a Clashing Black audio production
in conjunction with Goth Mafia
script by Ian Ton
|page 1, 2 ,3, 4, 5, 6
ACT 2 SCENE II
__Scene II: The Black Planet Club and the Concert__
[Cranes' "Starblood" fades out.]
[Outside the club, sounds of people milling about, occasional shouts and hints of traffic. Then, the test squawking of a bullhorn as the BOUNCER starts speaking.]
BOUNCER [on bullhorn]: Alright, boys and girls-and others-quiet down for a moment. Welcome to the Black Planet night club. The doors will be opening in a few minutes for the show, but before that we want to impose a little organization: we don't want you all stampeding in and causing accidental deaths for which the management could be liable. If it can be determined that management will not be culpable, premeditated deaths may be permitted later in the evening.
Now then-the basic rules. You must be at least 18 to banter, at least 21 to slink, at least 16 to pass for 18, and at least 33 to qualify for the senior-goth discount. Have your driver's license, passport, or signed permission slip ready by the time you get to the door; my fellow bouncer, Chao Niichuan, will be checking ID's tonight, and having to puzzle out Arabic numerals makes him impatient.
There will be no metal detectors to pass through tonight [scattered cheers] since all three of our units overloaded and shorted out during last Thursday's Genitorturer's concert. Nor will there be any frisking or hand-searches, since we the staff would prefer to avoid physically touching you cold, clammy people if at all possible. Therefore, we will operate on the honor system and assume that any leather, plastic, or sharp metal objects you bring into the club are firmly attached to your person and will remain that way for the duration of the show. Smoking will be permitted as long as the substance being smoked was not bought on the premises; drinking will be permitted as long as the substance being imbibed was. Thank-you for pretending to co-operate, and please, if you wish to avoid facial lacerations, don't make eye contact with me again. Open the doors!
[Sound effect: mooing, cattle stampeding, chains rattling, cash register ringing, and over all, the BOUNCER shouting:]
BOUNCER: One at a time, one at a time! Hey, you! You in the black! No, you in the black with the ankh! The little ankh! The one on your necklace! Yeah, you-aw, screw it, I lost him. What the heck. Keep moving, people, keep moving!
[Sounds of the herd fade into interior of club, Alien Sex Fiend's "I Walk the Line" playing in the background.]
ALICE: Right gang, we've got a few minutes before the opening band goes on.
ANDREW: To the bar!
[Sound effect: the hustle of steel-toed and/or pointy boots on concrete dance floor.]
ALICE: One snakebite, please. Woodchuck and Harp.
ANDREW: One snakebite, please. Cider Jack and Guiness.
MONICA: One snakebite, please. Granny Smith and Bass.
ROBERT: One snakebite, please. Green Mamba and Morte Subite Crique.
DIG: "Drink the water with jagged glass/Eat the cactus with bleeding mouth."
ROBERT: Shut up, Dig; you're getting a snakebite, too. Bartender, give him a Coors with a Jolly Rancher stuck in it.
[Sound effect: Eight bottles being popped in a row, one beer can (chink)pop!ing, and the crinkle of a candy wrapper.]
BARTENDER: Five drinks, nine bottles. Connoisseurs, these goths.
[Sound effect: change clinking.]
BARTENDER: And lousy tippers!
ROBERT: Hey, that's a pure silver ankh there, buddy.
BARTENDER: We also accept cash, you know.
ROBERT: And I accept souls, but people expect change.
ALICE: Have you finished your drink yet? We want to dance, Robert...
MONICA: Personally, I'd rather dance well.
ANDREW: Dig, any idea how long they're going to keep us waiting before the show starts?
ALICE: Yeah, Dig, you work here part-time; sneak back stage and steal a playlist for us.
DIG: "And so conceal the heart that/ aches and yearns/ oh hush, a while/ sleepless child."
MONICA: And wear this yellow tee-shirt so they won't recognize you.
[Sound effects: a door opens. As it closes, the background music and sounds of the club are muted. Sound of big, clonky boots steel-tip-toeing down a hallway. Another door opening, and the CLUB MANAGER'S voice fades up as he yells.]
MANAGER: You know, if I wanted a bunch of strangely dressed people coming to my establishment so they could listen to out-of-date music and cloud the air with strange-smelling smoke, I could have turned the Black Planet into a cigar-bar and martini-lounge and attracted a calmer clientele. But nooooo! I had to listen to my overpaid psychic and turn this warehouse into a rave club that has a goth-industrial night.
BOUNCER: It's not that bad, boss! Even if you were running a mod joint, you'd still have trouble with the bands canceling. It's a disease of the industry, not the fan base.
