Screenplay; Treatment to First Draft
(11 June 1996)
Shot on film in grainy black and white, in cinema verité style, the film paints a Chaucerian portrait of contemporary urban living. Its characters talk in the pithy, witty street talk of the Cardiff ghetto, a language laced with the bitterness of poverty and the humour of the scam.
Now, at last, there are green shoots of prosperity said to be returning to Cardiff. Nonetheless, for many, inner city Cardiff is still in a state of breakdown. Ships no longer call at the docks, the night time coal trains no longer rumble down from the valleys. The energy has gone from the heart and it begins to consume itself, feasting on the heart-whole and the trusting part of all men and women until they start to doubt the city, the community and themselves. This is .....
8 Poppy’s song
23 put into Welsh
45 two more lines rap
53 words for ‘Diamonds are Forever’
53 story about Fat Mick
54,55,56,58,65 discrepancy as to what drugs Gish is on
61 drive round the manor, dialogue needed
62 what’s being snifted?
what are the sweets?
why a burner flame?
63 words for song ‘Diamonds are Forever’, same song again?
65 top dialogue missing?
66 put into Welsh
71,72,73 Gish’s joke
78 patch over eye?
81 which girl? (see 24/5)
95 tablets? a package? see note below
104 Michelle dialogue not needed?
119 something funny Gish has said
120 £200? £500? £1,000?
123 act just finishing
124 damp and dark?
126 words of ‘Summertime’
131 Jack - contortionist
132(b) Poppy’s song
134 words of ‘Favourite Things’
Also, if Michelle only doing hand jobs, we should maybe have another scene in which a client, possibly quite violent, objects to this?
It is my belief that a valuable package should be left during Michelle’s all-night vigil. When it disappears (falls out of bag?, left in flat and therefore incriminates?), Michelle thinks it’s worth a few hundred (i.e. cannabis). In the final denouement Fifi reveals it was worth £250,000 (i.e. LSD or heroin)?
Pre-establish a very wealthy man who will pay a lot of money to go to bed with Michelle?
Possibly put in one ‘late night cocks through screen’ scene at Fifi’s. At 114?
(16), blonde, sensitive face reflecting a sweet nature. Her background, urban, manual labour, down the giro, criminal classes with a moral code and the rigidity of patriarchy.
Fifi Le Mar
An outrageous drag queen (52) who runs “The Club”, a Berlin type cabaret drinking club, up the top of St Mary’s Street. Used to be a friend of Michelle’s Mum.
Michelle’s boyfriend and pimp (23), (although he insists manager). A Rasta from Glasgow. Small town hustler with big dreams. A looker, no brains, he dreams of being a comic - not like that wanker Lenny Henry, someone like Billy Connolly.
Michelle’s friend (18), fellow prostitute and confidante. New age hippie, thinks she is a medium.
A disabled solicitor from Pembroke. One of Michelle’s clients. Huge sexual appetite.
Strong for her age (72). A widow for over 40 years when her husband died in a boating accident. Welsh, welsh. Hates germs.
Jack the Taxi
Kind, straight, ex steel worker (42). Fond of Michelle. Alcoholic.
Michelle’s father (38). Ex boxer, house burglar, joker, drinker, and gambler on horses. Going to seed.
Michelle’s stepmother. Irish. Dennis’s common law wife (25). Dark, pretty, tough.
Michelle’s sister (8). Academic, political, sensible, same sweet face. Same thick Cardiff accent.
Michelle’s Y.T.S. placement officer (29). Ugly but dramatic snob. Fond of wearing capes and having sex. Speaks Welsh at work to annoy.
A flash London git who wears suits and loves mobile phones and business gadgetry. He has studied karate which gives him a quiet menace. He plans to make as much dosh as he can in Cardiff and buy a boat in the sun.
(36) Once, long ago, she used to sing in ‘The Club’, then she went off with a wrestler, abandoning Michelle.
Strapping man with a pony tail, slightly seedy. Reminiscent of ex-bouncer. Desirée’s new partner.
A single parent from the Ely council (tough as fuck) estate (19). Mother of three kids with different dads, on probation for using, whinger, and betrayer.
Pimps, Prostitutes, Donkeys, Dealers, Rastas, Housewives, Ravers, Retired Detectives, Echo Sellers and Bent Coppers.
1. Montage Sequence; Cardiff
Our theme music plays strongly. (Till dialogue in Scene 2)
Cardiff, a great city makes itself ready for the night. Sheets of Welsh rain slide down the grey guttering in the city centre, making the neon reflect diffusely on the wet pavements. A red dot winks on a security camera. We draw closer as it mechanically whirrs and changes direction.
The City through the eyes of the grainy black and white 18 fps security camera; a skinny velvet jacketed Nightclub Bouncer theatrically opens the door of ‘The Club’.
A London bound train arrives at Cardiff station, hoovering up businessmen in suits, anxious to get the last train back to London. A young black guy advances on the camera and pokes his tongue out.
In the main shopping precinct, five burly men from one of the former valley coal-towns climb heavily from a taxi. Outside a police car whizzes past, sirens blazing.
Two men in a back street stop hitting a third man for a moment notice the siren, come in for a last punch, and then leg it. The battered man struggles on the ground. The police car whizzes past him.
We track up an outside wall, the camera reframes and gains focus as, through a window, we see a striptease dancer in a negligée putting on false eyelashes. The camera tracks higher to where, above her head, a cat, stranded on the roof, gives a mew.
A piece of waste ground, a fence and a big sign, battered, its paint already peeling; New Theme Park Here. Several urchin children are scaling the wire like monkeys, hanging off by their hands, laughing and calling to one another. Cheekily, they take no notice of another police car as it draws up behind them.
From the street, through the window of an All Night Indian Shop, we see a young white woman buying 100 durex whilst we track back to reveal, in front of the shop, a black girl reading tarot for a sleazy fat guy on the top of a battered Cortina.
The surveillance room. Two silhouetted figures slump in front of four large banks of television monitors that cover a 20 foot by 20 foot wall. They turn the pages of a soft porn magazine and stop on one picture:
First male voice: She’s a ten.
Second male voice: Christ, mun, she’s a dog.
From the picture (possibly having zoomed in on detail of anatomy demonstrated by the man’s finger), we
2. Under the Railway Bridge Ext; Dusk or Night
Close up of a used condom. It is swept up by a broom head sweeping refuse. We pull back to show it is being wielded by a Council Sweeper (female?), blue overalls, head down, sweeping in an orderly and efficient motion.
The ground is littered with used condoms, each the shoddy and only memento of some man’s moment of coming. She sweeps them left to right into a large pile and ladles them into a rubbish cart, sandwiched between two pieces of dark brown card.
And we meanwhile hear, in voice over:
Roxanne (V.O.) You sort of push, pull ...
(Most of our audience will not initially understand what she’s talking about since it’s done in a very matter-of-fact way.)
Roxanne (V.O.) Pull, push, there’s a bit of soft at the front if its pointing upwards and that’s what you need to home in on.
We may look up at the roof of the tunnel, resting on its stout pillars, to get a sense of where we are.
Roxanne (V.O.) Treating it very delicately at the start but you can get a lot harder later. Four soft, four hard.
Echoing the pillars and girders that support the tunnel top, we are now climbing what seem to be more pillars but are in fact a man’s legs encased in shoddy trousers. At the top of the legs expert hands are pulling at a tumescent dong. We may hear the guy panting.
Roxanne (V.O.) I take a little bottle of baby oil so, if it goes on a while, you won’t draw blood.
Meanwhile the voice of Michelle, to whom Roxanne is talking, asks (V.O.) a naive question.
Michelle (V.O.) Why would you draw blood?
Roxanne (V.O.) Don’t be daft. You know, if he takes hours. I mean, to finish off.
Michelle’s friend (18), fellow prostitute and confidante. Fancies herself as a bit of a New Age hippie, also thinks she’s a medium.
Michelle (V.O.) (confident) Right. (but her tone betrays she doesn’t really know.)
The voice of Roxanne continues in a matter-of-fact way, almost like a documentary.
Roxanne (V.O.) So there are ways of speeding things up. You could let them, just for a moment, finger your nips, although I never do ...
A train passes overhead, drowning her instructions. As the sound dies away, we hear the panting of the John.
Now it is Gish’s voice (V.O.) that carries on the instruction.
Gish (V.O.) Just the same as with Jungle Ragga Hip Hop, you name it, your true pro will never forget the rhythm.
Michelle’s boyfriend and pimp (23), (although he insists manager). A Rasta from Glasgow. Small town hustler with big dreams. A looker, no brains, he dreams of being a comic - not like that wanker Lenny Henry, someone like Billy Connolly.
Gish (V.O.) And what is the number one tool of the comedian walla? Timing. Choose yourself a good funky rhythm to keep running in your head, move your hand in time.
We may see Roxanne’s hand going first slowly, and then very speedy, up and down in a ‘knuckle shuffle’. We see the John’s hand grasping for Roxanne’s breasts and she pushing it away.
Gish (V.O.) Same with anything, whisking an egg or screwing in fucking shelves. Think yourself into a beat machine.
