Saturday, 31 August 2013

Me And Buzz And The Madman

That day started like any other Saturday.

My Grandma was washin’ the back of my neck with all my family lookin’ on. When she got into rubbin’ real hard I would turn my neck a little so that I could see out the window. That morning was just like any other, Jake Van De Berghe was getting chased up Main Street by another angry husband. You’d have thought he’d have run out of married ladies by now. When my Grandma let my ears go, I met Buzz down at the corner of Lincoln Street.

Buzz was holdin’ something, which turned out to be his Maw’s curtains from her best room – it was called the ‘best room’ ‘cause Buzz wasn’t allowed anywhere near it. No sir-ee.

Apparently Buzz had to get the curtains back home before his Maw returned from Johnstown at sundown, or Buzz’s Maw would skin him like a desert rat. Now I know he ain’t tellin’ the whole truth ‘cause he’s used them curtains before and his Maw didn’t even see they were missin’.

Apparently Buzz had found a book with superheroes in it and that was what we were gonna be, this here Saturday.

I gotta say, at first, I kinda felt stupid with the cape around my neck but it started to feel good and I could see what Buzz was up talkin’ about.

We were just about to begin fightin’ crime when all of a sudden Jake Van De Berghe comes rushin’ around the corner and shoved me and Buzz into the Ice Cream & Sarsaparilla Café.

The minute we were through the doors, Jake shouts,
“Help me boys, keep this mad man out.” And by madman he means a mad husband – but like I say, it was just another Saturday in town. I hear tell that Jake has a wife of his own but that she don’t mind if he runs after other women on account that he really annoys her and has bad breath. Least ways that’s what Becky told me in school.

So there’s me, Buzz and Jake trying to hold the madman from breaking down the door. Every time he charges at the door, we move forward some and then we’d push back and then it starts all over again.

Crazy Eddie, who ran the café, was getting real worried about a madman getting’ loose in a Sarsaparilla store, and so he helped hold the door, too.

For a moment it all went real quiet and Jake was about to say that the madman had probably given up, when I turn my neck the way I do and look out of the window to see that the madman has gone all the way across the street to the Chip and Shoulder hardware store.

I was just about to tell them that the madman was gonna take the longest run ever in the whole world when the he burst through the door throwing me, Jake, Crazy Eddie and Buzz out of the way and got his head well and truly stuck in the Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream machine.

“I’m tuck,” was all the madman could holler.
“I’m really, really, really tuck.”
“I think he means he’s stuck,” said Crazy Eddie.
“Tat’s what I said,” hollered the Raspberry Ripple madman.

Buzz threw his cape around his back and decided it was the right time that me and him were superheroes.I pulled the man’s left leg and Buzz pulled the man’s right one.

“Tat hurts.”
“Sorry,” I shouted.
“Wot?” The madman hollered back.

It was no use, the man’s head wasn’t going anywhere and he was complainin’ that he was getting brain freeze. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

“There’s nothing for it, I’ll need to call Stupid Larry,” Crazy Eddie said sadly, ‘cause apparently Stupid Larry wasn’t the cheapest in town, but he was sure good at getting’ people out of holes. When Buzz’s Maw fell down that Main Street drain and got stuck good, Stupid Larry got her out of there in two shakes of a lambs tail, although he did charge her fifty bucks.

When Stupid Larry saw the madman’s predicament, he looked at it one way, “Mmmm,” he said. Then he looked at it another way “Ohhh,” he said, shakin’ his head. Then he kinda crawled around in on all fours, “tut,tut,” he said. Now some of the less kind folks in town used to say that all this walking around the problem wasn’t exactly necessary and it was only to make you think that Stupid Larry was givin’ you your money’s worth.

“Nope, we’re going to have to get him back to my workshop and cut him out.”

So Stupid Larry unhooked and unscrewed the ice cream machine with more show than a magician, I kid you not. Once we’d bumped it down the stairs, Jake and Crazy Eddie pushed it up the street, with me holding one leg and Buzz the other. Stupid Larry ran ahead to get his workshop all fired up.

When we were just passing the courthouse, the wife of the madman came over to Jake and asked him how he was doing and had he seen her husband. She didn’t think to ask about the pair of legs that were sticking out of the ice cream machine. Jake said, he couldn’t help her and he was sorry but he was real busy and if she didn’t mind they’d like to be off real quick. Kinda trying to pretend that he didn’t really know her and all.

