Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Another Lost Seinfeld Episode



It must take something pretty special to bring The Spear out of retirement, so he thought he would dispense with the self-reflection and poetry and give everyone what they really came here to see: another lost Seinfeld episode.  The reaction to the last one was positive, so The Spear can only hope that his pen is still as sharp this time around.
THE BUSKER
Jerry Performing in the Comedy Club
Busking has got to be one of the weirdest professions known to man.  Nobody’s asking these guys to perform – they’ve just decided, “You know what - I think it’s time I go professional.”  And off they go, down to the street corner. 
No interviews, no tests.  The only qualification you need to become a busker is the wherewithal to locate the nearest footpath.  You can locate the footpath - you can become a busker.
What makes someone become a busker?  Are they failed performers who are just that bad they can’t hold an audience?  Or is their ego so inflated that they simply feel the need for an audience composed of whoever happens to be walking by in the next few seconds? 
“Hey you - you want some music?  Anybody want some music?  No?  Well too bad, here’s some music for you (strumming on guitar).  You don’t like music, how about a magic trick?”
They say nobody likes a show-off.  Clearly these guys didn’t get the memo, because that’s all a busker is: a professional show-off. 
You don’t see me down the street corner with my new Rolex going up to passers-by, “Hey, check it out, pretty nice, isn’t it, just thought you should know.”  I wouldn’t expect any tips for that.
Intro music plays
George is at his desk at the office
George (into phone):  I’ll make sure to add it to the file sir… Which file?  Why in this day and age, with the computers and the internet, it really doesn’t matter sir, they’re all just one click away.  Bye bye.  Hangs up phone.
George (to self):  Should have gone with ‘Penske’.
A colleague walks over to George’s desk with a card and envelope in hand
Colleague:  We’re making a collection for Brad – he goes on Paternity leave next week and we want to buy something nice, for the baby.
George:  For the baby – but why of course!
Colleague:  Pass it on once you’re done.
The colleague walks away
George (mimicking):  For the baby! 
Jerry and George sit in the coffee shop
George:  It isn’t enough that these guys get a few weeks off work – do we need to give them a card and buy their kid a gift as well?
Jerry:  It’s one of life’s mysteries - a baby’s a free ticket.  You should be thankful they’re not asking you to chip in on the parenting. 
George:  Mystery of life (snorts), what, like having a baby’s so hard?  If I wanted a baby, I could have a baby.
Jerry:  You might want to find someone to help you out with that.
George:  You don’t think I could have a baby?  You think I’m not baby-worthy?
Jerry:  That, good sir, is a question for the women of New York: they’re the ones who are going to have to pass that giant mellon of yours.
George:  That’s it – I’m having a baby!
Jerry:  This ought to be good.
Jerry and Elaine are waiting outside Jerry and Kramer’s building where a busker is playing.  Jerry is tapping his foot to the music

Elaine:  So George is having a baby - with who?

Jerry:  Himself as far as I can tell.

Elaine:  Huh.

Jerry:  So you want to grab a bite after the movie?

Elaine:  I can’t - I’ve got a date.

Jerry:  Ah, another young suitor attempts to woo Countess Benes.

Elaine:  Actually this is take two – you remember John Jermaine?

Jerry:  If my memory serves me correctly, wasn’t he the jazz saxophonist who couldn’t play the hardest instrument of them all?

Elaine:  Well some notes are harder to hit than others, aren’t they Jerry?

Jerry:  I still can’t believe you were faking it…

The busker stops playing

Busker:  Hey man, where’s the tip? 

Jerry:  Excuse me?

Busker:  You were enjoying the music - I saw you tapping your foot.

Jerry:  So what?

Busker:  You tap, you tip.

Jerry:  But I like to tap.

Busker:  You just don’t go around tapping willy-nilly!

Elaine:  He’s right - it’s tip for tap.  Or don’t you have any common courtesy?

Busker: Common courtesy!  You see!

Jerry begins searching his wallet.  Kramer arrives from the building

Kramer: Dig-a-dig!

Jerry (to busker):  Sorry, I’m all out of change.

Busker:  Spare me the theatrics, cheapskate. 

The busker begins to play again

Kramer:  ‘Death Blow II’ here we come!  (Quoting from trailer) “When somebody tries to blow you up again, but this time – it’s personal.”

The trio walk past the busker

Jerry:  Sorry again, I promise next time I’ll tip you double.  The busker rolls his eyes

Kramer peers into the buskers open instrument case

Kramer:  There’s got to be over fifteen dollars in there!  Now that’s what I call living the dream!

