Part 12: The Soundhouse

Nicko: A-a-tchoum!
Dave: Bless you. You really shouldn’t have come on this mission, being so sick.
Bruce: Don’t worry, Davey, it takes more than a little cold to deter ol’ Nick from a mission, hehe.
Steve: I told you to put on dry clothes after this swim in the Pacific, Nicko. Had you done that, you wouldn’t be sneezing all the time now.
Nicko: Ha-tchew! Fuck me old boots!
Janick: So, where are we this time? This looks like a big American city, if you ask me.
Bruce: Big city? America? Okay, then we are before the beginning of the 20th century.
Adrian: How can you be sure?
Bruce: I don't see a car around, but a horse-drawn carriage just passed the corner. No cars equals no twentieth century. At least in the United States of the Automobile. Clever, huh?
Steve: Makes sense. Ok, we know that we are not in the 20th century. We suppose this is America. Dave, what's the mission?
Dave: It doesn’t really make sense. The paper says we have to look for tin foil.
Adrian: Huh? Tin foil?
Steve: What do you mean, tin foil? Can I see that? “Bring back some historical tin foil.”
Janick: Historical tin-foil? What do they mean by that?
Steve: No idea. I hate such missions. I hate them. Fuck!
Nicko: Ye-tchy!
Dave: Bless you.
Steve: Stop sneezing all the time, I can’t think.
Nicko: I’m not doing it on pur-TCHEW-pose.
Steve: Are you sure?
Bruce: Aw, come on, let’s all calm down and look at the problem at hand rationally. This is AMERICA after all, so it shouldn’t surprise us if the mission looks a bit strange. Where else could we find historical tin-foil but in America. They probably INVENTED tin-foil. Or if they didn't, I'm sure they at least patented it.
Adrian: You wouldn’t know by any chance WHO invented the tin-foil?
Bruce: Nope, I’m afraid I don’t know that.
Steve: Great, so we have to find the inventor of tin-foil in this big city and we don’t even know his name?
Janick: Well, at least we speak their language … how about we ask somebody?
Bruce: Good idea, let me ask that elegant lady over there. ... Ehm, excuse me, ma'm, may I ask you something?
Lady: What is it you want?
Bruce: Eh, this may sound like a stupid question, but would you know by any chance who invented tin-foil?
Lady: You pervert! You'll hear from my husband's lawyers! *storms off*
Bruce: Eh? What did I say? Tin-foil. How can one possibly take offence at tin foil? ... Hey, lady, it takes a dirty mind to see dirty things, do you know that?
Steve: Fabulous, Bruce! Just fabulous. Now we have a historical lawsuit on our backs. You better keep quiet, before she sends the police after us.
Bruce: Seriously, Steve: what's wrong with tin foil? I can’t see anything perverted in tin-foil, can you?
Steve: Just drop the subject, ok?
Dave: There’s a post office. Let’s check the phonebook. Maybe there is a name in there that we recognize.
Janick: Great idea, I’m coming with you.
Nicko: I’m gonna film a bit. A-TCHEW! Fuck my old boots!
Steve: Can you sneeze without mentioning your footwear each time? Thanks.
Adrian: Hey, they’re coming back already. Did you find the inventor's name?
Dave: No. Can you believe it, they don't even have a phonebook in that post office.
Bruce: Ok, that probably means the phone hasn’t been invented yet. We’re steadily going back in time.
Nicko: Look at the newspapers!
Adrian: What about them?
Bruce: Of course! Read the headlines: “Tonight at 8: Phonograph demonstration by Mister Thomas Edison”. That’s it! Edison!
Dave: Edison? Like your mascot for Accident of Birth, Bruce. That's funny that BBC would choose a Maiden-related theme for once.
Steve: I don't see how Bruce's mascot would be Maiden-related.
Janick: Did Edison invent tin-foil?
Adrian: No idea, I just know that he invented the lightbulb.
Nicko: Ha-tcheee! Well, I think we have to pay a visit to Mr E. then. Looking forward to it.
Steve: Ok, this time I’ll ask for directions. Hey, boy!
Paperboy: Yes, Sir?
Steve: Can you tell me where the inventor Thomas Edison is living?
Paperboy: Of course, Sir. It’s right around the corner, the big house with the green curtains.
