Of Rats & Men (featuring Ghost, Toxic Holocaust & Billy Tallent)


I found a pattern following me through the week as I tried to formulate exactly what it was I wanted to mainline as the basis for this piece, a pattern that made me think of some grotesque, amorphous, snaggle-toothed rat, wearing a crown of discarded and patina’d odds-and-ends. Dirty and weakly cascading from his robes; a many times broken, kinked, and healed tail. At the end of that tail, the lesser rats; those who don’t care what may fall on them whilst living beneath someone, as long as it offers them the protection of nothing more than familiarity and company. The lesser spread out the constantly plummeting filth away from the source, extending their kingdom to eyes which had yet to see the mess. Eventually, as with most Rat King’s, the seasons change and the lesser rats need more. More warmth, more food, more sex, and if they weren’t close enough to the King before, now is when it becomes the most vital.

All those tails though, dangling together, sharing putrid grime, hoping that it’s source never stops producing, all without realizing that they are metaphorically drilling holes in their own boat.

Until one day this happens:


That is what is known as a “Rat King”. In times of scarcity and extreme weather, groups of rats may gather together for survival, but the prolonged exposure to the elements and the ever-amassing quantity of literal feces within the cluster leads to this entanglement where even if one of the rats was doing an exceptionally good job at holding in his pellets, his tail will still likely become wrapped up with the rest.

As always, friends, please think of my little story here as a metiphor to any situation where one figure in your life has managed to corrupt many, likely through lies, manipulation, or physical dominance.



Allow me to tell you a story about a girl we will call “Ratigan”.

(if you get that reference, yer cool).

Ratigan was an absolute fireball and I should’ve known by the third or fourth time we got back together that I should probably have just taken up badminton instead. The thing about Ratigan was that she was willing to test the bounds of her manipulation. Falsify anything if it meant getting people “on a side” when we had a disagreement. The more complex and eccentric her lies became, the harder it became for her to keep up with them, and yet the group of rats she led seemed rarely even phased by the sheer immensity of some of her manipulations. Here’s a couple quick events to emphasise how gnar it got for ya boi.

One evening after going floating down the river with a Ratigan’s close female friend, close friend’s boyfriend, and the rest of the house, and we were watching Underworld, hanging out, when CloseFriend’s phone starts blowing up. She looked over at me with a confused face and then her phone started ringing. I could hear Ratigan on the other end, wailing, bawling, my name being said over and over, and then CloseFriend says, “Yeah, Bear didn’t attack you in a bar just now, or threaten you at all, he’s been with us all day”. The fake-crying instantly stopped and all I could hear was the rage of an animal who only knows how to bite when backed into a corner. “It must’ve been someone who looked exactly like him”, uhhhhh, “We dated for 4 years, she knows, TO THE MOLES, what I look like”! CloseFriend and Ratigan? A few days passed an I saw them walking together, laughing as if she hadn’t directly lied to her with the intention of making her choose a side, and RIGHT THERE is where I should have seen their tails intertwine.

UNO MASS? Ratigan and I were fighting and I was at the time living with a bandmate who was also a good friend to her since childhood. At the time we had been dating somewhere in the ballpark of two years and were at a very good point in our “thing”. After a spat one day, I came home to said bandmate talking to her (our computers were side by side) on MSN, and she is belittling and tearing into me with blatant lies which both of us knew were utter fabrications, AND HE WAS AGREEING WITH HER! I looked him square in the eyes and asked “So what, this is just incase we break-up so you can have an in?”

“She’s hot, yeah”.

And right there as I watched his already gigantic front teeth extend downward and his already claw-like fingers elongate and cut into the desk. . .

Anyways, don’t let rats into your lives because they find ways to stay together even if the ship is sinking.


THAT’S FUCKIN’ RIGHT NEW GHOST STUFF. And what a dashing new face we have to go along with it, Cardinal Copia. The first Ghost singer to not be a part of the Emeritus holy line, but instead a right hand of the acting Papa. The combination prosthetic and make-up land him somewhere directly between Gomez Addams and Jerry Only, and I’m SUUUUUPER into it, but then again it’s Ghost, I was already gonna be into it. Look for this album in the June 1st release area.


Billy Talent took four years between this most recent 2016 album and it predecessor, which is even shorter than it’s been since I sat down to listen to Billy Talent. Though their first album easily disintegrated in my anti-skip Discman from the amount of play it received, I never really felt the “pull” to go and pick up their following efforts. Thankfully to the “you searched a word” algorithm that Spotify has though, that Ghost song led directly into this one, and I must say, I am actually blown away. The musicianship has actually improved, the song-writing (lyrically and compositionally) is outstanding, and even the album cover and video for this song are ART. Talk about NOT pissing away the amount of time they had on that one.


And we choose to eat garbage, and then that food makes garbage, and then they take our garbage and put it with more garbage, until the garbage mountain falls. With the advent of millennials bringing the ragnarok of things like Applebee’s, plastic bags, single-use pretty much everything, etc, I welcome the oncoming generation of home-cultivators, engineers, and alike. Anything you can do to disconnect from a megacorp’s hold on you is beneficial. Grow a plant or something this year, water a fern for clean air, paint that disgusting wall. Better your environment, better your life.

Kick the rats out.


You can find Bear smoking bong and playing Magic on instagram.

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