Just what is so remarkable about Mr David Bowie?

I wrote this a couple of months before our beloved hero passed on…thought it was worth a revisit.

DISSENT.

I wrote this a couple of months before our beloved hero passed away. Thought is was worth another visit and have updated a wee bit….

I’m what’s known as a Bowiephile. It’s a term used to describe a fanatical David Bowie fan. I once read that the only fans that match the dedication of Bowie fans are the followers of Elvis. I think I agree with that. The first blog I was going to write about the Great Dame David, The Grand Poobah of alternative rock, soul, electronic, folk, dance, disco…etc…etc…etc was going to be about my journey as a fan. But then a more fun idea came to me. There is no way everyone will agree with the points raised here. Not all of it is meant to be taken seriously. Listen to me, don’t listen to me. Talk to me, don’t talk to me. Dance with me, don’t…

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Some economic advice.

It’s interesting when you go to the cash machine and one of the options is, would you like an advice slip. The thing is it’s not really advice is it? It’s just the correct information about the precarious state of your financial affairs.

If it was advice it would say something like…ah well…you’re fucked. But it isn’t all your fault.

The reason for your financial distress is our governments have sold themselves out to large corporations.

These corporations are moving cheap labour all around the globe which results in wage stagnation and push down economics.

They have no interest in your financial welfare. They are designed to push for maximum profits at a great cost to human welfare.

These profits are then divided among a small group of share holders and directors while you the worker get pushed further and further into almost slave like conditions.

You have one of two choices in this situation. You can stick your head in the sand until they take the last of your rights from you…or…you can unite, take up arms and tear down your oppressors.

Now that would be advice.

 

A very short screenplay ( about torture and gangsters and such stuff)

This is my very first go at this so don’t judge me. Have always like gangsta stuff. Torture scenes are usually the best….

 

THE GREY GROUND.

 

FADE IN.

OFFICE BUILDING DAY.

WE SEE A CORRIDOR LEADING TO AN OFFICE DOOR.

DISSOLVE TO.

Looking out to Newcastle city centre we see an upstairs office. It’s very sparse with a desk and two basic office chairs facing each other over the desk. Everything is covered in clear polythene as if about to be decorated.

MR SANE. Newcastle man. Stands alone in the office. Middle aged. Beefy in build. Smoking a cigarette. He’s friendly.

There’s a KNOCK at the door.

MR SANE.

Come in, it’s open.

ENTER ANTHONY. A Young man from Manchester. Wearing sportswear but is more smart looking than scruff.

ANTHONY.

Is this the place to meet…err…the managers?

MR SANE.

That’s right son. You must be Anthony. Do I call you by your Sunday name or is it Tony?

ANTHONY.

I prefer Anthony actually. My wife always insists on it.

MR SANE.

Fair enough son. My name’s Mr Sane.

ANTHONY

Mr Sane? As in the opposite of insane?

MR SANE.

Something like that. It’s actually after the Bowie album Aladdin Sane. All the managers have Bowie related codenames. It’s the bosses’ idea. Nobody knows each other’s real names. It helps with confidentiality. A couple more managers will be here shortly Mr Duke and Mr Low.

ANTHONY.

So is the boss Mr Bowie?

MR SANE.

No he’s Mr Jones.

ANTHONY.

Right…err…not sure I get that. The other’s sound cool though.

MR SANE.

(LAUGHS) Try telling that to Mr Stardust. Have a seat son. As you know you’ve been invited here today on the possibility of working on a more permanent basis for the managers and boss of the corporation. You’ve obviously managed to get the attention of someone along the line. My department is warehouse and fencing. I shift shit of value from A to B. But you, you’re in sales.

ANTHONY.

Well…err…dealing. I deal.

MR SANE.

That’s sales son. And you’ve made quite the mark in the 6 months since moving here from Manchester. Two estates now mainly buy from you. All of this has been achieved with very little resistance from rival interests. Mind telling me how you’ve done that?

ANTHONY.

I don’t stamp on the gear. My entire product is as it is when I buy in. It means less money at first but in the long run folk come back to me. As for little resistance, I always assumed that would be something to do with you guys further up the ladder.

MR SANE.

Very astute Anthony, you’re right, it is exactly to do with us. You have ascertained that there is organisation at play here. Large organisation Anthony. Now, in knowing this I am going to ask you a couple of things son and it is of the utmost interest to yourself that you answer these questions concisely, with utter clarity and truthfully.

 

DISSOLVE TO.

DAY. EXPENSIVE CAR INTERIOR.

We see two men in a parked car. MR LOW is Scottish. MR DUKE another Newcastle man. They are in suits. Both middle aged and fairly mean looking. They are not friendly. MR LOW closes his phone having received a message.

MR LOW.

