As John Lydon snarled on Public Image Ltd's debut single in October 1978: ‘Two sides to every story.’ In other words, you’re either on one side of the fence or the other; you’re a believer, or you’re a sceptic; you’re for, or you’re against. It would be very easy to conclude that the following tale is nothing more than a series of half-assed coincidences, a collection of convenient quirks of fate. After all, a band like Metallica has a bulging repertoire of songs about decay and destruction; it can’t be that difficult to concoct a cock-and-bull story such as this one, not when you’ve got a bunch of ready-made connections at your disposal. The conspiracy theorists among you, however, might think otherwise.
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Me? I won’t be making any crazy assumptions; I’m no Erich von Daniken. I’m just going to tell you – as straightforwardly as I possibly can – about some eerie events that took place in 1986, eight years after that Public Image Ltd single reached the UK Top 10. But before the weirdness kicks in, let’s begin on a lighthearted note...
Lars Ulrich of Metallica has just arrived outside my house in a rusty brown Fiat Panda. Through the car’s side window I can see Denmark’s foremost drummer narrow his eyes and gaze somewhat critically at the Barton abode: a modest, three-bedroom detached dwelling way out to the west of London, on the environs of Heathrow Airport; a typically English suburban residence – if you can disregard the incessant rumble of jet engines and the occasional jumbo rattling the roof tiles. But it’s my home.