Monday, 11 January 2016

The Musical Pillars Of Britain

When I was a lad and just finding my feet in the world of music, I remember my music teacher saying something to me that left me with a realisation that has stayed with me ever since. We were in music appreciation class in Leighton Park School (yes that's actually a thing:) ) and discussing what we had been listening to in recent times. At the time I was just starting out on my guitar playing journey and I was heavily influenced by my first proper guitar 'hero', one Eric Clapton. When it came to my turn to divulge my current listen pleasure I announced the ever so slightly cheesy choice of 'August' by our Eric.

"Why don't you listen to someone from your own generation?" came the ever so slightly disapproving and snooty reply from Ms Moscardini. I was puzzled. What a strange response from someone who spent 99.9% of the time making us listen to music by dead people. Then I thought about it a little more and came to the conclusion that there really was no-one of any merit in 'my generation' worth listening to. Bros??? No thanks. Poison? A triumph of style over substance. New Kids On The Block? Er.... Obviously there were exceptions but I only discovered them a few years down the line when I did a bit more browsing through record stores and cast my net a bit further afield.

No thank you Ms Moscardini, the real gold lay in the 60s and 70s when people were inventing music for the first time and not just carbon copying it. That was the musical landscape upon which new genres burst forth in glorious technicolour and stepped into the annals of history. So iconic were the artists of the time that they transcended the mere mortal and defined culture itself. Every time I go on tour, I end up in some venue or other with a standard issue rock mural. Without fail, every one of these murals contain a selection of some or all of the following: The Stones, Led Zep, The Beatles, The Who, Bowie, Hendrix, The Police, Marc Bolan, Elton John, The Sex Pistols and precious little else. Sometimes Prince and Kurt Cobain gets a look in but much as I love Prince, in the words of Lemmy, he's channelling a LOT of Hendrix in his thing and Cobain is the (partial xerox) exception to the rule.

There's a good reason for this anomaly. No-one since that time has ever been as iconic to warrant ending up on that hallowed wall. Be it for their image or influence in pop culture or for their general musical genius this was a one-shot deal probably never to be repeated. I suspect I could go back to the same mural 50 years from now (courtesy of a time machine obviously) and I would see the same musical deities daubed onto the mural. Musical artists these days just don't have the same social and cultural impact that our beloved and familiar protagonists did and still do. There are very very few exceptions and those exceptions (not mentioning any names) are pale imitations of what has gone before. Music is sadly cyclical, you simply can't reinvent the wheel and that golden age of wonder and discovery has long since passed. I can think of very few artists in recent times that have tried to redefine and rediscover the lost art of creation, and with limited commercial fanfare (take a bow Imogen Heap and Guy Garvey).

Sadly gone with the golden age of musical discovery seems to be the golden age of fandom and wonderment to that end. I want my escapism back. I want my rock stars to be multicoloured other worldly creatures that drag me out of the humdrum of life and give me something to aspire to. I don't want my rock stars wandering on stage in a checked flannel shirt staring at their feet (sorry Kurt). A moment of patriotism if I may. The VAST majority of the people on my mid-tour mural are British. There is something quite quintessentially British about them and the way they pervade our identity as an island nation. They are part of our social subtext. They are so embedded in our culture that it is nigh on impossible to imagine our world without them. They are cultural pillars if you will.

Sadly a lot of time has passed since the golden age of discovery and slowly but surely, one by one we are losing them. The saddest thing about this fact is that no-one is going to replace them or fill the void that they leave behind. Like I said, you can't reinvent the wheel and you can only be a pioneer of something that hasn't been already pioneered and the gold rush is sadly over.

Today we were hit pretty damn hard. We lost one of the greatest pillars that ever lived, the Thin White Duke, the irreplaceable David Bowie. I could sit here and be wistful for hours on end about the man and how much I love him and his music and the happiness he has brought to my life, all of which would be true. Instead I would just like to remind everyone that what has left us today is not purely a great and globally loved artist who never stopped pushing the boundaries of his art and reinventing himself, what has left us today is a vast part of our cultural identity and heritage, never to be replaced in my lifetime. Once it's gone, it's gone. And no Ms Moscardini, no-one on that mural was from my g-g-g-generation and I can happily live with that. Rest in peace DB xxx

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Brief Missive On The Subject Of Logistics And Economics