Right, the cunts going up there now. Mr Sane is going to give him his good cop softly, softly catchee monkey shtick. If nothing comes of that, and I really hope it doesn’t…well… Wait until he gets a load of us. Let’s be on our way to the affair Mr Duke.

MR DUKE.

The affair? That’s how you’re describing torture now is it?

MR LOW.

You know I’m one for an elegant tongue Mr Duke. And this cunt is about to find out that he is nothing more than a fart in the hurricane we call life.

MR DUKE.

That’s almost poetic.

MR LOW.

I’m Scottish we’re the bollocks at that shit. I can’t believe some no mark would come up from Manchester and try to pull his hoody on us. I fuckin’ hate Mancs. That whinny nasal accent. (DOES MANCHESTER VOICE) Awriiiiiight! It’s an accent designed and derived from whinging. It’s all they ever do. Complain about shit. Look at the Smiths. What the fuck is that? Music to cry to while somebody wanks you off in the prison showers. Hear me? This is a fucking accent. I can make the word purple sound like an act of war. Listen. (SHOUTS) PURPLE!

They both LAUGH.

DISSOLVE TO.

BACK TO THE OFFICE. The camera is above looking down on the desk. We see a photo of ANTHONY getting out of a police car.

DISSOLVE TO.

Cut back to ANTHONY and MR SANE sitting opposite one and other.

ANTHONY.

Aw man…look I know how that looks but I can totally explain that. Fuck man. I was pulled with some personal man. I’ve been at this long enough to know not to squeal. They didn’t even find enough to process me for court. We’re there any busts on the estates after this? If there was I’ve certainly not heard.

MR SANE.

No Anthony you’re right there were no drug busts. What can you tell me about the Graffiti Night club and Jimmy Wong’s laundrette?

ANTHONY.

I dunno…what the fuck have a laundrette and a nightclub got to do with each other?

MR SANE.

You frequent the Graffiti don’t you? And in the past four months have started using Jimmy Wong’s. You have to use a laundrette? All that sales money can’t buy a machine?

ANTHONY

Yes I hang at the Graffiti. Do a bit business. As for the laundrette we’ve got a four month old little one. We can’t get all the loads done at once so I take some there. I still don’t understand what that has to do with being lifted.

MR SANE.

Yes back to that son. A bit convenient that they let you walk is it not?

ANTHONY.

They had nothing on me. They don’t know me from anyone. I’m careful boss…on my wife and little ones life. I still don’t get where this is going?

MR SANE.

Now son this really is last chance saloon here. Before you think of bolting you should know there are two incredibly nasty men on the other side of that door and you are close to entering a type of world few come back…unaffected…from. You’re telling us you know nothing of the club or Jimmy’s?

ANTHONY

(Beginning to plead) It’s a fucking laundrette. What is there to know?

MR SANE.

I really am sorry about this son. Mr Low, Mr Duke you can come in now.

(MORE)

BOTH ENTER. They both have guns drawn. MR LOW is carrying a small antique and fairly battered case.

MR LOW.

Right ya Manc cunt sit there while my friend secures you to that chair.

ANTHONY.

Aw man wait…

MR LOW pistol whips him.

MR LOW.

Say another word without being asked and I’ll fucking end you right now. Do you think we’ve got this place covered in plastic because we planned some impromptu decorating? (Camp) Ooh Mr Duke the Feng Shui and neutral colours of this office are completely at odds with any sense of harmony. I suggest we add a splash or two of red.

ANTHONY.

Please…

MR LOW hits him again.

MR DUKE.

Son best do what he says and shut the fuck up. He’s a horrible cunt and Scottish as well. Trust me it’s the worst of combinations.

MR LOW places his case on the table and from it he places in front of ANTHONY a packet of cigarettes, a hairdryer and a blow torch.

MR LOW.

OK boy. I’m going to start asking some things and you are going to answer. Mr Sane what did we ascertain?

MR SANE.

He says he was lifted with some personal. He’s probably sound in that there were no drug busts. Claims to know nothing about the club and laundrette.

MR LOW.

Wrong answers. Anthony where do bad people go when they die?

 

ANTHONY.

Hell.

MR LOW.

That’s right Anthony they go to hell. And what happens to them when they get there?

ANTHONY.

They burn…look please.

MR LOW.

Shut the fuck up. That’s right Anthony they burn. Of all the judgemental religions I’ve always found the Christians to be the most horrible. I’ve been bad, welcome to an eternity of fire. A fucking eternity! They choose fire because of all the different types of pain you can put a soul through burning is the absolute worst. Eternity Anthony! I reckon you’ll last minutes. As you can see in front of you are three things. Every time people get it wrong. They think I’ll start with the hairdryer…but I don’t. It’s the fags first. The wound they inflict covers a small area and the burning of the flesh tends to extinguish the flame. Despite the lasting pain it’s over quite quickly. Open up his shirt Mr duke.

