Last visit of the year to Ice Station Zebra (or should that be ‘Nice Station Zebra’, as it was decidedly cosy following on from the spanking new ‘heating wurks’?) to see Agent Johnny before ‘X-Mass’ (for the X-Men). Still no sign of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Archives being returned from deep storage however – presumably they’ve been removed ter a secure Government facility fer further analysis – but that certainly wasn’t causing Our Man In Pester Wails to lose any sleep…. er, judging by his bleary ‘bedhead’ when he (finally) answered the [CENSORED] door. One clipping of his toenails later (some things you just can’t unsee) and the swill wiz good ter go! With the ‘one-eyed-god’ restin’ up – having evidently seen more than enough front line action last week – there wiz nothing for our Agents to do but to krank open the swill and transport themselves back to August 1968 via Two From The Vault. (Truth be told, the Christmas TV schedules have seriously muscled in on Agent Johnny’s daytime fillum action.)….
It was in the middle of this afternoon of contented chuntering – Johnny wiz on especially great form, explaining at one point the beginnings of his Radio Free Cleghorn comic strip – that it suddenly struck Agent Rob how very strange this situation is. He found himself thinking, as Agent Johnny popped to Shunker 5 for the ‘unexpected bonus’ of a ‘Perry White’, how he’s actually sitting in the front room of one of the world’s very last genuine Underground/Outsider comic artists – nothing contrived or artificial here, just a strangely pure trajectory followed unselfconsciously – looking round at all the posters, postcards and flyers pinned to the wall, all the surrounding years of accumulated books, comics, tpbs, magazines and records, this quite fascinating mind that has, over a lifetime, made sense and shaped everything around into an outward extension of itself….
How did that happen, these unlikely paths crossing over 10 years ago? Life. So this is life, all our little lives, our homes, the people and things you can reach out and touch as you pass through. That’s all we are and, unless you become that mad person ranting in the street (Agent Rob, next year), it’s as much as you can realistically expect and affect in this day and age, sending light out into the darkness. So Agent Rob – who quite often seriously pre-dreads these visits, never quite knowing what Agent Johnny he’s going to get and in what exact state – relaxed for once and cherished the moment, knowing it, knowing like all the others, it will soon vanish into the nothing of memory. Keep these things close and remember them fondly when the bombs start to fall. Dark Star crashing….
Or maybe Agent Rob wiz dreaming, both our Agents drifting off to sleep as the daylight dwindled, the room temperature having reached peak ‘auld man dozing’. Rousing himself around 4 o’clock it wiz the final hour fer Rob to take his leave from the front and head into town and pitch up at Deadhead Comics. A few pints later (and at least a half bottle of port earlier to help Agent Austin‘s Christmas spirits) and the time had come to spill out into the darkness and attempt to negotiate the impending holidays confusion at Waverley Railway Station while stewed somewhat silly. I’ll leave you with Deadhead’s Christmas message, “stop sending f*cking video links to my f*cking phone!”….
Sounds: Two From The Vault by Grateful Dead: Memory Span by The Lines: Kuff Dam and Tart Tart by Happy Mondays: Sea Within A Sea by The Horrors and the concluding tracks of Blows Agianst The Empire by Paul Kantner, Grace Slick & Jefferson Starship….