When Stupid Larry started using the torch to cut open the machine, Crazy Eddie kept saying “This is gonna cost you, mark my words, cost ya good,” to Jake. To be honest I don’t think that kinda talk helps much.

Anyways, when Stupid Larry got the bottom off the machine, the madman’s face was frozen stiff, I kid you not.

Buzz was sure that the madman was dead, but Crazy Eddie gave the madman the kiss of life by blowing into his mouth. He said it wasn’t the first time that someone had got stuck in his machines, last time it was the pineapple caramel. Crazy Eddie also said that the Rasberry Ripple did taste real good even if it was on another man’s lips.
The next time I saw the madman he was sitting in church with his wife and his face was Raspberry Ripple Red.
The curtains were a real mess, so Buzz told his Maw that someone must have broken into the house and stolen them.

She believed him.

bobby stevenson 2013
thoughtcontrol ltd

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Closing Doors: Tony Hancock - Genuis



This is just the first few pages of an early script about the last days of Tony Hancock  (British Comedian)
Tony went to Australia to attempt to revive his Television career but without the support of his writers and pals (all of whom he dumped), the revival failed and he took his own life at the age of 44 in the basement of his producer’s house.

This is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Hancock died by suicide, by overdose, in Sydney, on 24 June 1968. He was found dead in his Bellevue Hill apartment with an empty vodka bottle by his right hand and amphetamines by his left.
In one of his suicide notes he wrote: “Things just seemed to go too wrong too many times”.




Okay Tony, can we take that line

“Oh no, I’ve got the giraffe again,
I’ve got three of these, why can’t
I get the packet with the


Does that sound funny to you? It
doesn’t sound funny to me.


Take twenty everyone, there is some
noise on the tape.

TITLES: “June 1968, ATN-7 Studios, Sydney, Australia.”

TONY HANCOCK, forty four going on sixty.
Tony is walking towards his trailer. His PA hands him a cup
and his PRODUCER walks beside him.


What Tony?

Does it sound funny? These are no
Galton and Simpson.

Give them a chance.

Give them a chance? Give them a
chance? Listen matey, I’m out of
chances. Me.

The producer places his hand on Hancock’s shoulder. Hancock
stops and kills the moment with a look.
The producer’s hand retreats.
Hancock continues walking but the producer stays where he is;
he knows better.
Hancock enters his trailer.
SLAM….a closing door.

Hancock, life-tired, sits staring into an unforgiving mirror.
He opens a Qantas Airline Bag or should that be
pharmaceutical central?
Some tablets are placed on the table, a bottle of vodka is
retrieved from under the table – it’s been taped there – and
is poured into Hancock’s cup.
He swallows the lot.



PA (O.S.)
It’s me.


The airline bag is closed and the bottle taped back under the


It’s the sound men; it was a bird
they picked up on the tape.


Well they’re trying to shoot it out
of its hiding place using a
catapult and some moth balls.

You couldn’t make this stuff up and
unfortunately neither can my

It’s just….

…it’s just what?

The PA turns towards the door and there are some fans waiting
to talk to Hancock.Hancock gets up and goes over to the door.

Fuck off.

He slams the door shut and then approaches the PA. Their
faces are an inch apart.

What do you think I am? A tin of

The PA slides away and out the door.

The room is empty and someone is showering in the bathroom.
We will find out that this is Hancock.
On the television is an interview with Hancock and John

“It’s partly true that I’m a lonely
person. There are times when you’re
desperately lonely, standing in the
wings, at say, the Palladium….”

Going around the room we see the items that reflect his life
at the moment.

“….You’re out there alone. To be
shot at, shouted at, booed, have
rivets thrown at you (which I’ve
had) and seven pence ha’penny
thrown at me at Bristol – which I
picked up carefully off the stage
and bought myself a half of

A script lying open on the bed.

“How do you make comedy? You don’t
make it with measured ingredients -
it’s not cake. You make comedy with

The Qantas bag on the bedside table.

“What I play on television is an
extension of myself and the
idiosyncrasies of other people

Two bottles of brandy and a bottle of vodka.

“You are, after all involved in
life, and you do certain stupid
things yourself. So if you are
going to stand there and throw
stones, at what point of perfection
do you stand? If one is going to be
critical without any chance of
comeback, it’s like hitting a

A HAND turns off the television. It’s Hancock’s. He slumps on
the bed in a towel , pours a vodka into a glass and smiles to
He picks up the ‘phone.

Get me Mrs Sennett in Bournemouth,
England. (Pause) That’s right, my

While he waits, he picks up a couple of tablets from the
bedside table.
He washes them down with vodka.

