Squinter's Paradise

by Two Apple Tobacco

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1.
Here I Go 04:31
NARRATOR: We begin our tale by the seaside..... [A wave crashes against the shores of a quaint seaside town, a tad tarnished by recent erratic weather events & sea-level rise. Our Hero enters, flower bouquet in hand, mustering his courage.] HERO: Here I go thinking these thoughts again. I can’t be sure if I am reading this right at all - The torment I put myself through thinking of you can’t be good for the stability of my mind. All the while, ludicrousy is imminent - Nothing could be less innocent than the way I feel. Weeks and days, morning night and noon, and hours and years, evenings also I’d assume. Every chance to make things right I have let go. All my days ought be compressed into just a few. Well I think you’d better weep and moan: Can this whole life be nothing but teary-eyed complications that don’t appear to exist at all, ‘least not outside of my fucked-up brain, flooding again - a face like rain - I see myself in every drop, and every last expression stains. [Without warning, a violent storm rises, the seas swell and the water engulfs everything.] HERO & CHORUS: All the sudden the catastrophe is over and she’s nowhere to be found. With the backdrop of a tersely swaying ocean, I can barely distinguish a sound. Though I know that there must be some people screaming or some evidence of death, everything I see is curiously empty: the shambles of my life are dripping wet. [He begins to walk among the ruins.] Well I guess I’d better set out on the road then (in what’s left of my car); With gas at a thousand bucks a litre, don’t think I’ll make it very far. Gotta hope that I can find a sanctuary, somewhere away from the rising sea - Everyday my neighbourhood is gettin’ smaller - no insurance for this kinda loss-o-property: [We flash to the local Insurance Office, a few days earlier.] SECRETARY: Sandy! Your 4:15 is here. SANDY: Oh hi! Come on in – and why don’t you take a seat! HERO: I’ve got some property I’d like to insure, because the ocean is swallowing up my street. SANDY: Sorry sir: We don’t provide that kind of coverage anymore. HERO: Wait a minute: I thought disaster insurance was pretty common... SANDY: Yes, but since we’ve acknowledged that Climate Change is real (and human-caused) The disaster you speak of is technically your fault – and no longer qualifies. HERO: That sounds a little bit dubious to me – What did I do? What about those who already have a policy? SANDY: I’m afraid, like you, that they’re gonna just… have to get by. HERO: So, while we drown you’ll be leavin’ us high and dry – What are we to do? SANDY: I don’t know, sir – I suggest you be creative: Build a sand-bag wall, take your own initiative— HERO: Fuck that! How can you— SANDY: Sir! I’ve had it with your tone, Now why don’t you go before I have security take you away...... [We flash back to our HERO, still standing motionless in the remains of his house.] HERO: Sweet the note, ’sgot me all curlin’ up. And then I wait – and forever I’d assume Wondrous past, opening as I look ahead: Nothing said might be the scariest of them all. But you see just every now and then, and it’s exactly how the Universe fucks with me, Putting me where I want to be, only without a plan. [He gets into what’s left of his car, and drives away.....]
2.
NARRATOR: Alone and destitute, our intrepid hero flees the wave-ravaged coast and drowns his sorrows at a roadside watering hole..... BARMAID: Welcome to ‘The Bar at a Higher Elevation with the Blaring Television’! [On the TV we see and hear a unique infomercial for a strange and luring place.] TV YOKELS: I hear the place you live got covered by the melting ice, Why not come inland to the sunniest place, if you'll take my dry advice? All our squinting makes us smile - so we all seem really nice That’s why we call this hell-hole: ‘Squinter's Paradise’! BARMAID: What can I getcha? HERO: A Gin & Orange, a Lemon Squash and a Scotch & Water please. And turn that TV up! TV YOKELS: Drivin’ down the highway, dust balls in your ear: That is how you know that paradise is near! Make sure you’re driving faster than that wall of fire: Better hope to hell that you don’t pop a tire! Think about a life that’s calmer than before: You won’t have to water your front lawn anymore! The grass is never greener than a dusty brown: Ain’t no ‘other side’, don’t let it get you down! We get our drinking water by filtering our pee! Everyone here does it: It ain’t so bad - You’ll see, my friend - At least it’s halfway better than rolling with the waves - Wake up! This Squinter’s Paradise may be your last escape. [The BARMAID pours out a squint-inducing vocal solo, inspiring memories in our HERO.] HERO & CHORUS: And if we’re still then we can watch the drips fallin’ from your nose. They hit the ground, seeming to shatter more than most. We’ll pretend everything’s right, cozy and nice. Such a vice leaving me shivering to the bone. But then you see just every now and then - and it’s exactly how the universe fucks with me - Putting me where I want to be, only without a plan..... [The Squinter’s Paradise infomercial renews its blaring, shaking him form his reverie.] TV YOKELS: We got the perfect set-up for these trying times. Why not come inland to the sunniest place - and even you will shine! That constant sweaty glisten makes the air so sweet and nice, Come and join our hell in Squinter's Paradise (repeat) HERO: Alright! BARMAID: I don’t know - it’s a treacherous journey there. And the Yokels’ll drive you insane!
