Homemade Parachute words are to literature as process cheese is to five-year-old cheddar: rich and calorie-laden, quick ’n’ easy, and oh-so-tasty. Add a dollop of mustard or relish and make sandwiches out of ’em. Are you perhaps getting a little peckish? We thought so.
How Derek Fairbridge’s Phonograph Sheath Came To Be
Many people have not asked how the ’Chute became so fortunate as to work with Mr. Derek Kingston Fairbridge, but some people have, and to save ourselves the laborious task of endlessly repeating the details over the telegraph, we share them here with you, and only you, our favourite audient.
One of the direst consequences of postmodernism is the demise of the notion, the “concept”, if you would, of a singular, objective truth. Truth has become provisional and personal, tying perspective, ideology, and belief into observations and considerations of the physical world. Every utterance, every attempt at establishing “the” truth relegates that truth to “a” truth, one of many, and one that may be supplanted at any moment.
Be that as it may, Homemade Parachute is confident in categorically stating that the truth is, an artist of Derek Kingston Fairbridge’s stature and renown comes along only once, or at most two or three times, in a lifetime, and the opportunities to work with such an indescribably creative force come along even fewer than that. Mr. Fairbridge himself, of course, requires no introduction: youngsters all over this nation hum his melodically hummable melodies, his tunefully apparent diddies and tunes, as they mow the lawn, paint fences and deliver newspapers in the crisp lemony pale dawn light of the new day, break telephone boxes and perform skateboard tricks of increasingly complex sophistication. Bank managers have been seen, and in some cases recorded on surveillance camera, air-banjoing his hits while transferring obscenely large sums of money from the vault to the armored car; housewives, and some househusbands, have been known to swoon when the latest Fairbridge ditty catches them unawares as it pops onto the radio station; his back catalogue has been banned from most operating theaters and dental surgeries in the Dominion, as it proves too distracting, too upbeat, in these attention-intensive and necessarily grim workplaces. Considering his great fame, a fame so incomparable the word “fame” does it an injustice, to be even longlisted on a long list of design candidates Mr. Fairbridge is considering perusing is such an honour, it would have been noted on the front page of our humble Refulgent Circular. To be shortlisted, culled from that great long list of inspirational artistic icons and placed on a short list that Mr. Fairbridge’s handlers promised he would read and consider before the ten o’clock news, is such an indescribable honour that we can really say no more about it.
So while you might think you can imagine our surprise, our sublimely stunned, ineffably transcendent shock at the news that Mr. Fairbridge had dispensed with the long-list and the shortlist altogether, and had decided, without recourse to the marketing agencies, talent scouts, operatives and financial wizards in his employ, to come directly to Homemade Parachute and request our services, another truth we are utterly confident in imparting is that, frankly, you can’t.
...the likelihood is that your life has, or will shortly have, enough tragedy in it already that you need not despair at the thought of our greatest triumph...
You just can’t. And let that be no tragedy in your life, let that not keep you up at night, unable to sleep, unable to count sheep for the sheer glorious sadness of it, that you cannot be part of that wonderful moment when we heard that we, and we alone, would be assembling the outer packaging for Mr. Fairbridge’s latest long-player, “Slow Down”. No, the likelihood is that your life has, or will shortly have, enough tragedy in it already that you need not despair at the thought of our greatest triumph and how you yourself as an individual were not involved. For in truth, again, you were involved, as no artist of this era, with the possible and potential exception of Mr. Alan Hoffman, whom we dream of often, has come so close to fully documenting the human condition, yours as well as ours as well as everybody’s, as Mr. Fairbridge, and as there would be no human condition without humanity, and you, assuming you are who and what you say you are, are a part of humanity, so too your life and its experiences are encapsulated in Mr. Fairbridge’s music, and so too are your lives and experiences and hopes and dreams a part, if a small one, still a crucial one, of the packaging that surrounds the music. Perhaps your life is seen in the tragi-comic metaphor of the tin motorcyclist, whether driver or passenger; perhaps the existentialist angst that keeps you up an night when others are dreaming softly is brutally, inescapably expressed in the blurry, unendingly granular roadside underneath the song listing; possibly even, your relationship to the boy or girl (or both) sleeping softly beside you this very evening is eloquently explored and artfully expressed in the space between the “d” and the “g” in Mr. Fairbridge’s name on the front of the sheath; maybe even, and we cannot honestly think this a stretch, as we’ve felt it ourselves, really, the door handle on the car door on the car underneath the list of the many fine and beautiful and melodically harmonious collaborators who, not to deflect for an instant from Mr. Fairbridge’s singular genius, have added some detail, some wistful harmony, some tuneful melody of their own to this sprightly collection of instant hits—where does that car door lead, and where might that car lead, and whose door might it drive up to? Might it be yours? And what it might be delivering: roses, pizza, a lover, a collection agent, or some wonderful yet perverse combination of all? And where might that car be taking you, if you get in? To the airport, to a comic book store, to a hospital, to a new life that is well and truly your own?
