Monday, 1 April 2013

Tahini 2: Open Sesame

Julie -  as not even vaguely requested by you, here is another fucking terrible screenplay, this time about that time you tried to buy some tahini in a supermarket even though I wasn't there & you have told me next to nothing about the occasion because why would you & there's some time-travel & shit & maybe a robot. I don't know. I haven't written the thing yet.


A glass fronted cube of despair with one of those ceilings where you can see all like wires & air conditioning vents & all that even though I don't know why they wouldn't just Artex that shit over but what am I a builder?


All the crisps are Doritos. The red ones. This is not important.
The camera follows A WOMAN (that's you Julie, played by Ashley Judd/Wynona Judd/Judd Hirsch or someone else) sashaying -SASHAYING- down the crisp aisle. 

ZOOM IN As A WOMAN approaches HANDSOME a young supermarket employee (played by Ashley Judd/Judd Hirsch/Judge Judy or someone else) who is under 30 & is therefore probably playing music on a mobile phone because apparently they don't make earphones any more.

A WOMAN (brightly, to HANDSOME) - Excuse me?


A WOMAN (a little confused, as though someone has just said something that has confused her.A   little)
                        - Right. Yeah. Um. Could you tell me if you sell Tahini paste?

HANDSOME (Insouciantly. Possibly. Note to script editor. Look up what 'insouciantly' means)
                        - Teeheehee?  Face?

A middle aged woman with a shopping trolley blinks into existence briefly. She is wearing a tunic with a needlessly COMPLICATED NECKLINE (which is, entirely coincidentally, also her name) & silver lipstick so we KNOW she is from the future. Also like, maybe her hat is made from water or something because, like, in the future they will almost definitely be able to make hats out of water.
COMPLICATED NECKLINE is holding onto the handle of a shopping trolley. It is a hover shopping trolley, so we KNOW it is from the future. COMPLICATED NECKLINE who is definitely from the future yells something about preventing Future Hitler from being born.

COMPLICATED NECKLINE (shouting. And maybe, I don't know, she's French. It would amuse me)
                        - I am here to stop Future Hitler from being born.

COMPLICATED NECKLINE runs at A WOMAN with the shopping trolley & but as she bashes into the back of her ankles we PULL BACK to reveal that COMPLICATED NECKLINE  & her HOVER TROLLEY (which is alive. Did I mention that? This is not important) are only 3 inches high. 

COMPLICATED NECKLINE swings the trolley around for another go but as suddenly as she arrived she blinks back out of existence & is replaced for a few seconds by what looks like a Nazi astronaut from the year 2450 as imagined by the 1970s who then also disappears. This is not important.

A WOMAN (with mild annoyance. As though she has just been rammed in the ankles by a tiny trolley. I'm no good at similes) 
                        - Ouch, Don't do that...oh she's gone. Anyway about my tahini.

HANDSOME (smirking like a right dick)
                        - Your Teeheehee?

A WOMAN  - Pardon?

HANDSOME - (sniggering)..... Your. Teeheehee. Sounds a bit like vagi...

A WOMAN (looking around)- Yeah...erm there someone else I can talk to?

HANDSOME - There are potato smiles in the freezer? Is that it?

A WOMAN (becoming a bit testes no not that testy)- No. Tahini. Ta. Hee. Nee. Paste.

HANDSOME (mouth slack, eyes glazed, one of his pupils rolls around inside his iris - .....

A WOMAN - In a jar?

HANDSOME (frowning with all his might)- ...Marmite?

A WOMAN - (sighing)..... Ok. Forget the tahini...

HANDSOME - teeheehee

A WOMAN - ..stop that & just point me in the direction of the pot noodles instead?

HANDSOME (looks around in guilty fashion then shouts very loudly) - I'm sorry madam, but this establishment does not sell dogs of any kind and if you've been told otherwise...

A WOMAN (crying) - All I wanted to do was get some tahini then fuck off home & eat some biscuits.

A WOMAN falls to the floor crying & crying & crying & crying.

A giant, poorly cgi'd ROBOT blinks into existence next to the display of I Can't Believe You Believe This Has Any Cheese In It Nacho Dip.

ROBOT (roars) - Must stop future Hitler

ROBOT begins flailing his massive human-pulping fists all about the place & some crisp packets fall on the floor. The manager  will not be pleased about this. This is not important.

