Stumbling through downtown I decided to stop in at the Taco Stand on Broad, partly to escape the cold and partly because I was hungry. Everything’s colder in 3013, and it doesn’t help that everything’s covered in chrome. It’s amazing that Taco Stand is still here in 3013, and it’s covered in chrome too. I throw the door open, take off my gloves, catch a glance at the creepy portrait of Dwight on the wall, almost trip over a junky who’s passed out in the corner, and make my way to the counter. I ask for a Dos-Equis.
As I finish my burrito, I notice a figure approaching my table. The man, broad shouldered and wearing a big grin, makes himself at home at my table, sits down, and smiles some more. I’ll be damned! It’s Ike! His smile doesn’t last, and in a flash of red, illuminating the whole room, his smile turns to a frown. He looks me straight in the eyes and says, “Son, it hasn’t all turned out the way I’d hoped”. I don’t understand what he’s talking about, but I hear a voice in my head whisper, “He’s talking about the Interstate Highway System, son”.
I look around. There’s no one in the building but Ike, myself, and the overwhelming red light of hindsight. There’s definitely a touch of satan in Ike’s eyes. “What’s the problem?” I say, “Too many cigarette butts? Not enough?”. Ike doesn’t like this and gnostically intones, “I’ve heard of horror from too many souls. Where’s the balance? Sure, there’s adventure, but the Interstate Highway System, the arteries of America, is known for eroding the soul. Civic and cruel, America is a land of sweat and tears, and, boy, I’ve seen it all. The Interstate Highway System cleanses and destroys”. With that, he’s gone, and the din of the room returns.
I down another beer and make my way to the Go, where The Pen Test play almost every week. It makes the kids go wild, keeps the cyber-junkies feeling alive, and reminds the cyrogens of what they’ve lost. Every night’s an ode to Kraftwerk. Just as the sounds of Hütter and Schneider, among a range of other complex influences, inspired kids from Detroit to make what eventually came to be known as techno, the sounds of Kraftwerk, even today, in 3013, inspire kids in chrome covered, desolate Athens, Georgia to create body music for reflection. So I dance and hope for a more harmonious future.
The Pen Test’s Interstate is available digitally at http://thepentest.bandcamp.com/album/interstate-cassette and for pre-order on cassette as an edition of 100 on Altimaxima Cassettes at http://altimaxima.bandcamp.com/album/interstate-alt001