John Gets Mad. Bi-Polar tales 1. (Don’t be a pain in the arse.)

I’m soon going to do a new show based around experiences of mental illness called John Scott Gets Mad. The things I post here are first ideas of what will be in it.

There’s a fair bit of hippy dippy thinking out there that goes along the lines of, “oh but if you take a medication for your mental health problem you’re not addressing the problem you’re just masking it.”

Look the condition I have is genetic. It requires treatment but is also very treatable. If it rains you put on a coat. It’s the Same idea when taking a treatment. Of course you get whack jobs like Scientologist Tom Cruise who claims all mental health treatments are the work of the Devil. Perhaps Tom if you took a pill you might have a moment of reflection on your double divorces and come to terms with the fact that your gay.

Saying that, having a mental health disability isn’t an excuse for being a pain in the arse. Or so my wife keeps telling me.

I once went on a tour to raise awareness on suicide in the highlands of Scotland. It’s really proportionally high up there. Lots of alcohol and access to shotguns.

The woman who organised the tour works with self harmers. She herself was a self harmer. She was also one of the rudest and more difficult of folks I’ve ever had to deal with. If she wasn’t trying to completely control everything we did she spent the rest of the time trying to convince us we were all self harmers. By the end of two weeks I was wondering why she had to self harm at all. I would have happily offered up a quick punch in the kidneys.

“Oh you bite your nails. That’s a sign of self harm. Oh you smoke. That’s self harm”…OK you got me there…”drink, that’s self harm”…Fuck you the reason I’m drinking is to get through the next week with you. The best one was, “If you were a Goth in the 80s there’s new evidence to suggest that’s self harm.” Are you kidding me? The reason I was a Goth in the 80s was because I liked to sleep with slightly over weight girls in fishnets. How can being a Goth be an illness when you’re in a band called The Cure???

But the biggest pain was the obsession she developed over the size of my luggage. Every day at regular intervals. “That case is TOO BIG. It’s too big for the Highlands. It’s TOO BIG for this tour.”

The reason my case was bigger than the other comics was they were all going home half way through. I was away for a full 12 days.

Eventually one night in a calmer moment everyone got to speaking about their families, partners and children. “Do you have any children John?” She enquired. “Yes I’ve got three.” I replied. “Oh really? That surprises me.”

“Oh..Well I should explain none of them are mine…no they’re all in that big fucking case I’m dragging around the place.”

 

Scene from a play. (I/Mmature student 4.)

I imagine I’ll regret posting early stabs at stuff up here as things go on. Bugger it. We’ve been asked to write our first wee scene. We were given this start… 

A man enters and finds a letter. He opens the letter, reads it and tears it into little pieces, then leaves.

And then to develop some physical action to follow this and then to produce a scene. I admit this is a bit hack and obvious but hey it’s also about having fun. Any resemblance to real life characters is purely coincidental. Oh and one other thing if you want to see me live I’m hosting Stand Up for Corbyn at The Tyne Theatre Newcastle tonight.

THE CLEANER.

Scene  1.

A man enters and finds a letter. He opens the letter, reads it and tears it into little pieces, then leaves.

A woman then enters. She is cleaning. On the wall are two paintings, one of Winston Churchill and one of Margaret Thatcher. She dusts the Churchill then blows a raspberry and makes a rude gesture towards the Thatcher leaving it uncleaned. She then finds the letter and starts to piece it back together.

Mrs Ribble.  Ee…Someone’s not popular. There must be about two thirds of that shower asking for his resignation. Shower o’ shite the lot of em.

The man re-enters. He finds the cleaner with the letter.

Mr Radisson.   Err…hello. Are you the new cleaner? You really shouldn’t be reading that you know.

Mrs Ribble.     Divin’t worry pet. Your secret’s safe with me. Ah haven’t got that git from the papers lodging in me spare room to cover that friggin’ tax o’ theirs.

Mr Radisson.   You mean Rupert Murdoch?

Mrs Ribble.     No the one that does the gossip column. Piers…something…Anyway he’s gone right doon in my estimation since he was hacking all them phones. How dare they, and Hugh Grant was such a gentleman aboot it all.

Mr Radisson.   Yes but I really must stress the severity of this. If one word gets out…err…Mrs, Ms?

Mrs Ribble.     Ribble. Like rabble but with an ibble as opposed to an abble.

Mr Radisson.   Well Mrs Ribble I really can’t emphasise enough how what you’ve read mustn’t be spoken of outside this room. I have to prepare a statement in response. You do realise this is what we call a political coup? There’s every bit of a chance I might not even be in this office this time next week.

