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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #38
AutoCritters
David Gunn
With the merry tintinnabulation of Irish Republican Army melodies twittering away in the background, today the New Music Sesquihour Research Junta takes a closer look at the sometimes rocky history of music in Ireland.

On second thought, no we don't. Instead, here is a reading from a book that was scoffed at by no less a literary authority than James Joyce. The book is set in the future and begins, oddly enough, with chapter 10, "AutoCritters."

Tilda Mi was in the eating area when I arrived. "Tilda," I cooed, "I have a little surprise for you."

"Doots, is that you?" she answered. "Oh Doots, I've having the worst time with the meal processor again. It flambéed the soytabs and animal fat, and now it refuses to give change. Would you look at it, please?"

"Yes sure, but first come into the sleep area and see what I have for you."

Tilda Mi, swaddled in a mousefur robe, padded into the room, her bare feet making condensation stains upon the plexifloor. I showed her the package, which was three feet square and wrapped in brown plastic. Grinning nervously like a schoolgirl in a lab experiment, she tore open the package and pulled out a furry autocritter. A sticker on its brow said BANDICOOT. She hiccupped nervously, trying to control her excitement. "Oh Doots! It's brand new on the market, isn't it?" she beamed, squirming a bit in anticipation.

I wheeled the auto-bandicoot to the power receptacle, raised the tail, and pulled out the feeder cord. The prong was bent, and I had a little difficulty mating it to the outlet, but finally it fit and the power surged into the autocritter. I confess that I felt a surge of power, too, but in my loinal area. After a minute, a buzzer sounded. I unplugged the device and rolled it over to Tilda Mi, who was picking flakes of plexifloor off the balls of her feet. Again, a nervous gesture.

"Ready for a play period?" I queried gently. She hiccupped, quivered and nodded.

I turned the auto-bandicoot's power switch to GO and pumped its tail up and down a couple of times just to make it crazy. It uttered a low, mechanical grunt, rolled to Tilda Mi, and began to crawl clumsily on top of her.

Periodically, an autocritter's factory-set program goes awry and play periods can turn into messy bludgeoning affairs, or worse. I always fretted about such a possibility, and was therefore glad to be on hand for this maiden voyage. The auto-bandicoot was working fine, however, and I watched voyeuristically as it cordially stroked my lovable with shiny aluminum claws. With another grunt, the autocritter was masterfully unfastening Tilda Mi's utility cover cords. Even I sometimes had difficulty with those unnecessarily complicated ties, but not the auto-bandicoot. A real artist had programmed this critter!

"Doots, stay near, OK?" she whispered throatily.

"I'm very close," I replied, dreamily caressing the lifelike fur ....

This just in. The International Classification of Musical Diseases -- a system used to describe compositional problems to musical agencies the world over which, rightly or leftly, includes the New Music Sesquihour -- has just issued a special bulletin concerning an outbreak of Dohnanyi Chronic Fungal Disorder. More on this as it develops.

This portion of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Sesquihour contains the phrase le flambeau oriange, for which we offer neither apology nor explanation.

Also needing neither apoplexy nor extradition is the following radiophonic essence of Kalvos.