(A rehearsal room in Chiswick. Tom sits behind the drum kit. Neil sits on his bass amplifier. Rob has put his guitar in its case. They each hold a photocopied sheet of paper. The black light in the corner is still turned on.)
Rob: Okay, so that means we’re down to four. Or three. Three names. So being a democracy we’ll vote, but I think I should personally explain one of the band names so you guys can get a sense of it.
Rob: Listen closely. The band would be called Merlin’s Wizard.
Rob: One more time. Merlin’s. Wizard. Think of it this way: Merlin is… what?
Tom: I don’t know.
Neil: A wizard.
Rob: That’s right. Merlin is the most powerful wizard ever.
Rob: So… and here’s the point. Who controls Merlin?
Rob: No, it’s rhetorical. That’s the question we’re asking.
Rob: With the name. We’re posing a question with the name. If we call the band Merlin’s Wizard people will be like, “Oh yeah, I never thought of that. Who controls Merlin?”
Tom: But it’s not Gandalf.
Rob: No, it’s not anyone we know. That’s the point. It’s the idea of questioning authority. It’s meant like: Who controls the people who control us? It’s like if we were called Tony Blair’s Prime Minister.
Neil: I don’t like that.
Rob: No, that’s not an actual option. It’s just the idea.
Neil: Personally I like name number two. The Apples. Because you have different kinds of apples. Of knowledge, for instance.
Tom: Golden Delicious is another.
Rob: I thought that was on there as a joke.
Neil: You could have apple pie, so it’s ironic.
Rob: That name is retarded. That’s the stupidest on the list.
Neil: Or you’ve got the Apple computer company.
Tom: Yeah that’s true.
Neil: Rob, if you’re so set on having a name that will comment on something in society, it could comment on how Apple computers are, I don’t know, how everyone has one, or something.
Neil: The Apples is good, it’s really good.
Tom: “They Are The Apples of Our Eye” they would write in NME.
Rob: Okay, first of all, The Apples is a piece of shit. Second of all, it goes against everything my playing stands for.
Tom: What does your playing stand for?
Rob: Not a piece of fruit.
Neil: Since when does your playing stand for something?
Rob: Since maybe the first note I ever played, Neil? I just don’t see us realistically saying “Hi, we’re The Apples.” I see Merlin’s Wizard realistically. Besides, what about our songs? What about “Orc Attack”? It fits with Merlin’s Wizard. Or are you just going to totally change it?
Neil: It’s an instrumental Rob.
Rob: Yeah, but the feel of it?
Neil: What’s the feel of it?
Rob: Well, uh, I don’t know if anyone here remembers, but it was meant to be played along with the visuals we filmed on Hampstead Heath.
Tom: When I had to dress up like a goblin?
Rob: Like an orc, Tom. Orc Attack.
Tom: With your Mom’s dress on?
Rob: It’s called a kaftan, Tom. But yeah, unless we shot other footage of some other orc attack at some point, then that was it.
Tom: That was such a screwed-up day.
Rob: It was a good day for the band. And we said we were going to use that footage in the live show so it would be like a multimedia. We talked about that.
Neil: You talked about that, Rob.
Rob: No, Neil, we all agreed in our democracy that we would play “Orc Attack” with the orc footage. Now that’s not gonna make much sense if we were called The Apples, is it?
Neil: Tom’s orc mask fell off halfway through. You can see his face in most of the footage.
Tom: Yeah, it doesn’t look very good, Rob.
Rob: Well, Tom, that’s funny because I think it does look very good. It looks exactly like, you know… If an orc attacked then what would it look like? Confusion, which is what the video looks like, which is the feel of the song, which is why I wrote it…
Neil: We all wrote it.
Rob: Which is why I wrote the melody then.
Tom: Remember when the mask came off my head while we were filming? That was so screwed up, when I ran into the tree?
Rob: The audience isn’t going to see that
Tom: They’d be pretty dumb to miss me yelling, “Fuck, is that a tree?” and then getting corked by it.
Rob: Then maybe we won’t put that part in.
Tom: That was wild. Everybody yelling, “Tree!”
Neil: Rob, I think the point is that we don’t really want to go along with all of this Lord of the Rings stuff. I think that’s what our democracy is trying to say.
Rob: Funny that, Neil, because Merlin isn’t even in Lord of the Rings.
Neil: Well who’s supposed to know that?
Rob: Oh, I don’t know, Neil. Maybe the sixty billion people who saw the movie and read the books? I’m not proposing we call ourselves Gandalf’s Wizard.
Neil: What’s the difference?
Rob: Then what’s the difference if we’re called The Apples or The Pears?
Neil: I don’t like The Pears
Rob: I’m making an example.
Tom: NME would write “It’s All Gone Pear-Shaped for The Pears.”
Neil: The apple is still, in a lot of ways, the forbidden fruit, Rob.
Tom: And they rot away. So there’s good putrefaction.
Rob: No. I’m always going to say no to The Apples. People are going to expect to see big pieces of fruit on stage.
Tom: The other one makes them expect to see wizards.
Rob: Merlin’s Wizard is posing a question. About society. Who controls Merlin?
Neil: Maybe we should vote on the name.
Rob: Okay, then maybe I’ll make my vote by putting down my guitar.
Tom: You already put down your guitar, Rob.
Rob: No, I mean, by not picking it up again.
Rob: By quitting. Okay? I’m going to quit. Because I’d rather not be in a band than be in a band called something stupid.
Neil: Like Merlin’s Wizard.
Rob: Yeah, Neil, that’s really hilarious. And for your information, I own that name, so if I go then it comes with me.
Rob: And even though Tom might be in it, I own that “Orc Attack” footage, too. It’s copyright.
Rob: Do you still want to vote then?
Neil: I vote for The Apples.
Tom: I vote for The Apples, too
Rob: Okay, well I vote for Merlin’s Wizard. So where does that leave us?