Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sodom! The Musical

After it was mentioned on a BBC4 documentary on Restoration women the other night, it seems, a friend sent me links to the Wikipedia entry on and the full text of a Restoration play carrying the teasing title of The Farce of Sodom, or The Quintessence of Debauchery, possibly written by one of the great libertines of history, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. I was, as she correctly guessed, already familiar with it, (by way of John Coulthart, I suspect,) but I did end up glancing through it again, cause her point in sending it was basically: hey, Mr Appropriation/Adaptation Guy, you should totally do something with this. Come on: Sodom! The Musical. This. Must. Be. Done.

But hmmm, says I. It's a tricky one, this. The play is kind of gloriously filthy, with character names such as Bolloximian and Cuntigratia giving a mere flavour of the bawdy excess. Being a satire on the court of King Charles II however, it's all a bit sneakily moralist in the end -- Bolloximian's disavowal of cunt in favour of arse leads to chaos (chaos! I say, CHAOS!) in the kingdom, which is all put right in the end with the social order restored, in part by fiery demons. And yet... the sheer level of filth rather carries the day, to my mind, and makes that upright end (*ahem*) seem about as sincere as any early Hollywood movie using the "If they play, they gotta pay" rule as paper-thin excuse for lurid spectacle: Yeah, sure, it all ends badly for the buggering-crazy king, blah blah blah, whatever; now how many times can I rhyme "arse" with "tarse"?

And yet... does that make it hypocrisy or tricksterism. Given that it seems to be satirising Charles's tolerance of Catholicism at his court, is it playing the moralist's self-deluding/justifying game of sneering from the moral high ground as one conjures sensationalist straw men, all the while secretly jonesing over the juicy of it all? Or is that moral import more... the raised eyebrows of feigned innocence, a prankster pushing buttons left, right and centre, and trying to infuriate further by aping righteousness: what, moi? just trying to shock? why, sir, surely you can see the virtuous message in the ending, how the play brings fiery demons down upon the sodomites! there's at least three whole lines devoted to it!

I'm not sure myself, when it comes down it, but either way, sadly that moral import makes it rather hard for me to see how I could really make this work in a modern-day adaptation. The nearest I can come to an update would be to exploit that ambiguity between celebration and condemnation of rampant licentiousness in a modern framing of a mockumentary set around a staging of the play, with a central character who's the paragon of obliviousness. Like, think Christopher Guest as the gayest ex-gay ever, the most fabulous fundamentalist in the world, piously staging a modern-day adaptation of this shocking(!) scathing(!) searing(!) satire on the sins of contemporary Sodom. An all-singing, all-dancing, all-flouncing Spectacular Spectacular that he wants "above all else to save these poor slaves to sex, you understand, to free them from -- yes, Roger, just put the elephant dildo over there, bless you!"

Anyhoo, as a musical mockumentary clearly having zero prospect of ever getting made even if I came up with a more cogent idea of what to do with the source material and wrote the fucker accordingly, I fear it must be set upon the Shelf of Don't Be Fucking Stupid. Still, needless to say, the moment my mate raised the idea of Sodom! The Musical and poked me into glancing through the first scenes of that Restoration drama, an ickle Barney Stinson in my head rose to his feet with a cry of "Challenge accepted!"

And so, yes, inevitably, I give you the opening number of Sodom! The Musical, "With My Prick I Will Govern the Land."

*

Scene One: An antechamber hung with Aretine's postures. Enter BOLLOX, BORASTUS the Pimpmaster General, and PUCKANELLO, the king's favourite catamite. BOLLOX wears an ermine-lined robe, gold lame trousers and a crown, and is carrying a sceptre. BORASTUS wears full-length fur coat and feathered hat. PUCKANELLO wears a loose shirt and gold lame hotpants.

Music begins. (Think "I Sing the Body Electric" as a benchmark.)

    BOLLOX
In the zenith of my lust I reign
I drink to fuck, and fuck to drink again
Let other kings keep their subjects down
In loveless fear, every queer, as a slave to the crown
    [chorus]
My nation shall be free!
My cock shall be the only sceptre for me!
And my decree, you'll see, shall be as much a joy as a command
And with my prick I will govern the land.
Yes, with my prick I will govern the land.

    PUCKENELLO
Oh, by your grace from the powers above
Your princely wisdom, your princeliest of love
You let your subjects, all of us, enjoy
The freedom sweet, so complete, every tyrant would destroy

    BOLLOX
My nation shall be free!
My cock shall be the only sceptre for me!
And my decree, you'll see, shall be as much a joy as a command
And with my prick I will govern the land.
Yes, with my prick I will govern the land.

[He tosses his sceptre to BORASTUS who henceforth uses it as pimp staff.]

    BORASTUS
May all the pleasures of the cunt and arse
Be always near, pathway clear, open to your royal tarse.
When lust ignites, let your prick shine bright
And fuck all night, every night, with safety and delight.

    BOLLOX
My nation shall be free!
My cock shall be the only sceptre for me!
And my decree, you'll see, shall be as much a joy as a command
And with my prick I will govern the land.
Yes, with my prick I will govern the land.

    PUCKENELLO
And when your royal cock has conquered more
Than all the riches of all the kings and princes of yore.

    BORASTUS
Then may your gracious cock and balls be still
As boundless in your joy as in your boundless will.

    ALL
His nation shall be free!
His cock shall be the only sceptre for me!
And his decree, you'll see, shall be as much a joy as a command
And with his prick he will govern the land.
Yes, with his prick he will govern the land.

    BOLLOX
And as it so transpires, my prick requires your judgement and care

    BORASTUS
And for your prick it's my job to prepare!

    PUCKENELLO
And for your prick...

    BORASTUS
For his prick...

    PUCKENELLO
Your royal prick...

    BOLLOX
For my prick...

    PUCKENELLO
I will always be there!

[End song]

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1 Comments:

OpenID reynardo said...

This needs a Youtube video with the parts played by badly-disguised portraits of various members of the Court of Charles II.

And by memb... no, I didn't ... I would never... Oh what the hell. Pictures of phalli badly disguised as people from the court.

Or something.

9:34 am  

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