LAS ASSANGISTAS SERENADE THE GUARDIAN
Las Assangistas Del Norte played our first two gigs last week. We had hoped to earn money for petrol to Manchester by busking at the Halifax Farmers’ Market, but one of the vendors alerted the constable, so we had to grab our instruments and dash across the cobblestones in our fancy boots. We did, however, make enough money for tea and croissants, and drank a toast to our imminent success.
The next day we set out once again. But upon arrival, we were disappointed to discover that the Guardian had moved its offices to London. We stuffed the glockenspiel, the viola, the charango, the panpipes, the maracas, the rainstick, the finger cymbals, and the tambourine into Gertie’s laundry bag, and put it in the boot of Maud’s Mini. We were barely able to cram the accordion and the bagpipe on top of them. Gertie sat in the back with the Guy Fawkes masks.
We recognized the Guardian building from the Mark Davis documentary, so we donned our peasant blouses and stood below what we hoped was Mr. Leigh’s window. We unpacked the instruments and warmed up with From The Indies To The Andes In His Undies. The girls had learnt it in D, whereas I sing in B flat, but with the masks on this did not appreciatively diminish the impact of our performance.
Next we sang Ecuador Mi Amor, and were chuffed to notice several heads appear at the windows above. I picked up the accordion, Maud got out her Northumbrian smallpipes, and we launched into El Corrido De Los Subversivos Internacionales. Maud tuned the pipes all the way through the eleventh verse, in which Mentiroso boasts that NASA is easier to hack than his brother’s piggy bank.
I must say the Guardian staff lived up to its reputation for rudeness. They threw crumpled wads of paper, launched paper airplanes, and shouted obscenities. Not one “journalist” came down to interview us.
Around verse thirty-five, a haggard face appeared at the front door. The nose was unmistakable from the photographs, albeit redder and more pock- marked. Its owner staggered over and dropped a twenty-pound note into our hat. Encouraged, we began to improvise, like Homer in olden times.
“Who published the password?” sang Gertie.
“Who stuck his memory stick into a computer connected to the Net?” trilled Maud.
“We could write a song about that.”
“How much to make you go away?” he gasped.
“We don’t want your money,” I said, handing it back to him. “We want you to stop writing bad things about Mr. Assange.”
Leigh fell on the ground, writhing and clutching his throat.
“This corrido has nineteen more verses,” I pointed out.
“I promise,” he whispered, and fainted.