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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #233
Adhesive Creep
David Gunn

It began with a simple tape recorder malfunction: some sticky goop from an ancient DAT -- or digitalis-analogous tape -- that hadn't been played since the Eisenhower administration seeped onto the transport mechanism of a state of the art playback device that retails for a hefty percentage of all the tea in China, disallowing routine play. The techie terminology for this calamitous incident is "adhesive creep" -- that is, the mucilaginous component of the DAT has ventured out from its lair deep in the interstices of the magnetic ribbon and "crept" onto the first foreign object with which it has come into contact, ostensibly to establish a kind of non-verbal rapport. Happens every day. The conventional response to this minor inconvenience is two-fold: scrape all visible non-electrical componetry with an Ockham razor, then thwack the machine smartly with a palm-shaped piece of PVC pipe until the mechanism says uncle and releases the tape; that failing, soak the machine, tape and all, in a solution of two parts Gum-Out to one part diner coffee for 14 hours. Some do-it-yourselfers have combined the two procedures -- pummeling the DAT machine as it's submerged in the cleansing solution. While this technique is not typically successful, the resultant fumes reportedly can induce temporary euphoria in the yourselfer. The downside is that it often causes air bubbles to lodge in the user's cuticles, leading to a dangerously congenital inflammation in the nether regions of the body called "the Abscess of Love." Interestingly, a 1970 love song of the same name recorded by The Hot Pustules spawned a different kind of adhesive creep.

You are my Abscess of Love / The fused, bony shell of my turtledove; Oh, my darling pus / You drive my white blood celled bus; From the bowels of my sore you issue / A loving yellow necrotic tissue; The viscous fluid that you weep / Turns me into an adhesive creep; You are my Abscess of Love.

The immense popularity of the song gave rise to a bizarre, and fortunately short-lived, cult of "adhesive creeps." Populated by young people in search of an identity and federal witness protection program club members, these "creeps" plastered themselves from head to toe with double-sided packing tape, spirit gum, epoxy, Velcro® strips and other adhesive materials; then, they’d "creep" around, often on all threes or fours, annoying and repulsing people, making "creeps" of themselves. While the New York Herald Tribune, in one of its last editorials, lauded this movement as "uniquely post-modern; a mucilaginous homage to pre-apocalyptic artistic adherentism," the dernier cri soon enough got bored with itself -- it never even mustered a follow-up song, and the notably unimpressed fashion industry was unwilling to contribute even a single adhesive suit to the fad. Only the Tape and Glue Division of the office supply business showed any interest, and that was strictly to market their briefly in-demand products. Within the year, adhesive creeps had become no more than a purulent footnote to late 20th century performance art history.

Alas, the adhesive creep of DAT technology is still with us. He patiently sits on the spring-loaded elastic band mechanism waiting to drip his foul, viscous fluids into the machinery's nona-magnetic innards, disrupting digital play ... much as this 233rd essay, give or take, of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar awaits its own disruption from its own Gummed-Out uncle, the derivation of which will be explained in due time, Kalvos.