Sketch: Life Before Mobile Phones

INT. A BUSY BUS – DAY
 
A WHITE TEENAGE BOY GETS ON. HE’S CARRYING A LUDICROUSLY MASSIVE PILE OF EQUIPMENT. HE STRUGGLES DOWN BUS AND SITS ON BACK SEAT.
 
CAPTION: 1982

HE PICKS UP A MEGAPHONE AND SHOUTS ACROSS OTHER PASSENGERS TOWARDS THE WINDOW.

TEENAGE BOY:
It’s me. I’s on me way now, innit.

PASSENGERS TUT, SHUFFLE.

OUT OF THE WINDOW… A SECOND TEENAGE BOY WITH MEGAPHONE.

CUT TO:

EXT. STREET CORNER – DAY

THE SECOND TEENAGE BOY IS SHOUTING THROUGH HIS MEGAPHONE

SECOND TEENAGE BOY:
It’s Lee. He’s on his way now, innit.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL, IN THE DISTANCE A THIRD TEENAGE BOY, ALSO SHOUTING THROUGH A MEGAPHONE.

THIRD TEENAGE BOY:
It’s Lee. He’s on . . .

CUT TO:

INT. BUS – DAY

TEENAGE BOY:
(STILL SHOUTING) Yeah. Laters.

HE PUTS DOWN MEGAPHONE. PASSENGERS RELAX. THE BUS STOPS.

A SWEATING, OUT-OF BREATH, MIDDLE-AGED MESSENGER JUMPS ONTO THE BUS. HE RUSHES UP TO TEENAGE BOY WITH A PIECE OF A4 PAPER.

PASSENGERS TUT AGAIN. TEENAGE BOY READS PAPER QUICKLY.


TEENAGE BOY:
Fool.


HE PICKS UP AN OLD-FASHIONED HEAVY MANUAL TYPEWRITER AND TALKS AS HE’S TYPING.


TEENAGE BOY:
M8 r u having a laff. LOL. i said 2nite “colon P”.


HE RIPS THE SHEET FROM THE TYPEWRITER AND HANDS IT TO THE MESSENGER. MESSENGER LEAPS OUT OF EMERGENCY EXIT DOOR.

SFX: SCREAMS AND SCREECHING BRAKES.

TEENAGE BOY PUTS DOWN THE TYPEWRITER. ALL IS CALM.

FAVOURING: ONE PASSENGER RELAXING AGAIN.

SFX: LOUD CRACKLY SOUND OF COLE PORTER’S CHEEK TO CHEEK.

PASSENGER ANGRILY TURNS ROUND.

TEENAGE BOY HAS AN OLD WIND-UP GRAMOPHONE, ITS TRUMPET IS PUSHING THE HEAD OF A SECOND PASSENGER AGAINST WINDOW.

TEENAGE BOY:
(TO PASSENGER) What?

 

END

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Friday Interview: The Tube Man

In the second of an occasional series of interviews, Graham Bandage talks to Roger Dulwich, the last tube man in Great Britain.

Graham Bandage: Roger Dulwich, you’re the last tube man in Great Britain. Why do you stick at it?

Roger Dulwich: It’s the only life I’ve ever known. And, you know, it’s a craft, my father was a tube man, so was his father. And if it dies with me, then so be it.

GB: Tell me what the tube man did.

RD: Does, man, does! I’m not dead yet. They’ll have to crowbar my tube out of my cold dead hand.

GB: I don’t think so. Not straight away. Rigor mortis only comes in a few hours later. You’d be floppy at first… Sorry, go on…

RD: We all worked out of a depot. And we’d just wait for the letters to arrive. Then we’d go through the letters and decide who was going where. Then we’d put the contents in the tubes and take them out in our floats to the houses.

GB: So what would happen when you got to the house?

RD: Well, we’d knock on the door. And there’d be a proper old buzz. “Ooh, the tube man’s here. The tube man’s here. Quick, come and see the tube man.” So then they’d bring me into the lounge, sit on the sofa. And they’d make a fuss, bring me a cup of tea and that, and then it’d start.

GB: You could use a lubricant, like WD40 or something.

RD: What?

GB: To get the tube out of your dead hand. You wouldn’t necessarily need a crowbar.

RD: And then it’d start. I’d slip the content out of the tube. And I’d show them.

GB: What was the content?

RD: Ooh, it could be anything. Nothing blue. We didn’t do blue. Old films, emo kids talking, pointless re-edits of Doctor Who title sequences. That was the beauty of it, you see. Just the tube man standing there, with a massive unrolled flicker book, simulating animation.

GB: How long would it last?

RD: Ooh, anything from 30 seconds to five minutes. Or until my wrist gave out.

GB: And what happened in the end?

RD: Well, the last frame had a big roll of paper attached. And they’d write their comments on it, like “OMFG! That was TEH L4M3ST. LOLZ” and … actually, I think that was the only thing they’d write.

GB: Was the tube cardboard?

RD: Yes, why?

GB: Well, if you were cremated, we wouldn’t need to take it at all.

RD: Now they do the whole thing on the internet. But it’s not the same.

GB: No, because there’s sound and it’s quicker.

RD: You-bloody-tube? No. Let ME bloody tube for you, a professional.

Life Before Computers

I have posted an old sketch I wrote, prompted by my Twitter chum, Pedro (@Aerodynamix) whom you should follow.

 

 

I wonder what it was like before IT. I imagine things were very different. And here I am, imagining it . . .

1. INT. BARE OFFICE – DAY.

Three geeky men. Two of them are dressed as ALIEN MONSTERS. The third, KEN, has a water pistol.

The MONSTERS are walking back and forth across the room saying “Beep, Beep” in a rhythmic way, while KEN shoots at them. Every time he shoots he shouts “Pow!”

CAP: Balham, 1963

FX. A phone rings. Old-fashioned bell.

KEN looks round in surprise. Picks up phone

KEN (to phone)
I.T.

A FOURTH MAN, dressed as a FLYING SAUCER, runs from left to right, shouting “wacka-wacka-wacka”, behind the aliens.

KEN (to phone)
On my way.

2. INT. BUSY OFFICE – DAY

KEN is sitting at desk in front of typewriter. WOMAN stands behind him, playing with her hair, and being a bit rubbish about technology.

KEN
What’s wrong with it?

WOMAN
I don’t know. It won’t work.

KEN
Yes, but what happened?

WOMAN
I was typing a document, and it just locked up.

KEN
Anything else?

WOMAN
Yes. Every time I hit a key, there’s a funny squeaking noise.

Ken tuts. Looks carefully at typewriter. Hits a key.

FX. Squeak!

Then a look of triumph on KEN’S face. He picks up the typewriter and kicks it hard. A small creature flies out of it.

KEN
Should be all right now.

WOMAN
What was wrong with it?

KEN
It was your mouse. I just had to boot it.

END.

I bet it was exactly like that.