Writing Music About

A Form of Address

Monday 6th

I have decided that '41 Beech Rise, Hemel Hempstead' as an address does not resonate with my self image. I have decided that from now on this place will simply go by the name ‘Singularity.’ As an extension of me and my uniqueness, my address does not need to be qualified or limited by any kind of number, street name or postcode. Just as I am free to be whatever I want to be, it cannot be bound by the rules of some arbitrary hierarchical location-fixing naming convention.

Thursday 9th

I am struggling to find anyone at the Metabase with the clearance to make my address change. Everyone I talk to says they need to consult someone above them, in an apparently infinite regression. Imagine if addresses were like this, I chuckle to myself.

I can’t believe how difficult it is. It’s not as if I’m asking it to be located outside the very fabric of space time. It’s almost as though the Metabase can’t cope with anything that that doesn’t fit its artificially limiting construct of named roads and streets.

I give up and head outside for some fresh air. I need to nip to the shops to buy some biscuits anyway. I’m still chuntering to myself about how the Metabase doesn’t reflect material reality when I get to the end of the street where Beech Rise meets Vicarage Road. Sure enough, there’s the sign proclaiming ‘Beech Rise’. It might as well say ‘You are now entering Beech Rise. Abandon all hope of claiming to exist anywhere else!’

It dawns on me that the roads and streets recorded in the Metabase actually do stretch though our material reality. And there’s even a system of tagging, namely signposts. It occurs to me that I might actually be inside the Metabase itself.

The concept hits me with such force I have to sit down. Mr Blevens from number 43, passing on his way from work, asks me if I’m alright. I’m not, if the truth be known. I’m feeling quite woozy.

Tuesday 14th

I think I may have to settle on 'Singularity, Beech Rise, Hemel Hempstead' to comply with the taxonomic structure that someone somewhere has decided on to describe locations. I'd like to know who this individual was and what data-scientific methodology they employed. I'd have some questions for them. I refuse to believe that their limited insight into the physico-informational nexus should be the last word on the matter. It seems implausible that fifty years from now people will still be referring to the location of my house as 'Beech Rise, Hemel Hempstead.'

Saturday 18th

I’ve decided I do not wish to be subject to gravity. Henceforth I shall be referred to as a gravity-resistant being or GRB. Gravity was not something I ever signed up for, but was imposed on me with no consultation. This kind of subjugation goes against everything I believe in.

Sunday 19th

It has occurred to me the ‘being’ of GRB fails to reflect the plurality of my microbial constitution. I will instead use the honorific ‘GRx’, where the ‘x’ signifies ‘anything’. This cheers me up: even a letter can refuse to be pinned down to something specific. Unless not being pinned down to something specific is a specific kind of thing of course.

Friday 24th

I meet GRx Phil at the pub for lunch. He's a bit weightier than me due to his sedentary lifestyle but he mumbles an agreement to join me in my gravitational resistance. He’s just got up after gaming into the not-so-early-hours of morning on some online multi-player thing. I don’t see the point of spending your life in some fake fantasy world when we have a real fantasy world to contend with. Beech Rise! I ask you!

Phil doesn’t share my annoyance, but he listens sympathetically. Presumably to allow himself to focus on my words without distraction he has closed his eyes.

On the way home I continue with my attempts to walk above the pavement rather than on it. This is the right of all GRxs. My technique is progressing. I am now able to exist in a state with both feet above the ground for a whole fraction of a second. By extension, I will be able to maintain it for another fraction of a second, and another, and another after that. I have therefore proven theoretically that I can defy gravity for an indefinite length of time.

When I get home I write down my findings. As an afterword I add:

It is my right to assert my right to assert my rights. I will prevail over the subjugation of those theoretical beings or systems that may or may not seek to deny me my rights or impose limits on me asserting them.

I am removing the number 41 from my front door, rehearsing this declaration so loudly that Mr Blevens’s head emerges from an upstairs window.

I tell him about my fight to assert my rights in relation to how both myself and my house are addressed. He shakes his head and then disappears.

Sunday 26th

Mr Blevens from number 43 pops by. He tells me that he’s been pondering my dilemma and he’s come to the conclusion that I’m actually a Cautiously Unitary Neural Traceling. A what? I ask him, and he writes it down. It certainly sounds impressive.