We see the John’s face and hear him panting as he approaches and reaches his moment of coming, a large train, InterCity or goods, passes overhead, shaking the environment.
Gish (V.O.) And you can vary the rhythm. All of a sudden, do something quite fucking unexpected.
Gish’s commentary (V.O.) continues as we see Roxanne’s heavily made-up elfin face caught by the light of a car headlight.
Theme music till Gish’s next V.O.
as we slowly pull back to show that she and her John are one pair out of other couples similarly occupied.
We see the gasping face of each John. Husbands, fathers, brothers, as in turn each reaches orgasm.
In between each of these we may see the face of Michelle, watching from the shadows. Young, just 16, no make-up.
Meanwhile the Voice of Gish (V.O.) continues its quite dispassionate matter-of-fact account of how to liven up a hand-job.
Gish (V.O.) As you approach what some folks call the rutting point of rutting no return ...
Although he is trying to cool it, Gish is also getting close to orgasm.
Gish (V.O.) Suddenly stop completely for a moment. You can say to him ‘Darling’.
3. Gish’s Room at Fat Mick’s, or Indeterminate Location
We see Gish’s face and then Michelle’s in a bare room, lit by a single bulb.
Perhaps we see Gish’s penis in close-up with Michelle’s obedient hands around it. (Michelle is using him for practice.)
Gish: Then give it everything you got as you come in for the kill. Ahh!
As sperm froths out, standing for all the orgasms of all the Johns, the sperm mixes into ...
4. Lounge Bar, the Cottage Pub
Frothing beer is being poured from the beer pump.
Over this our title:
We pull back to show the beer is being pulled by Michelle and we show her innocent-seeming face as she pulls a Bitter Top.
(16), blonde, sensitive face reflecting a sweet nature. Her background, urban, manual labour, down the giro, criminal classes with a moral code and the rigidity of patriarchy.
Michelle (V.O.): Was that alright?
Gish (V.O.): Wicked.
Michelle starts pulling another pint.
Michelle (V.O.): It’s not what I want, though.
Gish (V.O.): Hell, it’s not what I want for you, babe!
From behind Michelle we see a long line of male customers behind the bar.
Michelle (V.O.): (sexually aroused again) What do you want for me?
Gish (V.O.): (matching her arousal) Only the best.
A male customer, leaning on the bar, watches Michelle lustfully as she pulls a pint.
Male Customer: Look at the jugs on that.
Older Barmaid: Yeah, and look at the gut on you!
5. Metal Workshop at Training Centre. Int.
Michelle is operating a metal drill.
Other young women and a lad or two.
Gish (V.O.): It’s just work. Work for money. And money is style. Our style.
Michelle, pondering her thoughts, stops a moment and stretches. Unconsciously she’s got herself into a pin-up pose.
Maureen looks over from the next drill.
Maureen: You got a stunning figure there. Wasted on metalwork. Tell you what, with your looks, Michelle, you should try modelling. Look at Rachel Hunter. She was an ordinary girl but she got to marry Rod Stewart.
Before Michelle can answer, Roxanne leans across and buts in.
Roxanne: Why would she want to get hitched to some lecherous old git like Rod Stewart, do me a favour. Anyway, Rachel Hunter’s too short.
Music till No. 8
6. Under the Railway Bridge; Ext. Day
Michelle’s hands are working a client’s dong in a manner reminiscent of how she held the metal drill. Her anxious face. She is giving one of her first clients a hand job.
Michelle glances up. She is reassured to see that Roxanne has stayed within viewing distance, up by the bridge.
Michelle is fearful, wondering if she’s doing it right, but unexpectedly soon, with a huff and a puff, the man comes. Michelle is disgusted but pleased. The guy walks off. Michelle pushes money more firmly into her shoe and looks up to the bridge. Roxanne turns towards her and smiles.
Just down the street there’s another John waiting with money in his hand. He’s pointing the money at Michelle. She takes it, tucks it in her shoe and, while Roxanne walks on a little, he begins to unzip his flies and, taking her hand, pulls it in the direction of his penis.
7. Cardiff Streets (a little later)
Money held by Michelle as Michelle and Roxanne, arm in arm, go down the street towards the Club. They flash the cash at two bouncers and their mate as they enter ...
8. The Club
Fifi the drag queen who runs the club is finishing pulling a couple of pints for Roxanne, chatting her up in quips that are intended to be camp and amusing.
Fifi: You wicked, wicked girl. I heard Fat Mick says you told him that he was just coming into a phase of his life where he would be devastatingly attractive to women. Cruel, cruel girl.
Roxanne: Well, it’s what he wanted to hear.
Fifi: He hasn’t had a shag, or even a little shagette, for the last six years. Word gets around. When that last one wanted to leave, didn’t he smash in its rib cage?
Fifi Le Mar
An outrageous drag queen (52) who runs “The Club”, a Berlin type cabaret drinking club, up the top of St Mary’s Street.
Fifi: It was crying out ‘What, Mickey, don’t you no more love me?’ Crash! Can’t see what she saw in him!
The walls are painted with murals of famous customers past and present. The infamous ‘Hole in the Wall Gang’, Diamond Kate who is convinced she’s Joan Crawford, the Bird Man, hoods Karl Marx and the Senator; and singers Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey. They started off here - or so Fifi claims.
Roxanne: That wasn’t Mick. I don’t think so. He’s fat and harmless.
Fifi: I don’t think so. Nothing fat is harmless. (nodding to Michelle) Pretty little thing. Fresh flesh. (Fifi licks her lips) Is she a career girl?
From her p.o.v. we see Michelle, sat down and enjoying the cabaret.
Roxanne (V.O.): I’d say so. If handled correctly.
Fifi (V.O.): Gish’ll do that.
Michelle is watching someone intently.
From her p.o.v. we see who: Gish, an Afro Caribbean from Edinburgh doing his tryout as a comedian.
Gish: A man with no arms or legs is sunbathing on the beach. He is approached by three beautiful young women who take pity on him.
Michelle beams up at him.
Gish: The first one says to him: ‘Have you ever been hugged?’ The man shakes his head and she leans down and gives him a hug.
Roxanne returns with the drinks. Michelle smiles thankyou and looks back adoringly to Gish.
Gish: The second says: ‘Have you ever been kissed?’ He shakes his head and she kisses him. Rather abruptly, the third girl asks: ‘Have you ever been fucked?’ ‘No,’ says the man, his eyes lighting up. He’s thinking; this is starting to get interesting. ‘Well you are now,’ she says. ‘The tide’s coming in.’
Applause. Gish is coming down off the stage, and Roxanne speaks across the applause.
Roxanne: (whispers) Look at him, he’s gorgeous, in’t he?
Michelle: Yeah! (Then she realises it’s not Gish who is being referred to). Who?
From Michelle’s p.o.v. we track from Gish to Fisher:
Fisher A London flash git who wears suits and loves his mobile phones and business gadgets. He has learned Karate and has an air of menace. Drug pusher of new LSD designer drug. Intends to make a pile of dosh in Cardiff and then buy a boat in the sun.
Roxanne is gazing at Fisher. Fisher is joined at a table by 5 blokes and they sit down together. Two overdressed Cardiff dregs block Michelle and Roxanne’s view. They hover, trying to come in for the pull.
Roxanne: Oy darling, weren’t you the one who did my last AIDS test?
Dreg: (after a pause to assimilate this) Excuse me, mind your fucking language!
The dregs sneer and move off, sheepishly.
Gish, self-satisfied, towelling his sweating face with a beer mat taken from one end of the bar, accepts a pint off Fat Mick who is standing at the middle of the bar. Fat Mick takes Gish’s arm and leads him towards Michelle and Roxanne.
Fifi is up on stage.
Fifi: You lucky people. I have another treat for you. Fresher flesh, very fresh flesh. (Her tongue licks laciviously round her mouth). Now, drop everything you’re doing (aside to a young couple who are fondling each other). Ah, he was enjoying that, wasn’t he, dirty bugger. (aside to an older man) Ooh, you’re looking glum, you’re not unemployed love? (he nods) You are? Well, come straight round tomorrow and I’ll fix you up. (aside to audience) I’ve been looking for a face to keep the birds off the ornamental hibiscus foliage on my patio, he’ll be a roaring success, banish all the crows for miles.
The older man reacts, embarrassed, not knowing how to take this.
Fifi: Ah, lovey, only joking, catch me later and I’ll give you the number of my plastic surgeon. Now, don’t side track me, you lovely people, you lovely honeypot lubricious (lubricious? you wondered where I got that word from, didn’t you?) people, please welcome our new star, she’s very young, very sexy, her name is Poppy, her flesh is fresh. Poppy!
Applause as Poppy comes on to stage.
Begin music to ‘You Only Live Twice’
Poppy begins to sing.
The camera roams around the Club.
Shop assistants, ‘bohemians’, taxi drivers, dancers, and off-duty squaddies, are all here tonight. And mixed in with them, petty criminals, bent coppers, massage parlour maids, rent boys, drug barons, Brixton Yardie bosses down from London, seedy private eyes and bug eyed criminal lawyers trying to do a John Grisham ...
