Notes from New Sodom

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

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nowhere Town: Contents

Overture and Introduction

Act ONE Scene I

Act ONE Scene II

Act ONE Scene III

Act ONE Scene IV

Act ONE Scene V

Act ONE Scene VI

Act ONE Scene VII

Intermission and Correction

Act TWO Scene I

Act TWO Scene II

Act TWO Scene III

Act TWO Scene IV

Act TWO Scene V

Act TWO Scene VI


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Nowhere Town: Epilogue

Epilogue: A Gig

Lights come up. JACK and the band are onstage, as at start of Act One.

SONG: Best Days Of My Death

Bouncy upbeat Californian ska-punk. Horns in the chorus.


When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I needed help, and I mean in a psychiatric way.
I bounced around the padded cell that was inside my head.
But then I found the cure for everything… is being fucking dead.

And so I took myself inside and had a suicide of mind.
Ripped out every little scrap of life and soul that I could find.
I killed myself when I lost my heart.
But one poor boy’s end is someone else’s start.
Live fast, die young, I said.
But my last word on my last breath
Is: These are the best days of my death.

When I was twenty-one, it wasn’t fun to be a schizo fag.
In a disco scene of beauty queens is really not my bag.
Hated everything I was and I just wanted it to end.
Then a little voice inside my head said Death can be your friend.

So I sold my soul for scrap and threw a party on its grave.
Now I don’t need to take the crap, cause I was lost and now I’m saved.
If life’s a bitch, just put that bitch to sleep.
Don’t take their pitch, just take a fucking leap.
Live fast, die young, I said.
And my last word on my last breath
Is: These are the best days of my death.

And now I’m thirty years of age and all the cages I once made
Lie in the ruins of my rage, and in a past I blew away.
These are the days I thought I’d never see.
But now I’ve found that death can make you free.
Live fast, die young, I said.
And my last word on my last breath
Is: These are the best days of my death.

So kill all your dreams.
Kill all your lies.
Kill all your hopes
And you’ll soon realise
If there’s nothing to live for
There’s nothing to lose.
There’s nothing to hold you but you.

These are the best days of my death [repeat until end]

JACK starts bouncing around the stage, jubilant, celebratory.

Enter the same actor that plays PUCK, but in a different costume, as a crowd-surfer. As the bouncers are about to hustle him off, JACK beckons him up onto the stage. The two start skanking their asses off as the band keeps playing the riff.

Enter CHORUS, as a crowd-surfer. He skanks his way up onto the platform to join JACK and PUCK.

The REGULARS – i.e. the rest of the cast – break through the barriers and we end with everybody up on the platform.

Cast members give their bows.

Final curtain

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Nowhere Town: Act TWO Scene VI

Act TWO Scene VI: A Hospital

Lights come up. GUY and JOEY sit at the table stage-left. JACK and CHORUS stand on the platform, CHORUS wearing a doctor’s white coat. The door stands on the edge of the platform. CHORUS walks through and approaches GUY and JOEY.

CHORUS: He’ll be OK. If you hadn’t been there… I hope he knows how lucky he is.

JOEY: Fucking Hell mend him. He better bloody know. [pauses] But, he’s going to be okay, yeah?

JACK walks forward to stand in the doorway, facing the audience.

SONG: A Beautiful Dream


I had a dream
I dreamed my heart was a ghost
I dreamed the devil my host
I had a beautiful dream

I must have been dead
Cause I knew that I was in hell
I went there under the spell
Of the most beautiful boy

I had a dream
Dreamed of a love that I lost
Dreamed of a song I once found
That had the most beautiful sound

I had a dream
Of the love that I left behind
Dreamed I went down there to find…
I had the most beautiful dream
I had a dream

JACK walks back to the centre of the platform.

CHORUS: You can go in and see him if you want.

GUY and JOHNNY go to the doorway. They enter.

GUY: What are you doing up?

JOHNNY: Fuck’s sake, man, you should be in bed.

JACK: Ah… fuck that shit.




What happy endings can there be in such a tale as this?
To break the heart of Death, to steal a kiss?
Love conquers all? If only that were true.
All we can hope for is a dream, a last adieu.
And so we’ll end this tale so sad before it drags too long
Unless... of course... you were to ask for… one more song?

REGULARS: [offstage] One more song… one more song… one more song…


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Nowhere Town: Act TWO Scene V

Act TWO Scene V: The Streets Of Nowhere

Lights come up on an empty stage, all the tables and chairs now removed. The doorway stands stage-right, “No Exit” lit up. Enter PUCK and the PROPRIETOR stage-left and towards the back of the stage.

PUCK: Where are we going anyway?

PROPRIETOR: Oh, this is just about far enough, I think. He’ll have to pass this corner eventually. All roads lead to home, you might say.

PUCK: Who’ll have to pass this way. This “fan”? What -

PROPRIETOR: Oh, did I say “fan”? I meant to say “flame” – as in “old flame”. Fan. Flame. Fanning the flames. You can see how I got mixed up.

PUCK: What old flame?

PROPRIETOR: And “flame” is the right word here as well. Very fiery temperament.

PUCK: Who? I don’t know what you…

PROPRIETOR: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack go under the limbo stick.

PUCK: No. Jack can’t be – not Jack. He was -

PROPRIETOR: Drunken, despairing and devastated by the tragic and untimely demise of a certain… you?

PUCK: But Jack...

PROPRIETOR: Never recovered from it, dear boy. I’m afraid to say you rather ruined his life. Destroyed him. Like a little worm that burrowed its way right through his heart as if it was an apple, eating and eating until there wasn’t anything left.

PUCK: No, that’s… not fair…

PROPRIETOR: Life isn’t fair, dear boy. And death is downright cruel.

PUCK: No… no…

PROPRIETOR: Jack Flash is wandering around these very streets, right here, right now, a broken, bitter wreck of a human being… and all because of you. I suspect he’s looking for some doorway into utter oblivion even as we speak.

PUCK: I don’t believe you.

PROPRIETOR: He spent most of the night in the Hellhole drinking like there was no tomorrow – or, more to the point, like he desparately wanted there to be no tomorrow. A systematic derangement of the senses, you might call it. Actually it was more like a systematic eradication of all sense. You know, I was hoping that if I could just bring the two of you together… well, love conquers all as they say. Except that it doesn’t, does it? Except perhaps in a brutal, slaughtering, give-the-natives-syphillis-ridden-blankets sort of way. Love kills.

PUCK lunges at the PROPRIETOR.


The PROPRIETOR smacks him with a backhand and PUCK collapses to the ground.

PROPRIETOR: Now now, dear boy. Now now. You should be grateful for JACK's pain. It's what's kept you going all these years, my little... dream of a ghost of a shadow of a memory.

PUCK: But this is...

PROPRIETOR: Nowhere, my dear Puck. Heaven? [laughing] There's nowhere to go after you die! No pearly gates, no pie in the sky, just an elaborate charade built on the edge of oblivion, in the dreams of the desparate! You're a parasite, Puck, living on as a hope in his heart. If it wasn't for him you would have faded away into the darkness years ago.

Enter JACK and CHORUS stage-right, unaware of PUCK who is starting to crawl away from the PROPRIETOR.

PROPRIETOR: Now, where are you going, Puck?

CHORUS: Jack, where are you going? You’re just wandering round in circles.

JACK [rounding on CHORUS]: Get the fuck away from me. Who are you?! Why are you doing this to me? What do you want from me?

CHORUS: What do you want, Jack? Why are you doing this to yourself? Where are you going, Jack?

JACK: I don’t know. I just – Why the fuck do I keep ending up back here?

CHORUS: What are you running away from?

JACK: I don’t know.

CHORUS: I think you do, Jack.

JACK leans on the doorway.

JACK: Where is he?

PUCK: Where is he?

PROPRIETOR: Where is he? He’s lost, boy. Doomed, damned, dying in a gutter somewhere. You thought he could lift you out of the shit and instead you dragged him right down into it.

PUCK [getting to his feet]: No. No. Jack wouldn’t – he –

PROPRIETOR: You killed him, dear boy.

PUCK: It wasn’t me.

PROPRIETOR: You loved him, didn’t you? And he loved you as much as he loved life itself. Until you... left and took all of that love with you. You might as well have stuck a knife in his gut.

She mimes stabbing someone in the belly. JACK puts a hand to his stomach, pain on his face.

PROPRIETOR: I love you, Jack.

She stabs again. JACK winces.

PROPRIETOR: You and me, Jack.

And again. JACK doubles over.

PROPRIETOR: Fucking forever.


PROPRIETOR: I’m dead, Jack.

The PROPRIETOR mimes twisting the imaginary knife and removing it with a flourish. JACK falls to his knees.

PROPRIETOR: You died. And you dragged him right down with you into Hell.

PUCK: No! You're lying. This isn't -

JACK: Hell. God, I'm in Hell.

CHORUS: No, Jack, this is -

PUCK: Hell, God, this is -

PROPRIETOR: Nowhere! You people. You dream up these eternities, each of them serving its own particular brand of poison. [beckoning in different directions with each name] Call it Nirvana, call it Valhalla, call it Elysium, call it [contemptuous] Heaven. It’s still the same old nowhere made of nothing more than hopes and fears. Sustained by human faith, my dear Puck. You, me, everything around us. A city built for the dead from the sorrow of the living.

JACK: Why did you bring me here?

CHORUS: You were here already, Jack. You've been here for three years.

JACK: I don't understand.

CHORUS: Back in the bar when we met. You asked me if I knew the way out of Hell. I told you, you can’t just walk away from Death. But you keep trying to, Jack, and this is where you end up. In the gutter every night. You're just going round in circles.

PROPRIETOR: You destroyed him, Puck. You couldn’t just kill yourself. You couldn’t just end your own miserable little existence. Oh, no. You saw this beautiful shining light in the darkness, this burning fire of a life, Jack Flash. And you snuffed him out as well. He's here, Puck. He's here now.

PUCK: It wasn’t my fault.

PROPRIETOR: You know what I heard him asking, earlier on. He said, what happens if you kill yourself when you’re already dead?

PUCK [backing away in horror]: No.

CHORUS: Why is that, Jack? Why do you always end up at the same place, in the fucking gutter? Think about it, Jack.

JACK: I don’t know.

PROPRIETOR: I think he was serious. I mean… look at this afterlife he's dreamed up for you both. Look at the house that Jack built.


PROPRIETOR: Look at the grey and miserable eternity of his grief.

CHORUS: Why, Jack? Why


PROPRIETOR: Look at this… nothing… this shitty little nowhere town. Who would choose this? Where on earth do you think he got the idea? Who in their right mind would see this as eternity? You'd have to be a pathetic, pitiful, self-loathing, little fool.

PUCK shakes his head, unable to find the words.

JACK [clambering to his feet]: I don’t know.

PROPRIETOR: You'd have to be you.

CHORUS: Why, Jack?

