by Ben George
The spherical ball flew flyingly through the damn autumn leaves like a nauseating plane that was too small and round to be in any way practical. But flew it did, having been propelled as it had by Adam’s fearsome left foot. The kids who lived in Miyashita-koen still tell stories about that left foot and use words like “fearsome” and “left”. I stood vertical in the goalmouth, a moth to the flame, a fish in a barrel, a horse to water, and did what any decent Thursday morning goalkeeper is obliged to do: I saved the potential goal so hard and crushed the dreams of the understandably confident Adam.
Listen to the song while reading the text.
“Crumbs!” he screamed and fell to the ground, melodramatically. However, I was already upstaging him. Something in the bones of my left hand had gone to pot in the goal-saving, and I was like, “No way, lads, I’m like out of here because I’m in a whole multiverse of pain,” and I leapfrogged the fence and flicked them all the bird. I instantly regretted this and sent them an apologetic text using my obviously worse right hand while on the train to the hospital.
“Crybaby,” muttered the doctor as he twisted my now inflated, goal-saving limb. I had been informed that my team had lost, but also I realized that my hand was massive and pretty immobile. While the dispassionate doc face mucked about, I also remembered that Merry Christmas, the festive, genre-avoiding, musical wonder tank of a band that I guitared for had a rehearsal booked for that very evening. Glancing emotionally at my ridiculous blimp of an arm, I knew I was history. The other band members were notoriously ill-tempered and had once shot a sloppy flugelhorn player into the sun, just for the lols.
Slinking slipperily along the slurry covered Shibuya sidewalks, I wracked my head muscles. Could I pay a lookalike to take my place? Could I pretend that I’d never been in the band and that they all had had collective hallucinations, and how did they have my number anyway? Then it struck me. I would hire a stage piano and improv with my right hand while pointing coolly and swearing with my huge left hand. A few bemused frowns into the practice, me and my musical pals, and I realized we were onto something.
Matt “Matt” Thoren snaked like a jazz-snake between 5/4 and 3/4, Joe-Joe “Double Hyphen” Moran-Douglas discovered the lowest notes available to man or dog, Yurie “Barihi/Hibari/Bazza” Yamaguchi ripped that glockenspiel a new one while simultaneously playing a green plastic trombone, and Yuki “The Distortionator” Nishimura submerged the sound in liquid synthesis from 2021.
Improvising one-handedly, pointing and swearing to the bitter end, I kept my vulnerable position in Merry Christmas, and this is the story of how a footballing mishap in the late Miyashita-koen indirectly led to the creation of Changes to Numbers Broken, the song you are about to listen to when you scroll down (or up depending on where they put it on this page, maybe you’ve already listened to it, I don’t know, yet).