Monday, August 31, 2009

Well, *I* Think It's Funny

"I've got a plan...
and it's as hot as my PANTS!"

And also available is this. I was mucking about with some software I found on my computer that I had no idea actually existed and here is the result, Fatboy Slim mixed with the Barbara Benedetti Doctor... worse than it sounds!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

When Cally Met... er... Cally

The next installment of B7 Enterprizes Let's Try That Again franchise with its understandable intention to give some vaguely decent material to the cast is out. My hopes are high - The Early Years has had a far greater success rate than the "genuine" Blake's 7 audios, with the only proviso seeming to be 'forget everything you know from the audio series'. As you can imagine, this works for me on SO many levels, and if these CDs had been for sale at that miserable excuse of a convention today, I'd have snapped them up... but they didn't even have the Robin Hood audios for crying out loud.

This time round I am blessed to get the actual booklet with the CD rather than the cover image. What cover image, you ask? This one, of course!

The essay by author Marc Platt is basically "the TV series treated Auron crap, didn't it?", a sentiment few can argue with and how Mr. Platt has understandable decided to extrapolate Avon's line about "the great passive majority psyched them back into line - isn't telepathic communion a wonderful thing?" and turned it into some kind of Communism paranoia parable. Also Dayna noting that "there are plenty more like Cally" is picked up as it appears that all life on Auron are clones of Jan Chappell, albeit played by completely different actresses. So that cover is out and out lying to you, dude.

I'm coming to this green, guys and ghouls, as the horrors of the audios have mercifully left Cally alone - unless you count India Fisher's wasted Laura Mezin, considering she was the one rebel we saw who, as Waldorf Sockbat would say, wasn't completely retarded. So instead of doing justice to Cally 2.0, we're getting Cally 2.0 for the first time. So to speak.

Enough of this self pity! ONWARDS!

Blood & Earth

"What the hell is a 'management consultant'?!"

Dear me, will they ever get rid of those bloody awful titles? And despite his recent rehabilitation in my eyes, "by Ben Aaronovitch" still fills me with atavistic terror. Especially as I was promised Marc Platt...

Action kicks off in the depths of the telepathic hubber-bubber of Auron, which is Kakrafoon Kappa for the squee girl generation as we hear the babble of disembodied voices discuss fashion, individuality and how that is SO last epoch, girlfriend! We focus on one of the Callys, Arianne, who is on a plane heading towards Westfield shopping centre piloted by a bloke who doesn't sound a BIT like Cally and a computer sounding just like Zen! Despite the amazing powers of telepathic conferencing, Arianne has a mobile phone and it turns out that even on Auron using a phoning on the plane leads to bad shit happening. Westfield is unlikely to be reopening any time soon as Arianne's plane does a respectable 9-11 impression and none of her airhead clone sisters can do a damn thing about it.

The militia immediately cordon off the area rather than doing anything sensible like getting the emergency services in - and Jorden Cally turns up to demand to know why her sista ain't been rescued yet, bee-yotch? Commissioner Van Reich (who sounds just like the pilot but then this IS a planet of clones... ooh, I was right!) is unimpressed with this cheap mafiosi shit and explains the plane has vanished in a ridiculously giant protected forest and thus no one's even found the damn thing yet. As none of the Callys felt Arianne die, there's strong evidence she's alive, so the Commissioner agrees to... do what he's already doing. OK.

Arianne is indeed alive, but immediately finds herself being attacked by wild green-striped grey six-legged funnel-nosed dogs, but then another Cally, who is actually played by the proper actress. Cally gives Arianne a pep talk and gets her to do the smart thing of "leave the dogs alone" which, amazingly enough, works first time. It turns out that Arianne hasn't met this particular elder sister of hers before, and it's rather odd that this distant relative happens to be in thinking distance. Oooh, could this be the proper B7 Cally after all? She's called "Aunty" in this, which lead me to expect her to be some Big Brother family head honcho, and of course, evil.

Jorden and Van Reich get into a whiskey-powered flier and decide to search the area, while Cally gives Arianne basic scout-troop info like "how to build a log fire before you die of exposure". It turns out Cally was born out of the cloning banks bum-first, hit her head and has been alone and silent ever since, which is why she hasn't sent a few thoughts to the emergency services: she's a telepathically mute hermit, and the fact she's able to communicate with the one relative who crashed in the woods really is pushing the laws of probability rather. But while Arianne is less than impressed with her redneck woodland aunty and her complete lack of bluetooth attachments, Cally is as unimpressed with her management consultant niece as you'd expect her to be. Bloody yuppies with their belief anyone who knows how to live rough is a member of the "Auron Masochist Society", eh Cally?

It turns out that this Cally (Cally Secondus - literally, Cally the Second) is the second-ever Cally ever, over sixty-years old, and the Callys were originally created as a slave work force before their intellectual capacity was discovered! Didn't see that one, I admit. But time for Arianne to finally twig her mobile was in her pocket all along and hear her pathetic ringtone (another homemade rock song, ala Eye of the Machine) and its set on vibrate AS WELL as ringtone. God I hate that for some reason... Anyway, if Arianne had stayed in the ship she could have switched on the Mayday and immediately been rescued. Still, if she wants to get back there, she'll need Cally's help to avoid being eaten by the forest dogs.

"Why are you whispering?" asks Cally as Arianne sneaks into the ship. "We're communicating telepathically!" I dunno if that dry wit is genius or stupidity, but it's definitely the kind of 'duh!' moment Cally often had in the TV series. Anyway, it turns out the mayday system is not only broken but surrounded by wild dogs, so Arianne runs off, is quietly sick, and she and Cally chat more about the history. It turns out all clones nowadays are single-born rather than twins, who are capable of synesthetic link and are much more powerful. Cally and her sister used that power to work out a revolution of the clones using the children of the masters.

"You turned them against their parents?" Arianne boggles.

"We were the cool kids, dear," Cally replies deadpan. "We could do cool stuff - like survive in the woods, build shelters and operate power tools. Their parents didn't stand a chance!"

Taking this rather personally, Arianne uses her newfound knowledge of botany to create a bunch of grenades and use them to wipe out the wild dogs by blowing up the plane altogether. Cally is mildly impressed by this Ace-style pyromania, but as she notes, it's not exactly what you'd call "sensible".

But where has that rescue team got to? Well, turns out there's a planetary emergency (Christ, don't tell me, Blake won the election and anarchy's broken out?) so Van Reich and Jorden abandon the search and return to base. A Federation ship has hyper-jumped into the solar system for the first time, 20 years before their empire was supposed to expand this far and the Aurons are mobilizing. You realize THIS MEANS WAR?!? Well, it does.

But luckily Arianne's recreation of the Tungunska fireball attracts the attention of the rescue team and while they await rescue, Cally reveals that with the slaves in control of the foundling Auron colony world a mass picnic was held. It was decided that instead of making a slave class, the entire society would become equal and communist with a 'unity of purpose'. But Cally, the last of the first generation, got sick of her vacuous descendants and went to live in the hills, and it turns out that Arianne can communicate with her due to a seemingly-fatal bout of concussion.

Events skip forward a couple of days. Arianne is now recovering in hospital after her poetic 'dropping dead seconds before help arrives' and Cally has found herself recruited to help fight the Federation... as a pen-pushing paperwork desk bound beaurocrat General. Nevertheless, Cally's impressed by Jorden's anti-authoritan streak and hires her to join her own private military business, which is presumably going to make sense if I listen to the next story.

