Yesterday was a great day: script meetings, infernos, damning the man, bucking authority, free food, working on my bladder control, uproarious comedy, old friends, new faces and a bat-shit crazy drunk on the train putting her legs behind her head whilst mumbling about her calves and then driving a stiletto heel into my chest.
Fairly normal for a Friday really.
It all started off with one of those great script meetings where you go through every page of the script and the questions are all about why the characters are doing what they’re doing. If I can answer in a logical manner which makes sense, describing the characters’ emotional state and giving sound psychological reasons for their actions … the scene stays in the script. If I can’t, we talk around it until we come up with a new scene which should do the job.
This is my favourite type of director to work with because he doesn’t just want the script and then me to fuck off, he wants to know exactly why I’ve written what I’ve written and wants to understand what my intentions were. True, he’s going to eventually go off and film his version of the story; but hopefully this way he won’t accidentally cut out the most vital scene in the film because he doesn’t understand why it’s there.
Plus, when the actors inevitably decide they’d rather not be upset in the scene because it’s emotionally unsatisfying and they’d much rather be gaily tap-dancing instead – he can confidently explain that being upset when your entire family has been face-raped to death by mutated Nazi reindeer is a much more universally understood reaction … you fucking pretentious prick.
In the midst of the heated script discussions we noticed two things:
- It was actually getting quite warm in the office.
- There seemed to be a lot of shouting going on outside. I’d even go so far as to say it was verging on a commotion.
A quick peek outside the window revealed a common answer to both observations. The shouting was an inordinate amount of police, firemen and paramedics clearing the street and emptying all the buildings, and the reason they were doing it pretty much explained the first observation:
The street was on fire.
Obviously this was a pretty serious fire, so we took the only sensible option … we closed the windows, pretended we hadn’t seen the coppers and carried on.
Fuck the police.
That’s right, I’m a rebel, I know. Sometimes I wear odd socks and I just don’t fucking care.
When we were God damned good and ready, not when the man told us, we sauntered – yes, sauntered, not ran for our lives – out of the office and strolled off.
It was a pretty quick stroll, but a stroll nonetheless and a nonchalant one at that.
I may even have been whistling, I can’t remember. I doubtlessly had one hand in my pocket, but that’s just because I like to play with my balls.
After that I wandered around for a bit, sat in a tea shop (it was actually a coffee shop, but I don’t like coffee and refuse to conform to your social conventions) until I really, really, really needed a piss. At which point I went to McDonalds and used their toilet without being a customer.
Fuck, I was just racking up the convictions that day. It was like a one man crime spree swept through Soho and disappeared without a trace …
And the place I disappeared into was the screening for Messrs Turner, Arnopp, Beckley and Morgan’s (who’s a girl and probably not a Messr) new sketch show, Splendid.
Going to screenings of things is always tricky because people ask you awkward questions like ‘Did you like it?’ and ‘Was it any good?’ The kind of questions you have to divert by pretending to be interested in their shoes:
‘Yeah, I thought it was … sorry, where did you get those shoes from? I love those shoes. In fact, they thrill me so much I must just dash off without answering your very valid question and touch myself in the toilets.’
It’s even worse when you actually know the people whose thing is being screened because a) they have your phone number and can ring up at any time to solict an opinion; and b) they tend not to be so friendly afterwards because they think you’re rushing off to masturbate over them.
Which I do, by the way. All the time. Especially about you. Yes, you. You know who you are.
Anyway, as it happens, on this occasion there was no need to dash for the toilets whilst tearing at my flies and muttering about slingbacks because the show was actually very good. Surprisingly good. Fucking awesome, in fact.
Seriously, it’s very, very funny and should be picked up for broadcast immediately. Do you hear me? Huh, do you?
Now, you fuckers.
I liked it. A lot.
It’s not perfect, don’t get me wrong; but it is very, very good and very, very funny. I think the couple of minor quibbles I had will either be justifiably ignored or ironed out and the result will be … well … Splendid.
Lobby your MPs now. Tell them to stop dicking about with that economy bullshit and force the BBC to make with the funny.
Also at the screening I met some lovely people I already know, someone I haven’t seen for ages and had forgotten how breathtakingly pretty she is, a few people I’ve never met before but quite liked and and a young lady with a burning desire to dress up as Richard Dreyfuss.
All good stuff then.
On the train home I got to spend half the journey chatting to Stuart Perry, which is always a pleasure, before we had to part at Haywards Heath. I decided to get my laptop out and work for the rest of the journey. At which point the train was invaded by an army of pissed up Motown fans.
Well, I say an army, more a Brigade really. Possibly even a Platoon. Or even a Squad. Yes, that’s it, an all female Squad of pissed up Motown fans – not a particualrly regular occurence, but not unheard of in those parts.
They spread themselves liberally about the train since there were no large groups of seats together. All well and good. Until I realised the 34 year old woman sitting opposite me was so far off her face she’d lost sight of it.
I know she was 34, by the way, because she told me. Appropos of nothing, out of the blue. Along with several other facts:
- She teaches kids with Cerebral Palsy.
- She liked Kenny Everett.
- She’s a natural blonde and has the landing strip to prove it. (She didn’t … prove it, that is)
- She’s very proud of her calves.
- She can get her legs behind head and can prove that too. (She did and she can)
- She thought my laptop was very smooth – a word which I now unfortunately link with the word perineum after the Splendid screening.
- She thought the terrified Spanish girl she’d practically sat on was beautiful and should touch my laptop too.
- Oh, and she had a black belt in Karate.
She chose to prove the last fact by kicking me in the chest whilst wearing exceedingly sharp stiletto heeled boots. The truly marvellous bit about that being she was initially wearing flat ballet pumps but decided to borrow some spiky heeled boots from a fellow rampaging Motown fan especially for the occasion. Presumably because they’d either hurt me more or show off her calves better.
Well, thanks for that.
Luckily she vanished a few stops later and disappeared into the Lewes night screaming about it ‘all being in the best possible taste’.
I was a little shell shocked, not quite as much as the delicate Spanish girl who may never speak again, but if I’m honest – which I rarely am – the whole encounter went about 80% towards fulfilling a fantasy I’ve harboured since I was about 14. The other 20%, of course, is completely impossible in the Earth’s gravitational field.
So there you go.
If you get a chance to see Splendid – seize it with both hands.
If you get the chance to commission Splendid – just do it, don’t stop to think about it, just do it.
And if you happen to be a 34 year old, Cerebral Palsy teacher from Lewes with a black belt, nice calves and natural blonde hair (with the landing strip to prove it) then I bet your fucking head hurts today … but probably not quite so much as your crushing sense of embarrassment.