Steve: Thanks, lad. ... See, that was easy, let’s go.
Paperboy: Thanks? Do you think I'm playing tourist guide for fun here? How 'bout a penny for my troubles, you miser!
Steve: Eh …
Bruce: Hehe, sorry, boy, we don’t have money.
Paperboy: Yeah sure, and I’m the president of the United States. Fuckin' British tightasses. *leaves*
Dave: I've just found something out.
Adrian: Yeah, what?
Dave: The boy said “United States”, so we must be in a time when the US was already an independant country.
Bruce: Great deduction skills, Davey Watson, but you’re coming up a bit late with it. We already established that we’re in the time of Thomas Edison, hence in the late 19th century.
Dave: Ooops, right, I forgot that.
Janick: Ok, here’s the house with the green curtains. Should we knock?
Bruce: Yeah, but maybe not all of us, we wouldn't want to scare off Tommy. And, Nicko, you better stay out of sight with your camera.
Nicko: And why should I do that?
Bruce: Because Mr Edison also invented the first motion pictures, and I think he might become a bit self-conscious if you show him your sophisticated camera now.
Nicko: Hmm, you’re right. I’m gonna film a bit around the house then. See you later. Ha-tchoum! Who's coming with me?
Dave: I can come with you.
Janick: Yeah, me too. I’m not too interested in technical stuff anyway.
Bruce: Hehe, but I am. Can’t wait to see Tommy’s inventions.
Adrian: We can't really ask for tin foil, can we? I wouldn't know how to strike up a conversation with the bloke.
Bruce: Dont worry, H, just leave the talking to me.
Steve: Thanks, now I do worry. Don’t make a clown out of yourself, ok?
Bruce: Have I ever done that?
Adrian: More than once.
Steve: I'm sure some people think that Clown is your middle name.
Bruce: Hehe. Boy, are you funny today. Ok, let's knock on that door. *knocks*
Edison: Good afternoon, gentlemen. How may I be of service to you?
Bruce: Hey here, Mister Edison, I suppose? We were coming for your demonstration of the phonograph.
Edison: I’m afraid the demonstration is only scheduled for tonight at 8. Would you mind coming back then?
Steve: Ehm, sorry, we're just passing through this town, and we'll have to leave this afternoon.
Edison: Oh.
Bruce: Yeah, that’s why we thought you could do a special demo for us, maybe? A quick one?
Edison: Ehm, well, I don’t have much time, but … Oh, well, come on in, if you’re really interested.
Steve: Great, thanks.
Edison: This is my laboratory, where all my crazy ideas wait to see the day.
Bruce: Wow, cool stuff. What’s that over there? Can I push this button?
Steve: Bruce. Stop this right now or I swear you'll never again push a button in your life.
Adrian: Can I ask you something?
Edison: You can ask me anything, sir. If I know the answer, I will gladly tell you.
Adrian: Have you ever heard about tin foil?
Edison: Tin foil ? Of course.
Bruce: A-ha! Admit it, you invented the stuff!
Edison: I beg your pardon? No, I wish I had though, it was indeed a great invention …
Adrian: Damn, he’s not the inventor. We’re in the wrong house.
Edison: … Strange that you mention it, really. You must know, I use tin foil for my phonograph demonstration tonight.
Steve: You do? How?
Edison: I’ll give you a quick demonstration of it on the spot. See here ...
Bruce: Ah, is this the infamous phonograph? So, if I speak in here, my voice will be put on tape?
Edison: Tape?
Bruce: Ehm, wherever. Where will it go? My voice, I mean? On that funny roll over there?
Edison: Yes. If you speak in here, the transmission needles will engrave it onto this tin foil cylinder. And then another needle can be applied and you will hear your voice again, the exact words that you spoke. Minutes or even days after you first uttered the words.
Bruce: No way!
Edison: Believe me, it will work. I have tried it already. Listen to this cylinder recording ...
Voice of Edison: “Mary had a little lamb …
Bruce: Fantastic! It works. I'm amazed.
Steve: Stop it, Bruce.
Bruce: Whaaat? I'm really amazed. Did you hear that? His voice played back to us from tin foil ...
Steve: Just do the world a favour and shut up, will you?
