“Bewilderment” Part 2: A Parallel Existence
Pete opens his eyes to find that he is still seated and still holding the same guitar. The shopkeeper is still there, but looks somehow different. The shop, however is totally different. In fact it’s another shop altogether. It looks like some sort of retro-styled guitar shop. One or two customers are looking around the shop and they seem to be dressed in retro ’60s fashions that are right in keeping with the shop. Then, Pete looks through the shop window and realises that he’s in a street that he doesn’t recognise. An old vintage car goes past the window. Then another. And another. Something very weird indeed is going on! Pete looks back at the shopkeeper and immediately notices that he does indeed look different. Not only is he too dressed in ’60s gear, but the man suddenly looks literally decades younger!
The shopkeeper stuns Pete by welcoming him to his guitar shop in Denmark Street, London (AKA Tin Pan Alley)…. 1964!!! The shopkeeper goes on to explain to Pete that the peculiar old guitar is in fact a portal that enables time travel and that he has been chosen (although he doesn’t specify whether this was at random or not) to be able to traverse back and forth between his own time and this one, as often as he likes. All he has to do is play that guitar, and he is the only person that can use it. But, there’s a catch. Pete has exactly ten years to be able to do this, and whichever of the two parallel time lines he happens to be in when the ten years is up is the one he’ll remain in forever. And the purpose of all this – simply to try and change the Human Race through music. No further clarification or guidance is given!
Then, the shopkeeper introduces Pete to a young lead guitarist by the name of Dewey, who happens to be looking to form a band. So, the two of them jam together, hit it off and agree to team up. Dewey gets an old mate of his, by the name of Hank, who happens to be a bass player, to meet them at a local pub, where Pete and Dewey convince Hank that he needs to be in this band too. They put out an advert for a drummer and at the subsequent audition, only one applicant turns up… an hour late! His name is Chip and he gets the job.
The four lads practice hard. R&B is the order of the day and Pete begins to write some songs too. They gel well and develop a great sound. Pete comes up with their band name – The Bewildered. Gigs at local pubs naturally follow. At first they only get a lukewarm reception, but eventually the locals are won over. They become regular performers locally and start to build up a healthy following and some buzz. Eventually, a strange and somewhat eccentric fellow approaches them after a show and declares that they need a manager and that he can make them stars. The boys need little persuasion. The man gives only his nickname – the Old Crazy Devil.
So, Pete by now is leading a double life – maintaining his 1994 student life, whilst making more and more trips back to 1964. At the same time he develops a particularly close relationship with the Old Crazy Devil, whose little quirks and eccentricities endear him to Pete, who finds that he brings him a feeling of comfort, security and protection.
Old Crazy Devil gets the band studio time where they cut some demos. He then hawks them round Tin Pan Alley, eventually securing them an agent and a publishing contract. Meanwhile, The Bewildered take to the road playing gigs all around the country, in dance halls and theatres, honing their skills and picking up more and more fans. Eventually, a record deal is signed and the first single released. As it climbs the charts, TV appearances and screaming girls become the order of the day. “Bewildermania” is the term coined by the press. Finally a telegram arrives confirming that they have made it to number 1….
Find out how their new found fame affects The Bewildered in the next instalment. Check back soon.