Mum. Guess who?

PEOPLE doing things. Carrying cables, scenery. People
The PA exits from Hancock’s trailer.

How is he?

The PA crosses his fingers and moves on.

Come on now people. We have a show
to put on.

The producer spots some of the team, watching.

I thought it was your day off?

Tony Hancock is in town.

Hope he’s worth it.

The producer claps his hands.

Move. Someone get Tony. You.

A YOUNG GIRL is selected.
She nervously goes over to the trailer and knocks the door.
There is no response. She knocks again.

Just leave it. I’ll get him.

The girl runs off.
The producer loudly knocks the trailer door.

Coming in.

The producer enters.
Tony is somewhere between Sydney and the moon.

For fuck sake, what did you take?

You know….what Sid said about me?
He said….what was I talking
about? Oh yes, Sid. He said….that
I have the best timing in the
business. The best.

Hancock is not in charge of moving his head; it has its own

There are many EXPECTANT FACES as Hancock and the producer
emerge. However this turns to disappointment as the producer
supports Hancock from the trailer. He carries him to the set.

Come on people. We have episode six
to put in the can.

The enthusiasm has eroded in the studio, everyone is going
through the motions.

Hancock stands ready, however his face shows that although
the light may be on, nobody is home.

All you have to do is pick up the

Hancock nods like a drunk.

And action.

Hancock lifts the receiver, dials very badly then ‘speaks in
tongues’ into the phone.

Cut. That’s the sixteenth take and
that bastard is incapable of saying
a line.

Hancock stands lost and sweating from head to foot.

Hancock, you c*nt. Get out there
and act.

Hancock is in turmoil. He is practising ‘Chinese burns’ on
his wrists.
(to producer)
Are you going to fucking call

The producer nods. A PA hands him a phone.

(into phone)
Get me the Managing Director.

This is another time and another place. Hancock is shaved,
dressed and sober.
He sits reading the paper and drinking coffee.
A KNOCK at the door.

(with gusto)

The producer enters.



The producer sits as he pours him a cup.

So, did you see yesterday’s rushes?

Ehm…no, not yet.

Well, we can look at them today.
I thought yesterday went well.

These two guys are remembering different days.

If you say so.

Of course, I say so.

Hancock gets up.

Well, come on. Let’s get a move on.

Hancock is already out the door.

Come on.

The producer looks at Hancock, not sure who is riding in his
Hancock is happy and smoking.

I’ve got to get me Mum something.


I hear the contract is for 26
shows. I was thinking I might do it
in three batches and head home. See
Mum and Joan. What do you think?

Have I upset you?

No. The Managing Director wants to
speak to you when we get in.

Any idea, about what?

The producer looks at Hancock. Then shakes his head.

Can’t be too serious then.

There is a look on Hancock’s face as if he may know what the
talk is about.

We could always take the whole
thing back to England.

If you don’t do it here, it’s all
over. If you fuck up in Australia,
there’s no where else to go.

The car pulls into the studio gate.

The producer sits going through some paper work.

The phone RINGS.




I’ve decided. I’m going to take the

Where are you?

Hancock sits in a hospital gown.

Cavell House Private Hospital at
Rose Bay. That bastard said it was
this or the first bloody ‘plane
back to Blighty be continued

bobby stevenson 2013 
thoughtcontrol ltd

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Bar At The End Of Sugarhouse Lane

If you’ve ever sauntered up Charles Street, you’ll know what I mean. Some days you see everything, the people, the windows, the traffic and on other days – like when it rains, or there’s fog, or you’re simply in a hurry - the whole street can pass you by in one big blur.

Then there are the odd days when a person will notice the narrow entrance into Sugarhouse Lane. There are those who would say that the Lane only appears when it’s needed, others that it’s just a dead-end in all senses of the word.

It was on one such day, that Alex decided turn the corner into Sugarhouse Lane; maybe he thought it was a shortcut through to Blond Street, or maybe his curiosity just got the better of him. Whatever it was, he found the dead end and then he found the Bar At The End.

The front of the bar had already suggested to Alex the atmosphere and the smells to be found inside. As he opened the door, a smell of stale hops hit his nose and at the far end, a blazing log fire lit up an old man’s very red face; the fire seemed to have given the old man lines across his cheeks and forehead.

The low winter sun shone through a thick pane of glass, which scattered the light and caused little rainbows to settle on far-flung corners.