MANAGER: Damn that Angstrom Coke! I've been billing this gig for two weeks! Does he have any idea what's going to happen to me when the children of the night out there discover that the headliner has cancelled because he and the opening band got into an argument over Sapphic imagery in Christina Rosetti's "Goblin Market?" I mean, come on! There's enough leather and fetish gear out there to field a Scottish rebellion!
BOUNCER: With all due respect, sir, while the numbers are daunting, you're forgetting that this is a goth-industrial crowd.
BOUNCER: What you have to watch out for are the percentages. While this was to have been an Angstrom Coke show, a fair number of the kids out there are still Celtic goths and New Romantics. When they hear about the cancellation, most of them will just weep and order more wine; they'll stay non-violent as long as we don't tell them that a canonical work of the Pre-Raphaelite school is involved. Also, a good deal of the folks out there are Old School. While they were first in line to buy tickets, the truth is that they don't get worked up over a show unless the headliner has produced at least eight albums, at least half of them over ten years ago. Angstrom Coke is a relatively young band, so while the Old School goths will be miffed, they'll quickly return to griping about how he'd never match up to Bauhaus, anyway. Next, we cut out all the non-goth significant others who got dragged to the show, the ravers and out-of-towners who wandered in accidentally because they forgot what day it was, and the industry types who will merely get drunk, mistake the deejay's mix for a live set, and write the same review they would have if they'd actually seen the band.
MANAGER: So that's most of them, right?
BOUNCER: Well, not quite...
MANAGER: Ohmigod! You mean...
BOUNCER: Yes. There's still the goth-punks, the punk-industrials, and the metalheads.
MANAGER: What percent of the current crew do they constitute?
BOUNCER: For an Angstrom Coke show? About forty to fifty percent.
MANAGER: In a sold out show!? That's it-critical mass. They'll bust in here and string me up with a bootlace. They'll tack me to the wall with cigarette holders. I'll join the crucified hedgehog as a decorative greasy spot on the dance floor.
BOUNCER: Now, now, sir, take heart.
MANAGER: Whose, one of theirs?
BOUNCER: >>Sigh<< Only if it comes to it, sir. We can still handle the hard core crowd. It's all a matter of assuring the eventual direction of the inevitable violence.
MANAGER: I believe out the door and onto the street would be an acceptable direction.
BOUNCER: We can't do that sir-the pay-parking lots next door will get antsy about their insurance.
MANAGER: Curses! Well, what form is the violence going to take?
BOUNCER: A good deal of it will be directed at themselves. Punks are violent but have short attention spans and are likely to get drunk after the first few punches. The industrials are more focused, but very self-destructive. As long as we give them enough space and turn the bass up loud enough, they'll beat themselves into the ground in a matter of tracks. The metalheads, well... they're most likely to actually engage in inter-clique violence, especially when their requests for "Agent Orange" are met with laughter...
MANAGER: Well, what do we do about them?
BOUNCER: Don't worry, sir, I have a cunning plan...
MANAGER: Well, don't say it out loud just yet. For the past twenty-two lines of script, a strange looking punker in a yellow tee-shirt has been standing in the doorway listening to our furtive tactical discussion.
[Sound effect: door suddenly slamming, sound of big, clonky boots racing back down a hallway. Another door opens, and the sounds of the club return as it closes. MONICA's voice fades up through the music.]
MONICA: ... and so I told the landlord, "Look, black candles and a little chalk wouldn't have damaged the floor if you'd had it properly waxed from the beginning. You're lucky I don't turn around and sue you for endangering my afterlife. You just try and get four hundred a month plus utilities out of me when I owe some Elder God my first born because your shoddy maintenance bungled the bunk."
ANDREW: Hey, Dig's back!
DIG: "No party she'd not attend/ no invitation she wouldn't send!"
ALICE: Robert, please translate.
ROBERT: Sorry, I stopped listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees after "Peepshow."
ANDREW: What is it, Dig? Is the show in trouble, boy?
DIG: "Nothing or no one/ will ever make me let you down."
MONICA: He's speaking ironically, isn't he... or is it sarcasm? Dammit, I can never keep those two straight.
ANDREW: Let the guy continue. Go on, Dig, "... make me let you down..."
DIG [choked up]: "Kiss them for me/ I may be delayed."
ANDREW: Aw, crap; the show's been cancelled.
ALICE: Cancelled? But he just said delayed!
ANDREW: He was using Teutonic understatement.
MONICA: Hey, hey-I thought we'd agreed to keep this at a high school reading level!
ROBERT: Welcome to the private schools.
