We are haunted by the clarion call for a post-mortem of last Thursday night’s Bell End happening. Haunted as in the song of the same name. Y’know, Sinead O’Connor soars over the first verse as if she was the Angel Gabriel Transgender:
Do you remember that sunny day
Somewhere in London
In the middle of nowhere?
Didn’t have nothing to do that day
Didn’t want to do nothing anyway
A single hammer-blow on the drum. In careens Shane MacGowan, growling, snarling like a poisoned squirrel cadaver the dog ate and threw up on the deep shag in a council house somewhere on the outskirts of Doncaster. It’s like Uncle Seamus shat last night’s lamb rogan josh all over the freshly combed hair of Aled Jones.
Coming round from Thursday has, I’m afraid, proved more difficult than anticipated. We can all testify that it was a happening but … anybody know what actually happened? We’re trying to get a handle on it, adjust back to life on earth. But we need help. Sifting through the shifting, gelatinous blob of recollection is causing repeated stabbing pains behind the eyes. And still it resists comprehension; slithers away like a jellied eel in the palm of a child on the beach at Morecambe. Ordinarily, the task of documenting all things Bell Ended involves taking the relatively mundane and gonzo-spackling it into something straddling Jean Genet, Bel Canto opera and a visit to the proctologist on mescaline. But this one is proving impervious to the usual rococo hyperbole. Maybe because its mesoderm is already studded with mescaline?
Act I Scene i, (in dumbshow). Lights up dimly to reveal chorus of huddled underlings shuffling giant table six feet to the right. Exeunt. Enter Lisa Candela in full Manson Family Matriarch costume. Takes matches, newspaper and Bovina logs, lights crackling fire in grate, thus kippering the premises. Exits left, with 275 tea lights, 20 Camel regulars, a box of matches and the lyric sheet of Rhiannon. Enter Andrea Gentl, shuffling, witchy. Pours 6 bottles of Bluecoat into a giant steel bowl. Adds lashings of artesanal upstate ginger beer (courtesy Mike McGregor), fistfuls of fresh ginger. Sprinkles heavily with juniper dust and a wheelbarrow of ice. Exits right, cackling. Enter Marc Hundley dressed as Elf. Into an adjoining steel bowl pours 6 bottles of Centinela Reposado, 3 bottles of Harlequin and jugloads of fresh lime juice. Another barrow of ice. Moves upstage, behind scenery, fiddles with himself. Enter Andrea Gentl, muttering incantations. Pours 5 bottles of Bluecoat into still another huge steel bowl. Adds handmade concord grape concentrate, elderberry jam and yes, a barrow of ice. Exits. Enter Travis Kinsella, unsteady, slurring. Adds one more bottle of Bluecoat, sniggers, exits. Enter Henrik Knudsen, Danish, mathematical. Sloshes 8 bottles of Old Overholt, 3 bottles of Giulio Cocchi into fourth steel bowl. Pulls magic ingredient from under gaberdine raincoat … Cynar? Absinthe? Orange peel? Anusol? Tosses it in. Exits left, snorting like a hyena. Lights to full. Enter chorus from left and right and rear and through auditorium, like the town square scene from La Bohème. All are lining their intestines with great gobbets of Shepherds Pie, Chicken Bacon and Leek Pie, Beef Bourguignon Pie and French Canadian Secteur de Marquis de Sade a la Rob Howard. The first 50 carry Bell End engraved goblets, the rest CostCo ribbed plastic beakers. They advance upon the four giant, steel bowls and begin ladling themselves fizzing concoctions with giddy abandon. Two take to the piano, one to the double-bass, and thus begins a ceaseless, rolling, rousing honky-tonk.
Enter six-foot elf with two-foot pointy hat, curly-toed slippers and long, wet, warm, tongue. He moves through the chorus, licking, licking. Enter slurring, cursing, wet-eyed Irish Santa with grizzled beard, cradling lager. Rips off his seasonal tunic, tosses it offstage, revealing stained undershirt and suspenders over deeply distended gut. Breaks wind loudly, belches. Enter doddering, ancient warlock, sporting mistletoe hat fashioned from twisted coathanger, plastic leaves and twin decorative balls. Grasps attractive member of chorus by both cheeks, kissing her full on the mouth. She recoils in horror, goes in search of disinfectant. Warlock proceeds to next attractive chorus member. Action and reaction repeat and persist for several hours.
Perhaps it suffices that we attempt an initial list of attendees, in tag form beneath this post, as far as can be remembered. We are aware that it is severely truncated. The core of it is culled from a list in Selwyn’s journal entitled ‘must remember to kiss'; the contents of which are easily guessed. Please message us if you were there but are not here, are here but were not there, know somebody who was there but isn’t here, wish you were there but weren’t, wish to God you hadn’t been there but were; or indeed if you rather never again be mentioned in the same breath as Bell Fucking End. Or actually if you were the one threatening to call the police or one of the two who did. Or if you were the young man grinding the young lady in the Very Hungry Caterpillar bedroom (your caterpillar did indeed seem hungry). Or the crowd of reprobates and foreigners doing something untoward with Santa’s hat and a dinner plate in the Curious George bedroom. Or the one dragging the Licking Elf by his hat through your legs on the sidewalk. Or the naughty Elf, the tiny one with the glittery hat. Or the piano player or the bass player. But in the meantime, lovely to see you all, and thank you for being an integral part of our weeklong ruin. Tags away, darlings.