The Master’s Apprentices

‘It’s because I love you’ by the Australian Band, the Master’s Apprentices – see the Official Femmes page here: and please consider buying It’s because I love you, and other Masters music here:

This is a wonderful song which I’ve loved since I was a teenager. Before I launched The Time Virus, I wrote to Glenn Wheatley, one of the Master’s Apprentices and asked for permission to have one of my friends, Dewayne Everettsmith play the song at the launch of The Time Virus. Glenn kindly said to go for it! Dewayne will do an amazing job.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter Minus 25.5 – The Master’s Apprentices

It didn’t take long before the entire school was assembled. I looked into the audience and spotted Ben and Skye. They were both sitting with their heads down.

I decided to play my drums just for them. The song was one of our favourites, ‘Because I love you’, by the Master’s Apprentices. My dad and Frank’s mum had been big fans when they were young, so they taught it to us. It’s about doing what you want to do, and being who you want to be. Because I’ve heard it since I was a baby, I feel like it’s helped to make me who I am. I really wanted Skye and Ben to escape from Eyela’s control, so I thought that if I played the drums as hard as I could, it might send them luck.

The Associate Professor turned up on stage all bouncy and fake-happy. She was in white, as usual, but her dress that day was so bright that it almost hurt our eyes.

I looked away, wishing I could make her disappear, but I had to turn back to look at her because she was talking to me.

‘Thank you both for playing today,’ she said in her fake-voice, with her fake-smile.

(She’s had so much plastic surgery that she looks completely artificial. Her mouth moves in ways that are truly wrong. She looks like a cross between a Halloween character and a Barbie with jet black hair. Her eyes are normally green, but on that morning she’d put in contact lenses to make them electric blue.)

I looked at Frank, just long enough to register my complete contempt. I knew he was dreading her patronising introduction. We both were. She turned to the students, adjusted her microphone headset, and started on her long and boring introduction.

Zoning out, all I heard was, ‘For any visitors here today, I’m Associate Professor Eyela Theeve. We’re very lucky this morning to have two of our students on stage to play a song by the Master’s Apprentices. Frank Wiseman and Minnow Blackburn are both so talented …’

‘Blah, blah, blaaaah.’

It went on and on, and was mostly about how wonderful Eyela was herself – oh, and how she used to play the drums too.

Of course she did.

While Eyela talked, I stared at Ben and Skye. They looked so lost. I wondered if anyone ever fully recovers after losing their parents.

‘Minnow,’ said Frank. ‘You ready?’

Decker was seated at the piano beside Frank, smiling at me. He couldn’t have cared how long I sat daydreaming.

With a start, I realised that Eyela had gone back into the audience. She was sitting next to the Cardinal, all decked out in his red silk (looking ridiculous), and everyone was waiting for me.

I blushed and whispered to Frank, ‘Sorry – go ahead.’

Frank began the song’s introduction. His singing always makes me smile.

When it was time, Decker and I joined in. Decker’s piano, and my drumming, both started softly but ended up wild.

We all joined in the chorus, which I love – ‘Do what you wanna do, be what you wanna be, yeah!’

In the audience I could see Ben and Skye quietly crying. I panicked for a moment, but I couldn’t allow myself to get distracted.

When we reached the end of the song, everyone clapped, but I didn’t feel glad. I had a feeling that Ben and Skye would pay for showing their emotions.

It so wasn’t fair.