Last modified 06.03.02020

I: Genesis

In which two hapless dreamers form a band

By Frederick O'Brien

Illustration for Funnyfarm Part I: Genesis

In the beginning there was Alan Hazard and Raymond Oliver Sunshine. These were their real names.

Hazard was a poet of sorts, which is to say he plagiarized the work of other poets. In his seemingly endless spare time he backcombed his hair and smoked cigarettes while leaning against alley walls, staring wistfully up at the moon whenever he thought someone was looking at him. They weren't.

Sunshine was a guitarist of sorts, which is to say he owned a guitar and was able to play mostly the right notes at mostly the right times. He called the guitar Betsy. Why he called it that is best left to the imagination.

The band started with these two, and they started in a little midlands town called Coppleton. All country lanes and shaded groves and post office queues, the place was dull enough to trick some of its youth into thinking they might be something special. Hazard and Sunshine were two such youths. They fancied themselves artists and wanted better for themselves and their families. Mainly themselves.

Every Tuesday evening they would go to the village boozer, the Farmers Alms, and perform to indifferent locals. Hazard would splutter through his words and Sunshine would splutter through his chords and it soon became clear to each that they shared the commonest of common dreams.

One night, by the sickly light of neon signs in the pub’s smoking area, the two made a pact to reach stardom together. They formed a band.

What was it called? What did it sound like? Did it reach the holy land of a record deal?

First things first: The band needed another guitarist, and word was the fellow Hazard had in mind was dozing on the top floor of a multi-story car park around the corner.