While the internet is a major attraction for people with the desire to be different people, it's also a huge attraction for those who feel that the information super highway has enormous potential as an educator. All of the latest news arrives on the internet faster than it does anywhere else simply because the internet is available from most places around the world. Even South Africa has recently been granted access to the internet due to the development of fibre optic technology.
With this in mind, it's fairly easy to understand that anything that happens anywhere around the world can become a discussion topic in chat rooms, instant messaging programs and forums across the internet. Anything that, at one point, may have been private knowledge can now be brought to the forefront of somebody's attention. Unfortunately, the nature of worldwide news is that there happens to be a lot of it. This means that, while a piece of information may seem important one minute, it is ultimately swallowed up in the next by the onslaught of more.
Unfortunately, under the premise that knowledge is power, any area where news might be discussed becomes the hunting ground of the shallow opportunists. These are the people that wish most of all to be the ones giving the news and having it discussed with them as the provider and director of the conversation. The reason behind this is usually all to do with the fabled e-penis, dreadfully important to some poor few who choose to pursue it's growth. It is a sad, but all too common story when the growth of an e-penis is the most important thing in somebody's life.
Of course, some use corrupt methods in order to attempt to become more and more popular in their chosen online environment. Honesty becomes both unpopular and then unnecessary, and the news that is provided is the thing that suffers most. Of course, like a damaged food chain, the effect continues down the ladder as well, leaving some very confused and innocent people thoroughly perplexed and wondering just what is fact and what is fiction. Some people, the most regrettable sort, choose to believe everything. This idea is thoroughly ridiculous, and yet, at the same time, it is by far the most common choice. Online environments do not encourage the development of intelligence, at least not in the way that the common user chooses to spend their days. Some people have always had great problems in seeing what is right in front of their eyes.
Sadly, indeed sad for the sake of all of humanity, these facts translate to the realm outside of the internet; the one known as 'reality'. Some people have great difficulty in following predetermined paths, recognising and selecting the easier option and knowing a good thing when they have it. A perfect example of this would be David Morris.
David was the sort of person who's life inspired him to seek out perfection, despite the fact that he was not moving from sadness into happiness, but rather simply from one thing to another. He had chosen to abandon the formerly pleasurable practice of Guitar Hero in favour of the currently pleasurable practice of the electric guitar. He had a Carl, whom he called a friend, who was teaching him the basics of practical guitar. The rest he was simply having to learn from articles on Ultimate-Guitar. Of course, he didn't find this a problem at all. In fact, he was quite enjoying the whole experience.
Yet, somehow, he still strived for something different, and he had very little idea of just what that thing was. He only knew that he wanted to make a change soon. So, with his new guitar skills and the support of his friend Heather, he decided to make his own band.
At no point had David expected auditions to go well, but, at the same time, he had hardly expected them to go quite this badly. The range of talent that he had seen over the last week had ranged from poor, through poor, to poor. It was giving him no end of a headache.
At first he had thought that he might just be having a stringent series of bad luck, but as each attempted musician came in to make their pitch for his band, things just got worse and worse. The level of skill was exactly as he had expected, and not far above or below his own. The guitarists knew their powerchords and a few choice lead lines from whatever bands they were into. The issue was mostly with the bands that they were fans of. His attempt to escape the influences of Guitar Hero were proving more than fruitless. Every guitarist that he had thus far encountered all seemed to know most of the songs from Guitar Hero and virtually nothing from any other method of musicianship. It was infuriating.
While the general reasoning behind it escaped him, bassists and drummers were both much harder to come across and much more dedicated to their actual instrument. When David would ask for the inspiration behind the choice, it was only the guitarists and the lone singer that he interviewed who identified female attention as one of their reasons. For the singer, it was his primary reason. Nevertheless, David persisted.
The only person who joined him for the auditions was Heather. He hadn't invited her, just as he hadn't invited anybody, but, in typical Heather fashion, she just followed him there one day. His brother hadn't bothered to so much as talk to him in school for weeks, since he had now stopped arguing with his own friends again. Carl had no idea of David's plans yet either; he was literally just making it up as he went along and hoping that everything would go well.
