At a swanky club in 1972 London, Bryan Ferry, melancholy musician, sips from a mug of gin at the bar. As he brings the cup to his mouth, he gets a glimpse of his unfortunate appearance reflected in the drink, and his ennui worsens. He finishes the drink, his shoulders drop, and his face sags even lower. A glass smashes up the bar, startling him, and as he looks up he hears “Soz babes,” as a Stranger orders another drink for the stunning woman he’d just upset. The Stranger approaches Bryan, swaggering but more like staggering up to the bar and takes a seat. “Sorry to bother you dude, but you look like a fucking wreck and you’re kinda killing the vibe,” he says.
“Sorry,” Bryan replies. “I’m about to leave anyway.”
“No no no, you don’t understand! You don’t have to leave! But let’s take care of that bad vibe. Have you heard of The Strand?”
“Is that a new movie?”
“I don’t know! Maybe! I’m not really from around here. But what I’m referring to is the dance, you’ve never done it?”
“Oh Bryan, yes I know your name Bryan, haven’t you heard?” The Stranger stands up. “It’s a new sensation.” He leaps back, knocking over a couple but catching them before they hit the ground. “A fabulous creation.” Their faces light up with recognition as The Stranger climbs onto a rotating dais. “A danceable solution.” Now they’re all singing. “A teenage revolution.” The club is enthralled, and Bryan slides off his seat and begins moving towards The Stranger. “Do The Strand, love!” Bryan climbs up onto the dais. “When you FEEL love!” The crowd lifts their arms in the air, worshipping Ferry and his enigmatic companion. The Strand infects everybody present, their bodies bending and waving to the energy of this revelation. They continue singing and dancing, and The Stranger turns to Bryan. “Are you ready to find out what it all means?”
“I… yes, of course. But can I bring a friend?” Bryan asks, turning to a stout gremlin.
“Bleep bloop bleep,” it begs.
“Alright Eno, you can come too.”
The trio set off on a journey so incredibly fantastical that to recount it would take six times the length of Homer’s Illiad and make Odysseus look like a John Cusack character. Through the Land of Dreams and the Grey Lagoons, Ferry and Eno follow their guide with eager fealty, confronting every aspect of their own identities and existence until only one question remains. Their journey ends in the autumnal valley of the Beauty Queen, where The Stranger announces that it is time for him to return home. On the final night, Bryan comes to their guide and reflects on all they’ve experienced, all the excitement, the danger, the trials and victories, and asks the final question. “Why was life created?”
“Bryan, for the past hour you’ve sat here telling me about how kick ass our adventure has been. You’ve answered your own question, don’t you see? Life was created… for your pleasure.” Bryan sits quietly for a moment, digesting, realising that he’d finally found his purpose. He stands up and looks confidently at his friend. “Now it’s my turn to bring out the pleasure in everybody else.”
“That’s it man, you got it. Good luck.”
“But wait, you never told us what your name was!”
The Stranger stands up and dusts off his formerly shiny leggings. “It’s Jake, I can’t believe I never told you, how rude. Now go make that album so I’ve got something to write about in April several decades from now.” He begins to fade away.
“For all you’ve done for me, Jake, it’s the least I could do.” Brian goes to find Eno, and takes his gnarled hand. “Come on old friend, time to go home.”
And that’s the truthful history behind For Your Pleasure.