I was prepared as much as any human could be for what was to come. Fitness not taken lightly. Over months had gradually upped the running from a breathless one kilometre to now 10 breathe easy kilometres three times a week and surfing when I could. The “12’s” creativity blasting from the ear buds in the process. At least I could control play, pause and stop just enough.
Reflect on that email of almost a year ago. The sender named as 2@12.Zdog, inquiring about my availability to provide light-show for a performance. Apparently had attended my “Dark to Light” Sonic show at “Dark Mofo”, and was impressed enough to contact me. Wow! Racked the brain trying to remember as about a dismal maximum of ten people attended for my fourteen days in a back and black room at Salamanca in Hobart.
Maybe there were more than ten. Matt black walls, ceiling, floor and doors seem to attract black clothed people. Maybe I had a few hundred over the two weeks and just couldn’t see em’.
Some finger drive samples of the 12’s work and a thin bio were received. I couldn’t get past the beats and felt a deep pull into them at the expense of my reality of sitting at the mixing desk. Out of somewhere they were. Exactly where? Bio didn’t say. Googled and didn’t expect to get anything due to what appeared a cooked up web address, but it quickly popped up.
Website didn’t really give much more than the Bio with a large Orange Syncopated pulsing Neon dominating the wallpaper – “BEATS”. Everything just graphics and artfully blurred performance pics, that provided a hint of something more and a sampler button with 5 seconds of solid Beats pumping out similar to that of the the finger drive. Again, the five seconds provided a disconcerting tug away from reality. Astonishing grip it had. Still some hesitation to say yes, but this powerful drag into their music could not be denied.
Background checks were not really enlightening. More tangible bits filtered through via Hip-Hop buddy , Umair from “NtahSape2Ntah” (check em for real on Spotify) who were on the bill at the annual Mt Warning legendary 24 hour Break Fest with all monies raised going to the “Let’s raise Lismore again” Flood mitigation fund.
He described a crazy thunder and lightning storm about 3.00am that ripped through the event site. Power lost and people hunkered down in draped and torn annexes, only to be enticed out by the sounds of Beatboxing growing pulsating chants, rhythms and beats more suited to a Tibet mountain top than an Aussie one.
12 in the shadows before Dawn enticing and seemingly hypnotising the Exclusive Byron Bay Hippy, Gangster and ex-Hollywood elite in pledging their Cannabis and Property fortunes.
Umair was adamant that they were never on the Bill and none knew of them before this. But the traumatised and bedraggled became addicted to the avalanche of growing Beats from the 12. Their faces never really in focus, due to the almost apocalyptic darkness after the storm.
He described shadows in shadows disappearing in the advancing pre-dawn light at the exact moment of a single stark decibel defying Boom of thunder. Whoever, and in hindsight, whatever they were certainly had an impact.
Word was that most of the exclusive only appeared back in the Bay some five days after. Dazed and confused they were on arrival back in their gated world of Watego Bay to find paradise filled with the flood displaced and traumatised from Lismore. Property deeds showing new owners as 12.Zdog! That’s one way of flood mitigation I guess. True or not, I had a quiet chuckle. If anyone deserved a bit of fleecing it was this lot.
Just Do It
I just had to do it. “Yes”, was emailed back. 7@12.Zdog replied. “Check your letterbox, our terms and conditions are inside. Please sign and return to your mailbox. See planned itinerary for six months and enclosed Zdog smart phone, Black Credit Card for airline, hotel bookings and personal overheads.”
So I did, involuntary jumping to the sound of a car backfire (so I thought at the time) nearby just as the front door was opened. Bizarrely, inside the letterbox was a plain A4 envelope with the advised contents. This was less than five minutes after my Yes email.
Terms and Conditions were simple, a bit Diva like and to the point. “12 will not be approached back or front of stage by you or without formal permission from 12 representative. Only discuss technical issues via the dedicated phone provided or with the nominated technician”.
Went on to state that “Only in exceptional circumstances will you be invited within”, without stating what within was.“Note that you are required to have Lighting set-up completed 1.25 hours before the event, no later. You must leave the venue immediately and not return until 10 minutes before the advised performance time for last lighting check. Termination of contract will be immediate and any previous performance monies paid will be immediately forfeited if you fail to adhere to these instructions.”
Who were these people? Messing with the ‘well to do’ brains at a Festival to the extent their fortunes and property being happily (at the time) gifted away, mail arriving as if my mind had been read. I still couldn’t get their Beats samplers out of the head.
I signed, returned the envelope back to the letterbox, went inside, eyes glued to the letterbox through the venetian blind split. Rain started when it had been eternally sunny before. Really couldn’t see much through the grey hail of heavy rain. Brief lightning, a small thunderclap and rain cleared back to eternally sunny all in the space of ten minutes.
