“Do you wanna get nuts? C’MON, LET’S GET NUTS.” – Michael Keaton, Batman 1989.
A few days from Autumn and the ankle is acting up again. They say all your pains grow exponentially once yours 30s are finished and perhaps that old nugget is true. The bar lights are dimming, the floorboards are sticky like treacle with the bloodied remains of Stellas and Kronenbourgs, the climb uphill will be a killer. Let’s move.
Another night at the Sydney Canton, the SydCan for us locals, and the folk musicians live under the impression that we wanted a Ceilidh. No, we just want music to rip throats to, not songs about copulating fairies and living fir trees reminiscing about limestone causeways.
A faint ding on the door and I’m out, the wind streaks lifting dead leaves and a rank smelling Stagecoach bus puffing and huffing up the hill. I pull my collar up and I take a couple of steps down, sliding inch by inch as the pain in my ankle returns. I hear four dings from the door and a loud thud is a precursor to darkness.
I open my eyes and I’m in some weird basement. It’s dank, smells like old hummus, and I see several bags of something called “non-gluten organic wheat tofu”. Out of the darkness, four ruffians slide out in unison. It’s the folk musicians from the SydCan. They introduce themselves, revealing names so ridiculous I wouldn’t dare typing them. My nightmares still shout their dastard, fiendish names.
They grin when I plea for my freedom. Out comes the piccolo, the lute, the Appalachian dulcimer, and, God, please, no, not the balalaika! They start their horrid music once more, a torturous travesty of a tribute to Nick Drake, so horrid in nature the poor man would die four more times dancing with the devil in the pale light of a Pink Moon.
And then, a loud thud. Splinters, two halves of a wooden -locally sourced, of course!- door crash down and 6 burly men enter the basement. I’d describe them but they say a picture is worth ten retweets:
One shouts “You’d be a fool to mess with Terry!” and they proceed to punch, kick, and suplex the folk musicians. They dusted really quick, but the piccolo man throws a castanet towards a jar of sugar-free water and an army of buffoons dressed in salsa band wardrobe surround the six men. They are armed with mangoes, pineapples, guavas, and several sharp lychees.
“You don’t know who we are! We are The Friends of Batman, we don’t shiv!” As they punch the fruit basket-wearing goons, they chant “we bring you pain!”, in a choreography reminiscent of a Morris Dancers slam dance. Blood and fruit juice splashes everywhere and this is no longer a basement, it’s an operating table and The Friends of Batman are the surgeons.
“Smell the perfume” they chant in unison as they introduce the floorboards to the heads of the folk band and the salsa musicians. It’s a short fight but they look knackered. The one wearing a ski mask with a Cthulhu motif unties me, cutting the hemp rope with an artisan-created knife.
“Thank you, strangers, I’m just a Rock + Roll Dickhead, and I owe you my life! God knows what these miscreants wanted from me!”
“No worries, old chum” said the one with the face mask and cape combo. “It appears we’ve rescued just in the nick of time. These ne’er-do-wells have been abducting innocent civilians, subjecting them to vile folk music that creates internal bleeding. A most heinous crime!”
“How could I thank you?”
“A good deed is its own reward. But if you could spare us a few bob for our bus back home, that’d be grand. We might be heroes, but we are humble. We are disciples of a poor man, whose name escapes us, one who shun away money unless it’s for a bare necessity.”
“Like bus fare?”
“And reyt ale.”
“Reasonable. Here you go, my dear saviours.”
They help me up the stairs and we seem to have been stuck inside the remnants of a place called Fresh Rutabagas. We are in a hipsterish neighbourhood and a wise person would fear for safety, but I know now that I’m with a safe group of freaks. The Friends of Batman don’t shiv, you see…
Words: Sam J. Valdés López