PROPRIETOR: This is where he left you. This is where he lost you. This is the fate he couldn't save you from, the empty, meaningless banality of it all. A dead-end death for your dead-end life.

CHORUS: Why, Jack?

JACK [shouting]: BECAUSE HE CAN"T JUST BE GONE! [quiet] Because there has to be something... somewhere...

CHORUS: But this, Jack? This?

SONG: The Battle of Jack’s Grief

A march. With the same sort of beat as "Money" from Cabaret, piano played for rhythm rather than melody, this should have a very metric feel. Towards the end it becomes a ensemble number, everyone singing different lines at the same time.


This town is a very shit town
It’s a nowhere place, with no escape from hate
Too little, too late.
This town is a very shit town
If you're pure, oh sure, it's great, but are you straight?
Then here's your fate.

This nowhere town
Will bring him down.


This town is a very shit town
It's a nowhere place, a waste of time and space
A fear to face.
This town is a very shit town
In the end, my friend, we all descend into the ground
You have to face this down


Drown your sorrows
Till tomorrow

This town is a very shit town
It'll find his weakness, grind his spirit down
Until he's bound
This town is a very shit town
In a world of shit; [PUCK does a double-take, mouths “world of shit”] You say you're sick of it
So prove your grit.

The PROPRIETOR thrusts the knife towards PUCK, offering it to him. PUCK backs away from the PROPRIETOR in horror. The FATES enter behind him, preventing him from backing off-stage.

Feel the hatred


Feel the grief


Celebrate it.


Be released


CHORUS crosses to PUCK’s side of the stage, stands on the platform. The FATES make way for him but PUCK and the PROPRIETOR remain unaware of him.


This town is a very shit town
I am but a fool, a clown, a harlequin
In rags of skin
[FATES: This nowhere town]
But this clown is a very sad clown
Like a Pierrot with tears that flow like wine
For Columbine




Full of blame


Fear and hatred


Full of shame




Make a stand



Take my hand

The PROPRIETOR offers her hand but when PUCK reaches out to take it the PROPRIETOR puts the knife into his grip.

JACK [getting to his feet, moving to front of stage]:

This town, this town, this town, this town
This town, this town, this town, this town

PROPRIETOR [spoken over JACK's line]:

You can end it all now, Puck.


This town, this town, this town, this town
This town, this town, this town, this town


Without you he's free. [aside] Free for me.

PUCK [moving forward as JACK continues his refrain]:

Is a very shit town, is a very shit town
Is a very shit town, is a very shit town

JACK and PUCK continue, their voices joined by…

PROPRIETOR [joining in with her own repeated refrain]:

This town, this town is a very shit town
This town, this town is a very shit town

PUCK holds the knife out, looking at it, and, slowly, turning to face the audience, he places the edge of the blade against a wrist.


This town, this town, this town is a very
shit town, this town is a very shit town.

Joined by…


This nowhere town
This nowhere town

The characters continue singing, the voices overlapped and building until:

CHORUS [suddenly changes his refrain, singing off-beat with the FATES]:

This nowhere town
This nowhere town

CHORUS, standing behind JACK, grabs him by the shoulders, sings until:

JACK [also changes his refrain, singing with CHORUS]:

This nowhere town
This nowhere town

CHORUS turns on the PROPRIETOR, advances on her. The PROPRIETOR backs away into the FATES. CHORUS and the PROPRIETOR sing at each other as if this is mortal combat. Then:

PROPRIETOR [in time with the FATES]:

This nowhere town
This nowhere town

All eyes turn on PUCK who lets the hand with the knife fall to his side as he changes his refrain:

PUCK [singing the full line]:

This nowhere town, this nowhere town

CHORUS and PROPRIETOR move front of stage, the FATES between them, until everyone is in a line facing the audience.

ALL [together for last line]:

This nowhere town, this nowhere town

PUCK suddenly steps forward, turning, as if drawn to CHORUS, as if he has had a sudden realisation.


This town is a very shit town
It's a nowhere place, a waste of time and space
A fear to face.
This town is a very shit town

The music cuts suddenly, the others silenced, and PUCK sings the next line softly, with total serenity, direct to the PROPRIETOR, pointing the knife at him.

But I have a choice, a voice, and if I call…

He lets the knife drop from his hand.

The walls will fall.

PUCK looks at the PROPRIETOR, shakes his head. CHORUS walks round behind the defeated PROPRIETOR, taps her on the shoulder and beckons her with a finger. The two exit stage-right, leaving PUCK and JACK on-stage alone, but for the FATES who move up onto the platform.

A trumpet plays the "Nowhere Town" refrain, slowly, three times.

SONG: Love Lost And Found

The big tearjerker finale. Medley of "Nowhere Town", "Junky For The Sound" and "Tango For The Dead".


Caught in this underworld,
Angels, your wings unfurl.
Show me the way from this place
[PUCK: this nowhere town]
Listen and hear my song
Just want to say so long
Just one last look at his face
[PUCK: this nowhere town]
If Hell has a heart at all
Answer my cry, my call
Give me a sight or a sound.
[PUCK: this nowhere town]
We all are dust
But if I must
I'm gonna turn this nowhere town upside-down


Another life, another death
[JACK: this nowhere town]
Another pointless loss, another stolen breath
So I got caught here in this dive
[JACK: in this endless dive]
But I'm a junky for the sound and the music's still alive

Enter the rest of the REGULARS, all walking onto the platform in darkness, to join the FATES in harmonising with the chorus.


Nowhere town
When you’ve lost your heart
And there are demons all around
Nowhere town
Without a map or chart,
But when the fires start
They're gonna burn, burn, burn until I’ve found-


Cause I'm a junky for the sound and the music's still alive
[JACK: my junky for the sound]

Caught in the Hell I made
Lost in the masquerade
Seems I can still hear his voice
[JACK: this nowhere town]
Echoing my refrain


Echoing all my pain


Echoes that weep and rejoice
[JACK: this nowhere town]
But I walk these streets alone
Singing to silent stone


Orpheus without his lyre


The road is long
But with this song
We’re gonna set this nowhere town on fire

As JACK sings PUCK begins to move around, coaxing the REGULARS to join in with the harmony, until he stands just at the corner of the platform. As each one joins in, they are lit up by a spotlight.


Another spark, another light,
[PUCK / REGULAR: This nowhere town]
Another flame snuffed out and lost in endless night
[PUCK / REGULAR: This nowhere town]
But there is something shining bright and gold
[JACK / REGULAR: This nowhere town]


Cause I'm a junky for the sound and the’s music in my soul


Nowhere town
When you've lost your heart
And there is darkness all around
Nowhere town… [They carry on the chorus, but on "town":]

Spotlight comes up on CHORUS entering at the back and stage-left, behind JACK


Death, alone of all the gods
Requires no persuasion
No gifts, no invitations
But Death, alone of all the gods,
Comes into all our lives;
No matter how you strive
You'll never beat the odds

CHORUS moves up onto the platform.


Nowhere town
When you've lost your heart
All you can follow is the sound
Nowhere town…

As CHORUS sings the REGULARS start to file one-by-one down from the platform, walking to the front of the stage to sing the “nowhere town” harmony before turning to return to the back of the line. They form a barrier between JACK and PUCK. CHORUS stands on the corner of the platform.


Death, who levels every thing,
His love for us is endless
But always He is friendless
And Death, who levels every thing
Can understand your pain
This echoing refrain
The sorrow that you sing


Another cry, another sound
[JACK / REGULARS: this nowhere town]
Another step in hope that what was lost might yet be found
I don't know what is you and what is me
[JACK: what is me and what is you]
But I know in this nowhere town that sound can set us free
[JACK: But I know in this nowhere town that sound is all that’s real and true]

CHORUS [arm out stage-left, where the PROPRIETOR is entering]:

And Death, the loneliest of all,
Is Love’s forgotten lover;
In Death is Love discovered.
And Death, the loneliest of all,


Together with his Love


The raven and the dove


Will shatter every wall.

The REGULARS scatter to the edges of the stage.

Love conquers all!

PUCK / JACK [turning the corner to be reunited]:

Cause I’m a junky for the sound and the music carries on
Nowhere town
I’m a junky for the sound and I’ve found what once was gone

CHORUS [to the PROPRIETOR who starts to backs away]:

Death, the happy ever after
The bitter laughter


Nowhere town
In a nowhere place
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town


If you can face
That dark embrace
You can return. Turn! Go!

The PROPRIETOR disappears into the darkness.

Exit all the REGULARS except for the FATES, who move right to the back of the platform.

JACK and PUCK move hand in hand, stage-left, JACK walking backwards, leading PUCK. Just as they reach the edge, PUCK goes to turn to look back. JACK stops him with a hand on his cheek.


Cause I’m a junky for the sound
[FATES: So long]
In a nowhere town
[FATES: So long]
Where love was lost and found
[FATES: So long, nowhere town]

Lights go off on the FATES. JACK turns to leave. This time it is PUCK that stops JACK. He shakes his head.

PUCK: I’ve gotta go.

JACK: Where? Stay with me.

PUCK [shakes his head, smiling]: I wish. I've gotta go.

JACK [wry, with something between a sigh and a laugh]: “I’ve gotta go.” [smiles sadly, kisses PUCK]: So long.

PUCK: So long.

CHORUS [putting his arm around PUCK to lead him into the darkness]:

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here
Or leave this place, abandoning your fear

JACK notices the knife lying on the empty stage. The sign on the door flicks between "No Exit" and "Exit", stops on "Exit". A siren begins, off in the distance but getting louder.

JOEY [off-stage]: Jack! Jack, stay with us, man. Don't you fucking die on us, Jack.

JACK picks up the knife. Looks at it, confused.

JOEY: Don't you fucking die on us, Jack.

JACK: Fuck me.

The lights cut as he walks through the door.


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Nowhere Town: Act TWO Scene IV

Act TWO Scene IV: Karaoke Night In Hell

The lights come up, but dimmer than before. JACK sits slumped at a table, stage-left, with the PROPRIETOR. Everything is very quiet and very still. CHORUS walks slowly to the piano. He takes the knife from his pocket.

SONG: It Was A Very Good Year

A jarring and dissonant jazz number based on the Sinatra number but twisted into a Tango beat.


When I was seventeen
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for automobiles
That tore down the sun
The golden one
Now cut [flicks the knife open] from the scene
When I was seventeen

CHORUS wanders over towards JACK, singing directly to him.

When I was twenty-one
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for one lonely boy
Gone wrong in the head
Thought he was dead
And came undone
When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five
It was a very good year
It was a very good year to smoke cigarettes
And drink to get drunk
A sodden old punk
But still alive
When I was thirty-five

Now your days are gone
But I’m in the autumn of my years
I look back on your time as fine vintage wine
In beautiful glass [holds up his glass]
That’s shattered and smashed [hurls it to the ground]
A life sweet and clear
It was a very good year
It was one hell of a year.

