Gig number one: the Necromancers (“Deliciously technical melodic death-thrash math-metal.” –- Marvin Artemis, some magazine), playing at The Park.
“Hi, my name is Joey Testosterone and I’ll be your bouncer for this evening. No pass-outs till after 10pm. ID?”
Marvin and Michael hand over their ID and make their way up the dingy stairs to the table where the supremely bored hipster chick asks for their tickets.
“I’m on the door list,” says Marvin. “Marvin Artemis. This is my plus one.”
They walk into The Park, which is not a park but a club. It looks like a club.
“I’ve never been a plus one before,” says Michael.
“That’s because you’re uncool,” says Marvin.
“I wanted to make some Dungeons & Dragons joke, y’know? About, like, a plus-one sword?”
“That’s because you’re desperately uncool.”
The support band plays. They have maybe five songs that are decent, but they feel the need to play another twelve songs that don’t to fill out a set and seem professional. Marvin makes a note of this in his special Journalism notepad, making sure as many people see him do so as possible.
“See that girl over there,” says Michael, pointing to that girl over there in a way he thinks is subtle. “She’s kind of hot, isn’t she?”
“Don’t, dude,” says Marvin. “Don’t ever pick up a girl at a gig. It never works out. Trust me.”
Illustrative flashback number one, go!
The scene: The Cinema, which is not a cinema but a club. It looks like a cinema that has been hastily converted into a club. Marvin puts away his notepad after making an observation of such staggering genius it cannot fail to set the very world on fire.
“OMG!” says a curly-haired girl. “Are you, like, a reviewer?”
“Are you like, reviewing this gig?”
“That is so cool.”
“Can I buy you a drink?” says Marvin.
“OMG, yes,” says the curly haired girl.
So, like, later.
Marvin makes an excuse to leave his cooler plus one, Stopcock O. Dandies, to go make out with the curly-haired girl. She tastes like bourbon.
Stopcock O. Dandies turns to Marvin Artemis and says, “Hey, isn’t that the girl you were talking to before making out with the bass player over there?”
Back to the present!
The Necromancers rock. In fact they rawk. At first it’s like \m/, but pretty soon it’s full-on \m/ \m/.
“These guys rawk!” says Michael.
“Indeed,” says Marvin. “I will make a note of that cogent observation.”
Michael doesn’t hear him over the noise of all that rocking. “What’s this song?” he asks.
“It’s called How To Turn People Into Zombies. It’s actually the text of a medieval ritual that explains how to turn people into zombies.”
“Cool!” says Michael, pretending that he heard.
Gig number two: the Urinal Cakes (“Filthy punk played quickly so you don’t notice their lack of actual skill or talent.” -– Marvin Artemis, some magazine), playing at The Club.
It’s a club and it looks like a club. Backstage the members of the Urinal Cakes -– Craving Absinthe on drums and angst, Insistent Anita on bass and male gaze, Razors Perfectionism on guitar and shouty vocals –- prepare for their big moment.
“Hey,” says Craving Absinthe while delicately dabbing on his eyeliner. “Did you hear what happened at the Robbie Williams gig?”
“Ewww,” says Insistent Anita, carefully ruffling her hair so that it looks like she didn’t spend time doing her hair. “Did you actually go to a Robbie Williams concert?”
“No, I was busy being sad, but I heard what happened. The whole crowd got zombified.”
“Zombified?” says Razors Perfectionism, trying to button up his military jacket without anyone noticing that his hands are shaking with THE NERVES OH GOD THE NERVES.
“Yeah, zombified. Turned into zombies. They ate one of his dancers and went on a rampage through the whole mall.”
“That couldn’t happen at one of our gigs, could it?” says Razors nervously.
“Of course it couldn’t,” says Insistent, borrowing the eyeliner from Craving. “Don’t be daft. We don’t have nearly enough fans to cause a rampage.”
“I have to go and vomit copiously out of fear, now,” says Razors.
“Do what you gotta do, man,” says Craving, daintily arranging his ruffled sleeves so they poke out from under his leather jacket.
“I was joking!” Insistent Anita says at his retreating back. “There’s no such things as zombies!”
The Urinal Cakes take to the stage to the sound of shambling and moaning.
“Okay, I was wrong, I admit it,” says Insistent Anita. “Zombies = real.”
“This is so cool it almost makes me want to smile,” says Craving Absinthe.
The crowd of at least 20 people, as Craving later swears he counted, have been completely zombified. Dull-eyed, they stumble around the Club like drunks with leprosy. One grabs the barmaid and tries to bite her skull open, while another shambles onto the stage and knocks over the mic stand while reaching for Razors’ tasty, tasty brains.
“The gig is ruined,” says Razors Perfectionism with steel in his voice. “It’s on, now!”
He hefts his guitar and, with a wail of feedback, slams it into the head of the zombie fan lurching towards him. He leaps from the stage into the press of zombie punks, swinging that guitar around in a berserk fury.
“Aw, yeah,” says Craving Absinthe, grabbing his drumsticks and stage-diving into the crowd.
