Record Duggie Chop's into, right this moment:

Record Duggie Chop's into, right at this moment: Muswell Hillbillies - The Kinks (1971)

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Thursday, 7 January 2010

Biography Spot # 1: The Torpid Emancipator

[Following a request, by Mr Stickleback, in a previous post, Brinfield Copse (Chief Fact Checker for Duggie Chop) will take us through the background of places, people and things that feature in the story. Brinfield will start with 'the old torpid one'...]

Greetings people, my name is Brinfield Copse and I'll post the occasional entry to help you understand what on earth is going on in this story.

Duggie and the others have been extremely lazy, not posting enough to keep you entertained during the holiday period, therefore I feel this is an opportune moment to tell you more about an element of the story [for pity's sake get on with it! I didn't realise you had such a boring style of writing Brin], 'The Torpid Emancipator'.

The Torpid Emancipator first appeared in this story on 15th November 2009

But it's been around for a long time.

Founded in 1971 by Davey 'Ringold' Crew, The Torpid Emancipator, known as 'the torpid one' or 'the old torpid one' is a record shop/studio/cafe and place for young people to 'hang-out'.

It's in a town called 'Chadlesome', situated in the middle of nowhere south of England.

The town of Chadlesome and The Torpid Emancipator became famous during the early 1970s, and remained so until the mid-1980s, as home to a progressive rock movement known as 'The Sound of Torpidity'. 'Hair Tom' is probably the most well known (and notorious) band to emerge from the movement.

Since 1979 (following the unusual death of founder 'Ringold'), the torpid one has been run by Ricky Fleese, or Fleesey for short. Fleesey's a chancer and a self-promoter, but there's no doubt that The Torpid Emancipator would be but a shadow of it's current self without him. Fleesey's like a poor man's Richard Branson, with a bit of Peter Stringfellow thrown in for good measure. [I like how your writing's improving as you go along, Brin]

What does 'The Torpid Emancipator' look like? Built in the mid-19th Century, with a double shop frontage, it has ornate plaster work in cream and white on the facade. At least it was cream, white and ornate in 1860. Now it's a little grubby - more grime-grey and battleship - and plaster flakes off as if the building had eczema.

[You know, once they thought that kids in the town - particularly teenage lads - were suffering from a mass scalp problem, as they all walked around with large showers of white stuff on the shoulders of their black school blazers. The local paper and the BBC news programme (the one that comes on the telly after the 6pm news) was always going on about it. Turned out that the dandruff was just plaster falling off The Torpid Emancipator. Chandlesome's young men, and some women, spent so much time standing outside the front of the crumbling building.]

The Torpid Emancipator is tall, at least five floors, including a suite of eerie rooms in the roof [I'm sure they'll feature in a future post].

Downstairs it's new records at the front (CDs too, of course and now video games, I think Duggie Chop went on about this a couple of months ago), second-hand music at the rear with the more specialist stuff, rarities and the like, on the first floor.

Fleesey's 'office' including some kind of sauna is to the rear of the first floor, overlooking a kind of courtyard in front of a modern office block (where everyone comes outside to smoke and eat their lunch).

There's loads of musical instruments - guitars, drums, keyboards, you name it - for sale in a large portacabin that's attached to the rear of the building adjacent to the courtyard and accessible through the second-hand music area. [Many bands have started using instruments bought from this almost sacred space.]

A small cafe, always full to bursting is situated in the front left hand window of the ground floor, right next to the new music. You can always get the people running the cafe to spin your newly purchased discs, results in an eclectic [hey, big word alert!] mix of music played while you sip your tea and eat a cake (another speciality of the torpid one).

The thing I haven't mentioned yet is the studio space, the real sacred space in the building: the place that gave birth to the Sound of Torpidity. Its all on the second floor and above. There are rehearsal rooms, digital studios, the lot. I could reel off bands that you would have heard off who either had their first session or recorded their best music up there. It's got a great feeling to it. But a musician will give you the lowdown, soon [It'll be me probably, Nels from Hair Tom - I'll let you know! Busy drinking cider at the moment...]

Oh, another thing, there's no opening times at The Torpid Emancipator. It's open all the time, 24/7, before they even invented the phrase.

[Phew! Thanks for that, Brin. Speak soon.]

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