Bad Gas And Forts

I was about to begin tippy-tapping a piece entitled Bad Gas And Forts, with no clear idea in what direction it might go, nor of much beyond the title itself, when it struck me how many years, indeed decades, that phrase has been lodged in the pea-sized yet pulsating Key cranium.

Sometimes I wonder if all the main lineaments of my prose were present in my teenage, indeed pre-teenage, brain.

There was a time, in the seventies, when I created, on paper, a number of bands. These being the days before punk, my phantom line-ups included players of the cello and bassoon and theremin as well as guitar, bass and drums. I devised album and track titles and liner notes – much as I have done in recent years for Vril, to my continuing astonishment – and wrote record and concert reviews. Weirdly, I don’t think anyone ever read these teeming pages of an alternative musical universe except me… and I wonder if indeed I ever read them (as opposed to writing them) myself. Doubly phantom, then, unread words of an unreal world.

Nearly everything I wrote between the ages of eight and, oh, twenty-two or twenty-three is lost, swept away and gone. Some of it may even have been burned. This is probably a good thing. I suspect I would not be the only one to cringe at some of the adolescent twaddle.

And yet, every so often,  fragments from the past come twinkling to the fore, such as, from 1973 or thereabouts, the invented album by an invented band whose invented name I can no longer recall. The album was entitled Bad Gas And Forts, and it was a masterpiece.

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