Passing Green Screen Village

by John Thill

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about

Bridgetown #123
John Thill’s grim vision of the future sees paint stores struggling to stay in business solely on the sales of a single shade of paint intended for green screen editing the slums out of view. The corporate brand entity known as America has reached a level of dystopian surveillance state brought on by an abuse of the technological marvels that cyberpunks could only dream of in 1980: holographic avatars and overlays flicker on microchipped surfaces while drones emerge from the smoke of vapor pens to shove infidels into driverless cars at cloaked security checkpoints. The crucial question posed by our harmonica-toting protagonist is how many mandatory software updates are left before this becomes our reality?

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released June 7, 2015

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Track Name: Putting My CV Dazzle Paint On
putting my cv dazzle paint on
and checked against the databases
pixelated but no matches
an unknown in the crowd

staring at the lens to get my retina read
at the gates of the golden city
all the interstices between money and the things that i believe
are getting fewer every evening at the checkpoint
and though i wash my hands i can't escape from these demands

saying silent prayers that i'm not being watched
by the spies and the infiltrators
Track Name: Research Chemicals
a touch of jealousy now lies below the boredom
while dumping the raw holograms into the templates
but i'm thinking wistfully of white sand beaches
and the field team blissfully stretched out on the shores
well, at least they recirculate the air here
beneath the blue led glare

i know there's a heaven somewhere in my head
dosing research chemicals, peeling back the spiderwebs
i know there's a valhalla somewhere in my mind
where only the breave dare to tread
i know there's a heaven somewhere in my head
Track Name: Passing Green Screen Village
waking up to rays of sun in the grey walled city
putting my glasses on and flipping throuhg the settings
until the buildings compliment the sun
and the world is so much less dreary
checking on the weather feed and putting out a sweater
thinking through a piece of code in the rationed shower
the notification buzz
in my ear interupts a workout session
a text is in just now housed in analog encription
waiting at the tea shop to be read before the weekend

trying not to think about the war
the drones shining bright in the blue sky

picking up some madelines before the workday commences
before i board the train off to the corporate campus
watcing the cleaning crews disembark in green screen village
watching them walk through the warrens to their corrugated cottage
switching up the overlays until i don't have to see them
i choose the cliffs of dover
i never get tired of it
i watch the waves crash over and over
Track Name: Adrift In The Driverless Car
cueing the program up, lying down in the backseat
adrift in the driverless car in a night full of stars
a cut through the vapor haze was your face on the buildings
all of the overlays are replaced by your image
grimly smiling out of my memory

drifting to sleep along the edge of the bay
coasting to the pink blush of morning
over bridges, under freeways
Track Name: Bored In My Dreams Pt. 1
i must admit i'm bored in my dreams
take any given day imagine what it brings
all of the overlays strewn across the city walls
my pupils dilated, taking in it all
i must admit i'm bored in my dreams
amidst the washed out images all that i can think
is that they put me to sleep
Track Name: Bored In My Dreams Pt. 2
i must admit i'm bored in my dreams
take any given day imagine what it brings
all of the overlays strewn across the city walls
my pupils dilated, taking in it all
i must admit i'm bored in my dreams
amidst the washed out images all that i can think
is that they put me to sleep
Track Name: Taking Down The Sherwin Williams Logo
viscous and dripping across the mottled surface
like a hand that's gripping the globe
watching them take down the sherwin williams logo
and now i know
the sadness of seeing a dominion come to end
locking up the doors of the drab paint store
losing the battle and the war

the only thing
that sells for any prices at all
is a single shade of green

they use to paint the slums so the rich don't have to see
a thing
at all
Track Name: Vapor Pens
when we listen to the stories of the glory days from our parent's lips
to hear the promise and bounty of a time in which we'll never live
amid the drone patrols, the bored summer streets and checks for general relief
by the blue sea, under blue sky and inside of the green city

it's pretty clear to me we'll never be rich
let's spend the afternoon with our vapor pens
in the end they'd like to pretend we don't exist
there's no reason we were born but now we have to live
we have to live

of all the potent causes and reasons for the mess we're in
most often we will point a finger at the robot arms and algorithms
Track Name: Overlays And Light Arrays
across the bridge amid the light arrays
there i know you will patiently wait
i will reach out to you
until my hand, it passes right through

sometimes at night i dream
of a place that's exactly as it seems
play back the surveilance feed
and try to separate the overlays from the living

tiny chinese parcel arrives in the post
with a powder active at a microgram dose
walking in the dark along the reservoir
anticipating all the visions that lie in store
Track Name: Last Days Of The Tea Shop
awhile back i was given some sound advice from an old friend
he said, if you can't write the new languages it's time to leave
and he commenced to repeat some midwestern daydream
i laughed
as a final admonition he said, it's only a matter of time before they shoehorn you into the green screen village
but surprisingly ten years on i found myself on the cusp of true wealth
having gotten rich off a low tech scheme to subvert the surveillance state
but of course that was when the men with badges came to see me

yeah it's true i sold out
what little choice i had
yeah it's true i sold out
what little choice i had
and i wait now with baited breath
waiting for them to drop the nets
holding out the cipher and the duplicated keys
and now the tea shop mailbox room
is a hallway of the damned

yeah it's true i sold out
what little choice i had