Well, Blood & Earth continues the improved standard of the Early Years but it's far from perfect. Jorden doesn't really come across as the rule-busting anti-establishment rebel Cally thinks of, the history of Auron is badly explained (so they aren't aliens then?), and the final scene has scars from the tissue rejection it got arriving randomly into a set plot. The acting's decent, but Jan Chapell pretty much blows the fish out of the barrell they were in and then guts them with a blunt knife.

But, then again, what else were we expecting?


Way back before I even had a blog, I tried sending an article to Kaldor City website. Nyder/Alan Stevens/Fiona Moore wanted some stuff sorted out before they'd publish it (and fair enough) until it became clear to the website they could do without my input as I was clearly deluded. Before the foregone conclusion I discovered this critique on my harddrive, taking up space.

To be clear, the article's quite crap and wouldn't have merited publishing anyway...

The penultimate segment of The Trial of a Time Lord by Pip & Jane Baker (variously known as The Ultimate Foe, The Vervoids, and Terror of the Vervoids) is widely considered to be one of the better Sixth Doctor stories, and definitely one of the more enjoyable Trial 'evidence'.

AS: But is it though? Although “Mindwarp” is deeply flawed, much of the dialogue and characterization is much better than anything that appears in “Vervoids”. The incidental music is also fantastic, and both Nabil Shaban and Christopher Ryan are outstanding.

FM: Also, is it true to say it’s “widely considered to be one of the better Sixth Doctor stories”? I thought the consensus was fairly mixed on that, as with most Colin Baker stories.

Although naturalistic dialogue has never been the Bakers' strongpoint, it has a plot which is easy to follow

AS: Well, it’s only easy to follow if you aren’t really paying attention to what’s going on. If you give it any thought at all, the story makes very little sense.

and a clear purpose as 'evidence'.

AS: I think that is in dispute as well. If it’s meant to be evidence for the defence, why does the Doctor end up on a more serious charge after it has been shown?

The Doctor has chosen this material to show that, in the future, his behavior

FM: "behaviour"

becomes more acceptable to the Time Lords (it appears that only the Valeyard picks up on the main fault, while the Inquisitor and the jury seem satisfied).

AS: How do you know that the jury seem satisfied? They never speak.

For example, the first choice of evidence against the Doctor (the Ravalox segment) has no such purpose, but instead arguably strengthens his case (he is shown to save lives and the universe) and also implicates the Time Lords (who moved Earth to protect their secrets).

AS: All true, but that still doesn’t justify the inclusion of “Terror of the Vervoids” as a legitimate piece of evidence for the defence.

FM: Also, as an introductory paragraph it’s very long, and seems mostly to be devoted to justifying the story’s inclusion rather than actually laying out an argument.

The plot is not without its flaws, but considering that the Bakers were chosen by producer John Nathan-Turner due to their proven ability to write scripts rapidly

AS: It may also have had a lot to do with the fact that they were personal friends of JNT.

(and the fact JNT also had to act as script editor during the time), it is surprising the story hangs together at all

FM: Well, considering what gets said below that’s a debatable statement, but also, better scripts have been written under similar/worse pressure: cf. “The Ark in Space,” so that’s not much of a justification.

There are a few minor problems

AS: From what the analysis is uncovering, I’d say that the flaws in the story are enormous.

that, with a bit more time, could easily have been fixed

FM: No, I think it would have needed a top-to-bottom rewrite to actually work.

For example, the first episode has the Doctor imply that some of the passengers will survive the journey

AS: No he doesn’t. Again, what the Doctor says is. “The crew is aboard. The last passengers are reporting in. Many will never complete the journey”. When the Doctor says “many” he may well be referring to the passengers and the crew as a whole. The fact that all the passengers appear to have been killed doesn’t contradict the Doctor’s statement, because some of the crew survive.

(none do, which suggests that this particular plot point had not been decided at the first).

AS: No. See above.

It appears that the locks to the sixth and ninth cabins, if not all of them,

AS: We only have evidence that the locks of cabins nine and six are identical. There is no evidence to suggest that this is the case with all the locks.

are identical - an unlikely event on a Grade 1 security craft - and this could easily have been remedied by the script (i.e.: the door to cabin 6 could have been left open accidentally).

AS: The reason why this key mix up takes place is to introduce the audience to Lasky.

FM: What Pip and Jane should have done is found a better way of doing this, rather than coming up with a convoluted idea involving doors, luggage and numbers. This might be a holdover from the Bakers’ early days writing cheap-and-wacky British farce movies, as it seems more like something from a silly comedy than a space opera.

The Hyperion 3 is described as an intergalactic liner, when it is said to only travel within the Milky Way (it travels between Mogar and Earth, which is in the same galaxy).

The Doctor, Commodore Travers and Professor Lasky at various times observe that Rudge is totally useless as a security officer,

AS: Travers does criticise Rudge on at least two occasions, but when do Lasky and the Doctor criticise him?

Ed Note: Lasky disses him in their first scene and the Doctor calls him "a weak man gone rogue".

which makes you wonder how he got to the position in the first place and why he feels so badly about being given early retirement or, more likely, long overdue retrenchment. His idiocy does not appear to be an act, as he is shown to be nervous and bumbling around his own conspirators and when doing his duty that’s because when he is talking to his co-conspirators and doing his duty

AS: He’s doing it in front of everyone else.

- besides, why would acting incompetent aid his cause?

AS: Because if the audience think he’s incompetent, then they aren’t going to believe that he is capable of devising and following through with a plan to take over the ship.

FM: At this point, you seem to start arguing within the article with someone who isn’t actually there; presumably this is because you are responding to editorial points, which is fine, but the argument should be integrated within the essay rather than actually addressing the absent editor.

(In a deleted Trial scene, the Time Lords ponder over Rudge's uncharacteristic efficiency when calling on the Mogarians, so even if Rudge was pretending to be a fool,

AS: Which he clearly was doing, because the reason why the “Time Lords ponder over Ridge’s uncharacteristic efficiency” is because it is out of kilter with the persona he has been presenting the audience up to this point.

it seems odd of him to stop moments before it is actually important not to arouse suspicion).

AS: The ship is being flown into a black hole. Which is hardly the time for Travers to say, “Hang on a minute? That’s a very clever plan. How did you come up with that? You’re supposed to be stupid! You’re not a hijacker , are you? Intent on stealing my cargo?” Now it’s true to say that Rudge, for the first three episodes, is acting too stupid to be credible, and that his sudden change of character is crudely done, but that ‘s because “Vervoids” is a story written primarily for children, who need things spelt out for them.

It is also unclear what the original plan was to take over the Hyperion 3, indeed if there was an original plan at all.

AS: Well, there must have been an original plan. What happens, however, is that Rudge cleverly takes advantage of the emergency to take over the bridge. The fact that Bruchner is able to highjack the ship by running on to the bridge and pointing a gun at Travers, indicates that Rudge could have easily done the same thing. The reason why he doesn’t act sooner is because they have to wait for the pick-up.