I've been meaning to write this blog for a while now but as we all know, life tends to get in the way and things we feel to be most pertinent don't seem to get the preferential treatment they deserve.
I am writing this post in a contrary state of mind, on the one hand I am full of elation after a lovely Lonely Robot live event in London on Sunday, but at the same time I feel the need to bring a slight negative to the party in order to address a common theme that runs through my social media channels, namely the very flattering yet slightly grating request to "come and play my town".
I'll start with a quick moan. When I was but a wee snip of a lad, I hitch hiked all the way from Reading to Cambridge to go and see Green Day at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on their Dookie tour, such was my devotion to live music and indeed a band that my younger self adored. Prior to that event, I had ventured the length and breadth of this green and pleasant land of ours in order to pay homage to my beloved It Bites, such was the reverence and esteem I held them in. Years later, I witnessed my younger self in effect when an extremely devoted fan of the band Arena hitch hiked across Europe to come and see us live in various backwaters of the continent. My It Bites devotion also paid karmic dividends when six Japanese fans flew all the way over from Tokyo to come and see us play live in Birkenhead (?!??) Sad to say it wasn't the greatest venue or best attended show ever, but we gave it our best and the devotees in question went away happy to the best of my knowledge.
What is the point of all of this I hear you ask? Well whilst I don't in anyway expect Johnny Punter to go to the same lengths that my younger self did or indeed our Japanese heros, I do find the attitude of the modern gig-goer ever so slightly demoralising. In a recent poll, it was estimated that apart from air, food and water and other necessary evils, the things that human beings hold in the next highest importance are sex and music. I'm not here to make value judgements on statistics but in my appraisal of those facts, I would suggest that the latter is perhaps less correct than estimated, certainly when it come to the live arena. It seems to me that the English gig goer is in a way slightly jaded or perhaps spoilt for choice. If I announce a gig in London, I KNOW I can expect a plethora of people (which again whilst flattering is sort of missing the point) asking me to come and do a gig elsewhere. Now if you live in America, Poland or anywhere else off the beaten track that's fair enough, I can't rightfully expect you to go to such lengths to support my event. HOWEVER, if the gig is in London and you live in the locale of London or NOT a disgracefully long way away, then frankly get off your arse and make the effort IF YOU WANT TO SEE IT LIVE. Just to set my stall out a bit more, to put on the kind of Lonely Robot live show that I think is deserving of the recorded product, costs in the region of £4000 per show. The backline crew need paying, the stage production team need paying, the venue and venue crew needs paying, the promoter needs paying, the band need paying and there needs to be an AUDIENCE to make it all financially feasible. Much as I LOVED the London show on Sunday and it WAS very well attended, the guest list could have been printed on a roll of toilet paper and I have to face the fact that I walk away from it with a loss in hand. Still, you never get a second chance to make a first impression right? Yes, I could tour the leafy backwaters of England in a splitter van with precious little production or promotion and play to thirty people at the Dog And Duck in Croydon, but the simple fact remains, I'm 42 and I did all that when I was in my early twenties and I don't want to do it any more. Yes that's perhaps jaded and yes I sound like a grumpy old man, but that's how it is. I have invested a great deal of time putting the first and second Lonely Robot albums together and I really only want to do live shows that I feel do justice to the recorded version of events. I want to do concerts that people hold high in their memories and talk about fondly for many years and I don't think that playing a string of shoebox toilets to very few people is really addressing that remit. I honestly believe that if you think small, you get small, and that's not what I want to do any more. I have been in the band Arena since I was a young man, and much as we've had some great, great times over the years, we've perhaps on occasion done overly long tours that carry the baggage of a bunch of small, demoralising, poorly attended gigs that both lose the tour money and are literally there for the sake of making up the numbers and only serve to depress everyone. The brand is EVERYTHING, the event is EVERYTHING and from this moment forth, anything I do under my own steam is going to have that mantra attached to it. Obviously there may come a time when demand is greater than supply and I might actually find myself doing a string of dates of well attended prog pop recitals, but for now, I'll be happy in the knowledge than anything I DO do has to fall within certain parameters.
So if you're reading this and you've thought about sending me a tweet to ask me to come and play Skegness social hall because it's three doors down from where you live, save yourself the energy of that precious mouse click....I'm flattered but I'd rather not lose the money :-)

