Trainwreck / Raincheck

by Simon Bookish

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about

Floating, digital ambient music and sinister passages of spoken word, the second Simon Bookish album betrays its origins in transcriptions of dreams.

Initially intended as an "electronic radio play", the album's non-linear narrative is fixated on vivid images of transportation: a sinking cruise liner, a spectral train, a 'disappointing' spaceship and ultimately a breathlessly calm Boeing 747.

Sometimes hilarious, sometimes haunting, always disorientating, Trainwreck/Raincheck is dominated by the sounds of Casio CZ and Yamaha DX synthesizers, processed bells, tuned percussion and all the kitchen utensils.

The album was presented as a "surreal cabaret" in solo performances across Europe, in both art galleries and concert venues.

credits

released September 1, 2007

written, performed and recorded by Leo Chadburn
artwork by Leafcutter John
photography by Vicki Churchill

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about

Simon Bookish London, UK

Leo Chadburn AKA Simon Bookish is a composer of experimental and 'avant-pop' music, vocalist, writer, serial collaborator with visual artists and dweller in London, UK.

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Track Name: Theme (Mercator Projection)
...
Track Name: Crab Lawn
Standing on the gravelled approach to a country manor, looking out over the verdant lawn. I find my body has become infested with lice-type insects. They crawl all over me, but I am neither panicked nor disgusted.

The lice are growing very rapidly and after a while they have become so large and heavy that they can no longer cling to me and fall off onto the lawn. They continue to grow, eventually becoming bona fide crabs, in the marine sense of the word. Although they have the deep orange-red colour of cooked crabs, they are very much alive, several hundred of them, scuttling around my feet. I realise that I should tread on them all, and do so, one by one. As I stamp on each crab, it explodes in a spurt of...

'Toffee Sauce'

After a while they are all dead and the lawn is bit of a mess.
I feel neither happy nor sad.
Track Name: Invasion
So, it could have been Berlin, I suppose, or perhaps a large city in the North of England. Wherever it was meant to be, it exuded a particular kind of familiar greyness.

When the alien spaceships arrived, no one seemed especially surprised, although the crowd did coo with some admiration at the massiveness of the vessels and the gracefulness with which they arced gently and exceedingly swiftly in and out of the atmosphere. They swung across the skyline as if suspended on strings, 'Devil amongst the tailors', two at a time, maybe eight in all, each one gleaming chrome, insect-shaped, miles across and utterly silent.

This fly-by was following by a sort of ceremonial landing/invasion. As the final ship slowly descended, it's angular edges allowed it to land flush against the surrounding skyscrapers, like the final piece of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.

The walls of the spaceship then concertinaed out magnificently, forming an instant chrome railway line on which the aliens trundled out in a little wooden tram.

...spindly grey anthropomorphic bodies, big, bald egg-heads, beady eyes, disgruntled, puckered little mouths...

This anticlimactic entrance, coupled with the alien's unexpectedly cliched appearance caused the crowd to erupt into cruel, mocking laughter.
Track Name: Dwarf Documentary
I hide in a log cabin with a large groups of strangers. We don't know what's outside, but it's making us pretty nervous.

Channel Four make a terrible fuss of appointing a dwarf to present all of their children's programmes. He turns out to be really rather good, exceptionally engaging and handsome. A long-term documentary of his life is commissioned.

I go to the park, it's very bright and looks like plastic, like a cartoon. The grass is very green and the sky is very blue. The ducks have left a lot of duck shit all over a little island in the river. I sit on the grass and explain to George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld how ducks stand on one leg to avoid getting shit on both feet. They're very interested and ask me to demonstrate.

I go to the supermarket and buy weird fluffy toys for my little brother. They all have ineffectual little limbs, grey threadbare fur, irregular numbers of eyes and ears. I am delighted that the supermarket stocks them since I know that my brother has real-life creatures like this living in his backyard.

I wander about barefoot in the duck shit then feel guilty because I promised my friends in the log cabin that I wouldn't talk to George Bush. And now I have.

The dwarf on Channel Four has become very old. He resembles a miniature Edith Sitwell, with his headscarf and sunken cheeks and is apparently now an iconic figure in the art world. He has been asked to appear on the catwalk show of Vivienne Westwood's new collection and Channel Four are covering the event for the documentary, naturally.

