The bright sun shone through Ed’s eyelids, as he began to wake. He was on holiday, finding himself on a beach in a remote Australian town. After a long tour and a messy breakup, he turned to beach life to recharge his motivations for singing and songwriting. He had a few months off and he planned to laze on the beach every day that he could.
Today was different though, as Ed woke up from his mid-morning nap, he saw a figure in the distance. As she walked closer, he quickly decided she was perhaps the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Strawberry blonde hair, sun-kissed skin, and a sprinkling of freckles.
As the only two on the beach, and the only other person he’d seen for days, Ed set about striking up conversation. The pair quickly got to know each other. Her name was Amber. Amber was a designer, and she was also feeling burnt out from the world of busy schedules, contracts and conflicts. They bonded over the harsh realities of the creative industry, how music and art were all so heuristic, and how different people experienced art differently.
Needless to say, it was going well. At first Ed thought Amber was just being friendly, but as the days and conversations went on, he realised there was clearly a deeper connection between them. Maybe it was the remoteness of the situation, the feeling that this was all so fleeting and they’d both soon go their separate ways, or maybe it was something more…
Every day they would meet on the beach by the same tree, pop on some sunscreen and just lay and relax. What luck these two both had to find each other there, in the middle of nowhere. They were soon spreading sunscreen on each others backs as the mood turned from friendly to flirtatious.
As the weeks passed, Ed found himself becoming more and more attracted to Amber, and he was certain his feelings were reciprocated. He wanted to do something special for her, something perhaps no one had ever done for her before.
At the top of the beach was a tiny shack where Ed had been staying. It was basic, a small kitchenette, a toilet and a bedroom. Ed had been travelling with only a backpack, but on a last minute whim he’d decided to bring his guitar. Until now, it had stayed in its case, serving as too painful of a reminder of his last world tour. The tour which ruined his previous relationship, wore him out, and made him even question his love of music.
Ed thought the best way to impress Amber, and maybe have her join him back in the UK was to write her a song. Over the next week or so, Ed would ask questions of Amber about her favourite things, places and experiences. Her hopes, her dreams and her aspirations in life. Not only was this great conversation, but it made for great song lyrics.
One night the pair had lit a campfire and were just sitting, watching the flickering flames. Ed quietly excused himself and ran back to the shack. He emerged with his guitar. It was his favourite, custom made by a craftsman based in Ireland. A bit tatty from recent tours, but still in tune, with his favourite capo attached.
As Ed began to sing, Amber was transfixed. She smiled, giggled a bit at the lyrics but mostly she kept meeting Eds eyes. The glow of the campfire on his face reflected the fire in his eyes and heart. It was love. Pure, undeniable love. It was magical.
As the song finished they kissed for the first time, shared a knowing playful glance, and headed to the top of the beach where Ed’s shack came into view.
Ed reached out to push the door open, but it wouldn’t budge. He thought it was odd for it to be locked, as he was sure he had left it open before he came down to the beach? Or did he? He couldn’t actually remember leaving that morning for the beach. Or any morning for that matter. He stood back and tried to find another way in, maybe an open window or a back door.
Suddenly the shack looked to glitch in and out of view. Ed turned around to see if Amber had seen the same thing, but as he turned, Amber had frozen still. Her face was static with the excited look she had just had. But now she was also glitching, seemingly phasing in and out of existence. Suddenly, everything went white. The shack disappeared. Amber disappeared. The sand disappeared, even his guitar disappeared. A confused Ed rubbed his eyes, opening and closing them a few times. All he could see was a fuzzy bit of text in the distance, reading:
SIMULATION COMPLETE. RESETTING.
Ed was confused. Then everything went black. Quiet. Not a sound.
In an office, a champagne cork popped and glasses were being filled. A scientist in a lab coat was being patted on the back by Bill Johnson, head of synthetic media at Mirrage Records. “You’ve done it again Derek, another hit song!”
“Thank you, sir,” said Dr Derek Triston, “this is our nineteenth simulation we’ve successfully run with Ed’s brain upload, and with the references to the beach environment we created, the song ought to be the ‘Song of Summer’ he gestured with air quotes.
Dr Triston looked around the lab as he fondly remembered when this project started just a few short years ago. Back then, the idea of uploading a human brain into a computer to run simulations with was impossible, but amazingly, they’d done it. It was a triumphant feat of science. They’d made so many discoveries so quickly, they hadn’t stopped to ask themselves if it was right or wrong, it was… just… success. It was pure, academic, science.
“Ah, well done Derek, the boys back at the label are most impressed. This is more than enough for the new album. We’ll start the search for a suitable performer to record the songs. As usual, please send me the video of the fireside performance. We’ll transcribe it from there.”
“Sure thing, Sir. What will our next project be?”
“Well, the research shows we’re not doing too well with the alt-rock and indie market yet, so maybe have the next simulation include a a slightly alternative girl, and since it’ll be time for the Autumn album, make sure it has some hints of falling leaves or something. Oh, and give her a dog. Something cute, a labrador or something. Social media is all about dogs these days. I dunno what will happen, just put it in, see what comes out!”
“Sounds great, we’ll get it running as soon as possible.”
The bright sun shone through Ed’s eyelids, as he began to wake. Ed had been out on a walk, but now he found himself on a park bench in a small countryside town. After a long tour and a messy breakup, he turned to the country life to recharge his motivations for singing and songwriting. He had a few months off and he planned to laze under the autumn trees in the local village park every day that he could.
Today was different though, as Ed woke up from his mid-morning nap, he saw a figure in the distance. As she walked closer, he quickly decided she was perhaps the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Short, unassuming, with jet black hair, intricate tattoos and a nose piercing. Beside her was an adorable black labrador puppy.
As she looked up and they made eye contact, they both smiled.