The student that he was currently trying to interview was looking at him with a rather blank look and a guitar on his lap. "Well I like bands like Metallica," he was saying slowly, as though recalling something from a long time previous, "Iron Maiden and Slayer. Oh, and Dragonforce."
Hearing the usual suspects, David sighed, while Heather giggled to herself in the corner at his annoyance. "Well thank you for coming," David began politely, silently vowing never to even look in the direction of this person again. "I think I've got everything I need. I'll take my time considering things and let you know if I decide that you're the right guy."
"I can play the intro to Through The Fire And The Flames," the guitarist announced as something of an afterthought.
Of course, like most of the people who had said this so far, he likely meant the powerchords in support of the keyboard intro, so it did nothing to influence David's opinion. "Okay," he repeated, as he had done every time, "when you get to the point where you can play the full thing, you let me know. Until then, I'll come to you. Goodbye…"
There was a pause, during which he tried desperately to recall the name of the boy that he was speaking to. His mind tried to assist, going through lessons that he had shared with this person and the first few moments in which he had walked in, but he still came up short. Of course, this had Heather laughing louder than ever, which only increased the intensity of the glare which he was receiving from the student sitting in front of him.
"...and I'll keep in touch," he said finally, hoping to sound convincing, despite the long and drawn out pause. He could tell that his company didn't buy it, but he soldiered on anyway.
He didn't trust himself to open his mouth as the boy left the room, obviously in quite an angry mood by the hunch of his shoulders and the stamp of his feet. David literally cringed as the student abandoned the dilapidated old classroom that the music teacher was allowing him to use. Almost straight away, Heather had left her seat to come over and sit closer to David, where she handed him a collection of notes that she had been taking from the encounter. In truth, David had been very much unprepared and, if not for Heather, he would likely have no candidates right now instead of a chosen bassist and a chosen drummer.
"Where do you go from here then?" she asked him lightly. "You've got lots of people lined up, but not many of them even have a clue if you like them or not. Do you not like telling people how you feel or something?"
"Well, most of the time I'm not really sure how I feel about people," answered David quite honestly. "I don't really want to make a decision on one person and then somebody better comes along, you know?"
"Makes sense I guess," Heather responded quietly. Momentarily, her eyes were downcast, but less than a second later that had passed. "Do you want to meet up tonight and talk about the people again?"
"Sure," David told her with a smile. The almost nightly ritual of going home, playing some guitar before dinner and then going to see Heather was a brilliant way to spend a life as far as he was concerned. "Your place or mine this time?"
Heather hesitated for a moment before answering thoughtfully. "I was thinking we could go out somewhere," she said, so nervous that even David could pick it up. "We don't have to go anywhere fancy or anything, we could just try out one of the places on the high street that do steak or something."
Perplexed as to what benefit steak was instead of a sofa and some paper to jot down names, David nevertheless conceded. "No problem. If that's what you want then we'll do that." In his mind, the only reason that he could come up with was that she was just a big fan of steak, so it would be easy enough to eat some himself. "What time are you thinking about?"
As soon as he had finished asking the question, she came forwards quickly to give him quite an enthusiastic and confusing hug.
"I don't care," she said loudly into his ear, giddy as the schoolgirl that she actually was. "Just come and get me before it gets dark and remember not to eat beforehand," surrendering her grip around his neck and retreating so that he could see her face, she continued with: "Okay?"
"Sure, I'll tell my mum not to make me anything as soon as I get home," he said quickly. The whole situation was making him quite paranoid.
One thing that David loved about his guitar was that, no matter what happened, it was always there when he needed it, waiting in it's case beneath his bed. After school he had almost reluctantly made his way home, not because he enjoyed school, but more because he disliked home. It was a very repetitive life hearing his brother's endless loud music, his father's endless shouting because of said music and, at the same time, having to endure his mother coming in every ten minutes on some fresh cleaning spree. It was the same story each and every day.
His brother's music was mostly comprised of his playing of Guitar Hero at a loud volume. This also meant that, quite often, David would be treated to the sound of failure. At times it was entertaining. At other times it was nothing but annoying. Unfortunately, his own guitar was joining the din and likely making just as awful a noise. In recent weeks he had certainly been making progress, and the year or so of practice playing his musical simulation game were actually paying off, but that didn't mean that he considered himself skilled. If nothing else, he was showing dedication.