SLOW MOTION SHOT of crisps being crushed by ROBOT'S human-pulping fist. In his eyes we see that he knows he is over-qualified for this assignment. When he gets back to the Future Hitler free future he is hoping to create, he will totally go to the bank about that small-business loan & open a bait shop.



Cut. Print. Millionaires.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Goodbye Sunshine, the Night is Mine


What's that all about eh? Do you ever do that? Sleep? Do that, do you? Lie down in the dark, approximating the resting pose of a corpse, feeling your heartbeat slowing, slowing, every breath becoming shallower, until, eventually, everything fades to black as your consciousness ebbs away, and you gradually disappear into the waiting nothingness, not knowing whether you will see another dawn?...That? Do you do that? Do you? Shit isn't it?

Yeah. Lovely, lovely sleep.

So, sleeping is something I have never had an aptitude for. As a baby I slept for no more than 4 hours a night, which is all I apparently required to be fully recharged for a heavy day of screaming & screaming & screaming & screaming (because, I clearly had the world sussed for a terrifying pisspool even at that young age. I was a very smart baby). For some reason though, my parents seemed to be of the opinion that 4 hours sleep a night was, like, half of what they needed to be able to function in a way that didn't make them want to kill me. I mean, we la-ha-ha-ha-ugh about it now...

So I got off to kind of a bad start with sleep from the very beginning and it only got worse from there.

I mean, as a kid I would sit up into the early hours reading. My mum cottoned on pretty fast that you can't yell a kid to sleep, so to save herself the stress of fighting me into my bed every evening, she'd rather let me get on with doing something vaguely constructive with my nights. Sadly, however, what I was actually doing a lot of the time was something not all that constructive. Like, instead of reading some improving tome, I'd be sitting with my copy of What?Where?How?WhY? on my lap, staring at a drawing of a policeman trying to rescue a boy from quicksand and freaking the fuck out. Or reading that copy of Jaws I pinched from Louise Austin's house and freaking the fuck out. Or reading the bit in my book about space that covered the big bang & wondering what existed before anything existed and FREAKING. THE. FUCK. OUT (or sometimes I'd just pretend the periodic table in my Junior Pear's Encyclopaedia was a computer...You Penny from Inspector Gadget had ah forget it).
So, when I did finally fall asleep it was frequently into that uneasy, vaguely sweaty, twilight place of anxiety dreams & existential nightmares that I, being like 8 or whatever, was not equipped to deal with. All of which meant I was never all that keen to go back & visit the world of sleep & I'd try that bit harder to stay awake the next night.

As a teenager, my brain tended to sulk all night & refuse to let me go to sleep because that's what they want you to do, those bastards or whatever. Plus, you know, the angst & the hormones. Oh my aching parts, the hormones! And by the time I was a student (hoho) I found I could only sleep, entirely coincidentally of course, during those parts of the day when I was supposed to be attending a lecture or a seminar. Or sometimes an exam. In fact the only way I ever got to sleep at night was with a heady mix of John Peel, Happy Shopper wine & cheap, incomprehensibly subtitled Bollywood films. My dreams, though, were fucking magnificent.

For me, being up all night though is like getting to have a 2nd, secret life. Nowadays my daytime existence is pretty much empty & entirely without purpose or direction. But at night, I feel a bit more me. As though after dark I can relax, stop pretending to people that I am in any way not full to the brim with crazy & just get on with stuff. Especially what with that internet. And especially on the twitter there. Where once I'd have to lie in bed with a walkman tuned to whatever poor bastard had the radio 1 graveyard shift to feel less alone, now I can watch all those others who are unconsciously challenged tweet their strange thoughts & bizarre Star Trek episode that's me isn't it? In a way, though, it's also worse, having an audience for your insomnia. Because in the olden days of no internet & television close downs there really wasn't much else to do at night except try to sleep. So I'd try really bloody hard, out of pure fucking boredom if nothing else. But now, I get into bed, lean back slightly, decide it's not worth lying the full way down because I'm clearly not tired & get back to tweeting shit about how Sleep is a total bastard & one time I touched Robbie Williams.