Also, Mogarians can drink tea quite happily, but exposure to water seems fatal (it is possible the fluid thrown on their masks is some kind of acid and it is the oxygen that kills them, but it is never confirmed). Travers' revelation that the bridge is 'supposed to be hijack-proof' while he is locked outside the hijacked bridge with a gunshot injury is presumably an ironic quip, but Michael Craig plays the line earnestly, making the scene redundant. This is compounded when we find the doors can be cut through and the bridge itself can be accessed via the air ducts.

AS: The bridge can’t be directly accessed through the air ducts, because none of the Vervoids make it onto the bridge, but the bridge can be viewed from the air ducts, and gas can be pumped into that area.


Meh, this is getting too much hassle to type out. You get the picture, though.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


And so the worst week of my life (copyright whoever that guy is who pretended to get married to Sarah Alexander and NOT be Jack Davenport... Ben Miller, is that his name?) comes to its conclusion. Kicking off with the loss of the Ashes? Impressive, but escalating through the officially terminal diagnosis of dear papa, then the tumors on my dog's arse, the manifest awfulness of Doctor Who's Greatest Moments (waiting trial under the Trades Description Act), having a hithertoo unmentioned DWCA convention tomorrow too late for me to attend, and then getting simultaneously snubbed by my cousin and a five-year-old birthday boy ON THE SAME DAY!

You couldn't leave it there, though, could you? No, you had to go one further AND DESTROY ANY FAITH I HAD IN MOFFAT'S ENCROACHING APOTHEOSIS!

I mean, I was trying to be open-minded. I really was. I gave the casting a chance. I tolerated the possibility that making River Song a semi-regular might be preferable to being forced to watch The Idiot's Lantern interspersed with scenes of Battlefield and the soundtrack to Blake's 7 Rebel. I took with equinimity the revelation that the opening episode was basically a rewrite of Girl in the Fireplace, only with Amy instead of Reniette. I tried to be positive at the seriously-how-fucking-pathetic-are-youness that the plot would be nothing more than an attempt to scare people about the cracks in the paintwork after the epic success of making flesh-eating darkness BORING. The news the Daleks were returning... in a one-part story... by Mark Gatiss... was enough to push me to the brink.

And then this pushed me over the edge.

Some kind-hearted fan managed to record a snippet of dialogue as Doc 11 confronted his new, grey-painted "British secret weapon designed on that black trashcan we found under the Empire State Building fifteen years ago" Daleks...

"I sent you back into the void. I saved the whole of reality from you. I am the Doctor, and you are the DAAAAAAAAAALEKS!"

Yes. It turns out, on top of everything that Matt Smith can't actually act.

And I'm not arguing technicalities of the Sylvester McCoy/Tom Baker "define acting" sort of gig.

I'm talking "this guy needs acting lessons stat".

I'm talking "on second thoughts Chip J, let's see how you go in the main role, I think you got the bottle the play the part" awful here.

Imagine a thirteen year old with less talent than Rick "The Mutants" James was trying to improvise with the instruction "be Turlough having an epileptic fit" and then image it is really, really shithouse. And then taken a step further by Shaun McCallif in his David MacGhan aspect.

For the love of god, he can't even pronounce "Dalek" correctly!

I'm crying genuine tears, I really am. This is not news I wish to know about let alone discuss. The idea that they cancelled Robin Hood for this show which now appears to be completely bereft of talent on either side of the screen is enough to make me contemplate suicide. Twice. Especially as the rest of eternity is now fully booked with Lawrence Miles bouncing up and down by that barrel full of rainwater screaming, "I TOLD THEE SO! DIDN'T I TELL THEEE?!?"

I'm scrabbling for some explanation. That, in context, it makes sense - maybe he's taking the piss or having a door slammed into his face in the middle of pronouncing "Dalek", or maybe it was just some rehearsal and Smithy was having a laugh, understandably awestruck at his first Dalek scene, or maybe, just maybe (coz, truth be told, it doesn't sound much like Matt Smith) it's some idiot fan 'recreating' the performance to best of his lack of ability. That this won't be the complete liquid manure it so manifestly is, that we aren't getting a Doctor that, in years to come will prompt Australian fans to whisper nostalgically "if only they'd got Chris Lilley to play the Eleventh Doctor, wouldn't that be awesome"?

I want to be wrong. I want to be able to look back and point and laugh at my paranoia rather than going "fuck me, I was right!" like when I accurately predicted Nottingham would be destroyed in a season finale explosion. I want Doctor Who to be, at the least, as good as the last four years. I don't want all concerned to completely let me down.

But no. I've run out of all confidence. I've been burned too much too soon.

Doctor Who died today.

If only we'd all died with it.



I just fucking give up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Piss-Farting-About With Photoshop

The result of two hours' tedium upon hearing of a certain fan fic anthology being created - ask no questions, get no lies and try not to giggle.

Not bad if I say so myself. Not particularly good, admittedly, but check out some of the crap offered by GENUINE Short Trips (Life Science, Monsters and Defining Patterns really take the cake.)

A little mid-regeneration hallucinagenic mindfuck. Worked better in my head, I guess...

Dr. Spoon guest-stars as some lesser-known audio companion who isn't Landon, along with my facebook persona (from Screams of a Winter Night theatre poster if you must know) and some funky wetworks parody. Yes, so what if Red Dwarf did it better?

The return of everyone's favorite parasitic nomads! And the Nimon.

Alan Barnes' Orbis managed to make a silk purse out of the biohazard waste of Vengeance of Morbius. I attempt to do the same with that rubbish Cyberman bit from Webs of Time. Yeah, the Cybermen look stoned. I wasn't exactly breaking my back for this one. Or any of them come to think of it...

Master versus Voord. Whoever loses... I don't care. Did that come across enough?

There are no photos of any kind about the character in this story. Nor do we know what she looks like, who she is, where she comes from, what she does and niether do we know exactly what happens to her in the story. So here's a picture of Amy Pond and what she wears under all those shapeless jumpers and skirts. Blimey.

Dara Hamilton takes on Peri's worst nightmare. By which I mean that green lightbulb crap from The Enemy Within, not the Borad putting on Barry White albums while Brian Blessed gets out the lubricant...

A tale of the real-life Captain Kidd, a pirate who makes Captain Feathersword look like a dangerous and competent mastermind.

You ever notice that "Loki" is an anagram of "Kilo"? Well. Now you do.

Just what the world needs. Empire of the Daleks - expanded! As there are no photos of Colonel Chrichton, here's Leftennant Carstairs facing the crash of the Starship Titanic. And a funky redesigned Dalek whose details are totally lost in the mushroom cloud. Sociopolitical comment or bad composition? YOU DECIDE!

A touching character-based tale unfortunately reliant on stories that nobody... and I mean nobody... has actually heard.

Jeff Coburn finally takes part in the Cyber-zombie apocalypse story I've been flogging since 2006. Still, that's more variety than some BAFTA winners provide... (Yeah, Moff, not happy!!)

Terrifying Nightingales final episode rewritten! "Doesn't this hack have ANY ideas of his own?" demands said hack before accidentally shutting off his own blog. "Obviously not," readers reply.

Meh. War stories, ruthlessless, loss of humanity, dark introspection, yes that is Xenon base exploding, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Historical cowboy romp. The worshippers of Peter Haining recoil instinctively.