Michelle’s angelic face breaks into a smile as Gish approaches. She stands up to greet him, takes his hand.
On the stage, Poppy starts the second verse of ‘You Only Live Twice’.
Gish and Michelle turn from Roxanne and Fat Mick to have a private conversation.
Gish: D’you get any?
Michelle: No, I went down there with Roxanne but I couldn’t do it.
Roxanne glances over at them, their heads bent together.
Gish: (Puts his arms round her and speaks gently) God, what am I going to do with you, eh?
Michelle smiles misehievously and hands him the cash and then downs her eyes and her pint. Gish is absolutely delighted and kisses her. Michelle says provocatively:
Michelle: Are you going to buy me a drink to celebrate?
Gish: You’ve got one.
Michelle: Buy me a double rum and black, to chase this.
9. Living Room of House on Coast of West Wales
Music over this and next five scenes
Supper time on a ‘Mediterranean-look’ verandah or patio. Michelle and Gish eating from a varnished pine table with an apparently wealthy hippy couple, Gretel and Max, overlooking a seascape. Three children. A number of expensive toys for adults stacked up against the wall, such as motorised collapsible rubber dinghy, diving gear, snorkel, etc.
The view is of a remote bay.
10. By the Sea
Gish and Michelle stand together looking at the turbulent sea.
To Michelle it is further proof that Gish is a totally amazing bloke and that she already thinks she loves him. There are clear signs, which our audience will pick up, that there’s more going on than at first meets the eye. Michelle has eyes only for Gish. Gish’s occasionally seek out the horizon.
11. Toilet, next morning, early
In the large, bohemianly painted Victorian loo, Gish, wearing only a shirt over his good-looking wiry body, breathing heavily, is squatting next to a toddler’s potty. His hand shakes as he takes out two tranquilizers from a bottle and crams them into his mouth. A deep felt sigh. He feels calmer now.
12. Bedroom, a little later
Gish, feeling calmer now, picking up his brogues and trying to put them on while at the same time leaving the room silently. At the same time he picks up his jacket and creeps out, leaving Michelle asleep.
13. On the Sea in a Dinghy (next morning)
Lone figures on the horizon. Misty morning. Gish and the posh hippy woman, Gretel, in a dinghy. She is kitted out in a smart O’Neil wet suit. His brogues and leather jacket appear inappropriate. They have a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) with which she is checking the exact position of what they are looking for.
Gretel: Okay, hold it really steady, stay cool!
She back-flips into the water.
A stream of bubbles breaks the surface and then up pops a package.
Gish sticks his hand in under the water and fishes it out, into the dinghy.
As he turns away, another breaks the surface and then, as he reaches, another ...
14. On Shore, by a Car
Gish is stowing the fat packets in the boot, which is now nearly full. A box of farm produce by the car. On top of the fat packs he carefully places farm produce so the bags are obscured.
15. Up on the Cliffs, later
Gish and Michelle are walking, sharing a large joint.
Michelle: Campion, foxgloves, broom.
Gish: How d’you get to know these things?
Michelle: At school. Gorse, Celandines, Orchids, Shoes and Stockings, Cranes Bill ...
She picks and offers some.
Michelle: Maidenhair. Gish, what exactly is going on here? Something’s going on.
Gish turns to face her.
Gish: ‘Chelle, do you really think it would be in everyone’s best interest if you get to be in on every bit of information? Have yourself some more of this.
He offers her the joint. She tackles Gish. He falls and she begins to seduce him on the cliff top.
(We may cut away to see the sea breaking on the shore far below.
Our theme music may come in again till Scene 16, paragraph 3. Possibly James Brown classic as in 16.)
Unlike the sex scenes we have seen so far which have been joyless, this is hilarious and exciting. The sex then continues as if it had never stopped in ...
16. Gish’s Room at Fat Mick’s
Michelle and Gish exploring and enjoying each other’s bodies. We pull back to show the space behind the bed is now occupied by a wurlitzer jukebox which belts out a James Brown classic.
We pull back further to show the otherwise empty environment of Gish’s room with our lovers and the wurlitzer in the midst of it. There comes the sound of banging on the door.
Roxanne (V.O.): Gish! Gish! Are you there? Gish?
Gish: (reluctantly) Wha’?
The door opens, Roxanne looks in.
Roxanne: Gish, Fifi wants you urgently. You’d better move. Quick. On the phone.
Gish gets up from the bed and puts a towel or bath robe around him.
16(b). Passages and Communal Room at Fat Mick’s
Gish takes us through Fat Mick’s house.
Fat Mick’s is a two-up, two-down, terraced house (or possibly larger and more rambling). A sleazy, 70s brown and stained interior filled with young dossers, runaways, spent take-away cartons and exercise equipment. Fat Mick keeps the place packed so that, as well as fleecing the DSS for their rent, he can also nick their giros.
Gish nods to Fat Mick who is in the middle of a game of poker with some borstal skins. Then he picks up the hanging ‘phone.
Gish: Hello ...
17. Club Toilets, Gents
Michelle: (in a voice that she hopes is seductive) Hello.
Michelle faces a small bespectacled man. His erect penis is already out of his flies.
John: You’ve been a very naughty girl, haven’t you?
John: (indicating his penis) Why did you do this to me? And worse. All these rude things you’ve done on the walls.
We see some of the crude graffiti on the walls behind them.
John: Sprayed all these walls with graffiti, haven’t you? But I know one way to get it off.
Michelle is not at all sure she likes being associated with the crude graffiti. She says uncertainly:
She touches his penis and starts masturbating him.
John: The Magic Ray gun.
He is incredibly excited.
Michelle smirks at the man’s face. He is in ecstacy.
John: OOOH, spray it, spray it, spray it, spraaaay it, spray ittt ...
18. The Club
Michelle slips back into The Club, drying her hands on her coat. She scans the room for Gish. He is in conversation with Fifi. They break off as they see her approach.
Fifi: I’ve just sussed who you are, oh freshest one. Oh freshest of a flesh! I knew your Mum!
Michelle: Yeah, well I never really knew her.
Fifi: How’s your Dad? Ooh, sexy man, ‘spect he’s gone to seed? What happened?
Fifi puts her hand up Michelle’s jersey to feel the bottom of her breast.
Fifi: Firm! Firm!
Michelle: (doubtful) Yeah. (looks at Gish to see if its okay)
Gish is not sure how to react.
Gish: Yeah, well. See you tomorrow, baby. (he kisses her)
Michelle disengages from Fifi’s hand and kisses Gish as she begins to leave.
Fifi: Oooh, proper little Lord rutting Romeo and Lady runting fresh flesh Juliet.
Music over (till next dialogue)
Michelle’s face, as she hurries out, dissolves into ...
19. Michelle’s Dad’s Council House, Ely Estate
Dennis’s face as he snores and sleeps on a sofa.
We track across a loudly patterned and stained carpet. Yellowed piles of Racing News stacked in the corner and a pair of battered DMs, jeans and a worn-out and bobbly V-necked acrylic jumper next to them.
The amount of light in the room increases as we hear curtains drawn off-screen and our track now reveals a middle-aged and unshaven man in his underpants curled up on the sofa. The tatty blankets and candlewick bedspread that he did have over him have fallen off him onto the floor.
Dennis: Christ, I was on one last night.
Dennis: Michelle’s father (38). Ex-boxer, house burglar, joker, drinker, gambler on horses, going to seed.
From his p.o.v. we see Michelle, who has just finished drawing the curtains, unexpectedly in her school uniform which makes her appear much younger than we’ve so far seen her.
Michelle: Yeah, well it’s my turn tonight. Dad, I’m not going to school beyond today.
He begins to sit up. Slight pause as we wonder how he’ll reply.
Dennis: Something come up?
Michelle: Nothing really. Nothing unusual.
Dennis: Oh. We’ll not have that snoopy school inspector nosing round here again?
Michelle: No, you know that. Now I’m sixteen, it’s legal to leave school.
Dennis: Quite a few other things are legal as well now you’re sixteen, so they tell me.
He burps. She smiles at him and he grins back, while picking up a tray she must have put down by the window when drawing the curtains. A half bottle of whisky is on the tray.
Michelle: Cup of tea?
There are two cups on the tray. She hands him one, with a small curtsey.
Michelle: With a mystery ingredient.
As he takes his first gulp of the tea laced with whisky, Dennis is delighted and touched, but also asks sharply;
Dennis: Are you taking one up to Trina then?
Michelle pours whisky into the second cup. From the tilted bottle, we cut to:
20. Under the Bridge (later)
Michelle’s tilted arm as she is masturbating a Jewish-looking, dark-haired, middle-class academic. We experience it from Michelle’s point of view, i.e. not sexy but something to be got through and boring, plus disgusting. We hear in V.O. Michelle’s response to Dennis.
Trina (V.O.) Thanks Michelle, and that’s all very well, but where did you get the money for that whisky?
From Michelle’s knuckle shuffling wrist we dissolve to:
21. The Club
Michelle’s arm as Gish ties his leather wrist strap on her wrist. Their arms go together as they compare wrist sizes. Hers are small and delicate compared to his.
