It’s been three years since we’ve heard anything from John Shananigans, fueling a rising tide of speculation and rumor. A blogger in Bozeman, Montana writes of hearing a familiar swung rhythm (“taka-taka taka-taka taka-taka „grunt“) wafting from the kitchen of a truck-stop diner; when he abandoned his chicken-fried steak and went to investigate, however, the kitchen was empty save for two clues: an enormous kettle buzzing and vibrating, as though still humming from the shocks of some unknown drummer—and a lone blue shoe.
From Tierra del Fuego comes another report, this time from a trekking guide who discovered a curiously symmetrical set of markings on a fallen tree. They were clearly made by beavers, but later laboratory analysis showed them to be the precise rendering of a 16th-note hi-hat/snare/handclap pattern.
Nearby mudflats preserved a lone set of footprints: one bare, the other apparently shod in some kind of athletic footwear. Finally, a participant on a Survivor-style reality show recounts a similar story. (Titled Bora Bora Botox, the program forced cast members to devise homeopathic cosmetic enhancements from jungle ingredients; it was canceled after one woman lost her nose to flesh-eating spiders.) Court documents attest that while rappelling down a mossy canyon, another participant, identified only as Jane Doe, heard what sounded like jazz rhythms being pounded out on coconut halves, followed by ecstatic moans and a regular slapping sound. As she pierced the forest canopy, a flash of blue caught her eye, revealing what appeared to be two exceptionally hirsute hominids, one spanking the other. Which brings us to The Man With One Blue Shoe.
Not long ago, a mysterious package turned up in Circus Company’s Paris offices. It contained only a CDR scrawled with two titles: “Bounce the Blue” and “One Blue Shoe.” The former was a shuddering, jerking, rollicking beast of a track, driven forward by an insistent walking bassline and overlaid with strange, proto-musical grunting. (A third track, “Bounce the Blues Dub,” presented the same track minus vocals-available as digital only) “One Blue Shoe” played with similar ideas, but to less emphatic ends: full of open-ended tritone harmonies and a relaxed, sensual groove, it suggested a delirious state of mind and an almost desperate pursuit of physical pleasure.
Could it possibly be the work of anyone else? Across the crumpled envelope was stamped the telltale mark of a basketball shoe, exactly the size (14) and brand (Cradidas, a Korean knockoff) favored by Mr. John Shenanigans. Putting two and two together, Circus Company decided that the public interest required the release of the tracks. We think you’ll agree.