Sunday, 15 June 2014

VILLAGE LIFE - an idea I had for a cracked satire of Irish life.


We see a  MID-90S HATCHBACK (something like a FIAT PANDA) driving through rain up a hill through a road caked with mud and on each side, lined with old cottages and patches of mud-plastered green grass. It's driven by CLEGG, a young man somewhere between twenty and thirty-five, large ears, not particularly attractive, average, nice enough, in a woollen jumper and navy raincoat, kind of nerdy, determined. As he drives up the hill, the car's engine explodes and the HATCHBACK pivots into a wooden gate and stops. CLEGG looks mildly disappointed. He sits for a while and sighs. Suddenly, as fog surrounds the HATCHBACK, a figure, somewhere between his thirties and fifties, massively built like a brick shitting-house, long straggly black hair, wet with the rain and a big black beard with bread crumbs seemingly sewn into it among the hairs. This is MICK.

MICK (his face pressed against the window of the car, genial, Irish)
Hello! Need help?

CLEGG (presses button, windscreen glides down)
Yes, this car is broken down.

MICK (nods)
OH, I'll tow it down.

CLEGG (grateful)
You a mechanic?

MICK (nods)
Yes, in the local village. I'll get me tow-truck.

CLEGG (nods, grateful)
Thanks, I'll pay for it later.

MICK (friendly)
No, it's on the house. It wasn't supposed to happen, so no need to pay. Name's Mick.

CLEGG (pleasantly stunned)
Eh, thanks. Call me Clegg.

MICK (confused)
Ah, is that your first name or your last name?

CLEGG (laughing)
Last, but John isn't a particularly unique name.


We see MICK, in a tow truck towing the HATCHBACK, CLEGG still sitting in the driving seat, faithfully by the car's side. Mick is bemused by the village's little quirks. They pass a GARAGE/SERVICE STATION, "STATOIL" that has fallen into disrepair. It lies between a church and a row of shops including a FLORIST'S, a HAIRDRESSER's, a CHINESE TAKEAWAY, a CORNER SHOP and a POLICE STATION that lead up to a large PUB, "THE MOLLY'S". On the other side of the road is a pub, "LEE'S" written in gold writing, beside another building also called LEE'S, that is clearly a funeral parlour. There is also a FISH AND CHIP SHOP-TAKEAWAY, in majestic red shopfront, a cheap lincoln green-fronted CAFÉ with a HAIRDRESSER'S UPSTAIRS, a small SUPERMARKET down a little lane, with a GREENGROCER's, BUTCHER's, a THRIFT SHOP and a third PUB/OFF LICENCE - THE RED  HOUSE (engulfed in gaudy red paint) further up. The TOW-TRUCK turns towards the LITTLE LANE and goes down it, where we see the SUPERMARKET, MICK'S GARAGE, A COMMUNITY HALL and a couple of old SEASIDE COTTAGES. MICK'S GARAGE is modest, a corrugated tin roof, baby blue paint covering the shed-like building, paint that is starting to flake away.

MICK (as he gets out)
This is the garage. Not much to look at, but it's home.

CLEGG (rolls eyes)
I see.

MICK (directs CLEGG to the pub)
Go into the pub, please. Wait. This may take a while.

CLEGG nods.


CLEGG walks into LEE's pub, a relatively plush gold-chandelier-lit, trim-carpeted "family pub". We see FAMILIES with small children eating chicken nuggets and chips in metal buckets, probably de-frosted, and a rowdy bunch of TWENTYSOMETHING RUGBY PLAYERS laddishly drinking beers in unison while singing "Fields of Athenry". We see two OLD LADIES, one refined, the other uncouth playing a crossword together. CLEGG looks almost crestfallen. We see a sunny, happy LEE, the local undertaker/barman, genial, forties, dapper, if not that attractive.

Excuse me, are the undertaker's and the pub the same company?

LEE (laughs)
Yes, family business. It is quite common in Ireland. You're not local.

CLEGG (laughs back)
Yes, I'm Clegg, John Clegg, but just call me Clegg. I'm from Surbiton, outside London. My car broke down. Don't worry, the mechanic is fixing it.

LEE (nods, jovial)
I see. I'm Lee, well Seamus Lee. What brings you to Ireland?

CLEGG (slightly nervous)
Well, I was in Dublin at a friend's stag night. I then planned to take the scenic route to drive down to Cork. My aunt is a nun, and she's at a convent there.

LEE (sighs)
Ah, well, there's not much in Kilcoole, nothing cool, there is a lot of killings though.

CLEGG (worried)

LEE (laughing)
And there's the killer now. Hello, Tommy!

We see TOMMY, an eccentric bald, wrinkled, wide-eyed man, dressed in green khaki-wear, about seventy, but still healthy.

TOMMY (gregarious, kind of eccentric, deep voice)
Hello, young Lee! I got some venison steaks for you and the wife and you can make some burgers for the kiddies!

LEE (friendly)
Tommy, this is John Clegg from London. He's here, because his car broke down.

CLEGG (shaking TOMMY's hand)
I see. So you're a poacher?

TOMMY (jovial)
Yes, indeed, young Clegg. Sorry for the circumstances that brought you here.

CLEGG (laughs)
It is okay. Adventure is the child of mistake.

LEE (curious)
You want a drink?

CLEGG (nods)
Yes, a water.

LEE (looks oddly)
You not a drinking man, then?

CLEGG (confused)
No, I'm driving!

LEE (awed)
Ah, see, sometimes we put an Oxo cube in the Guinness to mask the fumes for the breath test.

CLEGG (yawns, hands LEE five euro note)
Aw, I see. Here's the money. I'll have a cola please.

LEE (shakes head)
On the house, Clegg.

CLEGG (surprised)
But why?

LEE (genial if not slightly sinister)
Sure, you weren't supposed to break down, so you weren't supposed to end up here in the pub. Saving you the hassle.
MICK (comes in)
Excuse me.

LEE (friendly)
Hello, Mick. Your friend from outside London is here.

MICK (apologetic)
Yes, Lee. I have badnews, Clegg.

CLEGG (worried)
What happened?

MICK (down)
It might take a day or so for repairs. The engine's completely banjaxed out. Is this your car?

CLEGG (shakes head)
Yes, it's mine. I brought it over from Holyhead. I'll pay for the engine.

MICK (friendly but sinister)
No, no fee, so it didn't mean to break down!

CLEGG (rolls eyes, taken aback)
Thank you, you really shouldn't.

MICK + LEE (in unison)
Sure Ireland is the friendliest place in Europe!

Everyone in the pub bursts into spontaneous laughter.

MICK (deadpan)
It might take to next afternoon though. Don't worry, I'm sure we can find you a place to stay.

Suddenly, the lights go down.

CLEGG (confused)
What is happening?

LEE (genial)
It is after school now. We kind of serve as a youth club since the Community Hall is used for bingo for the auld wans.

The place is filled with make-up-caked, hoop earring-wearing tanned TEEN GIRLS. CLEGG looks out of his depth. He walks out. We can hear a gunshot from outside. MICK loooks stunned, as does LEE.

LEE (confused)
Where did he get the gun?

TOMMY (horrified)
Don't tell me he took mine!


We see CLEGG, looking hopeful in his HATCHBACK, with the new engine badly placed. The gunshot is in fact the exhaust. He slowly drives off to CORK.

CUT - A caption appears - 10 years later, and CLEGG is happily sitting in the village, by a bench, drinking a beer with a make-up-caked tanned GIRLFRIEND by his side. The village has taken him over.

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