My father and I have a ridiculously melodramatic argument. We're both like Lawrence Olivier doing Greek tragedy, all flailing arms and accusatory eyes. The lighting is suitably stark: we're spot-lit from below.

All the clothes are black and yellow, striking geometric patterns on enormous angular outfits. Westwood explains to the cameras that if she can see the faces of the people in the audience she gets nervous, so everyone has had to come wearing an animal head over their evening wear.

The camera pans out for the last shot.
Track Name: A Deception (Municipal Mix)
I have somehow conned the administration of the Trainwreck into believing that I am qualified to operate a train. My ruse was to visit the head office each day and just walk in and sit down in a room which I decided was 'my office', although it more closely resembles a dirty cupboard. I am able to convince them because I am extra, extra friendly to the man who sits at the security gate. I wave and shout in a cockney accent, "alwight Charlie!" and he smiles, opens the gate and lets me in.

On the train itself I am enjoying 'my job' very much. My lack of training, however, means I do not have the special key to open the doors automatically, so people are having difficulty getting in and out. Fortunately, since the train drives itself, I don't have much else to worry about and I chat away to the passengers, who are fooled by my blue uniform and hat. Two women have no tickets and I explain that they will be subject to an on-the-spot fine. I then realise that I do not possess a little book to issue a fine from, so pretend I'm being benevolent and let them off.

Back in my office. But I am worried. The managers are on my case and are waiting for me to slip up. Someone's been rifling through my files. My suspicions are confirmed when I fling open the door and find my yacht has been taken away (a yacht being a perk of the job). I wander away from the office and everything becomes calm. Outside is a long, verdant lagoon, with weeping willows by the water and thick green moss underfoot. In the distance is a house on an island. People are slowly swimming around it.
Track Name: En Bateau
En bateau
On Board
A luxury yacht or a cruise liner
Out in the sun
Cheerful
With rails all around
Enclosing the deck
Walls so high
So the sea is not visible

The Captain comes out onto the deck
White beard, uniform
Faux-pirate 'Ah-ha, me hearties!'

Steps out from a flimsy pair of French windows

"There is no need for alarm, everyone must go inside urgently."

Everyone files in
We mill about
In a large, low ceiling-ed 'observation deck'
It seems to be made
From cardboard
It might even be a film set
You demand to know what's going on

The Captain explains, for what seems like hours
With diagrams, flip-charts: a lecture with overhead projections,

"We are about to perform a common nautical proceedure known as 'Pairs'"

"As we submerge a smaller vessel hitches a ride... piggy-back style"

As the explanation ends the windows begin to fill up with a bright blue liquid. You stand up in the middle of the crowded room and shout at the top of your voice...
Track Name: Translation #78
...
Track Name: Interview
I find myself
in an imposing boardroom
lined in oak
for a job interview

On the long table in front of me
is a sheaf of papers
I rummage through

(I) come across a brief, a job description
but haven't time to read further
as the door opens

The interviewer turns out to be
the raincheck
ex-prime minister

She sits down next to me
I forget who she is
immediatedly

The questions she asks are very vague
I forget them too
I mumble vague responses

Question 10 is very clear:

"Leo, which British monarch do you most identify with, and why?"

I reply, with conviction,

"(Qu)ee(n) Victoria"

I lied, I am very embarrassed. Before I can apologise, The raincheck gets up and leaves the room. She is obviously upset by my tactless insult.
Track Name: Arborescences
A weird little train on the dock
(surprise, surprise)
Hot with financial activity
(automated)
The world's slowest, dullest rollercoaster

Routes creeping out like mineral arborescences
Track Name: Houseboats
Vivid architecture
An enormous university
Vast domed ceilings
Huge, tiled resonant halls
15 story high towers in ornately-laid red brick
Minarets, labyrinths and oubliettes
In utter disorientation
Wheeling a library trolley
Visiting a series of strange sunken houseboats
Grey mists
Men and women
Sinking slowly
Track Name: Theme (Peters Projection)
...
Track Name: Long Haul
(195 ft 8 inch wing)
Above the cloud: the weather perfect in perpetuity

(175.3 cubic meter cargo)
Food in a tray: re-heated to fake gourmet

(9,800 km range)
Forever never lingered as quickly

(Rolls-Royce RB211-524B2 engines)
No blade or flame: we're immortal in the cabin

(Typically cruising at Mach 0.84 at 35,000 feet)
The air tightens and we drop through altocumulus