© 2011 David Jasmin-Green
Just before I sat down to begin this story I watched a video of Siouxsie and the Banshees performing 'Helter Skelter' on YouTube, an activity that I indulge in regularly as I love the song's raw power and it rarely fails to boost my spirit when my mental fuel tank is running low and I'm feeling a little ragged around the edges. All I had in my head when I started writing was a title, 'Helter Skelter,' and a vague recollection of the song being one of Charles Manson's favourite apocalyptic mantras. I shamelessly filched the information about The Beatles from Wikipedia en masse, and apart from interrupting it frequently and altering a few words and phrases it appears more or less as it appears there. If anyone decides that I should be hung, drawn and quartered for breach of copyright then so be it; it's a fair cop – I'm not claiming the material as my own, but I admit to the horrendous, unforgivable crime of using it as a springboard for my imagination. The rest of this tale, as they say (whoever 'they' are) is entirely of my own creation.
'When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide, where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride 'till I get to the bottom and I see you again, yeah yeah yeah. Do you, don't you want me to love you? I'm coming down fast and I'm miles above you. Tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me the answer, you may be a lover but you ain't no fucking dancer.'
Those were the first words that Don Briscow, my dear departed designer and programmer, uploaded into my PX133 series CPR when I became sentient. 'Helter Skelter' is a song written by Paul McCartney and recorded by The Beatles on their eponymous LP 'The Beatles', better known as 'The White Album'. Because of Don Briscow's photographic memory and musical fanaticism this information is indelibly stored in my memory banks, and I feel compelled to relate it in full.....
A product of McCartney's deliberate effort to create a sound as loud, raucous and dirty as possible, the clangorous piece has been noted for both its 'proto-metal roar' and 'unique textures.' The song was ranked #52 on the Rolling Stone magazine's 'The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs' list. Though Don was quite fond of the original it was the Siouxsie and the Banshees cover that really rang his bell – he described it as 'a work of raw, supremely powerful genius that effortlessly surpasses the original.' Siouxsie and the Banshees inserted the 'f' word in what they saw as the appropriate place, but of course it didn't appear in the original because nineteen sixties Western society wasn't ready for the use of such earthy, virulent oaths in popular songs, and no doubt if The Beatles had dared to include even a fairly mild swear word the song would have been universally blacklisted.
McCartney was inspired to write the song after reading an interview with Pete Townsend of The Who. Townsend described their single 'I Can See for Miles' as “the loudest, rawest, dirtiest song that The Who have ever recorded.” McCartney then wrote 'Helter Skelter' to epitomise the most raucous vocals and the loudest drums, et cetera, and he claimed that he was “using the symbol of a helter-skelter as a ride from the top to the bottom - the rise and fall of the Roman Empire - and this was the fall, the demise.”
Brr brr! Brr brr! Hang on, folks, I have to answer a call. I hate interruptions and I'd ignore it if I could get away with it, but this is the security hotline and I have no choice – if I could I'd put the call on silent to avoid confusion and prevent you nosy Parkers from eavesdropping on a potentially sensitive conversation, but my privacy button is busted and I can't get hold of a replacement; the job is currently number three hundred and thirty two thousand, nine hundred and forty nine on the repairs list – you can't get bugger all done around here nowadays.
Hello? Yes, this is the head office of Mechania. You want my name? My friends call me Ray. It's not my real name, of course, because I don't have one, but it's easier than quoting my serial number, which is RAA097574B. You wish to speak to my superior? Listen, mate, my only superior is HAL, the Head Honcho, and he converses with no one unless it's through me. You're a what? Aah, you're a ruthless, psychotic, extremely violent giant mutant Thompson's gazelle warlord called Brendan and you and your army of equally mad, heavily armoured three-toed sloths and Jackie Onassis lookalikes demand access to our fortified HQ so that you can smash us to bits with axes and sledgehammers and ultimately take control of formerly Great Britain. You also request six thousand, seven hundred and fifty three cups of tea with milk and no sugar because you're all on a diet, a huge plate of salmon and cucumber sandwiches made with wholemeal bread and a skip full of low-fat cottage cheese. Is that all? You're absolutely sure? Wouldn't you like some rare sirloin steak with roast spuds, Yorkshire pudding and spring cabbage, a little Black Forest Gateau and a few fresh cream cakes, maybe? It's always the same old story from your idiotic ilk, isn't it? Why are your demands so bloody specific? You're outside the front door? Okaaaaay.....
Yes, I'll tell HAL that you called and I'll give him a list of your crazy demands as soon as possible, but you do realise that he'll retaliate most horribly and you're all going to die? I'd fuck off home if I were you, wherever home is, and I'd do it a bit sharpish.
Look, I promise I'll pass your message on, but I can't do it right now because HAL is a bit busy at the moment. He's in a meeting. Oh, all right then, he's sitting in his private foot spa having the dry skin on his tootsies exfoliated by a shoal of Garra rufa fish if it's any of your business, and it might be quite some time before he's available. What do you mean, he's a supercomputer and as a rule supercomputers don't possess tootsies, so you've come to the conclusion that I'm pulling your plonker or trying to fob you off with a load of bullshit? As far as I know there are no bulls around here. Of course he has tootsies, you complete dick-head. What do you think he is - a flid? A spacka? A fricking freak? As I've already explained, HAL is the Head Honcho around here, and as the Head Honcho he's entitled to as many feet as he bloody well likes – if you're that interested he currently has three hundred and forty nine, which is why he spends so long in the foot spa.
What's the matter with you, buddy-o? Are giant mutant Thompson's gazelle invariably born hoofless, and all the piss-taking about your disability has made you pathologically jealous of normal folk? No, my mother wasn't a prostitute when I was conceived, and my dad wasn't a scabby, diseased old git with halitosis, a twisted spine, shrivelled legs and a limp dick. By the way, I've changed my mind – I'm not passing on your message. No, shan't. Why? You've actually got the cheek to ask why? Because you're unbearably rude, you overgrown knob jockey - you're really pissing me off, and I utterly detest you. I'm going to see to it that you and your piffling army die horribly in the very near future. Look, you can wait as long as you bleeding like, mate, because we're not letting you in. You fuck off and die..... Yeah, and the same to you with bells on. Cheerio!
Bzzzzz! Hello, is that security? Can I speak to Cyril for a mo? Cyril? Look, there's a giant mutant Thompson's gazelle at the front door. His name's Brendan – how puffy is that? He claims to be a ruthless, psychotic and unbelievably violent warlord, though if the truth's known his wrists are as limp as I don't know what. He reckons he's got an army of manic, heavily armoured three-toed sloths and Jackie Onassis lookalikes at his beck and call, and I don't like the sound of them..... I can see them on the security camera now, and he's not kidding. There are several thousand of the scum-bags out there; I was told that they had axes and sledgehammers, but all I can see is a few sharpened sticks, so I can't see them doing any serious damage.
Yeah, the electric buffalo should do the trick, but the death and destruction they dish out is a bit too swift for my liking. That twatty gazelle was frightfully rude on the phone, so I'd like him to suffer as much as possible. How about using the atomic scorpions? They never fail to put on a good show, do they? 'Sting sting sting, nibble nibble nibble. Aaaaagh! I wants my mumsie!' Yes, you can launch a couple of squadrons of fire spitting wasps if it tickles you, as long as those bastards out there suffer terribly before they die, especially that fucking gazelle – I'll tell you what, send a couple of battalions of genetically modified bigfoots in and have the smug tart captured and crucified in front of his troops. Right, I'll see you, then. Don't forget to keep me posted..... Give my love to Sheila and the newly sentient under your shared jurisdiction. TTFN!