Unplugged (Lazarus Remix) – 7″ Fiction

This is a bit of an experiment. I wanted to do a remix of a story to put on the B-Side of a piece of 7″ fiction to mimic the way record companies like to fill up space with not-really-new material. But I had no idea how to do it. Until, that is, I stumbled upon this on Jeff Noon’s website: Dub Fiction/Remixing Narrative. It’s well worth a read if you have the time.

So I used some of the ideas here, but maybe not all of them. I wanted the remix of Unplugged to be recognisably the same story as the original. So I retained some of the text – probably more than Noon proposes you do. And I retained the basic structure. But I did use a text randomiser to mix up my metaphors a bit. And then I reworked a lot of sentences, and added some new phrases, to try and get it back to the general sense of what I was going for originally.

Anyway, yeah, the result isn’t Dub fiction. But it’s something similar I suppose. (Lazarus, by the way, is the name of the randomiser I used).

Unplugged (Lazarus Remix)

‘There’s someone for everyone.’

I regretted saying it as soon as the words were out of my mouth. I don’t know why I did it. Her loneliness made me uncomfortable I guess – it reminded me too much of my own. We could have talked about it, but no. I hit her instead with a barrage of supersonic platitudes. It was all I had: a mutant folklore; a rain slicked superstition. There’s the truth, the whole truth, and everything but the truth.

‘What do you think of David?’

David was the new guy in Accounts. I thought he was a bit of a dick. I suppose she suddenly fancied him.

‘He seems a bit of a dick.’

See, I did it again. She went quiet for a single desperate moment. I watched her pupils dilate in response to how fucking stupid I was.

I tried to set her up with my friend Karl. He was the best option I had in my remote corner of the stagnant gene pool. It didn’t work out, and I was hardly surprised. I did what I could though, isn’t that what counts? There were a few icy mornings when we met at the station to travel in to work together. But it passed – everything does.

‘You haven’t heard a thing I’ve said have you?’

She pulled me back up into her words. I don’t know where I was before she did that. I was drunk and I’d misplaced the moment.


‘You haven’t heard a word.’

A late warning flashed brightly in my head, but as usual I ignored it. There was too much coming at me at once: a winter bassline, a pulsing dancefloor; a misplaced honesty, the orange light of nausea. I was three shots away from cradling the pavement.


I listened to myself from a distance. My voice was out there on the shortwave and I was at the other end struggling to tune in the signal. It was weak and pocked with static, like her sister’s voice on the phone when she pulled me into the ladies toilet to talk to her.

She shrugged. She unplugged herself from me. I watched her until I could get away. It took three half-arsed minutes – it felt like six billion – and then she was gone for good.

Unplugged (7″ Fiction)

There’s someone for everyone. How’s that for a platitude? With the gene pool creaking at just over six billion, you’d think that has to be true. But considering I’ll only ever meet a handful of those people, well, the future probably looks slightly less promising after all.

We worked together through the dog days of a lingering winter. On the mornings when the rain slicked the pavements, she drove us there. When it turned to ice I met her at the station and we took the train in together.

‘What do you think of David?’

‘Who’s David?’

‘The new guy in Accounts.’

I didn’t know she fancied him. ‘He seems a bit of a dick.’

She was quiet for a moment.

‘Yeah, I suppose he does.’

I tried to set her up with my friend Karl, but she was having none of it. I couldn’t really blame her. He was a dick too – I’d misjudged how desperate she was.

It ended badly anyway. She got a better job and twelve of us went for drinks on payday weekend. I only remember two of the five bars we hit. I was so drunk I missed all the signs; I missed everything.

‘Come here and talk to my sister on the phone.’

She pulled me into the ladies toilet and I slurred some half-arsed, embarrassed nonsense until I could get away. Later, we were stood at the edge of a dancefloor and I suddenly realised she’d been talking to me for about twenty minutes. How did that happen? I strained to pick out her words over the supersonic bass of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition.

‘You haven’t heard a word I’ve said have you?’

‘No.’ My compulsive honesty is often quite badly misplaced.

She shrugged and knocked back three shots in a row. I watched her pupils dilate in the pulsing orange light. Tomorrow morning it would hit me – a weak radio signal caught up in the shortwaves of nausea – just how fucking stupid I was.