Tales Of The ACTION MAN:
The Blackbird
and the Warlocks

Story by Roger Neville-Neil

From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)


I was heading west down Glisan. It was Saturday night. I was looking for something unique and rare. Something elusive. I was looking for the Blackbird.

At Northeast Thirtieth I angled north. Then east on Sandy Boulevard. I was approaching the Hollywood District. A place I hadn't been caught loitering in since Caine and Connery had a go at Kipling. That's when I'd crossed paths with a balding, cigar chomping, plainclothes man - Inspector Smoke. He gave me the bum's rush, threatening to run me in for impeding the flow of traffic on a public sidewalk. So much for civil liberties.

I was under the misconception that it was a free country. This was long before Oregon, Washington, and Idaho severed ties with the United States and threw in their lot with the Cascadian Separatists up in British Columbia. The names change, but the freedoms don't. Some things never change. It's the same old song with a different tune. The flags of nations are nothing more than gaudy capes to drape over the shoulders of corruption.

The old 7UP building on the corner of Northeast Thirty-Seventh, next to the Banfield freeway overpass, still had the 7UP logos facing the east-west cardinal points. The distinctive round dais topping the building was where a gigantic 7UP bottle used to stand like a towering, green, decaffeinated beacon. Lighting up the night sky with sparkling, fizzling, star-bright, neon bubbles. They dazzled and danced up in the heavens like a Las Vegas X-ray of unstable poker chips in King Kong's peptic ulcer during an apocalyptic Mexican food eating binge with Orson Welles and his spindly spiders from Mars. It was the Bounty that had killed the beast - just ask Charles Laughton.

That was back in the old glory days of optimistic bliss and the fear of a nuclear blitz. It was the Yin and Yang days of the Cold War. When the faint of wine-hearted built bomb cellars in a misguided attempt to return to the womb to ride out the impending nuclear winter. Hording their families for a much more promising vintage. All huddled together like Mormons in a dark, dank casbah cavern.

The pop psychologists back then told us all we needed was love. They adopted the CND symbol as a peace sign and called themselves doves - while Ozzy Osbourne bit off the heads of bats. He was having teething problems. Society was having teething problems. Dylan told us there would be times like this - and they were a changing.

Oblivious to all this, A White Rock sprite named Psyche knelt on a rock hawking ginger ale dressed in little more than glittering, gossamer, neon wings as she perched above the south side of the freeway. This was long before political correctness dictated how sprites should dress in urban settings. She had no hemlines to speak of to raise - only our eyebrows. She was a real free spirit. A spirit of the age. And you couldn't fault her for that!

In those days thin was in... and God fearing Americans were still above sin. Yet somehow, it always boiled down to spirits - distilled in one form or another. In the boardroom, in the bathtub, in the speakeasy, on the rocks, or just flowing freely back on the streets. Volstead or no Volstead, the spirits always loved mixing business with pleasure. Straight up and with a naughty giggle that sent tingles of stardust dancing up your spine and up under your scalp. Grinning ear to ear. It was pure heathen magic. Yes indeed, vice can be mighty nice!

My thoughts returned to the present. I thought I'd spotted the Blackbird.

I looped back and made several more passes just to make sure. I veered off the main drag and parked along a dark side street. Leaving the car, I made my way back on foot. Real casual like. Then stood beside the old 7UP building at the crosswalk and watched people filter into the building across the street.

Now all I had to do was go in, mingle, keep my eyes and ears peeled, and survive the magical portion of the Warlocks.

I pulled a photostat out of my pocket and studied their faces. There were eight of them. But there could be more. There could be less. It's so hard to tell with Warlocks. Besides, the photo was old. It was from a Magnet Magazine article by Fred Mills. He'd used an alarming word that grabbed my attention by the throat and shook it as violently as a dry martini. It swirled around my mind in a lottery of condiments. Alphabetical olives. all slowly coming to rest. All falling into place and forming that one word that kept cropping up - HAWKWIND.

Was it deja vu? Was it the olives? Or was it just those damn letters? What were the spirits trying to tell me?

Many of the bands I'd investigated had names that started with some of those letters. After the Warlocks, it'd leave me with "A", "I", and "N". Was the solution the whole or only some of the parts? Was there an order to the chaos?

