Monthly Archives: September 2017

Radio Play Snippet

Sometimes you start writing and then you stop. Sometimes that’s a good thing. This radio play snippet probably could be fixed and expanded. I count one, maybe two, chuckles.

(Intro. music)

(SFX-Newspaper being opened, looked through.)

MEL: Hmmm… hmm. Apartments for rent? (pause-more rustling) Here we go… . Eastside. (to himself) “Easy commuting distance to Downtown. Near Youngstown.” Nope, don’t think so. … “One bedroom in large house. One hundred and fifty per month. ” Good rent. Probably doesn’t include utilities. All right. (picks up phone-dials as he reads the number) 555-6666. That’s easy to remember.

(Phone rings on the other end and answering machine picks up.)

OTHER END: (Deep voice.) Greetings.

MEL: Hello, I’m interested in… .

OTHER END: You have reached 666-1313. (Mel groans to himself.) We’re unavailable right now, but we usually are. We’d love to call you back, though. We usually do. Please leave your name and phone number like a good soul. Thank you.

MEL: Yes, I’m…

OTHER END: Please wait for the beep. (Pause) Beep.

MEL: Yes! I’m looking for… I mean I’m interested in the apartment advertised in the paper. My name’s Mel. I can be reached at 555-4753. I suppose I can answer any questions when you call.

OTHER END: Or you answer them now.

MEL: I could, but this is only an answering machine and… . (Pause) Wait a second!


MEL: This isn’t an answering machine.

OTHER END: That would seem to be obvious.

MEL: But it said it was.

OTHER END: I lied, apparently. It’s been known to happen.

MEL: Oh. (Pause) I was calling about the apartment…

OTHER END: I remember.

MEL: Ummm… . Is it still available?

OTHER END: When can you move in?

MEL: I asked…

OTHER END: When can you move in?

MEL: I suppose next Saturday.

OTHER END: Saturday’s bad. How about Friday?

MEL: I could do that.

OTHER END: Fine, then it’s settled.

MEL: No, I want to see it first. I can’t just commit myself.

OTHER END: Why not? You’ll see it when you move in. You can rely on my judgement until then. It’s a very unique opportunity to leave in a very unique environment.

MEL: I don’t know if that’s what I’m looking for.

OTHER END: Of course it is. The address is in the paper. We’re just off East Thirteenth. (Hangs up)

MEL: But what about the utilities?

(Music up and out)

(SFX-Mel pulling up in the driveway of the house.)

MEL: Sure is big enough. Awfully black, but it doesn’t look too bad in the sunlight. Probably disappears completely at night.

(SFX-Mel gets out of his car and walks up the steps to the front door of the house. He rings the doorbell which plays a bit from the “Volga Boatman.” Heavy footsteps are heard and the large wooden door creaks open.)

BUTLER: (Little voice) Good afternoon. May I help you.

MEL: I think so. I’m here to move into the apartment.

BUTLER: You must be Mel. We’ve been expecting you. Please come in.

(Door swings wide.)

ALL: Greetings, Mel!

(Mel screams and faints.)

BUTLER: Oooo. He fainted.

VLAD: (Voice from the OTHER END. Sound of him walking forward-long train dragging behind.) Quickly- get some water and smelling salts. (Scurrying feet with things dragging.)

JASMINE: Here, Vlad, honey.


Lindsay Anderson (YGtCTO #210)

This Sporting Life

Film written by David Storey and directed by Lindsay Anderson

I stumbled on This Sporting Life and decided to watch it despite the reliance on rugby ostensibly mixed with a love story. I assumed there would be English rugby culture and an emphasis on things that would go right past me. Sometimes I’m an idiot. After all, I plunge into all sorts of arcane matters with a free spirit. But- wait a minture- this has rugby in it- can’t manage that.

And Richard Harris, too. He starred in Camelot, didn’t he? Also, that movie from which the preview alone gave me nightmares as a child (A Man Called Horse)?

Lindsay Anderson

That This Sporting Life was a character study was no surprise. That it was brilliant and held my interest and I wanted more- well, unexpected. So, I wondered aloud- who made this film? Lindsay Anderson? And what else did he do?

He made how many films? That’s all? Did he die young? Nope? Let’s see what we have here. If… about a revolution at a private school? That is something that might appeal to me.

