by Simon Evans
“All aboard the Hyundai!” exclaimed Jeremiah Ansah as he beckoned his sixteen year old son and his two friends into the family car. He wanted to be fun, to be funny, to be liked but his jollity was met with eye rolling and sullen mumbling from the three boys.
Jeremiah knew that their destination was the Export Arena in town and – as they set off – he attempted to discover more about the concert the boys were due to attend.
“So, who’s this Shot Lyffe then boys?”
All three boys sniggered.
“Dad you is such mince beans dude. You pronouncing all wrong. It’s said like Shot Life not Shot Liff you Reeboker!”
The boys evidently enjoyed this response as they all started saying ‘YAK YAK YAK’, they then placed their fingertips in their mouths and knocked their elbows together.
This bizarre display was further evidence that Jeremiah no longer understood or related to his son or his friends or the rest of their generation. It all seemed to have begun to change when they started to use names that were not their own. Jeremiah knew the boys in the back of his Hyundai as Reuben Ansah (his son), Derek Hodge and Maynard Broomby but they were known in their peer group as ‘Flush Boing’ (his son), ‘CNUT’ (Derek) and Cash Horse (Maynard).
All of their meaningless posturing and gibberish wasn’t going to deter Jeremiah from attempting to establish a dialogue with the three bum fluffy boys on the way to town though.
“So, what kind of music is it then? What sort of act is Shot Lyffe? Hip Hop, Garage perhaps?” Jeremiah was pretty sure he was using the correct terminology but his question simply invited more ‘YAK YAK YAKS’, finger sucking and elbow flapping.
“Dad you is such a moon juice. Shot Lyffe is Hard Pressed Dirt.” Explained Flush Boing.
“He’s what sorry?”
“Mr Reid, Hard Pressed Dirt is like Grim Leaper and Onus. They the ones you probably heard of. Shot Lyffe is the principal sitch in Hard Pressed Dirt though, Onus is more like Cock Waltz.” Interjected Cash Horse, helpfully.
Jeremiah dropped the boys outside the arena, where a large queue was forming. He watched as the boys swaggered away and then drove home to watch Morse on Dave.
At the pre agreed time of 22:45 Jeremiah pulled in to the appointed side street and waited for the boys. When the dashboard clock read 23:00 Jeremiah left and locked the faithful Hyundai and approached the security guards at the arena entrance. He explained that he wanted to know when the concert was due to end (he could hear cheers and bass booming from within the arena).
“Going on late Boss, Shot Lyffe is the law man.” Said one of the guards.
Jeremiah mused whether he meant law, lore or lure but before he could summon a reply he was ushered in.
“You find your boys Boss. In Arena B, the smaller one. Shouldn’t be long to go.”
Jeremiah thanked the guard and followed the signs to Arena B. When he pushed open the door he was met with the smell of hot, adolescent sweat, cheap beer, thundering noise and the sight of hundreds of marauding youths. The most striking thing, once Jeremiah’s senses calmed down, was that most of the audience had their t-shirts pulled over the backs of their heads and were shining their mobile phone torches at the ground and pecking their heads like birds. Shot Lyffe himself was happily bouncing around the stage. He was a small chap wearing fluffy shorts doing something with his mouth that seemed to Jeremiah much like talking backwards very fast. The backing track sounded like every car accident that ever was, all at once.
Jeremiah was breaking out in a sweat and decided to purchase a pineapple juice while he was waiting. As he pocketed the alarmingly minimal amount of change he craned his neck to see if he could find Reuben, Derek or Maynard in the bobbing, pecking crowd. He didn’t notice as a stealthy, grinning young man plopped several pills into his drink.
Within several minutes Jeremiah began to feel woozy. The music began to ebb and flow. The air felt alive. He swayed. The bass bounced around his bones. His blood felt charged with electricity. It was a beautiful feeling.
While Jeremiah staggered from side to side, grinning, Shot Lyffe was encouraging his fans to join him on stage one by one and ‘spit some sound’ into the microphone.
Jeremiah was sucked in by the crowd as it surged back and forth. The tide of sweaty boys carried the gurning accountant towards the stage, towards the spittle drenched microphone.
Jeremiah felt like the muscles in his neck had given up as his head lolled and saliva drooled from his gaping mouth. Hands were helping him on to the stage and the microphone was placed into his shaking hands. Faces were turned towards him. Shot Lyffe bobbed up and down expectantly.
Jeremiah began to frown as he slowly raised the microphone to his quivering mouth.
He began to sing.
“O-bla-di, o-bla-da, life goes on, woah!
Oh oh how the life goes on
O-bla-di, o-bla-da, life goes on, woah!
Oh yes how that the life goes on.”
As three confused boys sneaked out of Arena B Jeremiah punched the air and screamed ‘YES!” before being removed by security.