How Waltz Darling’s Electro-Shill Came To Be
Local bad-boys Waltz Darling, banjo-pickers extraordinaire, asked if we could assist them in their propagandistic endeavours, and of course we affirmed that it was, for the right price.
...waifs, orphans, cripples, fops and layabouts...
Modern industrial society has a long and honourable history of a Philanthropick Tradition, a Tradition of those with Power, Money, and Influence providing to those with none of these, or, at best, meager amounts, amounts so meager they can be more or less considered, for the sake of this any pretty much any other discussion, to not exist, to be a “null” amount, as it were, and those with miniscule amounts of these valued qualities may indeed sit comfortably,- or as comfortable as one can with no measurable, or virtually no measurable, degree of said Power, Money, or Influence, which is to say most likely not very comfortably at all, rather uncomfortably, as it will likely turn out, or we’ve heard from those far less fortunate than ourselves,- but not so far away from those with exactly no Power, Money, etc., and within this Tradition, Homemade Parachute has always been proud to be at the vanguard of those who, having a vast stockpile of Power etc. themselves, are free to offer their time, services, energy and work-units of all kinds, not to mention cognition and Intellectual Property, to those without, pitiful yet pitiable charitable causes,-orphans, waifs, musicians, artists, educational institutions and the like-and no cause has, to date, been more of a charity case than Waltz Darling, waifs, orphans, cripples, fops and layabouts, the grubby lot of them, whose soul, if probably vain, hope for Redemption lies in their singing minstrelsy, their melodious caterwauling, their ability to wax lyrically on a subject which, if not precisely poetical in Mr. Wordsworth’s defining, none-the-less is of more than passing interest, interest to those of us, here at the ’Chute, always on the look-out for new avenues of expression and coercion, new means of propagating our own causes under the guise of “helping the poor” or “constructing a logo-mark”.
How Alan Hoffman’s Poster Came To Be
Homemade Parachute has always been delighted to be only the third member of Team Hoffman, after the Artist Mr. Alan A. Hoffman himself and his agent/manager Mrs. Peggy Hoffman. So when the Artist was preparing his new solo show “Boys and Girls Welcome!”, it was both natural yet still a privilege to be invited to contribute towards the show’s identity through a combination poster and catalogue.
As resplendently colourful as the Artist Alan Hoffman’s photography-based conceptual artworks are, it seemed an insurmountable obstacle at the very beginning of this project to even attempt to reproduce their full-spectrum glory in miniaturized state. The finest six-colour press in the Empire was inspected, and ultimately deemed “unacceptable” for the task at hand. Considering the hours upon hours that the Artist puts into the creation of just a single image, with the location research and photography, detailed environmental analysis and survey, not to mention emotional and ambient experience data gathering, overseeing the construction of elaborate scale models by a team of dozens back at Factory Hoffman, and final photography of these painstakingly-recreated dioramas, compromising the quality of the images in any reproductive process would not be tolerated by either the Artist, his manager/agent, or the design team. As is often the case, a solution from the past presented itself.
...A number of fine ruling pens were inked up...
Once it was decided to use descriptions of the Artist’s work, rather than unfaithful reproductions of the work itself, a nationwide contest was held for submissions. Thousands poured in from all corners of the country, from Cornerbrook Newfoundland to Flin Flon Manitoba: famous poets, beloved historians, bored housewives and children as young as four all sent in their detailed and wildly accurate descriptions and occasionally desperately emotional responses to the Artist’s work. While the design team selected the winning entries, it fell to the Artist and his agent/manager to sign the many rejection letters required to let the nation down gently; many of these rejection letters are now fetching a high price on eBay.com, although they are not technically classed as “Hoffman originals”. Towards the end, the design team itself was called in to forge the Artist’s signature on some letters, and while these incidents of strained or unrecognizable Hoffman autographs have been classified as “authentic variants”, and often earn a higher selling fee, they are in fact even further removed from the Artist’s hand, and cannot be deemed any more than half the value of an actual Hoffman autograph.
