* *


Having spent much of my life rooting out the corrupting influence of art from within the sphere of popular culture, it has been heartening to witness the sudden rise of the tribute band. While Greil Marcus wants to treat punk rock as high art, his intellectual posturing looks ludicrous when contrasted with the antics of the Scottish Sex Pistols. The high kitsch stance of tribute acts undermines every effort to insert the songs they cover into the discourse of serious culture.

Likewise, for the best part of a decade, I have been sickened by the way in which industrial rock has been used to bridge the divide between pop and art. Recently, I became convinced that the best way of dealing with this baneful situation was to form an industrial tribute band called the Australian Whitehouse. No one in the group actually hails from down under, although we all admire the tough minded Aussie attitude towards art. Whitehouse have long attempted to project themselves as the most extreme industrial group, although on the handful of occasions when I've met frontman William Bennett, I've found him to be extraordinarily polite.

Having secured the use of a gay bar in Chinatown for the debut of the band, I was prowling Dean Street prior to the gig when I ran into the utterly talentless 'writer' and 'film-maker' Henry Kerr-Weepie. The
Bullshitter of Suburbia, as Kerr-Weepie is known among his chums, was with his girlfriend Sharon MacClot, a film editor at the notoriously crusty publishers Crumb and Crud Ltd. Upon clocking me, Kerr-Weepie pressed himself against a wall and manoeuvred MacClot so that she was standing between us.

'I know you're a fascist but please don't hit me, have my wallet!' the Bullshitter of Suburbia whined as I approached him.

'Cheers,' I said taking the money.

'Your short hair really frightens me, I hate nazis!' Kerr-Weepie wailed.

'I'm not a fucking nazi!' I exclaimed as I pushed MacClot aside and grabbed the bozo by the throat.

'Don't kill me!' the Bullshitter pleaded. 'I'm a friend of Solomon Thursday, the author who had a Papal Bull issued against him when the Catholic hierarchy realised that his novel the Lucifer Couplets was a great work of art.  Thursday is tight with Special Branch and if you hurt me he'll send them after you. The Mounties always get their man!'

'The Mounties are Canadian you fucking moron!' I spat at Kerr-Weepie.

'Are they really?' the idiot sobbed. 'I didn't know that!'

'Wow!' MacClot exclaimed. 'An intelligent prole, I've met your kind before, at Crumb and Crud we signed up a dosser called John Harry, his book did very well but we had to drop him after he assaulted an editor. I think you're very interesting, let's go for a drink.'

'Okay, but I choose the venue!' I shot back as I slapped Kerr-Weepie about the chops and then let him slide into the gutter.

'I'm Sharon MacClot,' the notoriously dim-witted editor informed me.

'I'm Luther Blissett,' I hissed.
'I'm a film editor at Crumb and Crud,' MacClot gushed, 'it's a very important job, I commission books about the cinema. Mind you, I won't have anything to do with filth or rubbish, I don't like directors like John Walnut, the pervert who made Punk Flamingos.'
'You mean John Waters,' I corrected.
'Oh,' MacClot sighed, 'it doesn't matter. Anyway, I only enjoy great art, I really like... I've forgotten his name but you'll know his work, he directed Close Encounters.'
As she waffled, I led the Crumb and Crud bimbo into the bar that was hosting the first public performance of the Australian Whitehouse.
Kerr-Weepie trotted along behind us, convinced that his girlfriend would treat him to the spectacle of fucking another man while he watched. MacClot ordered two pints of lager and a bowl of water, which the Bullshitter drank on his hands and knees. Unfortunately, this hack was so desperate to impress me that he was unable to stick to his submissive role.

'You see,' Kerr-Weepie ranted, 'I've just been editing the Fabergé Book Of Pop and someone suggested that I put in a story by K. L. Callan. I made it plain that I would do no such thing. Callan has short hair and doesn't like my friend Solomon Thursday, so it's obvious he's a fascist!'
'Callan,' I said as I punched the Bullshitter on the nose, 'is a well known revolutionary, he's not a fascist!'
'Did you know I went to school with Billy Idol?' Kerr-Weepie boasted lamely, taking heed of my hint to change the subject.
The venue was filling and it was easy to persuade MacClot and the
Bullshitter to get on stage with me. I had two assistants with a turntable who spun Hungry For Pain as I ordered my literary companions to get naked and crawl around my feet. I bellowed the odd obscenity into the microphone but I was putting a lot more effort into kicking MacClot and her boyfriend, both of whom greatly enjoyed the punishment.
'Right To Kill!' some arsehole shouted from the audience.
'We're the Australian Whitehouse,' I explained, 'we don't do Right To Kill, we've no truck with liberal rubbish about rights, if we wanna kill someone, we just do it. Besides, you must be familiar with Bordiga's left-communist critique of democracy. Only liberal do-gooders have any time for wishy-washy platitudes about human rights!'
'But I thought you were a tribute band, I wanna hear....' the moron wailed.
I whacked the twat over the head with my mike stand and that shut him up. In fact, it knocked him unconscious. My assistants span I'm Coming Up Your Ass, while through the PA I ordered the Bullshitter to give his girlfriend the rear entry treatment. As the two upper class twits got to it, I kicked them about a bit more and yelled several dozen obscenities. Half-way through the song, a member of the audience leapt on stage, pulled a .45 from his coat and shot the two literary masochists at point-blank range. Then the rogue grabbed a microphone and announced that he was 'the British Son Of Sam' before proceeding to masturbate into MacClot's mouth. As the song ground to a halt, the mass murder groupie ran from the club and into the street. He was a hard act to follow and although My Cock's On Fire next was next on the set list, I decided Death Penalty would be more appropriate, so we went with that.

A recording of Home reading this story can be found in the audio section of this site.

Fiction by Stewart Home

Stewart Home with pram

Stewart Home 'dislikes literary bores...'