It was still too early in the game to tell. I returned the photostat to my pocket. Pulled my coat collar up around my throat and crossed the street. It was time to enter the Warlocks' den.


It was smaller inside the club than what I was expecting, due in large part to the shape of the block. The fact that it was sliced up like a stingy host had served slivers of concrete and epoxy pie had a lot to do with it. This being the end result of an orgy of urban planners squeezing in extra streets at acute angles as an after thought while passing around a bong.

The walls were painted a light-red. The floor was split level. The east side of the room was sunk lower than the west side. They were separated by a counter top and rickety black banister with narrow black stairs. Small square tables with bench seats and chairs ran along the counter and the south wall. Two pinball machines lit up the west corner of the room just like the garish lighting found in the attack center of a submarine. The flippers kept the ball in play and probably maintained the trim of the building during heavy rainstorms. If you tilt the pinball machines - bend over and kiss the evening goodbye.

If this club was a boat from a twisted universe mirroring our own, the stage would be located forward - down in the engine room. Just walk down those feeble, black wooden steps to the lower level - it's straight on. You can't miss it. Raised about a foot off the deck with small inset red lamps burning in the ceiling above it and three bulky lamps with blue gels aimed right at the center of the stage. A mirrorball completes this picture with a spinning fragmented silver sun. It turns slowly spilling an armada of bloodshot cat eyeballs cratered with long narrow pupils down on the dance floor. They prowl the boards, sailing in a drunken north to south feline flow. Only to dissolve in cracks, crevices, customers' clothing, cleavages, and crushed underfoot like spent cigarette butts. Beware the eyes that march.

Starboard of the stage, along the west wall, was the hallway leading to the phone, a storage room, and the Men's and Women's Heads (water closets, loos, powder rooms, and the ever popular rest room). Aft of this makeshift cultural center was the bar. A large green chalkboard hangs above it listing all the patron spirits of the night - Pabst Blue Ribbon and various grogs of choice top the list for this evening's show.

A large red igloo and tall stack of transparent, plastic, dixie cups sits on top of a table next to the counter separating the upper and lower sections of the room for those patrons wishing to wet their whistles. Apparently, diluting drinks was done here on the honour system.

Near the entrance was the merchandise table where you can sign yourself up on the Warlock mailing list. Buy a Warlock T-shirt or two. Or buy several Warlocks CD's. Their first album cleverly titled "The Warlocks" is on BOMP Records released both on CD and vinyl. Their second album titled "Rise and Fall" is also on BOMP. And an EP titled "Phoenix" is on Birdman Records. "Song for Nico" is on both their first and second albums. They must really want you to hear this song.

I peel a sawbuck from my wallet and slide it across the table to the short stoolie with the heavy, drooping eyelids parked there.

"Tell me all you know about birds, sunshine."
Mr. Stoolie lifts his lids, wrinkling his forehead in the process. "Everything?"
"Na, just the highlights. Just the rare exotic ones, hmm."
He glances around the room nervously and lowers his voice. "What did you have in mind... precisely?"
"Shall we say - THE BLACKBIRD?"

His eyes bulge. Popping. Darting as they carom off the insides of their sockets like flaming comets trapped in a Hungarian ice cave. "Certainly not!" He quickly glances over at a table across the room - on the south side. "What do you take me for... an... an... IDIOT?"
"Okay, we'll play it your way. Nice 'n easy." I redirect his attention back to the sawbuck resting on the table between us. "What'll that buy me?"
"Since you show such a careless interest in rare exotic birds, might I suggest - the Phoenix EP?"
"You might. Tell me more about it."
"It just came out Tuesday--"
"Hot off the press."

He cringes. "Please, Mr...." A faint smile forms on his pan. "What did you say your name was, Sir?"
"I didn't. It's Action Man, if anybody's asking."
"Please, Mr. Mann, don't labour me with your... inane... witticisms. Now where were we?"
"You were saying that it just came out... TWO'S... DAY!"
"Now you're mocking me. I don't like you're attitude. Not one bit--"
"There's eighty bits sitting down there that says you're gonna take it and you're gonna like it, SEE?"
"Yes, I do see. Perhaps we both might enjoy ah... as you might say - a closer look, hmm?" He smiled like a cherub on valium caught with his hand in the offertory basket as he slid the Phoenix EP across the table toward me and slid the sawbuck back toward his end of the table.

