Part 21. The White Stripes

The White Stripes are a black and white band that has been colourised in post-production, mainly in red. Beginning their career as part of the garage scene, the band specialised in exhausts and shock absorbers, although they could certainly rewire an alternator in an emergency. Consisting of just two members, Meg White and her son Jack, the band's straightforward rhythms, stripped down production and free giveaways of air fresheners and screen wash quickly gained them a following with rock and roll motorists.

In 2001 they outgrew the garage and moved into a warehouse, augmenting their sound with the addition of a forklift truck. This change of direction brought them to the attention of both a new audience and the IRS, and as a result they took a break from music and spent the following year filling in tax returns. Upon their return they adopted a more organic sound, releasing an album made of wood which was warmly received by fans even though it was unplayable on most equipment. On the subsequent tour the White Stripes played the album in its entirety, hiring seven arborealists and an army of woodsmen for the small deciduous forest that was now a necessary part of their stage equipment. Inevitably costs spiralled and the tour started to lose money at a fantastic rate, particularly when a virulent strain of Dutch elm disease wiped out the second half of the show. Ultimately the inevitable happened. The band was declared bankrupt and their creditors sent in the lumberjacks.

Was this the end of The White Stripes? Administrators fought hard to sell them on as a going concern, but legal complications concerning the ownership of Jack White put the sale on hold and the band spent the next two years in storage. When the situation was finally resolved, an administrative error meant that they could not be located. For a time it was believed that they were somewhere in Atlanta and auditors went around listening to abandoned storage units for the sound of drumming. Then rumours surfaced that they'd been found in an attic in Baltimore during a house clearance, but on further investigation it turned out to be Crosby, Stills and Nash. Well actually, it was just Crosby and Nash - Stills had snapped off, greatly reducing its value.

Following the offer of a reward for information, Vanilla Ice was handed in at a local police station but there was still no sign of The White Stripes, until they were accidentally discovered by a small shepherd boy amongst the unclaimed baggage at a San Francisco bus terminal. Shortly afterwards they were sold at auction to Fox News, who intended to use them to provide light-hearted satirical songs at the end of their broadcasts. However, following a tip-off, experts discovered that Fox had been duped and that they band they had bought were just a crude forgery constructed from papier-mâché and string.

The real band is currently in the possession of Canadian fan Chad Lever-Arch, who had bought them on eBay for $5.65 plus postage. Sadly they are no longer in mint condition - Meg White's fingers have broken off and been replaced by clothes pegs, and both members display signs of significant water damage due to being improperly stored. Also the fact that the duo are without their original packaging has drastically reduced their value. Nevertheless, Chad is seeking donations in order to get them professionally restored and hopes that very soon he will see them on stage once more, performing their wooden epic.

None of this is true, by the way.

Ricky Stratocaster once bumped into Simon le Bon in an Asda in Dudley.

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