Meditations on the abyss by those who are yet to exist. Pretentious? Definitely.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Proof I'm Starting To Lose It

I might have considered a post bitching about the latest Mad Larry blogspot (by the way, oh Pirate King, when you get pwned by Ian Levine, it's probably time to reexamine the way you're going about your life), but while idly scrabbling through my collection of possessions, I found this...
I don't remember drawing that. At all. Or even thinking about that joke. I just found this in an old notebook I got for asthma research, a notebook full of jottings I DO remember in vivid detail. But not the vaguest memory trace about that. And I remember everything I draw. At least when I find it afterwards.

But not this time.

I can only wonder before all the content of that notebook becomes a mystery to me, and I wonder why on Earth I drew a dozen cartoons about a lawnmowing service as the memory of my very brief attempt to get into the advertising service vanishes from what's left of my brain...

Oh, why don't the grandchildren visit me any more?

Why do they keep feeding me dog food?

And who are you, anyway, and what have you done with the little Linburg baby!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rainy Day Musings...

I try never to let depressing thoughts get me down, especially the "if only I'd..." variety which are guaranteed to drive anyone to suicidal despair. But today one seems particularly prominent - if only I'd... actually asked Mrs Haralumbas what the name of that damn song was?

Some history. Back in primary school I was given a choice for LOTE (Languages Other Than English) class. The options were Greek and Macedonian, and later Portugese and Japanese. Portugese proved to be a totally retarded waste of time as the class consisted of watching a single scene from a Rambo flick over and over again, where Rambo has Johnny Native explain why the hell they kill cattle and drag its body in the dirt. No language other than English occured in the scene. After two weeks, Portugese classes collapsed altogether. I wonder why.

Of course, Greek classes weren't exactly what I'd call utterly brilliant either. Even at the time, in the early nineties, I suspected there was more to the subject than was actually being taught to us (yet simultaneously I was hugely relieved it was staying in such a small section that I could understand). Our teacher was Mrs Haralumbas, which I may not be spelling correctly, a diminutive brown-skinned Greek lady in tinted spectacles and a silver afro. Her classes often consisted of telling us stories of Odysseus, the Minotaur, all the funky classics, told to us in English from graphically-illustrated Greek picture books. We also did a bit of Greek Dancing, (which, if you got your kicks by touching shoulders of the opposite sex and not being allowed to make eye contact, was hardcore stuff), spent many, many hours practicing drawing Greek characters in running writing, and also listening to Greek songs.

But, it goes to show how little I... or indeed ANYONE... learned in that class that this mind blowing prog rock, songs that would melt your face, we actually had no idea what they were called. Or even what they were about. Yet we all sang along, every week day, at the top of our little voices. They were great. Utterly brilliant. I lack superlatives. Only the Doug Anthony Allstars had the same hit rate with me. The songs were awesome.

But one was better than all the rest. One moved myself and others to tears - even though it wasn't sad or even had some huge Golden-Brown-style hook in our subconsciousnesses. It was sung by a girl who had one of those voices you knew would get her a permanent job at any cartoon network, perpetually young and androgynous, but with incredible range. The music took its cue from her voice.

A class of over a dozen hormonal brats sat, stunned as it played, the only interruption the vague grunts from the teacher that certain verses were all about the sun worship or somesuch. When it was over, I could simply exchanged stunned looks with the others.

"Wow," said I. "That was... apocalyptic."

"Yeah," agreed Michael Trakosas - mandatory bezerker kid with the most Greek background of all present. "Um, what does 'apocalyptic' mean?"

"It means the end of the world," I explained. I often had to explain what the hell I was on about.

Michael T nodded. "Yeah. That's what we'll hear the day the world ends."

"The world's not going to end," pointed out Shelly, a butch chubby curl with long curly hair in a pony-tail.

"Yeah," said Angelo, the Olag Gan of the group, "but if it does end, that's what we'll hear."

No one had anything to say after that.

We heard the song once, maybe twice more and never again. What was it called? Who was it by? If I had the faintest snippet of info, I might be able to find out more. Maybe even get some kind of copy of it somehow. But no. It never cropped up again. It's been over a decade since I was anywhere near the place I heard it, even longer since I was with anyone else who might have heard the same song. And, as it wasn't in English, or even sung enough for me to to know SOME of the words, I could hardly even google it. I don't even know how to properly write it down phonetically, and only one line of that song still exists in my memory...

So, if any passing bloggers speak Greek and have an indepth knowledge of pre-1995 Greek rock tunes and you are able to translate the following, please do so. It could make one less regret in my life...

E-yeah po-e-yeah, am-me-ah-vry-ot-tu

Yeah. My hopes aren't high either.

So, to lighten the oppressive atmosphere of bittersweet nostalgia and childhood regret, some... randomized psuedo-satirical abuse!

Scene 1 – Classroom

[Rose Tyler stands in her hoodie at the front of a classroom full of students, ranting in perfect Italian as the other students and a teacher stare on in confusion. She has clearly been singing a long time]

ROSE: Nostra patria è il mondo intero!
Nostra legge è la libertà!
Ed un pensiero, ed un pensiero:
Nostra patria è il mondo intero!
Nostra legge è la libertà!
Ed un pensiero
Ribelle in cuor ci sta!

[The class stare at her.]

ROSE: Oh wait. Sorry, forgot how to speak English there for a second. Sorry. Ahem.
Our homeland is the whole world!
Our law is liberty!
We have one thought, but one thought:
Revolution in our hearts!

[The other students applaud. Rose does a funky hand gesture.]

ROSE: Westside.

MR. PATTERSON: Yes, very well recited, Miss Tyler. But the topic for speech was the socio-political relevance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

[A long pause.]


MR. PATTERSON: Whatever. Next!

[The school bell rings and all the students laugh, flick V-signs at the teacher and storm out. The teacher is left alone, holding his head in his hands.]

MR. PATTERSON: I hate my life.

Scene 2 – Outside School

[Rose and Mickey split off from the school kids and wander off.]

MICKEY: So, ma woman. How’s about you and me go back to my place and soil the duvet, eh?

ROSE: Ew. Then we’d just have clean it again wouldn’t we? Besides, I’m going to Hellmouths. Want to come with me?

MICKEY: Baby, I dream of nothing else... Oh. To the bookshop. Yeah. Whatever. [sighs] What are you after?


MICKEY: From a book shop. Yeah, that sure makes sense. What is it? Billie Piper’s greatest hits?

ROSE: Nah, there’s a new Doctor Who audio out.

MICKEY: Sweet onion chutney, Rose. Why can’t you waste your cash on something less vulgar, babe, like, I dunno... smack laced with cocaine or something like that? Please tell me it’s at least Big Finish.


MICKEY: [revolted] Rose, babe, sugar, sweetie, non-specific term of affection, you can’t be THAT desperate for audio drama!

ROSE: Well, I am. Now there’s a new TV series, all the fan audios and videos have suffered, what with being brutally reminded what pointless stopgaps they were.

MICKEY: Yeah, but no one likes the SCADs! You only found out they existed by clicking “random” on that webring – a total bunch of sadact losers who can’t decide whether to join the KKK or the Outpost Gallifrey forum for the love of Lead Zeppelin!

ROSE: I like them.

MICKEY: Babe, you like Ant and Dec.

[They walk into the convenient sci-fi collectable bookshop. The one with the inflatable Dalek out the front next to the Starbug-shaped people mover car.]

