Blindfolded and put on bus to God knows where, the Bluesbunny photographer found himself abducted on Saturday night. Taken on a journey to a destination known only as the Marvello HQ, he did not know what to expect. We had assurances from Marvello HQ that he would be treated well as long as he obeyed the rules. Here is his story.
"It all seemed innocent enough at the start. Be outside Barfly in Glasgow at 7pm on Saturday night. A coach will pick you up and take you to your destination. I was there on time. There were other people there too, probably about to embark on the same adventure. Safety in numbers and all that. What could happen? Well, the coach arrived and out jumped a bearded guy with a toy megaphone. Ok, not that unusual in Glasgow but he had some helpers. All wearing masks, they were. I should have ran at that point but I thought it was a prank. A silly student prank."
"Then things went strange. Once on the bus, I took a good look at our masked captors. They looked familiar. The fake accents. Their attitude. They forced us all to wear blindfolds. I started to get Vietnam flashbacks. I've seen combat and did time in a prison camp but this was worse. They started their psychological torture as soon as the bus moved off. Did we want Carlsberg or Strongbow? That's what Charlie used to say back in the jungle. After you had been hanging upside down for two days in 120 degree heat, they would offer you a drink. But they would never give you a drink. These guys were different. They gave you what you asked for. A can of Carlsberg was pressed into my hand. I took a drink - it was real Carlsberg. Torture techniques must have improved with the passing of time."
"I heard the voices of women on the bus. Have these fiends never heard of the Geneva Convention? Torturing women as well. That is seriously unsporting. Then the real torture started. As I became steadily more disoriented, they played some horrible sounds that might have been music. Or it might have been the sounds of former captors begging for their freedom. They told us we were going to Edinburgh - that cultural destination most feared by soap dodging Glaswegians. The women were starting to cry. The brutes then decided that Edinburgh was not enough. They were going to take us across the Forth Bridge and on into Fife. I could hear men sobbing behind me. I've been to Kirkcaldy on a wet Tuesday night and I would not wish that on a dog. Or a politician, for that matter."
"The bus finally stopped. We were told to keep our blindfolds on. We got led off the bus and put into a line. They told us to put our hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us. I thought I heard the unmistakeable sound of an AK47 being cocked. They told me that I would be OK as I would need to live to tell the story. They laughed as they led us into Marvello HQ. There were shutters on all the windows. You won't believe this but you could get beer in there and nachos. Nachos? Sweat trickled down my brow. What would happen next?"
"The funny thing was that things looked normal. Around me were people that were laughing, joking and drinking. They looked normal. They appeared to be enjoying themselves. Perhaps they were our captors in disguise. Perhaps they were fellow captives that had become conditioned by repeated exposure to this kind of thing. I talked to some of them. One claimed to be a nurse. One claimed to be John Hall the supermodel. One woman even claimed to be Sonny Marvello's manager. Spirits were high but who could you trust? We were led into the main hall. Name, rank and serial number is all they are going to get out of me."
"Sonny Marvello took the stage. He was carrying an umbrella just like John Steed would. Backed by some serious musical firepower in Rufus Stone, Jonny Quatro, The Sheriff and Milo Doberman, he powered through his set. Lights flash, the sound level rises. I felt myself weakening and falling under the captivating power of the Marvello sound. Was I singing along to "Who Needs Somebody"? Yes. Did I feel a strange urge to dance when I heard "Beautiful Lover"? Yes. My spirit was weakening but they weren't going to break me that easily. I spotted a nail on the floor. I picked it up and pressed it into my palm. The pain would keep me sane."
"The next band was Wake the President. There were four of them. They looked young. Maybe they were born in captivity. The sons of Orange Juice and the Proclaimers, perhaps. Two of them looked suspiciously similar. They played jaunty pop songs about the ordinary life we might never see again unless we escape to freedom. In my head - even now - I remember that they sang about "All the Blonde Girls".
"Then our captors decided that it was time for some exercise. Obviously, there is nothing more likely to get you moving than a bit of ska music. The Amphetameanies took to the stage. The room got hotter and hotter with each song. It was getting more like the jungle with every passing moment. The band exuded the party spirit. There were outbreaks of spontaneous dancing amongst the captives. Then everybody cracked at once and the floor filled to the sounds of the demented Selecter goes Scottish "Sunday Driver" and the thunderous, deodorant testing "Ghost Bus". But they would never break me. I would not dance."
"Finally, the brainwashing was finished. They threw us all out onto a waiting bus and abandoned us in the middle of Glasgow. Waking up the next morning, I looked at the red stain on the palm of my hand. The nail had turned into a strip of cabbage. I licked the blood on my hand. It tasted like kebab sauce. Had it all been a dream? I just don't know"