I pick up the EP and flip it over to read the track listing.
"There's only four tracks on this thing."
Mr. Stoolie counters with his own immediate concerns.
"Why is George Hamilton on this bill? Shouldn't it be a president?"
"Na, not any more. We don't have presidents here. We ditched 'em all ages ago when we converted over to Cascadian script."
"You wouldn't happen to have something... shall we say... slightly more nostalgic? Something slightly... more continental?"
"Na, 'fraid not, sunshine. It's the only scratch you'll find on me. If you don't like it, then go to the bank and exchange it for a couple of Lemmy's."
"Yeah, he's on the fin. Never told a lie. He was the logical replacement for Lincoln after he'd played for four score and twenty years."
"On second thought, I'll stick with George Hamilton... he doesn't require ear plugs."
"Well, I'm not exactly over the moon either, sunshine. My 'closer look, hmm?'-- tells me this EP isn't very long. What are you trying to pull?"
He simmers, stews, turns red, and suddenly explodes.
"Each song is fifteen minutes long... you... you... IMBECILE!"

I draw my lips away from my teeth and snarl back at him, "You're building a mighty strong case against Tourette's, sunshine." I gave the track listing a final inspection. "Sounds like it clocks in at an hour, if what you say holds up."

He nods confirming either my math or my suspicions about his character. He turns on his cherub charm.
"Shall we... call it... a deal?"
I collar the Phoenix - snuffing it out in my pocket. "DEAL."
"I'm sure the pleasure... was strictly... all yours."

Mr. Stoolie palms the sawbuck. He knows what I'm really searching for. Words have a way of migrating. They have a life all of their own. It's called advertising.

I planned to listen to the Phoenix EP later, after the show, in the safety of my office after it'd cooled down a bit. Then I'd pass it on to Jerry Kranitz for a ballistics report. See how well it matched their earlier releases.

I gazed over at a table along the south wall. There were three people sitting there. One of them was dressed all in black and looked just like he'd stepped out of the photostat in my pocket. He was one of the Warlocks' drummers. The other two people with him were not members of the band.

The person that stood out the most was a dark-haired dame. She was dressed all in black except for a bright-green cloth wrapped around her midriff. Silver rectangles fixed in leather adorned her waist in grand style reminding me of the Silver Brick Beltway running around the Emerald City of Oz. She was slim and shapely. She was a looker, a real dish. Perhaps, she's one of the Warlock's familiars. I don't know. All I know was that she certainly could cast one hell of a spell.

Good-time Charlie sitting next to her was sorta on the thin side. His hair was sandy, receding and cut short. He reminded me of a younger version of the former Labour Party leader, Neal Kinnock. He was dressed in black pants and a white, long-sleeve shirt - untucked - hanging loose. Looking like he'd just arrived from a very long bender. Or he'd had a very bad day at the House of Commons... after being drug in by Margaret Thatcher and given one of those totally unexpected makeovers. Yeah, the New Labour Party. Beware of dames that smoke cigars like Churchill - instead of cigarettes like Dunhill.

I didn't notice any other potential Warlocks. It was still early. And there were two bands on before them. I had time to kill. So I headed to the bar and ordered a Blue Ribbon. I slipped the bartender a Lemmy. He handed me back two soft Elvis and two hard silver Sex Pistols in change with my beer. I left him the Sex Pistols for a tip. No point in having them rattle in my pocket like spent casings.

It was time to mingle and keep an eye and an ear to the crowd while I sized up the joint. While I waited for the rest of the Warlocks to arrive. I was in no hurry. I was armed and I was getting primed. I was as happy as a Dutch night watchman sharing precious space with the Mona Lisa.

The room was starting to fill with suspects.


The dawn of the Twenty-first century was an interesting but confusing time in Cascadia. You just couldn't look at someone and know exactly who's gonna crawl out of their skin. They could be transplants. They could be natives. Or they could just be tourists. They might appear to share your tongue, yet speak another entirely.

It's not uncommon to run into Russians, Chinese, Canadians, Mexicans, Japanese, Europeans, and of course those ever present Americans. All of these groups had their intelligence sleepers firmly rooted in Cascadia... keeping close tabs on us. All wondering just when and where our real loyalties would surface on the world stage. At the moment it was still too early to tell. It was still the honeymoon.

I was nursing my beer. A rather tall, thin Japanese looking gent had suddenly joined me. He must have decided it was high time to get to know me better. His voice was chirpy and had that distinctive West Coast American accent. He talked rapidly like he was in a big hurry to get somewhere but was getting nowhere fast with me.

Tokyo Joe was handing me that over friendly act and laying it on pretty thick.
"So how long have you lived here?"
"About an hour."
"No, I mean here in Portland."
"Since Fifty-seven."
He let out a low whistle. "You don't look it, but I did have a feeling you'd been around awhile."
"I've been on ice. Off and on. I'm a transplant."
"Where from?"
He smiles. "I'm from the Bay Area myself. Wow, Oakland in 1957! What was it like back then?"
"I wouldn't know. I don't remember."
"You don't remember? Not at all?"
"Na. Total blue screen. Ice does funny things to the memory. In my case, it blocked out Oakland. I just don't remember it. I'm probably not missing much, eh? Temporally speaking, of course."
He nods hesitantly, concern stealing across his expression like a thief stranded in a ghost town without a cellphone or a Ouija board. "Do you suffer from flashbacks?"
"Only when I blink."
"I don't mean to pry."
"coulda fooled me."
"Ah, have you seen this band before?"
"Yeah, they're from Seattle. Call themselves - SPYGLASS."
"Any good?"
I grinned. "Better than I remember."
"Have you gone native, Mann?"
"Who wants to know, sunshine?"

Tokyo Joe blew his jaded menthol cool, squirming silently on my baited hook. Dark fishy eyes gasping like water starved gills.

I chuckled. "So what really brought you over here? Curiosity? The locals can be mighty rough on California Kats. Might be best to keep it under your hat. Unless you care to taste the decades filtered through ice, if you catch my drift."
"Ah, I came up with a friend." He quickly scans the room. "Oh, there he is... over there! I really should checkup on him. It was nice talking with you. Catch you later."

I nodded and continued nursing my beer as he vanished into the crowd. My attention shifted to the stage.

Spyglass was a quintuplet. A five piece band fronted by a shapely canary named Barbara Trentalange. Her hair was bundled up on the back of her head like a coiffed, brunette fez. She was wearing red pants and a black T-shirt that hugged her curves. She was singing in a beautiful brassy voice and shaking her tambourine, among other things, as she stood behind her Yamaha S80 keyboard.

The rest of the band were all average looking Joes dressed casually in levis. There was a strong and steady pulsating bass rhythm providing the backbone to their songs. Somehow their music reminded me of a rockier version of Stereolab without all the French subtlety. Yeah, upbeat happy music with a well defined edge to it.

I became distracted. I did a double-take. A couple of hot numbers had just rolled in the front door. They came up snake eyes. They came dressed for a cattle call. They were the wildest, rowdiest, and most dangerous looking pair of dames in the joint - punk cowgirls!


They moved like they owned the joint. One punk cowgirl carrying a small pearl handled lunchbox - white with inlaid pearl stars. The other carrying a small lunchbox with a mural of Dale Evans and Roy Rogers' horse Trigger embossed in living colour on its lid.

Miss Pearl was wearing a raffia cowboy hat and a black patent leather vinyl dress. It looked like a cross between a classic strapless evening gown, a pair of western chaps, and a china dress with long slits running up the sides to expose a wideopen range of gams. Rising gracefully up her curves as tight and as snug as a rubber boa swallowing a pair of large, grade AA eggs. Struggling to corral her breasts like a bustier designed for the Grand Coulee Dam - straining to contain its rapidly rising reservoir.

Miss Evans was also wearing a raffia cowboy hat except that hers was dyed black with a skull and crossbones displayed on the front of it. She dressed more conservatively than her pard wearing a pair of tight, formfitting, Bryce Canyon red, vinyl jeans and a flimsy white blouse. She had more rings than I could count at a safe distance in her nose and lining her ears. Her hair was raven-black streaked with bright burgundy highlights, tied into thick pigtail columns that flowed like silky wine out from under her cowboy hat, spilling down her back. She was hands down the cutest of the punk cowgirls as far as rawhide rustling vixens go. And a damn sight easier on the ears and the pocketbook than a Sloane Ranger.