Scene 3 – Hellmouths

[A blatant BBC product placement archive full of all post-2005 DW merchandise and several inflatable sex dolls, that may or not be for sale. A bored albino flips through an SFX with a cover showing John Barrowman and the words “WHAT RETARDS GAVE THIS GUY HIS OWN SHOW?!”. Rose and Mickey enter, the latter gagging on the stench.]

CLERK 1: [not looking up] Yeah, yeah. Go outside if you need oxygen. What do you want, blondie?

ROSE: I am here to pick up my latest SCAD.

CLERK 1: That sounds nasty. Try the STD clinic down the street.

ROSE: It’s an audio CD. Superiority Complex Audio Drama.

CLERK 1: ...yeah, I think the STD clinic might be a good bet anyway.

MICKEY: She’ll show you her tits.

CLERK 1: Really? Oh well. All right then. [shouts] Chamber! We got any SCADs left?

CLERK 2: [vo] Don’t be disgusting, Rupert!

CLERK 1: No, you know. The fan audios by the Christian nutters who believe homosexuality can only be cured by death camps and still haven’t got original music after twenty-five years!

CLERK 2: [vo] Oh, them. Didn’t we use them all in that Frisbee competition?

CLERK 1: Not all of them, surely!

CLERK 2: [vo] Well, the rest we used as beer mats, remember?

CLERK 1: Oh yeah. We did. [to Rose] Sorry, luv. All gone.

CLERK 2: [vo] Why do you want one?

CLERK 1: Fit blonde school girl down here says she’ll let us see her areolas in context if we do.

CLERK 2: [vo] And in English?

CLERK 1: Her breasts unto to us she will show. [beat] Chamber? Chamber?

[A second clerk rushes in, wearing a Kill-Bill tracksuit and clearly exhausted.]

CLERK 2: [gasping for air] Got it! Last one! Here you go, Miss!

[He hands over a CD with a very cheap and crap looking cover.]

CLERK 2: So... you... wear a bra... under there?

ROSE: Cool. I got the last copy.

CLERK 2: Nah, there’s a dozen more up there. But that’s the last one.

CLERK 1: Thank Christ for that.

ROSE: What?

CLERK 2: The SCADs are no more. Sadly-Cancelled Audio Dickheads it stands for now.

CLERK 1: Yeah. Got cancelled. Their new Doctor, the porn star pretending to be Colin Baker, his brain exploded or something. And with the TV show kicking their arses six way to Sunday, why go on?

CLERK 2: Well, it wasn’t for the sex and groupies. Speaking of which, Miss...?

ROSE: [busy checking CD] Sod This For A Game Of Soldiers. That’s fitting, somehow, as a title.

CLERK 2: I never thought they’d be cancelled.

CLERK 1: No one did. We all just sort of hoped. Well, by “all” I mean the handful of people who know they exist.

CLERK 2: Yeah, fascinating. Now, Miss, we were on a promise for some boobies here...

MICKEY: Don’t you have the internet or something? The ho is MINE!

[Mickey starts to lead Rose to the exit.]

MICKEY: Come on, Rose. What’s the point listening to a bunch of talentless amateurs wanking away in front of tape recorders since before we were born, anyway. The only reason they’ve made so many is cause they don’t have lives. How many times did they try and pass off Revenge of the Cybermen as a new story anyway?

ROSE: But I liked them. In a kind of sadomasochistic way, it was... magical. Pathetic. But magical.

MICKEY: Everything has its time and everything dies. With them cancelled, you’ll have to find something else to occupy your time. Like sex with me, for example.

ROSE: I suppose I could try those Audio Visuals...

MICKEY: Dammit, girl, you need HELP!

CLERK 2: Hey, you didn’t pay for that!

MICKEY: We paid what it’s worth.

CLERK 1: Hmm. He’s got us there, Chamber.

CLERK 2: Why do I hang round you, Rupert? Seriously? Why?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Last Word on "Planet of the Dead"

Absolute gospel truth: today I was chatting with the kids next door (the disturbing Gabriel, the beautiful Maeve and Gene who is the five-year-old equivalent of Happy Italian Guy from Turn Left). Anyway, as conversations are want to do we ended up discussing the Scary Movie franchise and awkwardly explaining that it wasn't SUPPOSED to be scary, it was actually making fun of such horror films. Irritatingly, the only gags I could remember from the film weren't particularly satirical ones, unless you count the black guy sodomizing the evil possessed clown doll under a bed... but that's hard to describe at the best of times.

"I prefer things that are funny and scary," says Maeve as her brothers attempt to climb trees and release wild dogs on the public. "Like in Doctor Who. There was this girl and she stole something from a museum, and Dr Who said 'Can I have that?' and she said 'Look after it' and he said 'I will' and then he hit it a lot with a hammer."

We both chuckle at the thought.

"Yeah, I'm glad he smashed it up," adds Maeve. "She was really a mean person."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Why RTD *didn't* write The Liesure Hive

Romana was peering cautiously inside the door of the generator. 'We must get the Randomizer back,' she declared. 'Perhaps after we've run a checkout routine to see how much of the computer is still operational, it will be safe to go inside.'

But the Doctor had had enough of Randomizers to last him for a very long time. 'Why bother?' he said.

'We can't leave the Randomizer here.'

'Why not?'

'We'll never know where the TARDIS is going to turn up next.'

'Good,' replied the Doctor. He walked over to the TARDIS and opened the door. 'Neither will the Black Guardian. Apart from Randomizers,' he went on, 'I’m getting sick and tired of bogeymen with ideas above their station. The cosmos is full of them.'

Suddenly, an intense lady dressed in a seamless, fluorescent suit that fitted her like a second skin, wearing a hat that looked as if it were made out of living moss (which it was) wandered up out of nowhere. 'Doctor!' she called, waving a set of jewelled nails in his direction. 'Be warned! Your end is nigh and you are not prepared for it!'

The lady in the fluorescent suit attempted to wither the tall, oddly dressed figure with a glance. In the course of her seven marriages it was a technique she had employed successfully to reduce her husbands to nerveless wrecks.

But the Doctor, unwithered, unwrecked, smiled aimiably. 'Is it really?' he asked.

'He is returning from the weed-covered stone!' the woman ranted insanely. 'He is waiting for you to fall out of this universe to face what lies beyond!'

'That's nice,' the Doctor beamed.

'He will unleash the darkness and try to be its Master!'

'Really? How interesting!' the Time Lord lied.

'And then, oh, but then, the man in white on the bridge will lie, but you must do as you are told even though it will destroy you and know that, in the final conflict...'

But while the woman in the moss hat had been blathering on, the Doctor and Romana had got bored and entered the blue police box which promptly dematerialized from the Great Recreation Hall with a strange whirring noise. The woman stood there for a moment, looking useless, and then finally took the hint and buggered off.

Friday, August 7, 2009

YOA - Gazing Into The Void (pt 3)

NIGEL: (panting) Stupid... town planners... who the hell... do they think... uses these eyesores... for picnics... huh?

(He catches up with Dave, who stands, looking at the platform and its contents.)

NIGEL: Who, huh? Tell me that, Dave... who uses these things?

DAVE: (points) They do, I guess.

(Nigel follows his gaze. Boggles.)

NIGEL: Good answer...

(Sitting around the picnic table are four statues – a man, a woman and two children. There is a half-finished meal on the table. Nigel examines the statues, amused.)

