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#13 WORLDS APART

Luke Nixon, The Reductors
Luke Nixon, The Reductors

THE SHORT SHIZ

  • Prefers Richard Hell and the Voidoids to Television.
  • Was the first ever person to have a girl on his shoulders at a gig so they could get a better view – shame it was of Morrisey.
  • Is a conjurer of transportation.
  • Neurodivergent triple threat.
  • Will they make the big time? YES/NO/WTF KNOWS/NITU.

THE LONG SHIZ

Time is the dimension that divides and binds our universes. Observed from enough distance our lives have been the same. Zoom in, look at the fractals, and we are worlds, universes apart. We occupy different ends of the multiverse, so there is familiarity, of course, but also jarring difference. Ah, the difference! We both thrive on it.

Luke Nixon plays guitar and sings with Perth’s smart-as-a-whip post punk band, The Reductors. They sound like lots of music from the past and even more music from the future, and they fill dance floors with people who don’t necessarily know why they’re moving the way they are but who are viscerally attracted to the energy Nixon and his band create.

We meet in a crowded room, our separate arrivals determining the fate of our meeting. I am the obligatory 10 minutes early. I have always been a slave to time. I get a drink at the bar, find the last table and sit next to the tattooed bogan and his girlfriend hoping he does/doesn’t notice me. I’m such a tangled ball of prejudice. These days, part of me always wants things to kick off/not kick off.

I watch the teachers arrive and group around the tables over by the door. How do I know? I used to be one of them. Some of them I can still name. None of them knows me anymore. We are on the same plane but experience separates us irreconcilably. Even in a single world there is a multitude of existences.

When he arrives, only five of my world’s minutes late, he looks afraid. There’s something in the skittishness of his legs, his zig-zag path across the room, the searching eyes and the open mouth that tells me already that he thinks he’s failed. When he sees me, still at a distance, he doesn’t know whether to smile or start yelling apologies for his tardiness. Instead, he decides to scurry the last metres as if saving seconds will make up for what he sees as a black hole of wasted time.

His first words: “I’m sorry, I’m late.”

Mine: “You’re positively on time.”

Satisfied that he hasn’t killed our buzz before we’ve even started, he heads off to the bar to get a drink.

Twenty minutes later, he’s back and we’re ready to begin.

Speaking of things kicking off, at the end of our conversation he’s quizzing me about bands and if I think they’re any good or not. He’s testing me and I’m still not sure if I passed. We get to Arctic Monkeys and I tell him that I love, love, love them, but that the last album and tour were turgid shite and that they should lay off the coke.

“I went to that show with my son,” he said, “He loves them. We thought it was great.”

And so it was. Who am I to rain on their parade? Different universes.

When he sat down with his drink he announced, “I almost didn’t make it here. I was driving on the freeway and I forgot where I was going. I took an exit and called my friend. She immediately said, ‘You’re lost aren’t you?’ She tried to talk me through where I needed to be and the next time I looked up, I was here, outside the pub.”

He seemed to think his journey and arrival was a chaotic coincidence. I tried to find the order in it.

“I have ADD, ADHD and ASD,” he told me while we were trying to figure things out. “Things like that are forever happening to me.

“Where are you from?” he asked, taking the first of what would be many conversational detours that, in the end, always made perfect sense.

I told him that, originally, I was from the north of England. He said he was from the far west of Wales. Surely, we must have been practically related? If it wasn’t for us existing in different dimensions maybe we were.

He picked up a beer coaster and tore at it until he was satisfied it resembled a map of Wales. “Here, this is where I’m from,” he told me, pointing at the ragged edge of the coaster and then, satisfied that I had sufficient grasp on his familial geography, he proceeded to tell me about a Christmas party he attended in Bristol as an almost adult.

“I got my parents to take me to the train station, but when we got there, there were no trains. There were none timetabled. I didn’t know what I was going to do. And then a train turned up, just like that, took me to Bristol and I made it to the party.

“Things like that are always happening to me.”

So, what’s going on here? I try to help him see the order in his chaos, but he’s not buying it. I get the sense that he understands that he’s not of the world that I inhabit, but he’s been pressured his entire life to conform to it. He was born way before neurodivergence was a thing so he’s had to exist under the feudal yoke of other expectations, a second class citizen in the world of the norms. Only, there is no such thing as normal and he’s just beginning to realise the power that lies within that truth. He’s not quite free yet, but perhaps he will be soon.

I see it this way. He’s succeeded in making it this far. Who’s to say that what he sees as chaos and happenstance isn’t what passes for order in his world? Who’s to say that turning up early all the time is any more valid that arriving a few minutes late because your spaceship is set to a different GPS?

In my mind, he is quicksilver. I can see him, his density means his existence cannot be denied, but he is impossible to grasp and, left to his own devices, his surface is a perfect mirror that you can never see into. He is completely alien.

And, he’s a musician. Of course he is! That explains everything.

Luke Nixon plays guitar and sings with Perth’s smart-as-a-whip post punk band, The Reductors. They sound like lots of music from the past and even more music from the future, and they fill dance floors with people who don’t necessarily know why they’re moving the way they are, but who are viscerally attracted to the energy Nixon and his band create.

In his home universe, Nixon is likely Mark E Smith, but in this universe that role is taken, so he’s consigned to playing small venues to audiences that thought they were expecting something else.

Life is cruel and unfair, but the continued existence of Nixon and his band in our universe are a precious gift. The fact that too few will get to cherish that gift is just how it is, neither good nor bad. The fact that Nixon exists and, miraculously, keeps finding his way to venues in time to play one more set, is entirely good.

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