down our punk wannabe hero, "I'm so sorry!"

Craig smiled, perhaps fate had decided to lend a helping hand, after all, this attractive girl had literally fallen into his lap, and it would be churlish to pass up the opportunity. "Uh", he said, licking his lips slightly, "I think you'll need to move a bit lower, I think there's a sausage in my lap that needs taken care of..."

"Oh no!", said the waitress, "I'm more worried about all this tomato sauce I've managed to get into your hair! Gotta get that all cleaned off before it stains", and with that she began scrubbing hard at Craig's hair.

"Uh, wait", began Craig, wincing slightly as she tore into his scalp with real enthusiasm and ferocity, "That's not tomato sauce, that's..."

"It's really managed to soak in deep, hasn't it?!", said the waitress, slightly annoyed, "Hang on, I'll go and get some bleach"

Craig watched as she went into the kitchen. He wanted to get up and leave right now, before she went any deeper, but he didn't, partly because he was still hopeful that she might deal with the sausage in his lap, which was beginning to burn his thigh, partly because he was somewhat dazed by the ill treatment his scalp had been receiving, but mainly because the female contact had given him a raging erection and he really wasn't in any position to go anywhere.

It wasn't long before she returned, a bottle of bleach in one hand, a brillo pad in the other. "Right!", she said, in a businesslike tone of voice, "We'll soon get your hair looking normal again", and with that she grabbed Craig in a headlock, poured the bleach over his head and began treating his head like it was a curry pot with some heavily ground in stains.

"Aargh!", screamed Craig, "It burns! It burns!". He struggled but, much like a cute little kitten, the waitress is far too strong for him. "You don't understand", he tries, "I'm in a band, The Noise Next Door, my hair's supposed to be that colour!"

The waitress ignores him and continues with her aggressive style of cleaning, "Oh, I know who you are", she hisses, "No matter how unlikely that may seem, and that's exactly why I'm doing this. We've all had to suffer seeing your gormless, imbecilic faces gurning away on Saturday morning TV far too many times, so this is a bit of revenge on behalf of the entire population of the country"

"But... But.. We hardly ever do Saturday morning telly! No-one ever wants to book us unless every other pop band in the country, apart from Freefaller, are too busy! We've only done it once or twice!"

"And that", she said as bits of hair and skin began falling to the ground around her, "was already far more exposure than you deserved, isn't that right everyone?". The other customers in the cafe, who had all been gleefully watching the exchange while tucking into their egg and beans, all raised a glass to this while shouting "You go girl!", "Cut his ears off!" and other similarly enthusiastic shouts of encouragement.

"Aiieeee!" screamed Craig as the waitress began to erode his skull away, "Aieeee!"

"That's funny", she said surprised, "It's empty inside here..."

Scott's Story

Scott headed into town, guitar in hand. "I know how to get a girl, I'll impress her with my music!", he thought, stupidly. Despite the immense disinterest which his music had received in his career so far, Scott had still formulated a plan which involved him busking, impressing a girl with his musical talent while earning enough money to buy her a bag of chips and a can of coke for the bus journey home. The obvious flaws in this plan did not present themselves to Scott, such as the fact that he didn't actually possess any musical talent, or indeed, that he was the drummer in the band, rather than the guitarist. Instead he happily hopped on the bus, whistling what he thought was a merry, optimistic tune, but which for all the other passengers was a discordant mess, not dissimilar to the noise made by a Clanger in pain.

Scott found himself a suitable spot outside HMV, thinking that he could kill two birds with one stone by also helping boost sales of their back catalogue and, indeed, within seconds of him striking up his first song, two birds were dead, having fallen off their perch in shock at the unearthly noise which was presenting itself to them.

"Irgh knorghw tharght yourgh knorghw tharght shergh knorghws tharght yourgh berghter lorghk urgp yourgh dorghters tonighaiiiiet!", he 'sang', hamfistedly flailing at his guitar with all the skill of a seal playing croquet and without the "Awwww!" factor.

It didn't take long before the security staff turned up to move him along. "Come on now son", said one, "It's a bit early to have been drinking, isn't it".

"I've not been drinking!", protested Scott, as he gathered up his takings, which amounted to a variety of carefully written threats and advice relating to exactly where he could put his guitar, "I just always sound like this"

"Of course you do, son", said the guard as he moved him to a safe distance away from the store. "Here", he said, tucking a five pound note into Scott's shirt pocket, "spend it on some food for God's sake. And maybe a mask, I mean, we've all got the right to be ugly but some people just abuse the priviledge".