NIGEL: You thinking what I’m thinking, Dave?

DAVE: That this is just a tad spooky?

NIGEL: Spooky? What do you mean? This is the mutha load, Restal. The mutha load. Why try and palm off Doris with one statue when we could do a whole family pack?

DAVE: Why do you think she’ll want any statue for her milk bar?

NIGEL: To lighten up the place, of course! Conversation ice breaker, novelty hatstand, plus it’ll give a nice European style to the place. Just need some white marble arches, tiled flooring, very Mediterranean...

DAVE: Don’t you find it rather odd that these statues are here, hogging up a picnic area, but with genuine food?

NIGEL: Not at all. Sounds like just the sort of stupid move a local council would make.

(Nigel takes some off the food off the table and sniffs it.)

DAVE: Well, I don’t like it.

NIGEL: You don’t like anything, Dave, that’s your problem.

DAVE: There’s no sign, no presentation, nothing in the news. It’s just like they...

NIGEL: Yeah? Like what? A bunch of picnickers were turned to stone in the middle of brunch? (eats food) Get real, Dave. This is a publicity stunt. A Chaser-style publicity stunt. And I’m not going to hang around waiting to be told we’re on candid camera. Help me with this one.

(Nigel levers one of the child statues out from the table.)

DAVE: That looks so wrong. It’s stealing, dude.

NIGEL: I’m not stealing it, Dave. Just relocating it a few streets away. Plus, it’s half the weight.

(Dave reluctantly helps pick up the legs.)

DAVE: You really think this is some prank or other?

NIGEL: Oh, and what do YOU think happened? They did the whole Lot’s Wife thing?

DAVE: She was turned into salt not stone.

NIGEL: Rock salt, then?

(Something watches from below as Dave and Nigel, carrying the statue, emerge from the picnic area and begin to climb up the steps.)

NIGEL: Look, just come on. You’re freaking yourself out again.

DAVE: I am not the one who had the panic attack by the river.

NIGEL: Hey, my head was jammed into a drain pipe which was flooding. That’s rational fear right there, that is...

(Whatever is watching them turns and hurtles down the steps back the way they came. At the top of the hill, at a steep angle, Nigel and Dave sway unsteadily.)

NIGEL: Did you hear that?

DAVE: What?

NIGEL: That is the sound of no one agreeing with you, Dave. Come on. I’m starving, here!

(They stagger up the steep road with the statue between them.)

(Down by the river, Andrew peers down his arm at his extended thumb, as if judging perspective. With his other hand he paints furiously. He pauses and looks at his work. A rather crude landscape picture, dominated by his arm and thumbs up in the foreground. Satisfied, Andrew nods and shakes his stiff and sore arm, accidentally knocking over the jar of murky water he’s used to clean brushes. The brushes bounce down the hill and Andrew sighs and heads down there to pick them up. Something watches him from further down the path and starts to close in towards Andrew, who is facing away picking up brushes. The something draws closer and closer.)

ANDREW: (not looking up) Afternoon!

(We see an ordinary-looking guy is standing over Andrew.)

MAN: Yeah, afternoon. Um, do you know the way to Calvin Parade?

ANDREW: Just up that hill and hang a left, can’t miss it.

MAN: Oh, thanks.

ANDREW: No worries.

(The guy walks on down the path while Andrew heads back to the easel. Something watches both from the shadows.)

(Dave and Nigel, still carrying the statue, turn their way round the corner of the local milk bar burger joint. They are both exhausted.)

NIGEL: Right, Dave, you do the talking.

DAVE: Why me?

NIGEL: Cause I don’t want to get spat on, do I?

(They stumble into the shop. The butch grey-haired woman is behind the counter, cleaning a grille.)

DAVE: Hey, Doris.

DORRIS: Afternoon, David. What do you want?

DAVE: Ah, two burgers with the lot, and a fish and chips please.

(Nigel, now alone carrying the statue, struggles to dump it in a chair, and slides to the floor in exhaustion. Doris glances up, seeing the statue but not registering it’s true nature.)

DORRIS: Afternoon Greg. (to Dave) That’ll be twenty, please.

(She starts to make the burgers. Nigel hurries out before he is noticed.)

DAVE: Uh, yeah, about the cash for comestibles thing...

DORRIS: I don’t do discounts, freebies, knock offs or novelties.

DAVE: No, no, I know that. And, I also have the money, it’s just about Nigel...

DORRIS: (dangerous) And?

DAVE: He owes you money. (to himself) He owes lots of people money. (to Doris) But he’s trying to make amends, give you something to balance out the debt.

DORRIS: Like what? His kidney?

DAVE: that what you’re into?

DORRIS: No, but I like the thought of him desperately needing the lavatory for the rest of his life.

DAVE: Harsh. Look, we’ve got this statue we thought you might like...

DORRIS: Statue? I don’t want any statues in here. It’s bad luck, and it’d put off my customers. I don’t want to hear another word about it and neither will you if you want to be certain the paprika isn’t dyed cyanide crystals.

DAVE: (sighs) Sorry, Doris. (hands over cash) Here you go.

DORRIS: And tell Nigel when you see him...

DAVE: Uhuh?

DORRIS: If he doesn’t pay up before the end of the financial year, he will wind up as the central ingredient in my new beef falafels, all right?

(Dave lets out a nervous titter, takes the plastic bag full of hot food and runs out to where Nigel is hiding and getting his breath back.)

DAVE: No good, Nigel. And she’s still going to kill you if you don’t pay up by July.

NIGEL: Screw her. I hope she gets botulism. As WELL with all the nasty yeast infections she’s already got.

(They turn and head off back to the riverbank.)

(Inside the milk bar, Doris tidies up her bench.)

DORRIS: You’re quiet today, Greg. Where have your mum and dad got to any...

(She idly looks up and twigs it’s a statue.)

(Outside, Dave and Nigel turn the corner as Doris’ hideous screams can be heard.)

DAVE: Is that Doris?

NIGEL: I hope so. Stingy cow. I hope whatever it is screws her up something rotten.

(More screams can be heard. They listen for a moment.)

NIGEL: OK, the moment has passed. It’ll just get kinky from now on in.

(They head off down the street down the hill. The screams continue.)

NIGEL: Do you think she knew you were ordering for me, or did she think it was for Eve?

DAVE: Dunno. Why do you ask?

NIGEL: Oh. No reason. Hey, can we swap burgers?

DAVE: You think she’s spiked one of the burgers, don’t you?

NIGEL: Of course I don’t. That would be ridiculous. So there’s no reason for you NOT to have MY burger and be completely safe, is there?

DAVE: Ah, screw you!

(Dave pulls out his burger and starts to eat it.)

NIGEL: Selfish git.

DAVE: Hey, YOU couldn’t be assed to pay for it, could you?

NIGEL: I was more than willing to pay. It’s just that stupid Doris didn’t accept my perfectly valid currency.

(Police sirens can be heard in the background as they reach the steps.)

DAVE: It’s all go today, isn’t it?

(Down by the river, Dave and Nigel approach Andrew’s abandoned art supplies. Nigel has taken out his own burger and regularly tries and fails to summon the courage to taste it.)

DAVE: If there WAS rat poison in it, you’d be able to smell it, wouldn’t you?

