Suzi was sat in her dressing room. The usual make-up artist had been given the day off, and Nicki had very generously offered to do the job instead. Suzi sat in the make-up chair as Nicki placed a very large make-up case on the table. “When you told me about this job, I was so jealous! It’s a shame your partner’s not a huge music geek like mine, huh?” Nicki chuckled as she opened the case up.
“Are you saying that you’re mostly envious of the fact I can brag about meeting some of these people to your boyfriend and you can’t?”
“Pretty much!” said Nicki as she applied a very white foundation to Suzi’s face. “Aren’t you scared about being typecast?” she asked, having turned Suzi’s complexion a pearly white.
Suzi shook her head. “Nah. Dave Benson Phillips made it work, plus I’ve got my music blog. By the way, are you trying to turn me into you at the last NebFest?”
“Sooz, you’re going to be talking to rock royalty like Annie Clark, Troy Sanders and Charlie freakin’ Simpson! You gotta look the part! That’s why I’m here!” Nicki laughed as she applied some glittery purple eyeliner. “But for my NebFest look, you’d need to rock the red hair.”
“Well, ginger is only one letter different from gunger!”
Nicki laughed. “Maybe I should start calling myself the Ginger Gunger then!”
“Then what am I?” Suzi asked as the newly dubbed ‘Ginger Gunger’ added mascara.
“My plaything, if The Pairing Game’s anything to go by!”
Suzi scoffed. “Oh please! Do you know how much fanmail I got saying that I should have had your role and vice-versa?”
“I don’t want to know! Besides, you need to stop talking,” grinned Nicki, brandishing a stick of black lipstick like a switchblade. Very quickly, she turned Suzi’s lips black as night, with a rather glossy finish. “There, you’re looking positively malevolent!”
Suzi stood up and looked at herself in the mirror. “Not my usual style, but I could work with that.” The make-up job brought the whole look together. Suzi was wearing some black leather trousers, a white tank-top and denim jacket with the sleeves cut off. She was currently barefoot, and pondering whether to stay that way or not. She usually hosted the Slop Drop and The Pairing Game barefoot, but that was more due to the shows being far more mess-intensive and Natalie’s gunge formulas (even in the early days) being a pain to wash off shoes. On this show, she was going to totally avoid the gunge. A pair of black slip-on trainers lay on the floor beneath Suzi’s chair, until she put them on and headed out.
“It’s Saturday Morning, it’s eleven o’clock, you’re watching The Stone TV. Let’s open The Splosh Pit!” Suzi said, as she stood on a stage. Behind her was a vat of green gunge, with a single chair poised above it and two sofas to the sides of the main chair. Around the vat was a fence of perspex, where a crowd had gathered to watch the show.
The opening titles rolled – some rudimentary CGI graphics of audio equalisers morphing into colourful geysers of slime, played over some sort of instrumental techno-rock crossover music, forming The Splosh Pit logo. The logo itself was a green splatter of sludge in the shape of a bass clef, with “The Splosh Pit” written in black, bold all-caps.
The show cut back to Suzi in the studio. “Yes, welcome to The Splosh Pit, a new music show featuring the best in all things rock, punk, metal and alternative. Coming up, we’ve got interviews with Charlie Simpson, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Mastodon; live performances from Triaxis, Slaves, and Catfish and the Bottlemen; and new videos from Mastodon and Fightstar. Triaxis will also be taking on the Five Hundred Challenge. First though, let’s talk about that!” she said, pointing into the gunge vat. She walked over to the dunk tank chair, talking as she went. “We have two more I haven’t mentioned before, one of which will be closing the show. Who that is will be up to you, the audience. The other will have to send one of their members into the goo.” She clambered onto the dunk tank seat, crossing her right leg over the left and placing her left foot on a metal bar, safely away from the goo. “First up, we’ve got Warpaint.”
The LA quartet sat to Suzi’s right, left as the camera looked at them. Drummer Stella Mozgawa was furthest to the left (furthest from Suzi), then bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, with guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman closest to the presenter (A/N: The order they’re in in the picture is the same – Stella on the far left, then Jenny, Emily, and Theresa far right). “Welcome to the show, ladies,” said Suzi. “I would offer to shake your hands but it’ll be a bit hard to reach you all from here!”
“Oh, that’s fine!” Stella smiled.
“So, what do you make of that stuff?” Suzi looked down into the gunge and stifled a giggle. She’d not seen it bubble in a while, but sure enough, large pockets of air were forming at the bottom and floating up, bursting on the surface. Whoever went in, it would be fun to see.
