‘Analogy’- the prequel to the prequel that will be “2112”‘s follow-up song

It is in the rumor mill. And the mill is churning out waves and waves of anticipatory ‘rushes’, as Rush compose/record/and prepare their 20th studio album that will be “Clockwork Angels”.

After being inducted into the Canadian Song Writers Hall Of Fame and getting the movie documentary “Beyond The Lighted Stage” out, as well as doing their “Time Machine” tour, 2010 has given way to 2011.

Already, the album title having the word ‘angels’ in it shows Neil Peart to be on point and in focus with a great ‘tag’ word. And ‘tag’ words are what the internet is all about.

The month of May, 2011, brings about the release of the motion picture, “Priest”. So, it is ‘tre apropo’ for Neil Peart to have his finger squeezing hard on the pulse of society’s leisure focus. The theatre and the arts all are swept under this brilliant man’s umbrella.

Whether it is love and ‘screwing’- (“Counterparts”LP- 1993) or the authorities/ latest fads (“Test For Echo”LP) or smoking weed – (“2112’s “Passage To Bangkok”); Neil Peart writes about it all. He does so with a razor-sharp 20/20 unblinking second sight. “Whether they be songs about prejudice (see “Moving Pictures” LP) or being ‘different’ (again “Test”) he also spot on.

If you haven’t gotten the two new songs stuck to your brain matter yet, then get to it. “Caravan” and “BU2B” are quite puzzling yet dynamically quite breathtaking.

The new Rush songs almost seem to require an explanation not unlike a man arriving home from work eight hours late. He arrives in the wee hours of the morning. He is confronted by his wife in the living room who asks him why he is wearing a pink jumpsuit and holding a vase with green flowers in it.

She asks her husband if he is drunk again. To which he does not reply. He gives no outward expression, of anything, to his wife at all.

A few seconds go by, in silence, and he is placing the vase on the living rooom table, in an overly careful and gentle manner as to not break the vase or the glass table. He looks back up at his wife, whom he just had breakfast with the morning before, with a blank expression on his face.

She questions him again except this time a little more urgent, her voice becoming tense. “Are you drunk again?” To which he snaps his thumb and forefinger, on his right hand, and begins to dance.

Now his wife is angry. She demands to know what all this is about. She says “Herbie? Herbie, what is wrong with you. Herbie, what the hell is wrong with you?!?”
He pulls his body up straight, almost like a soldier at attention as he looks her dead in the face. He says “Zonn- izz”.

Now she is mad! Her face is red at being spoken to in such an inappropriate manner.
Again, she says his name. “Herbie?” Herbie finally acknowledges her and lets here know that something may be wrong. What Herbie does is he lets out a long drawn out breath and then resignedly sits himself down on the couch.

The scene is just plain bizarre. Not one for being joked around with or tricked, Margie, his wife, does an about face and leaves the room.

Two minutes of silence go by for the couple as Margie struggles, in her head, for a rational explanation to Herbie’s behaviour. She searches her sober, but tired, mind, but there just doesn’t seem to be any. Confusion only makes things worse.

A twinge of fear passes through her consciousness as she contemplates what to do. Will she go back out into the living room and confront him? Margie is not amused.

She is never been one to play marital games with her husband. She stands over the bed as her eyelids close. A half-second of normalcy and calm is shattered by an almost hideous sound coming from the couples’ living room.

It is Herbie ‘plinking’ the highest keys on, the family’s own only true heirloom, the compact piano.

That’s it. No more of this, Margie decides. She races out of the bedroom as Herbie breaks into a hypnotic, repeating, sequence of notes. His level of playing skill is actually quite good. So, this is not totally something unexpected. He used to fool around in a band with his buddies way back in the Mid-70’s but gave it up for the corporate world’s offer of job stability. He had a wife to provide and child to provide for. It runs through Margie’s mind that maybe it has something to do with his unfinished business in the music biz.

The sequence of notes that may have had some semblance of sounding good have now broken into something entirely different. Herbie is now plunking notes like he is a beginner, or something.

This might have slowed Margie down for a bit but she picks up the pace again, thinking to herself- “There is something haunting about what Herbie is doing. Am I supposed to figure this out?”

Margie snaps back to logical thinking. She is mad at herself, now, for being distracted by what has had to pass as ‘music’. “This has got to stop”, she thinks to herself.

Herbie is now banging, with his right hand balled up into a fist, underneath the piano.
That is finally it for Margie. She is fighting mad. Her recent arguments with her sister have left her nerves frayed.

“What the hell is wrong with this man?”

Margie searches her mind for some reason to present itself to explain her husband’s behaviour.

She looks up at the ceiling, mercifully avoiding looking directly at Herbie.

“Oh God”, she thinks. I should have known something was wrong after he sold the ‘Red Barchetta’ that he loved to drive.

“But wasn’t that a long time ago? No it can’t be that. Something must have happened at work.”

Margie’s mind was now reeling.

She continued to try to reason things out, for herself:
“Herbie works as a supervisor of a bible making firm”.

She picks up on another thread; “Herbie did join a bible study group just a few years ago at the ‘Vapor Grails Church Of The Saviour’. When he is troubled he goes every week to search for answers. “Answers” that I don’t have”.

She is reasoning herself into some semblance of calmness and continues to stare, blankly, at the ceiling.

Lately, Herbie has been known to say things to Margie like “God loves us all to death!”.
Margie thinks: “What does he even mean by all that stuff. ‘God loves us all to death’ is sure an odd thing to say. No matter who says it.”

Now, Margie is a very intelligent woman with a huge, pacifist heart and at 50 years old she really has seen a whole lot. So Herbie, at three years her senior, is not exactly scaring her that much. It more a case of wary bemusement.

“So what should I say?” Margie considers, to herself.
She doesn’t want to say the wrong thing.

And Herbie continues to do weird stuff like tap three times on the mirror.
Margie is going to confront him now.

But her husband has gone into the bathroom and closed the door.
The bathroom door remains closed for the better part of two hours.
She spends a while contemplating knocking on the bathroom door.
What is sure is that Herbie is giving his wife the creeps.
Margie finally knocks on the bathroom door and says
“Herbie I’ve had it with your nonsense. I’m going to bed. When I get up for work in the morn…

Margie’s voice trails off as she continues her entrance in to the bathroom. Her knock on the door did not get a response for Herbie and she is opening it.

On the closed toilet bowl, amidst the pink decor she so meticulously picked out to make the house more pleasing for her and her husband that she has been married to for thirty seven years, is a handwritten note.

The note reads “In a world where I feel so small, I can’t stop thinking big. Wait till you see what I do tomorrow.”

Rush fans, that tomorrow is upon us, as I write.

And it is not Herbie and Margie that this piece,  ‘Analogy’, has been about. It is about our heroes, Rush, who will be releasing their new LP, “Clockwork Angels”.

It is due out real soon.

One hundred years from next, 2012, will be the year 2112 and this searing irony cannot be expected to have escaped Neil Peart’s livid and brilliant imagination.

These days imagination and reality run together just a little too often. Rush are still around. And the tag line from “2112”. And the meek shall inherit the Earth” is true, indeed. Rush are, humbly, number three in the Rock echelon.

We love you, men!

– Rich Castle