June McClunaghan, a luckless waitress and ex-flight attendant, ends up in Seattle in the early 1990s after a life of post-Joycean, Cubs-style defeat, and learns to play bass guitar at the height of that good ol’ coffee-swilling “Grunge Mania.” She loves coffee, hates grunge, so she and her friend Dedra Fatiuchka try to start a trashy garage band instead. No dice. But…
…Dedra, a talented singer and computer geek who is disillusioned with the digital revolution, pranks together an impressively bogus press kit for the band and, in conspiracy with a studio-geek friend, her voice is overdubbed onto the dead tracks of a defunct band (that couldn’t pay their studio bill) and presto! A demo tape! No one the wiser, the whole shebang is sent to the offices of South By SouthWest in Austin, TX as a joke. SXSW, however, respond by offering the band—which doesn’t exist—a high profile showcase at the 1994 edition of the great, ballyhooed music conference. With the help of two guy friends, a guitarist and a drummer, they manage to slap together a functional combo and then embark to the big event only to lose their showcase by running afoul of one of the head festival honchos who pointedly yanks the rug from under them. But…
…another disappointment in June’s doggedly optimistic life, they begin the long trek back to Seattle. When inclement weather forces them off the road, June gets caught in a flash flood incident that leaves her stranded and injured in the middle of nowhere. Rescued by a mysterious hot-rodder, she is thrust into yet another post-Joycean world with even more surreal elements. Here she begins to sense that this strange but benevolent character may actually be the fabled “Seattle Capper” himself—the unseen phantom responsible for a history of distributor cap thefts—and the same one who stole their cap in Arizona while the band was enroute to Austin.
A work of lofty, improbable thoughts, "Decline and Fall of Alternative Civilization" is literary fiction that may appeal to misguided men, unsettled women, disgruntled music enthusiasts and anyone fond of examining the strings from which physicists' yoyos spin.