Happy Christmas everyone,


John xxxx

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Acceptance and grieving

It's not often I feel compelled to write about things of a deeply personal nature unless such things are wrapped up in the threads of a song, and even then I tend to prefer subject matter to be 'cloaked in the cryptic'. The last 48 hours however have led me to the conclusion that writing about what's going through my mind might well help alleviate some of the grief I am experiencing. As a human being I am flawed in many ways. I have a propensity towards excess, be it through the medium of imbibing, spending or well, anything really. I exhibit behaviour of a compulsive obsessive nature. I hoard and collect things in a bid to feel a sense of completeness that I can never hope to achieve. I am impatient and impulsive. I have an incredibly short fuse and an irrational need to redress the balance when I feel I have been wronged. Just to completely juxtapose that last trait, I am utterly terrified of confrontation, dealing with the fear of what happens if ever I say no to someone or let them down and I would sooner run a mile than have to be anywhere in the vicinity of shouting. Having said that, when enough of my own buttons are pushed I can shout, rant and rage with the best of them. In short, despite taking a 50mg daily dose of Sertraline, I am far from being a calm human being. It is however my utter inability to deal with loss of any sort that has probably crippled me the most throughout my life. My utter denial of the inevitable and the need to 'bury my head in the sand' has stood me in absolutely zero stead for anything resembling a normal balanced life. This last flaw has been ingrained in me since day dot. I am an adopted child and have always known that to be the case. My parents adopted me on account of the fact that they got married late and were too old to have kids of their own. Mum was 51 at the time and dad was 7 years her junior. They met in Ghana in west Africa in the late 1950s where mum was a teacher of English and art and dad was a civil engineer who was stationed there working on the building of a hydroelectric dam. You may know it; it's called the Volta dam. Mum was a highly intelligent, well read, kind, generous and peaceful lady who was the best mum anyone could have ever wished for. She actively encouraged me in everyone single one of my hair brained creative schemes and didn't bat an eyelid when I told her I wanted to be a musician and music producer for a living. Dad was considerably more complicated. He started out as an officer in the RAF aged 18 right at the end of the war. He then went on to become..well loads of different things. At the height of his powers in the mid-70s he was in the highest branches of the tree at Trafalgar House under Nigel Brokes, was director of 67 companies and was chairman of the Cunard shipping line. One might describe him as a driven over achiever. Sadly those achievements came at a cost in the form of a crippling predisposition to the demon alcohol. Growing up, it wasn't unusual for my father to put away two bottles of scotch away per day. Sadly this made for a turbulent childhood with a father who on the one hand I admired and the other hand feared. In some ways it was fortunate that he spent a considerable amount of time away from home on business or holed up in his flat in the Barbican in London where he could drink in peace away from the ever watchful eye of my mother. I don't feel any great need to go into specifics but rather sadly when he died when I was 12 years old it was a terrible sense of inevitability. Ironically at the time of his death it was during an extended period of sobriety whereupon he was simply reaching for the key to his study and suffered a colossal brain haemorrhage. The damage, it would seem, had long since been done. I remember getting called in to see the headmaster at school where he calmly explained that my dad was in hospital and I had to go home immediately. This was the third such time that I had been taken out of school due to my father being in intensive care although the first two times it was of his  own volition in what my cousin later informed me were two botched suicide attempts. This time however, it was different. The truth was that he wasn't in hospital at all, he was already dead, but you don't tell a 12 year old that do you if you're a headmaster? You leave it up to the boy's mother. Anyways there I was sitting in the back of a 1200cc Lada Riva (lets just pause for a second, you read that correctly, I was in a LADA. My parents were devoutly opposite/apposite, my mum strongly socialist and frugal and my dad staunchly tory and ostentatious) and my mum finally gathered the required hubris to communicate. The long, tall and short of it was that I had been led an