I filled a dixie cup with water from the igloo and diluted myself as the crowd mingled nearby at the bar. It was the ebb and flow of thirst that brought the mountain to Mohammed. I just bided my time slowly sipping water while persons of interest gradually trickled my way.

A few Warlocks drifted in my direction. One of them stopped short when a dame called out to him.

It was the dame wearing the bright-green peekaboo curtain around her midriff. A short middle aged dame was sanding next to her. She was wearing a black dress. Had long jet-black hair. And a complexion that hailed from an island somewhere out in the Mid or South Pacific.

Miss Midriff smiled sweetly. "Bobby, this is my mother."
Bobby Hecksher grins pleasantly as he walks over to meet them. He catches the attention of a Warlock wearing a dark Navy style peacoat, urging him to come over and join them.
"Jeff, this is Christine's mother...."

I became distracted by a rapid motion out of the corner of my eye. I turned and was treated to a re-enactment of Marcel Marceau's Wild West show. The gunselettes were on the prowl.

Miss Evans signalled to her pard, Miss Pearl. She swirls her fist around and around over her head as if she were twirling a lasso. She mimes a throwing motion and pulls the invisible rope taut. Then she started to haul it in. Very slowly. Hand over hand.

Miss Pearl nodded, moving in the indicated direction. They were very busy locating and rounding up strays in the herd.

The unsuspecting victim was oblivious to all around him. He was swaying and moving in place, entranced by the invigorating music radiating from the stage. He was copping a High Violets' thermal and starting to soar.

The High Violets were a quartet. A four piece Portland band with a canary named Kaitlyn ni Donovan supplying enchanting ethereal vocals. Laid-back is how I remembered them from their past shows with King Black Acid. Tonight they sounded anything but laid-back. They were drawing attention. Drawing it away from the shoes and redirecting it toward the stars. If you carelessly closed your eyes, they'd carry you off to their wondrous world beyond the waking veil of perception. Into soundscaped dreams.

I had a distant foggy memory of being forced fed small silver spheres by an overly zealous machine. Bubbles. Floating through space - swathed in soapy carpets of celestial cocoon silk. Floating higher than a kite. Floating like a satellite. Floating in a sea of sighing signals. Waiting for the sound of the satyr's gun. Waiting to spread solar panel wings. Waiting to transit the ether... while watching the planets run. Echo. Telstar. Cosmos.... Drifting endlessly throughout the heavens without a care.

Yeah, maybe you'd call 'em shoegazers. Maybe comet rockers. Or maybe just simply high violets swirling off into space in a mesmerizing purple pool of psychedelic pop. All I know is they hit the right spot and certainly require a more thorough investigation. They have already garnered an interstellar buzz in England and Ireland from their music released on Reverb Records.

After they finished playing, I made a move toward the loo. Apparently it wasn't just an urge - it was a telepathic message. I found myself standing in a queue along with a couple of Warlocks, a punk cowgirl, and Miss Midriff.

The monikers on the doors were not an issue. This was a total mix and match affair. Men in the Women's. Women in the Men's. And occasionally, when the planets properly aligned, each gender in their properly designated pigeonholes.

A Dame left the Women's room and a Warlock quickly rushed inside.
Miss Evans smiled. "I don't see what difference a word makes, do you?" She moved from the queue and leaned against the adjacent wall, eyeballing all the men in the line. Sizing them up.

The men hemmed and hawed and came to a majority consensus that it didn't matter what you called it. It was still a loo. Democracy was a hard habit to break.

Miss Evans nodded. "It all serves the same function. One is just as good as the other, I think."
Some of the men started practising their shoegazing skills as she continued to enlighten us.
"You know, some places have removed the tampon machines and replaced them with condom machines - I THINK THAT'S GREAT! Don't you?"

I wondered what came first. The condom or the tampon machine? I was sure If I waited long enough, she'd tell me. So I waited.