Gish: Tender flesh, like a little baby.
Michelle: You sound like Fifi. Drink?
He takes Michelle’s hand.
Gish: Yeah, but d’you mind if I buy them?
Michelle: Alright, if you insist.
Michelle hands him money, getting it out of her shoe.
22. Club Toilets, Ladies
A large blue eye, the eyelashes flick downwards as a mascara brush flicks across them. This is Weedy, a grubby-looking skinny girl.
Next to her, Michelle takes out a pot of vaseline and glosses her lips.
They are in the midst of a desultory conversation.
Weedy: How much do you make? In a night?
Michelle: (boasting) A hundred pounds. (she notices Weedy makes no reaction) Two hundred.
Weedy looks gobsmacked.
A single parent from the Ely (tough as fuck) estate (19). Mother of three kids with different dads, on probation for using, whinger, and sly bitch.
Michelle: You’ve got to get ahead whilst you’re young. Use your assets to build capital! (she’s actually quoting Gish).
Weedy: Not bad. But people are starting to say you’re a slag.
From Michelle’s ‘oh, don’t come that on me’ face, we cut to ...
23. Y.T.S. Office
Michelle’s bored face as she waits while Elspeth, a YTS placement officer, is talking to Doug, a male colleague, in Welsh.
Doug: What sort of councillor then do you plan to be?
Elspeth: Plaid Cymru or Labour. Depends on which seat I can get selected for.
They continue to talk in Welsh as Michelle waits for them to finish, not understanding a word of this foreign North Wales tongue.
Elspeth: Late 20s, ugly but dramatic looking, fond of wearing capes and having sex. She speaks in Welsh as her first language. She likes to talk about Dylan Thomas, Richard Burton, the poems of R S Thomas.
Doug: Sensible order of priorities, but why d’you want to do it? Power mad, you women these days, aren’t you?
Elspeth: (she banters back good naturedly) Survival of the fittest, Emyr, survivial of the fittest!
Doug: Well, I’d better leave you to your ... campaigning.
He leaves and Elspeth finally looks down at Michelle’s documents and then addresses her in Welsh.
Elspeth: So, Michelle. I have been through everything with Mr Rees, and I know you said you really want to do metalwork but he says he only wants to take metalwork students he’s confident he can find a job for, which he thinks are the boys ...
Michelle: You what?
Elspeth starts again earnestly in English.
Elspeth: I have discussed your case with Mr Rees and I do appreciate you said you really want to do metalwork but he says he only wants to take metalwork students he’s confident he can get a job for, which he thinks are the boys. It is regrettable, Michelle, but I haven’t any placements available in metalwork.
Michelle: (disappointed) Oh.
Elspeth: I do have other things ... Hotel and Catering, or Retailing.
Michelle: What’s retailing?
Elspeth: Working in a shop, learning stock-taking, till work, customer relations.
Michelle: I’ll take the Catering.
Elspeth: £26.60 a week (not live in). Start in ten days.
Michelle: Ten days?
Elspeth: Yeah. Borrow off your Mam or Daddy to tide you over.
Michelle smiles to herself a little resignedly.
24/5. Bute Street
Roxanne is goading the respectable commuter cars by flashing her tits. Other girls, including Michelle, laughing, watching, chatting. Passing cars include mothers taking their little ones to Marks and Spencers or Ballet.
Amongst the girls here are:
(1) Sheila from Port Talbot, a mum who only does Thursdays for extra cash;
(2) Clare, she’s got a little boy, is very pretty and lives with her girlfriend Vicki; (3) Angie, who is older, into smack, a bit of a mess, but a right laugh.
Angie: You should make a start doing blow jobs. You’ll do much more business.
Michelle: I know.
Angie: And don’t the guys get violent sometimes when they realise they’ll get no more than ...
Angie is drinking from a lemonade bottle. They are having a fag break.
Michelle: Yes, they do. Don’t quite fancy it though.
Angie: It’s so simple! Nothing to it! Look! Like this!
She demonstrates the procedure of doing a blowie. To finish, she’s using the lemonade to rinse out her mouth and offers Michelle the bottle.
Angie: You show me now.
Michelle starts trying to do it, and then creases up laughing.
Angie: So, are you going to offer it as part of your service?
Michelle: No way. Not with these dirty bastards.
Angie: Aha. But what about with Gish the Dish?
26. Bute Street, later
It is much later and freezing cold. A bleaker feeling.
A squad car draws up. One cop is leaned out, heater on full blast, chatting to the girls.
Copper I: Evening girls. Or is it good morning? How’s business?
Girl I: Business? It’s terrible. Terrible.
Copper I: What’s wrong?
Girl I: No punters. Why don’t you give us a hand?
Copper I: How?
Girl I: Find us some punters.
Copper I: Can’t do that. You can’t expect a copper to pimp for you. But you know the law is on your side.
Girls II & III: How? Why? I’ve not seen it.
Copper I: Well, we don’t run you in any more.
Girl III: You do, sometimes.
Girl II: You don’t run the girls in so much any more, but you don’t help us neither.
Copper II: How would we help?
Girl III: Give the girls a hand sometimes dealing with the punters that come on with violence.
Copper I: That’s an occupational hazard, girls. What are your pimps for?
Cop II: No money is that easy. You ought to try coppering.
The car moves on.
27. Montage Sequence; Cardiff
Theme music over (till dialogue in Scene 31)
The camera meanders round the city on a Saturday night.
Heaving and sweaty.
29. In the Street
Girls, arm in arm, singing and telling filthy jokes at the top of their shrill voices.
Clubber Girl: What d’you get when you cross Fergie with a gorilla?
Friends chorus: Don’t know.
Clubber Girl: Nothing. There’s only so much you can force a gorilla to put up with.
30. Caroline Street
Club-goers, standing, devouring curry and chips.
Valleys Bloke: Two Scotsmen are walking down a country lane. ‘Och, Duncan,’ says Jimmy, ‘I dinnae half need a shit.’ ‘Well, just go behind the bush and do it then,’ replies his mate. So Jimmy goes behind a bush and after a while he shouts, ‘Have you got any paper?’ To which Duncan replies, ‘Och, don’t be such a tight bastard. Leave it.’
31. Indian Restaurant and Street leading to Club, Ext.
A posse of valleys women are doing a runner from the Indian restaurant. A waiter chases them down the road.
32. The Club Exterior
The women disappear into the Club. The waiter is stopped by the skinny bouncer who stands in his way.
Bouncer: Membership card, please.
Bouncer: Sorry mate. You got your membership card? This is a members only gaff.
The Waiter is outraged.
Waiter: Money! They owe money!
Bouncer: Sorry mate, not your night. No membership card, no entrance.
Waiter: Crooked bastards!
He tries to get in, is pushed back, and spits on the floor.
Nearby, Roxanne is being sick (into same area as spit?)
Beyond this, Michelle is standing with Jack the Taxi, having a smoke. They are leaning on his cab.
Michelle: Jack, can you take her back to Fat Mick’s?
Michelle: Roxanne. Take her back? She’s legless.
Jack looks over and sees Roxanne.
Jack: All right. But let her finish first. I don’t want her messing up my taxi.
Roxanne: (as she is sick once again) Too much rum and coke.
She staggers to her feet. Michelle and Jack go over to her, help her into the taxi.
Michelle watches as the taxi drives off, then she turns to go into the Club.
Theme music over (till dialogue in Scene 37)
33. The City, back of Multi-storey Car Park, Night
Gish is passing over some weed to a punter and receives money. Cool, we see him bid the punter goodbye. Then he sachays down the street towards:
34. Rave Club Entrance, Night
There is a queue of people waiting to pay the £8.50 entrance fee. Gish knows the bouncers and they nod him through.
35. Rave Club Interior, remote corner
Theme music mixes into blatant heavy techno. Exotically dressed punters all ‘luvved up’, dancing or hanging out. Strobe lights.
Gish is selling small lumps of cannabis in plastic bags to college kids, middle-class kids.
36. Rave Club Entrance, Night
Gish leaving. He doesn’t hang around.
Still the bouncers and still long queues of people waiting to enter.
Same bouncers give Gish a nod and a wink as he leaves.
37. Blues Club Interior
Techno music mixes into heavy jungle.
The punters here are almost entirely black. We are in a derelict warehouse.
Gish is hanging out in the back. Possibly he does some more business.
Then we see him shouting in the ear of a huge black Manager who maybe doesn’t really want to talk to him.
Gish: I said, you got a date for my act yet?
Gish: My act. You know, the comedy spiel. You got a date yet?
Manager: Oh yeah, Gish. I’ll let you know mate. I’ll let you know pal.
38. The Club, Int.
Fifi is holding court in The Club. Interested in the effect this may have on Michelle she says:
Fifi: Yeah, I remember her well, your mother. Desiray!
Michelle is instantly all ears.
Fifi: (aside) And what a cow she was. (she turns back to Michelle) No, seriously, a real deep one and fit. She had the voice of an angel. (aside) and the inclinations of a filthy whore. (to Michelle) A real big black sounding voice. Nobody could believe that a white woman could sound so much like a spade. Do you remember her?
