Yes, the Longplayer is real! I came across it in a BBC news art and culture page some months ago when a live performance using the Tiberan bowls was being broadcast. I looked up the surprisingly sparse website for it and listened to about an hour of it. Owen Harper would almost certainly hate it, but I found it quite restful to listen to. It was certainly no worse than the stuff I got on a CD of meditation music as a Christmas stocking filler. And the very idea of a piece of music that is going to play until the year 2999 is incredible. It is also the sort of thing that has to appeal to a Doctor Who or Torchwood fan, the sort of people who think that far ahead!
Of course, I filed it in my mind as something I could get a story out of. Sadly, about the only plotline I could think of was the one in which people were turning to murder-suicide after listening to it. Of course, the Longplayer does no such thing. Listen to it if you like. It really isn’t at all bad. Light an incense stick and lie down somewhere comfy and enjoy it for a little while. You won’t wake up and do anything bad. Honest.
But, of course, this story was a perfect vehicle for Torchwood Glasgow’s immortal man, Dougal Drummond and his lover, Sandy. They had to be the centre of attention in this one, because they obviously are the only people who would survive this ordeal.
Dougal’s musical preference, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, are actually American, and I find them all right in small doses, especially at Christmas, when they do some really good metal rock versions of traditional tunes. They’re very much a contrast to the Tibetan singing bowls of the Longplayer.
The forty minute trip from Cardiff’s Roald Dahl Plas to Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, is just possible by military helicopter. Jack should have been able to do it.
The arrest of the man in Dumfries and his reasons for doing what he did is possibly a weak point in the story. I really didn’t want to dwell on his motives at all. They don’t really matter in the end. But I think some readers expected a bit more development of that aspect of the story. Perhaps that’s for a future edit. For now it stands as it is.