by James Edwards-Smallbone
“Well could you hold on to it for me? Oh yeah… my name… It’s Day V. Lately.”
Not for the first time he sighed inwardly at the burden of it. Most people assumed it was Dave, or some mutation of that. Occasionally a rogue initial “E” would end up stranded somewhere between his fore- and surname like an unpopular accountant caught between crowds at a party, but for the most part the errors were less creative. The “V” actually stood for Victor (between a rock and a hard place there), a bequest of his grandparents to prolong the culture wars between them and his Progressive (capital “p”) parents. Needless to say post was a nightmare.
So Sky had been deliberately deprived of a middle name and christened with the simplest of monikers. Three letters, big blue thing above you. Idiotproof. He was searingly proud of his daughter. The way she was smart without arrogance and quirky without instability reminded him so much of her mother that sometimes he found it hard to believe Sky had grown up without her. It was as if she carried an extra person around with her sometimes, as though when she smiled Sharon smiled, and when she cried Sharon wept too.
He’d always been as straight with her as he could bear about the rave scene. About the drink, drugs and sex; and how you would move through each to escape the other. It was the best way to keep her out, or at least to keep her safe. They’d listened to some of his old stuff together – the few mangled vinyls he still had – and he’d been nearly struck dumb when she somehow managed to dig up “Blue Sky Lightning” online. “I put that together when you were two months old,” he’d told her. “My way of saying welcome to the Scene.” She’d squirmed of course, as all teenagers do when faced with the inconvenient truth that their parents love them but he heard it permeating through her door sometimes, usually after she’d stormed in in floods of misery over something trivial.
“Was that Blue Sky you had on earlier?” “No, it’s Basshunter. You wouldn’t like it.” That was the way the farce usually played out.
In truth “Blue Sky” was a cut diamond in the steaming pile of crap from that period. His mixes had become flabby and indecisive, lurching by turns into either pretension or inanity. It was a far cry from “Pulse”, from the early Day’s lean, ecstatic hunger; from those times when he would stand with arms outstretched on the podium and feel like a minister of sound preaching to a neon congregation. But that was before Sharon had died. Because afterwards, he was suddenly just a DJ.
The case had never fully been resolved. It was a bad E, that much was certain – but how it had got into her system nobody knew. He couldn’t bring himself to believe it was deliberate. They’d both sworn off anything harder than Breezers when they knew Sky was coming, and kept it up for three years once she’d arrived. Just that one night they’d left her with mother-in-law so he could hit up the floor with “Pulse”, “Blue Sky” and première “Brightfield Horizon”. Sharon was in the front, bouncing in that slightly offbeat way that always made him smile and then as quick as if God had just switched her off she was on the floor, seizing.
He’d worked the decks soullessly for a month or two afterwards, dispassionate like a jaded harlot; there was no love and therefore no point. After that Steve-o got him a stockroom job and from there he’d worked his way out onto the floor and on into management. He’d “gone straight” as Wanky (Uncle Frank as Sky knew him) once put it, and that was true. He had had to, because now there was someone trying to follow him.
“Did they have it Dad?”
“Yeah luv. We’ll pick it up on the way to St Mary’s tomorrow. We can listen to it up there, just the three of us.”
James Edwards-Smallbone is trying to start a new “advertisement fanfiction” genre.