He made his mother aware that he had other plans as soon as he walked into the house and rushed to get changed as quickly as possible. He didn't spend as much as a moment considering what to wear, but rushed into the same faded t-shirt and jeans that he had worn after school for the last three days. He had made arrangements to meet Heather at six 'o' clock. She had a good chunk of his notes on the people that they had been interviewing and he had the rest, as well as a notepad and pen that he was planning to take with him. It was on his mind the entire time that he was sitting on the end of his bed and running through the motions across his fretboard. David wasn't even remotely sure as to why though. It would just be the same as they had been doing for the last few days, just at a some place that wasn't home.
In the end, this proved to be quite an annoying distraction. Thinking of Heather was making him so sluggish that his fingers were beginning to miss even the most basic of actions. He found this all far too confusing. It was only Heather; why would he be getting so tense about going to eat some food with her. They had known each other for years. For some reason things just felt different all of a sudden. Something about their earlier encounter had made him feel tense and nervous.
At half past five, while preparing to go out and pick up Heather, David felt the curious urge to put on a shirt. This was made difficult by the fact that, other than the two which he had worn that week, David didn't actually own a shirt. Instead, he had to content himself with changing to a less worn out shirt before putting his coat on over it and trying to head out of the door. Unfortunately, before he managed to escape, his mother made a fuss of making sure that his hair was flat and that the collar of his coat was smart. It was actually rather embarrassing, but he managed to duck out of her grip quickly enough.
The nerves built slowly with each and every step towards Heather's house, which was nothing but confusing. When he actually met up with her, he was very much surprised to see that she had dressed herself up. She was wearing make up and a top that seemed designed to enhance her barely existent cleavage. Far from just confusing, this was nothing short of distracting. He found his eyes wandering for the entire walk towards their chosen venue.
"Are you looking forward to this?" Heather asked him as they traversed the dull and untidy streets. The lights above them bathed them in a dull and untidy light. In comparison to Heather, David actually did feel quite dull and untidy. It was infuriating.
"I guess so," answered David simply. "It's just going to be like every other day though, isn't it? There's nothing particular special about today, right?"
"Well we've never gone anywhere this private before," Heather told him with a wide smile. "We certainly haven't been out for a meal or anything. I know we'll be spending most of the time doing work on your band and everything but it's still nice to get out of the house and do something different for once in a while."
"Yeah, but it's not anything that special, right?" David almost begged. He was actually starting to feel quite worried that Heather was finding this so important and he was not. Suddenly, he could feel a weight on his shoulders to perform and ensure that she would have as good a time as possible. Unfortunately, David was not really the sort of person who enjoyed responsibility. Her sidelong looks and smiles suddenly became expecting and almost accusing. It was like he wasn't providing her with something that she obviously deserved.
His question did not earn him a pleasant reward. Her face dropped ever so slightly, followed by her cheeks turning ever so slightly red. "Of course not," Heather said slowly. "We're just going to be doing the same thing that we always do. Instead of Guitar Hero it's real guitar now, but that's the only difference. That's the only thing that's had the chance to step forwards."
"I don't mean it like that," David told her. He stopped in the street that they were walking down, forcing her to stop so that she wouldn't go ahead. "I just really don't know what's going on right now," he began to explain. "I thought we were just going to go and talk things over like normal, just with food in the middle, but you're wearing perfume and I actually thought I was supposed to wear a shirt and maybe even a tie. I don't like wearing shirts, and I certainly don't like wearing ties. Usually things are the same, aren't they? We talk for a bit, maybe I play you something I've been working on and then we go home. There's not really anything else to it. We do what we do and then life goes on. This is getting a bit too serious for me. I'm confused. What's actually happening here?"
Heather's first response was to look David over with the most teasing and coy expression that he had ever seen. Then, a moment later, she gave an actual answer: "It's a date, silly," she told him succinctly. "You're the boy; you're not supposed to have any clue what's going on. You're just supposed to tell me that I look pretty and make sure that, if I don't like my dinner, you don't stop complaining until I do get what I want. Is that easy enough for you? Do I always have to spell it out as simple as this?"
