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Pissing On A Tent

Photo via mitng.org

The words are thrown at me with a reprehensible swig of Sambuca.
“You wish you had this guys voice, don’t ya?” says Aaron, “Melting moisties’ hearts like they were nothing.”
The shot is chased with warm lemonade. Tubby pisses on one of the broken tents. I flip my bottle into a pile of campsite rubbish. Bubbles brew inside the van.
“You’re a doctor, right?” Aaron asks.
“A prospective doctor of journalism,” I say feigning seriousness.
“What would you say is wrong with Tubby over there?”
Tubby pulls a concave expression.
“Porgy, I can’t help you there. That isn’t in any medical journal.”

I open another sickeningly sweet cider in my torn camp chair. Listening along to the music in a way that’s really nice when you’re half-cut. The Arctic Monkeys have carried us all from violent adolescence into negligible adulthood. I agree with the pasty creature licking aniseed liqueur from a skull shaped shot glass.
“Music is good,” I stretch the word out, “but writers do pretty well.”
“Music is what language tries to be. They’re long lost relatives, but words are nothing if they can’t be sung,” Aaron throws down his gauntlet.

A blonde walks past the campsite with what looks like her boyfriend. Naturally, in unison we breakout with ‘Is She Really Going Out With Him?’ by Joe Jackson. Our neighbors hate us. I counter Aaron with the real doctor.
“Hunter Thompson compares writing to music. When a paragraph really works, it sings… ouch cunt!” Dan was throwing grapes to Sam, who caught them miraculously in his mouth. Laughing hysterically Dan throws another seedy grape at my face. A grape fight begins. Suddenly, Sam notices that Gavin, in charge of the playlist, is far too quiet.
“Gavin is a piss-pot through and through…”
“What do we think of Gavin?” Gavin, a good boy, is held in high esteem after obediently necking his drink.
“He’s alright!”

“Yeh, Hunter S. Thompson said on some nights music can fuel your car if you smash the right song on the radio,” Aaron says, resuming the argument, “You’re getting nothing out of a tank of paper.”
“What about Flaubert’s kettle?” I say, pronouncing it floor-bert, “and Le Mot Juste?” Dan is now back in the van chopping herbs, the others are arguing about which album to play next.
“Now look, I don’t appreciate it when you speak nonsense, let alone attempt another language,” Aaron replies, just as Taylor Swift physically assaults us, again. She crawls out of the speakers and smacks us around the ears with a cowboy boot. Gavin’s girlfriend is up dancing. Our neighbors hate us.
“See what I mean,” continues Aaron, “she spent three years at university learning to think critically, and she still listens to Taylor Swift. What hope do you have?” I see Dan spread warm mayonnaise on a salt and vinegar chip.

The noise is too much. We decide to scarper through the tents and into the field. Thousands of beautiful bodies. A giant organism propelled by noise. Watching it move from the hill is almost transcendental. I consider walking out of the gum trees, into the heat, but I know seeing individual faces could be hideous.

“Flaubert,” I say to Aaron, continuing the argument.
“Huh?” He has a hard time focusing on my face.
“Flaubert said speech is a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms on for bears to dance to. We really want to make music that melts the stars,” I say, surprising myself in remembering an approximate piece of prose.
“Two things, mate, we’re contrasting the written word against music, not speech. And secondly, you just conceded, you filthy animal,” says Aaron.
“Ehhhyuck!” He exclaims, triumphantly throwing his tepid mid-strength festival beer before running through the music, into the crowd.

Written by Nicholas McElroy

Categories: Short & Sharp
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