ANDREW: Never mind-
DIG: The bollocks!
ANDREW: Yes, never mind that now. The show's been cancelled! What are we going to do?
ALICE: What are we going to do? What are the club managers going to do? They haven't even told us yet! I want my money back!
DIG: "The images/ No images/ It's not what it seems."
ALICE: "Uh-oh" what?
ROBERT: The management is plotting something.
DIG: "Watch out for Big Mama/ She'll set you on fire."
ALICE: That sounds kinky.
ANDREW: A little more context please, Dig.
DIG: Er... "He radiates with urgence to hypnotize!"
MONICA: They're going to mentally control the crowd? Good luck there. Half of us are drunk, and the other half are naturally belligerent.
ANDREW: What are they going to do to, Dig?
DIG: Er... er...
ROBERT: Oh, for goth's sake, Dig, act it out already. Make like a mime.
[Sound effect: a swing, a punch, a mighty oof, and a body hitting the floor like a sack of old boots.]
ALICE: Oh my goth, Dig just punched Robert!
MONICA: What do you expect after a suggestion like that? [To Robert] Does it hurt bad, bunny rabbit?
ROBERT: Only... when... I... cry... [groans]
ANDREW: No, no-Dig is shaking his head. This is part of the message.
[Sound effect: another whoosh! And a solid thump.]
ALICE: Okay, Dig just kicked Robert. What is he trying to tell us?
ROBERT [painfully]: And why can't he tell somebody else?
ANDREW: The management is going to start a fight? Is that it, Dig?
DIG: "So begin the countdown!"
ANDREW: Right! I have it! Management is going to instigate a brawl of some sort to divert out attention from the fact that the band has cancelled!
ALICE: That's the lamest idea I've ever heard. How long could a half-assed plot like that convince people who've spent a decent portion of a paycheck on a once-a-year concert?
ANDREW: Just long enough for them to call up security and kick us all out, thus forfeiting our ticket money.
MONICA: But even if we foil the management's plan, there will be a riot when all these punks find out the show is cancelled. Either way, blood is going to be spilled. [Pauses, realizes the possibilities.] Hey... either way, blood will be spilled! Cool!
ALICE: We need to buy time to come up with a counter-plot. Dig!
ALICE: Stop kicking Robert and get to the deejay booth. Andrew!
ALICE: Go with him and get the crowd to entertain itself for a few minutes. Me, Monica, and Robert are going to hit the phones.
[Sound effect: a needle scratching a record, a microphone whining with feedback as it snaps to life.]
ANDREW: Testing, testing, six six six... Good evening, and welcome to the Black Planet on this fantastic Friday night! I just want to remind you to tease your bartenders as often as possible, and to let you know that before the gig starts we're going to play a few tunes here to get you in the mood. And to make it especially appealing to you, we're going to play requests!
[Crowd gasps collectively.]
ANDREW: Alright, all the Sisters of Mercy fans, say "Mine!"
[A lot of people yell out, "Mine!"]
ANDREW: All the Bauhaus fans, say "Fish!"
[Slightly more people than before yell out, "Fish!"]
ANDREW: All the Cure fans, say "So what!"
ROBERT [very weakly, in the back]: So whaaaat!
ANDREW: You shut the hell up and help Alice! Okay, all the Fields of the Nephilim fans, make a sound like Wookie!
[The entire crowd does so, and we cut immediately into The Nephilim's "Love Under Will."]
[During some reasonably instrumental part of the song, ALICE fades in a little to talk to the others.]
ALICE: A replacement band, that's it! How about we get a hold of Bauhaus?
ROBERT: They broke up.
ALICE: How about Joy Division?
MONICA: The lead singer died.
ALICE: What about the woman from Strange Boutique?
ROBERT: She moved to San Francisco.
ALICE: What about, um, what about Castor Kill Consortium?
MONICA: They moved to San Francisco, and then they broke up.
ROBERT: And the lead singer died.
ALICE: Dammit, did this scene catch on ten years late, or is it just me?
[As the song fades out, ANDREW rushes up, breathless, to the others.]
ANDREW: Okay (pant), that's it (pant) unless you want (pant) me to play the full version (pant) of "Temple of Love."
ALICE: No, don't bother. We have to strike now. I just overheard a couple of NIN-heads threatening to confront those Black Flaggers over there.
ANDREW: The fools! Don't they realize that's suicide?
MONICA: We've been frantically trying to locate a replacement band, but we've come to two major realizations. The first is that most of the bands that have a chance of placating this crowd have broken up, died, or moved on from the scene.
ANDREW: And the other realization?