Jenny and Emily grimaced, while Stella looked at it curiously. Theresa looked pretty unnerved by it. “It’s like some kind of next level Nickelodeon thing!”
“I’m going to take that as a compliment. So, if you lose, who’s going to be sat where I am right now?” asked the presenter. Theresa smiled nervously and raised her hand. “Wow, no wonder you look nervous! Anyway, let’s not dwell on the worst possible outcome. You’re going to be playing three songs at the end, if you win the vote. I’ve got a video preview for one of them lined up, to help those who don’t know you decide, but do you want to say what you’ve got lined up?”
Warpaint all looked to each other, nodded, then looked to Suzi. “We’re going to play one from our last album, one of the newest ones, and one of our oldest songs. That’s all we’re willing to say!” Theresa answered.
“Very well! Anything you want to say before we show the audience at home a bit of Disco//Very?” asked Suzi.
“Yeah – vote for Warpaint!” Emily laughed.
Theresa added, “Don’t slime me!”
“Short and to the point! Here’s Disco//Very.” The first minute of the video played, showing the band walking down a road and singing the song. It was a fairly simplistic video, without much in the way of fancy effects. When the snippet was done, the show returned to the studio. Now, Suzi was talking to a frizzy-haired woman sat to her left/the camera’s right.
“Going up against Warpaint, we’ve got St. Vincent. Welcome to the Splosh Pit erm…” Suzi smiled nervously. “What should I call you? Vincent? Vinnie? Saint?”
“Annie,” the woman answered.
“Oh, well okay then! So Annie, what do you make of our gunge vat?”
Annie looked into it and chuckled to herself. “It looks interesting! Like, I’m genuinely curious about the sensation of being immersed in that sludge would be like.”
Suzi blinked rapidly, her mouth slightly agape. “Uhm, what?” In all her time as a gunge show host, she’d thought she’d seen the full range of reactions to gunge. Humiliation. Mirth. Terror. Eroticism. Repulsion. Those were just her friends’ reactions, too. This was beyond comprehension for her though. “What do you mean?”
“Well, not many people have the opportunity to be immersed in a ‘splosh pit’. I’m reminded of something fascinating I found on the internet once…” Annie started.
“Yes, I’m very aware of that part of the internet!” Suzi turned bright red as she closed her eyes and covered her face with her left hand. “Let’s just move onto the main reason you’re here – music!”
Annie chuckled to herself again. “Well, you’re the ringmaster! What do you want to know?”
The flustered host took a deep breath and tried to get the show back on-track. “I’d like to know what you can tell us about the songs you’ve got lined up for us, assuming you don’t end up going for a quick dip.”
“Oh, yeah. They’re going to be Digital Witness, Teenage Talk and Birth in Reverse.”
Suzi was stunned at just how direct the answer was. “Well, before we play some of Digital Witness, do you have anything you want to say to the audience?”
“Uh-huh. The ‘gunge’, as you call it here in England, looks intriguing. However, green would look better on Theresa than me, so vote for me!”
“Right! Well, here’s St. Vincent with Digital Witness,” said Suzi as the first minute of the video began playing. It showed Annie moving in a robotic manner through a pastel-coloured dystopia to the quirky horn-driven song, which itself was a critique on social media. As with Warpaint’s video, only the first minute played before the show cut back to the studio.
Suzi had climbed down from the dunk tank seat and was now walking over to a part of the studio made to look like a bar. “Lines are now open for voting. You can ring or text one of the numbers on-screen or go to our website. Money raised will all be split between charities picked by Warpaint and St. Vincent,” she said, sitting at a booth-style table. “Up next we’ve got a live performance from a great new metal band called Triaxis, but for now, I’m here at The Vat and Amp pub with Charlie Simpson from Fightstar. Charlie, who do you think’s going to be playing us out tonight?”
Charlie shrugged his shoulders. “Well Suzi, I wouldn’t like to call it. St. Vincent and Warpaint are both pretty good.”
“I bet you’re just saying that so you don’t swing the vote either way!” Suzi giggled.
After an interview with Charlie and an exclusive play of Fightstar’s newest video, Suzi took the show into the break. “Join us in part two for Slaves, Catfish and the Bottlemen and to see Triaxis take on the Five Hundred Challenge. For now, here are Triaxis with Victorious.” The metal quintet played their single into the advert break.
Poll will be open for two weeks, with part 2 one week from now. It’s gonna get gooey!