I’ve been thinking about what to do recently and started writing a new show… Anyway here’s a bit of it, let me know what you think, if you’d be interested in being in it or if you’d fancy directing it!
When I was 15 I read ‘1984’.
We were in English, English Literature, the start of our final year of secondary school, after that out into the real world, a world of excitement and fun, free from rules about corridor walking, blazer wearing and workbook covering. No more rules and regulations breaking us down from savages into responsible members of society. We would soon be able to live carefree and happy.
It was October, an unseasonally cold October, and, four weeks into the new term, the 1950s classrooms with their tall single glazed windows were cold, freezing cold. Ice gathering on the inside of the glass, shoes squelched from Autumn rain and the sniffs and coughs of teenage flu flowed invisibly throught the air. In the morning you’d pretend to smoke the vapour on your breath in vapour, and in the afternoon, radiators stoked to burning, the scent of teenage body odours, Lynx Africa and damp shoes and coats would waft down the corridors.
The teacher came in from the stock cupboard, a cardboard box filled with yellowing well-leafed books, inscribed with messages from past readers, ‘Miss G sucked Mr F’, ‘Amy L for John D’ or ‘Simon P is a gaaylord’ spelt wrong, and accompanied by illustrations of mis-shapen ejaculating dicks with hairy balls and smiley one-eyed faces.
The teacher, ‘Miss Richardson’, married for over 20 years and still regretting becoming a teacher handed out the battered, grease-stained books as the class murmured its disapproval. New doodles were started, new incriptions made, old inscriptions modified and updated.
Cried of dismay echoed around the room.
“Looks shit miss”
“How many pages!?!”
“Mine’s missin’ pages”
I looked down at the sorry-looking booking on my desk, it was the book that was to change my life, ‘1984’ by George Orwell.
I’d never been a book person up until that point, I was a comic man. I loved, no, devoured comics. Heroes beating up villains, good overcoming evil, tight costumes showing every ripple of muscle and breast. Batman, Spiderman, Wonderwoman, the X-Men and the impossibly dull Superman.
I also loved TV, even though the four channels, and the fifth, never spoken about in our household, filled with pornography, football and Nazi stories, often in disturbing combination, was rationed like a precious commodity by my parents.
I loved watching them, Jimmy Saville encouraging teenage smoking and shellsuits, Terry Wogan humouring dancing drunks, Anneka Rice encouraging guilty masturbation, Jason & Kylie – who’d have thought it’d never last – the stars of television.
I imagined what their lives must be like, travelling in first class singing duets on the plane, scores of adulating fans blowing kisses, a camera following me at bottom height whenever I had to run anywhere. I wanted it, I wanted to be a hero, I wanted to be on TV, to have the glamour, to chat to Terry, laugh at his jokes. And, I’m not proud of this – I imagined being a guest on Noel’s House Party.
It took me until I was twenty five to get my first girlfriend.
I was not a book person.
Until that point.
At that point I found a book that connected with me, excited me, thrilled me and exploded in my imagination.
I imagined Winston’s life, a double life, publically for and privately against the party, a force for good, a force for creativity, peace and love in a grey concrete city under grey concrete skies, undermining the system while relaxing in my spare time shagging Julia in the woods.
I imagined I could be the one to break it down, to overcome the system, break Big Brother, free my common man, like Winston Smith. A hero.
Of course I never finished the book.