Updated: Nov 23, 2019
We asked Wheeler’s techie pal what makes him tick.
What’s your full name?
Devron Harwood Marx.
And what you do, Devron?
Call me Marx. Everyone does. I’m a final year engineering student at Glasgow. In my spare time I fix things and I'm an AR graphic designer. It pays the bills.
You don’t enjoy it?
I do but it can get laborious. I much prefer working with machines than people. Machines are logical. They make sense. If something goes wrong you can follow the signal flow until you find the problem. I get much more done when folk aren’t about.
What kind of things do you fix?
Mainly malfunctioning limbs. Legs, arms, feet, the occasional eye.
Do you repair The Chip?
Sometimes, but it's technically fucking with people's minds so I'm a bit wary of that.
Care to elaborate?
Come on... Computers in people's heads? It's straight out of Dr. Who. What could possibly go wrong? If you want to get technical The Chip's really an interface, not a computer. And officially it's a Personal Cybernetic Processor...
(Laughs) That was such a gaffe. I laugh every time they say that on the news. "Today the Prime Minister addressed several pressing issues on PCP..."
Do you think it's a good thing?
It's the single most import thing in the evolution of the human race. The walls between biology and robotics are finally breaking down and how people decide to deal with that will decide if they live forever or set themselves on fire. I'm not kidding. I've got this theory that the object of human existence could be ultimately to destroy itself. Despite best intentions, The Chip has probably accelerated that to warp speeds. Still, it keeps me in a job so I shouldn't complain.
What are your rates?
The fucking Brandt Chip store costs 50Yu for an appointment with a so-called Genius to glance at it so people take their repairs to me. Uncle Marx’ll fix your arm in half the time for half the price.
Have you got any major replacements?
My right arm to the shoulder and both eyes, all controlled by a Brandt-Hera VI Chip. My ear is Bang & Olufsen. State of the art. I could hear a mouse fart in the Congo.
Does your powered arm make you stronger?
Nah man, but the cool thing is I can take it off and swap it with different arms. Mind He-Man? I'm Trap Jaw except it's not lasers or hooks, it's pliers or a blowtorch. Getting into nightclubs can be a nightmare. And, now most people won’t admit to this, but I really like how it feels to have this cyborg arm under my control. It’s addictive.
Powered limbs seem to have really taken off recently.
They have, and they’ll only get bigger now that the celebrity endorsements have begun. It used to be that no one had them, they were exclusive. Not so much now. Chances are by next year even your mum will have a P-leg.
Why do you think their appeal has changed?
When they first appeared a couple of years ago I think people were scared. I mean, no wonder… Willingly give up an arm or a leg that you were born with to be replaced with something else? If you think about it it's terrifying. The first arms were insane, no wonder nobody bought them. They were covered in steel for Christ’s sake… People still have The Terminator fresh in their minds and someone’s trying to punt that shit. You’d see a guy down the pub or whatever in a t-shirt with a fucking shining monstrosity sticking out of his shoulder and everyone would be thinking look at that wanker. The big change was when the synthetic skins came in. They made the new limbs easier to adjust to. The latest synth skin will blow your mind. Try the Pepsi Challenge with a real arm and see if you can tell the difference.
What do you do in your spare time?
Music is good. I’m really into balls-out rock & roll… ACDC, Kid Rock, Zeppelin. If I went on Mastermind my specialist subject would be The Past And Present Members Of Iron Maiden. I fucking kill on the guitar, by the way. I’ll melt your face. We’re not talking Chip-assisted here, I’m talking real skills. SKILLZ, even. My flat mate spent about two years getting to the very hardest level of Guitar Hero. That makes no sense to me… You see her sitting with her little fake guitar with four buttons on it playing this insane stuff on the screen so fast it’s a blur, but if you gave her a real Les Paul she wouldn’t know one end from the other.
Who’s your flatmate?
Her name is Burgess. Her dad owns Mackie’s Ice Cream. They’ve got a massive house in Gourock. She spends 80% of her time online, 10% creating conceptual art and another 10% eating Creme Eggs.
Is there a bit of tension there?
With Creme Eggs?
No, between you and Burgess?
Nah we’re not going to talk about that.
So there is then?
Remember Michael Barrymore? What happened to him? He used to be everywhere.
Rumour has it he works part-time in an Essex garden centre.
No shit! Really? Better keep him away from the water features.