For a moment, David simply stood stunned, his mouth slightly ajar and his eyes locked on her examining gaze. He wondered briefly just what he could say to such an outburst, but the return of Heather's expectant expression had him stuttering and mumbling. Now, of course, her gaze was tinged with amusement at his predicament. Quite desperate just to have something to say, David seized on the first thing that he managed to bring to mind. "You look pretty," he managed to force out. As expected, Heather burst into a brief spasm of laughter.
"At least you're picking this up quickly," she responded, before turning and walking away from him with a shake of her hips. "So you can either look me over for a bit longer or you can come up here and talk to me," she offered back to him.
David was not enough of an idiot to stay behind for long.
"Dude, I really hate you," Jimmy told him with a glare so angry that it might actually have been capable of destroying the world. "Is it just me or are you never honest about anything? You could have just said that this was what you wanted to do."
"But then you wouldn't have come back with me," responded Hugh with a laugh. "Say what you like about lying; it gets results. It's not that big anyway. I just need to show you this one thing. It's important to me, alright? All you need to do is tell me if I'm doing it like he does it. It's really not that big a deal, right?"
"I could be at home with my mother's cookies you b******. She makes fantastic cookies and you've taken me away from them," announced Jimmy, his hands over exaggerating as much as his words were. "All so you can show off? Don't be surprised if I never forgive you for this. It might just be the most horrible thing you've ever done to me. Even with all the jokes you make about having sex with the sister I don't have, this is just overall the worst thing you've ever done."
"Jesus man, what is it with you and your mother's cookies?" Hugh asked just as loudly as he was being spoken too. "I've tasted your mother's cookies. They were crap."
"Oh don't you dare take the piss out of those cookies or I will walk out of here right now. If you're lucky I might kick your arse on the way out," Jimmy responded with an angry shout and a pointed finger. "Now just do whatever it is you want me to witness you doing so I can get out of here and back to where I should be right now."
The two of them were up in Hugh's stuffy and claustrophobic little bedroom. Jimmy was leaning on the wall beside Hugh's door because there was no seating anywhere. Hugh was sitting on his bed, his guitar on his lap and a pick in his hand. The idea had been that Hugh wanted to show Jimmy something incredibly awesome, but when he had pulled out his guitar Jimmy had just began to wonder as to the intelligence of his friend. Jimmy wasn't even remotely interested in what Hugh had learned to play. In fact, he was being entirely serious when he told Hugh that the cookies that were waiting for him at home were much more important. Even now, Hugh had an arrogant grin on his face that showed just how pleased he was to be getting his own way against Jimmy's own wishes.
Regardless of all of this, he still stood there idly while Hugh went through a few slow warm-up exercises that he had undoubtedly learnt from his teacher. Next, Hugh began to play something. It was slow once again, and nothing particularly special, but, for a wonder, Jimmy actually began to recognise the riff that Hugh was playing. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, and as soon as he felt sure that it was something the name danced away from his lips once again. Hugh was actually concentrating, which was not just surprising, but amazing. Hugh never focussed on anything for more than a minute. To see him spending so much time on a singular pursuit was incredible.
As the chorus kicked in, the name came up in Jimmy's head as though he had known exactly what it was the entire time. It was also the moment that Hugh started to play more than one string at the same time. Lyrics began to play of their own volition in his head, almost creepily. If he was on his own, he would likely have started to sing, but there was no chance that he was going to do that with Hugh there.
His work done, Hugh stopped playing and took his eyes away from the frets that his fingers were positioned on. He looked up towards Jimmy slowly. "What do you think then?" he asked. "Do you know what it is or was I playing it too slow?"
"I think I know it," replied Jimmy, just as slowly in case he turned out to be wrong. "I'm not sure though. You were playing it pretty slow. It was definitely not worth missing out on those cookies for."
"I really wish you'd stop talking about that," announced Hugh. "I just wanted an opinion from somebody, and you're my friend you know. It's not hard to just not be a cu** for a minute and tell me what you think."
Jimmy laughed to himself, considering what Hugh would likely do if the situations were switched. "Alright man," he conceded, choosing to be the bigger man in pride more than just height for once. "I thought you did well, and if I actually thought I recognised it then it had to be pretty good, right?"
"Awesome," said Hugh. "So do I get one of those cookies for this?"
"Do you f***. You can go to hell."