Music for the end of the world

Corben Simpson

Perhaps I've become a little pessimistic, but lately I keep seeing signs of the end of  the world.

Because things don't seem good.

Fears of an impending zombie apocalypse may have passed, but there appear to be new menaces around every corner.

Antibiotics are becoming resistible, oil is running out, oceans and populations are rising, droughts are spreading, ice shelves are melting, frogs are disappearing, plastic bags are clogging the oceans – the litany of impending disaster grows by the day.

Then there's the old prophecy by Nostradamus: “When the orange-faced idiot meets the pudding-headed murderer in the city of the lion, be very afraid.” Historians are still trying to ascertain the possible meaning.

However, in apocalyptic scenarios I've always accepted the Roman model. Things seemed to fall apart when society gets too wrapped up in futile entertainment.

With those Roman fellas it involved lions and Christians and wild orgies and all sorts of stuff that detracted from the basics of running an empire.

We seem to be at that point now.

But if ever I saw an indication that humankind has reached peak stupidity and self-involvement, it isn't the summit between Dumb and Dumber, or even the appalling arrival of Heartbreak Island on our televisions.

It is the great emoji salad controversy.

Egg salad

The first sentence of the article I read pretty much proves the proposition that the human race has become too stupid and self-absorbed to survive: “An emoji designer has revealed that Google removed the egg from its salad symbol in order to be more inclusive towards vegans.”

Predictably following were the outraged cries of non-vegans, whose freedom to employ an egg-inclusive salad emoji had been unfairly curtailed by vegan emoji-Nazis. Just kill me now.

Einstein was – as usual – right when he said: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.”

I can't help but remember something Ritchie Pickett once said to me, as we stood drinking unhealthily in the downstairs bar of the Hotel Saint Amand, in the days when pretty much the funnest place to be in town was the Hotel Saint Amand.

Back then there was music two-or-three nights a week upstairs, and four-or-five times a week downstairs.

And the place had become something of a de facto home for temporarily homeless musicians, with at least half-a-dozen staying in the rooms upstairs at any given time.

Behaviour occurred that has since passed into local legend, but I struggle to think of a single incident I could repeat in a family paper.

Simpson & Greer

Ritchie and I were listening to the duo who had been resident in the downstairs bar for that summer, the extraordinary combination of Maurice Greer, iconic Human Instinct drummer, and Corben Simpson, Blerta founder and singer of such memorably eccentric songs as ‘Dance All Around The World’.

They were really something quite special together. To this day Maurice has a uniquely entertaining approach to a drum kit, while Corben astounded local guitarists by playing an electric guitar that not only had the bottom two strings replaced by bass strings, but which had a scalloped fretboard, making it impossible to play by anyone other than Corben.

They both sing wonderfully.

There were, almost inevitably, a number of escapades in the upstairs rooms, the strangest of which started with a woman becoming stuck half-way out of a second-storey window in the early hours of the morning.

So there I was with Ritchie, the summer was ending and Corben and Maurice’s residency was finishing. “If these guys ever get together again it'll probably be the end of the world,” says Ritchie. I didn't pay much attention at the time but maybe he was right.

We will, I guess, find out this Saturday (June 16). Corben and Maurice are playing at Vinyl Destination on Devonport Road, kicking off at 7pm.

I would expect that, assuming the world doesn't end, it'll be a uniquely weird and wonderful evening.

Tickets are $25 from Eventfinda.


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