Great Concepts That Were Never Going to Work

I consider myself to be something of an ideas person. I also like to think that I’m reasonably disciplined, however, and thus able to bring a reasonable percentage of my ideas to fruition, although often this takes a lot longer than I’d like, largely on account of time constraints, but also on account of my own limitations, technical and otherwise. Indeed, some projects I have to shelve simply because I can’t master the technology to do the concept justice and I either don’t know anyone who might be willing or able to collaborate, or I’m simply too stubborn and controlling to relinquish the control necessary to collaborate. C’est la vie.

Anyway, I probably complete around half of the projects I begin, and these in turn represent around a quarter of the ideas I have. As I said, often, there simply isn’t time. However, on other occasions, it’s immediately apparent that the idea’s a non-starter. Take, for example, my idea to assemble a gay tribute to the Bomfunk MCs. It would have been called the Bumfuck MCs. But this was scuppered when I discovered that no-one could remember the band, or their immense pan-European hit, ‘Freestyler.’ Then I realised that I only knew the one song anyway, so dropped the idea before placing any ‘wanted’ ads.

I’ve also had some fantastic never-going-to-happen concepts for television programmes, which I’ve also decided it’s probably best not to pursue. Here are just a few of them.

Bollyoaks: Indian remake of hit UK soap Hollyoaks. Phil Redmond could never have devised this, with his obsession with Scouse-tinged supposed realism! Yes, all-singing, all-dancing, huge budget and mammoth caste as teenagers and twentysomethings go through the trials and tribulations of parental break-ups, gay snogging, pub brawls, dodgy wheeling and dealing, nightclub fires and all the rest.

West Side Story: A gangsta rap remake of the hit musical. There are thuggins and muggins, shootins and knifins innit, and there’s a guy an a gal and she’s got a booty to die for but she’s from the wrong side of the tracks, you know what I’m sayin? The title, of course, should be delivered with arms folded, and pronounced ‘Wesssiiide Story,’ you get me?

Never Mind the Bollocks… Here’s a Pop Quiz: a former yoof TV presenter selected at random from the dole queue hosts a quiz where 2 panels comprised of musicians and comedians answer questions on pop trivia instead of a half-hour of digressions punctuated with abysmal renditions of ‘intros’ of semi-popular songs.

Gash in the Attic: Lorne Spicer and an ‘expert’ go round to people’s houses and hunt around until they find hidden treasure in the form of sex slaves and prostitutes hidden in the loft or garage. They’re then checked out and taken to auction, where they are trafficked to the highest bidding pimp.

X Marks the Spot Factor: Like a talent competition for the talentless, where wannabes perform karaoke to a panel of judges and the viewers get to cast their votes for who goes through to the next round. The winner gets to release a terrible cover version as a single, before being ritually slaughtered and buried in an unmarked grave. The people who voted for them have to then search for them, using a pirate-style map, where X marks the spot. The person who finds the ‘treasure’ then gets to dig up the corpse and resurrect it and the career of the deceased ‘star.’

Come Die With Me: Each week, five suicidal misanthropes take turns to throw a dinner party. The host poisons the food, and they all die. The winning contestant is presented with a grand, in cash, on a silver platter, toward funeral costs.

Mollusc of the Glen: A drama series set in the highlands of Scotland which focuses on a clan of mussels that swim from the Clyde upstream to a fictional castle in a fictional location with an absurd and incredible name. Alex Salmon makes a guest appearance in one episode, in which he attempts to mussel in on leading lady Shelly, while Salmon Rushdie has a cameo in another, despite not being Scottish. But then neither are the majority of the regular actors, who can’t act anyway.

Neighbours at War: Live from the border of Israel and Gaza!

American Idle: Couch Potatoes with a yearning for celebrity status countered by a complete lack of motivation to do anything but gorge themselves, sit around eating chips and burgers and drinking beer. The winner receives a year’s supply of Domino’s Pizza, an extra-large couch and a reinforced bed.

Something Must Break (Excerpt)

Did he jump or was he pushed? The suicide continued to play on his mind. Not because he cared, but because he couldn’t help but wonder. What could possibly drive a man to take his own life? Could things really be that bad? Steve opined that this question was an absurdity, knowing full well that they could, and often were. Ever since university, Steve’s perspective on self-immolation were subject to a questioning, a cynicism that he didn’t like to rationalise. Back in uni, he’d shared a house with some dropout waster who’s succeeded in becoming a raging alcoholic by the second semester of their second year. They’d started out as friends in the first year, but Adrian had become increasingly erratic in his behaviour, and at some point entirely gave up on sobriety. Before long, he had almost ceased being human. He had probably needed help, but Steve was in no position to offer sympathy. He had his own troubles, for starters. So when Adrian went into the self-pitying mode, sobbing about how no-one loved him, about how he was a loser and a waste of space, and how he might as well be dead, Steve hadn’t bothered to contradict him.

‘Why don’t you just fucking kill yourself?’ he had hissed venomously.

‘You’d fucking love that, wouldn’t you?’ the twat had spat through a veil of tears and saliva during many of his drink-induced crying jags. ‘One day, I will, and it’ll be on your fucking conscience.’