Mrs Ribble.   It must be hard…

Mr Radisson. It was expected. You see I’m trying to take the party back to…

Mrs Ribble.     No I mean on your feelings. It must be hard on your feelings. There’s a lot of people on that list I’m sure you regarded as friends and yet here they are putting the knife in. That must be hard. I reckon a lot of folks don’t really see you as a real person. Just another face off telly. To tell you the truth Mr Radisson I’ve never really been interested in the world of politics but that was because the world of politics was never really interested in me. But then you arrived and I thought you had some nice ideas. I’d like cheaper trains. I have to get the train here every day and it costs a bloody fortune. It’s no wonder they’re called Virgin ‘cos no bugger wants to ride on them. (LAUGHS)

Mr Radisson. (LAUGHS) Oh that really is quite good…

Mrs Ribble.   Ee maybes you could use it at the next Prime Ministers question time.

Mr Radisson. Well… perhaps not. Look, Mrs Ribble that really was the kindest thing I’ve had said to me in months.  I am a person and yes this betrayal is causing all sorts of pains. These ideas of mine aren’t new, if anything they’re quite old fashioned. They’re what this party is supposed to stand for. However much a brave face I put on this I really am not sure this is a fight I can win. Too many of own party have a lot to lose.

Mrs Ribble.     Well I for one hope you take them on and fight this oot. And there’s a lot of folk feel like me aboot you. You’re a proper fresh breath ye are. If it helps there’s a saying we have in my family, I don’t know if it’s become popular, but we say it a lot. It goes, Divin’t let cunts put ye in a mincer.

Mr Radisson.   Err…I think that might be, don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Mrs Ribble.     Trust me pet. I know what I mean. My husband came up with it after he saw that film Frago.  Anyhoo I best get on. I’ve got a pile of overtime on since we did a Brexit. Most of the other cleaners have buggered off back to where they come from. And who can blame them! (LAUGHS)

Mrs Ribble exits leaving Mr Radisson in contemplation.

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.

A very, very short play.

I’ve been delighted to be accepted to do a script writing degree at University. As part of my application I had to write a two minute piece of script around the title “Where were you last night?” This is what I came up with.

WHERE WERE YOU LAST NIGHT?

We see an elderly woman Jean sat alone. In the background we hear the noise of a front door opening.

 

JEAN: Is that you Robert?

BRIAN. No Jean it’s me Brian.

JEAN. Brian? Should you not be at your work son?

We hear Brian talking loudly from another room.

BRIAN. Not today. Today’s the day I take you to the pensioners dance.

JEAN. You’re talking me to the dance? But you should be at your work. It’s your father’s job to take me to the dance.

BRIAN. You’ll see him at the dance. He said yesterday he’d get you there. Do you not remember?

JEAN. No son. You know I forget things. I’m just at that age. I’ve not seen your father all day. He’s probably down the bookies. He can spend hours in there deciding on a two pound flutter. I’ll give him what for when I see him at the dance.

BRIAN. I’m sure you will. Would you like a quick cuppa before we head.

JEAN. I’ll come through and make it.

BRIAN. No you sit where you are. I’ll bring it through.

JEAN. Have you seen your father today?

BRIAN Aye I’ve seen him. Just give me a minute and I’ll explain.

JEAN (To herself) Imagine leaving your son to take his mother to a pensioners dance. What an affront. I never know where that bugger is from one day to the next. Bookies and the pub, that’s all that matters to him. I’m not even sure if he came home last night. And at his age…

Brian an elderly man enters carrying a tea tray.

BRIAN. Here you are pet.

JEAN. Who are you?

BRIAN. It’s me pet, your husband Brian.

JEAN. But…but…Brain’s my son. Robert’s my husband.

BRIAN. No pet. It’s the other way around. You get that mixed a bit at the moment. Don’t worry about it; it’s just part of the condition. Things start to come back to you when you see my face. But when I leave the room…I’m sorry I should have come in right away.

JEAN. (Touching Brian’s face and looking directly into his eyes. Beginning to realise. Becoming tearful) Oh…Oh no…Oh I remember now. This is terrible. What must you think of me? What must you think when I don’t even know my own husband. What’s to become of us Brian? This is going to get worse. I’ve got early onset dementia but I’m not stupid. I know where this ends.

BRIAN (Kneeling before her) I’ll be here my love. I’ll always be right here.

JEAN. And who’s going to look after you when I no longer know who you are. This is as bad for you as anybody. How will you cope with that?

BRIAN. I’ll cope just fine pet. That’s just what life has set out for us. Even when you’re confused I’ll know that you’re there.

JEAN. I know…I know. But where were you last night?

BRIAN. I was here pet. I’m always here. Right, do you fancy getting down to the dance. Condition or not we can still cut up the floor better than the rest.

JEAN. Yes. I would enjoy that. (Laughs gently)You’re right. We’ll always be great dancers. One day I’ll be thinking I’m the belle of the ball. So many great dancers will be getting me up on the floor…but all the time it will be you.