Michelle: Not a lot really. She left when I was eight.
Fifi: The guy she went off with was a wrestler! A real contortionist, that one! It could tie itself up in knots! Talk of ‘s and m’ and bondage!
Fifi mimes contortionist doing contortions.
Michelle: (to Gish) Now you know what’s expected of you!
Fifi: (turns back to Michelle) You not seen her since then?
From Fifi’s p.o.v. we see that Fisher has entered the club. He makes a very understated sign at her. She acknowledges his presence with an imperceptible wink, then back to Michelle.
Michelle: Eight, nine years.
Fifi: Here she is.
Fifi produces a picture that she’s had under the counter all the time and passes it over to Michelle. It is of a group of people, including Fifi, in stage dress.
Michelle is excited.
Fifi: Third from the left, the lovely Desiray!
Michelle: Can I have this?
Fifi: No, darling.
Fifi takes the picture back from Michelle.
Theme music (till dialogue in Scene 41).
39. Granite Passage at the back of the Club
Michelle wanders out, dwarfed by the granite hallway. Possibly she’s remembering being young and being happy there. (A late 70s flashback).
We linger for a moment, whilst behind her through the door we glimpse Fisher and Fifi as they engage in what looks like a serious conversation.
Her eye may be caught by one of the black framed pictures screwed to the wall of minor celebrities. She homes in on it because underneath it is captioned ‘Desiray’.
40. Bute Street
A posse of girls talking as a BMW approaches. To Michelle’s pleasure, she sees Gish is driving Roxanne, though they can’t at once see this.
Angie: Quite flash.
Clare: Hey, look, there’s Roxanne in there, like Lady Muck.
Michelle: Oh, and there’s Gish!
Roxanne gets out of the car and Michelle goes up to the window.
Michelle: Is this ours now, Gish?
Gish: Yes. The motor’s mine. Or nearly.
Gish grins sheepishly.
Gish: I’ve got to get a suit, have you got anything to ...
Michelle swings her leg up and gets five tenners out of her shoes.
Michelle: That enough?
Gish: Not really. I’ll come back.
She watches him drive off, self-consciously burning rubber.
Sheila: I wouldn’t give a man a penny.
Michelle reacts knowingly. She appreciates that Sheila’s had a difficult time. Three husbands, beaten up by most of them.
Michelle: You’ve got to find the right one. You were unlucky. I’ve been lucky.
Theme music (till dialogue)
41. British Rail Buffet on Cardiff Station
The St David’s Pullman, bound for London, thunders into Cardiff Station.
Flo, an old lag, one toothed, is explaining things to Michelle. Michelle is evidently working here. This is the Catering placement.
Lose theme music
Flo: We improve our wages by knocking off booze and fags.
Michelle: Do you?
Flo: Yes. All of us. Then we sells them at Car Boot Sales. And round the pubs.
Buttoning her nylon overall, Michelle turns and shoots a look at Flo, but she is distracted by a customer who has evidently been waiting.
Customer: Pint of lager and a sticky bun, please. If that’s not too much trouble.
42. British Rail Buffet, Later (Dusk?)
It is the end of the shift as Michelle changes out of her ‘Great Western Trains’ overall.
Flo: You’ll have to do your fair share of knocking, even if you doesn’t want to.
Michelle: Who says I do?
43. Bute Street and Johnny Run
The girls are crowded round someone or something as Michelle heads down Bute Street. She sees it is Archie, a rather unattractive man in a wheelchair.
A disabled solicitor from Pembroke. Huge sexual appetite.
Angie: He wants a wank and none of us wants to touch him.
Michelle shrugs. She eyes the older woman who’s brought him down. The woman who looks like his mother gives little away of her grief or whatever it is she may be feeling.
Sheila: How about you, ‘Chelle? Wanks are your speciality, aren’t they?
Archie’s Mother Strong for her age (72). A widow for over 40 years since her husband died in a boating accident. Welsh, Welsh. Hates germs.
Michelle: I will.
Music over till the dialogue
Michelle pushes Archie off to the railway bridge area known as the Johnnie Run. When they reach it, Archie says:
Archie: All right, let’s have a look at you.
Michelle perches on the side of Archie’s wheelchair and prepares to service him. He may try to touch her breasts and she pushes his hand away. The wheelchair gives a lurch and begins to move. Michelle nearly falls off.
Archie: Put the brake on, love.
44. Buffet next evening
Michelle and Flo are getting ready to leave.
Mr Bender, the manager, emerges from the back of the buffet. He seems pleased with Michelle, and things in general.
But as they are about to go, he asks:
Mr Bender: By the by, just a formality, but, girls, just a spot check through your handbags.
Michelle tightens her grip on her bag.
Flo: Go on, ‘Chellie.
Michelle hands it over. Mr Bender puts his hand in fairly perfunctorily, then discovers something.
Mr Bender: How d’you come by this, pet?
He extracts a bottle of Bells from Michelle’s bag.
Michelle: I ... (she hesitates for a moment)
He turns to Flo.
Mr Bender: Do you know anything about this?
Flo: Oh, God strike me dead, sir, not a single thing. Nothing!
Track into Michelle’s face which metamorphosises into:
45. The Club
The face of Fifi.
Fifi, dressed as Sally Bowles, is rapping from a newspaper about Michelle’s court appearance.
Fifi: So Mr Bender from the Buffet dialled 999 ...
Fifi’s rap is pithy, staccato and witty, and anti-copper.
Michelle blushes as someone turns the spotlight on her.
Fifi: He wanted our Michelle to do some time, alright?
But our Michelle goosed that Judge and so she got off light.
Fifi finishes off her rap.
Fifi: So, Michelle, be more careful next time you do something that’s not right.
And Michelle, darling, drinks will be free for you all tonight.
Applause as Fifi flounces down from the stage. People look over towards Michelle as she stands by the bar. Jack and a variety of others, including Fat Mick, who thinks it’s great, come up to her.
Fat Mick: Welcome to the Club, girl.
Fifi: How much did you say the fine was? Two hundred pounds? We’ll soon get that for you. We’ll have a collection.
Roxanne: Collection? She can earn that in half an hour!
Michelle: Will you? That would be wonderful.
Weedy: The fine is only part of it though, remember. With a criminal record you can never to go America, or Switzerland, or Monte Carlo. You can’t get a job with the council, or work as a nanny. Or even sell insurance!
Jack the Taxi: Take no notice of her. Here, take this love, towards the fine.
He hands her £20.
Michelle: Thanks, Jack.
46. Michelle’s Dad’s Council Flat
A pissed and happy Dennis is cooking the family tea, beans on toast, for Michelle and her younger sister Karen. Michelle bangs in through the front door.
Michelle: Hi, Dad!
Dennis: Michelle, I won on a ‘yankie’ down the bookies!
Michelle: Oh, you really splashed out on tea then!
Dennis: I don’t want to spend it on just this and that. Want to keep it for something useful.
Michelle: Like what?
Dennis: Going to put it away for your weddings.
Karen and Michelle exchange glances and shrug. They know he’s lying because he’s such an old piss-head, but it’s a nice thought.
Trina arrives back with chips. She’s carrying a copy of the South Wales Echo. She is steaming.
Michelle’s stepmother. Irish. Dennis’s common law wife (25). Dark, pretty, tough.
Trina: Michelle! I don’t think your father’s heard about this yet. Dennis! Your rutting daughter’s no more than a common thief.
Dennis: Thief? I don’t believe it. My daughter is a thief?
Trina stirs it up, reading:
Trina: ‘Custodial Sentence’ next time.
Dennis is upset and hurt.
Dennis: Never! A thief? My little ‘Chelle?
Trina throws the newspaper down in front of him but he doesn’t bother to look. Trina notices this and sees her advantage ebbing away. She makes eye contact with Michelle and talks slowly and deliberately.
Trina: And she’s been seen out with a black guy!
Dennis: Now, that’s not true.
He turns to Michelle.
Dennis: Tell me it’s not true!
Dennis: Tell me!
Michelle: Dad, I have been going out with a black guy.
Dennis: (melodramatic) That is the end!
Trina: (buts in) You use your Dad like shit. Use me. Use Karen. You treat this house like a hotel. We don’t know where you are half the time, or more than half the time.
Michelle: Stuff it.
Dennis: Shut your filthy mouth, now.
He bangs his hand down on the table.
Michelle: No, you two, stuff it. I don’t need this place as my ‘hotel’ any more. I can live somewhere else. I’ve been meaning to go anyway.
Dennis: You’ve nowhere to go!
Michelle: I have. I’ll go and live with ...
Trina: Who? Your black boyfriend, I suppose?
Michelle: No, Dad, with my Mother, where I belong! Your wife!
47. Bus Shelter
Michelle sits on the bench, two plastic bags hugged tightly to her. She is joined by Roxanne.
Roxanne: So, what’s the big deal?
Roxanne: She didn’t care about you then, why should she care about you now? What makes you think she’ll want to even see you, let alone ...?
Michelle: (hopefully) She is my mother.
Roxanne: Yeah, and hopefully not like your poxy father.
Michelle: I resent that remark.
