Keats and Chapman make a bet

One time Keats and Chapman made a bet. They had been discussing the concept of “charisma”, how humans might take on that intangible glamour most usually reserved for the gods. Keats stated that charisma was an external projection, whereas Chapman insisted it reflected an internal quality.

Their debate could have spun on endlessly if Keats’s eye had not been caught by the racing pages of a newspaper lying cast aside by the fire.

“We should bet on it!”, he said to Chapman.

“But how would such a wager work?”, Chapman asked sceptically.

“Hmm… I know! Each of us chooses a champion who exemplifies our view and we have them perform in front of an audience of…”.

“Of kids!”, proposed Chapman. 

“Yes, kids!”, Keats replied.

They agreed that they would hire a local hall where their champions would appear and which ever drew the largest cheer would be the winner.

They agreed to a date in mid-December, a month hence. And they went their separate ways.

Unfortunately they had not defined what they meant by “kids”.

Keats had presumed it referred to young people, the kind who went to gigs. Chapman had presumed it referred to, well, children.

As they reconvened at the hall in mid-December this lack of a shared understanding immediately became apparent in their choice of champions. Keats had selected the popular beat combo, Roxy Music, whereas Chapman had selected the children’s TV programme, Rainbow.

What was also apparent was that the weather was appalling. Heavy snow had been falling for a while and a blizzard was building.

Most of Roxy Music were stuck miles away, seeking temporary shelter in an igloo built by their keyboard player, Brian Eno. So far only Bryan Ferry had made it to the hall.

Similarly none of the Rainbow cast had made it and only a single costume case had been delivered. On inspection, the case contained the costume for Bungle.

Keats was in a foul mood. The audience could not get to the hall through the snow, the whole test was rendered pointless by the confusion over “kids” and he had a pop star to try and entertain. 

Keats found that Chapman had no idea who Roxy Music were. “It’s Bryan Ferry! The Bryan Ferry! THE BRYAN!”, hissed Keats. 

Chapman stared into the costume case. “Well this… this is the er mighty Bungle…”.

They both sighed. The hall was growing colder and darker. They stared out of the windows and it was clear that they would all have to spend the night in the hall.

Keats and Chapman searched the hall for any bedding or blankets or anything that might keep them warm during the night.

Chapman found a small stove in a back room which gave off a tiny amount of heat. As they huddled around it, Chapman realised that Bryan Ferry was not with them.

He asked Keats where he had left the lead singer from Roxy Music.

Keats sighed, “In the Bungle, the mighty Bungle, the Bryan sleeps tonight.”

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