These days I feel as though not sleeping has more to do with wanting to wring as much time out of each day as I can, in case something happens & I miss it by being asleep (that & wanting to avoid the hours of quiet panic that lying alone in the dark with just my brain to talk to causes. My brain is a complete shit most of the time). Like I am choosing not to sleep.
It's as though by going to sleep I am admitting defeat somehow, that I have lost at...something. Life, possibly. When I go to sleep at night I am admitting that today was yet another day like all the others, a day where I haven't achieved anything. A day where I've moved a bit closer to death by forgetting to do any living. A day where I have sat & waited, instead of getting up & doing. And so long as I'm still awake, there's still a chance...

And, yes, I may hallucinate terrifying black shades trying to grab me from time to time. And, yes, the headaches after a prolonged period of no sleep are quite the motherfucker. But being bad at sleep can have it's advantages. I mean, there are things that you only know about if you don't/can't sleep at night. Sometimes, I like to open a window around 4am & listen to the outside. Because 4am is the moment when the world seems to slow to almost nothing (well obviously not the whole world, I mean, I have heard of time zones, I'm not a monster). 4am is the day at it's magical best. It's generally too late for people to be coming home from anywhere & still too early for them to be going out anywhere. Even the birds, who seem to worship, via the medium of shrieking, the streetlights in my road as some weirdly uniform pantheon of gods every other hour of the night, even they knock it off for a few moments.
And the quiet lasts barely any time at all but sometimes it's so still you can feel the silence settling on your skin.
And then the Lord Chief Rabbi of the birds starts squawking that it's time to get back to shouting praise at the streetlights & the moment fades. The traffic picks up, lights go on & the whole, terrible business of another day on earth starts over again.

But you won't know about that, you sleepers. That's just for us night people.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Titles are not my forté


Been a while, yeah? A long, weird while.
And stuff has happened and other stuff hasn't happened and the world goes on with it's wonderful, terrible business.
And that's fine. It's how the universe operates.
And here I am. Halfway to orphan-hood, death circling my remaining family, circling me, like a demented flock of birds. For real this time. Not in the Grampa-Simpson-pointing-at-lamps-seeing-death-everywhere way I've spent approximately, ooh, all my life so far doing. Seeing death everywhere & being so frightened by it that I forgot to, you know, do any living. Choosing to just give over responsibility for myself to other people in the belief that they couldn't do a worse job with my life than I would. (I was wrong about that by the way. Which in a weird way just serves to prove my point).


Death certainly seems to be gunning for us 'Joiners in a big way. Or whatever the bird equivalent of that might be. Shitting on us in a big way? Yeah. Death is shitting on us. And there really is nothing like a lot of death going round, shitting on you, as a motivator for not sitting about waiting for death to get around to yeah I'm sorry about starting this whole bird analogy now.


The point is, I'm back. And this time, it's personal...or more frequent. The 2nd one. I'm back, and plan to post shit no one reads more often. Probably. I mean, I literally have nothing else to do, except not sleep & tweet about how much I hate Riker.
Fucking Riker.
So I'm bound to post at least, pff, what, twice more this year, at least?
You're welcome internet.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A long time ago in a galaxy far,, in this galaxy, I was once 9 years old. And 9 year old me was a bit of an aloof, arsehole, know-it-all that none of the other kids at school cared about much one way or the other. And for the vast majority of the time I did not give a toss.

Except for this one time.

This one time I came home from school, went straight to my room & sobbed silently into my, with hindsight, frankly terrifying clown decorated pillow case. This was not something I tended to do, pretty much, ever. And strangely, to this day, I have no idea what had happened at school to make me quite so upset.

After a few minutes my Mum came up to see if I intended to come & eat the standard 1980s meal of crispy pancakes & waffles with the rest of the family & found me crying. This was not something that she tended to do, pretty much, ever. She used to tell me that she liked the way I let the mean things other kids said & did roll right off me, so she was startled to find me in such distress.

She sat silently on the edge of the bed & stroked my back whilst I sobbed & attempted to stammer out the woeful tale of what name some snot-nosed bastard kid had probably yelled at me as I passed through the school gates. Eventually she calmed me down using the usual mum techniques of forehead-kisses & bone-cracking hugs before prescribing a warm bath, clean pyjamas & an early night (all things the non-sobbing version of my 9 year old self would've kicked in the face before sitting up all night in my school uniform to read The Hobbit).