After the final selection of texts was selected, compiled, edited and proofread, the design team switched into high gear; for authenticity’s sake, each letter in each of the hundreds of words that make up the poster was cut out from the back of used cereal boxes, and carefully pasted into place with either Elmer’s Glue-All or rubber cement, depending on relative humidity and confidence in the final edit of the letter in question—over eleven-hundred hours of backbreaking and eye-squinting labour tallied in the paste-up stage. A number of fine ruling pens were inked up and used to draw the dashed lines marking cuts and folds in the poster—this step alone required over fourteen hours, the last nine in one sitting, due to the intricacy of the lines and the necessity of holding each of the dashes to a uniform and Artist-approved length. Some small details like the pictograms and instructions for assembly were added, and the the final was sent off to the printer for rapid delivery in time for the show’s opening.
All in all, the poster for Alan Hoffman’s “Boys and Girls Welcome!” as an enormous, simply enormous success. Additional copies may be ordered from the Artist at www.alanhoffman.com. Homemade Parachute has been and continues to be proud of its association with this exceptionally talented Young National Treasure, and looks forward to a long and fruitful career at the vanguard of Team Hoffman.
The Curse of the Cursed Pant Leg
Our prize-losing entry in the Matador Records Jon Spencer Blues Explosion contest, we were given the task of writing a short horror story using the phrase “Jon Spencer Blues Explosion” and at least six of the twelve song titles on the JSBX long-player. Well, minimum requirements should always be multiplied by 10, and so we worked in a few more song titles from the long and arduous career of the ’BX, eventually getting over 69 (that would be “70” to you marketing types) song titles, album titles, and the obligatory mention of the band; and we present this novelty in the hopes that reading it will give you the headache we got in writing it.
“Hold on,” I said, tumbling over and over, and, looking at me, she said, “From my point of view, you’ve got a mean heart, you wolf killer,” and although the blood had barely dried on my manly chest, I had to reply, “Killer wolf, maybe, baby, but not a wolf killer, I’m just a little sweet ’n’ sour down in the beast, you know what I mean, I mean, hey, how ’bout gettin a whiff of my pant leg?” “Is that the history of sex with you,” she sighed, “crypt style?” “Wait a minute,” I said, eyeballin’ her, “I wanna make it all right – here, have some bacon.” “Bernie,” she said, “I know that’s no bacon, I saw you attack that chicken dog, down low there in the ditch, I heard it wail like a greyhound, look, it’s all sticky with your sweat, the sweat of the blues explosion.” “Give me a chance,” I stuttered, “I just can’t stop, not yet, mother nature’s got me in a soul trance, I’m desperate....” “I’m a little confused,” she admitted, “I know that’s no plastic fang you got there under that afro, I just feel like we’re in the right place at the wrong time.” “Biological–” I said, “that’s just the feeling of love, baby.” “You’re acting like a midnight creep,” she said, her yellow eyes turning orange. “Dang.” “Good comeback, you skunk. You think it’s so very rare to be a cowboy who thinks he’s such a lovin’ machine?” “Honey,” I said, “I’m not askin’ you to support a man, but I’d love to write a song for you, if you’d just get over here.” “About that pant leg of yours, god, it’s so ’78 style....You keepin’ that all to yourself?” “Look, I know we don’t always see eye to eye, and sure, maybe I’ve changed, but it’s a big road we’re on, we could dissect this all night, and all it would do is torture us. I’m feelin’ the electricity I felt when we were back on Maynard Ave, and it’s just been a vacuum of loneliness ever since, I just wanna get old with you, I don’t care about the money, rock ’n’ roll, or the history of lies, I just want you to love all of me.” “You know, this tastes a bit like a chicken dog.” “I thought its flavour was mo’ chicken-let’s get funky.” “Damn you and your history of lies,” she spat through clenched teeth, “I can’t resist you and your magical colors-” She dug her nails into my jon spencer blues explosion, and I yelped “Hey mom! watch what you’re doin’ with my buscemi!”