NIGEL: Oh yes, David, of course I would. I mean, what on earth is the point of poison that rodent’s CAN’T smell a mile off to ensure they don’t consume it by accident. That’s why machine guns are designed not to accept bullets that could kill people. (suddenly furious) YOU IDIOT!!

DAVE: Hey, Andrew. Got your fish and chips. Andrew?

(They look around.)

NIGEL: He’s forgotten about us. He’s probably buggered off home! Terrific!

DAVE: Yeah, yeah, there’s a time for sarcasm, Nigel.

NIGEL: Who’s being sarcastic? I call shotgun on his food.

(Nigel drops his burger into the grass, snatches up the box with the fish and chips in it and starts to stuff chips into his mouth, making disturbing noises of pleasure as he does so.)

DAVE: And you wonder why you never get a second dinner date...

NIGEL: (mouth full) That’s one more than YOU get, boy...

(Dave looks around and spots a statue by the railings, as if recoiling from something.)

DAVE: Bloody hell... look!

(Nigel spares it a glance.)


DAVE: That wasn’t here when we left.


DAVE: And I don’t see Andrew anywhere, do you?


DAVE: So? So? SO maybe he’s been turned into a statue! Maybe that’s where they’re all coming from – they aren’t being carved and dumped in odd places as part of a TV stunt or a local council initiative, they’re real people who’ve been turned to stone!

NIGEL: (still eating) Yeah. That’s a MUCH more logical explanation right there, Dave.

DAVE: Then where’s Andrew gone, huh? And why is there a statue where he was?

(They wander over to the statue.)

NIGEL: (munching on fish) Dave, let’s think about this. Surely if some petrifold regression crap took place and Andrew turned from flesh and blood to cold grey stone, surely said grey stone would look like him. I mean, honestly, does that look like Andrew? Look at it. Not nearly ugly enough...

(Something in the river swims to shore, listening to their voices.)

DAVE: Well, I dunno about petrifold regression, do I? You want to know about pathological endomorphisms and the complex geological changes of sedimentary layers of rock metamorphosis, spend a night with Granite Greta! I’m saying that we’ve seen half a dozen statues today and no solid evidence that they WEREN’T people who’ve somehow been turned to stone. What do you say to that?

(Something bursts out of the water and grabs the railings. Nigel and Dave cry out, startled before they realize it is just Andrew, hauling himself out of the river.)

ANDREW: I say: “Where’s my Solo, Dave?”

DAVE: Ah. Damn. Knew I forgot something.

NIGEL: What were you doing in the river, anyway?

ANDREW: Dropped a brush. You didn’t think I was going to leave it behind do you? I paid six bucks for that arts and craft set.

(He wrings water out of his singlet.)

ANDREW: And you seem to be eating my lunch, Nigel. That’s another seven dollars out of your wages, boy.

NIGEL: (annoyed) Oh, that’s...

ANDREW: Try and win it back by packing up all the art equipment and carrying it home.

NIGEL: Yez, bahz, I will do as you surely co-mand!

(Nigel flips Andrew the finger and keeps eating.)

DAVE: Oh thank god. I don’t want to spend any more time down here. It’s spooky. Like, bottom of the trapdoor in famous plasticine cartoon The Trapdoor, spooky.

(Andrew idly picks up Nigel’s abandoned burger and eats it.)

ANDREW: You worry too much, Dave. It’s the main cause of your suicidal depression.

DAVE: I am not suicidal.

ANDREW: What about that time you tried to jump off the bridge?

DAVE: Oh, that was ONE time... and anyway, who dumped that there?

(Dave points to the statue.)

ANDREW: (shrugs) Dunno. I had to head down the path a kilometre or so before I could get through the mangroves. Maybe they did it while I was gone.

DAVE: “They” seem to do it whenever no one’s watching.

ANDREW: ‘Anything that needs to be done in secret probably shouldn’t be done at all.’

DAVE: Hmm?

ANDREW: Something a god-botherer told me. Of course, that doesn’t count planning a surprise party. Or toilet breaks.

DAVE: Or dumping statues in the local area?

ANDREW: (tilts head) You know, that statue looks a bit familiar.

DAVE: From art class, you mean?

ANDREW: No, from a guy walking along here about half an hour ago, I mean.

(The statue does indeed resemble that guy.)

DAVE: You think he got turned to stone by some monster?

ANDREW: I think... I think we should go home now. Very very quickly and very very quietly. That is what I think.

NIGEL: What about your oh-so-precious art stuff?

ANDREW: Meh. The artistic drive has left me. Let’s get out of here.

(Andrew and Dave head up the path as fast as they can walk without running. Nigel shrugs, and throws the empty box to the ground, and starts to follow them. Stops. Hurries back, picks up the box and heads off again, muttering to himself.)

NIGEL: Like they need ANOTHER excuse to call me a tosser.

(Something watches Nigel as he hurries to catch off with the others....)

- to be continued...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

YOA - Gazing Into The Void (pt 2)

(The sun is now high in the sky. Dave and Nigel are leaning against the railings, looking over the river while Andrew paints furiously, as if trying to finish it as quick as possible. Dave turns and looks back at the statue in the grass.)

DAVE: You ever get superstition attacks?

NIGEL: ...what?

DAVE: It’s what me and Jadi called them. You know, you’re just minding your own business and then you go, “Hey, if I can do something by a total fluke, that will predict my future?”

NIGEL: No, because unlike you, I am categorized as “normal”.

DAVE: Come on, Nige. You’ve never gone, “I know, if I can throw this basketball over my shoulder without looking and I get it through the hoop, that means I’m going to be successful”?

NIGEL: You have, haven’t you?

DAVE: ...kinda.

NIGEL: And so, when you turn out to not only be a miserable failure, you also have the knowledge you wasted days of your life, trying to do a backwards slam dunk for absolutely no reward whatsoever. No wonder you’re suicidal.

DAVE: Hey, I’m not suicidal.

NIGEL: Oh. And what, prey tell are your reasons for living?

DAVE: What are yours?

NIGEL: (thinks) Lunch. For god’s sake it’s nearly one o’clock! That’s over two hours we’ve been here, and that’s also under seven!

(Nigel storms up to Andrew.)

NIGEL: All right then, He Who Dare Not Bathe, what have you got to show for yourself?

(Dave joins them and they look at the canvas. It is a uniform browny-black colour.)

NIGEL: Is that it? This is supposed to be a spot of outstanding natural beauty – and what do you paint? The inside of a sewage treatment farm!

ANDREW: Oh and what would you know?

NIGEL: I wasn’t the one who failed 2 Unit Visual Arts, was I?

ANDREW: Pah. The tired consesus of conglomeration in a jaded age. Time has moved on. As has style. You try selling a Jackson Pollock in Victorian England and see what you get.

DAVE: Andrew... why did you paint the whole canvas brown?

ANDREW: Painting is an art, Dave.

DAVE: ...yes. Yes it is.

ANDREW: I mean, Dave, that it’s not a simple transcription of physical reality. If I was drawing a picture of the river, I’m probably draw the river, then the banks or visa versa, you see? But in painting, we have to build up the tones, mixing colours, creating the place layer by layer. And that layer is the bare earth beneath us.

NIGEL: So... what? You’re going to paint in degrees of geophys? Your canvas will be very thick and you’re going to use one hell of a lot of paint.