Adrian: So … hmmm … and this cylinder is made of tin foil?
Edison: Yes, exactly.
Adrian: Mhm ... so ... these tin foils are probably very expensive?
Edison: Not only that, it has of course a special historical significance for me. My first recording, you understand?
Steve: Yeah, I can relate to that. I have the same nostalgic feeling for the Soundhouse Tapes.
Edison: What are soundhouse tapes? This sounds interesting. Is it an invention of yours?
Steve: Ehm. Yeah, kinda.
Edison: Tell me more about it.
Bruce: Oh, eh, no, hehe. You probably wouldn’t be interested in that. It's got nothing to do with tin foil really, more with heavy metal. Anyway, we wanted a demo of your phonograph, that’s what we came here for. Can I record my voice as well?
Edison: Eh? Ok, why not. You may speak onto the cylinder, if you wish. I hope you are not nervous?
Bruce: Why would I?
Edison: Most people who have tried it are embarrassed to hear their voice played back by a cylinder.
Bruce: Hehe, I think I can handle hearing my voice played back.
Adrian: Understatement of the year.
Edison: Ok, please sit down in front of the machine and speak in here. Very clearly, loud and not too fast.
Bruce: Ok, here we go: “As above so below, all things come from the one, and now you are a victim. Carried by the wind, rooted in the ground. If you want to learn the secrets, close your eyes.”
Edison: Wow, that was great. You are a natural talent. I’ve never seen anybody so much at ease with recording his voice. What was it you recited? William Blake?
Bruce: Nope, Dickinson.
Edison: Miss Dickinson? I did not know this poem of hers.
Bruce: Well, no, not Miss Dickinson, it's Mister Dickinson. You wouldn't know him. Pretty unfamous yet. Thanks for the comparison with Blake, though.
Steve: Look, would you mind if we kept that tin foil cylinder with his recorded voice? As a memento?
Edison: I'm afraid, I wouldn't want that. These cylinders are pretty expensive, and in any case you would not be able to listen to it again without the phonograph.
Adrian: Damn, he's giving us a hard time now.
Nicko: Ye-a-atchooo!
Edison: What was that?
Steve: What do you mean?
Edison: Sounded as if somebody was sneezing. It came from the window. Let me have a look.
Adrian: Quick! Take the cylinder out!
Bruce: I'm trying to, that's not so easy. Oops, I might have broken something in here. Do you think he needs that screw?
Steve: Damn, you broke it, Bruce. Let's hope he doesn't notice.
Edison: There are spies in my backyard. I just saw one of them peeping through the window. I must ask you to leave now. I will have to call the police, I'm afraid. My rivals do not sleep, but I will gain the upper hand, yet. Good day, gentlemen.
Steve: No, problem, we're off. Anyway we don't have much time left. Thanks for taking the trouble to show us your stuff. See you ... Yet another paranoid looney.
Bruce: Bye, Mister Ed, and good luck with the movies.
Edison: With what?
Adrian: Never mind. Bye.

Bruce: Hehe, sorry, couldn't resist.
Steve: You just never learn, do you?
Bruce: What! Did I complain when you mentioned Juliet to Shakespeare? No! So where's the harm when I'm mentioning movies to Edison? I might have put him on the right track.
Dave: Hey mates, there you are. We made some pics through the window.
Steve: We all noticed.
Janick: Do you have the tin foil?
Adrian: Yeah, we got it, thanks to Nicko's sneezing. That distracted Edison a bit.
Nicko: See, my sneezing has been useful after all.
Steve: Yeah, but we better hurry now. Edison had a mind to denounce you to the police.
Nicko: Me? Why?
Bruce: Hehe, he thinks you're a spy. Typical American paranoia I would say.
Adrian: We better leave. Before the trip turns into disaster once again.
Bruce: Somehow it was exciting. Do you realize that the first Bruce Dickinson recording was made in the 1880s? Amazing.
Steve: Oh, great, now he's gonna nag us with this forever.
Bruce: Aw, you are just angry that I didn't sing an Iron Maiden song.
Steve: And why didn't you?
Bruce: I didn't feel like it.
Steve: Ah. Hm.
Janick: Are we all in? I'm pushing the red buttons then.
Nicko: Ye-tcheeeeeeeeee!