Saturday, October 21, 2006
VTR History Project
"You don't know how to play the game," the CBC editor was telling me. ''It's not content, it's the money from the grants."
"So it's whom you blow?"
"Are you trying to get into my pants?"
"You'd like that, wouldn't you Fred?"
"Why you asshole. You; never finished anything you've started.The heroine of your novel is a total bitch...and even that you couldn't finish."
"So where's your novel, Big Producer? You can't even spell... Recruit some guy out of the oil patch without even a degree and call him a creative director. Brokeback mountain impersonator, who only knows artists for their gayness rather than the talent they've got and you haven't. So you order them around. You know how to fuck up an artist.
"That's why CBC drama is so bad...All the good people soon quit, being abused by people like you, who belong in an oil patch. Didn't even finish high school...And you tell me I haven't finished my novel.''
The producer sucked on his Havana. "Oh for Christ's sake, bring in the rest of your book."
But I didn't have that particular book finished.
Who was wrong, and who was right?
Ability hides in the strangest places? I did see a pretty good documentary with D.F.'s name on it.But all in all, it was still on my taxpayer's dime.
So there may be meat in the argument, supporters of Margaret Atwood, for example: Can you write eighteen books? And if so, where are they?
Eighteen books are damn hard to write.
It is with such trepidation that I now go on to Scene Four in Act II of my play.
Portrait of the artist as a playwright manque'?
But what the hell. It is a tragicomedy. Story of my life. Story of your life.
Who the hell invented my life?
I INVENTED YOUR LIFE TO DRAW DOODLES AROUND ADS.--(signed) GOD.
OK Lord. I'm gonna build me an ark!
Act II, Scene Four
Scene: It is morning in the same yuppie apartment. A coffeepot is hissing merrily in the kitchenette stage left.
There is a woman in an 18th century corseted paisley dress and red granny boots. It is Celia. She is all energy and crispness.
Celia: All right. Let's get it together! Lief! David!
There is noise overhead. Lief presently comes down the attic stairs centre stage. There is a VTR in his right arm.
he is fumbling in his left-hand pocket for something.
The professor has hastily put on his trousers. There is a shirttail hanging out. He enters from stage right.
They gather around the oak dinner table. Celia busies herself, pouring coffee into portable plastic cups.
The professor gets his coffee and is about to drink when he notices that there is an unnatural bulge in Lief's left-hand pocket. Lief had placed the VTR on the table.
Professor: Doing something at work, Lief?
The professor is stil half-drunk. Lief is standing over him, a bulge in he left pant pocket.
The professor gropes at the bulge. "Whatcha hidin' there Lief?
Lief: Ah, just some equipment
. He is moving his left hip towards the professor, his crotch towards the professor's hand.
Professor: you're kind of moving into that, Lief. Come on whatcha got?
Lief follows the professor's hand, lingers there for a bit and finally produces a pair of jewelled opera glasses.
He places the lorgnette on the table, beside the VTR.
Professor (looking right to Celia, who is having her cofee on the left side of the chesterfield with its cofee table in front. He looks up again at Lief: He is half giggling.
Professor: Nice paraphanelia, Lief. Made in China.
Still has 'Peiping' on it.
Lief: Peiping Tom? He makes a face.
This breaks the ice. They all laugh.
Celia is now standing. She motions lief and the professor toawards the back door. No time for breakfast, guys. Sorry. We're running late. They leave the house.
Music: First bar of theme from William Wyler's olf film"The Collector.' Fade out.
........end act II, Scene Four, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.
And so we leave our characters for a bit. Hector the Director and his VTR and his lorgnette, Celia and her paiseley dresses, the professor, thinking he is superior to all this--but is he really? His sophistication, his self-assuredness is really a kind of emotion, heightened by something they had put into the cofee. They will be showing him the dungeon next, and he knows it.