I got Rick Roll'd from the past: an excerpt from a journal detailing the 20 year internet meme conspiracy.
A young man innocently buys an old cassette tape of an album he likes, but no-one could ever have expected what happened next... Prepare yourself for a tale that will chill you to your bones.
The other day I ambled into a charity shop and sifted through the box of old cassette tapes unsure of what i'd find but hoping for some oddity or gem nestled beneath the usual "Tchaikovsky's greatest hits" and Joan Armatrading multiples. I certainly did. In the bottom corner of the box, encased in simple black plastic and with nothing more than a torn piece of paper which read simply:
"A: Ivor cutler - dandruff
B: African rhythms"
... was the tape that would change my afternoon... forever
I handed over 20p to the woman behind the counter and she thanked me, though not with the usual tone of courtesy but with one that suggested a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders after a long time, the same tone in which a terminal patient thanks their doctor just before the beeps stop and the line goes straight.
At the time I thought nothing of it. I bundled the object into my pocket and took it home, where I proceeded to forget about it completely for a number of days... those days of ignorance, the days before the event, I wish I could remember...
One evening I sat in my study and noticed the tape. It suddenly seemed to vibrate without moving, as if begging to be played. I picked it up and felt something strange. As I approached my tape player I felt as though the A side - Ivor Cutler's fantastic Dandruff and the initial impetus for my purchase - should be neglected, in favour of the ambiguously named "African rhythms" on the B side. I pressed play and waited... the tape hissed and my excitement grew. I was greeted with nothing more than generic "African rhythms" as I had been promised. Whilst this was fairly enjoyable it did not enrapture me completely and the music quickly faded into the background...
The night grew dark when suddenly the sounds of Africa cut and I was greeted with a familiar sound: the opening strums and reverberated drums of Morrissey's "Every day is like sunday", a sound which always fills me with happiness. I was surprised to hear this and listened to see what would follow and to my greater enjoyment it was nothing more than the three other tracks from the cassette release of the original single, "Sister i'm a poet", "Dissapointed" and "Will never marry". What a joy, I thought.
My research since "The event" as I will now refer to it has dated this single and the song to follow it to 1988, indicating that the tape on which it was recorded had lain dormant for just over 20 years until I played it.
As the last sounds of the final track faded out I could not believe my luck. What a lovely piece of ephemera to stumble upon, and for only 20p! I returned to my work and kept the tape running in hope of more of this sort.
Soon the sounds of synthesized drums and cheesy synthesizers played, and although I dismissed it initially as a return to the usual gumf which I would have overlooked I had a profound sense of the uncanny, as if I had been here before. The layers of the song built up until suddenly to my horror I recognized the bass line...
Reader, what is to follow reveals a conspiracy twenty years in the making, and one which is as old as the internet itself...
"NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP.... NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP...."
The first line of the vocals repeated as I sat in shock and recognized the terror of my situation. Not only was I listening to Rick Astley's 1988 single "Never gonna give you up", but I was listening to the 12" extended remix version. I collapsed and was awoken by my maid the following day. I had urinated unknowingly and was covered in a cold sweat.
Reader, this is a warning to you about the dangers of unlabeled tapes, but also an exposition. An exposition of the internet itself. Is it any coincidence that the internet boomed around the time of the release of "Never gonna give you up"? Astley is the net's cruel task master and we are all his slaves.
To this day the tape is hidden somewhere in my house. Under my instruction my maid hid it on the premises and took a legal oath both never to listen to this tape and never ever to tell me of it's whereabouts.
My life shall never be the same.