3.
HERO: What have I got to lose? What do I have to gain staying by the oceanside? Nearly everyone here has died, either drowned or from disease. Guess I might as well move on. [He pays, starts the car & takes off across the desert. We witness a journey fraught with legendary chaos & great obstacle.] HERO & CHORUS: Drivin’ down the highway, got those dustballs in my ear: That is how I know paradise is near! I’m sure I’m driving faster, than that wall of fire: Better hope to hell that I don’t pop a tire! Drivin’ down the highway, got those dustballs in my ear: Oh it’s got me thinkin’: Paradise...... is...... near. [Our HERO shuts the engine, rubs the dust from his cracked windshield, and takes his first look at.... Squinter’s Paradise.]
4.
[As he steps out of his car, the Yokels approach.....] YOKEL WOMEN: Hi There! You look worn out and thirsty. Don’t worry, this is the perfect place for Ocean-folk like you. Let us lighten your load and show you around! Brother-Cousin Donny’ll take your car (you mean ‘our’ car!) - after all..... YOKELS: You’re one of us now! BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: And when we walk we usually stumble, YOKELS: And when we catch we usually fumble, BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: And when we talk we tend to mumble, YOKELS: But we’re the furthest thing from humble! BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: I want my point to be focal: YOKELS: Vocally Yokel! And though I know I can’t encapsul...ate what I want to say: Yokally Yokel! Yokally..... This is your home now! Our infrastructure is in shambles. BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: If you stay alive it’s just a gamble - YOKELS: Gollee gee! Please accept my apologies, don’t mean to ramble: BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: I speak even though I’m barely understand-ble. YOKEL1: Take it away Brother-Cousin Donny! BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY squawks a gibberish-mumble-welcome vocal solo. YOKEL2: Yeehoo! BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: Life here is such a stupid jokel: YOKELS: Locally Yokel! All the same: My glass is always ‘least two-thirds full: Yokally Yokel! Yokally..... [The YOKELS take our HERO on a tour.] YOKEL1: Why don’t we show you around? This here is the Pee-Filtration Plant! YOKEL2: And this is the tire-yard where we hunts for cats! BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: And that there’s my house: Best scrap-metal gophers can buy! YOKEL3: Over there’s the convenience store, Town Hall meetin’s there every fifth Tuesday-- YOKEL4: All of the Twinkies and Corndogs you can eat!.... YOKELS (ALL): You roll with us now! And when we fight it’s quite the tussle: Forget the brain we use the muscle. There ain’t no king inside the castle: BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: Settle all our dirt among the rascals. YOKELS (ALL): All the same: At heart we’re kind and decent folkel: Okalie Dokel! We’ll be the whites to your yolk-el: Yokally Yokel! Yokally..... BROTHER-COUSIN DONNY: Hoedown! The town erupts in a giant hootenanny, as our HERO reflects on what he’s gotten himself into: CHORUS: And for the sailor who is stuck far at sea, as undeserved as may be the storm, at least it keeps you on your game, more than you were before. I can spend about an hour. And for the traveller of the great desert sands, as introverted as may be the stream, at least it keeps you lookin’ out, as well as in somehow. I can take another day. HERO: Here I go, thinking these thoughts again.
5.
Rough Riders 04:37
NARRATOR: Meanwhile, over the horizon, the Rough Riders are meeting in their Corporate Tower of Doom..... [We zoom to a palatial fortress hidden in the hills.] ROUGH RIDERS: It’s clear that now, to keep ahead in the Cosmic Race, we’re going to have to outright kill our consumer base. CEO: All our lawns will still be bright n’green. And hey, we’ll have more money then we’ve ever seen! LAWYERS: By implementing a program of demand destruction we can progressively demonstrate that a greater percentage of total humans are buying our product. Despite operational downsizing to accommodate dwindling markets with the help of inflation we continue to manifest short-term profits while forecasting relative growth. ROUGH RIDERS: It’s clear that now, to keep ahead in the cosmic race, we’re going to have to outright kill our consumer base. SCIENTIST: Mwahaha! I’ve invented some new diseases! 5-STAR GENERAL: Attach the machine guns to the helicopters! We’ll have some fun and head for Squinter’s Paradise! CEO: All our lawns’ll still be bright n’green, and we’ll have more money then we’ve ever seen! [The CEO takes a nefarious cackle-solo.] STRATEGISTS: The insurance thing is working out great: people are starting to flee the seaside. We’re opening up new markets in the dead lands, Sending our five-ton convoys to the desert sands. ROUGH RIDERS: By the time the last Yokel town is gone, we’ll be prepped to be galactically moving on. [The ROUGH RIDERS build an extravagant out-chorus as they prep their guns.] ROUGH RIDER1: And all of our lawns will still be bright and green! ROUGH RIDER2: And we’ll have more money then we’ve ever seen! (repeat) [One by one, the corporate helicopters take off toward Squinter’s Paradise.]
6.