DAVE: Apart from anything else, you’ve missed the sunrise.

ANDREW: I could always turn it into a sunset?

DAVE: The sun doesn’t set here, you’ll have to get into a completely different position.

ANDREW: Yes. And if the landscape is different, my painting will be completely inaccurate. Hmmm.

(Andrew thinks for a moment, then picks up the painting and smashes it down over Nigel’s head, which rips through the canvas.)

ANDREW: Don’t worry, you get twenty bucks compensation for that.

NIGEL: Oh. (happy) OK.

(Andrew picks up a new canvas and puts it on the easel.)

DAVE: Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. We shouldn’t have skipped breakfast.

NIGEL: Where exactly are we supposed to get food from? We’re on the outskirts of civilization here!

ANDREW: (painting) Doris’ place is just up the hill.

NIGEL: Doris? The milk bar that gives you an extra round of rat poison with your low-fat DEATH?!

ANDREW: Doris hasn’t poisoned anyone. She just says she’s going to poison you.

NIGEL: This is so unfair!

DAVE: Um, actually, it isn’t. Your tab is like three hundred bucks...

NIGEL: Oh, so my life is worth less than three hundred bucks, is it?

ANDREW: The first faint glimmering of self-awareness.

NIGEL: Get back to your painting, you stupid hermit! If you actually paid me my dues, I wouldn’t have to be forced to plan my meals around psychotic shop owners! There’s got to be somewhere else we can get nice, hot food, juicy fried meat products and chocolate milk.

DAVE: Liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike?

NIGEL: (thinks for a moment) Shit!

(Dave snaps off the painting from Nigel’s neck, weighs it in his hand.)

DAVE: Hey, Andrew, do you think, if I could get this across the river with one throw, that that means I’ll be happy in the future?

ANDREW: (busy painting) Only one way to find out.

(Dave crosses to the railing and flings the ruined painting in the air. It loops the loop and falls straight back down, splashing right in front of Dave, having traveled only as far as the other side of the railing.)


NIGEL: Watch your language, Dave!


(The thing in the trees watches as Nigel leads Dave over to the toppled statue.)

NIGEL: Oh stop your whimpering, Dave! I have a cunning plan to get some of Doris’ finest all-beef burgers for absolutely free and no death threats whatsoever?

DAVE: I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, I don’t DO armed robbery.

NIGEL: Not that, you idiot. We simply offer her something of equal value to three hundred bucks.

(Nigel indicates the statue. Dave double takes and then stares at Nigel.)

DAVE: Do you really, REALLY expect that to work?

NIGEL: Got to play to win pussycat. And if you help me carry this mother, you’ll eat like a king.

DAVE: A king?

NIGEL: OK, a king on a miniscule junk food diet, but a king nonetheless.

ANDREW: Get me a Solo while you’re at it.

(Andrew admires his painting, a very good picture of a yellow Solo can.)

(A very long set of stone steps climbing a steep hill behind a block of flats. To the left is a sheer cliff face, to the right an uneven grassy hill sloping downwards– no railing to stop you falling. Halfway up the hill on the right are a couple of platform picnic areas with wooden beams fencing them in, tables and benches. Lots of trees block the giddying view of the horizon. Nigel and Dave are straining their way up the steps, carrying the heavy statue between them.)

NIGEL: God damn... why couldn’t they... make this... lightweight... or something?

DAVE: Do you... honestly... expect... an answer...?

NIGEL: It’d be... nice... to know... there is... an answer...

DAVE: Oh! Oh, man, I’m gonna drop it!

NIGEL: We’ve carried this thing for miles! You are NOT going to drop it!

DAVE: I’m gonna drop it!

NIGEL: You’re NOT gonna drop it!

DAVE: It’s slipping! I’m gonna drop it!

NIGEL: Don’t you bloody dare!

DAVE: I can’t hold on!

NIGEL: Bit more! Just a BIT more!

(They have managed to get on level with a picnic platform and scramble across.)

DAVE: It’s slipping!

NIGEL: Just get it up on the table...

(They shuffle towards the table, but Dave finally loses his grip. One end of the statue smashes to the ground. No longer able to carry his end of the statue, Nigel sags under the weight. The statue slams into the end of the table, crushing Nigel’s hands beneath it. He cries out. The weight of the statue on the edge of the table causes it to tip like a see-saw, and the far end of the table swings up and smashes into Nigel’s head. He screams again and collapses, wrenching his hands clear. The table swings back down to the horizontal, crushing Nigel’s foot. He collapses in pain. Dave gets to his feet.)

DAVE: Aw man... I think my heart nearly exploded...

NIGEL: (in tears) No one cares about you, Dave! OH GOD, MY EXTREMITIES!

(Dave glares at Nigel, then kicks him when he’s down.)

DAVE: This statue... weighs a ton. I dunno if it’s metric or imperial, but it is sure heavy. How the hell did they get it down to the river without leaving any tracks. Does the Incredible Hulk work for Swift and Shift Couriers nowadays or something?

(Nigel gets up, whimpering and cradling his hands.)

NIGEL: Does it LOOK like anyone’s interested?

DAVE: Well, it’s more interesting than you fishing for sympathy, bitch.

NIGEL: I am NOT fishing for sympathy!

(He waggles a reproving hand at Dave in such a way to show he’s forgotten what agony his hands were in... assuming they ever were.)

NIGEL: And if I WAS fishing for sympathy, it would involved Lindsey Lohan in her Gandhi outfit and some whipped cream, so don’t think you’re even REMOTELY worthy! (clears throat) Besides, Dave, just because you’re so physically feeble you can’t shift this doesn’t mean that no one else can.

DAVE: How did they do it then?

(Nigel’s stumped.)

NIGEL: Well... obviously... they used a crane.

DAVE: A crane.

NIGEL: A crane.

DAVE: I didn’t see a crane.

NIGEL: Well, it’s been moved since they used it.

DAVE: I didn’t see any tracks.

NIGEL: Of course you didn’t – the bit with wheels is a huge distance away from the end of the crane, otherwise it’d be a rubbish crane, wouldn’t it? You could probably see the tracks from here if there weren’t all these trees in the way...

(Nodding in thought, Dave leaves the picnic area and starts up the steps.)

NIGEL: Stupid place to put a rest area like this anyway. It’s always in shade, cold, quiet, lonely... who in their right mind would want to have a picnic here? When the only noise is the wind and your own heart beating. I tell you, a guy could get lonely out here... all alone... in the gloomy cold...

(Nigel rubs his bare arms, finally noticing he’s alone.)


DAVE: (oov) Up here!

(We see something is watching him from the edge of the platform, peering over the edge.)

NIGEL: Did I give you permission to wander off? A clue: NO!

(He runs towards the steps but trips over the statue and falls flat on his face.)

NIGEL: Bastard!

(He gets to his feet and limps up the steps, unaware of the thing watching him. Nigel finally runs out of breathe three steps before he reaches the next platform.)

NIGEL: (panting) Stupid... town planners... who the hell... do they think... uses these eyesores... for picnics... huh?

(He catches up with Dave, who stands, looking at the platform and its contents.)

NIGEL: Who, huh? Tell me that, Dave... who uses these things?

DAVE: (points) They do, I guess.

(Nigel follows his gaze. Boggles.)

NIGEL: Good answer...

- to be continued...