Being part of Frankie & The Heartstrings is essentially an unwritten agreement to strap yourself to a precariously swinging pendulum. Swinging from the unexpected highs that life never seems to set a sustainable president for and the kind of lows only the afflicted, damned and Sting could hope to imagine. The ticking of every day erodes the fine line between wanting to hold, love and care for these curious little shits and the primal need to beat upon them with whatever flesh and bone I have left. I can afford myself this metaphorical folly because I think deep down we all feel the same way about each other. 5 aggravating best friends. Retarded geniuses playing at a different life for a while. So what better way of degrading the people I love, than by dissecting their musical projection. We have been asked to put together a mix-tape for The Line Of Best Fit. We did, it is our job and a pleasure it is too. Sometimes it isn’t a job.
Mix tapes have almost became Peter Kay territory. The type of conversation raised amongst people of a certain of age (me) at uncomfortable get togethers. Wankers throw around words like ‘romance’, ‘tactile’ and ‘earnest’ with such ease that they almost seem to forget that they in fact a massive cunt who needs to get so far away from me that they are in the space I’ve reserved for Sting, Collins and Thatcher. My own private middle earth. Cassettes were just retro Smartphone covers waiting to happen. Of course you think I’m wrong, i am often wrong, but allow me to explain. Before my wife was lucky enough to meet me and trick me into marrying her I did, (rather unbelievably given the gift of hindsight) manage to entrap other women, some of which I enjoyed months of coitus and others that actually made good on their restraining order pillow talk. One such pig faced swine was lucky enough to underwhelm me enough that I felt inclined to put together a mix tape. An extension of what it was to be me. A chance to make this silly shitflap remark about how sensitive I was. And drop bullshit bombs like “why have I not heard this”. All part of fooling yourself that you are in love. So I start. I select a cassette that had already been abused by a ‘friend’. A cassette lovingly fucked up with Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Obviously I’m above that grebo nothingness so I hadn’t made the 3 yard journey to my combined stereo system to invoke more hate. It was to be the new home for my special gift to a not to special one. The cassette to tick the boxes that I wanted ticking. The mix to make pig faced lady talk to her friends about me so they would look at me in a different way even when I had wet my pants whilst drunk.
3 hours, 2 plugged cassette (do not record over) holes, a lot of pausing and selection of running orders in……and it with a clunk, click…….it was done. In its plastic hinged home and primed for presentation to this unassuming swine in waiting. I don’t recall what was on that cassette. I could guess because I was pretty much best friends with myself at the time and I was quite the pretentious cunt. Still am.
Madame Swine face would be allowed out of the sty of a Monday evening and we would meet in a local gin pit to push bullshit between one another across a filthy table, the occasional fruit fly for company. Bouncing towards the big shitty city on the 152 bus my inner monologue congratulated me to the point of smugness on that veracity of my creation. She had no idea that this gift was trundling its way to be thrust into her terrible terrible trotters.
We meet, we kiss, her snout pushed into my nose (If you have seen my nose you may be feeling that pot/kettle/black electricity, that’s your prerogative) we disembark for drinking house we always went to (I still do) and i am in a hurry to change her world. Almost upon entering I am ushering this tape towards her silly pork mittens and she’s grabbing at it like a tramp at a binjy!
Then things took a turn for the worse as this bacon faced bitch retorted with her own cassette. How fucking dare she piss on my chips.
The night whipped itself into a frenzy of nothing and we fell into our separate buses after the kiss, after the thank yous, after the see you soons, after the “I’m going to listen to this as soon as I get in”s.
Of course I was furious. But in particular I was angered because of the curiosity that this bag of chops had unleashed inside me. So I get home and I listen and I’m slightly sated as essentially its dogshit. So as you can imagine i am excited to exercise my superiority whether it be via meeting, text, pigeon, smoke signal or fucking telegram. Id have my time regardless. And I did, via phone, but not in the way I’d really thought about.
Now I do take an interest in music, it’s a shitting disease. But what I didn’t know much about was carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine. Why would I? They were Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. Another element I failed to take into account was the fact that cassettes deplete after being recorded over again, again and again. This results in old recordings, in some occasions, being present for a few seconds at the beginning of the cassette even when its has (seemingly) been erased from the history of this particular receptacle.
The phone call comes and the oinking and grunt commence. Only the grunts and punctuated with squeals and tears.
Like I established, I know very little of Carter..etc. I do know this………now. The album I recorded over begins with a delightful composition called Sheriff Fat Man. I’m not sure how pig girl managed to depress the play button upon her cassette played but apparently she did. The first thing she hears was not the beautiful, sentiment and pre-emptive knicker dropper for which I’d hoped. It was in fact a mantra of “You fat bastard” for about 5 seconds or so.
Despite what you may think I wasn’t happy with this outcome. This silly pig was supposed to be, well as happy as herself in shit.
To finish off this terrible and truthful tail, this is what happened. I got fat, I got dumped, I got skinny, we got back together, I got dumped, she married a friend we used to joke about because he was creepy and I fell in love and got married. I made a lot of mix tapes.
Now I’m in a band and we have made a mix tape. My choices are so amazing I can’t quite comprehend how much I would hate myself if I wasn’t me. Frankie, Michael, Mick and Dennis have also tried to do whatever it is they do. But it’s not on cassette. Which is probably a good thing.