I don’t know exactly when Enormity is set, but it feels as though it’s at the end of this century. The book’s protagonist, Jack, explains that his grandfather’s generation were extensively tattooed – so much that the prevalence of skin art is a defining characteristic. Perhaps I’m a sentimentalist, but I also envisage a future where my generation doesn’t outgrow or mature beyond the brutal, relentless energy of the metal, hardcore, post-rock, punk and metalcore acts of their youth.
Here is an excerpt from Enormity:
They started calling people my grandfather’s age “generation ink”. He represents the era when extensive tattoos tipped into the mainstream. Now the old men and women sit together in the lounge room of my grandfather’s nursing home, watching daytime television. They don’t watch sport. Tattoos from their wrist to shoulders and across their chest, snake beneath their woolen cardigans and beige cotton shirts. Withered souls eternally painted in often incomprehensible scrawling. Faded colours.
But that’s not to say that they regret getting inked. Far from it. It’s a part of who they are. As real and as precious as the blank skin they were born with. Their tastes in music haven’t mellowed either. They slowly approach the sound system, leaning on their walking frame, and skip to songs by Pantera and Sepultura. Or Metallica, Slayer and Iron Maiden. My grandfather enjoyed punk and post-rock bands like Millencolin, Thursday, Coheed and Cambria or At The Drive-In.
They sit and play card games to the brutal onslaught of Parkway Drive, some of them wandering outside to smoke cigarettes as the sun sets. I imagine they all think back to their youth…
I’m a particularly large Coheed and Cambria fan – a group I’m sure to blog about extensively in the future – and I also love the music of Millencolin, Thursday and At The Drive-In. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing the singers of those three acts – Nikola Sarcevic, Geoff Rickly and Cedric Bixler-Zavala.