Puncture #10 - Fall 1985

53 Kensington Gdns Sq, London W2

So, que pasa con El Birthday Party? That Fiesta de Los Muertos, those loco Mardi Gras-makers of el swampo mundo? After little St. Nick ran away from home?

Well, England and the Continent were suddenly devastated by an earthquake which caused massive power failures, including terminal spoilage in refrigeration units everywhere. As precious emergency ice supplies melted uselessly into the gutter, a stench of decay reminiscent of rotting victims lining the streets of plague-ridden London clouded the atmosphere, which was nearly as vile and toxic as Los Angeles smog.

Also tragically hit by the catastrophe were the sperm banks of Europe, which housed in popsicle form the world's future Great Minds: physicists, generals, humanitarians, artists, computer rental reps, new Beatles, and even the next Jesus Christ. All gone. Along with hundreds of thousands of future waiters, bank clerks, TV personalities, janitors, shoe salesmen, derelicts, technicians, counter help, bike messengers, and travel agents. Dead before they were born.

Repercussions of the tragedy were immediate, sizzling, political. The Catholic Church excommunicated the earthquake and condemned its soul to burn in Hell, accusing it of sin equal to birth control and abortion as mass-murder. But after many exhilarating and exhausting papal discussions, the earthquake was forgiven. For there was reason to think the future AntiChrist had been destroyed as well, reduced to a batch fermenting and bubbling like a witch's brew for wart removal in a plastic garbage bag on the desk of the guy in charge of evidence.

The American president was "appalled" and scolded the earthquake for disrupting the future of the planet without first declaring allegiance to one of the major powers and examining in depth the probable political leanings of this now not-to-be portion of the European population.

More compassionately-minded in this situation were, of course, the artistes and musicians popular at the time with the western world's youth. (Blissfully balancing this perfect love affair, the western world's youth's money was at the time popular with these artistes and musicians).

The creative ones, struck with anger and sadness at the loss of human lives, saw the earthquake as punishment for the evils the world leaders had brought upon the planet's inhabitants and the earth itself. An intestinal lurch. A belch. Indigestion from drinking and smoking too much and eating atrocious packaged foods, sugar, and white flour. Not to mention NutraSweet.

So in a martyrlike reflex of passionate emotion, Nick Cave ripped himself (sleepless and bleeding) away from The Birthday Party to form a band with other rock stars like Blixa Bargeld (who didn't have the guts to forsake his Einsturzende Neubauten) and various minor satellites. This band announced itself, its sympathies, its task, and called for the joining of hands, the rising in arms of the western world's (living) youth, in the name of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

So what the hell happened to The Birthday Party, anyway? OK! Here we go! Bye-bye Nick and good luck.

The rest of The BP turned into Crime and the City Solution. Ignoring the European scene except for Jesus and the Mary Chain, they shopped around and adopted a horned and cateyed Rosemary's baby of gutter grunge and gravelly vocals baptised in the (only true) Church of Tom Waits, supported and encouraged by the noise of the horrors that crawl out of swamps in the Deep South of the Big Daddy of them all, the USA. Yes, Bad Seeds go arty, but Crime and the City Solution continue the downhill slide through green, murky soul-filth that The Birthday Party kicked into motion with damnation and rot. A highly recommended record.

- Pstirl