Nice change of subject there. Is there another girl in your life?
Women are great, but at the moment there's no one in particular. I’m on Burst and a couple of other dating apps but a lot of the time I can’t be bothered. Everyone’s all false eyelashes and hair weaves. Really skinny P-legs are a thing now, have you noticed? If I wanted to shag a giraffe I'd shag a giraffe.
If you could take anyone in history out on a date who would it be and where would you take them?
It would be a toss-up between Lucy Lawless from Xena: Warrior Princess and Cher. There’s this new VR place in Saltmarket where you can play Golden Axe for real. It’s worked for me in the past. I don’t recommend Alien Wars for a first date.
The girl I took was really highly strung. Like a Dalmatian. I didn’t realise quite how highly strung she was until the bit where you’re stuck in the lift and all the lights go out. When the alien opened the doors she kicked it right in the balls! The poor guy doubled right over and let out this noise that sounded like a dog dying and Frank Spencer. It totally killed the mood. She never called back.
I suppose Ripley never thought of that. Are you a big sci-fi fan?
Hell yeah, but more space-horror stuff like Alien and Event Horizon. I love some hardcore blood and splatter. Starship Troopers is my favourite film of all time.
Despite the fascist overtones?
That’s the thing, a lot of people see it as this dumb propaganda movie but it’s an amazing satire. The humans were the bad guys all along!
What do you think about how things are run at the moment?
(Sighs) I can’t fucking believe what’s happening in the world right now. When the world is in bits you won’t be able to eat money. I mean, it wouldn’t surprise me if on the last habitable day on earth the 1% got on their personal rockets and flew away leaving Earth as a fucking husk. “See you later, dickheads!” and they’d land on another planet and immediately start to shag it up the ass. Things need to change and they need to change now.
How would you change things?
Forget demonstrations and petitions and all that shit. We need to get straight to the cunts at the top. We’ve already begun. I can’t tell you who, but I know a lot of people who feel the same way I do and we can work together to get a few things out there.
The Man's always holding up shiny things with one hand and being all “ooh keep looking at this!” while they pick your pocket with the other hand. Royal babies? Fuck off. Some cow from Big Brother’s arsehole new husband? Fuck off. The Daily Mail? Wake up, fuckers. Bill Hicks was right: drugs are illegal because the government doesn’t want you to realise that you’re being fucked every day of your life. And don’t get me started on America. We already covered Starship Troopers.
Sorry I got so worked up there but it makes me mad. Next question.
How do you know Wheeler?
I met Jake at a party. We started talking about Golden Axe, actually. He likes a good rum, that boy. He told me he still had an original Megadrive and we bonded over over Altered Beast. I wouldn’t say we’re close friends or anything but we get on. He’ll only really do something for me if he’ll get something out of it, you know? But he’s got so many hot pals.
Anyone of note?
Belle De Jour has a thing for me but nothing's happened, which I can't quite figure out because she's not shy. She's always sitting really close, you know, like right there. Touching me on the arm and sorting my hair. Sake man, it's meant to look messy! Shockwaves.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
There’s a lot of bad shit I won’t admit to, but I hacked into the Glasgow Uni Guardian once and translated every last file in their computers to Doric. I’d had an argument on Spitter with the editor and I guess I snapped. I still feel pretty bad about that because a lot of other innocent writers lost all their work in the crossfire, but still, I got that fucker.
Did you get caught?
I made sure there was no physical evidence but he knew it was me. I made sure of that.
What was the argument about?
You know, it was that long ago I can’t even remember. He was probably bigging up Nigel Farage or some Tory.
Do you see the further education system as ‘The Man’?
Yes. I didn’t at first but as time went on I saw more and more of the bureaucracy. It’s almost as bad as politics.
Where do you see yourself in five or ten years time?
In five years I’d like to think I’d be watching the news telling us all that the entire royal family has been accidentally electrocuted at once during a photo like in King Ralph. That might upset most of the Daily Mail readers, so lets say I’ll be watching Motherwell win the Scottish Cup instead. Ten years? Probably holed up in an abandoned school with the windows and doors all barred with corrugated iron and ammunition piled all around me to fight back the zombie apocalypse. I’ll also have an entire vault of booze. When all organised forms of currency collapse alcohol will become the default monetary system across the world, mark my word. Planning ahead and that.
Marx features in the novel ‘Boxhead’, an original novel by David McMahon.
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