A Warlock flew out of the Men's room and Miss Evans dashed to the door. She turned to the rest of us waiting in the queue, smiling.
"Do you think there are any condoms left in here. Well, do you?"

Clint Eastwood couldn't have said it better. Roy Rogers would have blushed. Trigger would have stuffed and mounted himself. Catherine the Great would have gone along for the ride. Fox would have had a new reality show!

I was next in line when a dame left the Women's room. I turned to Miss Midriff and nodded to the empty room.
"Go ahead. I think I'll wait and dial M for Men's room."
"Why, thank you!" She apparently wasn't into women's lib. If she had been she would've frogmarched me to the room, shoved me in and slammed the door in my face. Then she'd go complain to the management that there's a man in the women's room - just to teach me a lesson.

When the men's room was free I entered to discover it had no doorknobs. Just a slide bolt inside to latch it shut. The room itself was spartan. A toilet, a sink, and paper towels. There were no dispensers of any kind. The walls were as bare as Mother Teresa's little black book. If there had been a condom machine, it would have had to have been very small and easy to pry off a wall. Oh... say, small enough to smuggle out in a lunchbox.


A faint fog was forming. It quickly thickened and grew, spreading like a living entity. It crept along the ceiling. Misty tendrils flowing down the wall toward two Warlocks sitting at their drum kits. Matching skulls covered their bass skins. Stark black and white. The left brain and the right - engulfed in a chilling foggy haze.

The stage lights were extinguished. Visibility bordered on the nonexistent. It was dark and gloomy with a creeping fog rolling over the drummers it had just swallowed and consumed. The fog had quickly acquired a taste for the band. It wasn't long before the remaining Warlocks became nothing more than murky shadows. Phantasms with guitars. They started to moan and drone. Their instruments howling, as they released a keening blend of early Pink Floyd quenched in an unrelenting fiery assault of powerhouse Space Ritual rock. Sounds that lingered, haunting the senses and leaving them stranded in the dark. The witching hour had arrived in the Twilight Zone.

A lighthouse ignited, radiating solid shafts of purple haze. Three-dimensional beams shot out into the audience from somewhere between the two drummers. Telescoping cores of light cut through the fog shrouded stage as if released from a freshly carved pumpkin freely floating in space, emitting violet rays. Its light escaping from the pulsing core of the Warlock reactor. Their music steadily increasing in intensity - from critical to supercritical. But could they sustain all this energy without a meltdown? That remained to be seen.

Two projectors sat on the extreme edges of the stage. One angled from the north and one from the south. Projecting rays that converged on a cloth screen hanging behind the band. They painted a dual collage of colourful liquid blobs. Churning slowly. Rotating like a kaleidoscope of oily psychedelic blood cells on a watery slide smeared across the pallet of the mind's eye.

Bobby Hecksher was standing at the mic singing as he played his bass. To his right and slightly behind him was Jeff Levitz still wearing the dark peacoat - playing his guitar with a sombre expression. A muff effects box rested on the floor at his feet. He reminded me of someone backing up George Raft with a Tommy. Maybe it was the fact he rarely smiled and looked so bloody serious. So intense. I made a mental note to keep an eye on him.

The mug playing the drums on the right was Jason Anchondo. Short dark hair. Wearing a long-sleeved, large barred, black and white striped shirt. It wasn't hidden very well under the dark short-sleeved shirt he'd put on over it. Black and white blurs that were his arms assaulted his skins - constantly.

I wasn't sure who the mug was on the other drum kit. Maybe it was Danny Hole. Or a dead ringer for him. He had collar length dark hair. Dressed all in black with a lean toward a leather look. Kinda a Goth version of James Dean playing Marlon Brando. Occasionally he'd let fly a spent cig with a casual flick of his fingers. He had cool down to a T and was stubbing out his I's with deadly filter tipped precision.

The remaining two Warlocks I couldn't positively ID. Both were armed with guitars. One had an unruly mop of thick hair. The other was thin and wiry. A strobe rested on the floor between them. And another strobe between them and the first drummer. These strobes would sporadically cut loose with optical submachine gun bursts. Possibly to clear the venue of epileptics or to blind the crowd should they need to make a quick getaway.