MR DUKE rips open his shirt.

MR SANE.

Son it’s better to speak now. We know what you know.

ANTHONY.

I swear. I really don’t understand what this is…please. My son’s only four months.

MR LOW.

It would seem Mr Sane that your reasoning and good cop tactics is for nothing. Let’s see how the bad cop does.

MR LOW takes time lighting a cigarette. Then crushes the lit end into Anthony’s chest.

ANTHONY screams violently.

MR LOW.

As I said…those Christians are evil bastards. Here’s what we have Anthony. We have a picture of you exiting a cop car, we have Jimmy Wong’s laundrette and the Graffiti Club both done over. You know what they are, don’t you Anthony. Two premises owned by us where we wash our money. It really did appeal to Mr Jones’s sense of humour to launder cash through an actual fucking laundrette. Total cost of both these premises going under is near to seven hundred and fifty thousand grand. But here’s the clincher you whinging Manc cunt. We have cops on the pay role. They provide anonymous information through a very secure system that we’ve used for years. Recently we’ve received information that our little enterprise has been infiltrated by an undercover cop. We don’t yet know who but you my friend are suspect numero uno. Is that you Anthony? Think you’re fucking Donnie Darko.

MR DUKE.

It’s Donnie Brasco Mr Low.

MR LOW.

Whatever. Johnny Depp here thinks he’s king of the pirates. OK as I mentioned people always get it wrong about the order of the fags and the hair dryer. The blow torch is obvious. That has to be the grand finale. What people don’t understand about the hair dryer is that they think it’s not so bad. I mean you dry you hair with it don’t you. Yes you do…but you don’t hold it on the same spot for too long do you? No indeed not. That would really start to hurt. Just imagine the damage a hairdryer can do if it was…say…held over a nipple for a minute or so.

ANTHONY.

I’m not a fucking cop. I swear…

MR LOW hits him again.

MR LOW.

I know, I know you swear on your wife and kids life…Swear on this. Hold him still Mr Duke.

MR DUKE holds ANTHONY in the chair. MR LOW goes to work with his hair dryer. There are screams of an almost feral and animalistic type. After about 30 seconds MR SANE speaks.

MR SANE.

C’mon lads. That has to be enough. Nobody can take that. It can’t be him.

MR LOW.

Squeamish as always Mr Sane. You can wait outside if you want. I’m just getting warmed up. Ha! Fucking warmed up.

MR DUKE.

You’ve cracked a funny Mr Low.

 

MR LOW.

I’m Scottish we’re the bollocks at jokes. Jokes and poetry. Christ…Sounds like a fucking Smiths album. You like them you Manc cunt. (SINGS) Heaven knows I’m miserable now…

ANTHONY.

Please, I’m begging. I’m not a cop. Ask anyone.

MR LOW.

Well I have to say you’ve got resolve. Very few make it to the blow torch. But you’ve got a lot to lose haven’t you. An entire operation blown and your day ends wrapped in this polythene and cemented into the Byker wall. Hold him there.

MR LOW lights the blow torch.

DISSOLVE TO.

We see a new angle MR LOW and MR DUKE both have their back to MR SANE. Mr Sane has produced a gun. Just as Mr Low is about to go to work with the blow torch he shoots MR LOW and MR SANE in the backs of their heads.

ANTHONY.

Oh fuck…oh fucking hell. Please don’t kill me. I really don’t know…

MR SANE.

…What’s going on. I know you don’t son. I know you’re not a cop…because I am.

ANTHONY.

Oh my fuck. I never thought I’d be pleased to see one of you lot…

MR SANE.

It’s not that simple son. You’ve done a lot of damage selling your gear on those estates. But I don’t believe in a God of retribution, or a fiery Hell. I reckon wherever you’re headed you’ll be alright. I’ll make sure your wife and kid are OK…there’s too much at stake here Anthony, And people like me are always going to need someone to take the rap. I’m sorry.

ANTHONY.

No wait…

MR SANE.

I’m sorry. Yes I’m a cop. But I’m not exactly the good one.

MR SANE shoots and kills Anthony.

Working class Pt. 2 The Arts.

There’s been much written in recent times about it being harder for working class artists to break through in their field. From problems with a lack of much needed money to gain access to education, to a general feeling that many of the fields are now being dominated by the privileged. I.e. those with money (or their parents money) to spare.

It’s not new the prejudices against the working classes in the arts. Over centuries it has been debated that Shakespeare didn’t write his own work because he was of too lowly a standing. To me the idea it was written by someone of nobility is ridiculous. Why would a noble in all their comforts have to strive to produce the best they could? They can just fall back on being…err…noble.

I think it’s certainly worth noting that just recently we lost two working class giants of their craft in David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Bowie himself left school with little qualification but did attend one of the many now eradicated 60s art schools. Rickman received sponsorship and a scholarship to get him started. All great supportive avenues for us ordinary folks to gain access to arts, now all gone.