ROBERT: We're a bunch of underpaid twenty-somethings at a goth club on a Friday night, we have no connections in the music industry beside Dig, and even if we could get a hold of a band, we've already spent half our available cash on very expensive mixed drinks at the bar.
ANDREW: That sounds like more than one realization, there.
ALICE: Well, we're not the only ones who will suffer because of math tonight. The club manager's number just came up.
ROBERT: The club manager? Where?
ALICE: Right... here!
ANDREW: An authority figure! Quick, defy it!
MONICA: Nice pants, man. Who made those corduroys, the Continental Congress Department of Transportation?
MANAGER: If you all ignore me and let me get on with my evil plan, I'll let you establish lines of credit with the bar.
ALICE: No, don't listen to him!
MANAGER: Come on, it's an evil plot-you know you want to participate!
ANDREW: I'm afraid this is one of those times where the truth is more sadistic than the cover-up, oh conniving one. You've got to tell this crowd that the band cancelled, and then you've got to give us our money back.
MANAGER: I'll have my extremely burly bouncers toss you out on your fish-bellies before that happens!
ALICE: You wouldn't dare!
ROBERT: So help me goth, if I'm attacked, I'll bleed all over you!
[Sudden dramatic swelling of music, and then, all sound cuts out. A NEW VOICE narrates.]
NEW VOICE: And there they were, the forces of darkness and even darker darkness, arrayed against each other on the dance floor in what appeared to be an insoluble conflict of lifestyle and business interest. It almost spelled the end of the goth scene in this city... that is, it would have, if I hadn't stepped in to defuse the situation.
[Now back to the Black Planet, with attendant background noises.]
NEW VOICE: Wait! Unhand that club manager!
ANDREW: Who in the name of Daniel Ash are you?
NEW VOICE: And you, manager, think of what you're doing!
MANAGER: What is this that stands before me? A goth, yes, I can tell by the boots and the hooded cloak, but an aura of wisdom surrounds him. An aura that suggests a minimum income of 35 grand a year after taxes, not including health benefits.
NEW VOICE: I am a regular at this club, though you may not have noticed me before.
ROBERT: Well, we do wear the darkglasses a lot, I'll admit...
NEW VOICE: A crime has been committed, but that is the crime of [sudden needle scratch, all music cuts out, club falls silent] delinquency on the part of the band that was to have played here tonight.
GENERAL CROWD: Was to have played?
NEW VOICE: Yes, the horrible truth must be known, partially because it is the truth, and partially because pain is inevitable.
GENERAL CROWD: Yay, pain!
NEW VOICE: Listen to me, all of you! We have been emotionally wounded tonight, stood up by a band to whose music we rant and pour out our angst most of the year. Is this the fault of management?
GENERAL CROWD: Yes!
NEW VOICE: No! It's the fault of a band whose destiny we have claimed for ourselves. How dare they turn their backs on the audience that keeps them in cloves!
[The crowd roars back approval.]
NEW VOICE: And you, Mr. Manager, how can you turn your raise your plot against a group so slavishly devoted to refined elements which, out of all the clubs in the city, only yours has deigned to provide?
NEW VOICE: A group that will pay almost any entrance fee to get in because it's goth, a group that will stay here from nine in the evening until three in the morning because it's goth, a group that will make repeated trips to the bar for extremely complicated and expensive drinks involving many quality ingredients because it's goth...
[Sound effect: cash register.]
MANAGER: Well, when you put it that way...
ALICE: But the show's still cancelled! Are we going to get our money back?
MANAGER: Am I going to be beaten purple by a depressed mob?
NEW VOICE: No, and no!
MANAGER: No? Alright!
ALICE: No?! What the ff-
NEW VOICE: The show will go on, as it always must. But not to the sounds of Angstrom Coke, no. Hiding among the members of this crowd are those who lead a double life, those who wear white and work clerical jobs by day, only to don black and join the ranks of the gothic by night.
ALICE: Do you mean-
NEW VOICE: Yes! I am a member of a cover band!
ANDREW: Did you happen to bring your back-up and all your gear?
NEW VOICE [Singing]: Why...
FCW #2: ... yes...
FCW #3: ... we...
FCW 1/2/3/4: ... diiiiiiiid!
ALICE: Oh, my goth...
[Music swells up, and the Faceless Co-Worker Quartet launches into a barber-shop cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Kiss Them for Me." When they reach the sitar/instrumental break, music drops down a bit. ALICE speaks up.]
ALICE: Hey-this episode only had two scenes.
ANDREW: What do you expect? The band cancelled on us.
[Music fades back up, song finishes, flourish, and... ]
END, Radio Noir: The Next Episode.