understandable merry dance and that my father had in fact died some three days previous but being middle classed and thus emotionally stunted, not one single member of the adopted social enclave quite knew how to address the fact, which I suppose in hindsight is fair enough. My sister was prescribed vast amounts of tranquilisers and I was left bewildered staring at a late teenage girl bordering on hysteria mourning the death of someone I barely knew.On the day of my fathers funeral I was numbingly contented to race around on a go cart, somehow emotionally incapacitated to the point of refusing to attend...THUS THE SOLIPSISM BEGAN. Fast forward many years of teenage angst and frittered learning and we find ourselves in the early 90s. I got married amidst a whirlwind romance in 1994 to a pretty Finnish girl and in the timeless ageless conduit of predictability we conceived a hellava cool kid who has now grown up to be my 18 year old son Sasha. My mum had (despite her advancing years) embraced this actuality and in the face of my mid 20s selfishness and general self-importance had become the greatest grandmother to Sasha that anyone could have hoped to imagine. The sad fact of the decade is that I STILL deeply replied upon my lovely mum for absolutely everything and I probably couldnt have tied my shoelaces without her help. Fast forward to 1999 and my mum got stricken down with an illness that rendered her utterly tired and visually on the cusp of yellow. Rather ironically, said disease was cirrhosis of the liver which, given that she never drunk a drop of alcohol, still rings sarcastically in my ears. As usual, with such an affliction, positivity is the order of the day and denial is the best remedy. Sadly, I STILL couldnt face up to the numbing inevitability of the conflict and one day at 7.30am I received a phone call from Croydon General and all due force and Godspeed was deployed upon the M23. I arrived at the place of rest completely ambivalent to what was about to address me and when finally a duty nurse asked me have you been told what has happened? at the edge of my mums hospital bed, I was sort of left to join the dots. There she lay, mouth half open, sister at bedside in tears, mother already dead. Needless to say there had been a 1000 opportunities to visit but all had been rescinded in favour of the best medicine, namely denial. Fast forward to 2015 and my greatest musical Ally and friend lay in a bed in Guys hospital, ardently battling the multiple cancers he had suddenly been diagnosed with in late 2014. Nick Southall was a HELL of a human being. I first met him many years ago when he was managing an uber cool indie band called Patchwork Grace. We spoke about the notion of me producing said band and taking them to planet mainstream and almost immediately bonded over a love of mid 80s rock and early 90s dry wit. After this initial meeting, Nick and I flourished as friends and indeed partners in crime and frequently knocked the Crobar in London into a state of almost sophistication Nick was unstoppable in his belief in people. He was forever playlisting me a stream of demos in a cloud of enthusiasm that I never failed to get caught up in. Working in the tenuous land of PR, he always managed to find positivity in every project he got involved in. Christ, I found myself rewriting the words to the 12 days of Christmas so that they heaped praise upon a simple kitchen towel that Nick was at the front end of marketing. Such was my belief in him that in 2012/13 I tasked him with the unenviable chore of managing the band in which I sometimes play, It Bites. It was his belief in me and his guidance throughout the post release chaos of Map Of The Past that saw us play listed on dads favourite FM, Radio 2, with Dermot OLeary singing the praises of our attempt at a single in the form of Cartoon Graveyard. Lastly, we both shared a love of vintage cars and both owned knackered old 80s Porsches. I sold my 924s to my friend Ben from the band Lower Than Atlantis with a plan in mind to buy a 944 with the proceeds. Nick decided he needed to sell his black 944 as he had recently climbed a notch further up the ladder of responsibility by adopting two young girls with his lovely wife. Being adopted myself, I had spent many hours extolling the virtues of what a great life I had experienced by being plucked from obscurity by my wonderful mum and what a great great job I thought Nick would make of being a dad. Needless to say, in this day and age, adopting a child is even harder to do than when it was back when I was put up for grabs and social services really really make prospective parents jump through hoops (rightly and wrongly) to achieve this end. Needless to say Nick and his wife jumped through every hoop and over every hurdle thrown at them and ultimately became the doting parents I always