On a personal level as a comedian I’ve certainly seen a hell of a lot of class bias in my own industry. Sometimes it’s prominent critics who hear a northern or working class voice and immediately dismiss whatever is being said as “club comedy” A now derisory term invented by a London based, self anointed comedy policeman. It’s a weird term as much comedy comes from and is created in clubs. Sure I understand that comedy designed to please those on a night out isn’t perhaps best suited to a festival going punter. But if that comedy does turn out to actually rock a festival crowd with laughter then surely it’s of some merit somewhere along the line? According to many critics absolutely not. And who is it we find most adept at this type of comedy? That’s right, working class comics. Because it was a working class crowd the comedy was created in front of. Yeah…but what are the working classes doing at an arts festival? This seems to be the notion behind such thinking.

In an attempt to not be judged as just a “club comic” I personally now write social and political comedy or satire as it can be known. How many working class voices have you heard over decades on telly or radio tackling that stuff? No, it would seem some forms of comedy are only to be uttered by those folks in the middle. What would a working class person know about the real issues? I was actually told once by the head of BBC comedy North, and I quote, “Look there’s a lot of good stuff here but you’ve got a wall of Oxbridge school tie to get over before anybody will look at it.” Do we hear a lot of working class voices on BBC Radio 4? Well I suppose sometimes we do, but usually they’re not being spoken by working class artists.  All this does beg the question what would someone from Oxbridge know about the vulnerability of life at the bottom. Or as we would call it, “the real issues.”

It used to be different.  The working classes were celebrated on TV and radio in the 70s and 80s. But for every Boys From the Black Stuff there’s now a Shameless. For every Alf Garnet there’s now Mrs Brown. We’ve been moved sideways in our portrayals from pathos to panto and nobody seems to have noticed it happening.

But it’s not all a negative picture we have here. My dad and many others were always ready to offer the advice for anybody wanting to study the arts, “You need a trade to fall back on.” Bizarrely as I head off to do a degree in Drama and Script this year I do have a trade to fall back on…the performing arts.

The problem with such thinking is those with something to fall back on will invariably fall back on it. If those coming from a more comfortable background can always opt out and go home, then home is where they will go. Working class kids can’t just up tools and go home. That’s actually their greatest asset. Once they enter the arts with nothing to fall back on…they are home.

Once you do find that home I would pay little attention to those outside performance or writing or music or busking who try to justify their existence by intellectualising the game. Art doesn’t come from the brain, it’s from the heart. That’s exactly what your audience will pay for. It’s an expression of joy and awe. Speak up, stand up…shout at the teacher.

 

Stand up comedy set 6. Church of Scotland minister…

just wrote a wee thing that made my wife laugh…It’s never been tried on stage so blame her…

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND MINISTER…

In Scotland we used to have a show called Late Call. And it was a wee five minute slot that came on at the end of the night in which a Church of Scotland minister would come on and try and give you some life advice via some religious metaphor. They’d say things like.

“You know my son came to me the other day after he had been on the internet…and he said to me…Is God everywhere daddy? I said yes he is son. god is indeed everywhere. And he said…So…Is God like Wi-Fi then daddy?

So I thought about that for a minute…And in a way yes he is. God is very much like Wi-Fi…Which is probably why they don’t get him in  Grimsby..hahaha…of course that was a little joke…

But yes God is like Wi-Fi and of course like all Wi-Fi he has a password…

But maybe you’re using the wrong password. Say for example if your password is something like Asian Babes Anal Calamity. Then that’s the very much wrong password.

Let me perhaps give you a wee bit guidance. You know I typed the words God Almighty into Google the other day and I got three top answers.

1.Is God Almighty real,

2. Is God Almighty the movie based on fact?

and 3. God almighty what’s the cure for an itchy scrotum?

Now the second two are much easier to answer than the first one. But if you have the right password then you can answer that first ever so big question…and I’m going to give you the password now…the password is of course faith.

Although if you type that into Google it does tend to go straight to the website of Faith Paloma…that’s the wrong one. Lovely as she is…

But I’d like if I can to finish tonight’s Late Call with a wee joke…It’s not my joke…it’s one I got off the internet…

There was a Jewish man praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The Wailing Wall is of course a traditional place of worship in the Jewish tradition…Everyday they go there for a good old wail…which I suppose makes sense…they’re always moaning about something…hahaha…Anyway this Jewish man is working himself up into quite the religious fervour when a tourist comes by and asks him what he’s doing?

He replies, Every day my son I come here to pray. I pray for an end to war, I pray for an end to hunger and more than anything I pray for an end to this terrible situation between the Jew and the Arab.

So the tourist asks…and does that work.

To which the Jewish man replies…what do you think? I’m talking to a wall.