Jerry: Because we all know you’ve been living a life of hard toil.

George’s work place.  George enters his boss Kruger’s office

Kruger:  George, you wanted to see me?

George:  Yes, I just wanted to submit this leave request and thought it would be best to do it in person.

Kruger:  Leave?  What, do you have a holiday coming up?

George:  (Bashful) No, no, I wouldn’t go quite that far.  You see, I’ll be becoming a father soon and I’ll be needing a couple weeks off in the way of the, ah, Paternity leave.  You know – diapers, cribs, all that baby stuff.  No, no, far from a holiday, far from a holiday.

Kruger:  Baby?  I didn’t even know you had a wife.

George:  We prefer to use the term partner now, you know, out of solidarity.

Kruger:  What’s her name?

George:  Her name is (mumbles into hand).

Kruger:  Whatever (casually throws form aside) sounds fine by me.

George:  (Exiting) Thank you so much Mr Kruger, the little one will really appreciate it, I’ll get it to send you a fruit-basket, you know, one day.

Elaine and John Jermaine are at a restaurant

Elaine: (laughing) So before the final Death Blow, the Hawaiian guy’s like, “I didn’t think it was possible to die twice,” and I’m was like, “Yeah, and I didn’t think it was possible for this movie to suck twice, but here we are!”

John:  (laughing) Oh Elaine, I’d forgotten how funny you are!  You should come see me play at the club tomorrow tonight, I’ve got a new set which I’m sure you’d really enjoy.

Elaine:  (interested) Oh really…

John:  Really.  I’ve been practising – a lot, especially on hitting those high notes.

Elaine:  Oh John (flustered).

The next day Elaine and Jerry are in Jerry’s apartment.  Elaine is snacking while Jerry is drinking a sparkling water

Jerry:  So how was dinner with the Sax man?

Elaine:  It was good.

Jerry:  Only ‘good’ hey – so you wouldn’t go so far to call it ‘hot and heavy’?

Elaine:  I think we’re making progress.

Jerry:  Warm and welterweight?

Elaine:  Sure why not. 

The apartments buzzer sounds, Jerry answers

Jerry:  Hello.

George:  Geeeorgey-boy!

Jerry buzzes him up

Elaine:  You should come see him play at the club tonight.

Jerry:  I think I’ll have to pass (looking out window).  I really don’t want to go out there while that busker’s out front.

Elaine:  So what, you’re just never going to leave your apartment anymore?

Jerry:  If that’s what it takes.

George enters the apartment

George:  Ta-da! (presents Jerry with a card, envelope and pen).  I thought you’d like to be the first to offer your congratulations on my expectant arrival!  If you’d like to write a message and chip in a few dollars for a small gift.

Jerry:  So when is the unfortunate imaginary lady due?

George:  I’m thinking of booking a cruise to the Caribbean – so any day now.

Jerry:  Another ‘Summer of George?’

George:  It’s happening this time baby!  Oh-ho-ho!  Summer of George!

Jerry:  But aren’t we coming into Fall?

George:  The Fall of George… (worried) I don’t like the sound of that.

Jerry:  That’s a shame.

Elaine (to George):  I hope you realise what a stupid idea this is.

George:  Oh what, because you’re a woman you think only you get to have a baby!

Elaine:  Yeah, that’s generally the way it works, or did you fail biology?

George:  What ever happened to ‘gender equality’?

Elaine:  Equality of opportunity, not of physiology – doofus (taps him on the head).

George:  Yeah, well I want the opportunity to have a baby!

Elaine:  Oh you’ve got the opportunity - I just don’t think you’ve got any takers.

George:  Oh I’ve got takers!  Tell her Jerry – tell her about Nancy McLaren in tenth grade.  She was a taker!

Jerry: Oh I can’t take this (looking out window).  What’s Kramer doing?

Outside the apartment building, Kramer and Newman are setting up their act a few metres away from the busker.  Newman is carrying a bongo drum while Kramer has a microphone and portable speaker

Newman:  Are you sure this is a good idea?  I’m missing my afternoon shift for this!

Kramer:  I’ve done my market research Newman - busking is an untapped goldmine!  Just look at all of these people walking by, with their neckties and their dull faces just asking to be entertained!

Newman:  I don’t know, I see some guys on my postal route and they don’t seem to be doing too well.

Kramer:  That’s just because they don’t know how to sell it.  C’mon, drop me a beat homeboy.