knew they would be. Sadly being the impulsive twat that I am, I agreed to buy his black 944 without give the matter NEARLY enough thought and subsequently reneged on this agreement when I realised that it was in fact a RED 944 that was my hearts desire. Nick sighed and forgave me in an instant knowing full well how much like a kid in a sweet shop I can be. That was what Nick was like. Im sure if the boot had been on the other foot, I would have been a sanctimonious arse for a week, but Nick didnt have that negative affliction. He was understanding, forgiving and kind. I visited Nick in hospital prior to Christmas with a copy of my solo album and a copy of the Xmas Viz annual (both still kids at heart) and I advised him strongly to listen to the maudlin album first then cheer himself up with the puerile inanity of Viz. Things looked positive at the time, he was about to start a course of Chemo the following day and the prognosis and success rate looked favourable. Sadly after Christmas I started receiving text updates from a mutual friend that the cancer showed no sign of waning at all. The denial part of my mind started kicking in. Surely some miracle would occur? Surely this couldnt happen to Nick, he was tough as old boots and would have been cast as the plucky comic relief in a war film. The plucky comic relief never dies does he?!?! Then I went on tour with Arena for seven weeks, head buried firmly in the sand. We kept texting and he remained positive as ever. I heard he was starting a new course of Chemo that surely kick the bloody curse into touch. That was a good sign surely? Back off tour I texted him straight away trying to arrange a hospital visit. He suggested a day and I agreed. Sadly some seemingly important and yet utterly utterly inconsequential hurdle got in the way and I postponed, denial still firmly lodged in my head, there was always more time. I texted back suggesting Thursday of last week (the 7th May). Nick replied suggesting I come on the Saturday prior to that (the 2nd May) or the Monday, but that the Tuesday and Wednesday were out, he also stated that this was the hardest thing he had ever had to do and he was really looking forward to hearing about my exploits. He didnt even mention the Thursday. I replied saying that the Thursday was a possibility and was that okay? He never replied. I STILL couldnt concede that my friends life was drawing to a close. I have subsequently reread those text messages a thousand times and have come to realise what was staring my in the face all along, namely that Nick KNEW he wasnt going to last much past the weekend. Sadly, Im either too stupid, naive or indeed utterly unprepared to accept the crippling reality of any emotional situation to read what is staring me in the face and shouting to be heard. My phone rang on the 6th of May at exactly 7.40pm. Nick Southalls name showed up on the handset. I answered with a cheery hello mate, how are you doing?. Sorry John, this isnt Nick, its his wife. I just wanted to let Nicks immediate friends know that he passed away this evening at 6.20pm. I just sat there in stunned silence for a moment. It was like I had been hit by a train. I couldnt possibly quantify what I was hearing. Nick wasnt SUPPOSED to die, this wasnt how the script was SUPPOSED to read. All this time I hadnt allowed myself to remotely entertain the possibility that any of this was happening, EXACTLY the same as I had done when my mother got ill. I am sooo sooo sooo sorryI replied after a brief pause . She had watched her husbands life slip away one hour and twenty minutes previously and here she was putting on her bravest face and calmly calling Nicks closest friends to pass on the terrible news. How she managed to do that I will never know. She had a lot more people to contact so we promptly ended the call and I sat there in silence. Then I got up from where I was sat and started walking as fast as I could possibly go trying desperately to hold back the tears because thats what I was eternally conditioned to do growing up. Then I got angry, irrationally so, and started shouting at myself and calling myself every name under the sun. I tried calling our mutual friend Samantha but her phone was off as she was in a state of shock and didnt want to speak to anyone as I later found out. I must have walked the entire length of the Oxford road in Reading swearing and muttering to myself like some complete lunatic before finally collapsing on a bench and crying my eyes out. Enough is sometimes enough. I would just like you to know that the very first thing I saw when reaching the Oxford road was a black Porsche 944 with red trim bucket seats, exactly the same car that Nick had cherished and almost lost to yours truly last year. I am not superstitious in any way, but if ever there was a sign of some sort, this was it.

