Three Imaginary Scenarios to Accompany The Fall’s “The Classical”

by Jeremy Simon ’19

I’m pretty sure that “The Classical” comes from outer space. I don’t know if it’s the good kind of extraterrestrial discovery — the type that liberates us from confusion and disorder — or if it’s the kind that mutates our babies and destroys our crops.  The first song on what was supposed to be the Fall’s final album, Hex Enduction Hour, its fluid, unstoppable bass-line and dueling percussion serve as a chaotic backdrop for Mark E. Smith’s rambling lyrics (lyrics that, rumor has it, prevented the Fall from getting signed by a major label). The following are three imaginary scenarios designed to enhance your listening experience.

(1) Walker enters the playpen with nothing to lose. Vicky (fellow kindergarten classmate and potential love interest) looks longingly at him, her duck-like facial features lit up in response to his five-year-old swagger. Joey, the perennial kingpin of this Chuck E. Cheese, surrounded by a couple of goons a year or two older (Walker can’t be bothered to remember their names), stands up to recognize the arrival of another alpha, another adventuresome youngster who already reads comics and drinks soda. Walker, in a moment of inspired courage somewhat sparked by the onlooking Vicky, pulls out a pistol-shaped blue-orange squirt gun from his back pocket and nails Joey right in the eye, causing Joey to fall flat on his back into the ocean of multicolored balls. At first Joey’s goons are flustered and don’t know what to do, but when he yells at them to avenge him Walker is already being carried off by Chuck E. Cheese employees and he (Walker) is hardly resisting as they drag him out of the pen. But when he passes Vicky, who’s been absorbed the whole time, he shoots her a wink, which up until now he didn’t even know he could do.

(2) Jimmy Fallon is reclining by an infinity pool, sipping a mimosa. All of a sudden a mid-level, recently divorced professional golfer appears out of nowhere and takes a nine-iron to his jaw, catapulting Fallon’s teeth right out of his nationally approved smile. Our hero the golfer – momentarily relieved of his existential plight – looks off into the sky and sees a helicopter looming near. The helicopter lands and the golfer merrily approaches, swinging his club around in his right hand, his left jingling a few of Fallon’s teeth. As the helicopter takes off, the golfer, overcome with the glee of finally expressing himself, blind to the extraordinary luck of the unexepected arrival of a helicopter, decides to also take a swing at the pilot, knocking him unconscious and sending the helicopter into a haywire downspiral right into Fallon’s cozy Beverly Hills mansion. The world becomes a better place.

(3) An incredibly skinny, large-headed purple alien has landed on earth and is holding a press conference attended by a bunch of scientists. After a long line of tedious questioning, the alien is asked about his impression of human beings as a species. The alien, who has answered all of the previous questions without hesitation, now seems genuinely confused. After something like thirty seconds of flat silence, it answers: “The thing is, it’s quite simple – life, as human beings know it, is rancid shit, interminable darkness. You waste precious time feeling around in this smelly darkness, trying to find a love that doesn’t even exist. If I were a human, I would spend the entirety of my life trying to compress myself into the smallest space possible. That is all.” The alien then smiles for the first time and vanishes into thin air.

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