Wednesday, September 15

Blue Jam: "She Has a Soggy Valve for Writers"

No, the previous entry is not the return of Sir Chris Morris. I know that.

I felt I should provide the background to my current introductory quote (over in the sidebar), but before I reproduce the source there's an old interview with the man here; a nod to where he started to parade his genius here; and an overview of the Blue Jam series here .

If you google Chris Morris you'll get a whole lot more - as per - but the one site that's still going strong is Cookd & Bombd (see BOAT DRINKS).

The source transcript is from this site. And, to be frank, the fucker needed some cleaning - rogue semi-solons all over the gaff, mate. But here it is - still imperfect, but hilarious.

Over the three series of Blue Jam there were several monologues, all delivered in the persona of an unnamed but clearly deranged male. His delusional infatuation with a girl named Suzie - "da Suze" - enables her and sundry other shits of the first water in London to take advantage of him.

Other fantastic monologues are Clive: the Suicide Journalist, Rothko (who's a talking dog) and Suzie's Wedding. As the latter is also available in rough, rough form I may well hack through it in a couple of days, and post it up (for posterity, dear boys and girls, posterity).

Pour a large one, roll a large one - whatever helps you make it through the night - and enjoy ...

Monologue : Cigarettes

I was in Suzie’s house looking for a cigarette. I knew I wasn’t going to find one because she’d given up, and had hired a smoking agent to remove all tobacco products from the house every other day for a year. I had no cash, and to earn my keep, I had to stay by the phone and answer it and take messages. She made me do it in a gay New York accent, so her friends would ask questions.

In between phone calls, I thought about cigarettes. I thought about breaking off their filters and putting the ragged end in my mouth, sucking a flame into the leafy tube, inhaling very deeply and savouring the mild anoxic rush with caustic crumbs of tobacco stuck to my tongue and lips.

I opened the window. There’s an office block opposite Suzie’s flat. Its smokers skulk in the lane at the back. Sometimes the smoke drifts up and in through Suzie’s window. Today there was only the smoke from next door’s incinerator. They have two dogs, and they burn their turds in it. In desperation, I phoned an ad into Loot. Cigarette wanted, it said. Please phone Suzie’s number.

The phone rang as soon as I put it down. Suzie. She wanted her Astrakhan coat delivered to her office on the South Bank. "I need it for six. I’m meeting a playwright." I knew what that meant. She has a soggy valve for writers. "Oh, and could you change the sheets first?"

I wore the coat to make sure I didn’t lose it. My arms are about a foot longer than Suzie’s. In the street, I paused by the smokers. Standing downwind and about two yards away and breathing like a runner, I made good use of their fumes. They stared at me with some suspicion. I felt a little conversation would help. "I don’t work with you," I said. More stares. So I explained. "No one answered the ad in Loot." They shook their heads and went inside.

Two hours later, I attempted the same method outside the stage door of the National Theatre. There were only two smokers, and the river breeze ripped their smoke up and over my head. I leapt and gulped, breathing six times too fast, and reeled giddily into the road. A car screeched to a halt and blasted its horn. I froze in shock. It drew up to my legs and honked again. I remained confused. There was a shout from inside. Then, slowly, the car pushed me over.

As I squirmed in the grit, trying to remember how to swear, I heard a brusque male voice:

"... and on the basis of that, I’d say felling a pedestrian feels more exciting than shooting a cat with an airgun, but not as genuinely transgressive as coming in your mother's handbag."

Suzie’s laugh coiled round this pronouncement and she appeared, tugging at the end of my arm.

"Stand up," she said, "and meet Gobi Jovvler. He wrote that play that won the awards." I remembered the critics had said that it was the most devastatingly accurate play that will ever be written about sex. "It’s the most devastatingly accurate play that will ever be written about sex," said Suzie.

Jovvler looked younger than I had imagined, and meaty in the face. He was dressed smart felty-brown (as if for a photo in a colour supplement), and barking at a nervous stick with a handbook. The stick wrote everything down, including the volley of insults levelled at him, and laughed through a sycophant’s fringe.

Jovvler inspected the front of my head. "Is this the one that fancies you, da Suze?" He was clearly amused. Suzie giggled. Jovvler jabbed a few words at the stick. Something like: "Casting note: an underdog so ugly the audience is incapable of any sympathy, no matter what befalls him."

Then he turned to me and said, "You may follow at a discrete distance. I have a plan for you."

"Do you have a cigarette?" I wondered.

"What sort of fart-skull are you?" he sneered. "Was I not holding a lit cigarette in last month’s GQ?"

"Could I have one then, please?"

"You can have a whole box, if you can tell me the name of my next play."

His last play had been called Fuckers. "More fuckers," I said.

"Sadly, it is currently nameless, but if you do turn out to be right, then you may find your scroungings in Harwich."

And he lobbed the box into the river.

