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H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday Masque

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The curtain is drawn back by bioluminescent tentacles and the Chief of Ghosts walks onstage. You’d think you’d get used to seeing a fish with legs, but no.

*

Dressed as one of Arkham City’s finest, it’s actually Julie Andrews in drag. She sings ‘Ichthyoallyeinotoxic’ over a bass solo by Chris Squire. There’s blood on her gills.

*

It’s one hundred years in the future. The undead members of Yes have become Ring-Wraiths (apart from Rick Wakeman, who, for contractual reasons, is a 3rd Stage Navigator).

*

There is a distant chorus of ‘Mu Mu’ as the barbarians arrive, bearing the remains of H.P. Lovecraft in a large bottle filled with brown sauce.

*

The cadaver slops about in there as their pace picks up to a funky jog. There is a chorus of ‘Deny ketchup, and get brow-ow-own…’

*

As the skull-faced ‘Classic’ line-up break into ‘Pates of Delirium’, ghostly legions of further ex-members of Yes rise from their tombs and join in.

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The husk of Jon Anderson rides up and down in a chariot drawn by the reanimated remains of three other singers, eyes put out like disgraced Byzantine princes.

*

As the complex time signature shifts and pointless paradiddles continue, it sinks in that this music can only be played by the multi-limbed.

*

Seeing those empty skulls controlled by Moon Cicadas – themselves lackeys of powers beyond the stars – you realise Prog’s true purpose…

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Julie Andrews begins levitating as the ‘camera’ pulls back: all this is happening on Roger Dean’s turd island floating toward the edge of the world.

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As it tips slowly over, a thousand skeletal albatrosses in gold chains take up the burden and, without missing a single note, the song continues inexorably.

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Meanwhile, the Justified Ancients, rowing like fuck in the opposite direction, go over the edge in their longship with H.P. Lovecraft strapped to the mast.

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Tammy Wynette, perched on a rock in the role of ultima sirena, waves as they tumble by to one final chorus of ‘What Time Is Pointleeesssss?’

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Yes Turd-Thing is voyaging back to its cold interstellar masters when it is struck by a derelict spaceship full of the infected remains of Hawkwind.

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