After being left to his own devices for a while, Scott decided to try again, this time setting up outside a stall selling cut price calendars, where an unattractive middle aged lady was attempting to shift Gareth Gates, Jenny Frost and Girls @ Play
stock to a largely disinterested public.

Scott eased into his set with a selection of covers, though sadly for the shoppers going about their business, they didn't include Sound of Silence, Silence is Golden or 4'33". Instead he stuck to ones which he believed he knew both the tune and the words to, even if you'd be hard pushed to believe that judging by the noises which he was managing to wring from his instrument. Having warmed up his audience so much that some of them were bright red with either heat or fury, he decided to throw in a Noise Next Door track, just to see what happened: "Better than Miss January/Fitter than Miss February/Girl,you make me hotter than July/August right through to November/You're more cool than Miss December/You're my world now you're my calendar girl", he caterwauled, thrashing at his guitar like it was a snake trying to attack him. Lost in the sheer poetry and beauty of the song's lyrics, Scott closed his eyes for the performance, not even opening them when one of the various missiles clattered off his head and not being even slightly put off by the chorus of boos which greeted each verse.

The song ended, and he opened his eyes. The crowd had gone, having run out of shoes to throw at him, and the shopping centre was deserted. They'd all gone, all except for one person, that is. As Scott looked across to the calendar stall, he could see the woman running the stall looking over at him with rapt admiration. She ran across to him on her short stocky legs and hugged him, enveloping him in her slightly flabby arms. "Oh my!", she said, slightly short of breath, "That was beautiful, and to think you wrote that song just for me!". Scott tried to protest, but he was still locked in her sweaty embrace and couldn't move his lips to say anything. "Oh honey, let's run away from this place, you can come back to mine and we can make sweet, sweaty, sticky love all night long!"

She let him free of her embrace just long enough for him to answer, "Uhhh...", he said. "So it's settled then!", she squealed, clasping him once more to her ample bosom and tickling the top of his head with her moustache, "We'll move in together and be lovers and don't you worry, I know what you're thinking, but it's OK. I don't mind that I'm a bit out of your league, I love you for who you are, not your looks.". And with that, Scott found himself bundled into her car, being driven away for an evening of rabbit-like lovemaking, in both the 'quantity' and the 'headlight' analogies.

Ed's Story

Ed thought long and hard about which lady would be lucky enough to be his first - which was good, as it was the only time that something long and hard would be likely to feature in his life - and eventually came to the conclusion that there was only one girl in the world for him: Molly from The Faders. "We've got the same hair and everything!", he reasoned to himself, "We're a perfect match. We even do the same sorta music, after all, they're a Busted with breasts, and we're just a bunch of tits."

Ed eventually managed to track down Molly's address, using nothing more than his charisma, cunning, and 192.com. Mainly 192.com, it has to be said. He spruced himself up, put on his best Top Shop t-shirt and rang her doorbell. "And hopefully not for the first time tonight", he thought to himself, labouring under the delusion that he was in a Carry On movie. There was some commotion behind the door, before a soaking wet Molly answered the door, her clothes-a-clinging and her hair-a-dripping. "Oh thank god you're here!", she cried, before grabbing him and bundling him into the house, closing the door behind her. "Right, bedroom. Now! You're gonna get no sleep tonight"

Ed grinned as he ran up the stairs behind her to the bedroom. He didn't think it'd be this easy, as he started taking off his top, ready for a night of doing it every which way but loose. Molly looked behind her. "Yes, that's a good idea, you don't want to ruin it, I think I've got the same one.". She paused at the bedroom door, "Right, are you ready? Cause I think you're gonna be pretty tired out by the end of this". Ed nodded dumbly. "OK, here goes", and she opened the door, to reveal a bedroom that owed a lot to the luxury cabins on the Titanic, not so much in the sense of it being a vision of ridiculous opulence, but more because a torrent of water was pouring down from a massive hole in the roof. Ed looked up at it, confused, "Uh, what's going on, Molly?"

"What's going on?", she repeated, wiping a damp lock of hair away from her eyes, "You must fix this (thud thud) ceiling! You can't run away. Plastering's what's on your mind. You must fix this (thud thud) ceiling! There's no escape. No sleep tonight, you won't get, no sleep tonight!"

"Oh.", said Ed, both dejected and resigned, as Molly handed him the requisite tools. "But I'm not sure I can reach that high, do you have a ladder or something?"

"No, sorry.", said Molly with a grin.

"Well what should I do then?", asked Ed, aware that he was walking straight into something.

"Jump! Why don't you just jump? You're out on your own and they won't wait for you to go, so... Jump! Why don't you just jump?".

The End