ancients, the

A breed of groupie inextricably linked to the bands, their musos, contractual riders and - somehow - the impresario. Their presence is unquestioned and they are clearly somewhat more or less than human (see the below reference to "flaws in the technology"). The ancients are exemplified by Cleo D’Auton, their unofficial celebrity spokesperson. The ancients are governed by a collective and the relationship between them and the impresario is deliberately not detailed in Songshifting.

Chapter 19
The rider became a damager’s insurance policy, an escape clause. Rumours began to circulate that if the Sentimental Hygiene started to affect their act, their rider would kick in as an antidote, and it appeared not to be an entirely false notion. The impresario had ways of ensuring the bands partook of their riders – but more about the ancients later.

Chapter 23
Drivers didn’t work for specific bands – they were hired by the impresario – but inevitably they forged alliances with those that liked their driving, attitude or their ability to lure and keep sweet the ancients, the ubiquitous backstage entertainment.

Chapter 44
She was dressed unambiguously in the uniform of the ancients: the many layered custom bondage gear, the silver chain suspenders. She had that face, also, the face too experienced, too marked by time to be considered unambiguously beautiful. But there was still more beauty there than there had any right to be. That patina of hard living on the road; too many burns, too many hotel rooms; too much gentle persuasion and perhaps some brutal persuasion, too; the cumulative damage done by Sentimental Hygiene.

Chapter 45
We made eye contact. It wasn’t unpleasant. “I can see how that might work,” I ventured. But then her face shifted as though a veil had dropped. There were flaws in the technology, perhaps; some kind of bug. I found it impossible to tell how old she really was. The makeup covered the wrinkles but the magic was all in the software.