‘Fine. As long as I don’t have to look at you in this state, or listen to any more of your self-absorbed, wallowing, self-pitying bullshit or step in any more of your fucking puke around the house, I can live with the guilt,’ Steve had replied on more than one occasion. He’d been ice cold in his delivery. He’d fucking meant it.

Eventually, after repeated instruction to fuck off and die, Adrian had done as he had been bid. It had been Steve who had discovered him, slumped in his room, a bloated mess of vomit and early decomposition. The housemates had all gone home for reading week. Steve had been the first to return and was perplexed to find the front door unlocked. Everything had seemed normal, other than the house being vacant, or so it had appeared. Shrugging, he had unpacked, prepared himself some food and watched television for a while, before growing curious.

On discovering the corpse, he had been fascinated and repelled in equal measure. Pity hadn’t entered his emotional range, and the sadness he felt in his chest was no more than a fleeting pang. He had called the police, and then poked a boot into the dead fucker’s ribs. Waster. He was no real loss.

The coroner had concluded a verdict of suicide on account of there being no sign of forced entry or anyone else present, and vast quantities of alcohol and barbiturates residual in the bloodstream of the deceased. Steve had snapped a handful of photographs before the services had arrived and removed the body from the premises.

 

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Something Must Break / Dream of the Flood are available in print and e-book format from 1 February 2016 to midnight on 29 February 2016.

The blurb:

‘Something Must Break’: A dissonant tale of mental fragmentation and duality.

‘Dream of the Flood’: A meditation on climate change and possibilities of the near future, of human interaction and solipsism.

Together, these two pieces represent Christopher Nosnibor’s more literary side as he continues to explore narrative forms and voices.

The links:

Purchase the print edition here. (Enter code LULURC at checkout to receive 25% discount and free priority shipping on qualifying orders)

Purchase the e-book here.

Liberator! Part 10

Tim had a point to prove and a gospel to spread. He had seen the light, he could feel the liberation surging through his veins. He was reborn! He scanned the slightly tatty leaflet on both sides, then pasted the images into a document. Within an hour, he had a hundred sheets of double-sided print stacked in the tray of his printer. He then proceeded to take the pile and fold each A4 sheet in half to produce four sides of A5. The quality was pretty good, and while obviously not an original, first-generation copy, and the background had been darkened slightly on account of the source document being an off-white shade, the text was perfectly legible. Over the next few weeks, he circulated them as widely a he possibly could, leaving them in public places – pubs, the library, on trains and busses, even tucking them into and between books in various book shops, with particular focus on the self-help sections, in the hope of replicating for others the circumstances in which he first discovered the life-changing publication.

Walking down the high street, a girl stopped him with an extended arm. a leaflet advertising a new eatery or somesuch held toward him in her hand.

‘I’ll take one of yours in exchange for one of mine,’ Tim said flamboyantly.

The girl looked perplexed and probably agreed out of bewilderment, at which point Tim took one of her flyers and shoved one of the ‘Liberate Yourself’ handouts, folded in half, that he had been carrying in his pocket into her small hand.

Happy and confident that he had made some gesture toward altering the life praxis of another lost individual caught on the wheels of contemporary culture, Tim headed home with a spring in his step.

Arriving home his mood altered dramatically. The place was empty and unkempt. The surfaces were dusty and dirty dishes were piled high in the sink. The shower’s plughole was clogged with hair, wet towels lay in a heap beside the shower and unwashed clothes littered the floors throughout the residence. An odour resembling hot dogs permeated the whole bedroom. It had been a month since Amy had left and she hadn’t come back, hadn’t called him or made any form of contact, she had simply cut him out. Slumping on the greasy settee, a discarded pizza box and a clanking pike of empty beer cans about his feet, Tim felt tired, physically and emotionally drained. He rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. His skin felt rough and dry, his eyes sensitive and watery. He was exhausted, and this was reflected in his sallow appearance. No-one had called him in weeks. He couldn’t bring himself to check his emails or his Facebook profile. The last time had broken his rule and snuck himself a tentative sign-in the bottom had dropped out of his world when he saw there was nothing: no messages, no emails, no comments, not even a pathetic poke. Two months missing and the world hadn’t noticed his absence.

The realisation hit with a sickening thud and a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Tim had gained nothing, learned nothing. He had simply replaced one set of rules with another, bound himself with new ties. Having cut the shackles of technological totalitarianism, he had embraced another equally restrictive mode of living, only this time one with even less sense of connection and community than the dislocated confusion of culture he had existed in before. Instead of finding freedom, he has enslaved himself once more, and this time, without any of the support mechanisms that ostensibly held together the web of mainstream society, he was alone. Was he to blame, or was it the instructions he was following? Had he interpreted them correctly? The world wasn’t changing enough to accommodate his alternative lifestyle, wouldn’t allow him to reject it without it rejecting him in return. The fact he didn’t need it was immaterial: society needed him a whole lot less than he needed hit.

If you want to truly liberate yourself, stay in bed. Do not go to work. Do not phone in sick. Just do nothing, and enjoy. If no-one contacts you to query your whereabouts after a week, you may as well kill yourself.

Tim knew what he had to do. He knew who his friends were alright.

 

 

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