2112: Tour Book

And the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx were worried. For long years had they ruled the world from within their massive, imposing, well nigh impenetrable grey-walled Temples; for long years had they encouraged a uniform, equal, ‘contented’ society, regulated and controlled the actions of their subjects; for long years had they presided over a neat, orderly planet, stressing the importance of the Brotherhood of Man while suppressing individual rights, individual flair. But now, in the year 2112, they were worried. In the dull, depressing conference hall in the biggest Temple in the biggest Federation city, head Priests from throughout the globe had gathered to discuss the problem that was preying on their minds.

Around a plain stone table they sat, each garbed in crude, functional, roughly stitched robes, hoods covering their heads, shadowing their faces, their arms folded within vast, flowing sleeves. Father Brown was the first to speak: “So. The prophesy is coming true.” His voice was a slow lifeless monotone. It echoed around the hall’s bare, undecorated, solid granite walls. The others murmured in assent. “What can we do?” A hint of desperation, underlying flat, expressionless phrasing this time around.

“Arm the guards. Order them to shoot the troublemakers,” came a voice. “Too drastic,” “Round up the ringleaders in the dead of night. Make them—well, uh— mysteriously vanish.” “It wouldn’t work. Others would take their places. We’d still have a rebellion on our hands.” “Then consult the computer.”

Silence in the hall. The priests had an inborn distrust of machines, especially ones of such complexity as computers—they, after all, had brought about the downfall of the so-called Doomed Folk, a whole time cycle before. But reluctantly, Father Brown nodded. It was the only thing to do. He rose from his chair and started to walk unhurriedly to a corner of the huge hall, where an old, neglected hulk of machinery lay dormant. The other priests followed. Brushing off the dust of centuries with one sweep of his voluminous sleeve, Father Brown inclined his head to regard a deceptively simple control panel, a scattering of brightly colored buttons and levers, colors that were offensive to his eyes, accustomed as they were to regarding only grey and yet more grey.

Cautiously, his gnarled, bony finger trembling almost imperceptively, Father Brown switched the machine “on.” A brief—albeit, to the priests, unendurable—pause, a metallic click, an electronic hum, and the computer sputtered back to life. It came as no surprise to Father Brown—the machine had been serviced regularly for as long as he could remember, the eventuality of the priests using it once again had been foreseen an age ago.

Deliberately, Father Brown tapped out a question.

Almost immediately—and in a voice even more characterless, undeviating and droning than Father Brown’s—the computer spoke its reply.

“Rush. Formed in Toronto, late 20th Century. Alex Lifeson (guitar), Geddy Lee (bass, vocals), John Rutsey (drums).”

Father Brown cringed at the mention of the guitar. The discovery of such an instrument had started this whole distressing affair—an affair which had since snowballed into a major social crisis.

“First album titled simply Rush,” the machine continued, delving deeply into its memory banks. “Contained straight forward, straight ahead heavy rock numbers. No evidence of the group’s later musical leanings. First released on Rush’s own label, Moon records. Later it was picked up by Mercury and made available worldwide.”

Many of the terms used by the computer were unfamiliar to the priests, but they listened intently nonetheless.

“Release of second album Fly By Night saw arrival of new drummer, Neil Peart, perpetrator of current crisis.” Collectively, the Priests drew in their breaths.

“Peart’s lyrical leanings well exemplified on second album on number “By-Tor and the Snow Dog.” An imaginative science fantasy tale set to music, Lee played the part of By-Tor, Lifeson the part of the Snow Dog. Battles would often ensue. Music on Fly by Night impressive in its depth and commitment.

“Third LP, Caress Of Steel, took ideas further, contained song by name of “The Necromancer,” sword and sorcery oriented. Also contained magnum opus “The Fountain Of Lamneth,” song built around story about quest for fountain of youth.

Both acted as tasters for next album, next tour-de-force, next piece de resistance—”

The Priests knew the relevance of this particular term.


“Stop there,” commanded Father Brown. He turned to his fellow Priests, his face—or what was visible of it within his dark cowl—etched with lines of despair. “2112,” he repeated, “how could they have had the foresight to predict . . . ?” His voice trailed off.

“If you please, Father Brown,” proffered another Priest, “can I respectfully suggest that we cease to worry about how and, more importantly, deal with more urgent matters, matters closer to hand? After all, the mob outside . . . ”

Yes, I can hear them too,” interjected Father Brown impatiently. And then, in calmer tones: “But you’re right, of course. Continue computer.”

“2112. Astonishingly accurate prophecy of present-day society. Details rule of Priests of Temples of Syrinx in unsympathetic terms, claims that Federation ‘crushed’ the spirit of man, asserts need for individualism, mentions desertion of elite of Doomed Folk from Earth to other planets, predicts the discovery of the guitar and subsequent rejection of . . . ”

Father Brown’s mind drifted, back to those events of scant months before. Oh, how he rued the day that he destroyed that instrument, ground it to pieces beneath his feet, at the same time commanding its holder to “think about the average” in no uncertain terms.

Father Brown had thought the man’s spirit broken. The last he had heard, he had retired to the caves beneath the Federation city, retired to while his days away alone while the society that the Priests had created carried on, inexorably, interminably, above him, functioning perfectly, delightful in its complete uniformity.

But no. Somehow, word of the instrument—how it had been able to create long-forgotten, long stifled, long quenched melodious sounds—had reached the teeming populace of the outside world. Father Brown could see it now, with the advantage of hindsight. He could see how that tiny, immaterial event of the smashing of the guitar had acted as a lever that had uprooted the carefully-laid foundations of the Priests’ cheerless, dreary world.

People had re-awakened, had suddenly realised that there was more to life than work and sleep—and chaos had ensued. Around their ears, the Priests’ world had begun to crumble.

Unaware of Father Brown’s thoughts, oblivious to the seriousness of the situation, the computer droned on.

” . . . Priests of Temple of Syrinx have been aware of existence of 2112 for some time. Have, until recently, been blind to its implications, however—”

“Stop, computer.”

Father Brown turned to regard the other Priests grouped around him. All were silent. There was little more that could be said. They realised that the collapse of their carefully structured society was mere moments away. They knew that the destruction of centuries-worth of hard work was imminent. And all because of one moment of folly, the breaking into pieces of a guitar, “a toy that helped destroy the elder race of man.”

Turning the computer off, Father Brown and the rest of the Priests returned to their seats at the stone table to meditate. By now, they had resigned themselves to the fact that nothing—but nothing—could be done.

When the mob finally broke into the conference hall proper, the Priests were still in meditation. The mindless rioters tore into their one-time rulers mercilessly, relentlessly tearing them apart by hand, rending them limb from limb, blood lusting in their new-found freedom. The Priests did not struggle. They had accepted their fate.

Father Brown was the last to die, clubbed lifeless while murmuring his final words:

“Rush. They must have been one hell of a band.”


Fly By Night
Caress of Steel
All The World’s a Stage

All on Mercury

Alex Lifeson
Neil Peart
Geddy Lee

Words: Geoff Barton
Typesetting: Radio Alice

Tour co-ordination: Neil Warnock for Bron Agency Limited
Tour manager: Howard Ungerleider
Stage manager: Mike “Lurch” Hirsch
Sound company: TFA Electrosound Limited
Sound engineer: Ian Grendy
Lighting company: See Factor Inc
Management direction: Ray Daniels/Vic Wilson
SRO Productions Limited
Toronto Canada

~ by rvkeeper on March 12, 2011.

%d bloggers like this: