Sometimes dreams can leave us feeling exposed, as if they were revealing some secret aspect of our deepest, darkest truths. Peaking through the cracks in the floorboards, we unwelcomely eavesdrop on the hidden parts we fear we were never meant to know about ourselves. The overwhelming wave of shame is too much to bare - as hard hitting as a delay in shipping, pushing back the arrival of your fuck consumerism teapot with matching tea cloth from Amazon.
Sometimes dreams are simply overstimulated neurones, randomly firing off, startled and excited, with repetitive, meaningless images, all attempting to form a coherent storyline, but upon awakening just turn out to be complete nonsense.
Sometimes they prey on our most basic fundamental fears, throwing our instincts into overdrive and kicking in our primitive fight or flight mechanisms. Sometimes they play out fun, engaging, fulfilling fantasies, the likes of which we could only fully explore in the safety of our minds.
And sometimes we don’t even dream at all.
The heavily armed security men led me through a seemingly endless amount of double doors (they were men because apparently my subconscious isn’t up to date with the latest developments of queer theory & intersectionality, and is still struggling with fixed gender roles.) We passed a variety of the arena's in house staff - crew, caterers, stewards, press, honorary guests - until we reached the guarded green room and, after a swapping of whispers and identity cards, we enter.
Justin Bieber tears into his post gig steak, a ritual he began after entering the realm of manhood. His two confidants shared the side salad Beiber had knocked to the floor following a heavy handed cut. They scrabble around, feasting at the feet of their desirable employer. They looked like David Bowie and Tilda Swinton’s characters at the end of The Stars (Are Out Tonight) music video, only lacking any substance. The blood from the meat had mixed with the hot beads of performance sweat, hijacking the air, creating a pungent sauna of red raw masculinity.
He slurped the juice off of his plate.
“I have a proposition for you.”
I reached out to hand him a band t shirt from the experimental rock outfit Can, the one with the dark navy future days design on it. The female confidant snatched it from my grasp, examining it carefully before, skeptically, holding it aloft for Justin’s eyes. He looked on, expressionless, yet aggressive. He gestured to his lips before the male confidant pulled the sleeve of his jacket up, wiping the wet meat mess from his slimy mouth, staining his pristine white shirt.
“I think you should wear this as you exit the building”, I suggested. He looked on, dribbling grease.
“This may seem a peculiar request, but any press photography would be circulated on one of the many social media outlets. Have you got an account on twitter.com?”
He raised his eyebrows in disgust. I could see that that move had been heavily workshopped and choreographed. On top of this I noticed that the brows themselves had been shaped and sculpted to perfection, not a hair out of place. I was impressed with the high production values that had sculpted them into the dynamic pair that they were. I’m sure they’d have their own representatives.
“Your sheer presence in this top will create a small state of conflict for real music enthusiasts. Their love of the experimental krautrockers will contradict their passion for undermining you, hating you even, and the corrupt industry you are a figure head of. It will go largely unnoticed in the wider culture but those eagle eyed fanatics will not be able to fully process it. They’ll start listening out for the influence of Irmin Schmidt’s compositions on such seductive tracks as ‘(Oh) Baby (Oh)’; trying to aline the complex percussive intricacies of Vitamin C with the all out dance banger ‘BOYF-rend’; find tonal links between the 1976 classic ‘Flow Motion' and 2010’s ‘My World 2.0’. By presenting them with an image that contradicts their view of you, they’ll either have to alter that opinion, or live knowing somewhere deep in their core, stagnating in their passion, lies a deep seated hypocrisy. With this simple mindless act, you could subtly undermine your critics on their own terms.”
The two confidants responded sharply in unison. “The wearing of unauthorised garments directly infringes your many sponsorship deals. This move is not of any commercial value and is therefore regarded as void.”
Bieber grappled with the last fork of ribeye and turned his head to face me. “So - like - what’s, in this can? Like, beans or sumin?”
“No… no, it’s not an actual can, just the name of the band.”
He turns to his confidants. “Do I like, like this band?”
“They have a strong cult following, arguably picking up a broader audience through the decades as the music scene progresses. They are considered as true pioneers in music, fusing avant-garde, experimental and world music themes into a rock, jazz funnel. Having influenced many of the key popular artists and musicians of the past 40 years, they have a distinctive, powerful, nuanced and unmistakeable sound.”
“So like, sort of like Little Mix?”
I was becoming increasingly stressed and frustrated at Justin’s lack of personality, intelligence & decision making. I really wanted him to subvert my expectations and present himself in a charming, charismatic, affable manner.
I always had this theory that actual Justin Beiber was not responsible for the media Justin Bieber. I thought the music press needed to present him in a certain light to shake off his innocent child persona and transform him into the boisterous, dangerous post-teenager, sexually active and ready to fuck you at a moments notice. I thought that, in a similar sense to Michael Jackson, an infant was being moulded into a deeply scarred adult and expected to cope with the huge responsibility thrust upon him, only to be stalked by the same machine, preying on his every move, hungry for his downfall, to show him off as a bad role model, a danger to society, trying to pre-write the story he hasn’t lived yet. A desperate drug addict, a serial rapist, newly fat, all so we can gawp and ask what went wrong? How did this happen? Manipulating stories to actively encourage the demise of Beiber. To sell the story. To falsify the importance of celebrity news. To glamorise these lifestyles, keeping us as obedient and frivolous money spenders. To drive the ideals of capitalism, keep the economy moving by landing the poor with exponentially increasing, unplayable debts, chasing the lifestyles the same system tells them they need in order to achieve happiness. To ensure the end of social mobility, keeping the rich wealthy and the status quo unchallenged, because without the poor, by definition, there would be no rich. But he’s not. He’s just a twat.
He reaches for the shirt and slips it on. It’s fairly tight around his toned physique. This makes him chuckle like Lenny from Of Mice And Men. He growls and flexes his personally trained muscles. The t shirt rips and his nipples peak through the ‘C’ and the ’N’.
He grunts, pleased, noticing himself in a mirror and picking up the last remaining streak of fat from the plate and placing it in his hair. And from that moment on, I knew how Justin Beiber maintained his short blonde dreadlocks.
The Savage Balance Podcast is a weekly podcast offering a new story, essay, interview, thought or leftover scribble from the back of a napkin.