David Gale’s Peachy Coochy Nites #19

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 4: PC#19


Previously on Peachy Coochy I had been embroiled in an attempt to determine whether or not my unconscious had been turned off. There’s an obvious difficulty here: if it’s unconscious how would you know if it was turned off? You couldn’t expect to suddenly notice the absence of something that you couldn’t notice.


One thing to look for was mistakes. I’d read Freud’s ‘Psychopathology of Everyday Life’ and I knew about the significance of ‘slips of the tongue’. If I found myself making slips, or indeed so-called ‘inadvertent actions’ – doing things that were a mistake but seemed to have hidden meaning – then I would know that my unconscious was still there, in working order.


In 1968 the racist Shadow Defence Secretary Enoch Powell visited Birmingham and gave a notorious speech about immigration in which he said ‘As I look ahead, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’ Revisiting the city a few years later he made a  classic Freudian slip with his comment ‘It’s good to be black in Birmingham.’


With these things in mind, I set off to Huntingdonshire, which I had always seen as unattractive. I had never been able to understand why anyone would wish to visit it, let alone live in it. I assumed that it was only inhabited by people who had been born there and knew no better.


As I neared the border from the Cambridgeshire side I found myself in the village of Papworth Everard. I had no idea what I was doing. The place looked like shit. The kind of place you go to hang yourself. Trousers with comfortable waistbands. A set of false teeth in a hedge. A kind of biscuit made from a kind of oats.


Then the dog came. “Hello.” That was me speaking. “Just come, just come,” the dog said. Fuck. They don’t usually speak. Fuck! They never speak. I have never heard a black dog speak. They don’t have proper lips. They have a harelip, like a hare. “Just come, just come.” I kind of went with it.


We passed through Papworth. I couldn’t bear to look at it. I went into the shop to ask for a saddle “We don’t have saddles. This is a convenience store.” “Not so convenient for me, motherfucker!” I realised that these pricks were living in a dream. Every time one of them woke up they went on a shotgun rampage until the police took them down in a wet field.


The dog had gone on ahead. I found it just by the border. It was lying on the ground with Ari Up of The Slits, a kickarse 70s Punk girl group. They were both dead. Ari died of cancer a few days ago at the age of 48. I guess she’d been trying to make it to Huntingdonshire. Why the fuck she would do that I had no idea.


I stepped across, expecting the worst. I missed the black dog but I felt that I had somehow moved him inside me. He had wanted me to keep going and I had to respect that. I hadn’t realised that Huntingdonshire was actually empty. That was why people never thought about it. What happened to people who went to live there?


Then there came plenty of houses. I think what had happened was that the people that ran Huntingdonshire had made just one road through it and this road had all the houses and the shops and the general infrastructural apparatus essential to the maintenance of civil society. It was an interesting variation on conventional town planning.


When I went in the house was empty. Just a few belongings here and there. I thought about moving in but what would you do all day? There was no television. I wondered if there were any celebrities in any of the rooms so I investigated them pretty thoroughly. They wouldn’t have to be current celebrities. They could be Dido or a sport personality.


I wondered what the man in Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ would do. He did have a kid with him, mind you. There were three of them. I said to them “Where are your parents?” The one with his finger up put it down. He said “They are hunting and gathering.” “What?” I said, “Hunting and gathering what?” “I didn’t gather,” he said.


I said “I don’t understand the layout here. There’s just this one road that runs right through the county.” The kid with the two fingers up moved them to another position. “It’s just woods everywhere else,” he said. “It’s not,” I said. “You should look at Hertfordshire. It’s shit but it’s quite open.”


“Whatever,” said the kid. “Let’s fuck off,” said the kid who hadn’t said anything yet. The kids fucked off. I crossed the street and took a look at the wood. I heard barking. I went deeper in. There was a clearing. The light was lavender. It was Ari and the Black Dog. I thought they were dead. I coughed discreetly to signal my presence.


It was not the act that I had imagined. They were, in fact, merging. Before my eyes this took place. The creature ran around screaming, trying to find its voice. I waited for it to stabilise. Then I said “Is it possible to have babies?” It said “They will always be hairy but yes.” I warmed to the prospect. 


The oracle had spoke good. I thought I saw an antelope by a mandolin. But it was an ant-hill opened by a pangolin. My hands were full of little creatures. I couldn’t stop them seething. I wanted to help them but their tongues smoothed away my fingertips. I drank steadily the milk. I easily had chocolate in my hands.


Then the oracle said Barking. Look out for Barking. If I was going to go there I needed to shave. I’d been in Huntingdonshire for several days, sleeping in abandoned houses, none of which had contained abandoned toiletries. I wanted to look my best as I crossed the Essex border on my way south. I stuck out my thumb.


The driver had a maroon mid-70s Jaguar XJ12 – an impressive classic saloon with a gorgeous walnut dashboard. To my surprise the driver was Lord Alan Sugar. I told him about what the oracle said, and I mentioned shaving.  He was characteristically outspoken. “You don’t wanna shave,” he said. “Just dress smart and confuse your enemies.” 


When we got to the border between Essex and Middlesex – just a few miles from Barking – Lord Sugar confessed that he had a phobia about crossing lines. He felt that if he did so he would lose control of his central nervous system and run about. I suggested that he should buy a house near a small airfield from which he could fly his Cirrus four seater into London.


I stayed with Lord Sugar for several weeks in a fantastic bungalow. One day the oracle made from Ari and the Black Dog was there. As its lips moved I heard barking. I realised how foolish I had been. It was just the way it spoke. I didn’t have to go anywhere. But I didn’t want to stay. I didn’t want to slip up again.

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