Hands Like Houses • A Discovery

So there I was digging up a dead tree when my shovel hit something hard. It was obviously solid and from the clunk that rang out when I hit it, sounded like it might be heavy too. I dug around the object and sure enough, when it was dug out and I was standing over it, I saw it was indeed a super solid heavy block of a super solid heavy thing. There’s no other descriptors I can shower it with. Figuring it needed further investigation, I took it inside and laid out its three component parts on the kitchen table.

Across the front was etched the statement Hands Like Houses. A message from another world perhaps? The three parts were well labelled: Ground Dweller, Unimagine and Dissonants. To make sense of the find, I started with the first part of the story.

Magical electronic sounds fell out when opened but soon dissipated into nothing to be replaced by something I’m a lot more familiar with. Guitars, drums and at the front, a man carrying so much baggage it was falling out of his mouth.

I flicked through the markings on the map that came with it to see where these people had been. This Ain’t No Place For Animals. Starving To Death In The Belly Of The Whale. Lion Skin. Antarctica. It looked like the diary of lunatics on a road trip from the asylum and as time pressed along, I decided this is also what it sounded like.

Part two took me to different places. They sounded tired from their trip. Beaten into the ground with the weight of the travel or perhaps the weather. Part two was full of warnings of Places A Man Should Never Travel To. Eating nothing but Oceandust along the way, the adventurers clock up some more miles of anguish turning every stop on the road into a 3 minute movie of the darkest parts of the human soul… and yet, I must keep watching and listening no matter how much sense it makes to turn away and head back to somewhere familiar.

Being as I’ve come this far, I figured I might as well see it through to the end. Somewhere along this journey, the travelling minstrels with the most excellent name have stopped for refreshments and refuelled...

What I see before me now is a much different movie. The sounds they insist on throwing into the world are bigger, more expansive than before. They have seen much and acclimatised to the atmosphere. There is no man from the asylum with a zero hours contract driving the bus. Now they are making their own way — driving themselves — bringing with them tales of Motion Sickness and New Romantics.

I appear to have acclimatised also. Where I once saw pain, I now see observation. What I once thought was a red carpet for them to sleep on is blood on the dancefloor. By the time I come to the end of marvelling at this thing I found in the dirt, I’m exhausted, but the trip has been been worth it. I have learned much.

Hands Like Houses tell the kind of stories that are best kept underground lest they drive you mad with their relentless shining of a torch at the folly of all human life. I feel like I’ve run up a mountain to find the coffee shop at the top closed for lunch.

I bury the super solid heavy block back where I found it and hope that one day, these adventurers will pass by this way again and leave more stories for me to discover in a place where there once stood a dead tree.

But no more digging for me. Not today.