We have been informed that WOWFest 2012 has now been cancelled. Many of the bands involved may be found playing at alternative venues and festivals this year in and around the UK.
With the help of renowned table-tapper Doris Teatowel, countercultural powerhouse Reinhardt Haydn has pierced the purple veil between this world and the next to conduct an exclusive interview with Tupac Shakur for Rap Spiritualist Quarterly. Here is an excerpt from the conversation, which took place in a Thornton Heath living room between two episodes of Coronation Street, last Monday;
Doris Teatowel: He’s coming through … Ooooh, ahhhhh …. Hello? ‘Pac? Is that you homes? I have a brother here who would like to lay something on you … Yes? OK – go ahead…
Haydn: Right … So – ‘Pac, how has life changed for you since you died?
Tupac: No frontin’ – Things are very different for me now. First up, I’m in limbo – this is down to all those foo’s refusing to believe taht I’m dead, no matter how many pictutres of my autopsy are put in front of them. Until folk accept that I’m toast, there ain’t no way that I can move on. I’m stuck in transit ’til they wise up. Still, if they’re dumb enough to believe I’d record a song with a big pansy like Elton, then I can see how they’d swallow anything. Biggie passed through here like a sardine through a seagull – ain’t nobody deifying his big ass.
Haydn: So … where exactly are you?
Tupac: Limbo, foo’.
Haydn: Right … what’s it like?
Tupac: Not what I expected. It’s a lot like a Travel Lodge … My crib has a bed, a TV – no HBO or porn – an en suite shower and coffee making facilities.
Haydn: Are you on your own?
Tupac: Not more than hardly … There’s a whole mess of us stuck here; Elvis Presley, Jim Morrisson, Shergar, some parts of Cher…
Haydn: Wow! How do you get along with Elvis?
Tupac: I tend to stay clear of him – he thinks I’m Martha Reeves. I guess his head is wasted from life. Plus he takes the Twinkies from folks’ rooms, and you have to wait ’til the next day before they give you another two. He still thinks he’s the king.
Haydn: Is limbo spiritually enriching?
Tupac: No. It’s like a Travel Lodge. How ‘enriching’ do you think that is, cracker?
Haydn: Not very…
Tupac: No shit. I was expecting clouds, wings, harps and maybe George Burns – but I don’t get that ’til I pass through.
Haydn: And that’s dependent on people accepting that you’ve died?
Tupac: Word. They need to put me behind them before I can move forward.
Haydn: Have you taken anything positive from the whole experience of being dead?
Tupac: Sure – it got me out of my Death Row contract
Haydn: But Suge Knight’s carried on releasing your albums…
I was standing in the bathroom when the door came in. I’d just spent the last three hours nailing together the salient points of the spork review when Raoul kicked his way into my room an insisted that we had to get out of the travel lodge immediately. The peyote fever was upon him and the only thing was to go with it.
As we made our way through the unnaturally quiet streets of pre-dawn Sandwell, I tried to take stock of the manner in which a simple assignment to review a hitherto innocent eating implement could have resulted in a trashed hotel room, the withdrawal of my Countdown card and a night manager on his way to a secure unit after being caught ‘in the parlour’ with the hotel’s rented water cooler.
I’d arrived at the travel lodge the previous morning, with an expense account of £500, a rented Hyundai and a brief to road test the spork for those pigs at Catering Gestalt. The first thing you’ve got to know about the spork is that it’s no use for a bugle spoon. You’re likely to rip your nostrils to bits, bucko. On the other hand, it is ideal for over officious bellboys who get snotty about hefting a goat carcass up to your room. I had a feeling the goat would come in handy later, and overcame the bellboys reticence by offering to sort out his adenoidal dialect issues with sporky.
Raoul arrived a couple of hours later – he’d had some hassle with his old lady who was hassling him for maintenance. She wasn’t taken in by the photos of him dressed as The Mighty Thor outside the CPA headquarters, and was giving him hell. She insisted he take little Raoul with him for the day and he’d had to stop off at his sisters to dump the kid. Road testing cutlery in the West Midlands was no place for a kid.
After an uneventful half-hour in the hotel bar, we drove to a Harvester on some god-forsaken ring road. After some heaviness about the goat, we left it in the boot and found a table. Hoping to gloss over that ugly scene, I asked the waitress if it was OK if I used my spork rather than the cutlery provided. She looked at me like I’d asked her for sex, which I might have done, but so far as I can remember, it stuck pretty steadfastly to the spork issue.