Suzie and Jovvler led me by twenty yards along the promenade, with the stick one gruff remark to the right. Twice they stopped and held hands, gazing at the roof of the theatre while Jovvler’s name swept across the light display. Once he bawled me out for blocking the view of his poster. When we reached the bridge, he insisted on repeating the stroll, because he had only been recognised by five people.

"You said you only wanted five," said Suzie.

"Yeah, but three of them recognised me from the telly," he snorted.

And we traipsed back and forth two more times, before he announced that he and Suzie were going to get pissed in a limo.

Jovvler’s driver slung us over the river.

Jovvler and Suzie helped themselves to the car bar. Watching this, the stick’s eyes bulged - and he reminded me of a featherless anorexic owl I’d dreamt about in hospital. Jovvler poured him a large colourless one.

"What do you do?" I whispered. "Neat gin,"’ he replied, but Jovvler had heard me. "Daniel is a scribe, cursed with the intelligence to know that he will never be a first rate writer, and with enough ambition to rot horribly in this knowledge, until in twenty years time he claims that he wrote all my plays - and shortly afterwards drinks himself to death."

Daniel snivvled before Jovvler cut him off with: "No time to laugh, fuck-pen, get it all down."

Later, I found a note in my pocket that said: "I don’t write his plays - it’s the actors who do that."

We toured London in great random sweeps, Jovvler all the time extemporising on urban alienation inthe sexually malfunctioning zeitgeist. "Look," he’d say, "look at them. Dual income, six dildos." And once: "If you’re bored of London, you’re bored of fucking, and I’m bored of fucking London because I’m bored of London fucking."

This last the stick applauded, until he was slapped.

By the time we reached Suzie’s flat, Jovvler had pronounced himself "ready for the final act". As he dragged her to the chamber, he called over his shoulder to the stick, "Tell New York I’ll be up for an hour."

Suzie wondered if Jovvler might give me a few cigarettes, so I could remain in a fug at the breakfast bar while they got torrid. "No, no, he’s part of the scene" he said. He leered at me like a randy bandit, and waved a box of cigarettes under my nose.

‘Fancy one?’

I did.

"Then you must witness the tup."

With that, he shoved Suzie on to her four-poster, and started to savage her bodice. Stick sat me down on the floor. "It’s where they usually sit," he said, and wrote feverishly as he spoke. I glanced up to behold Jovvler, now naked and kneeling before a slightly ripped-looking Suzie.

"Gobble my Stoppard," he ordered, and fell on her in such a way as to bring this about. As he pushed himself into her face, Jovvler turned to me and said: "How does it feel to see the woman you love being plugged by me?" An unborn scream burst in my stomach and spread like cold mercury through my chest. I put my hands over my face, but kept looking through my fingers. "Right that down," he panted to the stick. "Visibly destroyed, but can’t look away."

Then he whipped Suzie round so her forehead slapped the wall and declared: "Mr Stoppard will shortly be entering his box."

Hammering continued for ghastly minutes, until the mobile phone which Jovvler had gaffered to his buttock chirruped a manic arpeggio. He ripped it upwards, listened, and interrupted: "Not now Mamet, I’m fucking." Then he beamed the hideous grin of the unreservedly successful and slapped Suzie quite hard around the face to celebrate.

Now I could turn away; and to the sounds of this dubious pleasure I began to ponder a vague tumescence of my own. Eventually, with a series of pathetic squeaks, the playwright emptied himself in the region of Suzie’s chest and armpit. She didn’t seem to notice. By this stage she was mainly asleep. He lit a cigarette, and ordered his amanuensis to read back his notes.

"Good," he said frequently, and "Hmmm ... Pinter," before dropping the butt in my lap and pronouncing himself pleased with a decent first draft. Then he told the stick to leak the Mamet episode to the Sunday Times.

"I’ll deny it in my next interview,"’ he said. "That’s how it’s done. Leave now!" he said to me, and the stick prodded me through to a large sofa, where I dragged urgently on the soggy filter. Through the stripped pine I could hear Suzie, awake now and softly sobbing, accompanied by the fart of his voice, which had taken on a new, almost pleading tone.

"I hate the slapping too," he was saying, "it’s just that, well, it really is the thing now, you know?"

Three hours later he was gone, and I was asleep in the bed next to Suzie. She’d called me in to cover the damp patch. I slept fitfully, tormented by febrile visions of a Jovvler rampant, until Jovvler’s voice jolted me to. It was mumbling through the answerphone. "Da Suze," it was saying, "you do love me, don’tyou? Yeah, I’m sure you do. Yeah, alright, good. Err, hope you’re not too, you know, and er, hey it was er, it was er ..."

A voice behind him prompted something inaudible. "Yeah, it was a fuck supreme. You are the Marquise of Muff. Hmmm."

There was a loud plunk but the phone didn’t ring off, and for some minutes I heard Jovvler explaining to the stick how this last phrase would work at the National, and would be quoted by twenty percent of the audience in the interval, and he would hear it, because he has a special window for listening ...

Link

posted by DD @ 13:55 

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