18 Months in the Longmont Potion Castle Cult
Longmont Potion Castle in its most pristine and addicting form is a series of analog recordings of a metalhead from Colorado delivering strings of non-sequitur prank phone calls to unsuspecting citizens and customer service representatives.
There was a year and a half where I stopped listening to music and only listened to Longmont Potion Castle. I am certain I ruined thousands of conversations in that 18 month stretch in the late Dub Bush period hoping to shoehorn in a reference to Dugan Nash or Dick Trickle. In reviewing the last three sentences I am not certain that I did not join a cult.
There have been legit interviews with the sideways lord of voicemail-highlighting the mind and make behind LPC: an introverted death metal freak with DIY cred for days. Usually hoisting up his phone calls as esoteric abstract art and allowing wonderment to sort of seep around the subject like gravy. I am not going to argue that a nine-minute conversation about losing a credit card inside a saxophone isn’t an abstraction but having worked in retail every phone call felt very real.
There’s a funny thing that happens when you have short conversations with hundreds of people over the course of a day. Every fifty, sometimes every twenty interactions, people will sneak out a word fart that is complete nonsense into public. And if you are working at Panera or Target and making like seven dollars an hour you just have to nod along. Sometimes these word farts are requests for products that may or may not exist, i.e., french onion paninis or minions yellow flat screens. Sometimes the word farts are evident when a customer produces an item or anecdote that is disputable, i.e., hand-written coupons for christmas lights or inquiry into the jelly bean giveaway that “everyone is raving about on facebook”. There is just so much continuity between the real world and LPC prank phone calls.
Listening to LPC through the lens of these retail/customer service encounters helped me reimagining the language of the everyday. LPC showed me how to bludgeon language into new meaning through repetition. It gave me the confidence to revisit my dog turd stories again and again and hope that a phrase or phrasing would catch fire in a happy accident. That’s right-LPC taught me how to set dog turd on fire!
As a coda-before knighting LPC as a gilded roadmap for PROCESS I should state that listening to prank phone calls can be a nightmare for any strict observer of the social contract. The mix-tape canon is pretty massive and its tonal range is massive as well. It can range from the light-hearted Calvinoesque ruminations on squid meat to full-on trolling of a young Super Nintendo salesmen. Nonetheless my 18-month membership the LPC cult probably did more to energize my approach to language than just about anything outside of a dell hard drives.