Who is Philip Random?

(Bill Mullan, host of Randophonic, weighs in)

First up, he's not who he appears to be, being neither Philip nor Random on his birth certificate.  All power to the early days of punk when reinvention of self (re-labeling anyway) was all the rage.

I met him in early 1981 when we were both young guys driving cab on Vancouver's North Shore.  It was the easiest, slackest, best paying job a young man could get in those days.  Just get high, bomb around, meet everyday weird people by the car full, get your universe expanded. 

Then the economy crashed.  I went back to school.  He just kept driving, one way or another.  Story of both our lives, I guess.  Crashing economies and relevant detours, re-routes.  Welcome to the Apocalypse and all that.  Which is perhaps the best answer to the question.

Who is Philip Random? 

He's the first person I ever met who really "got" the Apocalypse – the fact that it wasn't some grim cloud gathering on yonder horizon.  No, we were in it, and had been our whole lives.  Blame the idiots/assholes/geniuses who split the atom back in 1945, New Mexico desert. Some of them were genuinely freaked at the time that it might set in motion an atmospheric chain reaction that would engulf the entire planet.  Who says they were wrong?

I remember the day Philip and I first really discussed it, high on acid, ricocheting around Vancouver's Downtown Eastside on a pub crawl ("because sometimes men must do these things").  It was a rough neighbourhood then, too, but the day was a stunner.  Winter cold and clear, sun blinding off the harbour water, which is where we ended up, sharing a six-pack, bonding on our shared young-man realizations and epiphanies.  Yup.  Here we were.  Right now, right here, whole damned planet on a fucking razor's edge and we wouldn't have it any other way.

So yeah.  Who's Philip Random?  He's my oldest apocalyptic friend.  That's who.  Yeah, we've had our ups and downs over the years (one near lawsuit), but in general, we still "get" each other, which in this increasingly crowded world is a damned rare thing.

As for the "disappearance".  It goes like this.  September, 2001.  Dragons attack way out east which gets everyone looking in exactly the same direction.  Consumed by it.

Anyway, by the time we got our focus back, well, certain things were out of place, including Philip, who hasn't been seen since.  Was he in Manhattan that day of days, possibly at Ground Zero?  Probably not.  He didn't much go in for big crowds and anyway, we're pretty sure he's alive somewhere up the coast, based on various rumours and at least one outstanding arrest warrant (agriculture related).

Which gets us to the Countdown.  It was his daughter, Chloe, that alerted us to it, digging through all the stuff he left at his cabin.  Literally tons of it.  Including a whole lotta notes.  That was almost ten years ago. 

The rest of the story?  Well, that's what all of this is really about, I'm thinking. 

The Randophonic All Vinyl Countdown and Apocalypse
The 1,111 Greatest Records You Probably Haven't Heard

Because in the end, it's not the human that matters, the biological stuff, doomed to decay.  No, it's what comes off him, out of him, into us, through us, out of us, on and on.  Like John Lennon said …

(not included in the countdown by the way)

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