Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 98: Fortune Two Nine

Coming to Australia was not my idea, indeed, I only thought I was coming for six weeks and that was over 23 years ago.

In the immediate few months prior to laving England (I didn’t get here because I stole a loaf of bread) I’d left the adverting job I was in: that’s actually not true, what actually happend was an envelope appeared on my desk with a cheque in it and/or I was soon to hear those words you never want to hear in the workplace “can you just come into my office for a second.......and close the door behind you”. There’s a personal relationship version of those words of foreboding:“we need to talk”, my immediate response is “no we don’t”.

But back to me, in London, pre-coming to Australia. I had some time on my hands - a few months - and being of sound mind and able body, decided to become a courier driver. I had a canary yellow Suzuki jeep back then, in 1986, which Phoenix Couriers promptly fitted with a two-way radio and then, suitably booted and spurred, gave me my handle/call sign: "Fortune Two Nine". With my new name/number, I was ready for action.

The instruction I was given was to set out from my Fulham home and drive into the West End, turn on my radio and announce my call sign into the hand-held microphone. Once I hit Hyde Park Corner, I announced myself on the airwaves, “Ah, this is ah, fortune two nine, can anybody read me or copy that”. I was making this up not knowing if, technically. I was saying the right thing or not? No response. Silence. A silence that lasted four of five laps of Hyde park Corner. "this, ah, Fortune Two Nine, can anybody copy that?" I exited Hyde Park Corner, headed north up Park Lane and gave it another bash “this is fortune two nine, is anybody out there, anyone receiving me?” Still nothing as I pointed the jeep west, heading toward Notting Hill Gate, far out in cyberspace.

I must have orbited Central London about fourteen times that morning and not a dickie bird did I hear across the airwavess. In my persona of "fortune two nine" I felt like the Flying Dutchman, only I was the captain of a spectral jeep rather than a schooner, condemned to ride the byways and highways of London, never allowed to stop or put in at a car park or service station, doomed to ride on, alone, forever into eternity and out the other side....Uxbridge.

Someone did eventually answer my call and I was sent on an errand to pick something up from somewhere and deliever it to somewhere else, but I have far more interesting yarn to spin: the most notable day of my short-lived couriering career was the day I had to pick up something from Bob Geldolf (not yet a knight of the realm, yet now Band-Aid famous).

Bob and I go back; maybe I’m stretching the truth here just a teensy bit. Allow me to explain: back in 1976 or ’77, when I was helping to produce a radio show of new releases for a friend of mine, said friend and I were invited to London at the pleasure of Sire Records to interview the Talking Heads. They’d just released their album 'More Songs About Building And Food' and were in town (London) to play the Lyceum, on The Strand. The interview went quite well.....apart maybe from the fact that after the first question, David Byrne sat on the floor in the corner and refused to take further part; that’s not bad is it?

The day’s package of activities culminated with the two of us being ushered into a private box at the Lyceum to watch the concert that night. So, there we are, tow oiks frfom the provinces, a couple of cases of Heineken and four other guests who arrived: Paul Cook and Steve Jones (of The Sex Pistols), Bob Geldolf (then lead singer of The Boomtown Rats) and his girlfriend of the time, Paula Yates. As I said, Bob and I go back.

Fast-forward ten years and as my alter-ego, fortune two nine, I’m given the task of taking a massive print of the front cover of Bob Geldolf’s about-to-be-published biography to his Chelsea Home for him to sign, before delievering it to be placed in Waterstone’s main window on Piccadilly. Bob opened the front door to me, invited me in and it was all I could do to stop myself from greeting him with a jovial “long time no see?”. He was still with Paula, at this point, and she flitted in and out of the room (I don’t think she recognised me either) and when he’d taken the magic marker and signed his name on the huge photo, it was my job to lug it out and be on my way, never to hook up with Bob again. We're bound to run into each other sooner of later, as old friends do.

I’m wondering to msyelf what made me think of this story today and why I’m retelling it here and what I can possibly conclude from it’s telling?

Ah, I know what it was, it has just come to me.

Day #97 Tip: Towards a Treatment
For the past week I've been telling the story outline of my potential screenplay to friends (using the 40-60 moments gleaned from the Index Cards). Now that's done, it's time to spend two months turning that Story Outline into a Treatment.

What is a Treatment? That depends on who you ask and it's length (how many pages) varies widely from person-to-person. From what I've learnt and understood, my definition of a Treatment is a long-hand version of the story as outlined, using no dialogue (apart from the one or two lines that are absolutely ESSENTIAL), in the present tense, over 40+ pages.

I'll expand more on this in the next couple of days, but for now, let's just say that a Treatment is just like the telling of a joke or a the one I told today...only longer

More tomorrow.

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