SOAPBOX TNT // Absolutely Bombastic… But Actually?

TATI: Tony, you’re a fan of videogames, virtual reality and other cool modern ‘toys’, aren’t you?

TONY: Pretty much! If it involves joysticks or pixels then count me in!

TATI: Oh, I hoped for this answer. Another question: Do you like ABBA?

TONY: I love ABBA!

TATI: Have you heard they’ve reformed for the Voyage tour in 2022?

TONY: I have, and I’m very excited about it too! I can’t wait to see them on stage again, and to hear their new songs!

TATI: I bet millions of people would agree with you on this. To see their idols live again? To hear their voices? People are clamouring to pay hundreds—even thousands—of dollars for the tickets! Will you and Cassy go to their new show if you have the chance?

TONY: Hm. Depends on whether or not we can actually afford it, I guess.

TATI: Imagine that you can afford tickets for the show.

TONY: Well then it’s a hard YES!

TATI: And now imagine that you bought the tickets, are looking forward to the show, and maybe even prepared some silly t-shirts with ‘I love ABBA’ to wear to the concert.

TONY: I wouldn’t wear such a t-shirt but everything else tracks so far!

TATI: No matter—then silicone bracelets. You’ve recharged your phone so that you can take some cool photos and videos to post on Instagram. Why? Because everyone should know you were there!

TONY: Should they? Or should I just go along with your scenario? It sounds like you’re building up to something…

TATI: Okey dokey. So, you’re there. Everyone’s excited and full of anticipation. Light slowly fills the stage, the chords of your favourite song starts to play, you and Cassy are jumping and yipping on the parquet like two teenagers.

TONY: Okay, I’m seeing this in my head now. Pretty cool!

TATI: You’re ready to finally meet the legendary band. After so many years they are together again on stage. But…

TONY: But… what? Now you’re beginning to worry me.

TATI: Perhaps you didn’t remember to read the disclaimer in tiny letters on the last page of the brochure. Who reads that stuff anyway? But, you see, it says that there’re no Benny, Anni-Frid, Agnetha and Björn on the stage.

TONY: What the dum dum diddle FUCK?!

TATI: Well, they are mere holograms, their young digital avatars on the stage. It is not them in person. So… what do you feel?

The New ABBA!


TATI: Do you feel excited? Do you love pixels now?

TONY: Well… I…

TATI: Come on, boy! You did say that they could count you in!

TONY: Well, no! Not if this is all I’m paying my hard earned cash for!

TATI: And what’s the difference, Tony? Why are you suddenly so tight-fisted? I believe your beloved PS5 cost a lot of money too.

TONY: Yes, because I know I’m going to be playing some of the finest videogames ever made on it! I’m not expecting ABBA to also be videogame characters! I’m expecting them to actually be live on stage! You know… in the flesh?

TATI: Oh, I hoped for this answer!

TONY: Did you now?! Well, bully for you! What are you hoping to achieve with this conversation? Other than to break my heart? I was really hoping to see ABBA live!

TATI: Sorry, Tony. I promise to stop tossing these concepts around for now. Actually, I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. I don’t want to see a digital ABBA. I prefer to see them live even though they’ve grown old, gotten some grey hair, wrinkles and put on excess pounds.

TONY: Exactly! If all we’re gonna get is a glorified digital show then I’d much rather stay at home and watch some of their old concerts on DVD. It makes more sense!

TATI: Yes, and even if their voices aren’t so clean and powerful now, they’ve got lived experience and the feeling of passing years. I bet every song will sound different now. 1972 to 1982 versus 2022. A whole life lies between those dates, huh?

TONY: Yes, that’s part of what I enjoy about following certain singers and bands. It’s the pleasure of seeing how their artistic expression evolves and matures over time. It would be a shame if they remained static and only did the same kind of thing over and over and over again.

TATI: Why do you think they are doing this? Of course, it’s not about the money—and they’ll still get millions from this anyway. Are they afraid to present themselves as they are now to their legions of faithful fans who probably remember them when they were young and beautiful? Or do they hope to gain a new generation of fans through the use of modern, gimmicky technologies?

TONY: It’s hard to know really. Like you say, they don’t need the money, so I’m assuming the hologram angle is more for personal creative reasons. But what would those creative reasons be? What artistic satisfaction could they possibly derive from this rather than the more traditional live on stage approach?