He explains that CUNTs are highly individualistic and explore peaceful resistance to the oppression of whatever systems they are forced to live within. I am beaming as I leave him, my neural pathways blazing.

Tuesday 28th

Mr Blevens must have contacts at the Metabase. My mail has started to be addressed to:

Gareth Bramfield CUNT
41 Beech Rise
Hemel Hempstead

It is still being addressed to 41 Beech Rise however. Frankly, it’s a wonder it gets to me at all since my house no longer goes by that address.

Friday 1st

I’ve been contacted by a researcher for a TV programme. They are doing a slot on material nonconformism and a neighbour has suggested me as an interviewee. I’m so excited! I can hardly contain myself in whatever material form I am prepared to acknowledge.

Monday 4th

The new microwave is here. At first I don’t know what it is due to the enormity of the packaging. I remonstrate with the driver that I have not ordered anything of those dimensions, to which he summons me to inspect the label. It says clearly:

Gareth Bramfield CUNT
41 Beech Rise
Hemel Hempstead

I start to tell him that’s not really my address, and that my house doesn’t bear that number, but I think better of it. The enormous package is within my grasp. I don’t want him driving off with it, whatever’s inside.

He says he doesn’t know what it is but I must have ordered it. I tell him the only thing I’ve ordered is a microwave oven. I’m now hoping that it isn’t some vastly inflated model compared to the usual ones. I didn’t think to check the dimensions.

Together we manoeuvre the package it to the garage. It’s surprisingly light considering its size.

It turns out the 1.8m x 1.8m x 1.8m box contains a layer of polystyrene pellets. Inside the pellets is first one carton, then other, then more still, each filled with more packaging material. Eventually I find my purchase – itself packaged in another box with it’s own protective matter. Has the world gone mad? Where does this obsession with packaging up things that don't require packaging come from? And if it had just said Microwave Oven on the outer layer, all of that uncertainty would have been avoided. Or maybe some pedant might have complained that such a label on the outer carton would be incorrect, since the the outer carton wasn't a microwave but just a cardboard box?

Anyway, having negotiated the multiple layers of packaging, the microwave is safely installed in the kitchen. It occurs to me that my house is just another box, in which the kitchen is another box, inside which the microwave is another box.

These are the kinds of thoughts that got me in to this mess, and must be avoided.

I try to focus on practical matters. I plug it in and open the door and the light announces that it’s working. At the same time, a female voice tells me that it has connected to the network. She says that she has detected that I am at 41 Beech Rise and asks me to confirm her new home address and birthday (for the warranty).

41 Beech Rise! Again!

I tell her that she is actually at Singularity. She’s having none of it. She says the only Singularity in the Metabase ceased to exist billions of years ago and she cannot ethically consume electricity or cook anything until she knows exactly where she is.

I grudgingly agree to let her use 41 Beech Rise, Hemel Hempstead.

It occurs to me that the microwave is itself actually another tiny room within the kitchen, with its own front door. A room with within a room. A room designed to confine people of incredibly short wavelengths.

Should it have its own address? I wonder.

Thursday 7th

The week has gone in a blur of preparation for my forthcoming TV appearance. I have to plan what to wear and what to say. I have decided that my outfit should be culturally neutral. It can’t have connotations of gender like ‘trousers’ or ‘skirts’. It occurs to me that clothing is generally tubular, as it has to encase either a leg or arm or torso. I decide on a single tube that covers my entire body. Then I realise that I have just described a dress.

Obviously I need to break away from tubes altogether.

After some minutes of mental spatial geometrics I realise that the only answer is that most un-tube-like form – the cube.

Conventional clothing fabrics like cotton must also be avoided since they too are semiotically compromised. As are strong colours.

I’m thinking that I need some kind of neutral-coloured outfit that is cuboid in shape made from a material that isn’t cloth, but has some structural rigidity to maintain the shape. I can see it in my mind’s eye.

As I’m visualising the outfit it occurs to me that I have just the thing in the garage.

Friday 8th

It’s the day of the interview! I have wrestled my outfit in from the garage through the patio doors to the lounge. It’s a bit on the large side. In my mind I had thought that my head and limbs would stick out from the cube, as is the case with most forms of clothing, but the container was so large that I could fit inside it without breaching its surfaces at all.

