SOME TIME IN THE PAST:
Mam: What do you use to clean your pans and oven?
Mam: What do you use?
Me: Er – a cloth I suppose.
Mam: But how do you get the grease off? And all the gunk?
Me: I don’t know what you’re talking about
Mam: What colour is your grill?
Me: D’you mean the metal thing I make the toast on?
Me: Black … I think
Mam: Not the pan itself. The grid that sits in it.
Me: The grid thing?
mam: How long’s it been black?
Me: What do you mean?
Mam: How long?
Me: It’s always been black.
Mam: It’s stainless steel
Mam: I’ve got you this.
(HANDS OVER A BEAUTIFUL SHIMMERY COPPER COLOURED CLOTH)
Me: That’s nice. What is it?
Mam: It’ll make your silver bits silver again.
Me: What silver bits?
Mam: The ones you think are black
AND THEN TODAY:
A woman (see “me” above) who has only two days left to finish the second draft of her first ever commission for the BBC, who has never scoured a single thing in all her life, remembers the coppery gift from moons ago and spends the next happy hour scouring a grill pan grid and her fingers. And though the grill pan grid is glinting once more, outside it is almost dark..
Recently discovered the colour of my carpet oh, and my bathroom suite is actually white and not grey. It only took half an hour. Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?
You’re basically one of the funniest and best people ever.
The play is terrific – as Homer Simpson says, “Its funny ‘coz its true!” A combination of insight and skill unique to yourself.
The structure is wonderful; the range of different ways that we get to hear Debra’s voice, and situations that we get to see her in. And the ‘Confessional’ monologues take it beyond the familiar pitfalls of the quirky Radio 4 Afternoon Play to somewhere uncontrived, an actual world experienced via genuine perceptions.
Lots of people must be glad that they heard that. Thank you.
A second Afternoon Play and another winner! You really are very good at structuring these things; the initial alternation of the couples and the counsellor as herself and how they eventually topple into each other, the wholly convincing, low-key and sympathetic way that the lie starts. And distinct to you – no one else in the world could have written that, which gives it an individuality that makes it arresting and exciting to hear.
Thanks Billy! Structuring this one was a nightmare as there were so many couples but I wanted to end up focusing on one couple (Tim and Alison) and their lie running parallel to Maggi and Ali and their lie. It was my producer that suggested putting the sheep couple at the end to uplift Maggi enough to make the right decision and tell Alison what she knew even if it cost her her job. I tell you what – having a producer who knows what they’re talking about feels like a gift from the heavens! Hope that you are well Billy and thanks again for listening and for your comments. I kept the postcard you sent me of that unsung explorer for a long time on my fridge!