Went back out and checked – unsurprisingly envelope gone. Back inside. Inbox pings, check it and sure enough – a short advice of “Package received, thank you, look forward to great collaboration and see you in six weeks in Washington. Please forward your Lighting and desk specs in next 48 hours” “Shit!, it’s happening! Passport needs renewing!”
101 year old Warren Buffet had become the face of the 12. How? Only those within could say and as I am still yet to be invited within, I have no idea. All Warren would state was that his life was now fully devoted to Climate adaption technology, philanthropy and the Beats! Yep, a bit of Groove was in the ‘old fella’.
Whenever he announced a fundraiser event for future business opportunities, the 5% always snapped up the tickets like hot cakes. Fourteen tour dates so far and everyone booked out well in advance.
Dispassionate murmur among this elegantly sized crowd of the uber Rich. Is difficult not to be star struck by the elite driven power in the room at St Regis Manhattan. Between them, they must be worth about 50 Billion bucks. What is 50 Billion bucks when the combined net worth of the top 5% is closing in on 600 Trillion Bucks? Is just a small bucket in a very large ocean of obscene wealth.
Just another week on the donation drive and fundraiser circuit for most. The Privileged? Most of their wealth gained through shorting on Climate impacted stocks some time ago before the tipping point. I sometimes wonder if the only thing they care for is solely themselves and their profits.
Had read a transformative mini book some years ago – “A Warming Argument” with more than a few of the chapters devoted to the self-enrichers at the expense of the Planet. Can’t remember the authors name, but really changed my mind about Capitalism. Here I was tonight front and centre with the Capitalists and pumped for what was to come.
This fundraiser to drive R & D into next level self sustaining floating Cities of the Air, with the supposed focus on those places already drowning. I wondered at the irony of it all as 110 Million people in South Asia and another 230 Million worldwide had already been displaced after the mega cyclones and coastal inundations of 2026 and 27. How can R & D benefit now?
It seems like a fundraiser for the obscenely rich to help themselves to continue to build their own version of Paradise above Climate Maddened Mother Earth. The displaced and the Countries they imposed themselves on were desperate for help now!
The last twenty years saw overwhelming desperation uniting all the Activist Climate Action groups with one aim to wrest the World back from the 5%’ers, to re-distribute their wealth as it should always have been, to start to re-balance our environmental ledger. There had never been a real way until the 12 rose from obscurity and quietly connected with the networks via Raves and other underground events.
“350 Extinction Rebellion” were pumping up the volume outside the venue chanting “The Rich get Richer while we all Die”, the 5% great con is on us all“. Legendary placard – “Respect my Existence or expect my Resistance”, ruled the sight. “Godz and Gaia are one and Angry“, T shirts being gifted to the 5% as they entered. Choreography of the Environmental Fight back movement assumes many poses these days.
No more than 20-30 minutes of this and they melt away as quickly as they had appeared. Massing at some point of the Event before, during or immediately after. Never predictable and sometimes not at all. Always the 12’s Beats in the background chilling the tension. Never enough time to coordinate local Police to erect the barriers or harass the protesters. Besides, no damage done apart from the protesting vocal chords.
No time to pass judgement on the 5%, that is for after this is over. The show must go on.
Surprisingly loud. Tiniest involuntary jump. Start always gets me. Murmur has frozen, locked into the intro chant and beat. It will not be denied. Should have been stage-ward permanently as the loud ones depended on my light show. They must not be with the dark or light for too long. Distracted then, but now focused on the pleasure task ahead.
Twelve percussionists, twelve beatboxers and twelve in perfect sync. Is easy to work the light show, almost as if on remote plugged into the 12. Body naturally moving to the beats, but not too much. The more shows done the greater resistance to fully immerse myself. Am thankful, as had a few focus issues at the early shows. Cannot go there as lighting focus it must be. After fourteen performances in last three months, have come to understand the trigger points and able to switch off, most of the time……
The 12 are mystery and intrigue of dark and light. Stage performance resembled the Bio picks as if artfully blurred within the transition zone of dark to light or light to dark, Dense Flat Black screen behind the 12. My lights focussed within the transition zone. Faces and bodies working in and out of the light to dark and dark to light.
Nothing random, with the lighting effect providing subtle balance to the syncopated beatboxing over the main beats. “Boom, deep pulsating Ummm..aa…ummmm…ah.. on loop, cchcka..cchcka..boom..cchcka..cchcka..boom.. resonating mid range sustained aaaaahh, looped..cchcka..boom,boom boom boom, cchcka..ummm..cchcka………BOOM! BOOM BOOM BOOM, winding down to the deep deep part of the soul and back up again.
I count, flick the switches and rotate the phasing, I count, flick the switches and rotate the phasing, flick the switches and rotate rotate rotate the phasing, the phasing the phasing. I count….chiaa.chiaa.huhhh..huhh BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM, I flick the phasing and rotate the switches, I count… “Boom..cchcka..Boom..cchcka Boom……I count the phasing, flick the rotate and phase the switch…..Boom Boom Boom huhhh..huhhh..cchcka…….BOOM.
