1942. Two young privates stand holding shovels in North East London. A sergeant approaches…
“At ease, boys. As you know there’s a bit of a ruckus on. While it doesn’t look like much now, give it 70 odd years and Dalston will be the epicentre of cultural expression in our capital. It will also attract a lot of people with capes, but that’s not important. So we need a bunker. Which is where the shovels come in.”
One of the privates raises a hand.
“Permission to talk.”
“Why a bunker?”
“I’m glad you asked,” says the sergeant. “There are two good reasons. Firstly, being hit on the head with a bomb is unpatriotic and exactly what the enemy wants. Second, a bunker will provide an excellent location to put on special gigs, where hotly tipped new bands can perform to a tiny audience in an extremely atmospheric location”.
“Hotly tipped? Like Vera Lynn?”
“Exactly like Vera Lynn. Or like new Bella Union signings MONEY. Who can play there twice just before the release their debut album.”
“MONEY, eh? I hope that in the future the entire corpus of human information isn’t captured on some kind of universal, world-wide system which uses a specific keyword to retrieve. Because they’re going to be a bit knackered with a name like that.”
The sergeant looks thoughtful. “True. But it will help to maintain an air of mystery. So if they decide to write songs which sound philosophical and that float gracefully, paced with high ringing guitar lines that tumble melancholically with an air of ethereal contemplation, it is not a bad thing.”
“Ethereal contemplation? Like Vera Lynn?”
The private looks at the marked out ground. “This bunker. It’s going to be pretty small.“
“Yes. So should any singers want to make an entrance by bursting into a cappella song in the centre of the room it will probably work. It’ll probably stop everyone in their tracks and allow a hushed silence to descend. Should the lead singer then want to then pour beer over his head, kiss a gentleman in the audience prior to heading back to his microphone, that will be fine. So long as he’s got a voice with sufficient gravitas to do it. Basically. It should feel quite special.”
“And the band?” The private asks.
“Well. They feel quite special too.”
“Won’t it get damp?”
“Only if it rains.”
The sergeant moves to leave.
“Right. Enough chatter. To it boys. Come on. Dig for victory.”