“Oh, whatever,” says Insistent Anita, carefully unplugging her bass from the amp, then lifting said amp over her head and bringing it down on top of the guy in the front who always looks up her skirt. It’s okay, though, because he’s a zombie now and it is totally okay to drop heavy things on zombies.
Razors swings his telecaster-style Cobra by its solid rosewood neck, keeping the press of growling zombies at bay as he backs up until he’s standing back-to back with Craving, who is jabbing at them with his fists, still holding the drumsticks like he does in their publicity photos so that everybody remembers which one he is.
“I may have misjudged things from the anger,” says Razors. “This may actually have been a very bad idea.”
A mohawked zombie comes in close and Craving slugs him in the nose. Blood sprays in an arc as his zombie head snaps back. Craving looks down and notices a spot of red on his collar. “Oh, that is it!” he shouts. “This is what you get for wearing a mesh shirt!” He leaps forwards, headbutting the fashion-sense-deprived, mesh-shirt-wearing zombie in the mouth as it goes for his brains, windmilling his arms around in furious circles.
“Hey, dipshits!” shouts Insistent from the stage where she has been hurling things into the crowd and kicking their faces as they try to climb up. “That one guy over there totally isn’t a zombie!”
Clutching the inlay of the Necromancers’ last album to his chest, that one guy in the crowd who totally isn’t a zombie is rumbled and he knows it. He turns and starts pushing his way through the zombies, who obediently refrain from cracking his skull open and chomping on his buttery headmeat.
“How are we gonna get to him?” says Craving, calmly smacking the heads of two zombies together.
“I’ve got an idea,” says Razors. “Give me a boost!”
Razors clambers over Craving (“You got your dirty boot on my new jacket!”) and launches himself into the grasping hands of the zombie crowd. Holding his guitar up with one hand, he slaps with the other at the zombies beneath him.
“No, you dicks, I wanna go that way!”
He brings the guitar down on a grabby zombie and there’s a wail of feedback even though it isn’t plugged in, just because it’s awesome. Some deep punk-impulse in their brains kicks in and they pass him hand over hand, crowd surfing over their heads to victory.
He leaps from the crowd and runs, chasing that one guy who totally isn’t a zombie to the door, but he’s fast and Razors is tiring from the fight which he was surprisingly good at and hey, if this rock and roll thing doesn’t play out maybe he could get a job as a zombie-fighter and OH NOES and ZOMG that one guy who totally isn’t a zombie is getting away.
And then, Marvin Artemis, centimeters from freedom, bounces off the beefy shoulder of Joey Testosterone who is standing in the doorway doing his job.
“No pass-outs before 10 o’clock,” says Joey.
Razors grabs Marvin by the collar. “You! You … cockwank! You have to de-zombify them!”
“Why the hell do you care?” says Marvin.
“Because they’re the only fans we’ve got!” shouts Razors. “And also my friends are in there!”
In a while.
So it turns out that you can reverse the effects of How To Turn People Into Zombies by reciting it backwards and releasing the hidden Christian message. How about that?
A crowd of maybe 20 (if you’re being generous) punks rub their skulls and wonder about their bruises and in a week they’ll all be telling everyone that it was one of the greatest gigs of all time and were you there, man you should have been there I totally don’t remember it but it was one of the greatest gigs of all time!
Backstage, Insistent Anita, Craving Absinthe and Razors Perfectionism sit Marvin Artemis down and make him explain his crimes against the Urinal Cakes by using powerful interrogative tools.
“So, like, why did you do it?” says Craving.
“Because I had no other choice.”
Illustrative flashback number two, go!
The scene: Up & Comers, a club where bands no one has heard of get their break but don’t get paid, although they get some free beers. A pretty, messy-haired girl bumps into Marvin in the crowd. He pretends not to notice and continues nodding his head to the music. She bumps into him again. He turns, notices her, and bumps his shoulder against hers in retaliation. She smiles.
After the gig, he grabs her arm and asks for her number. A month later, she leaves him for someone she meets at another concert.
“So what,” he says, “you just pick up a guy at every concert you go to?”
“Yeah,” says the pretty, messy-haired girl. “This has nothing to do with you being an emotional cripple who is bad in bed at all.”
Meanwhile, back in the present.
“I recognize the gig from that flashback,” says Insistent. “That was our gig!”
“You zombified our audience because you met a girl who dumped you at one of our gigs?” says Craving. “Harsh.”
“That wasn’t the only reason,” says Marvin. “You guys really do suck. Almost as bad as Robbie Williams. Haven’t you heard? Punk is dead. It was so easy to make it undead.”
“We totally do not suck,” says Razors with burning conviction in his voice. “And this Friday night at The Park we are going to prove it.”
Gig number three: the Urinal Cakes (“They said they’d beat me up again if I didn’t say they rock.” –- Marvin Artemis, some magazine), playing at The Park.
“We are the Urinal Cakes and this song is called Your Love Has Turned Me Into A Zombie! One-two-three-four!”
Loving you is such a drain
Why don’t you give me back my brain?
Just shove it in my head
You make me feel like one of the undead
My thoughts are fried
My heart has died
Now I’m zombified
And the crowd goes wild and the world goes crazy, the reviews are glowing and punk is not dead and you’re not a loser and birds are flying the end.