David Gale’s Peachy Coochy Nites #18

20 slides are each projected for 20 seconds and spoken to for the same period, no more, no less. The script for one of these precision-based presentations is found below.

Season 3: PC#18


Previously on Peachy Coochy I had enlisted the help of Lady Gaga to help me determine whether my unconscious had been turned off. The results were inconclusive. The situation was complicated by the fact that I had somehow become Kevin Spacey, who had played me in Alan Parker’s film ‘The Life of David Gale’.


I had always wanted to programme a major London Theatre. It would enable me to revolutionise the constipated bourgeois rituals which constitute mainstream performance in this country. My position on these matters was clear:  No more dallying with forms, artists should be like victims burnt at the stake, signaling  through the flames!


Strictly speaking, this was a quote by Antonin Artaud. But I really agreed with him. Artaud, the author of ‘The Theatre of Cruelty’, died in 1948, after five years of electroshock treatment in the asylum at Rodez, in the south of France. When I was at Film School in the 60s I directed a version of Artaud’s 8 page long ‘Spurt of Blood’.


The cast featured, among others, a Wet Nurse with Giant Breasts of Gruyere Cheese.   Her stage directions read: ‘a multitude of scorpions come out from underneath her skirts and begin to swarm around her sex which in turn begins to swell and splits, becoming vitreous and shining like a sun.” No photographic documentation is available.


We built a pair of exploding knickers for the actress, consisting of a pubic hair wig which was torn off to uncover a pouch containing a meteorological  balloon and six white mice. The balloon was attached to a compressed air line which led off stage and was activated by a student called Ross. When the cue came


the balloon swelled up and in under two seconds achieved an eight foot diameter. The mice clung eagerly to its surface. The actress wore a ring with a pin on it. She burst the balloon, which was filled with talcum powder. After the bang, as the clouds cleared,  the mice had been blown all over the stage. I realise this is not clever and I now regret it.


I was proud of the fact that famous Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, translator of the play, had sent me a signed letter giving me permission to use his text. At the time of making  the play, 1967, I was deeply immersed in alternative culture, into which I had initially been led by a passionate fascination with the Beats.


Over the years I’ve collected any books on the Beats that I could pick up second-hand but I’ve never really wanted to read them. This changed last week when I suddenly had an urge to examine Ann Charters’ biography of Jack Kerouac, called ‘Kerouac’. The ultimate Beat hero turns out to be a fretful, melancholy figure engrossed in wistful dreams of a lost youth and a lost America.


I was aware that my programming at the Old Vic had been the subject of a degree of disappointment and scepticism. The Board were polite enough but the honeymoon was over. I told them I had the answer to their problems. I would both write and direct an extravaganza that would pack in the punters and achieve great critical acclaim.


On the first night of ‘Hello Wasted Lives of Southern Riverine Banks with your Ghosts and Spectral Shrouds, your Sacrificial Buttons and your Golden Night-time Tumours that Haunt the Squeezing Alleyways of Old Misty Cockney Cock Shitting the Meat out of my Ears in Tightened Shirts of Brazened Pecuniary Death Star Steel Apocalypse’


an actor from ‘Brideshead Revisited’ was so incensed that he stood up and pissed on Helen Mirren’s neck. Helen, because of her mid-career roles as a policewoman, is actually quite handy in a ruck. She spun round and nutted the guy and he dropped between the seats like a pair of used shorts. That’s all very well, but not the sort of thing


you can do discreetly in a crowded theatre. Michael Caine, who was seated in front of Helen, rose to his feet and was about to punch her in the mouth when she grabbed his forearm and snapped it like a twig. She had calculated that due to his advanced years Michael was probably suffering from brittle bones.


Former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella was pissed off. She had always respected Caine and wasn’t about to let some ex-Royal Shakespeare Company slag fuck him over. Ripping off her shoe she started to hammer the stiletto heel into Mirren’s head. Mirren gave Kinsella a forearm chop that took three of her teeth out.


The whole place kicked off. Ray Winstone, alas, proved as handy as you’d expect but what got the thing totally fucked were the blood-curdling screams from the centre stalls. It was the Redgraves! Vanessa, 73, and Lynn, 67, accompanied by Joely and her cousin Jemma, came pounding down the aisle to support Helen. It was mayhem!


I spotted the Brideshead guy, the one who’d pissed on Helen. He was being held down by some of the kids from ‘Billy Elliott’ while right next to him, Bob Hoskins – I think it was him – was taking down his trousers so he could shit in the guy’s mouth. It struck me that this was probably a step too far. The Board would not be amused.


Motorists were surprised to see Kevin Spacey with his thumb out and in consequence I got a lot of rides. I was sad to leave the Old Vic but I was clearly out of my depth there. I needed to find David and sort out this whole who-was-who thing. I wondered if he was still hanging out with Gaga. The problem was I had no idea where they might be.


So I put Kevin on the train and he waved and I waved and it clickety-clack drew away across to Abberley | Abbey Wood | Abbots Bromley | Abbots Langley | Abbots Leigh | Abbots Ripton | Abbotsbury | Aberaeron | Aberargie | Abercastle | Abercraf | Aberdare | Aberdaron | Aberdeen | Aberdour | Aberdovey | Aberfeldy | clickety-clack


There was a little alley in San Francisco back of the Southern Pacific station at Third and Townsend in redbrick of drowsy lazy afternoons with everybody at work in offices in the air you feel the impending rush of their commuter frenzy as soon they’ll be charging en masse from Market and Sansome buildings on foot and in buses and all well-dressed


and it’s all a sea, I swim out of it in afternoons of sun hot meditation in my jeans with head on handkerchief on brakeman’s lantern or on books, I look up at blue sky of perfect lostpurity and feel the warp of wood of old America beneath me and have insane conversations with Negroes in several-story windows above and everything is pouring in


And Gaga says Hey, what, no, I don’t know no David, I don’t know you, I don’t want this, I don’t want people’s dreams. My name is Stefani, I do a job. You stand over there. I stand over here. I go home. I go home. Do you not have a home? Where do you go when you go?  Do you talk in your sleep? Do you walk through the streets?

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