The Bench. 2 page sketch.

We were asked to write a two page piece called The Bench…

THE BENCH. 2 PAGE SKETCH

The year is 2061. We are in a central London park. Bernard a representative of OneCorp is processing the final sale of a park bench to Raymond a Scot.

Bernard.   So here’s your investment Raymond and if I do say so a canny purchase.  There are seven benches up for grabs at auction this month and a snip at seventy thousand. This has one previous owner, don’t worry we’ll have the brass dedication plaque to the previous owner’s wife removed. A sorry affair, he was a suicide I believe. All quite common these    days sadly but it does slow down getting these things to sale. Obviously the park is owned  by OneCorp, well we pretty much own the city. As a customer of ours you’ll have daily   access to your property. There’s lots you can do with this my friend, enjoy the view,            treat a friend or perhaps romance a lady eh. Hell I like it so much I could happily live on it.

Raymond. Yes…Live on it. That sounds like a good idea.

Bernard.   Err… I was joking sir. I mean technically as the owner you could indeed live here…but…well I’m assuming if you can afford a bench you’re perhaps in one of the more spacious units in a OneCorp Megastruct. You’re not living in one of the camps are you? You’re a Scot aren’t you? I’m assuming you’re now down here because of the accident.

Raymond. Ah yes the accident.

Bernard.   Yes, jolly bad luck that was. Such an irony as well to think you put all that effort into trying to get rid of nukes then one of the bally things goes up in the air and straight back down on half the population. Bloody awful state of affairs. I hope you didn’t lose anyone.

Raymond. We all lost someone.

Bernard.   Indeed. I am sorry.

Raymond. So you think it was an accident?

Bernard.   I do indeed sir. You’re not one of those conspiracy nuts are you?

Raymond. A conspiracy nut? Conspiracy’s an interesting thing isn’t it? People have studied them for years. Pearl harbour, the Kennedys, Princess Di, nine eleven…a nuke lands on Scotland. Pearl harbour is one that interests me. You know some believe the American government let the Japanese bomb them so it would galvanise the country into joining the war in Europe.

Bernard. Well it’s an interesting theory but…

Raymond. Yes it is and seems entirely plausible to me. Now what if you took that theory and applied it to the “accident” as you call it.

Bernard. Well I can understand your anger old bean but I don’t think Scotland’s in any fit state to mount an invasion.

Raymond. No…not on their own. Anyway who says it would have to be an invasion.

Bernard.   I’m not sure I ascertain your meaning?

Raymond. You see the trouble with people like you and OneCorp is you see Scotland and the Scots as a geographical point on a map, as an accent, a nation, a right pain in the arse of the old empire. Sure when nationalism first arose in that part of the globe it was self-serving and inward looking. But we expected that. We planned for that. But then that        nationalism matured as we knew it would. The idea became more egalitarian, eventually it started asking not just for in independent Scotland but a better type of Scotland. A            fairer Scotland, a country that treated all as equal. Whether they won the independence      or not was a moot point. You see the thing is the idea of what it was to be Scottish would   spread. Next thing you know Iceland have sacked and imprisoned their bankers, and that   was just a start, another example that the world was watching. Freeing Palestine was the big one. That really shook up the old order…But we needed something bigger. Something  that would galvanise not just a country…but a planet.

Bernard.   I’m sorry you say “we” expected that…who the hell is we?

Raymond. Well I suppose you would call us conspirators. Trust me I don’t think that’s quite fitting enough for what’s about to happen.

Bernard.   Right I’m sorry sir but this is sedition you’re talking here and I’m well within my remit as a OneCorp representative to hold you here for questioning.  I’m just going to run a background check on my pad…what’s going on here? Bloody net won’t…

Raymond. Won’t respond. Yes we’ve just taken it. The internet invented by Tim Berners-Lee. A great and noble man, and one of us.

Bernard. Are you insane we have armies.

Raymond. Ah the armies. You know two thirds of the homeless are ex services? I’m afraid your stock isn’t too high with them. Maybe should have looked after them a bit better on your various corporate excursions.

Bernard. The capital, the resources and the banks. You don’t have banks! We have the money! That’s the way of things.

Raymond. The money isn’t real my friend. It isn’t a real resource. Here’s how we look on that. Thanks very much for lending us your invisible wheelbarrow…here you go you can have your invisible wheelbarrow back now.

Bernard.   And what will become of OneCorp? What will become of me?

Raymond. We have everything. We’re on every board of every bit of business that’s of use to us. Look on this as a not too hostile takeover.  A velvet revolution is what they used to call it. As for you…Well this bench now belongs to me, you’re than welcome to spend some time at my place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metafiction, Kurt Vonnegut and The Turner Prize.

I previously posted a play here (RAW A RESPONSE PLAY) that uses Metafiction a lot in the script. This was a first stab at something like this and I’ve only just realised how much I was being influenced by Kurt Vonnegut and his book Breakfast of Champions. I genuinely thought at the time I was doing it because of my experience as a comic…

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Metafiction.

 “Breakfast of Champions makes heavy use of Metafiction, with Vonnegut appearing as the narrator/creator of the work, explaining why and how he makes this world as it is, changing things when and as he sees fit, and even being surprised by events.”

In no way am I claiming I’m in the same league as Kurt Vonnegut. I’m posting this because I’m surprised how much I’d appropriated his style unconsciously. I haven’t read much of his work and haven’t read Breakfast of Champions in about 15 years, although I feel another reading may be on the cards soon.

Suicide, free will, mental illness, and social and economic cruelty are the main themes of Breakfast of Champions so you’d be surprised to find it’s also one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

In the book is a character called Rabo Karabekian who is an artist who has sold an abstract work called The Temptation of Saint Anthony. Here’s a fictional image of a fictional painting. temptation-of-st-anthony

Although he’s not a main character my favourite part of the book comes when Rabo has to justify the money spent on his work to a group of angry and cynical towns folk. He says…

“I now give you my word of honor,” he went on, “that the picture your city owns shows everything about life which truly matters, with nothing left out. It is a picture of the awareness of every animal. It is the immaterial core of every animal – the ‘I am’ to which all messages are sent. It is all that is alive in any of us – in a mouse, in a deer, in a cocktail waitress. It is unwavering and pure, no matter what preposterous adventure may befall us. A sacred picture of Saint Anthony alone is one vertical, unwavering band of light. If a cockroach were near him, or a cocktail waitress, the picture would show two such bands of light. Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery.”

There we go. Now you’re looking at it from a new perspective. Which is what most art is about.

Now here’s one of the new entries for the Turner prize.

bum

Looking at this you may come to the conclusion that the Turner Prize has reached its natural conclusion and disappeared up its own. But the point is this bit of art is by the artist, Anthea Hamilton, who has enlarged it from a design by Gaetano Pesce for a New York apartment block, to which it would have been a doorway (a back entrance, so to speak) for social housing tenants.

And now you have another perspective. No other great point to make here. And so it goes…

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.