Nimble: an archaeologist
orig: a bodyguard for a wealthy waster
now: a collector of pre-poc oddments
odd: claims to remember the pre-poc days, though she’s way too young
voice: authoritative, full of bravado
Nimble protected the safety of some rich waster, ’til he took a slug to the gut on her day off. Now, she obsessively hoards all manner of shit from the pre-poc, which she claims to have vivid — and unverifiable — memories of. She gets violent if anyone tries to hold out some artifact from her, claiming the oddments “belong in a museum” — whatever that is.
An old phone rings. Disconcertingly, it continues to ring even after it’s picked up. A sound collage of voices flows. Laurel Canyon is mentioned, and a woman mentions she thinks her phone line’s been bugged. “That’s quite all right,” her friend replies. Someone’s interrupted at the start of an anecdote about a woman’s father, with a curt, “Just a sec,” and at that instant this track gives way to the next.
Boink: a restaurateur
orig: a construction worker, building monuments to the Bling King
now: a chef who never makes the same meal twice
odd: he puts a part of himself into every dish: tears, blood, toenails, etc.
voice: quiet, deferential, humble
Boink laboured for years, selling his strength, to construct the endless parade of salutory monuments demanded by the Bling King, until he’d finally had enough: he wanted to build small, temporary works, rather than gigantic, permanent ones. Now, he uses the raw materials of the wastes to cook a thousand different meals — never the same thing twice — and he puts some small token of himself into each one, be it an eyelash, some spit, or something far more foul.
This ballad drips with melancholy from the opening chords — appropriately enough for a song about police violence. The tune itself takes on the position of “tragic consequence” to the sillier take on the subject presented in Who Needs the Peace Corps and Concentration Moon. Mom & Dad brings the topic to the parents of the hippies running wild in Frisco — who suffer because “they looked too weird — it served them right.”
The structure of the tune is a standard jazz pattern, but the bridge builds to a brief fury, with plaintive guitar behind. The song ends on an exceptionally dark note.
Arthur’s Home Movies: a boxy sedan full of pictures and sounds
orig: a mid-century, steel-framed town car
now: an intimate venue for exciting entertainment
odd: the car battery still works for lighting and sound, though it’s been obsolete for decades
A grey, boxy sedan, standing on concrete blocks. Wasters can pile into the seats to watch a “movie” — an attendant flashes illustrated cards at pre-determined times in concert with staticky recordings played through the car’s speakers. Seems to be an endless supply of stories from around the world — mostly twisted, post-poc versions of creation myths, sitcoms, travelogues. Somehow, the car’s lights and radio still work after all this time. No one knows who the hell Arthur is.
A campfire-esque tune with multiple singers and slow, measured acoustic guitar. The effect of the harmonized vocals is unsettling, paints a picture of multiplicity. The song bemoans the plight of the hippies, shot down by cops in the streets. After a brief interstitial of whispered voices — and the re-introduction of Jimmy Carl Black — the tune takes another chorus, largely the same as the first. The bridge lyrics shift, though, to escalate the conflict between the hippies and the cops, and the song ends with a nasal voice intoning melancholically: “cop-killer creep — pow pow pow.”