status update XIX

I’m Keir Carter / sponsored by royal museum charter / cramming down breakfast keen to get started / the workers superstitious & half-hearted / as he shakily breaks the seal on the tomb / and casts his torch about the gloom / wow! a Lyttle decorated room / chintzy as a dusty Blackpool ballroom / and lying in the centre / the focus of Keir’s desert adventure / the mummy of the Pharaoh Johnson / bougie as a straw topped Tutankhamen / and then some / lovingly bandaged in golden / wallpaper / stuffed with shredded red-top newspaper / snug in a matryoshka-style sarcophagus / ceremonial tweets backed-up in his oesophagus / which read like some kind of demented curse / but Keir’s read worse / he’s media savvy and well-rehearsed / he knows the hashtag to get the magic reversed

I’m a horror flick: The Spuds Have Eyes! / special effects derisory / parental advisory / explicit scenes with a vegetable peeler / realistic gardening procedures / DVD with special features / a blooper reel / with a surreal / clash / where Jason Statham goes to mash / the evil spud king / and the mash gets splashed across everything / the camera lens, the ceiling / Jason’s shoulders heaving / still not believing / he told his agent he’d do this shit / but still it’s a hit / sells quite a bit / so all things being equal / he thinks he’ll probably sign for the sequel

I’m a lonely little petunia in an onion patch / considering my options, looking for scratch / swiping right on a primrose, natch / it’s a match / ten years later the bulbs are in bloom / and we’re finalising visiting rights on zoom

I’m a swingers’ party for internet trolls / fol-de-rol / memory sticks and keys in the bowl / man! / it’s my jam! / a junk free jamboree / I’m positively skipping through security / totally in my element! / everything VR and decadent / the cheetos and doritos universally excellent / mouthwash and baby wipes prevalent / once in a while it’s nice to be human / but when the reviews come out I’m fumin’ / they don’t like pleather onesies, I’m assumin’

I’m Captain Kirk / busting out my pants and shirt / ancient but just about credibly alert / phasers on stun, phones on divert / ready to boldly go and be cool / on a flaming dump of aviation fuel / singing the song he learned back at Star School / hey diddle diddle / Jeff B’s on the fiddle / his cock whazzed over the moon / the little dog laughed to see such fun / and the dish needed a year or two out to work on themselves

I’m a caesar salad, stabbed in the croutons by a breadstick / how prophetic / it’s so pathetic / you don’t know what to say / you awkwardly ad lib et tu souffle

(studio laughter)

okay that’s it – I’m written out, shot / poetry’s just typing and finding what you’ve got / sometimes it works and sometimes not / but hey – at least I upload a lot / the twisted poet that Twitter forgot / so, please do not adjust your glasses / everything changes, everything passes / city empires to weeds and grasses / the arctic melts and the ocean advances / meanwhile I’m done with all of that / not a literary lion but a wordle gnat / trapped in a glob of tree resin / fossilising over the next millennium / into a piece of lambent amber / gazing out of my yellow glazed chamber / trying to remember / whether my birthday was June or December / as a security guard yawns in the Geology centre


Of course, I can only talk about horror films as a consumer, not a creator. I have no idea about the practical difficulties of producing a script, finding the right location, hiring actors, where to park the catering wagon and so on. I’ve no idea about the business side of it, the financing, distribution, marketing, the handshakes in boardrooms and backrooms.

And if I didn’t know that making a film was complicated, I could guess by the matryoshka of logos at the beginning. At least it gives you time to bet what the opening shot’s going to be, though. Aerial shot of a city? Children in a playground? Or (worst case scenario), a car pulling up at night and the headlights going off?

Not that I particularly watch horror films. I’m not a genrist (if that’s even a word, and if it is, it shouldn’t be). I mean, if you were invited back to someone’s house, and they said make yourself at home, and went off into the kitchen to fix some drinks, and you glanced around the shelves, and noticed box sets of Saw and Human Centipede and the like, you’d really start to wonder why he was taking so long in the kitchen.

Anyway, I’ve always thought the idea of genres was odd. For example, I recommended Annihilation to someone at work, and they said they wouldn’t watch it because they didn’t like Sci-Fi. They might just as well say they wouldn’t watch The Witch because it was shot in Pennsylvania (which might be justified, I don’t know). The thing is, Jaws and Babe are both good films in the same way (animal husbandry aside). They both have characters you care about, solid, dramatic scenarios, and a through-line that draws you from the beginning to the end in a satisfying way. I’ll get as much of a kick watching Oslo, August 31st as I will High School Musical, although I’ll feel less like singing after Oslo.

By the way, I can’t help blushing at the mention of High School Musical, because of something that happened to me in New York.

As a family we’d won some flights there (which was embarrassing in itself, as Kath helped organise the raffle). One of the things we did was visit Times Square, to see if we could get tickets for a show. Whilst we were standing in the middle of it all, looking round, a guy came over.
‘Hey!’ he said. ‘Have you seen High School Musical?’
‘Yeah! We love that show!’
He knelt down and pointed across the square.
‘You see that guy over there’, he said, lowering his voice in a stagey, confidential way. ‘D’you know who that is?’
The guy he was pointing to nodded and waved back.
‘That’s Corbin Bleu! Wanna go meet him?’
We said sure. He led us over.
Corbin was in a khaki combat jacket and jeans, his hair cropped short, looking uncomfortable, like someone whose cover had been blown.
‘Hi!’ he said. ‘Great to meet you.’
‘I thought you were great in High School Musical’ I said.
‘Wow! Thank you so much!’
‘Yeah. Really good.’
‘Do you like musicals?’
‘I do. I’ve seen a lot.’
‘Well I’m in one now. It’s called Godspell. D’you know it?’

There are moments in these interactions – markers, if you will – bobbing up and down in the choppy conversational waters, red and white stripes, flashing lights on top. Maybe a bell. The point is, you can’t miss them. And you really don’t need to be a maritime expert to know they mean danger. Pass by here and get wrecked. Something like that.

I mean – I’d heard of Godspell. It made me think of David Essex, for some reason, although maybe that was Evita. Time was passing and the bell was clanging. All I had to do was say I’d heard of it, for Godspell’s sake! But I hesitated. You see – in my defence – I didn’t think Corbin was having such a great time. I couldn’t bring myself to make it all worse by saying that I didn’t know Godspell – although, in retrospect, it would’ve given him the opportunity to say that I’d probably like it because of this or that. Whatever the reason, in the heat of the moment, instead of coming clean, I lied.

‘Yeah, I know Godspell.’
‘Have you seen a production?’
‘Yeah! It was great.’
‘When was that?’
‘Oh – a while ago now. In London.’
‘Wow! That’s fantastic! Who played Jesus?’
‘It was a long time ago now. I can’t – really – remember.’
‘Oh. Okay.’

Corbin’s minder was moving in again, no doubt already having pegged us as no-buy schmucks, and ready with the next couple of punters. We shook hands. Corbin posed for a selfie with the girls. And that was that.

A digression from the opening topic of horror films – but is it?

I mean – The Witch was pretty unsettling, I’ll admit. Particularly when the spooky rabbit stops chewing and stares directly at the lens.

If you ever see the film, take a good look at that rabbit. Because THAT was my expression when Corbin Bleu asked me about Godspell.