NARRATOR: And now! We take you back to Squinter’s Paradise, where there’s a dark cloud on the horizon..... [We hear ominous ‘caws’ and ‘squeals’ as the squadrons of elephants & crows assemble.] YOKELS: O No I think the Crows are here! That means the Elephants can’t be far behind! Take cover under the first thing you can find! Clear the streets before they trample and drop the bombs! HERO: Wait a minute – Whoa now, has everyone gone insane? Sometimes it’s still advantageous to use your brain! I’ve never heard of a crow dropping a bomb. Since when are elephants living on this terrain? YOKELS: Poor seaside yuppie don’t have a clue. Fine then, just stay there and see what they do to you! Soon they’ll be dropping all sorts o’things from the sky. Stones, scraps and roof- tiles – even pieces of giant cacti! [The Crows begin dropping everything mentioned and more from the sky, including primitive bombs.] YOKELS: Then they’ll start swooping at everyone (pecking at your eyes!) - It doesn’t matter as long as you look human (so don’t be surprised!) And with the first phase of Blitzkrieg a success, in come the Elephants to take care of the rest.... [The Elephants attack all around them.] HERO: There’s just one thing that I don’t understand: Since when did the animals take over the land? YOKELS: About the time the cities died, when you were only a child, all the caged animals returned to the wild, and the antipathy toward us that they bred into their younger generations was unleashed upon us. The salivating elephants a kindred spirit to the crows who’d been observing us wherever we’d go, and so the smarter of the species - all the sudden as it seemed - began this endless series of vindictive and extreme attacks HERO: There’s a ribbon overhead about to black out the sky ALL: They’re coming’ in again we’d better go run and hide!!! [The second wave of the attack begins.] HERO: Crouched under this stairwell I can barely decide: Is this really any better than the shrinking seaside? NARRATOR: And from the crumbling street we can see the sun set behind the western horizon. And amidst the thunderous bolts of lightening and dust- storm tornados, a new hum: as the Rough Riders’ helicopters join the crows.... YOKELS (ALL): Watch Out!!!
7.
NARRATOR: We are left with the sensation of an unwittingly interconnected tumult, incorporating its special-case victims in a synergetic feedback loop of omni-efficient ‘wiping the slate clean’..... [Once again, we witness our HERO’s world unravel before his eyes. The helicopters & crows return for yet another bombardment, the tornados and lightening rain down, and from over the hills, other animals join the elephants’ stampede.] HERO & CHORUS: So now I’m thinking: ‘Oh what have I done?’ Why and where am I into? Tug again at the thread: Another bottom to fall through! Unravelling all at once, everything that was constant; Teetering on the brink, I just can’t help but think: What’s ensuing is a cosmic undoing..... (repeat) [Our HERO watches from the stairwell as Paradise falls to ruin. Suddenly, there is a Brechtian ‘Deus Ex Machina’ as the NARRATORS take over.]
8.
Devolution 05:02
NARRATORS: Take a team o’ gymnasts and you put them in the forest - get them climbing the trees; Come back in a few thousand years, and you got yourself a lovely tribe of monkeys. If all this inbred physical selectivity breeds out metaphysical capacity, then what the hell and who exactly are we? Now that they’ve mapped out all the ACTGs and they’re verifyin’ Darwin’s theories; they can show you every origin of every single biological discrepancy. If all of this inbred physical selectivity breeds out metaphysical capacity, the future’s lookin’ pretty bleak for you and me. [NARRATOR 1 explains ‘Evolution’ vs ‘Devolution’ with the aid of a chalkboard.] NARRATOR1: The great ape has got a killer jaw, and all of the muscles needed to operate it force the scull to close in early in development, in other words, by gaining the physical advantage of a skookum mashing apparatus, the ape lost the mental capacity for more significant and abstract thought. NARRATORS: Which way does it go? [We fly low again over the wreckage - a town unwound and overrun by animals. Our HERO stands alone, virtually unhurt.] HERO: All around, ludicrousy is imminent... but nothing could be less exigent than the way I feel.... NARRATORS: Now that they’ve mapped out all the ACTGs and they’re verifyin’ Darwin’s theories; They can show you every origin of every single biological discrepancy. If all of this inbred physical selectivity breeds out metaphysical capacity, the future’s lookin’ pretty bleak for you and me. ALL: It’s just my conclusion: Appalachian Evolution (repeat) [The ensemble joins for a final Yokel reprise.] YOKEL WOMEN: And for the sailor who is stuck far at sea, as undeserved as may be the storm At least it keeps you on your game, more than you were before, ADD HERO: I can spend about an hour! And for the traveller of the great desert sands: As introverted as may be the stream, at least it keeps you lookin’ out, as well as in somehow. I can take another day! YOKEL MEN: Yokel! At heart we’re kind and decent folk-el, we’ll be the whites to your yolk-el (repeat underneath) ADD YOKEL WOMEN: And for the sailor who is stuck far at sea, as undeserved as may be the storm, at least it keeps you on your game, more than you were before. ADD ALL: I can spend about an hour! And for the traveller of the great desert sands: As introverted as may be the stream, at least it keeps you lookin’ out, as well as in somehow. I can take another day! [The ensemble exits. we are left with our HERO.] HERO: Here I go, thinking these thoughts again. [THE END]

