More than one person has asked, “Who’s this Geoffrey Rommel, Jr. character?” More than a dozen people have asked, “Are you making any money? How do you pay the staff?” On one hand, I’m kind of amused that they actually bought the idea of a Media Team. Didn’t see that one coming. Anyway, that means I did a fairly decent job of presenting BSM as a legitimate entity as opposed to a personal blog, which is exactly what I wanted to do. It’s incredibly satisfying when that happens.
However, my main concern is that people wouldn’t visit the site if they thought it was just another blowhard raving about his own stuff. So before launching the site, one night Timogan and I went down to the park on Dunhua Road, guzzled a bunch of tallboys, and talked about how to go about doing the complete opposite of the previous sentence. Now, ironically, BSM is well beyond being just a platform to promote my work.
So, with the exception of Timogan, there is no Media Team. Geoffrey, Noel Bancredi, and Temerity Smith-Flax are fabrications—they are extensions of the guy who is talkin’ to you now, Christian Adams; I’ve written every one of their attributed posts and articles. The Black Sunshine Manifesto? Me. Petrology 101 and 202? Me. The Lazy Bastard Guide to Mandarin promos? Me.
OK, great, but remember that the contributors, Adam Baxter, Adrien S., Timogan and myself, are real. The bands, the books, and the people we talk about are real. The Media Team, sadly, is not. Could you imagine our Christmas party? We’d have to rent a private island to get away with some of the stuff that would go down.
OK, so here’s the back story on each character.
Original BSM Biography
Geoffrey Rommel Jr. is the sultan and chairman of Black Sunshine Media, which he founded on July 13, 2012.
Mr. Rommel has held several global leadership positions prior to forming BSM, including roles in Global Eccentric Plastics’: Sabotage and Graft businesses. In 1999 he became an officer and joined the GEP Corruption Board in 2000. A couple years later, in 2004, Mr. Rommel was appointed president and chief executive officer.
“Not only did I turn GEP around,” claims Rommel, “I taught them how to fuck people so hard that they were never the same again. I’m talking about gang rape sounding like a walk in the park. You know Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’? The U.S. military got that idea from me. I was giving how-to PTSD seminars a decade before it became a problem.”
Mr. Rommel has been named one of the “World’s Best Sultans” three times by Forbes, and since he began serving as chief executive officer, GEP was named “The World’s Most Cut-throat Company” in a poll conducted by Barron’s magazine and one of “The World’s Most Despised Companies” in polls by Barron’s and the Financial Times.
Mr. Rommel also served as the chair of ousted Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreiga’s Council on Jackings and Distribution. He is also a member of Opus Dei and an active Freemason.
Mr. Rommel earned a B.A. degree in applied docuherie from Cumswallow College in 1988 and an M.B.A. from Upper Cunt University in 1992. He and his wife have one daughter and three conjoined twins.
Behind the Charade
I don’t remember where the picture came from. My gut tells me it was found 10 years ago in the back of a guitar amplifier I bought at a second-hand store. No idea who, what or where this guy is. Vague memories of the shop owner telling me he picked up the amp in an estate sale in Florida or somewhere in the South. I clearly remember that “we,” the band I was in, thought the photo was hilarious. It became the band’s unofficial mascot.
The name Geoffrey Rommel comes from my (short) stint as a corporate headhunter in 1991. Basically, headhunting is the nice term for employee poaching via cold calling. Ronnie Kwasman got me the job—which he’s done on several occasions—and we worked as a team, sharing an office, as well as being roommates. Anyway, long story short, we were targeting Sears, Roebuck, for techies, calling from a list. Every godforsaken day we had to call these people, knowing we would get dumped into their voice mail—unless they were unhappy with their jobs and interested in chatting with a headhunter. Out of the 1,000 or so voice mail greetings we had to hear every day, one, just one, stood out from all the rest. A dude named Geoffrey Rommel.