Needless to say, I plowed through the work of Lindsay Anderson with remarkable glee. He made a trilogy of films (the Mick Travis trilogy) in collaboration with Malcolm McDowell that get progressively weirder, which is saying something since If… is the first of them.

Let’s consider the second of the three for a moment. The soundtrack to O Lucky Man! is by Alan Price and truly fantastic. Sometimes you see the band and sometimes you don’t. The story meanders thither and yon. It is one of those long films with an intermission and plays more like Tom Jones than anything straightforward. There is a job selling coffee and then there is disaster and then there is love and…

Here’s the thing.
the paucity of movies as well as their content suggest someone who took a while to get interested and then worked hard to capture his vision. The mix of humor and horror with empathy and social commentary is definitely right up my alley. So, I tried to find out what I could about this one artist who no one had seemed to mention.

I discovered that plenty of people appreciated his work. More than that, a lot of people loved the man. You can find almost more about him as a person than as an artist from the various times that he comes up in stories. For example, I could just as easily have focused in on Malcolm McDowell here. Anderson and McDowell are powerfully linked, as documented by the latter in his one man show Never Apologize.

For a variety of reasons, I’ve reached a point where I see a lot of life as being one thing after another. That’s not a moral judgement so much as an acknowledgement that things happen and we deal with them as opposed to writing out a life plan at eighteen and then executing it. (This isn’t meant to be profound.)

Anderson, in his films, rather captures that philosophy. As well, I tend to think that he lived his life from one activity or event to the next, but somehow well enough to have touched many lives. I never knew the man and I realize that I am being very presumptuous here, but that may just count as a way to live a truly artistic life.

What’s it all about?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 90 more to go.

New additions to You’ve Got to Check This Out release regularly. Also, free humor, short works, and poetry post irregularly. Receive notifications on Facebook by friending or following Craig.

Images may be subject to copyright.

Bernard Malamud (YGtCTO Words #70)

The Natural

Novel written by Bernard Malamud

I suppose there is something of a spoiler in what I am about to describe, but it’s not much of one, so read on if you’re brave.

Here’s a strange association for you: Bernard Malamud and Monty Python. We were spoiled at my college by downtown cinemas within easy walking distance and with a very easy price. I believe it was a dollar. They packed us in like sardines, but we didn’t mind.

One week I saw Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. Whether or not you have seen it, it little ruins it to tell you that it starts with a distinct short film that is quite epic. Then the short film and there is a brief pause before the rest of the movie carries on. The pause is long enough if you are sitting there for you to turn to any companions and wonder aloud whether the joke is that this new film is too short.

The following week, I saw The Natural. A little ways in, after a dramatic event, the screen fades to black and there is an extended pause. This felt longer than the one from the previous week. Perhaps the projectionist was having a little trouble changing a reel. Either way, I started to wonder if fade-outs were going to be a thing in movies forever more.

Despite the association for me, the two films have nothing else in common except for my great fondness for both.

A short time after seeing the movie, I got it into my head to read the book because I just didn’t get how it could be a novel. Usually, you hear people describing a favorite book as un-film-able, but I had to be one of those rare birds who thought the movie was un-prose-able.

Bernard Malamud

The book was great, of course.
And it reached me in a different fashion than the movie. There’s probably a lesson there for any expectation that a movie and a book will be the same experience (or any other transposition of a work of art- the best example being the lieder based on Michlangelo’s Pietà- perhaps, I kid).

Next, I read God’s Grace. Then, I plowed through some of Malamud’s short stories. All of it was consistently strange- rich with mysticism, odd characters, and bizarre situations. While I certainly saw a path in all of this for the types of work that I wanted to do, I also had to wonder what all of this said about the human condition.

Like many of Malamud’s contemporaries from Salinger and Roth through Marquez and Irving, you knew that you were reading an entertaining tale as well as something much heavier. Buried in all that humor and action, wisdom and truth emerged. For me, Malamud was more disturbing than the rest, even more so than Singer or Vonnegut. For me, Malamud showed us something tragic and beautiful that didn’t need to go anywhere. Basically, he made life palatable with all of its attendant joys and miseries, even before I had begun to live it.

What’s it all about?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 91 more to go.

New additions to You’ve Got to Check This Out release regularly. Also, free humor, short works, and poetry post irregularly. Receive notifications on Facebook by friending or following Craig.

Images may be subject to copyright.