The carpets were a rich red colour that went with the deep brown oak which formed the bar, table and chairs.

Alex stood and absorbed the whole, beautiful, glorious place. It felt right, everything felt right. It was as if he had come home at last.

At the bar stood a man whose face invited you in to his world. When Alex had left the bar, he remembered the happiness that seeped from the man, but for the life of Alex, he could never have described the barman’s features, even if his life had depended on it.

“Drink, sir?” asked the barman. “My name is whatever you want it to be.”

Alex narrowed his eyes at what the barman had just said.

“Is it me, or is that a strange thing to say?”

“All part of the service, sir,” said the barman.

“Okay, I’ll call you Sandy, that was my dad’s name,” said Alex.

“Is there any name you would like me to call you,” asked Sandy, the barman.

“Alex is good, that’s my name.”

“I don’t care if it is, I don’t care if it isn’t Alex. Now what will be your pleasure?”

Alex looked around the bar, it seemed to be stocked with drinks from all over the world.

“Anything?” asked Alex.

“Anything,” said Sandy.

“What about strawberry flavoured milk?”

“Coming right up,” said the barman.

And it was sitting in front of Alex in a split second.

“This isn’t your normal type of bar,” said Alex.

“Indeed it isn’t,” said the barman. “And it doesn’t have your normal type of customer, either”.

Alex looked around to see who the barman was referring to, but there was no one except the old man by the fire. He shrugged his shoulders and drank his milk.

Alex felt better already. He’d walked up Charles street in a daze, thinking about his mother having the cancer check up, and then he’d taken that turn down a street he’d never actually seen before. Yet, he felt the better for it.

Alex had a strawberry moustache at the end of the drink, and Sandy the barman gave Alex a paper napkin to wipe it off. 

“How much?” asked Alex.

“No charge,” said Sandy.


“Seriously, and mind you come back here, any time you’re passing,” said Sandy.

As Alex got off the stool to leave, the barman put his hand on Alex’s hand and said a curious thing. “She’ll be alright, you know.”

As Alex left the bar, the low winter sun blasted him right between the eyes and by the time he could see properly again, he was walking up the rest of Charles Street. Just as he reached the corner with Nebula Road, his brother called him on his ‘phone to tell him that his mother had been given the all clear.

Jinky James nearly got hit by a car and it wasn’t even lunchtime. He’d been thinking about what he was always thinking about – making money, and how he could make some more. There probably wasn’t enough money in the world for Jinky to be truly happy but he just had to have it.

He knew it was a kind of illness but he could only ever feel better with an increase in his bank balance – big or small, he didn’t care as long as it went upwards. Jinky did some of this and a lot of that to make money. Perhaps not all of it was completely legal but you had to take a chance now and then.

He cheated some people, friends if he was being honest, out of their hard earned bucks, just to make a profit.
He tended to find new friends as easily as opening his wallet. He didn’t mean to be selfish but he found himself walking passed those who begged for money in the street. Jinky thought that they must be lazy or stupid, to be in that type of condition.

So when he jumped out the way of the Bentley, the one that almost hit him as he strolled up Charles Street, he found himself in Sugarhouse Lane.

“Well, I’ll be, I don’t remember this little pokey street,” but his curiosity got the better of him and Jinky thought there might be an opportunity to make money at the end of it.

And there was an end - Jinky couldn’t go any further.

Jinky, looked the Bar At The End up and down.

“Oh, I say,” said Jinky as he wandered inside to get a drink and make himself more money.

On the bar stood a cold glass of champagne.

“My favourite,” said Jinky. 

“Help yourself, sir,” said the unnamed barman.

“You know what, I’ve never been in this bar before,” said Jinky.

“Are you sure, sir?” Asked the barman. “Because I seem to recognise your face.”

“Well, I’ll be,” said Jinky.

Jinky sipped the champers back in a hurry. “Another one,” demanded Jinky.

“We’ve run out”.

“Run out? Run out! What kind of bar runs out of champagne?”

“This one,” said the barman. 

“Then I shall take my custom elsewhere,” said Jinky, forgetting he had gone in the bar to make some money.

Just as he was leaving, the barman leaned over and put his hand on Jinky’s hand.

“Check your ‘phone, sir.”


“I think you’ll find that money is not what you need right now,” said the barman.

Sure enough as Jinky turned the corner into Charles Street, a text arrived on his phone. Could he call Doctor Stewart immediately as the doctor was concerned about a dark patch on Jinky’s X-ray.

bobby stevenson 2013
thoughtcontrol ltd

Cowboy And The Angel - part 1

The Day Bingo Met The Angel

The day that Bingo died was the day I decided to put on my walking boots and leave town.

