Monday, February 05, 2007

Singing Profumo On A Bicycle

Some deathly silences this morning. Being exiled by a Romanian is like suffering an excess of wax in your ears. It alters your perceptions of the world. Everything becomes more apparent. Less real. Not that I regretted the silence. My post-Superbowl hangover has only just lifted after an hour spent at the gym where I tried to redeem myself with my body by burning the toxins out of my system.

As I was cycling my way to ten miles, getting nowhere but feeling better for it, I read the newspaper. It helps make the burn seem that much shorter, but unusually this morning, I only had a copy of The Telegraph with me. I found myself in a potentially perilous position. I did the only sensible thing in the circumstances and skipped the usual editorials singing the praises of David Cameron and his veritable ape house of Eton greybacks, jibbering tax monkeys, and Chelsea chimps. I settled on the arts section where I knew I’d be safe. That’s where I first read about this new musical based on the Profumo affair.

It’s called ‘A Modern Girl’ and gets a fairly average review. They note the ‘strange lacunae in this show – no Mandy Rice-Davies, no glimpse of the notorious "man in the mask"’ but conclude by saying that it ‘deserves to take its chance in the West End.’

Being in show business myself (and few cannot deny me the right to feel a special affinity towards that word ‘show’), this kind of revisionism is most welcome. ‘The Sound of Music’ might bring in the crowds, but we must do our best to encourage the original musicals. Yet even to my limited knowledge of musical theatre, I can see how the producers have missed out on a few tricks. I regret the lack of the ‘man in the mask’ more than most as I always like to hear a song where a skilful lyricist is able to find rhymes for ‘Prince’, ‘Greek’, and ‘Edinburgh’.

However, as my calves began to feel the heat of the ninth mile, I began to reflect on how much the Profumo scandal remains in the public mind. It seems to me to be a bit too old to be worth this kind of attention. Audiences want names and faces we recognise.

Which is why I’m proposing ‘John Prescott : The Musical’. Casting to begin shortly. Check press for details. Working title only.

The story, as I see it, begins in the small coastal town of Hull, where a lonely stowaway on a cruise ship decides to pay for his passage by working as a porter. I’m thinking of clever allusions to the high jinx of the Marx Brother’s ‘Monkey Business’ (1931) to begin with, as our working class hero finds himself trapped in a small cabin with men who, how shall we put this politely… ‘like to discuss shoes’.

Alienated from his fellow stewards, John (for that’s our hero’s name) goes out on the desk and sings a beautiful lament for his failing dreams and his discomfort in being around men attracted to his taught muscular body. Just as the song finishes its coda, the lights come up and from out of the water, a giant leviathan appears, clad only in fake leopard-skin. It’s that lovely dryad of the deep, Pauline, who has come to save John from the life he hates! She magics him away from that world and into the world of court intrigue where he soon rises to become the second most powerful man in the land.

I haven’t figured the rest out, but I think if I could find somebody to do the music, I could easily knock some lyrics together. I could also use my contacts in the business of exotic dancing to provide plenty of flesh to keep the punters happy.

I don’t know what you think but a man has to think about the future when his perfect body can no longer absorb baby oil.

And that was the thought I was left with when the exercise bike beeped and told me I’d done my ten miles.


Mr Blister said...

Hello there Chip

John Prescot the Musical sounds like a goer to me - perfect amounts of sex, violence, poor beginnings, mangling of the English language. As for the music to your libretto I would suggest that you combine with music from either an era or choose just one popular beat combo.

My suggestion is the band Survivor.
Songs like "Poor Man's Son", "The Moment of Truth", "I can't hold back" etc could all be made to fit John's story well. And imagine the dramatic intensity as John punches his egg-throwing heckler as the intro to "Eye of the Tiger" struts along

Chin chin!

Montegue Blister

Chippy said...

Some good creative thinking there, Mr. Blister. I had been thinking of hiring Meatloaf who has made a career out of writing songs for the larger gentleman. I'll see if Survivor are interested and I'll offer than anything up to five pounds per song for perpetual rights to use them in the musical.