In conclusion, I would just like to say that I hope I have finally learned that sometimes it IS too late to say the things you need to say and if you knowingly have a chance to face up to the fear of loss of a loved one then PLEASE dont be like me and spend your life in denial and regret and grab that chance. Nick, Im sorry mate and I miss you terribly and I love you to bits. Until we meet again, Rest In Peace.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Lonely Robot: Please Come Home; Chapter 1, Airlock

Chapter 1


Conway stared at the flickering console in utter disbelief. Streams of data shimmered across his visor faster than he could absorb. The breach alarm was sounding, that much was clear. Something or someone was aboard the Titan. As fast as the alarm had sounded, Temple had raced from his seat to the rear of the Titan and down the airlock companionway. He paused at the base of the ladder as an ominous dull throb sounded through the bulkhead. The only thing throwing light on the airlock hatch below was the slowly flashing red alert lamp. The dull thump sounded again, echoing up the length of the companionway. All of a sudden Conway's voice crackled through the comms link. "Temple, we have less than four minutes before the anti-grav drive fails and we begin our descent, whatever you do do it bloody fast or I'm going to purge the airlock!!". Temple remained silent, staring at the white oblong hatch below. He carefully place his helmet on and closed the seal. His heart was in his mouth and his breathing fast and shallow. He reached up to the barely illuminated interface and carefully entered the escape code. The companionway hatch thudded shut in the distance above him and the airlock hatch slowly creaked beneath him. He straddled the hatch as it slid clear beneath his feet, dust blowing up from the darkness beneath. The shimmering red alert caught a glimmer of what lay beneath in the airlock portal. Temple fumbled to find the thin metal worklight tethered to his suit, his hands shaking with fear. He switched it on and cautiously pointed it downwards. There beneath him standing on the exit portal itself was something that made him gasp in horror. A domed glass helmet covering a spinning gyro. A shiny metal torso, bulky and awkward. Cupped red pincers ended segmented bulbous arms. Whatever this was, it was clumsy and condemned to history. Aside from the spinning tortion of the gyro, it remained motionless. What seemed like forever was probably no more than moments, Temple silently observing this mechanical relic. It was like something he had seen in pictures as a child. An AUTOMATON! But what was it doing here in airlock B aboard deep space reconnaisance vessel Titan?? Temple didn't have time to ponder any further as the comms link gave rude awakening. "Temple, times up, return to bridge immediately. Repeat, return to bridge IMMEDIATELY". Something in this alert caused the dark hulking metal mass to grind into life. With little grace it's left arm shot to horizontal and its pincers started spinning in a clockwise direction. Suddenly it's whole arm extended forward and clumsily latched onto the airlock purge valve lever. Then a deep booming metallic husk of a voice ushered forth a single word "RO-BOT". With that the lever was wrenched from its housing and the terrible hissing of depressurisation began. Temple panniced. His suit wasn't prepped for EVA and far from close to full pressure. His tugged his helmet release catch and hoisted it over his head, sending it tumbling straight into the airlock below. As fast as he could manage he clambered up the companionway ladder back towards the bridge. At the top of the ladder he met with terror, the hatch wouldn't open. He violently thumped on the release but it lay there dormant. He punched on the base of the hatch somehow hoping that Conway might somehow hear. "I CAN'T BREATHE......I CAN'T BREATHE". The vessel was starting to shake now, the anti-grav drive close to breaking point. He could hear Conway on the other side of the hatch now, rapidly pumping the manual release lever. Seconds later, the hatch opened and bridge cabin pressure dropped violently, the air rushing past Temples ears. Conway violently hoisted him through the hatch and slammed the hatch door closed, punching the emergency pressure switch in a single move.
Back at the console, Temple hurridly tapped in the trajectory coordinates. On the event horizon scanner, wormhole C-105 loomed large, a giant portal into the unknown. There wasn't time to consider the uninvited guest that lay dormant in the airlock. Time. What use was time out here Temple wondered. Time was now just an anachronism. A bitter irony. A relative concept invented by humans to enforce social structure. Conway decommissioned the anti grave drive and the Titan fell eerily silent. The gloomy cabin ceased vibrating and only the half light of the console illuminated the two men. The little craft gave up the fight against the giant force that lay ahead and instead began arcing towards it with increasing velocity. Like a tiny spider being sucked into a giant cosmic plughole Titan span, her rear thrusters occasionally firing in a pathetic bid to adjust whatever doomed inevitability lay ahead. Temple fell into a trance as the craft entered into it's cosmic carousel. Images from his past danced in front of his eyes then became stretched and elongated in the corridors of his mind. An ethereal voice wailed a lament to a soundscape his own mind was conjuring. Vast cathedrals of light, spinning in infinity engulfed his mind. Faster and faster the process unravelled. the images were now merely flickers, too brief to recognise. Round and round they spun into the void, the pictures now just blipverts at sickenening speed. Then, with no warning whatsoever fell total darkness and utter silence. Was he in a dream Temple wondered. At least if he was, the assault on his subconscious had ended. The blackness and silence hung around him like dread itself. Then an eery noise faded slowly around his head. It sounded at first like the cries of a newborn baby but then seemed to slowly morph into the sound of a tortured animal, a terrifying pained sound which logged itself in some dark recess of his mind as that of a cat. Louder and louder it got, more horrific and piercing than Temple could possible endure. Then, as if some grand architect was just playing out the scene on some tiny anthill and grew suddenly bored, BANG, the foot came down.....and there was nothing.