The REGULARS clap, but the atmosphere is muted now. People seem tired, wasted, drunk; some of them are slumped in their seats, unconscious.

PROPRIETOR: Wonderful, wonderful! [to JACK] Lost his sister at a young age. Such a tragic story. But he sings about it so beautifully, don't you think?

JACK [grim]: I can’t take this. I can’t take this any more.

PROPRIETOR [hurt]: You’re not leaving us so soon? It’s cold out there, cold and dark.

CHORUS: If you can’t take it, then go. Just turn around, walk out that door and never look back.

JACK: I can’t leave. I can’t leave him here.

PROPRIETOR: “Never look back”. Easier said than done, my dear Chorus, as you know only too well, I think. It’s never that simple, is it, Jack?.

JACK [weary, defeated]: What time is it? How long have we been here?

PROPRIETOR: Don’t be so impatient, dear boy. He’ll come. Have another drink.

JACK: I’ve had enough. I’ve fucking had enough.

CHORUS lays the knife down on the table in front of him.

JACK [disturbed, shaking his head]: Where did you get that?

CHORUS: It was lying on the street outside the… what’s it called? I think there was a band playing a gig there earlier on tonight.

JACK: Tonight? Outside a gig -

PROPRIETOR [hastily cutting off Jack’s train of thought]: Chorus. You know we don’t allow weapons in here. [reaches towards the knife] I’m going to have to –

CHORUS places his hand over the knife and the PROPRIETOR stops mid-motion.

JACK: Hell has a weapons policy?

PROPRIETOR: We do value the security of our clientele.

JACK: They’re dead!

CHORUS: You don’t have to be dead to be in Hell.

PROPRIETOR: But it does help.

JACK looks from one to the other.

JACK: Am I…? That knife… I don’t remember. Why don’t I remember? [He looks at the palms of his open hands, as if he might see through them] Am I…?

CHORUS: What do you think?

PROPRIETOR: Don't tell me you've never had a blackout, Jack? Maybe you just don’t remember dying?

CHORUS: Or maybe this is all just some absinthe dream made from your own pain and heartache. Nothing more. Nothing less. You don't have to be dead to be in Hell, Jack. Hell is a state of mind as much as -

JACK: Am I alive or dead?

CHORUS: What does it matter? Think about it, Jack. What are you doing here if you’re not dead? Fuck it. What are you doing here if you are dead?

PROPRIETOR: What are any of us doing here, Chorus? Jack, you could leave any time you want. There’s nothing to stop you. And there’s a whole world out there, Jack… a whole world of town after town after town… of club after club after club. Drink after drink after drink. Go if you want. But of course... of course… it would be such a shame if you were to miss the rest of the show. Who knows who might come back to do an encore. And with the famous Jack Flash in the audience. I’m sure he’d be ecstatic to see you? Don’t you think it’s just delightful when one singer spots another in the audience and calls them up on stage for a duet. I know, I know, it’s corny and it’s trite but isn’t it really quite, quite touching? The two of you - now that could be something wonderful.

JACK: It was.

PROPRIETOR: Three days. It’s really not enough, is it? You deserve eternity together. You never even had a chance. He never even had a chance. You know, if I’d had my one chance for happiness, for escape, just snatched away – all of those dreams just snatched away - I can’t imagine what it would do to me. I can’t imagine the despair.

CHORUS: Oh, don’t do yourself down. I’d say you know despair pretty damn well.

PROPRIETOR: That's the pot calling the kettle black, my dear Chorus. Oh, but the anger too, Jack. The anger would just eat away at you and eat and eat until there wasn’t any you left, just a hollow shell of rage and frustration. No love. No mercy. Oh, but how white-hot would be the hatred burning in your head? Is that how demons are born, do you think? A seed of anger nurtured and grown, incubated in despair, until one day… one day… the rage just spreads its leathery wings and out of innocence is born a thing of hell and fury that knows only how to hate the world and all that’s in it, for the innocence it murdered.

CHORUS: Life isn’t fair.

PROPRIETOR: But Death is just plain cruel. Tell me, Jack. What’s more horrific than an eternity of torture?

JACK: I don’t know.

PROPRIETOR: An eternity where all you know is how to torture others.

CHORUS winces. The PROPRIETOR stands, walks over to another table to speak to a drunken REGULAR.

REGULAR [bitter, broken, hopeless]: Fuck off, ya bas’a’d bitchin’ fugga.

CHORUS slumps down in the seat vacated by the PROPRIETOR

JACK [to CHORUS]: Why did you bring me here?

CHORUS [bitterly]: Misery loves company. You were already well on the way, Jack; I just thought you could use a native guide. Welcome to the Hellhole, Jack. Welcome to the rest of your life. Welcome to my -

He stops suddenly, shakes his head.

No bullshit. No more bullshit. I thought you might learn something from my... mistake. I can show you the way back now if you want. Do you want to go back?

JACK: Yes, but… I can’t leave here without...

CHORUS: Without what, Jack?

JACK: I just want to see him again. To speak to him. I just… we never had a chance…

CHORUS [speaking very clearly, very carefully]: You just want to see him again? [He leans towards Jack hopefully] That's all you want?

JACK: I can’t… I can’t leave here without him

CHORUS [slumps back in the chair, shaking his head]: Do you have a choice, Jack?

JACK: There’s supposed to be a deal. This is Hell, right? Where’s the Devil? I thought the Devil was supposed to give you anything you want in exchange for your soul. I thought –

CHORUS: What soul? [holds up a glass] This is the only real spirit you’ll find in here.

JACK: There’s supposed to be a deal.

CHORUS: Jack, our host may own this… club, but it’s a… franchise, you could say. And there are always regulations, licencing laws, company policy… An establishment like this is at the mercy of their suppliers and their stockholders.

JACK: So she doesn’t have the power?

CHORUS: Oh, don’t underestimate our host’s power, Jack.

He looks over to where the PROPRIETOR is leaning over one of the REGULARS.

REGULAR: Fu’ tha’ shit!

The PROPRIETOR picks up the REGULAR’s glass. The REGULAR looks panicked and pleading for a second, as The PROPRIETOR waits, eyebrow raised.

REGULAR [barely comprehensible]: Okay… I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’ll be a goo’ fuggin’ behave mysel’

The PROPRIETOR returns the glass and the REGULAR downs it desparately as if it might be the last he ever has. The PROPRIETOR looks over towards JACK.

CHORUS: Have you ever trusted in the powerful, Jack? Listen to me, Jack. You can bargain with any god or devil you want. But you can’t bargain with Death. That’s why he’s the only one of all the fuckers in this world that you can ever really trust. There’s only one way to deal with Death, Jack. And that’s to… deal with it.

JACK: Why should I fucking deal with it? Why should I fucking accept it? Fuck that shit.

JACK picks up the knife, turns it over in his hand.

CHORUS: You know, one of the great fags of history, the artist Caravaggio, had a knife inscribed with the motto, Nec Spe, Nec Metu – No Hope, No Fear. [picking up a glass of absinthe and staring down into it] When hope dies, Jack… when the last of your hope truly dies… it can be a very liberating experience.

JACK: Yeah. Sounds like a real positive outlook on life.

CHORUS: It can be. [he looks at the PROPRIETOR] It could be, I'm sure. [pauses] You know how Caravaggio died, Jack? Stabbed in the street. Like Marlowe, another great artistic fag. Both of them picked fights with ugly little street thugs and found themselves on the wrong end of the knife. You should take that as a lesson.

JACK [tense, changing the subject]: So what would happen if you killed yourself in Hell? Can you die if you’re already dead? That would be kind of ironic, wouldn’t it?

CHORUS: There are worse things than death. [He takes a drink] Ah. Absinthe. Just like misery, and just like love, and just like music. You can lose yourself in all of them. You can lose three minutes in a song, three days in love… three years in drunken misery.

JACK looks at the PROPRIETOR, who is strolling from REGULAR to REGULAR checking up on them quite… proprietorially. Then looks at CHORUS.

JACK: So what? Sometimes I wish I could lose every fucking hour of my life in this stuff.

CHORUS: And think of all the chances that you’d miss. So one three minute song isn’t an eternity… but a lot of things can happen in three minutes. [takes a coin out of his pocket, flips it and catches it.] That’s the nature of chance. [flips it again] Chance is just one coin toss after another. [flips it again] Heads, you fall in love. [flips it again] Tails, he falls in love. [flips it again] Heads, he dies. [flips it again] Tails, you die. There’s always one more chance, Jack, but don’t fool yourself. Only outcome ever guaranteed is death.

One of the REGULARS stands up suddenly, knocking over his chair, turning belligerently on the PROPRIETOR. CHORUS continues flipping the coin.

REGULAR: Lea’ me ’lone.

PROPRIETOR: Settle down, dear boy.

REGULAR: Fu’in’ whores and mu’fu’rs! Fu’in… [pushes the table away]

PROPRIETOR: Now that’s enough of that.

REGULAR: Fu’ you!

The REGULAR lunges at the PROPRIETOR, who sidesteps easily and pushes the REGULAR to the floor. She gestures to the BARMAN, who comes over.

PROPRIETOR: If it’s a fight that you want. [waves a hand and the BARMAN starts kicking the prone REGULAR]

JACK: Fucking… hey! [JACK stands up, knife in one hand, glass in the other. CHORUS catches the coin in the air and holds his fist clenched around it.]

PROPRIETOR: Now, now, Jack, don’t involve yourself in other people’s problems. Sit down and have another drink. [automatically waves a hand for the BARMAN, then looks back to where the BARMAN continues to kick the REGULAR, viciously, over and over again] Ah, of course.

JACK: Fuck you. You can’t let him do that. You can’t fucking tell him to do that.

CHORUS stands up. He starts flipping the coin again.

PROPRIETOR: The man was asking for it. It’s just his usual night out on the tiles… drink till you’re hammered, pick a fight, go home via Accident & Emergency. He seems to enjoy it. He’s here often enough.

JACK pushes past her, shoves the BARMAN away from the REGULAR.

JACK: That’s fucking enough!

BARMAN [leaning away from the knife still in JACK’s hand]: Hey!

The PROPRIETOR leans in close and snatches the coin from CHORUS.

PROPRIETOR: Oh, your boy’s finally showing a bit of mettle. Care for a wager? Heads or tails?

CHORUS just brings another coin out of his pocket and starts flipping that one silently. The PROPRIETOR turns back to JACK and the BARMAN, disappointed.

PROPRIETOR: Jack, I’m going to have to ask you to give me the knife. We really can’t have people brandishing weapons in the Hellhole.

JACK [unaware that he’s waving the knife around]: Fuck you. You’re fucking crazy. You’re all fucking crazy. [The REGULARS all look wary, edging away from him. The one on the floor drags himself away.]

PROPRIETOR: Come on now. Jack. Let’s all be reasonable.

JACK: Fuck you. [He looks around, wild-eyed] Where’s Puck?