When I was finally clean & tucked up beneath the red-nosed horrors of my duvet, my mum told me she had something for me & produced a little green & white knitted rabbit. She'd bought him at my school's Christmas bazaar that same day & had intended to give him to me as a Christmas present. But she wanted me to have him early, because I was sad, & she didn't want me to be sad anymore. We called him Minty. You know, because of that whole...rabbit/toothpaste...thing...yeah. I was never much cop at naming stuff.

And that night, instead of my usual book-induced insomnia, I fell asleep quickly, holding Minty in one hand & my Mum's hand in the other.

 In recent weeks, I'd been coming back to this memory of my Mum over & over again. Mainly because I was starting to worry that I didn't seem to have many childhood memories of mum where she wasn't angry or upset with me, or me with her. I know we can't have spent all of the eighties & nineties screaming at one another but I really couldn't recall another occasion where Mum had shown such softness towards me. I know that there must have been other times where she tucked me in, & stroked my face, & told me she loved me. I just can't remember them. All the memories I seemed to be able to dredge up were ones where she had made me feel bad, or where I was sure she had scuppered my plans. And I had started feeling all sorts of weird, misdirected resentments towards her.

And then, 2 weeks ago, out of fucking nowhere, she died. And all the head stroking, & kisses & bone-breaking hugs I had in me couldn't fix her.

And, even though I don't for a single second believe in life after death, or heaven or any of that jazz, I couldn't bear the idea that Mum would be alone on her very last journey. I also knew that should there turn out to be a place where dead people do hang about watching their loved ones like some sort of creepy stalker, Mum would be so sad to see how sad we all were without her. And I instantly thought of Minty the rabbit. My Mum once gave him to me so I wouldn't be sad anymore. And I wish I was able to let her take him so she wouldn't be sad anymore. But if I gave him to her, I wouldn't have that one, precious, connection to her. So I gave her a photo of him instead. And on her way into the Big Sleep, she went, holding Minty in one hand &, I hope, the memory of my hand in the other.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

No, I haven't Read The Bible. Why'd You Ask?

And a Merry Easter spent dodging His heat-seeking laser eyes to you all.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Please Don't Read This

When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, "what will I be?"
And she said "what the fuck do you think I am? Psychic? Now fuck off outside & play. Mummy's got one of her wine headaches coming on".(*)

Ha ha ha.

You remember how, when you were a kid, people were, like, almost obsessed with what you wanted to be when you grew up? It seemed as though you'd get asked that question on almost a daily bloody basis. There you'd be, minding your own business, for some reason drawing a picture of a clothesline heavy with underpants, and people would start getting all up in your grill (or 'face' as it used to be known in the olden days; faces were like grills, except not so popular amongst the rappers) about where you think you're headed, and you're all "mate, I'm 4 years old. I'm still not entirely convinced the people on telly can't actually see me. I'm clearly an idiot. What are you asking me for?" I mean, you personally might have said something else, like "astronaut" or "call centre operator" or something. I don't know, I wasn't there.


I had all sorts of different futures in mind for myself when I was little. Mostly based on whatever, with hindsight, wildly age inappropriate TV show I was obsessed with at the time. For example, whilst watching LA Law at age 7, or thereabouts, I was determined to become a Californian lawyer because it meant I might get to meet Amanda Donohoe. And Amanda Donohoe made my tummy feel all funny....ahem yes well. That's not for here. Moving on.

But the one thing I wanted, more than anything else, was to be an author. I wanted to write stories & get money for them & live by the sea in a lighthouse.

I wrote nearly all the time. At primary school I would often negotiate my way out of having to learn anything, you know, useful, like maths or joined up handwriting, by offering instead to write a 25 page epic about a hot air balloon that ran on laughter. I developed a fierce literary dispute with a boy in my class over whether every story needed a happy ending (it will surprise you, I am certain, to discover that I was firmly in the downbeat camp). I would spend hours crafting palaces & sea lairs & vampire discos on paper. Poems, short stories, existentialist essays, you name it I'd write it. My output very probably exceeded that of Barbara Cartland. And was just as fucking awful.

