Glossary of Quatsch

Shame chamber – brothel.

Slovenly hero of the straw – country bumpkin.

Sporting young custard receptacle – a willing and fair young lady.

‘Mother Nature is fondled through her fig leaf while the great god Neptune looks on in shame’ – metaphor for environmental damage.

Maelstrom of ionic starfish torment – the mysterious scrambling of time and space that gifted Aether Flyer with musical innovation and immortality.

Mauve chalice of excess – alcohol-fuelled gaiety.

Earflapdoodle – music of low aesthetic worth.

The Queen of the Arse Age – a leading member of London’s subterranean homosexualist community.

Red moxy – nauseous alcoholic beverage derived from red diesel.

Sweet fluxotic asparagus – pertaining to nothing at all; zero.

The Highbury Shiver Collective – one of North London’s most infamous secret societies.

Rotten orchid megabyte salad – engineering term for useless or outmoded technology.

Ramgag Aphoristic Belt-loosener – top secret, highly innovative piece of music technology designed by Prof Piddlechristmas and Mr Fossett.

Temporal Female XLR Wharf – as above.

Beautiful ravioli fiasco – music technology term for successful circuitry-building.

Increasingly violent duck copulation – euphemism for any kind of heinous and morally-outrageous criminal act.

Patent Alloy Cacotopic Fatherboard – the central machine behind Aether Flyer’s music.

The Drachma Gunshop Fiddled Leukaemiac Rancid Thought Dispensation Pencil Delivery Dime Bar Cat Burglary Reversal – a prototype of the electric guitar.

Flid-diddling – criminal act; use your own twisted imagination.

Biddy-diddling – as above.

Gifting a Brixton hipflask – offering a free sample of contraband to potential customers with the ultimate aim of selling them more.

Lollygagging over the remains of a female dinosaur – criminal behaviour in or around the scene of an archaeological excavation.

Cosmic energy fraud – abducting and illegally imprisoning a life member of the Royal Society.

Winning a bent tombola – having a difficult start in life; misfortune.

The buckwheat method of sterilisation – judicial punishment for sex offenders.

Up Swansea with a bohunk bridesmaid – in serious trouble.

Ten years developing an alternative to the whisk – the third most serious sentence that a British judge could hand down in the late 1920s.

Tipton Eunuchmaker – vividly offensive weapon.

Flemish Mousetrap – as above, but with an incendiary aspect.

Gold-plated naptha-propelled baby vamp – a ritual weapon presented to a member of the criminal underworld when he accedes to a senior position in a given ‘firm’.

Winston Apeshit and the Gumshield Sisters – London’s most feared criminal cartel.

Singing like a wrong Louis Armstrong – the state one is said to be in after sustaiing a grievous injured in gangland violence.

‘Do not go blindly into darkness on a Blunkett’s dare’ – advisory epigram intending to dissuade one from foolish behaviour.

Tabletop Brunehilde talk – small-talk; irrelevant chit-chat.

Lobespank – highly psychotropic synthesised drug.

Duffelcoat atrophy – negative physical reaction to drug overuse.

Lysergic tapdance bone seizure – as above.

Fosbury flop juice – as above, only with libido-reduction effects.

Fenugreek lambastication – naturally piquant narcotic imported from West Bengal towards the end of the Raj era.

Billingsgate flatulent and Suffolking badly – the death throes of an elderly person.

Mother-huffing chub turnover – the death of an elderly woman.

Dainty trapeze batsman – a foppish member of the ruling class.

Medieval pigeon-chaser – an exploited member of the proletariat.

Dislukacic fantasy heckler – a class traitor.

Dipping the headlights of Bolshevik intercourse – political radicalism.

Who’s Who Entries

PIDDLECHRISTMAS, Bootjack Luders Portico M.Sc. (Catamenic Field Study), M.D., Ph.D.(Astrothuctic Soundwave Models); born 10th October 1879, Folkestone; son of Roderick Piddlechristmas and Cecilia Vex; married Fratella Feynman-Heisenberg 1907 who died in scientific experiment 1908; educated Royal Catling School, Trinity College, Cambridge, Vienna Institute of Cataplasmic Empirics, Midhurst Academy of Screaming; served in the King’s Light Theoretical Physicists Corps 1914-18; journalist with Natural Philosophy Tomorrow magazine (1919-21); Emeritus Professor of Nanoaudiometazilchoelectrics at Imperial College, London since 1921; musicological overseer of Aether Flyer since 1928; hon. fellow of Trinity since 1923; fellow of the Royal Society since 1923. Publications : Bucky Blasted Pigeon Ramp Theory: An Introduction (1911), I Ride A Quantum Noah Across This Newton’s Flood: The Collected Columns (1921), An Appraisal of Curious Innovations in Melodious Conveyance (1925, joint editor with Jean-Baptiste Bung-Bung-Solifaux). Leisure interests: practical eugenics, toolsheds, clotted cream enemas. Clubs: Neutron’s of Mayfair, The Pretty Nurse Ravishment Club of Knightsbridge.

FOSSETT, Henry Clodhopper ‘Cranky’; born 3rd July 1885, Skipton, educated at The Peregrine Antimony Workhouse; son of Nigel Fossett and Fanny Bukharin; apprentice to Sturmfleisser’s of Leeds, manufacturers of counterfeit zeppelin ladders 1898-1901; senior organiser for the Pom-Pom Piston Worker’s Union 1901-14; military engineer in the Eighth Potato Rocket Bombardiers 1914-18; surprise chimney delegate to the founding of the Third International 1919; technician for Professor Piddlechristmas’ multiversal deci-fractioning experiments 1920-28; member of Aether Flyer since 1928. Leisure interests: horse racing, revolutionary socialism, gruel-sniffing. Clubs: Flinch Hill Working Men’s Club.