PROPRIETOR: He’s coming back, I tell you. He always comes back. In the meantime… let’s all sit down and have a drink together.

JACK throws his glass to the floor.

JACK: No. [He starts to stalk around the room, some of his old fire returning]

PROPRIETOR: Then something else to pass the time. My boy, it’s open mike night and we still haven’t had a song from you.

JACK [pointing with the knife]: Fuck you.

The BARMAN tackles him and knocks the knife out of his hand. It slides across the floor to CHORUS, who puts his foot on it. The BARMAN and JACK continue fighting until JACK head-butts him and the BARMAN goes down. JACK starts kicking him, equally as savage.

JACK: See how you fucking like it! You wanna fucking kick someone around? Eh? Eh? Ya fucking son of a bitch. I’ll kick your fucking head in. I’ll fucking kill you!

CHORUS [voice cutting across everything]: JACK!

JACK stops. He staggers back, shocked at what he’s done.

PROPRIETOR: Well, well. Jack strikes back.

JACK [menacing]: Where’s Puck? [He moves towards the PROPRIETOR]

PROPRIETOR: As I said, Jack. We haven’t had a song from you, yet. [backing away] And right now it looks to me like you’re in just the right mood to sing one. How about "Nowhere Town", Jack? Too painful? Bring back too many memories? [vicious, prodding] How about "Nothing In My Sight"? I hear you’ve encored that one every gig for the last three years. Come on, Jack. One more time.

JACK: Fuck that shit. Where’s Puck?

PROPRIETOR: Be patient, Jack. Just wait a little while longer. Sing us a song or two to pass the time.

CHORUS: Just remember, Jack. An encore here can last forever.

PROPRIETOR: Nonsense. How long does one little song last? Three minutes?

CHORUS: Three days? Three years?

The PROPRIETOR continues to back away, moving around the table so that it is between them, as JACK advances slowly towards his host.

PROPRIETOR: Go on, Jack. Give us a blast of "Nothing In My Sight". No gods. No masters.

JACK: Shut up! I’m sick of that fucking song. It’s bullshit. They’re all bullshit. I’m never singing that shit again.

PROPRIETOR: Oh, one more time, for old time’s sake. Just one more time.

CHORUS: And then another and another and another. How long are you ready to wait here, Jack?

PROPRIETOR: True love doesn’t care about time. I’m sure Jack will wait here just as long as it takes.

CHORUS: Are you really that fucked-up, Jack? Eh, Jack? [mimicking the PROPRIETOR] Have another drink, Jack. And another and another and another. I’ll match you drink for drink, Jack. Come on. Let’s you and me get wasted.

JACK sweeps the glasses off the table.

JACK: You want a song?

He throws the table over and the PROPRIETOR moves to the side, backs away towards the platform.

PROPRIETOR: Just one little song to brighten up our long dark journey into night. Jack, oh, Jack. You’re such a little firestarter. Jack Flash, Antichrist Superstar. Our little Puck could learn so much from such a rebel as you, so full of sound and fury…

JACK: Aye, and signifying nothing. You know what? I don’t believe in this. I don’t believe in bullshit like this. I don’t believe in Hell.

CHORUS: Come on, Jack. Tell her that you're out of here. Tell her -

JACK: You can shut the fuck up as well. You want a song? I’ll give you a fucking song.

PROPRIETOR: Come on, Jack. Give us some of that old frazzle-dazzle! Give us some of that old time belligerence. Give us that houdoo that you do so well!

JACK: I’ll give you a fucking song.

PROPRIETOR: Give it to me, Jack.

The PROPRIETOR backs away from JACK until one heel kicks the edge of the platform.

JACK [leaning in close, reaching past her to grab the mike]: I’ll give you everything I’ve got, cause, baby, it ain’t worth shit to me.

SONG: The Shape Of Things To Come Again (21st Century Boi)

A deliberate pastiche of the bragging, blustering rock song, with riffs thrown in as references, nods to the greats. Sung with utter contempt.


I got the Devil on my mind,
I got God on my dick.
An inferno in my head,
Paradise in my prick.
I’m a retro-fitted one-man toy.
I’m your 21st Century Boi.

It’s the shape of things to come again.
I don’t care where. I don’t care when.
I got my money shot 15 seconds of fame.
And it’s the shape of things to cum and cum again.

JACK picks on one of the REGULARS – a fetish type - and starts singing to them, overtly sexual and provocative.

Got boybands in boxers,
Stripped to the waist.
Got nu-metal teen-goths; [makes a devil’s horns sign with his fingers]
Just gimme a taste.
It’s the soul punk rock funk ‘Real McCoy’.
It’s the 21st Century Sexy Boy. [mimes masturbation … “yer all wankers”]

And it’s the shape of things to come again.
I don’t care where. I don’t care when.
It’s a ripped-off, stripped-off gender-bend.
Cause it’s the shape of things to cum and cum again.

JACK picks on a more conventional-looking REGULAR for the next verse.

I got the riffs that I’ve stolen,
And I’m fingering my gun.
So, mothers and fathers,
Lock up your sons.
I got a loaded weapon to deploy.
I’m your 21st Century Boi.

It’s the shape of things to come again.
You won’t know where and you won’t know when.
I’m the backlash, Jack Flash, without shame.
And I’m the shape of things to cum and cum again. [circling a finger– yah de yah]

JACK puts one foot up on the platform, as if to step onto it, leering at the PROPRIETOR.

I’m a spring-heeled ripper,
Out on the hunt.
I’m a jack flash fire flash gordon flash flood flash harry flash point flash cunt.
I’m the fucking Pink Panther; I’m a groovy cat.
A gentleman, a scholar and an acrobat.
A little bit shy, a little bit coy.
But I’m your 21st Century Boi.
And there’s a little bit of Iggy in my head
And there’s a little bit of Ziggy in my bed
There’s a little bit of Kurt splattered on my shoe
And there’s a little bit of me in every one of you

It’s the shape of things to come again.
We don’t care where, don’t care when.
I got hydrochloric acid running thru my veins.
And it’s the shape of things to cum and cum again.

JACK steps down to sneer right in the PROPRIETOR’s face.

Armageddon is over.
Millenium’s here.
And you can keep your damnation,
Cause, fuck you, I’m queer.
And they can curse my sin, but they can’t destroy
God’s Own 21st Century Boi.

He spits in the PROPRIETOR’s face.

It’s the shape of things to come again.
I don’t care where. I don’t care when.
It’s just the same old broken record that never ends.
And it’s the shape of things to cum and cum again.

JACK throws the microphone down and stands, staring down the PROPRIETOR who claps slowly and mechanically.

PROPRIETOR: Bravo, Jack. Bravo.

JACK: Fuck this shit. I don't know what kind of twisted game you fuckers are playing but I don’t need you. I don’t need either of you. I’ll fucking find him myself.

He turns and walks to the doorway, where he stops for a second on the threshhold.

PROPRIETOR: One more for the road, Jack?

JACK: Life’s too short.

Exit JACK.

PROPRIETOR: Well, that went well, I thought.

CHORUS: He spat in your face.

PROPRIETOR: Yes. How very original.

CHORUS: Sometimes… sometimes the old ones are the best.

CHORUS walks towards the doorway.

PRORIETOR: Come back soon, now, my dear Chorus. You know, you’re always welcome here. You know you can't stay away.

CHORUS turns, pauses as if about to deny it, but can't.


The PROPRIETOR walks over the table, puts it right way up, bends down to the floor, to pick up the knife dropped by JACK and lays it on the table. Starts to flip the coin snatched off CHORUS, beckoning the BARMAN over.

PROPRIETOR: Be a good man and go find young Puck. Tell him I have a public appearance lined up for him. I want him to meet his number one fan. [The BARMAN departs] Oh, you’ll get your Puck, my boy… lying on the street in his own blood if I have to cut his heart out myself. [looks around at the REGULARS] It’s just so much more romantic when they do it to themselves, though, don’t you think?

The PROPRIETOR catches the coin with one hand, slaps it down on the back of the other hand, peeks at it, turns to one of the REGULARS.

PROPRIETOR: What do you say? Heads, I win; tails, you lose?

Lights go down.


Labels: ,

Nowhere Town: Act TWO Scene III

Act TWO Scene III: Backstage At The Hellhole

Lights go down to a spot on JACK stage-left. Stage-right, another spot picks out PUCK and the FATES as they enter. The FATES sit at the counter as if at a dressing-room mirror, removing make-up. PUCK stands facing the audience.

FATE 1: Honey, you're too good for this place. You want to get yourself some proper management and move on.

PUCK: They... like me here.

FATE 2: Baby, they like to hear you scream. They want to see you open up and bleed.

FATE 3: You know that nice Mr Chorus was in the audience tonight. Now he wouldn't have you playing the same set-list every night for five years straight.

PUCK: This is what I want to do. This is where I want to be. [quiet] This is where I belong.

FATE 2 [stands, puts her arm round PUCK]: Baby, you've been waiting for your break so long, you've forgotten what you're waiting for. It's time to move on.

PUCK: This. This is what I was waiting for. Don't you see? They love me out there. They fucking love me. They cheer, they clap, they...

Enter the PROPRIETOR, stage-right, quietly and unseen.

FATE 1: Notice you? Honey, you gonna hang around forever in this dive feeling miserable just because people like to see you feeling miserable?

FATE 2: Hear you feeling miserable?

FATE 3: Because they love you feeling miserable?

PUCK: What else do I have?

PROPRIETOR: Nothing, my dear boy. Nothing at all. Are you ladies trying to put ideas in my darling Puck's head again?

The FATES back-off.

PROPRIETOR: Puck, you know I only have your very best interests at heart. Didn't I take you in from the cold, dark night? Didn't I give you somewhere to stay, a roof over your head, an audience to adore you? Haven't I nurtured that frightened insecure little wretch of a lad who came to me so confused, so... conflicted? Haven't I made you what you are today? And all because I saw a... possibility in you, my darling Puck. A certain... spark. A flash of something, shall we say?

FATE 1: Of someone , you mean.

The PROPRIETOR spins round, pointing and glaring malevolently at her.

FATE 1: You can't keep him here forever, you know. Either of them.

PROPRIETOR: My dear, please, let's not worry darling Puck with matters best left unspoken.

PUCK: What do you mean? What does she mean, "either of them"?

PROPRIETOR: It's nothing, dear boy. Don't get yourself in a tizzy. It's just that I'm a businessman and we're always auditioning new acts at the Hellhole. So it so happens that we have a particularly talented performer in the audience tonight. So I'm rather eager to hear him sing. So there's a small, a tiny, a miniscule chance that... well... he'd be such a crowd-pleaser... I mean, I really wouldn't like to let you go, but... business is business, Puck... and he'd be so -

PUCK: You're thinking of replacing me?

PROPRIETOR: Now, dear, it's nothing to get -

PUCK: You are! You're thinking of replacing me.