Ronnie was the first to call Geoffrey and get the greeting. He then said to me, call this fuckin’ guy and listen to his voice mail, then tell me who he reminds you of. So I did, and pretty sure I gave myself a hernia from hysterical laughter. This coincides with the fact that Chicago had a legendary radio personality by the name of Steve Dahl (Google: Disco Demolition), who gave Bob and Ron their break; Dahl was the guy Howard Stern got his schtick from. Anyway, Ronnie and I loved the Steve Dahl show and we listened to it every day on the ride home from work. One of the show’s bits was playing the automated voice mail greeting of Chicago’s one and only gay porno cinema, the Bijou Theater. The message was just like the one you would hear if you called Loews or any other theater, except it gave very tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the films being shown. So, for example, a film entitled Men at Work, would be described thusly: “Colt Davis is a hunky construction laborer with a very large hammer, waiting for his supervisor, the studly Jake Hansen to arrive on the site. His thoughts quickly drift to working with big tools, and Jake finds Colt with hammer in hand…the result is a ferocious pounding of….”
E-T-C. It’s very funny shit if you’ve never been to a gay theater. What was particularly special was the narrator of the recording. He was like a cross between Snagglepuss and Roger Ebert. And fuck me if I’m lying, exactly like Geoffrey Rommel. So much that we called Geoffrey 30-50 times a day, just when we needed a quick giggle. So when I was setting up BSM, I wanted a proto-icon for the “media team.” One day during a Facebook chat with Ronnie, I said, “Remember Geoffrey Rommel?” The next step was to cut and paste the corporate bio of Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, which I then re-wrote to reflect my absurd sense of humor. I did not think that an adult with a functional IQ could read his bio and think he actually existed. I was wrong. Haha.
Original BSM Biography
Before joining BSM as the Director of the Audio Division, Noel served as senior correspondent for a number of internationally- reknown media outlets including Modern Dungeon Quarterly, Miniature Donkey Talk, Cool Whip Enthusiast, and Enterprising Sluts (U.K.). Noel’s nearly encyclopaedic knowledge of rock music gives him both the scope and the creativity to lead the Audio Division. We are chuffed to have him. Cheers, Noel!
The Real Deal
David Foster Wallace used to keep a massive archive of invented names, which I didn’t know about until after he passed away. It was really kind of cool to know since I have been doing the same thing since I was a kid, although a lot of times the archive was more about potential band names and song titles. However, when I returned to writing in 1999, I started a fictional character list. That’s where Noel comes from. First, I wanted him to have an Anglo surname and sort of an ambiguous family name. Anyone who remembers Felix Navarro (my Tail Spins nom de plume) will be familiar with the concept. The picture comes from a Google Images search that began with the terms “ridiculous British dude.”
Original BSM Biography
Temerity worked her way up the BSM ladder, starting as an unpaid intern and eventually named the Director of the Print Division. Her expertise in literature and culture are invaluable assets to any media conglomerate, and Temerity’s passionate work ethic puts her in a class by herself. Nearly all works featured in the Print Division were carefully selected and edited by Temerity prior to their publication.
Who She Really Is
The picture is of a Chinese bar girl from Zhuhai, who was an acquaintance of my girlfriend at the time. You do not want to know the whole and true story, trust me. At any rate, I sincerely doubt that she’s still alive today; she was a serious death wish type of chick. I heard she crossed a couple of pimps and that was the end of that. Either way, I wanted to immortalize her in a way no one would ever suspect. The name came from the archive list, and I had to have come up with it around 2004, but never got a chance to use it. Of the three invented characters, I still maintain that TSF was the most believable.
Still with me? Good. Thanks. Much respect. Now, the reason I’m coming clean and dropping the charade is that I’m preparing to welcome two new, true, real-life members of the Media Team. In essence, I’m going legit. So stay tuned and in a couple of days we’ll introduce our new addition to the family.