Roxanne does a double-take as she realises that Michelle is not in earnest and they turn and grin at each other.
48. Gay Valley Pub, Interior
Bar Lady: Dezeeray? Never heard the name. Dezeeray.
Roxanne is talking to the bar lady.
Roxanne: We were told she used to sing here.
Bar Lady: Has she ever been on the telly?
Roxanne doesn’t know. She turns to Michelle who says, falteringly:
Michelle: No, I don’t think so.
Old Regular: Desiray? Oh yes, surely she used to sing here. When she’d had a few. But that was long ago.
49. Gish’s Room at Fat Mick’s
The bare room now has, in addition to the juke box, a fluffy, white, expensive rug.
Michelle stands in the centre of the room, woebegone.
Gish: That’s cool. No hassle. Live here, with me. (Michelle smiles at him) I’ll want you to pay your share of the rent, though.
He backs her up in a corner and he starts to kiss her passionately. Michelle is restless. Her head breaks over his shoulder as he feels her body. She is coming up for air, gasping, feeling like she can’t breathe.
Santa Claus: I done a good job. No-one could say I didn’t. Out of work. No- one cares.
A lady dosser sleeps across two seats as, behind her, (Michelle waits in a shabby, plastic bucket seat clutching a number.)
Two kids who have been abandoned wait for the social worker.
All of them half listen to the nutter, dressed up like Santa Claus, who berates the staff behind the thick glass.
Clerk: How old are you?
Michelle: Just sixteen.
Clerk: Well, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re not entitled to benefit for two years. ‘Til you’re eighteen. You can, however, have one emergency payment. Fill in this form.
Michelle: The most important thing is, I’m trying to trace my mother. Would there be any records in the DSS?
Clerk: Not unless she’s receiving benefit. Even if she was, it’s confidential.
Santa Claus: A job should be a job for a lifetime, not just for Christmas!
51. In Jack’s Taxi, Bute Street (next evening)
Outside the Custom House, Michelle climbing into the back of Jack the Taxi’s cab.
She has serviced enough guys to satisfy Gish’s rent and give herself some extra.
Michelle likes being with older men like Jack, and Tom the Echo seller, they are slightly more reliable versions of Dennis, her father.
As she closes the door, and he begins to drive, Jack asks:
Jack: How’s it going with Gish then?
Michelle: Okay, Jack, okay. We’ve got plans.
Michelle: Yes, and when we’ve got enough money, we’ll have a nice flat and maybe some kids. He’s opened a building society account. Gish likes to look forward, you know, he’s a real go-getter.
Jack: Michelle, I don’t want to speak out of turn, but don’t you think you’re being taken for a little bit of a ride?
Jack almost thinks he’s getting through.
But they’ve arrived outside ...
52. The Club, Ext., Night
Michelle opens the door and looks as if she’s going off in a huff. Then:
Michelle: Jack, I know my business.
She walks towards the Club.
Michelle: Gish’ll sort out the fare with you.
She goes happily in.
Jack sits a moment in thought, sadly.
53. The Club, Int.
Fifi is singing ‘Diamonds Are Forever’. She finishes. There is applause as Michelle joins Gish. They join in the applause as Fifi finishes her song. Both happy and content now they are living together.
Fifi went straight over to exchange a word with Fisher when she finished her song. Now she bounces over to Gish.
Fifi: Fisher wants you.
Gish: All right.
He gets up, a bit reluctantly, and goes over with Fifi to sit with Fisher.
Michelle sits there a little disappointed, but then she’s joined by Roxanne.
Roxanne has a funny story about Fat Mick.
54. Gish’s Room at Fat Mick’s, Day
Jamaican food is simmering and smoking. Gish waiting.
Michelle comes in from the lunchtime trade with a mango, which she dumps down.
Michelle: Look, you’ve let it burn!
Gish doesn’t reply. He’s nicely stoned and mellow.
Michelle rushes to turn down the heat, then takes something out from under her jacket.
Michelle: Some bloke told me to give you this.
She hands it over to him, pretending she has no curiosity.
Michelle: I don’t know! He just came up to me in the street.
She picks up and opens a dog-eared Jamaican cookery book that she got from a second-hand shop. As she’s sorting the food out, Gish leaves the room, opening the package.
Her eyes follow him as he closes the door behind him. She looks fed up that he’s not opening it in front of her.
55. Fat Mick’s: In the Corridor
Gish has already dialled and is talking on the pay phone as he continues to open the package.
Gish: Okay ... Yes, I see ... okay ... understood.
From the package he unwraps a mobile phone.
Gish: Programme, and the number five?
He presses ‘P’ and ‘5’ on the mobile phone and it dials a long number.
Gish: (excited) Hello! Is that you? Yeah, I can hear you on this one as well. Okay. Yes. Can do. Can do.
He rings off on both phones and, self satisfied, goes into ...
56. The Loo
Gish is shaking badly and crushes a few tranquilisers in the palm of his hand and takes them with a scoop of water.
(Note: However, in 54 he was ‘nicely stoned and mellow’. In 55 he was ‘self-satisfied’, see also 58.)
Outside the loo door, Michelle plants herself.
Michelle: Come on, Gish. Eat your food. I’ll have to go back out soon. Eat it!
57. Housing Estate Car Park
Fisher, talking into his mobile phone.
Fisher: Okay. I’ll talk you in. Can you see a chippy? Right by the chippy, there should be a bit of grass verge on your left. Then right by a notice board. Continue down that road. About now, you should be able to see me. Can you? I can see you, I think ...
Music till dialogue
A car draws up with Skelly, still talking to him on a mobile, as he draws up in his BMW.
Fisher gets into the BMW and shakes Skelly’s hand.
Skelly shows Fisher a large wad of money, hands it to Fisher.
Fisher is checking it carefully as he dials a number on his phone, and raises it to speak.
58. Housing Estate; concrete walkway
Gish, on roller blades, receives the call. He hears Fisher’s muffled voice.
Fisher (V.O.): The Yuppies are having the party.
Fisher: The party. Do I have to spell it?
Gish takes a moment to get the message. Then his face lightens.
Gish: Message received.
He presses the end button on the mobile with a flourish, but his hands are trembling and he is actually shit scared.
He roller blades up a concrete spiral to the door of a ...
59. Housing Estate; Squatted Flat, front door
The door is opening revealing a Punk Girl with a Punk Baby.
Behind the door, in the passage, a cage barricade.
Gish: Hi! Fisher -
Punk Girl: Oh, so the London twat got himself a lackey?
Gish: (big time) Yeah, he don’t handle the stuff. I do.
Punk Girl: Yeah and I do ... Come in ... Try the toilet ...
He follows her down the corridor and she points to where the stuff is hidden.
60. Housing Estate Car Park
Gish roller blades up to Skelly’s car and, on a nod from Fisher, hands over a parcel.
Fisher gets out of the car and Skelly at once begins to drive off.
Fisher: Well done. I can use you some more.
Fisher: Care for a ride?
Gish and Fisher get into Fisher’s car.
61. In Fisher’s Car
Fisher drives Gish around his ‘manor’, pointing out who works for him.
Possibly Fisher explains that they are going into the business of chemical production of LSD and this will put some of the local suppliers out of business. He comes out with a list of scientific names and explains the process. It is fascinating but unintelligible to Gish. (Philippa will meet Drugs Squad and research this).
Fisher ends up outside his flat in the bay. The sort of flat that Gish and Michelle would like. Both get out of the car and walk up the steps to the front door.
Fisher: People that work for me, I treat them well. But if they fuck up, I treat them very very badly. Here, have a sample.
Fisher tosses him a small bag of something wrapped in cellophane.
Fisher: Give it a try. Let me know if you agree we really could set the town on fire with this product!
To his surprise, Gish is abruptly left on the doorstep to walk home alone.
62. Gish’s Room at Fat Mick’s
Michelle is massaging cream into her hand which aches after a night of hand jobs.
Gish comes in, very pleased with himself. He takes his coat off, placing it in a (new?) wardrobe which, we see, is full of clothes.
As he kisses her, he says:
Gish: This was waiting for you.
He hands her an envelope.
Michelle: Oh. (she reads) ‘Not Known’.
Gish: Sorry, babe. Was it to your Mum?
Gish: Sorry, babe.
Gish pretends to show regret but he is secretly pleased. He opens the packet that Fisher gave him and gives her what looks like a coloured sweet.
Gish: Go on, have one of these, it’ll cheer you up.
Michelle: Nah, go on, I’ll have some soup.
She eyes him sniffing (?) gingerly and then taking a little bite of the little sweet.
(From the bunsen burner flame, we dissolve into ...)
63. The Club
Michelle: I’m only trying to discover where she might be living.
Fifi is standing in the wings ready to go on and is too distracted to think about it.
Fifi: Ask me later.
The Club is heaving with bodies. It is Cabaret night. Not the best moment for Michelle to seek a serious talk with Fifi.
Fifi flounces up on to the stage, dressed up as Marilyn Monroe.
Fifi: (begins a stunningly camp rendition of ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’- do we want her to be singing this song again?)
Michelle is sitting with Jack and Tom.
Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Gish enter the club. She is concerned to see that he looks rattled.
Almost at once he’s accosted and seems to be in an argument with a local bloke.
Gish leaves by the exit to the toilet, swiftly.
Michelle, seeing the commotion by the exit, gets to her feet.
Fifi comments from the stage, in mid song:
Fifi: What are the dregs up to?
But Michelle is gone, pushing her way through a tight lattice of drunk people singing along with ‘Diamonds are Forever’.
64. Outside the Club (a little later)
Fat Mick helping someone up. It is Gish who appears to have been badly beaten up.
We cut to:
A grainy security cam angle on the event.
On security cam, Michelle comes out and cradles Gish’s head in her lap. Others come out to help, or see what is happening.
Security Cam V.O. There’s been some sort of disagreement at ‘Le Club’.
(He may go on to say: ‘maybe about who owns the franchise’.)
Security Cam V.O. 2 Fucking Pond Life.
65. Gish’s Room at Fat Mick’s
From above, we see Gish lying on the bed, splayed out, bleeding.
Michelle enters with a bowl containing some water. She touches his head, laying a wet cloth on it. He is in a foul temper, cursing and groaning as Michelle tries to bathe his wounds.
Michelle: Keep still, Gish, keep still ... Gish, what’s going on? Please tell me.
Gish: (‘big time’) Don’t ask. Just don’t ask.
He levers himself up and reaches out for a small phial of tranquilisers. She sees him shaking as he crams two into his mouth.
66. The YTS Office
Elspeth: (lisps in Welsh) The Court conviction is the main glitch.
Michelle: You what?
Elspeth: (in English) The Court conviction is the main glitch. Most placements won’t take kids with a record. I’ll get you what I can, but I can’t work miracles. Try me in two weeks. When I get back from Tenerife.
Michelle jumps up.
Michelle: Get me a job! Get me a fucking job!
Michelle storms out.
67. Passing Cheap Shops
Michelle is storming down the street.
She passes shop windows plastered with signs saying: ‘Bargain’, ‘Sale’, ‘Cut Price’.
A car kerb-crawls her. It is Gish. His face is battered and he looks ill.
Gish: (angry) I’ve been looking for you down the beat.
For the first time, Michelle feels a bit scared of him.
Michelle: Keep your hair on, I’m going there now.
68. Bute Street
A beautifully sunny day. As they wait for trade, Michelle is telling Roxanne her worries.
Michelle: He’s got rude and angry. (pauses and lowers her voice) Wants me to do ‘blowies’ so I get paid more. And go the whole way.
Gish screeches up in his car, checks that she is there and then screeches off.
Michelle: Whatever it is he’s up to that he doesn’t tell me about, its got more stressful. He’s away all day and all night. I hardly see him.
Roxanne: Did you ever ask if there’s anything you can do to help him out?
Michelle: He says, earn more money to help him. But I don’t just want to do ‘the beat’. I want a proper job.
Roxanne: This is a proper job, you stupid cow. Where else d’you think you can get this sort of money when you want it?
Michelle: (points to a Mercedes going by) By doing whatever they do.
(Plenty of people get loads of money doing all sorts of things. They don’t have qualifications. Look, that Richard Branson left school at 16, Michael Barrymore was a security guard, and Cilla Black worked in Tescos!)
69. YTS Office
Elspeth: I have got something for you. A little unusual.
70. The Happy Bunny Burger Café and Takeaway Joint
Bunny Burger Café music
A large rabbit, actually Michelle dressed as a rabbit, with buck teeth, evidently a promotion mascot.
She bends down to give two children a balloon. A toddler ambles up to her. She gives him a toy bunny. He beams.
She turns round to two more young children. One, on seeing her, starts crying loudly.
Michelle glances nervously at three management men sitting at a table watching her. They talk amongst themselves.
Local Manager 2: We don’t know. We’re still trying to understand why nobody is buying our rutting Bunny Burgers.
Australian Exec: Are they still the cheapest in town?
Local Manager 2: 99p with drink and chips. Yes. Absolutely.
Australian Exec: I think maybe I know the problem ...
71. All day drinking club
Gish is snorting coke and flirting with three women. We hear Michelle and Roxanne.
Michelle (V.O.) Well, I thought I’d had enough of being subtle, so I asked him if he liked weddings.
Roxanne (V.O.) What did he say?
Michelle (V.O.) He laughed.
Roxanne (V.O.) Well, why d’you want it? Aren’t things fine like they are?
Michelle (V.O.) Have you been to a black wedding? I went to Gish’s cousin’s. Everyone clapping, laying their hands on you, throwing rice. I really felt something, it was like being complete, being part of something.
Roxanne (V.O.) Jesus Christ, you’re not going to turn into a Born Again Christian, are you?
Michelle (V.O.) I love him. I’d just like to be married to him.
Roxanne (V.O.) Get yourself up the duff then, he does the business, doesn’t he?
Gish (V.O.) (Gish is beginning to tell a joke to the admiring ladies.)
72. Michelle in Gish’s Bedroom at Fat Mick’s
Michelle examines her face and body in detail in the mirror whilst we hear:
Gish (V.O.) (Gish continues with the joke to what has become a small crowd of Drinking Club ladies.)
73. Gish’s Room at Fat Mick’s
Gish (V.O.) (Gish’s joke continues and comes to an end.) Sporadic laughter as:
Gish sits up in bed. He is depressed, a sulky, sullen expression on his face. We see him through the glass of a new purchase, a brightly coloured fish tank. We look at the fish at intervals.
Michelle circles the bed. She’s trying to be bright. She tries to engage him in conversation.
Michelle: I was so pleased you took me to Washington’s wedding. It was fantastic.
He evades her. She tries again.
Michelle: Do you know there’s a flat to rent down the bay. D’you want to see it?
Gish: Mmm. Maybe.
Michelle: Gish, what colour do you like me to be dressed in? Best? Best of all?
Michelle: What’s the top price you think someone should pay for a wedding dress?
Gish’s face brightens.
Gish: Well, I suppose it depends on how much that someone was earning.
74. The Happy Bunny Burger Café
Michelle in her bunny outfit, looking threatened.
The management men have been getting her to pose and criticising.
Local Manager 2: Are the bunny’s teeth the right shape?
Local Manager 1: Is its smile welcoming enough?
Local Manager 2: The bum’s alright.
Australian Exec rises and scrutinises Michelle close to. Michelle tries to adopt a dignified, angry pose in her outfit. Australian Exec runs his fingers over the rabbit.
Australian Exec: May I ask you an intimate question?
Michelle: Don’t know.
Australian Exec: It is, when did you last brush your fur, darling? To be frank, I never saw such a scruffy rabbit.
Local Manager 1: Michelle, there is one thing we are clear on. We can’t have our rabbit scaring the clients’ children.
Michelle: Fuck Off!
She takes the bunny’s head off so we can see her face.
Michelle: Fuck Off!
Australian Exec: Thank you, my dear. That saves us from the awkward business of working out just how to fire you.
75. Pregnancy Advice Centre
A notice on the desk says, ‘ProLife’ or some such slogan. We pull back to show:
Advice Centre Woman: The friendship and support we supply is directed at both mother and baby.
Roxanne and Michelle smirk at each other.
Advice Centre Woman: It’s your choice of course, but ...
Roxanne: Yes, well ...
The phone rings. The Advice Centre Woman answers it. As she talks:
Michelle: Maybe you should have it?
Roxanne: Bugger off! It’s just contraception. How could you tell a kid that his dad could be any scummy bastard on the street? Eh? How could you? Would you like that? Your dad could be any scummy creep in this city!
The Advice Centre Woman finishes her phone call.
Advice Centre Woman: I do urge you strongly to consider; the baby in your womb is a living being with its own immortal soul.
Roxanne: Yeah, well, I want to get rid of it.
Advice Centre Woman: Er ...
Roxanne: Thanks for the tea, but ...
She runs out, followed by Michelle.
Advice Centre Woman (V.O.) I say ...
76. Outside the Advice Centre
Gish hits Michelle as she walks out on to the crowded street. He’s been waiting outside.
Gish: That’s for hanging around with Roxanne and not going out to work. (hit) And that’s for hanging around with Roxanne (hit).
People watch him hitting her viciously. They stop and gawp. Roxanne stands nearby. Nobody helps, although several stop and stare as if it’s live entertainment. Someone begins to photograph it and, as if it really was a show, Roxanne adopts a pin-up position.
77. The Club; women’s toilet
Michelle at the mirror trying to disguise her black eye with make-up.
The process has already taken her ages.
Weedy enters and they catch each other’s eye in the mirror. Weedy says, with hardly concealed glee:
Weedy: That looks sort of excrutiatingly painful.
78. Outside Llanrumney High School, Ext., Day
Michelle is waiting. She has a patch over her eye (?)
She chopses back to the comments thrown at her by other pupils.
Comment 1: Oy, Hayes, where’s your parrot?
Michelle: He’s out shopping for my wooden leg.
Student in specs: Is that a skirt or a belt you’re wearing?
Michelle: Never heard of fashion, have you, four eyes?