FRAGMENT, The Hon. Theseus Flobgriffin Michaelmas Chiringhey Evinrude Plumharvester Dave; born 3rd December 1897, Guildford, educated St Shoosh and Don’t Tell School for Young Boys, Dunfermline, Eiderdown College, Oxford (sent down for conspicuously smack-corpsing and flid-diddling, 1916); son of Sir Emlyn Fragment and Fulgencia Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; irrepressible sass-rake, boon frisker and roué since 1918; nightclub baritenor and coin operated pokeyrump-trumpeteer since 1921; member of Aether Flyer since 1928. Leisure interests: fencing, cocktails, snobbery, regular and sometimes frequent insertion of Betty Hawking into his left nostril, routinely alternating elevenses, Sundays, Thursdays and Whitsun.Clubs: Park Lane Shame Chamber, The Highbury Shiver Collective, The Cradle of Health, Chelsea.

HARMONY, Kelvin Broadus ‘Doc’; born April 15th 1889, Whitechapel, London, educated at the Borstal Wing of Wandsworth Prison; parentage unknown; purveyor of psychotropic elixirs and tonics for the listless auctioneer and petrified housewife since 1899; renowned in parts of lower Bethnal Green for fistfight promenading, exercising the decorum corrupting powers of havoc whistling, peacock feather strewn rile-harbouring and knock-latency tempered force-mayhem galing; owner of The Aether Club since 1923 after adjacent excavations were pinned wholly on then partner S. E. Groves (lead singer with the Poor Mime Bandits) whose subsequent jail stretch yogi awaits the great black cap and gown in the sky; member of Aether Flyer since 1928.  Leisure interests: rock-boxing, crapple-cleaving, day-trips to the Court of Appeal, going to Hades in a blue rinse bother wagon. Clubs: The League of Rotters, Forks Out and Barking, Foster’s Mickey Lacing Bazaar.

The Premise

In 1928, a group named Aether Flyer made a phonograph recording that laid the foundations for Western popular music. Almost every genre familiar to us today – from dub to metal to free jazz and hip hop – had its origins on the 78 known as ‘The Loose and Pasty Rootchunk Medley’. Using the technology of their time (as well as inventing much of their own), Aether Flyer pioneered such techniques as circuit bending, sampling and time stretching. They invented the electric guitar and a crude early form of the digital synthesiser. There is hardly a musician alive today who does not owe Aether Flyer something.

The man behind the project was playboy crooner The Honourable Theseus Fragment, who felt he had something to prove when he was cut out of the will of his father Sir Emlyn Fragment, founder of Butter on the Wireless Records. Theseus hired Bootjack Piddlechristmas, Professor Emeritus of Nanoaudiometazilchoelectrics at Imperial College, London, who’d just spent a year inside a tool shed in Kensington trying to re-enact the beginning of the universe with Ansco No. 2 Bingo Cameras and whizzbang flashpacks. Piddlechristmas was to be the technological genius behind Aether Flyer. Upon his recommendation, military engineer Henry ‘Cranky’ Fossett was brought into the group. Fossett had become addicted to mild doses of mustard gas while fighting in World War I but had retained his brilliant mind. He was also a superlative player of the gazoo. Lastly, saxophonist and shady nightclub owner Kelvin ‘Doc’ Harmony was recruited. The line-up was complete.

Piddlechristmas was interested in Supra-Transient Brittle Skid Theory about how light waves vibrate against a substance called ‘aether’ while travelling through space. During the group’s first rehearsal, he conducted an experiment that applied the same theory to sound waves. The result was what physicists have called “a maelstrom of ionic starfish torment” i.e. a temporary scrambling of time and space. The group emerged from the experience with certain special powers, musical originality being the most crucial. Immortality was also most welcome.

Aether Flyer’s live concerts were a logistical nightmare. A 200-piece avant-garde orchestra called The Association of Daring Escapes had to be transported to each venue, as did sound modules the size of green houses. Nonetheless the group were awarded a lucrative contract worth over £100 by label Wistful Brycleem and produced what the musicologist T.S. Evanrude would later describe as “the sexiest thing ever committed to polyvinyl chloride.”

But there was to be no release of ‘The Loose and Pasty…’ The Wistful Brylcreem board of directors were appalled by it. Their spokesman told the Pimlico Bugle in March 1928 “this is a licentious and roundly awful torrent of ear-flapdoodle.” Aether Flyer, like many artists before them, were deemed so ahead of their time as to be to offensive to public morals. Their technological breakthroughs also threatened powerful interests in the media industry, especially musicians who felt their livelihoods threatened by sampling and multitracking.

On the morning of the 3rd April 1928, Metropolitan Police officers raided Wistful Brylcreem’s “rubber line” wax recording department and confiscated the master disc. Warrants were issued for the arrest of all Aether Flyer’s members, their management and servants. The group escaped capture by stealing a Sopwith Camel from RAF Digby. No one knew where they had flown to.

Over the following decades, the master disc of ‘The Loose and Pasty…’ was secretly passed between the nabobs of the music business and plagiarized for their profit. The public were never told about the real origins of their favourite styles.

Then, earlier this year, an intrepid young filmmaker tracked the band down in the Amazon jungle where they’d been in hiding for eighty years. Now they have returned to the country that spurned them to claim their rightful share of credit and royalties, but mostly royalties.