PUBLISHED IN ISSUE 15
WRITTEN BY J.R TOLKIEN
(the emerging music journalist, not the internationally acclaimed author)
PHOTOS BY MERKADIE BARNARD
It’s an unusually cold spring day when Chandra Melting Tallow, the founding father of Mourning Coup, picks me up from the Victoria International Airport in her big red truck. Driving with abandon down the narrow roads of Sooke, BC she tells me we’re headed to her mom’s house. She’s been living in the basement for the past four years. “Training” she explains without further elaboration.
The house is modest with several vehicles on the front lawn. Painted fire truck red, it’s nothing special. When we get to the basement however, I’m proven looks can be deceiving. With a clap of her calloused hands I’m momentarily blinded by a barrage of sad lamps.
“This is where the magic happens,” she says extending her arms. The air is heavy with incense as a futile attempt to mask the smell of marijuana, which is technically illegal. In the centre of the room is a punching bag gently swaying in the breeze. She proceeds to take a few jabs, then turns and looks me dead in the eye.
I am a bit afraid -she has Japanese death poems printed on large sheets of paper covering the walls- but I pretend I didn’t hear her. She motions for me to sit on a bean bag chair and hands me a box of Lucky Charms.
“Try some they’re delicious.”
“Thanks I’ve actually had them before.” I say “Shall we begin?”
“Okay.” She answers before shovelling a handful of the delicious cereal in her mouth.
“You’ve never given a clear answer regarding the origins of the album title. Could you tell us the tale of Baby Blue?”
Wistfully she stares off into the distance. “You know what, I like you. Maybe it’s those big goofy glasses you’re wearing. Reminds me of my favourite teacher in high school.”
Self-consciously I touch my face. “They’re vintage.” I whisper.
based on a true story
It was a dark and stormy night. Picture me this: a strange figure, struggling against the wind, wearing a cowboy hat and a black trench coat makes their way down a winding dirt road leading to a run down old house. This is none other than Dead Red, infamous wizard of the badlands. Living amongst the shadows, he wanders the earth averting evil forces determined to annihilate him.
At the door are seven, count ‘em, SEVEN red roses. Dead Red doesn’t know why, but he knows there’s a reason. He can feel it in his gut. Reaching for his neck he makes sure his lucky necklace with his lucky charms is still there. The house is teeming with ghosts eager for a chance to catch a free ride with the living. Lucky charms are crucial for protection.
Dead Red quietly slips in the door when his body is filled with burning pain from his toes to the top of his head. “Goddamit,” he whispers, “Not again.” Dragging his legs and pouring sweat he presses forward like a true hero. Clutched in his hands is a small brown package. Cautiously he follows the tea lights leading the way to the Name Giving Master. The howling wind makes a racket but Dead Red refuses to give in to fear. Finally he reaches his final destination.
“Are you home? It’s me. Dead Red.”
“Come in,” a voice answers.
He opens the door to find a large teenaged girl practicing jabs on a punching bag in the centre of the room.
“Am I interrupting?” he asks tentatively.
“No, I’m pretty much finished,” she says, taking her place on a large velvet red cushion. “Have a seat, make yourself comfortable.”
Dead Red takes a seat on the floor. “It’s an honor to finally meet you.”
“Did you bring the offering?”
“Yes of course,” he said, handing it to her.
She places it in her lap and with a long sigh closes her eyes.
“The reason I’ve brought you here is to make an offer I don’t think you can refuse. I’ve been in this form fifteen years now. It’s been interesting and a true honor. I’d like to pass this honor onto you. Trade me forms and you can continue as wizard of the badlands. Disguised as Dead Red I’ll destroy everyone who wishes to harm you. You won’t be found and can continue your work in peace.”
Tears of gratitude sprung to his eyes. “Do I get a new name?”
“You are now Baby Blue. But not forever. I’ll return in fifteen years with a new name. The forces of evil in the world are growing stronger. I’m afraid you’ll suffer terribly, but you won’t be alone.”
“Okay.” Said Dead Red.
A shiver ran down my spine at that moment and Chandra Melting Tallow reached behind the bean bag chair and placed a worn dusty cowboy hat on her head.
“You can call me Ponyboy.”
Vancouver-based musician Chandra Melting Tallow released her debut LP Baby Blue last summer on No Sun Recordings which will also be available on tape September 3rd via Gary Cassettes. Look out for her collection of stories sometime this fall!
© 2019 The Editorial Magazine