Newman puts on a rastifarian hat, sits on an upturned milkcrate and begins tapping a slow a rhytym.  Kramer puts on sunglasses and a backwards cap and begins rapping to the passing pedestrians who try to avoid him.

Kramer (rapping): Yo, my name’s the K-man, same my name twice, K-man, K-man, the new Vanilla Ice!

An attractive woman walks past

Kramer:  Hey baby.. Turn that frown upside down.  She looks disgusted

Woman: Get away from me.

George’s work place.  George enters Kruger’s office

George:  You wanted to see me sir?

Kruger:  You know George, I had my suspicions when you asked for paternity leave, but when it comes down to it – I don’t care.  Have a baby, don’t have a baby, whatever.

George (confused):  Thank you sir?

Kruger:  But a number of your colleagues have approached me about this card and gift fund.  You see George, right now what we have is a phantom baby. 

George:  Phantom baby?

Kruger:  Frankly George, if you want the card and gift, your colleagues are going to need to see a baby.

George:  Ah, I see...  Well, it just so happens that my wife went into labour early and our little bundle of joy was delivered this morning.

Kruger:  Wonderful – so a photo or two couldn’t hurt now could it?

George (unsure):  You wouldn’t think so.

George is back at his desk on the phone

George (quietly on his work phone):  Jerry?

Jerry is still in his apartment watching TV

Jerry:  The father to be?

George:  Yes – I mean no.  I’ve had to speed things up a little bit.  I need you to do me a favour Jerry – I need you to print out some baby pictures and bring them over to my office.

Jerry:  Baby pictures?  What for?

George:  The card and gift Jerry – my colleagues here think I’m full of baloney and they’re holding back on the card and gift until they see some proof!

Jerry:  Proof of what – that you’re insane?

George bangs the phone on the desk several times in frustration

George:  Jerry!  Can you just do me a solid here?  I can’t risk anybody seeing me searching for baby pictures, or the jig’s up.

Jerry:  All-right, all right.  Keep your diaper on.

George:  Thanks Jerry, and hurry!  I want that card!

Jerry emerges outside the apartment block to deliver George the baby picture printouts.  Kramer and Newman are still performing a few metres from the original busker

Kramer (rapping):  Yo, Po-tate-to/Po-taa-to, To-mate-to/To-maa-to, Fruit or vegetable?  Both are questionable.

Jerry:  What are you doing?

Kramer:  What does it look like?  Breaking it down, yo.

Newman:  Living the dream (shows a hand full of quarters) muahaha.

Jerry:  You do realise that in the time you’ve been out here making a couple bucks you could have made ten times more from your regular job.

Newman:  That’s not the way we roll.

Kramer:  Dollar bills for the shills.  Quarters are keeping it real.

Busker:  You did it again!

Jerry:  No!  No tap!

Busker:  You didn’t tap - you slapped!

Jerry:  I slapped?

Busker:  You slapped your thigh!  And a slap’s just as bad as a tap!

Jerry:  How so?

Bukser:  A foot’s nothing compared to a hand - you could be using your hands for anything, but there you go, slapping away! 

Jerry:  Oh man (checking wallet), I’m all out of change again.  I never should have chipped in for that baby present!  (To busker) Sorry I’m all out of change again.

Busker looks annoyed

Jerry:  Can you lend me some change Newman?

Newman:  No way, we jammed long and hard to shake this change loose from uptight types like you.

Busker:  This guy is stealing music everybody!

Jerry:  Well now you can kiss your tip goodbye.

Busker:  Music thief!  He taps without tipping!

Pushy Gay Couple (Cedric and Bob):  WHO!?!  Who is tapping and refusing to tip?

Busker:  Those guys!

The couple walk up threateningly to the trio of Kramer, Newman and Jerry.

Jerry:  I was just ah…

Cedric:  Have you ever heard of the common courtesy, that when you tap to a song, you tip the player?

Bob:  Common courtesy - (pokes Jerrys chest) tip for tap!

Jerry:  All out of change…

Cedric:  Because I have heard of common courtesy.  HE has heard of common courtesy.  We’ve ALL heard of common courtesy.  So why is it that YOU have not heard of COMMON COURTESY!

Kramer walks over

Kramer:  Now listen here boys...

They couple glare at Kramer for a few seconds

Kramer:  Hoochimama!

The trio run away

Jerry meets George at the base of his building.

Jerry:  Here you go (hands George a large printout of a baby in a crib)

George:  What took you so long?  I had to tell everyone I was going to the hospital to get some pictures just to get them to put in for the gift.

Jerry:  The busker - I didn’t have any change - it’s a long story.  Just remember you owe me a solid Georgey-boy.

