The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Tuesday, 22 November 1988

The Chinese Play


BTEC NATIONAL DIPLOMA IN PERFORMING ARTS NOVEMBER 1988

Touring schools, giving workshops: S. Norfolk.  (See notice board/Jane for details).

 

‘Get Up (Sex Machine)’ – James Brown



 

Today, at the schools workshop, Jonny Badcock and I discussed Kat Hill’s generally depressed attitude.  She’s so offish.  We chatted about her relationship with Willock.  I was more or less neutral in deed, but in my mind, my heart was with Jonny: he’s so crazy about Kat.  Which is all the more amazing because he’s a trendy/casual into boxing and sport (tchouk ball?) and his moped, and she’s this goth-girl.  Who knows, though?

 

This afternoon, Tracey and I began work on our play, which is also to be entered into some kind of Drama Competition.  With Eric Peters’ story gradually eroding both mine and Tracey’s enthusiasm for this project (and life itself), I’ve moved on from this ‘man in a barrel’ thing.  We both thought the man was a bit odd.  For inspiration, I have turned to my own personal life + personal musings.  I know I want to write a play that deals with:

 

1)       The way in which the mind interprets the world around it

2)       People using their imaginations almost too vividly

3)       The exaggeration/toning down of stories told to friends

4)       The smallest things getting on top of people/ mountains out of molehills

 

I also know that I want the play to appear realistic and ‘everyday’ to anyone watching it, so that when anything ‘exaggerated’ or strange happens it takes the audience by surprise and leaves them wondering whether or not what they’ve just seen was ‘real’ or ‘imagined’.  I want something that has the mind/imagination bleeding into reality/the mundane, without spelling out that this is happening.  I don’t want to explicitly differentiate between, say, dreams or reality.  It’s probably just self-indulgent.

 

But what would I write about?

 

DANYEL ‘FLASH’ GORDON

 

Who?

 

My best friend of four years – the most colourful character in my life.  As the play has to be about true-life events, I have decided – with Tracey’s consent – to call it Top Secret and base it on some of the odd and mysteriously strange things that have happened to Danyel ‘Flash’ Gordon in recent years.  I want to focus in particular on some of the strange experiences he has had when visiting Lola’s Chinese Take Away, and the suspicions he has built up about it.  I know that these events have been affecting him quite deeply, in a philosophical sense, and I think it would be great to play with these seemingly bizarre, but relatively mundane events and exaggerate them in a clever way.

 

‘Don’t Need A Gun’ – Billy Idol



 

I talked at length with Tracey about it, and told her all about the rough ‘novel’ chapter Flash and I had been writing about these events.  She liked the idea, but was dubious about its execution, given that she knows nothing of the characters we might use.  I think I brought her round to my way of thinking and I’m pleased with the work so far.

 

PLOT OUTLINE:

 

1        FLASH IN HOUSE IN PONTEFRACT, W. YORKS, 1988.  INTRODUCTION.  TALKING TO SELF.  DESCRIBES FRIENDS ON WAKEFIELD COLLEGE SCIENCE-FICTION COURSE.

2        PHONES CHINESE TAKE AWAY – LI’S CHINESE FOOD – GOES OUT IN THE RAIN.

3        IS TOLD CHINESE FOOD ORDER HAS BEEN TAKEN BY MAN (ENGLISH, NORTHERN) IN LI’S.  GOES HOME, CONFUSED AND DESPONDANT.

4         JOHN (A FRIEND) PHONES TWICE.  LONG PHONE SCENE.

5         MAYBE RITCHERD (BEST FRIEND) COMING TONIGHT.

6        RITCH ARRIVES + THEY TALK: SUNDAY SPORT ‘ALIENS’ LETTER IS DISCUSSED.  TALK ABOUT THE PAST.  SLEEP IN SAME BED + TALK.  FLASH HAS STRANGE DREAMS.  PRANCE ABOUT STUPIDLY + NAKEDLY TALKING ABOUT THE MOON.

7         GOES TO CHINESE.  CHATTED UP BY LI – WHO HAS A MASSIVE BOGEY HANGIND FROM HER NOSE.

8        FRIDAY NITE OUT WITH FRIENDS: AMANDA (HIS GOTHIC GIRLFRIEND), EDDIE (A HEAVY ROCKER) + NORMAN HIS GERMAN EXCHANGE PARTNER, WHO NEVER SPEAKS BUT CAUSES A RIOT IN PONTEFRACT + PISSES THE OTHERS OFF.

9        FLASH + AMANDA IN COLLEGE, BEING VERBALLY ABUSED BY GEOFF + HIS GANG.  FLASH THEN APPROACHED BY ‘STRANGE BOY’ – ‘BE AT CHINK ON FRIDAY NITE!’

10      FLASH AT LI’S.  ORDERS.  ‘BOY’ JUMPS UP FROM UNDER COUNTER – ‘WHAT DID I SAY?!’ – FLASH GOES MAD.

11      LI PHONES RUSSIAND EMPLOYER, MR TRIBUKOVITCH, EXPLAINING THAT SHE + HER HUSBAND WERE SUCCESSFUL IN BREAKING THE BRITISH SPY.

 

The whole thing is built on themes of confusion, misinterpretation, paranoia and espionage, all of which should contrast with, and spice up, the ‘true events’ angle.

 

‘Be My Number Two’ – Joe Jackson



 

Then Kat and Donna came up to me.  Donna took Jonny and distracted him, whilst Kat told me a secret that I must tell no one – she is crazy about Jonny.

 

Things were falling into place…

 

I was really happy to hear this.  Jonny’s a great kid and surely much better for her than Willock.  I told her she should tell him herself if I wasn’t allowed to.  So, eventually, she told Jonny, but he reacted quite oddly.  It was like he was trying to be honourable, not wishing to be the person who would split her up from Willock, but he came over all cold shoulder-ish.

 

Tonite’s band rehearsal was shit!

 

Ash is now going out with Angie from The Angel.  He also told us some amazing news…

 

Okay.

 

Legs has finally finished with Annabelle.  But who does he go out with now?

 

BM WASP.

 

Can’t believe that.  She really IS coming down in the world, la-di-da.

 

Don’t go near the house, Legs, you’ll get shot…

 

‘Hello, I’m BMW; what’s dirt?’  BMW, 1988…

 




 

[Images subject to control of individual Copyright Holders including works originated by Elton Townend Jones, but excluding any images or design attributed to ‘The Situation’ which are copyright of The Situation (see specific acknowledgements in the ‘Thanks to…’section below) / ‘Berwin Groomstool’ is an iteration of the Situation character‘William Whicker’ and falls under joint copyright of Elton Townend Jones and Waen Shepherd / Based on true events and designed as a study of parochial British cultural and emotional life in the late 20th century, this blog is a work of fiction – cultural icons excluded, all characters and incidents featured are entirely fictional / This blog is non-profit; all video clips are used for illustrative purposes and always come from YouTube / No copyright infringement is intended – just trying to get things into context. Never forget: no man is an island. If you think anything I’ve used is damaging you in any way, please comment and immediate action will be taken to minimise offence / This notice was amended on 1 July 2012 and is intended to cover this and all posts on www.25yearstoolate.blogspot.com that precede it]

 

Next time: ’25 Glorious Years…’

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