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

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GUEST POST // Viaticum 3 – Wooden hands by Chris Nelson

Knotted fingers work their skill
Sculpting nature’s giants,
As passion flows through hands
Designed to make things new.
Hematic flow from skin to grain
Rekindles life anew,
This touch like cryptesthesia
Animation from the dead.
And now you try to steal this love
To touch another’s flesh,
To breathe life within a kiss
And raise an amaranthine army.
These hands show dried and lifeless
Now splintered from mis-use,
Cut from weeping saplings
And drowned in blood of men.

© All rights reserved 2000-2019

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // Iambus & Idiocy (Recital in I flat minor)

The Mosquito had been writing poems for as long as it could remember. Yes, that’s right, a very long time. Literally aeons. Three whole days in fact!

Of course, the Mosquito would accept only heroic verse. To wit, iambic pentameter. Trochee? Anapaest? These were for brain dead losers. Only real men wrote in iambic. Shakespeare, for example. Pushkin too. And now the Mosquito.

He was also a Debonaire-Vervain. The Debonaire-Vervains were titans of the corporate world. Blue bloods. Old stock. The family line went back generations. Weeks and weeks at least. Investment portfolios. Start-ups. Feelers in every pie. The Mosquito had studied at the finest schools and universities. He even lived on a posh arm all his own. Nothing but prime real estate all the way!

Anyway, the following is a poem that the Mosquito wrote for his ravishing wife on the eve of their ruby wedding anniversary. It had been two long, glorious days since their meeting! Where had the time gone? Of course, he was not yet master of his craft, and his style had yet to mature. But none could deny that he was full of ardour and passion, and it showed in his words.

Buzz me not to the buzzing of buzzed minds
Admit imbuzziments. Buzzing is not abuzz.
Which alters when it buzzeration finds,
Or bends with the buzzer to rebuzz.
O no! It is an ever-fixed buzz
That looks on buzzpests and is never buzzen;
It is the star to every wand’ring buzz,
Whose worth’s unbuzzed, although his buzz be taken.
Buzz’s not Time’s fool, though buzzy lips and cheeks
Within his bending buzzle’s compass buzz;
Buzz alters not with his brief hours and buzzes,
But bears it out even to the buzz of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never buzzed, nor no mosquito ever lov’d. *

Naturally, Madam Mosquito was impressed, and instantly gave birth to another fifty bloodsuckers. Oh, these modern women! They don’t waste time, do they? Of course, they’ll say they want a man who’s arty and edgy. But what they really crave is a domesticated homebody who embodies the traditional family values.

But the Mosquito was an ambitious sort. Yes, he’d won the heart of Madame Mosquito and gained her feeler in holy matrimony, but it wasn’t enough. He also wanted everyone on earth to hear his poems. That’s why, after being informed of a top secret mission (Code Name: Star-spangled Mooning) from a fly on the wall in the Soviet Government, he put on his best suit and tie, grabbed his latest manuscript, and caught a taxi to Baikonur. He’d decided that a rocket antenna would be the best stage from which to orate his flowery writings.

Fortunately for him, he was not at all late. The Soviet vessel was still being readied for its maiden moon shot. The Mosquito landed right on the front glass, got himself cosy, then quenched his thirst with a droplet of cherry rum. After this he pulled out his manuscript, thinking for a moment about which poem he’d be proudest to grace the airwaves with first…

And now for the main event! The final countdown!

Ten… nine… five… two… one…


Nine kilometres per second and history was about to be ma—

Because I could not buzz for Death
It kindly buzzed for me
The vessel held but just
Ourselves —And Immortality.*

*Thanks to Shakespeare and Dickinson for the buzzspiration.

© All rights reserved 2017

THE CRUMBCAST // Unremarkable Words (But They’re Mine)

As promised, I’m back with a new episode of The Crumbcast.

Believe me, I haven’t  been wasting time. In fact, I’ve been doing a lot of work on me. I’ve been moulding myself into a blue-eyed, muscle-bound adonis with curly, golden hair and a honeyed voice that will make your ears orgasm. I’ve been learning French, Argentine tango and how to poach eggs. (Steal ’em or cook ’em?)

Okay, now that I’m the worthy hero of your dreams, you ladies can start showering me with your lacy panties. And you blokes too, if you’re that way inclined. Hell, I belong on the cover of romance novels everywhere! Someone give me a book deal!

What? You don’t believe me? You say I’m still a sad old sap with wild hair, spindly limbs and a pot belly? That even my voice makes crows want to nosedive into a field of landmines? That my writings are your worst nightmare? Not to mention the quality of my eggs…


Okay, fine. So I’m still the same me I’ve always been. It isn’t easy to please everybody. And I only become a parody of my already absurd self whenever I try to. Living up to the expectations of others is definitely not recommended, and that’s something I touch on in this episode.

Anyway, I’m back, and I kinda hope y’all have missed me… even if just a little bit.

PS: To listen to the podcast in question then please click on that picture down there. To view the comic strip that my rambling centres around, then please click here. Yes, it’s real magic in the digital world, I tells ya! No pesky sciencey stuff here!

PPS: Oops. Since this post went live, I’ve recorded this episode a second time. You can read the reasons for me doing so here. Sorry for any inconvenience I may have caused, but I feel it was for the better. Honest!

© All rights reserved 2019