 Bingo had been like a brother to me, hell scratch that, he had been closer than a brother – if that’s even possible. We used to suck in the air at the same time, it was that close – no funny stuff – just brotherly love through and through. And then he goes and dies on me and you know how people say ‘I felt as if my right arm had been amputated’? Well that was how it felt. Honest to God, I felt like I had lost a limb right there and then. 

It was his mother that came to the door to break the news and break my heart (the only one I’ve got). I walked back down the path on account that she didn’t invite me in. So as I’m walking down the path, I’m thinking that a few seconds earlier I had almost skipped up the path as I knew nothing about what was waiting on me behind that door. 

Boom! That was what happened. There was a kind of boom in my head and I could see his mother’s lips moving but I wasn’t sure what the old lady was telling me. I thought I heard her tell me that he was red and I’m thinking to myself that sure is a strange thing to say about someone. Then I realised she’d said he was dead and my whole insides disappeared and the blood in my legs shouted ‘so long’ and I felt like I was going to hit the floor.  Next thing I know she’s closed the door on me. I reckon she thinks it was all my fault. If he hadn’t met me Bingo would still be alive. 

That just ain’t true. Bingo did what he wanted, always did – just then I was going to say that he always would but he won’t , not any longer ‘cause Bingo is well and truly dead. 

I met Bingo when he was in that zone where he’d been lost for a time and was just crawling back to where he should have been. I had already been to that place and I told him so. I ‘d just sat down on the big chair in Tubby Brown’s when this kid, probably about 17, sits on Tubby’s chair and says ‘beer’, just like that. Well Tubby told him that was his goddamn chair and that he should get the hell out of it, then he asked the kid how old he was and he spat out ‘21’ right away, like he’d been rehearsing it and all. 

“Sure, you are kid, sure you are.” And Tubby must’ve taken a liking to the kid because he served him beer without another word. 

Seems that Bingo was ready for the world long before it had been ready for him which explains why he kept ending up in trouble more times than his goddamn mother was ready to admit. Bingo had strayed from the righteous long before we had clapped eyes on each other. 

Just at that particular time I had been running a small business over in Saturday County and I was in need of someone who’d work cheap and fast. When Bingo was sober he was the fastest I’d ever seen. The fastest, no kidding. 

Bingo got real drunk that night and painted a clown’s face on Mayor Atholl’s statue. Now there are some who might say that the statue never looked better but his widow wasn’t one of them. She went to the newspapers, then she went to the TV stations, she even went to a meeting of the Hell’s Angels to ask if anyone knew anything about the ‘perb’traitor’ – I ‘m spelling it like that ‘cause that’s the way she said it and it made me smile. 

One early morning in July, a beer truck - minus its driver - ran into the statue and broke it for good. There are some folks who say that Bingo was the one that started the truck rollin’ down Hickory Street in the first place but nothing was ever proved. 

So Bingo came to work for me and he did a job (and then some) but he was like a trapped desert cat and could never settle. You’d find him lookin’ out to the horizon and wondering what was over that next hill. 
Then one day – the day after his 18th birthday – he got up and left. He placed a note in the pocket of my jacket that just said ‘Thanks’. 

The next few years got swallowed up and wasted on living. I got married, became a father and then got divorced and nothing to show for it except empty pockets – well not quite empty, I kept Bingo’s note in one of them. No idea why, I guess I thought he might come back one of these days. My wife , strike that, I meant to say when my ex-wife and kid moved out to the boon docks it meant I  rarely saw them and so the morning that Bingo turned up was the start of a really good day.

In all the years in between, Bingo had grown and become a man. There had been women here and there but not so you’d notice - he said.  The woman that stops Bingo in his tracks is going to be a mighty fine specimen when she does, at least that’s what he boasted. 

That day when Bingo met the angel, it was a balmy and thundery one. The kids on the street had opened the hydrant and the water was shooting up in the air in an arc. Bingo and I had been smoking and keeping our feet cool by sitting on the edge of the sidewalk and letting the river of street-water run over them. We talked about this and that but nothing real serious you understand. 

I couldn’t see Angel at first, the sun was behind the face and I was a little blinded. Angel sat on the sidewalk and smiled at Bingo and a sort of peace flooded over Bingo’s face. I’ve never seen that happen before or since – with anyone’s face.

bobby stevenson 2013