PROPRIETOR [to the FATES]: Now see what you've gone and done?

PUCK: Please. I don't want -- I can't -- there's nothing else for me. Please... let me stay.

The PROPRIETOR smiles smugly at the FATES.

PROPRIETOR: Oh, Puck. You'll always have a place here. You belong here. And I'm so glad you know it. [looks at the FATES] Unlike some. [walks across stage to look at JACK, still sat in his chair]. Unlike so many.


FATE 1 [quietly, as if worried she'll be overheard]: Honey, you know she's only using you.

PUCK: Shut up.

FATE 2: Somebody has to tell you. This may seem like a dream come true -

PUCK: Shut up!

FATE 2: But, honey, what if it's not your dream?


FATE 1: You never wanted to be famous.

FATE 3: You never wanted to be a star.

FATE 2: Honey you can't be living in someone else's dream forever. Longer you do the more that dream becomes a nightmare.

PUCK: NO! Don't say another word or I'll have her back in here faster than you can say -- I'll have her in here like that [clicks his fingers]. Fucking lying fucking... This is real. This is real.

He turns and stalks off-stage.

FATE 1: Real fucked-up, honey. Real fucked-up.

Fade to black.


Labels: ,

Nowhere Town: Act TWO Scene II

Act TWO Scene II: Inside The Hellhole

CHORUS is greeted by the REGULARS of the Hellhole with slaps on the back as an old friend, well-loved. The BARMAN from Act One is wandering around, collecting glasses. The PROPRIETOR comes down from the stage, arms spread to welcome CHORUS. Played by the same actor that plays FAY as a Marlene Dietrich femme fatale in white tux with cigarette holder, very 1930’s Berlin night-club owner.

PROPRIETOR: Ladies and gentlemen. We have a very special guest tonight. We have Mr Chorus in the audience this evening... [takes a hold of one of the REGULARS wrists and twists it to look at their watch] or should I say, this morning. [starts clapping – the REGULARS join in] And a new friend. [extends a hand towards JACK]

JACK [warily]: Hi, I’m –

PROPRIETOR: Jack Flash! The one and only. Oh, I know your work quite well. And I must say I am an avid fan. Such passion. Such energy. Such fire. Such pain. Please, make yourself at home. Drinks! Drinks for my good friend, Chorus! And for my new friend, Jack. [as Jack puts a hand into a pocket] No. No. The first one’s always free. What will you have?

CHORUS: As ever… absinthe.

PROPRIETOR: The drink of poets and lost lovers. [to JACK] And yourself?

JACK: The same.

The PROPRIETOR dispatches the BARMAN to get the drinks with a wave.

PROPRIETOR: Ah, I can see why you, my friends, are here together. A sorrow shared is a sorrow bared.

JACK [trying to work out why that doesn’t sound quite right]: I’m not sure -

PROPRIETOR: Gentlemen, please take a seat [leading them to a table stage-left]. We have a most resplendent show tonight. Forgive me, if that sounds boastful, but I am proud of my performers. Is that wrong? Tell me, is that wrong?

CHORUS: Who’s on the bill, tonight?

PROPRIETOR: Tonight is karaoke night. It’s open mike night in the Hellhole Cabaret. But we have one of our most cherished house acts to kick it off. You'll love him, Jack. And we're just about to start.

JACK: It’s [checks his watch] two in the morning.

PROPRIETOR: It is indeed. What better time is there to hear the music that, in daylight, sounds… [clicking her fingers, looking for the word]… inappropriate.

CHORUS: Our host’s musical tastes run towards… the darker side of things.

PROPRIETOR: Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Kylie Minogue. We’ve had them all through the doors of the Hellhole.

JACK: Kylie Minogue?

PROPRIETOR: "Better The Devil You Know". A dark, dark song.

JACK: Hmmm. Okay.

PROPRIETOR: So will you, my friends, be willing to honour us with a song or two?

JACK: I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll ever sing again.

PROPRIETOR: That would be a crime. I love your work. Especially the early funny ones. Or what’s that song? How does it go again? “People are strange. You’re thinking, when will things change.”

JACK: “You know that you’re strange.” That’s "Nowhere Town". But –

PROPRIETOR: Wonderful song. Listen to it all the time, dear boy.

JACK: But –

PROPRIETOR [turning away as the BARMAN arrives with two absinthes]: Aha! Your drinks! I’ll leave you to them. The show must go on, after all, and we must go on with the show. Enjoy. [leaves them]

JACK: But we never released "Nowhere Town".

CHORUS [shrugs]: Maybe it’s a bootleg. Our host is quite the collector when it comes to broken-hearted musicians.

JACK: We weren’t even fucking signed when… We dropped it from the set – I dropped it after…[takes a drink of absinthe] I don’t know. God, I’m fucked.

CHORUS: Are you alright?

JACK: No. Shit, why did she have to mention that song? [takes another drink]

CHORUS: I thought you liked that song… “The only one with any meaning in it.”

JACK: It’s bullshit.

CHORUS: Puck didn’t think so.

JACK: Puck’s dead. I walk into his life and tell him, fuck it, it doesn’t matter. It’s just you and me and nothing else and… everything’s going to be okay. And three days later he’s dead. Song’s fucking bullshit.

CHORUS: You think that’s what Puck would say. Sounds to me like -

JACK: Puck’s dead! And I’m… not. [takes another drink]

CHORUS [aside]: Not yet, Jack. Not yet.

The PROPRIETOR steps up onto the platform, motions for silence.

PROPRIETOR: Thank you. Thank you. Oh, my good friends, we have such a show for you tonight. And what makes it so special? Because it’s you – you, my gorgeous decadents and deviants – who make the Hellhole what it is. It is you, my luscious rakes, rapscallions and reprobates, who’ve made me what I am today, and I am proud to say that it is you – you – who are this evening’s entertainment.

But first a very special treat. He’s been a regular here for five years now, and I have watched his… passion go from strength to strength. My dears, my loves, this boy is positively incandescent now, and I want you all to open up your arms to him and give him the welcome he so richly deserves. I want you to make him feel at home because I want to see him on this stage again and again and again. Ladies and gentlemen, all the way from nowhere in particular, for one eternity only… give it up for Puck.

Enter PUCK, dressed in ripped-up white hustler jeans and sleeveless tee, flanked by the FATES, all now dressed in biker leathers. The audience applauds. JACK rises from his seat but CHORUS puts his hand on his shoulder, pulls him back down into his seat.

JACK: What the fuck is this? What is this?

CHORUS: Just listen.

JACK: Puck!

REGULARS [taking up the shout]: Puck! Puck! Puck! Puck!

PUCK looks around, sullen, hostile.

CHORUS: Just listen.

SONG: Incubation

The guitars kick in hard with this furious rap-metal number, during which PUCK stalks the stage like an animal. The FATES join in on the chorus with banshee-howl backing vocals.


On the inside,
There’s a devil of a riptide,
Dragging me down,
Making me drown.
On the outside,
There’s a razor on the soft hide,
Stripping my skin,
To the devil within.

And I’m going to drive myself insane.
I’m going to tear myself apart.
I’m going to drive you from my brain,
Cut you out of my heart.

Have they ever really seen ya,
Hole in the head,
Walking like a dead man?
Does your enemy annoy ya?
Every little prick
Has another kick for ya.

In society, I quietly walk
While others talk, I –
Deeper and deeper, I crawl –
I am a rock.
Under their eyes, disguised in lies,
Deeper and deeper, I fall,
Running amok.

And I’m going to drive myself insane.
I’m going to tear myself apart.
I’m going to drive you from my brain,
Cut you out of my heart.

Like a fucking mental patient,
Freaking them out –
Fear and doubt.
There’s a fucking correlation:
Outside is in;
Inside is out.

In the graveyard,
There’s a cemetary home guard,
Children in black eyeliner
Taking the flak.
In the schoolyard,
There’s a cemetary vanguard,
Children in black trenchcoats
Getting their own back.

And I’m going to drive myself insane.
I’m going to tear myself apart.
I’m going to drive you from my brain,
Cut you out of my heart.

What am I incubating?
What am I incubating?
What am I incubating?
What am I incubating?

And I’m going to drive myself insane.
I’m going to tear myself apart.
I’m going to drive you from my brain,
Cut you out of my heart.

The audience cheers and applauds but PUCK just turns and stalks off the platform and off the stage, the FATES following behind.

JACK: Puck! Puck!

CHORUS [holding JACK’s arm, holding him back]: He’s gone.

JACK: He’s here. He’s here. How can he be here? Where are we? What is this place? Who are these people?

CHORUS: They’re just like you and me, Jack. People who lost a little bt of themselves. People who lost their heart. People who lost their love. People who lost their soul.

JACK [almost screaming]: Where are we?!

CHORUS: You know where we are, Jack.

JACK sits down in the chair, shocked, horrified, shaking. The PROPRIETOR approaches them.

JACK: I'm in Hell. God -

PROPRIETOR: Please, let’s not mention the G-word. And let’s not pretend you haven’t been in Hell for a while now, Jack. What is it now? Three years?

JACK: But this is… Jesus fucking -

PROPRIETOR: Please! I mean, you people. Honestly. God this. Jesus that. Krishna, Buddha, Zeus and bloody Isis. All those prayers and petitions. The only thing the gods ever gave you was a curse, a life that ends. The whole eternity thing? Sustained by human faith, my boy, by your hopes and fears. The gods just write the contracts, set out the... terms and conditions. And we have much better terms and conditions here than all those other… clubs, you know.

CHORUS [aside]: And a lot more lawyers.

JACK [standing up, pushing his chair back]: I don’t believe. I don’t believe in this. I don’t believe in any of this.

JACK backs away from both of them in horror, and turns to face the audience. Suddenly, he looks suspicious, thoughtful.

JACK: OK, then. If you’re the Devil, what’s the fucking deal? What contract are you offering?

CHORUS [a warning tone in his voice]: Jack. [he moves toward JACK]

PROPRIETOR [laughs]: The Devil? Oh, Jack, your naivety is charming. I’m not the Devil, dear boy. Just an… intermediary authorised to act on his behalf. [looking at CHORUS] Just another middle man.

JACK: So what are you authorised to do for me? Come on, what’s the deal? You want my soul? Take it. Take my fucking soul. I’m sick of it.

PROPRIETOR [turning to look offstage, after PUCK]: Oh, but Jack… we already own your soul. So many owners, Jack. Poor Jack. Bought with Love and owned by Death and given away to Drink and the Devil.

JACK: You don’t own me.

PROPRIETOR: I told you, Jack. I’m not the Devil. No more than our friend here [gesturing at CHORUS] is the Grim Reaper. Death? Damnation? These are ideas, Jack. Not people. It’s just that sometimes the ideas serve the people and sometimes [snaps her fingers and the waiter produces a glass of absinthe] the people serve [holds the glass up to examine it, then gives it to JACK] ideas.