This brought the total count of Warlocks to six. My photostat showed eight. Among the missing was a dame that goes by the name of Laura Grisby. This mobs moll, no doubt. Either she didn't make the trip or she was outside idling the Duesenberg's engine. Keeping it warm in the alley nearby.

I had my camera out of the shoulder holster. Ready for action. But I didn't bother to use it. One look at the lighting nixed that in the bud. It was too dark for natural light. Way too atmospheric to ruin with a flash. Better to just watch, observe and enjoy it for what it was. Just keep the atmosphere fully intact. And focus on the music like everybody else.

Mr. Kinnock was off to my left at the front of the stage. Both his arms were fanned out wide like he was planning to hug the whole stage. He was moving wildly. A lit cig in his right hand. The glowing business end inching closer and closer toward me.

My left hand clenched and unclenched at my side. It was taking up a position between us. It was getting ready for a fast wrist snatch and a quick spin. I'd keep it as civil as possible and not follow through with my right. At least, not right away. Just disarm him before my trousers got cauterized - with me in them.

He glanced back. He did this several times. He was taking a sudden interest in me.

I was hoping that he wasn't starting to take a fancy to me. I wasn't his type. I wasn't planning to vote Labour. Then again, I wasn't planning to vote at all. What has the government ever done for us besides tax us? If I did vote at all, I'd just lift names off tombstones like all those signature gathers do. It was all those deadbeat stiffs planted in the hereafter that fiddled the laws we all wake to. The system was a total sham. A total farce. Self-interest groups. Government for the government and screw the little guy. Maybe it was time to turn the tables on them.

Mr. Kinnock was Trying to look casual, but he just couldn't help giving the camera the eye. It held him transfixed. He wet his lips and squirmed. Maybe he was in the market for a good photo op. Gradually, He lost interest in it and veered off, yielding the right of way.

My left hand relaxed. False alarm. Cool the jets and call 'em back to the hanger. Just enjoy the show.

After the Warlocks played seven songs, they launched into one that sounded mighty familiar to me. It was structured around a faint Hawkwind riff. It kinda sounded like a punk version of "Orgone Accumulator". They kept singing "Caveman Rock" over and over. It was kinda catchy. I took a liking to it straight away.

A large burst of colour caught my eye. It was moving through the crowd like a snowplough. It was an extremely large, rotund person wearing a gaudy floral tent. It was a fat mam. A fat mam hidden beneath a hanging garden of wisteria hair. A cocktail glass in one hand and a lit stogie in the other. At least there wasn't a pair of diamante-trimmed flyaway spectacles perched on that prominent beak. That would seem to rule out Dame Edna Everage and narrow the field of suspects down to one of three individuals. It was either Inspector Smoke working undercover, Margaret Thatcher on a mixture of lithium and steroids, or Orson Welles in drag.

The punk cowgirls spun around in wild mechanical bull circles, swirling pantomime lassos. Trapped in an eddy current churned up by the fat mam's wake.

Mr. Stoolie was chuckling to himself at the merchandise stall.
Miss Midriff swayed oblivious to all lost in paradise.
The crowd pressed closer to the stage hooting like possessed owls channelling Little Richard.

The Warlocks played a couple more songs to appease them. I think "Song for Nico" was one of them, if it involved teardrops. Whatever it's name was, it was certainly one thing - sentimental.

I was impressed with the music I'd heard. These Warlocks sure could weave a musical spell. They ranged from the primal to sweet endearing pop. From entrancing Pink Floyd to hard rock. And at times you could feel a bit of the Velvet Underground beneath their feet. They closed their set with one last wild jam. Both drummers unleashing a spirited driving rhythm. Duelling away between themselves in a long drum solo. Then the rest of the Warlocks slowly joined in - the stage erupting in a full blown pyrotechnic jam of epic proportions. The crowd sweat bullets and screamed like banshees. All hell broke loose. Chaos ensued. The Warlocks rocked and ruled well beyond the witching hour.

I never did manage to recover the Blackbird, but I did manage to see a killer show - and lived to tell the tale!

Visit The Warlocks web site at: http://www.thewarlocks.com.
Visit the High Violets web site at: http://www.thehighviolets.com.
Visit the Spyglass web site at: http://www.pattern25.com/bands/spyglass.shtml.

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