about

Two Apple Tobacco presents:

SQUINTER’S PARADISE
a mini pan-apocalyptic fantasia

SCENE 1: “Here I Go”
location: the seaside

SCENE 2: “Squinter’s Paradise”
location: a bar at a higher elevation

SCENE 3: “Dustballs in Your Ear”
location: the desert highway

SCENE 4: “Yokally Yokel”
location: Squinter’s Paradise

SCENE 5: “Rough Riders”
location: the Corporate Tower of Doom

SCENE 6: “Elephants & Crows”
location: Squinter’s Paradise

SCENE 7: “Pure Ridiculousness”
location: Squinter’s Paradise

SCENE 8: “Devolution”
location: anywhere and everywhere

credits

released May 21, 2021

Book and music by Daniel Deorksen

Produced, arranged and performed by Two Apple Tobacco:
Daniel Deorksen - Guitar, Vocals, Banjo
Jessica Harvey - Vocals, Melodica
Phyllis Ho - Violin
Jordan Kling - Bass
Courtney Ch'ng Lancaster - Vocals, Flute
Vern Shewchuk - Percussion
with:
Dominic Conway - Saxophone
Emilie Chow - Trombone
Thomas Houlden - Trumpet
Jeremy Stehr-So - Trombone

Recorded & mixed by Tanis Gibbons
at The Hive Creative Labs in Burnaby BC
Between May 2011 and Feb 2013
Mastered by Stu McKillop
at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver BC
Cover art by Courtney Ch'ng Lancaster
Art by Angie Nguyen Designs

No humans were harmed by animals in the making of this record.

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all rights reserved

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Two Apple Tobacco Vancouver, British Columbia

Based in Vancouver, BC, Two Apple Tobacco has been called “a bright beacon of weirdness” (Snipe News) and “a wonderfully creative band” (Evolution Radio) who put on an “explosive show” (Sloan's Bones) that “pushed me as far as I could go” (Discorder Magazine). Two Apple Tobacco was named one of Vancouver's 'Top 25 Bands' by Vanmusic and has twice made the Georgia Straight’s 'Best of Vancouver'. ... more

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