Ignoring that bitch, I got straight into running the spork around the salad bowl. It picked up diced carrot and bits of spring onion fine, but tended to get caught up in the sauerkraut. It’s also hard to get a whole beetroot on it. Where it really came into it’s own was with the potato salad – it’s dual, spoon/fork characteristics making it ideal for both stabbing and scooping. Far superior to the flatter, less spoon-like, foon.
I got myself some soup – cream of mushroom, although it looked more like chicken and mushroom. The spork worked out OK at low speed, but as I warmed up it tended to spray the hot liquid around the place. This brought the waitress back – she started yelling something about getting the manager, so I agreed. I had some questions for him. Anyway, she comes back about ten minutes later with this little Armenian guy, who she said was the manager. He wasn’t interested in my questions about the consistency of his soup in relation to spork usage, preferring to yell something that sounded like ‘why-o-way, why-o-way, why-o-way’ at Raoul, who was working his way along the cold cuts.
This was all getting too much, so I gave him a couple of digs with the spork, grabbed Raoul and headed for the Hyundai. We passed the feds on the way out. I saluted and they didn’t suspect a thing.
Our next stop was an Oriental restaurant called the Wing-Ya, or similar. After some initial confusion about the establishments take-away only status, we settled down to our egg fried rice, oriental duck, crispy noodles, been shoots and water chestnuts. The spork is ideal for eating Chinese – although you’re best taking on the prawn crackers by hand.
After we went back to the hotel, Raoul decided to head out for a massage, as the heavy scene with his wife and the business in the Harvester had brought on one of his tension headaches.
Raoul: I guess the first thing that most people want to know is, how did you get to be a countercultural activist?
Reinhardt Haydn: It’s difficult to say – so often the first thing that people want to know can be pretty prosaic. Something like ‘any idea where the khazi is?’ The questions about counterculture activism generally come much later. If at all.
Raoul: Right. Reinhardt, how did you get to be a countercultural activist?
RH: That’s not a term I’d use to describe myself.
Raoul: But you do. I’ve heard you do so on numerous occasions. You told John Major exactly that.
RH: Yeah. But that was pretty much a ploy to get his alarm bells ringing.
Raoul: What was the point of that?
RH: I wanted to see how he’d react to that kind of heavy situation.
Raoul: How did he react?
RH: I think he basically freaked out and shut down.
Raoul: How so?
RH: He just looked straight at me and said, ‘I see, have you met Norma?’
Raoul: Maybe he didn’t hear you…
RH: I’m pretty sure he did. If you ever meet John Major, you’ll notice how good his teeth are. Very white. Strong. I doubt that anyone who was signed up to such a good dental care programme would be likely to let his hearing go to pot.
Raoul: Do you approve of private health care?
RH: Sure. Except that it ought to be free for everyone.
Raoul: But then it wouldn’t be private, Reinhardt
RH: Only if you apply the dogma of the current regime.
Raoul: Getting back to my original question; when you describe yourself as a countercultural activist, what exactly do you mean?
RH: Yeah. OK. OK, I accept that at some point I may have described myself as a countercultural activist. However, these are not absolute definitions. The degree to which I am effectively a countercultural activist depends, at any given point, upon a number of variables.
Raoul: Such as?
RH: Firstly, the extent to which that which the current counterculture embraces that which corresponds to my own opinions – which in turn determines, in part the level to which I am active within said counterculture. And (b), how active I’m feeling.
Raoul: So right now, how do you feel about the counterculture?
RH: That kinda depends…
Raoul: Upon what?
Raoul: What – the woman from the Manson Family?
RH: No, the pop group.
Raoul: How are your feelings in respect of the current counterculture determined by Kasabian, the pop group?
RH: Well, basically it depends whether Kasabian are representative of the counterculture, or the culture to which the counterculture is in opposition to.
Raoul: I see. So, what if it was the case that Kasabian, the pop group, were representative of the counterculture?
RH: That would mean that I would have to disengage from countercultural activism until this was no longer the status quo.
RH: Because they’re rotten.
Raoul: In what respect?
RH: They’re a boy band. They’ve got some vague pseudo revolutionary gimmick, which is their version of The bay City Rollers’ tartan – although, it has to be said, that unlike Kasabian, the Bay City Rollers were deeply subversive – there’s no genuine revolutionary intent and they sound like a bad Primal Scream tribute act. They’re as bard as the Manics. At least with The Alarm, you knew what they stood for and they had a solid ideology.
Raoul: Which was?
RH: Something like, ‘we’d like to be The Clash, please’.
Raoul: So, therefore – if Kasabian were representative of the mainstream culture, then you would describe yourself as a countercultural activist.
RH: Absolutely. You bet.