JACK knocks the drink back. CHORUS shakes his head and does the same with his drink He walks to the bar.

JACK: What do you want from me?

PROPRIETOR: What do you want from me, Jack? [snapping her fingers again] Another drink?

She takes another glass from the waiter and hands it to JACK, who downs it. CHORUS takes a drink out of the hand of one of the REGULARS and slugs it back angrily. The PROPRIETOR walks over to the doorway, pauses.

PROPRIETOR: You know, once upon a time all this was grass. Then human beings come along and you know what we do? We fence off the land and turn it into fields, farm it, water it with the sweat from our own brows. We build civilisation… one empty little nowhere town after another; and if you’re lucky, if you’re very lucky…maybe there’s at least one club you can go to, somewhere that you fit in, with people just like you… somewhere you can go to forget the fact you’re going nowhere. Another drink, Jack?

JACK takes the offered drink and sips it. CHORUS gets another drink from the BARMAN and knocks it back in one.

JACK: You haven't answered my question. What do you want from me?

PROPRIETOR: You haven't answered mine. What do you want from me?

JACK: Puck.

PROPRIETOR [laughing]: Oh, the old ones are the best. That’s… well, that’s just classic. What are you going to do? Sing us all a song to melt our hearts… And maybe the Lord of the Dead will be so moved, so touched, he’ll let you walk out of here with the love of your life? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? Chorus?

CHORUS: From him alone of all the daimones Persuasion stands aloof. [He takes a drink and JACK follows suit.] Don’t kid yourself, Jack. When Death has you, he has you forever.

PROPRIETOR: But Jack, you know you’re welcome here. You belong here. With Puck. And you can stay just as long as you want; we never close.

CHORUS [bitter]: And it’s always Happy Hour in the Hellhole.

JACK: Puck… where is he? What have you done to him

PROPRIETOR: All we’ve done is given him somewhere to belong. He’ll be back. Just be patient.

JACK: Just tell me where he is?

PROPRIETOR: Relax, Jack. All in good time.

JACK: Don’t fucking play games with me. Where is he?

CHORUS [rounding on JACK with real anger]: This isn’t a fucking game, Jack. You really think this – this – can be your happy-ever-afterlife. Is this what you want?

JACK: You got a better offer? You got anything to offer me that even comes close?

CHORUS [through gritted teeth]: Nothing.

CHORUS and JACK both down their drinks, as if it’s become a contest between them. JACK leans on the table, unsteady on his feet.

JACK [pointing at CHORUS, glass in hand]: You’re full of shit. You’re both full of shit. I don’t trust either of you. Where’s Puck?

CHORUS: You know where he is! You know where you are!

JACK: He’s here. [to the PROPRIETOR] Let me see him, you bitch.

PROPRIETOR [coming toward JACK slowly, as if drawn]: Such passion, Jack. Such rage.

CHORUS [walking towards JACK]: Forget this bullshit, Jack. You don’t believe in this. You don’t believe in any of this. You know this isn't possible, Jack. You asked me where you are; ask yourself that question, Jack. And listen for the answer...

The sounds of the Hellhole mute. In the distance, we hear an ambulance siren. It grows louder and louder until -

JOEY [off-stage]: Jack? Can you hear me, Jack? Come on, mate.

JACK [hand to his stomach, looking pained]: No! Leave me alone.

The siren cuts off. The sounds of the Hellhole return.

PROPRIETOR: Such fury. Such frustration.

CHORUS: You know where you are, Jack. You know where Puck is. Don’t lie to yourself, Jack. You know this isn’t –

JACK: Get away from me! [He shrugs himself away from both of them and stalks off towards the doorway] I know he’s here. He’s here somewhere. He can’t be gone. [He leans on the doorway for support, voice weakening] He was here just a moment ago. He was here. He was –

CHORUS: None of this is –

JACK: Shut up!

JACK staggers and the PROPRIETOR takes him by the arm, leads him to a seat.

JACK: Where is he?

PROPRIETOR: All in good time, dear boy. Have another drink while you wait. I’m sure he’ll be back soon.

JACK: I just want to see him.

PROPRIETOR: All in good time.

Lights go down to two spots, one on JACK and the PROPRIETOR, another on CHORUS, who walks forward to address the audience.

CHORUS [spoken]:

Time heals all wounds, I hear they say.
But if the wound is poisoned, every happy hour
The rot spreads more; and as it eats, as it devours,
I tell you this: It feels like only yesterday.


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Nowhere Town: Act TWO Scene I

Act TWO Scene I: Outside The Hellhole

Curtain rises on a dark stage.

JACK: Where are we?

CHORUS: In the Village.

JACK: Fuck that shit. I hate the fucking scene.

Lights come up. The back-stage area is set up as the inside of a night club, the Hellhole, the front stage area being the streets outside. CHORUS is leading JACK. The doorway is on the left of the platform - centre-stage facing forward as the entrance to the Hellhole. The lighting is mainly red.

CHORUS: Don’t worry. I don’t think you’ll feel too out-of-place in this establishment. More of an... earthy ambience than your usual venue.

JACK: No fat old leather clones with beer guts and moustaches?

CHORUS [points with a thumb over his shoulder]: That would be Valhalla.

JACK: No cheesy dance shite? None of that pop princesses and boyband bollocks?

CHORUS [pointing in the other direction]: That would be Elysium. Oh, no, Jack. They have a good juke-box here. Could maybe do with a bit of Nirvana, but I think you’ll like the sounds.

JACK: And it's not going to be wall-to-wall blissed-out disco bunnies drinking water all night long and grinning like morons?

CHORUS: God, no. This isn’t Heaven we’re going to.

JACK: So where are we going?

CHORUS [grandiose]: We, my friend, are going to– ah, we’re here.

The REGULARS are coming on from stage-left and stage-right, filing through the doorway, which has the “EXIT” lit up. There is a dark grotesquerie to the mixed crowd of goths and gimps, tuxedos and fedoras.

JACK: What the fuck is this place. Who are these people?

CHORUS: The Hellhole has a very select clientele. Invitation only

JACK: You have an invitation?

CHORUS: A standing invitation. I know the proprietor… pretty well.

JACK: Another old friend?

CHORUS: I’m not sure about that. Charming lady, wouldn’t trust the bitch if my life depended on it. But that’s not saying much, on account of my life being well and truly shit.

A dominatrix leads a rubbered-up slave on a leash into the club.

JACK: Who are these people?

CHORUS [ironic]: Creatures of the night. That’s what they think, anyway. They’re all… terrible, terrible people. So they think.

CHORUS half-speaks, half-sings the opening lines before the music kicks in, hamming it up big-time. The whole song is played with that mock outrage, with CHORUS wagging a finger, crossing his arms, rolling his eyes, laying it on thick all through:


Think of all the guilt within us…
Mortal crimes and misdemeanours…
[with relish] Sado-masochistic sinners…
Still… [he shrugs] they’re mostly just beginners.

SONG: Welcome To The Hellhole

Tom Waits / Jacques Brel / Brecht here, with dark carnivalesque vibe. The verses are a march, with a hint of polka. Fairground accordian flourishes between them. Sung with relish.


Dead souls, damned souls,
Heart as black as blackest coal
Going down
Going down
Dead souls, damned souls
This one killed, this one stole
Going down
Going down
Dead men, damned men [crosses his arms in mock judgement]
This one had a boyfriend!
Going down
Going down
Don’t you know that it’s a sin?
Do you know where that has been?
Are you not a Christian?
That is why you’re going down

Hookers, hustlers,
Blasphemy and cuss-words
Going down
Going down
Gamblers, liars
Headed for the fires
Going down
Going down
Drunks and junkies
This one spanked the monkey!
Going down
Going down
It’s a sin to waste your seed
You were put here just to breed
Don’t you know that it’s decreed?
That is why you’re going down

Made his choices [one of the REGULARS walks past wearing a straitjacket]
Listened to the voices
Going down
Going down
Lovers, poets
Doomed and didn’t know it
Going down
Going down
Doubters, rebels,
Trouble-making devils
Going down
Going down
Let’s dispense with rigmarole
Sin is there in every soul [pointing to audience, then with a flourish:]
Welcome! to the Hellhole!
You know why you’re going down

JACK enters the Hellhole.

CHORUS [aside]: As if you weren't there already, my boy.

CHORUS enters the Hellhole.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2006


You fluffed your lines, you twat!


"Five years"? When was it ever "five years"? It's meant to be three. Three years, Jackass.

Three years didn't seem like very long. I thought I'd improvise.

Have you actually read the Second Act?

Well... sorta. It was a while ago.

So you remember the line that goes "three minutes in a song, three days in love… three years in drunken misery."?


So you can't just change three years to "five years", can you?


Because it would sound stupid, wouldn't it?

I guess.

So you've fucked it up, haven't you?

Hey, it's what I'm best at.

Shit, we'll just have to hope no-one notices.

Fuck it; it'll be fine. Stop worrying and get on with yer costume change.

Here, give us a hand then...


Oi! Geroff. Not that kind of hand, ya...



Forgive me?

Shut up and keep doing that.

Labels: ,

Nowhere Town: Act ONE Scene VII

Act ONE Scene VII: The Here And Now Again

Back at the No Exit Lounge and Bar, JACK and CHORUS sit, drunk and maudlin. CHORUS is flipping a coin and catching it.

CHORUS: I sometimes think that Death is like a jealous lover. For those he loves, he’ll let them have no other.

JACK: I just… we had three days. Three days. How can you fall in love in three days? How can you know that that was the person you were meant to be with… I mean – in three days. How can you know someone in three days? Like they’re you… and you’re them.

CHORUS: That’s what love is… chance. Just like death. [He drops the coin] Except with death, at least, [picks the coin off the floor] you can always be sure of the outcome. People talk about true love; funny. I always thought you can be much more sure of death.

JACK [bitter and angry]: True love! How many fucking cliches are there about love?

CHORUS: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”? I always liked that one.

JACK: Oh, yeah, it’s like “You can’t have your cake and eat it.” How fucking twisted is that? What’s the fucking point of having cake if you can’t fucking eat it? What’s the fucking point of – I mean, what’s the fucking point of love, if… if Death can just walk into your life and tear your fucking heart out? Man, I’m sick of all the fucking cliches and the fucking platitudes. The good die young… He’s gone to a better place… He’s dead! And there’s nothing… nothing… [tails off] What’s the fucking point?

CHORUS: There is no point. Heaven? Hell? Heaven is just our memory of what we had-

JACK: Or some happy-ever-after we imagine for ourselves.

CHORUS: And Hell is where we go when our loved ones die.

JACK: You do know, don’t you?

CHORUS: I’ve been there, my friend. I’ve been there.

JACK: … Do you know the way out?

BARMAN: That’s time! Finish up your drinks and move outside!

CHORUS: I know where we can get another drink, anyway. If you want one.

