The Trial of Norbert Fragg


Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 17:28:55 EST
From: Bknt at aol dot com
Subject: The Trial of Norbert Fragg
    We were shocked, shocked, to learn of the arrest of Norbert Fragg,
absteminal and now criminal guitarist and founder of that charming bunch of
fitful, fretful but in no way fretless prog hoppers, Qing Conniption. At a
scantly attended press conference at the venerable Oyld Angleesh hall of
justice, Stale Barley, officials representing the Office of the Inspectors of
Her Magesty's Effluent accused the not famous and not even infamous musician
of committing a "pattern of offensive offenses uncommonly common" pertaining
to the "writing,  recording and foisting" upon a gullible, partially
lobotomized public "dreary music" consisting of  "dismal and pathetic chord
sequences," "depressing, dark and unappealing dirges" with "confusing,
oblique, esoteric or meaningless titles" of a "possible titanic nature" in
10/16, 5/8. 20/32, or Howdy Doody Time.
    The assembled were then inflicted with a three and a half second sample
from "I'm So Bummed Out I'm Going to Make Art, Run It Up the Flagpole and See
if It Flies!" (lyrics by Mondrian Bayou) from the new Qing Conniption record,
the EruCKtation of Spite, after which a respected member of the music press
not named Garbarini quivered and quaked and clutched at herself while her
sister made a joke about her mental health.
    More shocking was that two ET'ers were called as witnesses in Fragg's
offense, which, according to the quaint rituals of English justice, required
them, when not answering questions,  to be bound, gagged and imprisoned in a
wicker cage that would be set afflame by a bewigged incompetent if Fragg was
found innocent.
    Excerpts from the transcript, found in the jammed paper dustbin attached
to the Stale Barley photocopying machine, follow:

Honorable Lord Justice Fantod Wigglesworth: "Mr. Fragg,  this pattern of
yours has been traced to your first recording, The Inimitable Slag of Piles,
Piles and Fragg, in which you appear in a photograph that, when rubbed with a
solution of down market instant coffee and badly steamed milk, reveals the
words aHoy, hoy,' a vile Kabbalistic chant attributed to Hermes
Thrice-ridiculous. Did you believe, even for a minute, that Her Magesty's
Inspectors would let you could get away with such sordidly morbid
mumbo-jumbo?"

Sir Planks Constant, for Mr. Fragg: That was only in the specially printed
American edition, your Lordship, and all five copies of which were specially
printed in the expectation of vast and effortless profit, a generous portion
of which, your Lordship, would have been paid to Inland Revenue, if the
recordings hadn't been purchased in error and used as shotgun targets by a
right-wing militia notable for their imaginative violence and eccentric sense
of humor. (What was that? Mr. Fragg, t you're not permitted to speak in these
proceedings but if seek my attention you'll have to...What was that? Fudge?
They caught you licking fudge? What does that have to do with easy money?)

Sir Avagardros Number, for Her Magesty's Effluent, questioning witness Jiffy
the Affluent Shrew, an occasional poster to ET: You expect this court of old,
dodgy, stupid old Englishmen to believe, even for a minute, that you, an
extremely wealthy and influencial manufacturer of genetically altered
transplantable kidney pies, enjoy the accused's simpering soupcon of
salacious swill?

Jiffy: Yup.

Sir Number, interviewing Zed Night (Dr. Z), "You maintained a radio program
of questionable music on a non-profit station that was obliterated due to a
lack of funds while you were simultaneously editing a science fiction
magazine that published dubious fantasies based on Grateful Dead songs, and
yet, you persist in expressing incorrect and dangerous opinions on the
accused's torpid tunes, dismal drones, soporific symphonica"

Night: People said the same about Miles Davis. They said the same about the
works of Bartok, Stravinsky, Scriabin, Polenc, Beethoven, Schuman, Brahms,
Berg, Webern and Schoenberg. And, despite what you want to believe, words can
hurt. I consider Rick Astley a personal friend, and many, many, many times,
Rick and I have discussed how people who want art to please them can become
angry, and seem foolish, when they blame the art or the artist for doing
something they don't like.

Sir Number: But we are speaking, sir, of Norbert Fragg.

Night: Is this Courtroom XIV?

His Lordship: Know by all men present that this is Courtroom XIII. Will the
bailiff direct the witness to Courtroom XIV, where I believe Mr. Astley is
accused of being too puny.

Bailiff: Pardon, Your Lordship. Mr. Fragg is being accused of not being Mr.
Astley. aE might make piddling announcements between songs, but ol' Fraggy
woddn't play the songbird.

His Lordship: Are you saying that this man isn't being who and what we say he
is? How perfectly awful!

Bailiff: Precisely, Your Lordship.

His Lordship: Court is hereby adjourned so the Court may obtain Mr. Astley's
autograph. You know, my daughter adored him before she went on
anti-depressants. Made her lose her libido, thank the Lord....

Bill Kent


Mike Stok