George:  One solid, you got it.

George’s office staffroom.  The workforce is gathered to see George given his baby gift and card.  The large photo of ‘George’s baby’ is plastered on the notice board directly behind him.

Kruger:  Thankyou all so much for coming to congratulate George on his new bundle of joy.  Nice photo by the way.

George: Thank you – it takes after its mother. 

Kruger:  Your card and gift (hands George a card and a large, wrapped gift).

George:  Oh this is really all so much - really you shouldn’t have.

George unwraps the large gift – a crib.  On the outside of the box is the same photo of the baby which hangs directly behind him.

George sees the photo and pulls a grimace.

George:  My baby does some part-time modelling…

The crowd dissembles shaking their heads.

George (to Kruger):  Can I still go on leave?

Kruger:  Whatever. (walks away)

George looks consoled

Elaine arrives outside of the Jazz Club.  John Jermaine is standing outside with his Sax

Elaine:  Hey John – what are you doing out here?  I thought I’d meet you inside?

John:  Oh no, ever since what happened last time they only let me play out the front.

Elaine: Oh.

John begins to play

Elaine:  Oh my God - I’m dating a busker.  Sorry John (she walks away while he is playing)

Outro Music

Jerry Performing in the Comedy Club

It’s kind of antisocial in a way, the foisting of entertainment upon a person who is just trying to go about their day. 
For the musical busker especially, it’s kind of like an ‘assault on the ears’.  You could imagine if we were to treat it like assault or smoking in public.  
The police officer comes up to the performer, strumming away at his beaten-up guitar with two broken strings. 
“Sorry buddy, I’m going to have to write you a ticket.” 
“What for?” 
“Acoustic assault.  Everybody around you here is copping some serious second-hand sound.  You need to play in the designated area…  Your bedroom.”


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Autobiographical Musings


Would you ever consider writing an autobiography?

It wouldn’t be an easy task, the stringing together of 100,000 or so words in an order that may adequately describe one’s life.  So why would you do it?

Perhaps it is better to start with why you wouldn’t write an autobiography.  

Most people will never do it because they simply don’t have the skill.  It necessarily takes a writer to write an autobiography worth reading, but most of us aren’t writers.  On the other hand, those with the skill may not live lives they consider worth writing about.  Hence the propensity for biography rather than autobiography.  A good autobiography is likely to be written by a multi-talented person: someone with writing skills, but with a life outside of the study.  This is a combination not found in abundance (giving rise to the ghostwriting profession).

And while you may be a good writer with a good story, that isn’t enough.  It also has to be a story that you are willing to tell.

You can write a biography about anybody.  You can do your research, dig up lost information, connect the dots, present an interesting angle or thesis, and all without taking much personal risk.  As an outside party, you will likely draw on as much evidence as possible, and try to form an objective view as an observer would.

An autobiography or memoir on the other hand is an inherently personal affair.  You are the ultimate source of knowledge on the subject.  Any story you chose to tell cannot help but be ‘tainted’ by your participation in the event.  It is said that an autobiography offers the author the chance to recreate history, an impulse that most of us are too weak to fight.  How nice would it be to have the ‘final say’ on matters, to be the sole voice of authority on our life’s events?

Indeed, the obvious answer as to why you would write an autobiography is that you are an egomaniac, and perhaps a control-freak to boot.  Enter political figures.

How much you can trust your own memory is a question most people (especially egotists) don’t ask themselves, as to doubt your perception is to doubt your grip on reality - a very unnerving state.  We tend to want to believe what we recall, but our brains also tend to delete/modify that which hurts us most.  Thus, our memories often paint a rosier picture of our past than the reality at the time, but we are fooled into believing them.  To try and self-analyse in an objective manner is a tremendous feat, and we shouldn’t be surprised that autobiographies would tend to portray their authors in a more favourable light than third-party accounts.

But perhaps that is simply the price that must be paid in order to crack open the autobiographer’s head and feast on the goo inside.  In what is a voluntary account, one without guarantees of profit but with a degree of personal risk nonetheless, we are perhaps obliged to extend a little leeway to an autobiographer with regards to the truth.  Do you not want to be entertained after all?  Embellishment may be considered de rigueur in the work of an autobiographer.  So long as we are reading with full disclosure as to the inherently biased nature of the author (i.e. so long as we know we are reading an autobiography), are we really in any position to demand 100% factual accuracy?

As the movie disclaimer goes, the best we can hope for is something ‘based on a true story’.  You’ll have to use your own judgment after that.