Day 16: Seymour

The ache in my shoulder was incessant, like the purgatorial ache of a bass guitar yoked around my neck. Instead however I was yoked to this perky young rap fan who had spent much of the previous night dragging me down the darkest alleyways of Boston. We had slept by some large industrial bins out the back of the a fish restaurant which had given us a rude lobster-like awakening at 3am. Not the rudest of course, that would be woken by the B-52’s doing Rock Lobster, but half shells on your cranium in the dark is still unpleasant.

“So what are you doing here girlfriend?” Simone said. She had a habit of calling me girlfriend because she was under some sort of illusion I liked her. Either that or she could not remember the two syllables of Tanya.
“I am on an epic journey to circumnavigate the world via the medium of rubbish music.”
“You mean like rock music?”
“I mean like all music.”
“What, even Naz and Jay-Z.”
“Especially Naz and Jay-Z. Take Jay-Z, only last year he was saying he had 99 problems. Well wouldn’t he, all things being equal, be better off sorting out those problems rather than making a record. Especially considering that amongst his problem is an inability to rap, speak, rhyme or even hit the beat properly.”

Simone shut up at this point and scowled at me. It really was just like Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones. Or Lawrence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin in Fled. But I don’t think either of us wanted to be the Baldwin. She was certainly happy to lead me, and managed to drag me into the back of a refrigerated Dunkin’ Donuts van just after dawn. We breakfasted on scowls, stares and chocolate covered doughnuts.

Lack of conversation, massive comedown after a sugar rush and the lowered temperature made us drowsy after some time and it was clear the van had moved well out of the Boston area. How far was unclear until we were woken by the van door clicking open. Fresh cold air leaked in, it was the deep midwinter after all and the driver yelped to see two orange boiler-suited, well let’s be unfair, boilers leaping out of his van.

“Come on girl,” Simone called again, yanking me out of yet another van.
“Really, you must not -” and I was interrupted by slipping on some ice. “Now I have really had it. Where on earth are we?” I said, on my arse, unhappy and stuck in the middle of a smallish town. A smallish town which happily had a big sign for me.

Seymour, Connecticut. An All-American Community

I sighed. If this town was anywhere near as shit as the band with the same name, my troubles were far from over.


Imagine a parallel universe without music.

Nice isn’t it.

Okay, shift along a bit. Imagine a parallel universe where the bosses of Food records sat down with the nascent Seymour in 1989.
“We want to sign you,” says Food boss Dave Food. “But we think your name is a bit rubbish.”
“What’s wrong with Seymour?” Says chirpy pop mockney Albarn.
“Its a bit middle-class.”
“We’re a bit middle-class.”
“Well we would rather people did not know.”
Albarn goes off to talk to the band.
“We have thought it over, and we are not willing to compromise our art school credibility and artistic integrity.”
“You got that boring drummer in.”
“That wasn’t a compromise. Graham needed someone to get the spiders out of the tour bus. No, the name is Seymour. That is the name of the band that is going to change the musical landscape in the UK over the next ten years.”
“Well if you won’t change your name, you can fuck right off with your sub-baggy pretty boy mope-rock.” And with this he swans out of The Litten Tree and rips up the contract. Seymour does not get a deal, splits up, and Albarn becomes a presenter on Dial-A Date at 1am in the morning on Thursday nights.

If only we could get to this parallel universe. If only…