EMPIRE OF THE PLAGUE

A CINE-POEM DIRECTED BY AUSTIN COLLINGS VOICE: HAMISH RUSH MUSIC: SAM PRICE-SALISBURY SCRIPT : EMPIRE OF THE PLAGUE Words: Austin Collings Have you got a minute? I am quickly ageing. Try and keep track – you are listening to the…

EMPIRE OF THE PLAGUE

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A CINE-POEM DIRECTED BY AUSTIN COLLINGS

VOICE: HAMISH RUSH

MUSIC: SAM PRICE-SALISBURY

SCRIPT : EMPIRE OF THE PLAGUE

Words: Austin Collings

Have you got a minute? I am quickly ageing.

Try and keep track – you are listening to the short tale of a submental in lockdown who loves true-crime but not true-life and has temporarily given up wanking and who seriously misses inhaling the wisdom of a morning pint after a bender.

The blurred hours were we drift painlessly between nirvana and near-terminal hangover.

Look at the lovely and useless shit I’ve been shooting on my phone. I’ve gone all artistic. Why can’t I just shoot myself?

The sound of that acoustic guitar again. The sound of another body sharing their quarantine, uploading their content, saving a scene, winding me the fuck-up – wish they’d shut the fuck up.

I’m going to leave my room, sleep on a fly-tipped mattress – just me and a fox on the cobbles. Wake up to another scorcher. The scent of used electricity clinging to the pillow of my wrist.

With the sun a white fire, it’s shirt-off, Union Jack shorts on.

Round here the bunting has never been down.

Permanent decoration. Book us a taxi to the Falklands. I want to go and see a man about a gun.

Are we all now day-release degenerates?

Remember when ambulances sounded different? They don’t sound so distant now.

I am not one of those who wins and wins. I wonder about everything: shattered eggshells strewn across pavements – stuff like that.

I fret about everything: kids who look unhappy with their parents – that’s a real fret of mine. Animals that appear confused – that’s another.

Before all this, my life looked like an all-day-brekkie compartmentalised into a polystyrene take-away box. Plastic fork. Coke Zero instead of Coke Coke. It wasn’t quite right.

Where some see the glass half-full, or half-empty, I see the coffin half-full. I was born paranoid.

I thought about dressing up as a nurse – to gain some clout – to get to the front of the queue. A snide move I know. I need to take myself to the cleaners, wash my moral compass. Twenty streets away a new plague is on the make whilst my heart salivates at the prospect of football resuming. Ghost games.

The air has turned and everywhere’s an empty lot. Traces of the workaday-world are fading but my eyesight is strengthening.

I feel like I’ve taken a big step into the afterlife these past few weeks; such a last light – full of spheres and zones and distance.

A life in progress. Whatever is holding me up – thanks.

The sun is now high and lonely as I sweat and schlepp my way back. Another day done. The mattress is still there but the fox has gone.

I settle down, eat my drone-dropped KFC and watch very special guest-star Gary Barlow joined by Rachel Riley. Barlow plays piano and Riley walks you through the government-sponsored-suicide-instructions before you’ve even got the kennel cough.

Good night Britain. Hopefully the darkness can restore what the light can’t repair.

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