So that was my secret dream. To go on writing & writing & writing until all the stupid crap that kept me awake all night was written down for other people to have to endure. And I had this dream right up until the age of 10.

And then;

I stopped having any dreams.

Pretty dramatic right? Yeah. You see exactly how I have robbed the literary establishment by abandoning my writerly dreams. What with my amazing ability to craft tension, and my masterful use of commas(**), I would have taken the world by storm. Yeah, you get it. You totally get it.

"But sonofajoiner! What could possibly have happened to you to make you abandon your deeply held desire to make a modest living from peddling your nonsense to the public?" absolutely no one cries.

Well, to be strictly truthful, my dream didn't disappear overnight at age ten. It was, however, dealt a blow that would eventually prove fatal..

When I was ten, I foolishly agreed to accompany my mum & dad to a school parents' evening. See, I was one of those obnoxious little child shits who fucking loved school & who never turned down an opportunity to hear how awesome I was doing at the whole business of learning.(***) Also, my teacher was a pleasant enough woman who kept a prayer card with a faintly terrifying image of a crucified Christ right there on her desk. My mum, on the other hand, was one of those murderous atheists that have been in the news a fair bit lately for bombing all the Christians to death by making them be polite to gay people in public. And in my childish way, I thought I really ought to be present to keep the peace, just in case my mum took it upon herself to headbutt some secularism into my teacher, or attempt to openly piss on her prayer card.

Now, I am aware that human memory is a notoriously unreliable thing. So in the interests of balance I have provided my parents' recollections about what transpired on this particular parents' evening as well as my own, in the hopes that somewhere in the middle, the truth may be found.

My memory of the evening goes as follows:

Mrs Teacher - "Here are some things that came from the amazing imagination of your child proving that she clearly is amazing & we must start ringing around publishers immediately"

Parents look at one another with WTF faces (although in the olden days such faces were known as 'confused' & were marginally less sarcastic than their modern day counterpart).

Parents laugh so hard they catch on fire.

I secretly vow to have my revenge on them both by never writing another word ever, ever again.

My mum's memory of the evening is as follows:

"For the last bloody time, I have no idea what you are on about"

My dad's memory of the evening is as follows:

"I'm sorry, which one are you again?"

Obviously, I am exaggerating a little bit.
My teacher didn't use those exact words, but that was the general gist.
And I don't really think my parents fell off their chairs in hysterics & crawled out of the classroom hyperventilating at the very notion that their daughter might possess a talent(****).
But they did look at the proffered poems & laugh.
And my teacher did look sad that they laughed.
And she did ask them to at least consider what she had said to them.
And they did chuckle about it on the drive home.
And they did refer to my teacher as 'nuts'.
And they did stress, repeatedly, to me that I was really not good enough to make a living as a writer, because hardly anybody was.
And I did go home that night & cry until I fell asleep.
And I did wake up the next day knowing I could never let anybody read anything I wrote ever again because if my own parents thought my writing was laughable rubbish, well then, it must be laughable rubbish.

I did keep writing though, in secret, for myself, for a little while. But it had stopped being fun. I became my most ferocious critic. I would have what initially seemed like good story ideas but I gradually became terrified about writing them down. I couldn't bear the thought that someone might read my thoughts, and then never stop laughing. And eventually the ideas stopped coming altogether. By my teens the only shit I was able to drag out of my brain onto paper was the worst kind of angst-ridden, death-fixated, deadly, deadly serious poetry that still produces teeth-grinding embarrassment in me every time I stumble across it.

Then one day I realised, I was no longer anything approaching a writer. But, also, I wasn't anything else instead. And that's how things have remained.

Little pieces of my dream obviously still float about in my head. I sometimes catch the thud thud thud of a vampire disco somewhere in the back of my brain but I don't think I will ever find my way back to it. The roads leading to my imagination are almost entirely sealed. On odd occasions things still manage to slip out, but a lack of confidence means I hesitate to write them down and then my inner censor gets in on the act & the whole thing is usually over before it starts.

And sometimes I manage a blog post that doesn't go anywhere. But I make sure I do it late at night, when no one's looking, so no one knows I wrote it & I won't know that you're laughing.

