Fluke of the Narwal – Halo 2’s hit cover band

Two narwhals, having a great time, high-fiving forever.

Fluke of the Narwal‘s sell-out show, advertised all over the outskirts of New Mombasa must have been something, sweaty bodies crashing together in an embrace of live music that lives on into the human future of the 26th century. The classic DIY styled four-piece setup (vocals, guitar, bass and drums) still strong after 600 years, and the fact that Fluke are a cover band doesn’t matter, they sold tickets to this thing, to the point that someone had to go round stamping the posters letting people know instead of just taking them down. Genius marketing.

A wall of posters, left to right. Fluke of the Narwal (sic), a concert poster with bold blue capitalised text, a logo of two narwhals with cartoon faces rising through a black circle and high-fiving causing a yellow starburst, with multiple smaller stars rising to the top right of the poster. At the bottom it reads 'a Fist of the Unicorn cover band', there is a large red sold out stamp over the two narwhals. To the right of this are two pasted pages, one reading Daily Bulleting, with a B+W picture of a planet and the headline 'Planet Reach Catastrophe'. Pasted slightly over this page is a circus advert which shows a tiger's head roaring at a man in a tophat, (from left to righ, both in profile) with the classic carnival/circus logo style font reading 'Mombasa Circus'

Currently living in a city well known for its live music, yet not being able to go to any gigs to prevent the spread of a deadly virus splits the image of the packed New Mombasa venue into something I simultaneously crave, and am terrified of. The transmission risks preventing live in-venue entertainment at the moment are crushing, and even as someone overwhelmed by large groups, a great big part of me wants to be there in the Fluke’s front row, pinned against a metal railing.

All this is part of the experience I’ve had with the Master Chief collection so far, flipping back and forth between the game’s original textures, and their high-res 2014 update. These recurring wall pasted posters, the concert announcement, news bulletins and circus advertisements, are part of the textural flesh added to the city streets in Outskirts, replacing military newspaper pages and blank walls of 2004.

It’s questionable whether this concert even happened though. While from the state of the Fluke posters, they look old, this may just have been an underpaid poster handler doing the bare minimum required to get by in one of their four jobs. None of them are torn, no kid has tried to nick one to have on their bedroom wall at home, and the fact there’s not even a date on there in the first place, is this is an event that everyone knows the date, time and venue of? Or at least does whoever’s doing their marketing hope so? Was there even a gig in the first place and were Dima, Andrey, Jay and Nadine in the city when Master Chief and the death that follows him came along?

A huge amount of speculation is possible based on the information given, since, within an hour or so of you first seeing these posters, they, along with the rest of New Mombasa, will have been destroyed by a Covenant weapon of mass destruction.

Fluke are a cover outfit for another doomed band, Fist of the Unicorn, a ship band of Navy crew from the Pillar of Autumn, who appear with their venue template style bulletin board poster in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (2011), for a gig that will never take place.

A dark blue digital bulletin board with a light blue grid and multiple announcements in the form of posters and notices. Fist of the Unicorn's poster is in the bottom left, with text 'Special encore performance by ship's band FIST OF THE UNICORN. Featuring SPC VAN KALLETTA on lead guitarz (and replacement drummer PFC DIMITROV) Rockin' ur Eradinus off MAIN HANGAR | SATURDAY 1600 hours'

The band of the military cruiser, which would self destruct earlier that same year (2552 A.D.) in order to destroy the eponymous Halo, were apparently popular enough to have a cover band with a jokey name that sells out gigs dedicated to them before also being destroyed.

These bands both end up being precursors of death, and while memories of Fist of the Unicorn go down with the ship, Fluke of the Narwal goes down with the death of an entire city of people. The destruction they face, and the human arts that they represent aren’t so far away from the amount of death that the entire world is suffering through at the moment, the mourning of the resulting destruction of family, community and communal art that we’re experiencing thanks to the failures of governments like ours in the UK.

Holding an event covering the band of an army vessel that was sacrificed in war, as the very same people who allowed that to happen, fail to stop your city from being wiped from the face of the Earth.