All the while the pulse of loops becoming urgent, demanding attention to the grooves. Become lost in the beats, lost in place, time and memory of what is before me. A thunderous BOOM, with a silencing after echo that fixes me back in the now. Ah the stage, the lights! The 12? Gone as always. The time? It still surprises. Should have been five minutes, but was five hours.
Drenched with my ex-common man’s sweat, feel lifted and satiated , body aches a bit with now knowing eyes unwilling to swivel towards the elegantly sized Party of Elites.
Silence is all and nothing. A cough starts, then unabashed bawling by the massed. Head is still reluctant to swivel but the swelling of now hysterical laughing diminishing to a strangled murmur forces the swivel and see what I already know is the result. The elegantly sized Party are no longer elites, no longer anything of self enriched high value, but stripped to their core of naked being and nothing.
Some with a necktie bra instead of bowtie. Shirts, tops and blouses not where they should be. Clothing, hair and makeup generally wrecked far more than catwalk models could ever pull off. Floor littered with Bling flotsam from the relentless feet pounding and body shaking of the last five hours. Some flat on their butts, legs and arms splayed for shaking body support like rag dolls tossed in a tantrum. Recognisable as the 5%? Not any more.
Fundraiser board is flashing the numbers, and unbelievably huge (to me at least) they are. 49.726 Billion Bucks committed and banked! As with any of the other 13 fundraisers so far, money pledged is subject to instant transfer so that real time and real money is raised. My cut? what I used to think was a measly 0.5% of funds raised (a cool 250 Mill ). Had been subject to much intense haggling by me, but the 12 never wavered, but insisted the compensation will accrue nicely. It has.
The shock on the sweat lined faces turned towards the fundraiser screen realising that their fortunes were somewhere else other than in their possession was peculiarly satisfying for me. On the surface there had been no coercion. In the moment of rapture they had willingly given.
It took five minutes for the disheveled to start howling about their loss, that this is wrong, that was not a Billion but a Million pledged, my drink was spiked and didn’t know what I was doing. Screaming futile excuses continued until the big screen Video fundraiser highlights package started running.
They viewed the giving frenzy, each and everyone revving up and challenging to double or triple the others pledge. These selfish Society scrooges deserved what they got. Cleaned out of their ill gotten gains at the expense of the people and Planet.
They had not lost their businesses, just their wealth stash freely given in the moment. “Buff” took to Centre stage. “Let’s hear it for the 12!” More groaning than applause. “You have been liberated, You are now the Givers, people and Planet saviors! The Godz and Gaia see you, hear you and will reward you!!” Now leave and grow your fortunes based on the prospectus waiting at the door. Just final business to remind you of the non-disclosure clause signed previously as your condition of Entry to this very special event”. Go they did.
Three more events on the US calendar, the last at Mar-A-Lago in Florida. Am a bit tired. Will take a well earned break to beloved Bruny Island once this tour is over. Use my 0.5% share to start a land and property buy-back from the mainland Australia and Overseas rich that had displaced the locals in their cost doesn’t matter buying frenzy of the early 2000’s. The Island will become a shared property co-operative. That’s the vision and it will happen.
If there is just enough money left to fuel up the Car to surf Middle Bay, pay the Ferry fare to mainland Tasmania and put food on the table, that is good enough. Am sure the European tour will top up the funds again. Might just be enough to finally expose Lake Pedder beach again. Now that would be something.
Am still no logically wiser as to the 12 identity. Have found it doesn’t matter any more. Am in a place of satisfaction, happiness and optimism in the soul that had been submerged for much of my adult life under the increasing weight of doom laden Climate crazy events and the rich doing whatever they felt like. Had lost hope that anyone or anything could turn our path away from our masochistic destruction.
The 12 did.
Some say they are children to the 12 Gods of Greek mythology. Others say reincarnation of 12 Tibetan Deities. Maybe they are right. Who can really say? They do have overwhelming performance power over audiences. The 12 do not advertise their roots, but do have an impact that none of my generation or those before had ever witnessed. They have garnered an Army of Planet protectors who have joined of their own free will. The movement is growing and the money raised does end up where it is intended. No middle men or so called not for profit NGO’s to skim off the top.
From Manila slums, those still left in the Siberian sunken tundra wastelands and to salt ravaged Nile Delta farmers, money, resources and truly modern micro self sustaining tech is making a permanent change, unimaginable even five years ago. This is the great Global reset so craved by many for so long. Muted outrage only exists within ulta conservative and ultra religious bubbles. They are a distinct minority that will never change.
The 12 have re-written the narrative on a balanced Planet, it’s environment and the massed Billions upon it. They have made sure nothing will ever stop the Beats pumping while this Planet keeps on turning.