Date: Mon, 8 May 2000 17:35:48 EDT From: Bknt at aol dot com Subject: Norbert Fragg: At the Centre for Simplistic Analysis
from the confidential minutes of the Ministry of Ridicule, Directorate of the Wholly Fool, Centre for Simplistic Analysis
Glammy Slick, Agent: Before you meet my client, I want to reiterate: no snide remarks about sexual orientation, Oscar Wilde or interior decor, or we walk.
Lord Muckabout: You identified your client's occupation as that of a good fairy.
Slick: He wishes to be referred to as an anthropromorphically positive sprite, Lucky Hump or the injured pratty.
Muckabout: How was he injured?
Slick: Fragg refused to credit my client's contributions to the repertoire and fabulous lack of mainstream success of Fragg and as his rollicking bog rock band, Swamp Dismal. For example, the Guitar Wonk Fraggalect, "We begin below par," that was my client's. About not taking compliments: my client had to talk him into that one, hold his hand, force him to fling the blunt shards of peevish petulance on those who would only love him.
Muckabout: Was your client compensated?
Slick: What's to compensate? My client also gave him the idea to design his entire concert tour so it won't make money. The tritely condescending architectural digest metaphor, all that basement-garden-penthouse-Room 101 jumbo mumbo, that was also my client's. The concept of plausible liabilityathat's where anything bad, stupid, fussy, embarrassing, deflating, depressing, insipid or merely twee is to be blamed on nasty record companies and oafish fans, let me tell ya, my client worked overtime on that, and has he had as much as a thank you? Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Ada. Dada.
Muckabout: See here. Your client appears to have been a negative influence. A curse, as it were. John Coltrane lived a difficult life but he created music that was also powerfully uncommercial, and his only motivation was to bring happiness into the world. Because of your client, Fragg is spreading spiritual sourness and spiteful banter under the guise of bringing music into the world. The bloody cheek of informing those who grant the kindness of wishing him well to stay away from his performances! We at the Ministry of Ridicule went into emergency sessions with numerous foggy dons at All Souls to determine if someone so uncivil was worth our finely wrought irony and recherche repartee.
Slick: Permit me to remind you, your Lordship, but for a tidy bucket of ducats, my client is prepared to reveal several ludicrously insignificant details about Fragg, the true facts pertaining to the recording of The Reduction of Height, and if Mondrian Bayou really thinks E.T. is a turd, or if that was just another malicious Fraggish prank.
Muckabout: Before we determine if you shall assist in our latest round of Fragg bashing, we wish to determine the nature of your client's employment. We are under the impression that your client was terminated due to services below the call of duty. Something about escaping effluvia at an Argentine Guitar Wonk class. A performance of foul playing? A graduated cylinder of pong and circumstance?
Slick: My client is a fairy. He has no sex and he's strictly immaterial. For plumbing, you need a troll. Now, if you want to know the truth, my client bailed on Fragg because, ever since the new album got four-and-a-half scars from the critics he says he despises, Fragg's been insisting that passersby refuse to recognize him. Wears a T-shirt with "I am not the Fragg I was, but neither am I otherwise" printed on it and gets mad at Japanese girls who think he's asking if they'll sleep with him in French. Lately he's been speaking of himself in the third person while simultaneously claiming he's a figment of other people's perceptions. You want to know where all this is leading?
Muckabout: A duet with George Michael?
Slick: Norbert Fragg is going be to refuse to play his own band. At every concert, Swamp Dismal's going to come out and, while the other musicians are musicking, Fragg will sit on a stool in he dark, scowl at the audience and occasionally wave a CD that has his guitar parts on it. The idea is to be "in the music place but not be governed by the values of the music place."
Muckabout: Why that's the most perfectly ridiculous thing I've ever heard! My dear fellow, we have no need for specious sprites, but we are ever eager to employ those querulous few whose idealism has been so tarnished by malign neglect that they rely on misanthropic mysticism, parlous paradoxes and the occasional quantum physick to rationalize themselves out of existence! If Mr. Fragg should continue to revile his fans, deplore his gifts, miscast his past and resent his present, he will always have a future with us.