(*) My fictitious lawyers have asked me to point out that such an event never took place. My mum drank gin exclusively.
(**) Grammar, punctuation & how to count accurately are just 2 of the many things I was never taught because from age 6 I could apparently out-manouvere grown fucking adults.
(***) Don't worry though, secondary school educated that right the way out of me. By age 13 I had absolutely no curiosity about the world left in me whatsoever.
(****) I do really think that.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Future Will Be Amazing

Julie, as requested, please find attached a fucking terrible screenplay about robots returning a kettle. With, like, a week to spare.


An almost entirely windowless joy void, glowing yellow-green with fluorescent misery.

PAN TO A number of stanley-knife wielding people, wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the legend "Work Experiencee", shuffle around the seasonal goods aisle, slicing mirthlessly at cardboard boxes & the occasional carotid artery. (Oh yeah, & also it's like the future & shit. So maybe the stanley-knives are, like, made of lasers or something, yeah? And the t-shirts are, like, all silver and have an inbuilt speaker system that, like, brays out stuff like "Join a union? What are you, an illegal immigrant?" & "If you worked harder maybe you'd be getting paid for doing this job". Inspirational stuff like that.)

EXTREME CLOSE UP on the under-clad hind quarters of a young lady who is making her way through this hapless crowd, swinging her hips with such wild abandon they render several onlookers unconscious.

CUT TO the front wall of the supermarket exploding inwards in a rainbow of breeze blocks, asbestos & sonic booms.

EXTREME CLOSE UP on lady arse again. A hand comes into shot briefly to fiddle with a gusset.

CUT TO the decimated shop front. ROBOT 1 & ROBOT 2, two enormous, poorly CGI'd robots, enter through the gaping maw & punch their way, through the bodies of around 100 dead & dying security guards, towards the customer service desk. ROBOT 1 is clutching a carrier bag in it's blood & brain spattered fist.

ZOOM IN on LATE NIGHT, a lady employee who inexplicably receives a wage for being no fucking help to anyone at all.

SUBLIMINAL FLASH of Coca-Cola logo projected onto an underclad bum.

LATE NIGHT (not looking up from magazine article about a woman who married her Dad who was also a convicted murderer & a ghost):


ROBOT 2 (addressing ROBOT 1): The cigarette kiosk is closed.


ROBOT 2 (addressing ROBOT 1): Mate, you said we would be able to get some Rizlas, yeah? But look mate, the's all closed up or something, yeah?

LATE NIGHT (looking up from an article about twins separated at death): Yeah?

ROBOT 1 (smashing his human-pulping fist down on the counter): KETTLE. LEAKING. RECEIPT HERE.

(ROBOT 1 opens his brain matter flecked hand metal hand to reveal a tiny slip of paper. Made of lasers or something. It's the future)

ROBOT 2 (clawing at ROBOT 1's arm): Ask her about the Rizlas yeah?

LATE NIGHT (sighing her lungs up out of her body): safter6oclockeveryonegonehomecantdorefund.


LATE NIGHT (her eyes slowly drifting down to gawk at photos of Kerry Katona's preserved head wearing a jar that makes her look fat): safter6oclockeveryonegonehomecantdorefundanywaythiskettlesbeenusedso nowayyougettinganymoneybackanywaysorry.


ROBOT 2: Mate. Mate. MATE. Rizlas. Mate.

LATE NIGHT: safter6oclocknocustomerserviceeveryonegonehome....

ROBOT 1 (collapses across counter, weeping. His sobs sound like someone typing the word 'CRY' repeatedly into a Speak & Spell): CRY CRY CRY. JUST WANT FUCK OFF HOME. EAT BISCUITS. CRY CRY CRY.

(LATE NIGHT continues reading magazine. CLOSE UP on horoscope. "Libra. There is a very good chance that you will die at the human pulping hands of a stoned robot. Call in sick")

ROBOT 2 (leaping across the sobbing frame of ROBOT 1 towards LATE NIGHT): Riiiiiiiiiizzzzzzzzlaaaaaaas!

EXTREME CLOSE UP of LATE NIGHT'S face being pulped to meat paste by a giant robot fist forever & ever & ever & ever....

CUT TO the still sobbing body of ROBOT 1 exploding all over the place for some reason.

JUMP CUT to underclad lady backside for no discernible reason.


FADE UP to lady bum.


Cut. Print. Shit.