BARMAN: Your time’s up, people! Come on, now.

CHORUS [shakes his head]: I don’t know. The way out? Death and I go way back. Old friends. [lights a cigarette] You… can’t just walk away from him. Or you could, but you’d be turning your back on… the truth? And Death, he’s the truest lover, you’ll ever have [takes a slug of absinthe]. He’ll follow you wherever you go.

SONG: Tango For The Dead

Tom Waits does tango. Nuff said.


Death, alone of all the gods,
Requires no persuasion,
No gifts, no invitations.
Death, alone of all the gods,
Has no devoted preachers,
But always He can reach us,
No matter what the odds.

CHORUS wanders round the bar, going from REGULAR to REGULAR.

But if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true
As when Death walks with you.

Chosen, alone of all His fools,
To sing His inspiration
In tears and lamentations.
Chosen, alone of all His fools,
To take Him as my muse,
To pay His awful dues,
To praise him as he's cruel.

But if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true
As when Death walks with you.

CHORUS removes the flick-knife from his pocket during the next verse.

Death, when I was seventeen,
You took my heart completely,
Cut out clean and neatly.
Death, when I was seventeen,
You claimed me as your own,
This rag of skin and bone,
To see what is unseen.

But if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true
As when Death [flicks the knife open] walks with you.

Death, the enemy of hope.
Death, the chair, the rope.
Death, the heart of every life
Death, cut open with a knife

CHORUS stabs the knife into the table in front of JACK.

Death, destroyer of all lies,
Who crushes all delusions,
All merciful illusions.
Death, destroyer of all lies,
Who opens up the mind -
No longer am I blind
With pennies on my eyes.

For if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true
As when Death walks with you.

As CHORUS sings the final verse the REGULARS depart. Only JACK, CHORUS and the BARMAN are left on stage, the BARMAN standing at the door, waiting for them to leave to lock up for the night.

Death, alone of all the gods,
Accepts no celebration,
Offers no consolation.
Death, alone of all the gods,
To Him no glass is raised,
For Death will take no praise;
He only takes our lives,
Our husbands and our wives,
Our sisters and our mothers,
Our fathers and our brothers.
Our enemies and lovers.
Like Him there is no other.
The rest are only frauds.
Alone of all the gods.

JACK looks at the BARMAN, holding up a finger – one more drink? The BARMAN shakes his head. CHORUS beckons – follow me - puts his arm around JACK’s shoulder and leads him towards the door.

But if you can face
His cold, dark embrace,
There's no other love as true

CHORUS looks over his shoulder at the audience.

As when Death walks with you.

[Curtain. End of Act ONE]


Labels: ,

Nowhere Town: Act ONE Scene VI

Act ONE Scene VI: The Lost And Found

Stage is divided into two parts. Stage-right we see the platform as the stage set for the Fagsmoke gig at The Lost And Found, instruments set up but in darkness. Far right is the dorrway. Stage-left a table and chair are set up as a domestic kitchen. The table has a cloth on it. PUCK stands at the table holding a record.

PUCK exits stage-left, returns without the record. We hear something that sounds very much like the opening of "TV Eye" from The Stooges’ Fun House album: Iggy screams, the first bar of guitar kicks in and then the record jumps back to play the first bar. It keeps on jumping. PUCK exits stage-left again, returns with the record and throws it down on the table in disgust.

A piano starts playing the same riff, but much slower and in a minor key. Gradually this becomes Puck's Theme from "Junkie For The Sound", but in a melancholic version.

SONG: Another Day

Soft and melancholic for the verses, heavy guitar for the chorus, this song is shamelessly Emo.


Another day, another pound of flesh
Ripped off in a nowhere town
Another kick down to the ground
In a world that’ll grind me down
Cause every day, in every way
It’s like there’s no-one to hear my prayers
And I can’t say, I’m glad to be - [chokes off last syllable]
Cause there’s no-one around who cares -

I’m going to drive myself insane
I’m going to tear myself apart
Can’t take this fever in my brain
Can’t take this feeling from my heart

Another curse under my breath
Another chance I just let go by
They call this life, I call this death
Because there’s nothing can make me cry
And even when his hand reached out to me
And I see something in his eyes
Well I say nothing, I just freeze
Please somebody tell me why -

I’m going to drive myself insane
I’m going to tear myself apart
Can’t take this fever in my brain
Can’t take this feeling from my heart

Enter the FATES, stage-right, as if customers at the gig at The Lost and Found.

Another day trapped by these fears
And a day with no hope, but no tears
[FATES: And another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
Another day without release
And I just want just one day of peace
[FATES: And another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
Another day, another pound of flesh
Ripped off in a nowhere town
[FATES: And another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
And I can’t take another day
Please someone just take this away

PUCK slumps down on a chair and puts his face in his hands.

PUCK [quietly]: Cunts.

The piano returns to the riff which echoes that first bar of TV Eye. It plays the same bar, repeated and repeated again as PUCK stands up, paces the room, then slumps back down in the chair. He stands up, leaning on the table, hanging his head,

PUCK: Can’t even… [he makes a choked sound - frustration at his own inabilities]

He shoves the table and kicks at one of its legs. He is at the end of his tether, trapped between rage and despair. He picks up the record, looking for the scratch, like he’s looking for some small scrap of hope… and not finding it. He puts it back down gently and slumps in the chair again, stares blankly out at the audience.

Lights go down very gradually to a single spot on PUCK.

The Lost And Found REGULARS – punks, goths, crusties and generally alternative types - start filing on stage-right. On the platform, JACK and JOEY are barely visible in the gloom, setting up.

A spotlight goes up on the piano. JACK moves to the centre of the platform.

SONG: This Nowhere Town

Jack’s Theme. This song is full-on Emo: building gradually from the repetitive tinkly-plonk piano, slowly the bass guitar comes in, then the rhythm. It's only after minutes of this that Jack begins singing.


You know that you’re strange.
You’re thinking, when will this change?
It seems your world is ruled by jocks.
They got you bound and gagged.
Every day’s a drag.
Think outside the box.

A spotlight comes up gradually on JACK.

You’re caught in an endless dive
Into a dead-end life.
There’s only one way to go.
So turn that frown
We’re gonna burn this nowhere town.

Nowhere town
In a world of shit
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town
Where you don’t fit
But when the fire’s lit
We’re gonna burn, burn, burn this nowhere town

PUCK stands up. He takes the belt out of his trousers.

When you’re just a kid
It’s like they try to get rid
Of every thought that’s in your head.

PUCK steps up onto the chair, then onto the table.

They rip your dreams away;
Nothing gold can stay.
Might as well be dead.
You’ve lost your heart and soul
Just an empty hole
But no-one here gets out alive.

PUCK throws down the belt and jumps down from the table.

Because what goes around
Comes around.
We’re gonna burn this nowhere town.

PUCK throws the table over and exits stage-left.

Nowhere town
In a world of shit
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town
Where you don’t fit
But when the fire’s lit
We’re gonna burn burn burn
This nowhere town

Enter PUCK, stage-right, through the doorway. He walks round the front of the platform to join the crowd.

Cheer up, they say,
It might never happen.
But it already did
So fuck all your platitudes
I got my attitude,
Lost and found
When I was just a kid

JACK sees PUCK and begins singing directly to him.

You’re caught in a cage
That’s made of all of your rage
Against the system that they’ve built
You think there’s no way out
From the fear and doubt
That, my friend is guilt.
But listen, you’ll hear me call
Another brick in the wall
Lightning can strike in the night
And from the underground
There’s a thunder sound
That’s gonna bring this nowhere town
Tumbling down.

Nowhere town
In a world of shit
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town
Where you don’t fit
But when the fire’s lit
We’re gonna burn burn burn
This nowhere town
In a world of shit
Don’t let the fuckers grind you down
Nowhere town
Where you don’t fit
But when the fire’s lit
We’re gonna burn burn burn
We’re gonna burn burn burn
We’re gonna burn burn burn
This nowhere town

CHORUS enters quietly to remove the table and chairs from stage-left.


All right. If you’ve just arrived, we are the incredible, inimitable, insufferable Fagsmoke, so called cause I’m a fag and they’re just smokin. That’s right, boys and girls. We got Johnny Narcosis on guitar, Mary Jane on bass. We got Bert Finkle tinkling on the keyboards, howlin’ Don Coyote on drums and, of course, your oh-so-humble singer, yours truly Jack Flash…

JACK gives a royal flourish of a handwave.

As if you give a fuck. Do I care? I have free beer, a cigarette and a microphone, so I’m happy; fuck you. Anyway, this next one is dedicated to… let’s see… you over there at the door [points at Puck]… yeah, the one who walked in halfway through my [puts hand on chest in mock tragic gesture] cry from the heart… aye, you. This is another deeply heartfelt song and I hope, I pray that it just… touches you as it touches me. Because if I can touch just one person here tonight (but not him over there cause he’s one ugly fucker) but if I can touch just one person here tonight (you are over sixteen, right?) Anyway, if I can touch just one person here tonight… I’d like it to be you

JACK winks and points a finger at PUCK like a Vegas showman.

OK, this is one of our quieter, more sensitive numbers. It’s called "Suck Me, Fuck Me, Chuck Me."

SONG: Suck Me, Fuck Me, Chuck Me

Straightforward punk of the bounciest, most popular variety.

1, 2, 3, 4.
5, 6, 7, 8.
9, 10, 11, 12?!
13, 14, 15, 16.

I guess I don’t know anything about you.
But I’ve seen you and I’d like to.
Would you like to like to too?
Would you? Could you? Should you?

Suck me. Fuck me.
When you’re finished you can chuck me.
I’ll be – happy –
With just an hour or two or three.

Don’t want to waste time on infatuation,
But I’m tired of masturbation.
Would you like to like to be
With me, with you in me?

Suck me. Fuck me.
When you’re finished you can chuck me.
I’ll be – happy –
With just an hour or two or three.

JACK jumps off the platform into the crowd, starting a mosh pit. He climbs back up on the platform just in time to sing the last chorus.

Suck me. Fuck me.
When you’re finished you can chuck me.
I’ll be – happy –
With just an hour or two or three.

JACK bounces around on stage as the band brings the song to a close.

JACK: Okay, that’s us, but hang around, because Moondog’s gonna be here shortly, [crowd cheers] and they will rock your kasbah. Anyway, we have been Fagsmoke, and you have been… an audience.

The crowd breaks up and spreads into the left-half of the stage. JACK and JOEY and the rest of the band exit stage-right. PUCK walks forward to face direct to audience. The REGULARS mill around waiting for the main band and chatting. FAY comes forward stage-left, chatting to one of the REGULARS.

FAY: So what’d you think?

REGULAR: I dunno. What are they trying to be? The Ramones or fucking Joy Division? That second-last song went on fucking forever.

FAY: I liked it. New direction. Maybe our boy is finally growing up.

