We again join the Venerable Society of Art Rock, meeting in progress. Chairman Bowie begins to speak. “Well lads, we’ve all finished listening to your second album, Open Season. What have you to say for yourselves?”
“What do you mean?” questions Yan, British Sea Power’s frontman.
Bowie remains silent, glaring with his oversized pupil. The rest of the society stare as well.
Yan tries to guess at their meaning, “If you don’t like it we simply don’t care. We’re quite satisfied with how the album turned out. It’s more focused and mature than our first. We might be foregoing the punky yelps and aggressive style, but we make up for it in great songwriting with depth and expansiveness. Rather than make the same album over again, we took what we liked out of our earlier songs like `Fear of Drowning’ and `The Lonely’ and expanded upon them. So, as I said, if you don’t like it, we don’t care. If we’re out, we’re out. We’ll be back. After all, you took Morrissey back.”
“I shouldn’t have been out in the first place…”
“Steven!” snapped Bowie.
The gathering glared again, waiting for Yan to continue.
“We’re also not sorry that we nicked from all of you.”
Eyebrows raise all around the room, and on the satellite feed.
“That’s right. We nicked from you. So what? You,” Yan says, pointing at Ian McCulloch, “we took quite a bit from your band — your angular guitars and gloomy outlook. We listened to Ocean Rain a lot as kids and sure, we nicked your style. Just listen to our first song, `It Ended On An Oily Stage’ and then the second song, `Be Gone,’ it’s bloody obvious. And you,” he continues, pointing at Bowie, “we love your showmanship. Where do you think we got the idea for the birds and peasants and branches all over the stage, eh? Then we mixed it up with the abandon and destruction that you used to embody,” Yan says, now pointing at John Lydon. He then looks back at Bowie and at Brian Eno who is oddly sitting in a very low chair next to him, with Bowie using Eno’s balding head as an armrest. “If you two hadn’t have made `Heroes’ then maybe none of this would have happened. Did you ever think of that?” Yan starts to circle the table. He rests his hands on a vacant chair and gets a choke in his voice. “Yeah, we even nicked from him. And why not? When you steal, you should steal from the best right? Everybody does it! Bloody hell, all of you stole stuff! Bowie,” he says, then stops with David’s intense and accusing scowl, “I mean, Mr. Chairman, you stole from Marc Bolan. Ian, you stole from Jim Morrison. Blast it, even Mr. Rotten here nicked stuff from the Who. We’re all thieves, all of us. So no, I’m not sorry. We play good music. We love what we do and we do it well. `Please Stand Up,’ `To Get to Sleep,’ `Victorian Ice’ and `Oh Larsen B’ are some of the best songs we’ve ever done. We haven’t gone soft, we’ve gone brilliant, that’s what. I said it once and I’ll say it again. We don’t need your approval. So you can all stop staring, we’ll find our way out.”
“Yan!” shouts Bowie.
The foursome turn around. Bowie stares a moment longer, then smiles. “We just wanted to ask you how you made such a smacking good record…that’s all. Paranoid wankers.”
“You liked it?” stammers Yan.
“We loved it you pillock! Now run off and finish preparing dinner. Frank Black’s coming over tonight so be sure to make enough.”
“You’re all terrible,” Iggy Pop says over the monitor to the English faction.
“Yes, I know,” Bowie replies and then starts to laugh, “remember when we made Steven cry before we took him back?”
Both groups laugh hysterically. “I’m right here,” a small voice says.
Echo & the Bunnymen- Echo & the Bunnymen
Joy Division- Closer
David Bowie- “Heroes”