TATI: Perhaps you can consider me cynic but I vote for the age option. They’re scared of showing themselves as they are now and don’t feel confident.

TONY: Perhaps vanity does play a part in this. If it’s true then I personally would find it hard to fault them. I always think twice before committing my face to film too. It shouldn’t matter at the end of the day but unfortunately that’s not the world we live in. But let me ask you something: Do you think the kind of concert they’re going to stage in 2022 is ever going to be as good as just appearing as themselves live on stage?

The New ABBA!

TATI: I have no idea if it will be a great show or a total fuck up. Let me put my answer this way: I’d prefer an imperfect live show than a perfect digital one.

TONY: Yes, I agree. I mean, sure, they can put on whatever the hell kinda show they want. They’re artists after all, and that’s what artists do. They buck expectations and try to give the audience what it never knew it wanted. Hopefully that will be the case here.

TATI: So, ultimately, would you pay you money for the digital ABBA?

TONY: No. I would save that money for something else. I assume your answer would be the same, yes?

TATI: Absolutely! And now, I feel this is a perfect place to end our discussion and pass the baton to our Dearest Readers. What do they feel about this? Would they pay money for tickets to this new ABBA show?

TONY: Excellent! Well, I’m off to play some more ‘Metroid Dread’. I gotta help Samus defeat some creepy robot to get a morph ball upgrade.

TATI: Great! I’m off to do some yoga. I believe it will be more useful for keeping my mind and ass in a good shape. Let’s have another look in forty years and see which of us will be more prepared for a live tour. Who do you bet?

TONY: Oh, that’s easy. Samus!

© All rights reserved 2021

Continue reading


there was no reason to stay
there was no reason to leave
so they hid behind their faces
and nothing happened

they didn’t fall in love
they didn’t sing their own songs
they didn’t even get a pity fuck

© All rights reserved 2021

All Risk and No Reward

“This is nice.”

I had to admit it was, her soft pillows with their hard buttons bunched up over my belly like that. And the rivulets of commingled sweat pooling in her cleavage beneath come hither eyes and an all-too-knowing smile. Well, that was kinda nice too. I loved that she wanted to try.

If only I could feel something stirring.

She squirmed against me in the narrow near dark of the cupboard. Her flannel shirt was undone, spread open, wife beater hiked up to reveal her aforementioned charms. My own shirt was hanging off the arm closest to the plywood doors that threatened to pop open with every thrub and downbeat. Outside, the party was thumping full throttle. Inside, we were taking a risk. We both had no pants on.

“I need you in me.”

Her bottom lip quivered, just enough to let me know she meant it. She squirmed some more, but neither of us could move nor do much of anything. Perhaps this wasn’t the sexiest idea we’d ever had. I took a deep breath. She winced.

“Sorry!” I squeaked. “Sorry sorry sorry…”

“It’s fine.” She gritted sweetly at me. “It’s fine, my big boy.”

I tried to adjust my breathing, but this only made tears come to her eyes. My girlfriend was no wilting flower, so it wasn’t the pain and discomfort that was getting to her. It was the knowledge that this kinky tryst was clearly not working out. She knew it. I knew it. It was only a matter of who was going to admit it first.


“Don’t call me that!” Her eyes stabbed through me with such heartbreak and longing. “Call me slut. Or whore. Just fucking nail me. Please.”

I cast my gaze about this stuffy box with all the enthusiasm of a wilted fly-fisher on holidays at the fiery lake of hell.

“I’m so sorry.”

God, I sounded so pathetic. Even Gehenna deflated visibly at this point.

“Do you remember our first time?” she said softly, almost to herself.

“I do.”

“You said sorry then.”

I took a breath and added, “Because I was so small.”

She looked up at me. “And I said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll make you big enough.’”

We didn’t say anything after that. Really, what was there to add?

My name is Nether. I’m too large, and I have a tiny dick.

© All rights reserved 2019

GUEST POST // Just Like Them by Stephen Philip Druce

They wished for a baby boy:

triumphant, but

the boy turned out
to be just like them.


Damn fools!

who else goes into the mix?

© All rights reserved 2018