REGULAR: Nah. Teen-angst bullshit, man. I thought they were better on the balls-out bubblegum moshpit numbers.

FAY: You have no fucking soul, man. You have no fucking soul. [She spots PUCK]. Hey, amigo. [to the REGULAR] This is my best customer, man.

PUCK [distant]: Uh… hi?

FAY: So what did you think of the band, then?

PUCK [defensive]: What do you mean?

FAY [in an isn’t-it-obvious tone]: Um. Did you like them?

PUCK: Yeah. Good. I - [he shrugs]. I don’t know. I liked them.

FAY: Don’t think it went down too well with the rest of the crowd, right enough. Not exactly their cup of tea.

PUCK [offended]: They were good! [backtracking] Well, I mean, I don’t know. I liked them.

FAY: Chill. I was just curious. Singer’s a mate. I’m sure he’ll be asking for an in-depth report on his potential fan-base.

REGULAR: In full fucking technocolour, no doubt. Come on, let’s get to the bar before it’s fucking mobbed.

FAY: Alright, alright. Catch you later, uh…?

PUCK: Uh, yeah. I’ll… see you later.

PUCK turns away, looking relieved at the effort of conversation being over. FAY shrugs and wanders off stage-right, as JACK, JOEY and GUY enter stage-left.

FAY: Fuck me, it’s like drawing teeth with that boy.

GUY: Listen, I do think you chaps have got something. Raw… Needs a bit of work, but… if you’re serious.

JACK: I’m never fucking serious, mate. Fuck that shit.

JOEY: You think we have a chance at… you know?

JACK: Fucking course we do, mate. No fucking problem.

GUY: Absolutely. I think you still need to - I don’t know - find your sound a bit, but we can work on that. It’s just the odd song here or there that kind of… breaks the flow?

JOEY: Well… there are a couple of songs, you know, I’m not sure if they work so well. Some of the slower numbers.

JACK: Hey, hey, wait a minute. I know where this is going.

JOEY: Come on, Jack. It’s one fucking song.

JACK: We are not fucking dropping "Nowhere Town".

GUY: Jack, you can’t go from "Punk Music Makes Me Feel Big", or "Where’s My Fucking Record Contract?" to "Nowhere Town" and then back to "Suck Me, Fuck Me, Chuck Me".

JOEY: You can’t mosh to Nowhere Town. Everything else is fucking [banging his fist into the palm of his hand]… 1, 2, 3, 4! Bang! Right, uh... Guy, was it?

GUY [nodding]: It’s a good song, but it doesn’t have the same punch. It doesn’t have the same… tongue in cheek, glint in the eye thing that the other songs have. I mean, take "Suicide Pact". That’s really vicious, but it’s... you know… funny… sick, but funny.

JACK: It’s a fucking throwaway.

JOEY: Jack, fucking listen to the man. He knows what he’s –

JACK: Bollocks. The one fucking song with any fucking meaning in it and you want to drop it.

GUY: It’s not Fagsmoke, Jack. It’s not… I don’t know.

JOEY: "Fuck you; let’s make some noise."?

GUY: Exactly. You guys are great, but don’t try to run before you can walk. Sure, four, five years down the line – I’m telling you – you’ll be able to do whatever the hell you damn well want.

JACK: I can do that now, mate.

JOEY: For fuck’s sake, Jack. Listen to the man.

GUY: Three, four years down the line… there’s always the – I don’t know - the breakaway Emo album.

JOEY [laughs]: Aye, that would be Jack’s solo album.

JACK: Fuck this shit. I’m going to the bar. Beer? G’n’T? Right? OK. Back in a tick.

Exit JACK.

JOEY: I’m sorry, man. I’ve been trying to tell him this for fuck knows how long.

GUY: Look. I really think you guys have got something. Honestly. I’m sure I can sort out some more gigs for you. And I can think of at least two, three record labels that I think would snap you up. But… you need to focus on where exactly you’re going with this… right now… here and now... You need to nail down the sound. You need to focus on what works… and what works for you just now is fast, furious and funny. That’s what Fagsmoke is. Not ten-minute emo epics.

JOEY: Mate. I’m not the one you have to talk to. Fuck me, I don’t know what his problem is. It’s just a fucking song.

The piano starts again, and the crowd becomes muted – still chatting casually, but it’s just as if someone turned the volume down. Lights fade to a spotlight on Puck, still transfixed, stage-left and front.

A solitary horn picks out the "Nowhere Town” backing refrain, three times, like a distant bugler playing “The Last Post”.

SONG: One More Chance

This takes the melody for the verses of "Nowhere Town", slows it down and weaves in the melody of "Junky For The Sound". The big medley number. Get the hankies out now.


I never thought I’d find
This kind of peace of mind.
Suddenly everything’s still.
I don’t what this is.
Feels like my heart’s been kissed,
I who had nothing until…I found
You with your foolish songs.
Maybe I’m right, I’m wrong,
I think I’m in love with your sound.
You don’t know my name,
But I know your flame
Is gonna burn this nowhere town.

Enter JACK, stage-right.

JACK [weaving in the melody from "Junky For the Sound"]:

I know your voice, I know your face
[FATES: Another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
I know where you come from, this lonely nowhere place
I don’t know if a song can say enough
[FATES: And another poor boy stuck in a nowhere town]
But I know in this nowhere town that all you need is love

JACK walks up to PUCK and the two look at each other, heads cocked, quizzical. JACK offers his hand and PUCK shakes it. Neither of them lets go.


Nowhere town
And I know your words
Like they were waiting to be found
Nowhere town
Like a thought unheard
And something stirred
We’re gonna burn, burn, burn this nowhere town

JACK [coming in on “town”]:

Let’s just get out of here,
You and me disappear.
We could be something, I know.
[FATES: This nowhere town]
I know you understand
Just have to take my hand [both look down at their joined hands, only just noticing]
We could find somewhere to go
[FATES: This nowhere town]
Where the music that’s in your eyes
Don’t have to be disguised.
Shine on and never go down
With a spark so bright
And a soul alight
We’re gonna burn this nowhere town

JACK pulls PUCK by the hand and they exit stage-right out of the doorway. As the instrumental break goes all sweeping and flourishy, the crowd moves up onto the platform, singing the “nowhere town” harmony. CHORUS enters, replacing the table and chair but in a different position -- JACK's home rather than PUCK's. He places the doorway centre-stage, places a telephone on top of the table then exits.

PUCK and JACK re-enter stage-right. JACK leads PUCK through the doorway and, inside JACK’s home, they embrace, kissing against the table.

The lights altenate slowly between gold and blue, day and night.

CHORUS [introducing the theme from "Tango For The Dead"]:

Love, to whom time has no meaning
With every moment fleeting
So precious and so frail
Love, a promise of forever
A fragile never-never
A bitter fairy-tale

Exit CHORUS. The music carries on, but muted as JACK and PUCK speak the next few lines.

JACK [shaking his head in disbelief]: I wrote you a sonnet, you know.

PUCK: A sonnet?!

JACK [laughs]: A fucking sonnet. Three days with you and I'm writing fucking sonnets.

PUCK: Go on, then. Let's hear it.

JACK: I can’t believe I’m doing this.

PUCK: Jack, you can do fucking anything.

The music fades to nothing. JACK runs his fingers through PUCK’s hair.


My heart is deep, much deeper than I knew.
If I look down into it when you’re not around,
I face a void as empty and as blue
As the abyss of heaven, empty of air, empty of sound.
And yet it fills, it overflows, with breathless soul,
With scatterings of constellations, points of light –
My far-flung hopes. And, roaring from the hole,
It fills my blood, my thoughts, my lungs, this vacuum night.
I never knew the distance of my love
Until I held it close, asleep in my embrace,
Until, above the well of emptiness, a dove,
I looked down from your light into an unknown place.

My heart is deep, much deeper than I knew,
Vast as the hollow times and spaces between me and you.

Silence for a moment.

PUCK: Fuck, I’ve gotta go.

JACK: Stay.

PUCK [shakes his head, smiling]: I wish. It’s been three days. [sniffs his armpit] My clothes are fucking stinking. I’ll call you, OK?

They kiss again, and Puck steps back, through the doorway. JACK holds on to his hand for a second then lets go. They turn from each other and, as JACK goes to stand by the table and PUCK walks stage-right, the music swells.


Nowhere town


And I don’t even care
Because from nowhere came his sound


Nowhere town


And I could kiss the air
I hear it everywhere [Exit PUCK]
[offstage] I want to burn, burn, burn…


This no-

And a car horn klaxon trumpet sound blasts in on “no”, ripping through the song. The note sustains, growing louder as JACK stands looking at the telephone. The sound cuts off abruptly and the music kicks into the Death melody as JACK picks up the phone and listens. Lights go down to a spotlight on JACK, who has a look of shock on his face as he sits down, still holding the phone.

JACK puts the phone down gently and stands up. Enter CHORUS from the back, stage-left.


Death, who enters unexpected,
His quiet hand extended
To tell you that it’s time.
Death, who leaves us all defenceless,
So meaningless, so senseless,
A theft that’s not a crime,
No reason and no rhyme.

JACK turns, walks over to the platform and sits down. The lights come up, blue. The crowd disperses around the stage, changing scenery until we're back at the No Exit Lounge and Bar. CHORUS sits down beside JACK.

Enter PUCK as his own ghost, in ripped white jeans and sleeveless tee, punk-style chains, the FATES behind him. He stands behind JACK on the stage, reaching for him, but unable to touch him as if separated by some gulf. JACK seems unaware of him but CHORUS is ignoring him – not callously, but looking down, as if fighting some inner desire to help.

JACK [singing Puck's Theme]:

Another day, another drink
Another night alone, and left with time to think
Another day without romance
And I’m a junky for your sound and I just want one more chance
One more chance

PUCK: Jack, I love you.

JACK [not hearing]: And you know what the worst of it is?

PUCK: I don’t know what I’d do without you.

JACK: You know what the fucking worst thing is?

PUCK: I used to hate this fucking town and everything in it. I mean, I still do, but…

JACK: It wasn’t the fucking shithole of a nowhere town that killed him…

PUCK: I used to hate my life. God, it seems crazy, now, but I came so close to just fucking ending it…

JACK: I mean, suicide I could understand. If one of those fucking little shitheads had - I don't know - stabbed him or something, I could fucking understand it. I’d have fucking killed the fucker but I could… understand it.

PUCK: And it doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t care about any of that shit. Not when I’m with you…

JACK: A fucking accident. Some fucking cunt gets behind the wheel of a car drunk and...

PUCK: You and me, Jack. Fucking forever.

JACK: Bang! [He clicks his fingers and the “No” on the “No Exit” sign lights up. The FATES grab PUCK, who struggles in panic] He’s just… gone

The FATES drag PUCK offstage, screaming and sobbing hysterically, full-on method bugfuck crazy mental.

PUCK [howling like an animal with rage and frustration]: NO! NO! NO!


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