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 1: PC#4
Previously on Peachy Coochy: I had saved the children of the world from the murdering men by turning myself into a series of mighty weapons. As the last of the bullets burst from my body I sank into the earth and became a worm. I became an egg. The question now was: what is left of life after such extreme excitement?
I remembered the words of Michael Herr, author of the remarkable Vietnam War book ‘Dispatches’. As the war ends he realises that the rest of his life will never be this intense again: “You missed the scene, missed the grunts and the excitement. You tried to get the same highs here that you’d had there, but none of that really worked very well.”
Why would I bother to be born? Should I not stay in the soil, quiet as an egg? I had, after all, been there and done it. I knew of the cinema that was consumption, the theatre that was purchase, the realistic art that was everyday life. I was bedded down now – why should I rise from the muck and take flesh? Where was the worth in bursting forth from the earth?
Tink said “I want you to put out a shoot.” I said “Tink, why do you smell of metal?” Tink said “It’s my dust! It comes from deep in the earth. That’s why you must listen to me. If you push hard and breathe deeply you can become a pixie!” “What are the perks?” I asked. “People give you bowls of milk,” she said. “Fuck that!” I said.
I became a block of wood. I didn’t go through the root, shoot, bud, leaf shit. I just blocked out. It was good. People never give you a second look. The grain thing is good too. It runs through you, you’re the same anywhere. And you’re strong. If you get kicked or carved you haven’t lost anything because you’re the same. People feel relaxed around you – they’re completely themselves.
“Who are you?” I asked the elf. “I’m an elf,” said the elf. “Why are you so ugly?” I said. “Two things, fucker,” said the elf. “One: it’s in the eye of the beholder – all elves would rather lick a dog’s arse than look at a block of fucking wood and Two: magical folk cleave to their own systems of beauty.” “Big deal,” I said. “You should try it,” said the elf.
I didn’t want to be an elf. I became a parcel. I could see the advantages immediately: I had an inside and an outside. The outside would serve as a stout protector of the inside. The inside would not be visible from the outside. As to what was in the inside I did not know. I suspected it was empty but if this was the case then it could be filled.
Something was tugging at my string. “Who are you?” I asked the clowns. “We are Klink and Klank,” said the clowns. “Just to see us is to smile and to burst out singing gaily and involuntarily.” “Do you hear me singing?” I said, “I hate fucking clowns.” “You say that,” said the clowns, “We haven’t been funny yet.” “Okay – you got any parcel jokes?”
That stumped the bastards. “Okay,” said Klank, “but you should see our colleague Klonk – he’s fucking funny.” “Klonk,” I said, “Are you real?” “Fuckin’ A, man,” Klonk said, “These guys here are pansies; weekenders. I’m an actual clown – it’s not like something I do, it’s what I am. I have clown blood like grain in wood. I have like, clown DNA.”
I realised that Klonk was not human. He was the real thing. He had no choice. I liked what he said about wood. I asked him to carry me around. He was interesting. He threw buckets of paint and his trousers fell down frequently. He would trip up on imperceptible unevennesses in the pavement. But he never dropped me.
As Klonk and I made our way around the world we came across a great winged figure. The angel said “I am Razzabaz. Give me your parcel, Klonk.” Klonk said “Back off, Big Wing.” The angel said “Come unto me, Klonk. Let us see what you are made of.” The maimed clown and the angelic creature fought over my stout packaging.
Razzabaz gouged Klonk’s eyes out and Klonk ripped off the angel’s wings. The clown ran screaming into the bleak lands of the Norfolk-Suffolk borders. I changed into a crate. The sort that come as a flat-pack but with hinged sides that snap out firmly. Razzabaz said “Now you have a skeleton but you are open. You can fill yourself.”
We walked to a great plain. Razzabaz said “This is the mouth of the planet. We must wait here. When the time comes animals get uneasy.” I looked around – there were groups of people chatting and, indeed, some animals. I couldn’t see any crates anywhere. I recognised German-American songstress Jennifer Rush and got Razzabaz to carry me over to her.
“Hi, Jennifer, my name is David Crate. Can I say I really adored ‘The Power of Love’, a massive UK hit in 1985.” Jennifer seemed pleased, “You’re a friend of Celine Dion, aren’t you?” she said. “Well,” I said, “we used to hang out a bit in the Paris riots in ’68. I don’t see her so much now.” “She covered ‘The Power of Love’, of course,” said Jennifer. “Yours is better, Jenni!” I said.
Another person waiting by the earthquake faultline was the Pep Boys. “You seem very close,” I said. “I am Manny, Moe and Jack,” said the Pep Boys. “I have 593 vehicle repair and maintenance outlets in 36 states. Also, I am magical.” “Like an elf?” I asked. “Kind of,” said the Pep Boys. “Why are you singular though?” I further enquired.
“This is basically a philosophical issue,” said Manny, Moe and Jack as one. “You should not confuse me with my human counterparts whose images I bear. I am, as I said, a magical creature with direct lineage to the faery folk. I lend my powers to the promotion of car parts. But now I have escaped and am waiting for the earth to open that I might assume some fleshly form.”
Before I could take him up on this the earth yawned open. The animals moaned and screamed. Against the roar and rumble, through the blinding light, I glimpsed objects forming and melting, forming and melting. I saw Jennifer Rush lose her balance and the Pep Boys lurching unsteadily. I gave thanks for the four square solidity of my plastic bottom.
As if in a dream I saw cascades of glowing shapes. Each member of the animal kingdom was represented. Their bodies shone but they had no muscles, no organs. They moved slowly past me, silent, elegant, empty. I asked Jennifer to pick them up. I felt the spectral creatures filling me.
They pressed against my sides – they were my organs. They clattered softly – they were my voice. They tangled and collided and were my psychology. They could be seen through my open top, glimpsed through my barred sides. They were my contents now. They had come from the depths of the earth, forged from the deepest incandescent liquids.
Then a table came. Its top was barely visible, so clear, smooth and unveined was the glass. Its legs of chrome were deceptively slender. Where I stood on my corners this stood on three small points. I was placed upon it. Anyone could see me, I hid from no-one. I had left the soil now. I had left the egg.