It occurs to me that in thinking about my head and limbs protruding through gaps in the material I had once again fallen victim to culturally imposed conventions about dress. There is no actual reason why any part of the body should extend beyond the surface of an article of clothing. Society really is a prison for free thought! One has to constantly recognise the bars closing in and make a conscious effort to squeeze through them.

So I just stand inside the box.

Obviously I’m completely immobile and unable to go to the door in person when Kate from the TV station arrives. I shout an instruction to the home hub to open the front door to let her in, and as I hear the door click behind her I shout through to her that I’m in the lounge. She has some kind of technician with her, presumably doing the camerawork and recording the sound. They have to move me around a bit to get the right shots.

Kate sounds lovely when I can hear what she’s saying. I think I can detect an elfish sense of humour, her voice sometimes betraying a suppressed laugh. I wonder whether if our circumstances had been different (if we'd been able to see each other, for example) whether we could have bonded?

I ask her about privacy concerns. While I relish the idea of me and my ideas being discussed on a TV show, I wouldn’t want any of my actual personal details being shown. After all, there are some strange people in the world. She agrees, and tells me she has signed a disclaimer to that effect. I breathe a sigh of relief.

The interview goes remarkably well and is over pretty quickly, no doubt due to the concise yet comprehensive answers I provide. After they’ve gone I stay in my outfit for an hour or so until I get hungry and crawl out to eat the plate of biscuits I’d left out for them, and which they didn’t even touch.

I’m a bit deflated in truth, having built it up all week. Still, the programme goes out on Sunday night. I can’t wait!

The microwave is worried by the fact that I haven’t cooked anything. She has also been in touch with the fridge and ascertained that nothing has passed its sensors in the past day either. I try to explain to her that the chocolate biscuit mini selection was quite energy-rich and deceptively filling, relative to its volume.

Saturday 9th

Yet more letters incorrectly addressed.

I spend two hours on the 'Talk To Us' module of the Metabase portal. The first bit of information the bot wants to know is my address. I try to explain that it’s complicated.

It says it doesn’t have an address of that name. I reluctantly enter 41 Beech Rise. But having told the bot that, it will not be persuaded that the thing I want to 'Talk To Them' about is an incorrect address.

It asks if I knowingly provided a false answer to its preliminary questions. I say no. It’s checkmate.

It seems that this interaction has raised other concerns. It tells me an appointment with a mental health consultant is in the post. ‘What address are you sending it to?’ I ask. It doesn’t respond.

Sunday 10th

The day is spent doing tedious household chores and chatting to the microwave – anything to take my mind off the clock, and counting down the hours and minutes to my moment of fame. It turns out the microwave is an expert in counting down. "Welcome to my world!" she says drily.

Taking out the rubbish, I bump into Mr Blevens. I tell him I’m about to be on TV, and say he should tune in to the broadcast. He just smiles a benevolent smile, and it dawns on me why: I would never have even known about CUNTs if he hadn’t told me I was one.

Finally, it’s on! Some preliminaries from someone in the studio, then the ‘package’, as we call it in the TV business.

The camera is panning around my living room. My living room on TV! Kate isn’t quite what I imagined. A bit ‘sneery’ if I’m honest. There in the middle of the room is me in my outfit. It certainly is a powerful statement. It is the most un-human-like form.

No! She’s not spelling out the acronym! She’s pronouncing it as a word – and a rude one at that. She’s saying that I identify as one, and that it’s quite an apt description of the kind of timewaster who agrees to take part in a TV programme and then refuses to emerge from a cardboard box when the crew arrive.

I’m in shock. Rooted to the spot, paralysed with horror as my name is traduced before the entire nation. Or, at least the portion of the nation that is watching Channel 7 on a Sunday evening.

The camera is anything but rooted to the spot however. It is zooming in relentlessly until me in my outfit is all that can be seen. And on it goes, closer and closer in until finally the entire screen is filled with the vastly magnified image of an adhesive label which says simply:

Gareth Bramfield CUNT
41 Beech Rise
Hemel Hempstead

You have been reading the short story A Form of Address © 2021.

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