Karen, Michelle’s younger sister, appears.
Michelle: Hi ya!
Karen at first at a loss to see her sister, then smiles and takes her hand.
79. Cardiff Central Station; the photo booth
Karen and Michelle are having booth pictures taken. (Michelle in profile to keep her eye-patch out of sight?).
They exit from the booth and, while they are waiting for the pictures to be developed:
Karen: How are you, anyway? How’s it with Gish?
Michelle: Well, not too good. Not at all good, Karen. Do you think Trina and Dennis will have me back home?
Karen: Mm. Don’t know. Trina keeps going on that she’s ‘heard things’ about you.
Michelle: Isn’t it Dad’s 40th next week? Is he having a party?
Karen: Just a little one. Trina’s getting a cake with UB40 written on it in icing. That’s about all.
Michelle: Can I come?
Karen: ‘Chelle, I don’t think ... you’re invited ...
The photos come out of the machine.
Karen: Don’t look so glum!
Michelle goes to get the photos, looks at them.
Michelle: They’re horrible!
Karen: (looking) Not very good. Tell you what, I’ll pay for us to have another set taken, so you can look a bit more cheerful.
They go into the booth and we see their faces in the mirror.
She presses the button. Flash!
Karen: But you look really doleful. Go on, look happy. Ready?
She presses the button. Flash!
Michelle: That was worse!
80. Bute Street, Night
Michelle standing with one of the girls. It’s very cold, beginning to rain.
Michelle: It’s too much. It’s freezing my tits off. I’m going down the Club.
Clare: It’s very early.
Angie: Gish won’t like that.
Michelle: Fuck Gish!
81. The Club
Michelle enters the Club and sees Gish. She feels less confident as she approaches him as he stands by the bar. Poppy is on the other side of him.
Gish: (under his breath) How much?
Michelle is surreptitiously getting what she has earned out of her shoe.
She gives the money to him.
Having to speak under his breath, Gish is furious because she has earned so little.
Gish: Get back outside.
Michelle or Poppy: It’s really teaming out there.
Gish: Get back home then.
Michelle: Are you coming?
Gish: What does it look like?
Michelle tries to act normal. She is aware of Poppy the other side of Gish and tries to say casually:
Michelle: Don’t be too long, Gish. See you!
She walks away quickly before a hint of emotion breaks through.
82. The Club, at the back (In the Toilets?)
Gish and Poppy are out at the back for some ‘dragon chasing’. It looks as if Poppy may be an addict. The dragon also seems to be beginning to get a hold of Gish.
83. Taxi, Int., Night
Michelle’s face pressed up against the window, looking out sadly.
84. The Club Toilet, Night
Gish and Poppy rubbing up against each other. He moves towards her to kiss her but she moves slightly and he starts kissing the wall.
Someone bangs loudly on the toilet door.
Someone (V.O.) You going to be all night? I’m bursting!
86. At Fat Mick’s, Landing
Michelle has banged the front door as, distressed, she climbs stairs, along the passage, avoids the door to Gish’s room and wanders into ...
87. At Fat Mick’s: The Exercise Room
It is full of exercise equipment and spent cartons from takeaway food. Climbing on an exercise bicycle, Michelle peddles faster and faster, scrutinising her features in the gym mirror in front.
There is puffing and panting. She looks round to see that Fat Mick is riding an exercise bike behind her.
88. At Fat Mick’s: The Lounge
Michelle and Fat Mick are relaxing on the sofa after all this exercise:
Michelle: So, I haven’t been giving Gish absolutely everything I earn. I’ve been paying some into a thrifty club. It’s a secret.
Fat Mick: But Michelle, who do you think you’re kidding? Not me. Maybe yourself?
Michelle: No, this is for real, Mick. When we’ve got enough money, we’ll rent a house, get married, even have babies.
Fat Mick: I’ll be frank. He’s leading you down the garden, Michelle. I mean, Gish has pimped off other girls than you.
Michelle: I know what you’re saying Mick, and I appreciate your concern, but I’ve talked to Gish about that and he’s explained it was just a business arrangement. This time it’s different. Gish loves me and we’re going to be living together, in style, not as dregs like my dad, but like proper people.
Fat Mick: I know, I know.
Michelle: With a proper house and a car.
He puts his arm round her. He strokes her hair.
Fat Mick: Poppycock! How about staying with me tonight?
Fat Mick: I’ve always fancied you. You’ve got a cracking arse, and tits.
He tries to pin her down and snog her.
Michelle extricates herself and makes for her room.
Theme music (till end of 92)
89. Gish’s Room
She locks the door and throws herself down on the bed. She can hear Fat Mick lumbering around out in the corridor as she cries herself to sleep.
We may hear Fisher (V.O.) talking to Jeff on his mobile phone, guiding him in as in Scene 57.
90. Housing Estate Car Park
Fisher is still talking to Jeff on his mobile.
Jeff’s car appears and Jeff is still talking on his mobile as he draws up.
Fisher gets into the car with Jeff.
Both switch off their mobiles and Jeff has evidently flashed money because Fisher is raising his mobile to dial another call.
91. Housing Estate Walkway
Gish on his roller blades receives the call. He’s already carrying a package and is on his way to the ...
92. Housing Estate Car Park
From Gish’s p.o.v. we see Skelly’s car with Fisher and Jeff in it. There are two plain clothes policemen approaching. They leap on Fisher as he jumps from the car.
Fisher is pinned to the floor.
Fisher looks across for a moment and sees Gish watching, hiding, not helping.
Gish drops what he is carrying and sidles off.
Fisher escapes and avoids detection by hanging on to the underneath of a transit van.
(Part of this scene may be shot as seen by the surveillance camera).
93. Fat Mick’s; Gish’s Room
Gish is kicking Michelle as she lies in bed.
Gish: Wake up ‘Chelle. Wake up! Wake up! I need you!
She is trying to ignore him, pretending still to be asleep.
Suddenly she grabs his foot and he falls over. Gish stops kicking and starts to talk to her sweetly.
Gish: (more gently) ‘Chelle? ‘Chelle?
She sits up in bed, taking notice.
Michelle: Why didn’t you come back last night?
She sits up in bed. She is naked.
Gish: I was sorting something for us.
He starts to fondle her. Gish’s disorientation and panic have given way to lust.
Gish: Now, you going to help me or not?
Michelle: Any way you care to mention?
Gish: Fisher wants me to handle some sales for him. And I need to know I’ve got you supporting me.
She kisses him. To soften her up, he kisses her. Suddenly he is all loving again and they’re back in the ‘innocent’ days of their first passion. Once again, Michelle feels there’s hope. She makes love to him quickly and urgently.
94. Housing Estate, Squatted Flat
Gish: It’s nothing. Just stay here through the night.
Michelle: (doubtful) Hmm.
Gish: There’s the bed. Though you may not get much sleep.
Gish and Michelle are going through the door to the squatted flat. Six feet from the door, in the passage, is a metal barrier. As Michelle goes through it, she sees what looks like a laboratory to her left.
Michelle: What on earth is all that?
Gish: Never you mind. (He moves over to an electric cooking stove.) Here’s the stuff for a cup of tea. Milk. Sugar. Teabags. (He is filling the kettle from a tap.)
Michelle: (Sits on the bed) I don’t like this.
Gish: Well, suit yourself, but this is a chance. Don’t throw it away. Off the street, more cash. More upwardly mobile.
Michelle: Why can’t you stay and do it with me?
Gish: I’d love to, honey, but my face is getting too well known.
Michelle: I don’t think it’s that well known.
Gish: Believe me. I know. (He moves in close to her) So, I’ll explain one last time. You stay here through the night. Every now and again punters will ring asking if you’ve got the stuff. Tell them you have. Give them the address. Buzz them in the door. Don’t ever let them past the barrier. Do the deal and take the money through the bars. Stuff the money in this plastic bag. Simple! Give it to me in the morning.
He locks the barrier and rattles it.
Gish: See, safe as houses.
He winks at her.
Gish: You deal through this opening here.
Michelle: Okay, but check on me. Keep in touch, Gish, ring me. Through the night! Promise!
Gish is looking at himself in a small dirty two-way mirror. He admires his reflection.
He hands Michelle the mobile.
Gish: Here you are.
He opens the barrier from the inside, goes through, locks it, tosses the key back through.
Gish: See you!
Michelle: (resigned) See you.
She sits back to await developments.
95. Squatted Flat, 2.00 a.m.
Theme music (till the dialogue?)
The doorbell rings. Michelle is alone and tense. She goes over, speaks nervously into the intercom. It is a male voice. She buzzes him through the front door.
The bloke is tall, lean and good-looking. He acts as if he fancies her.
Handsome bloke: Hey, here’s a good-looking lass!
She’s not sure if he’s taking the piss.
Cut: Squatted Flat, 3.00 a.m.
Michelle: Wait a moment, please.
The buzzer goes again.
Michelle: Just a moment.
The buzzer goes persistently. Michelle lets in a military looking bloke with one arm, behind him two raggedy looking children.
Michelle: Get out!
Military bloke: I was just ...
Michelle: Out! Get out!
Cut: Squatted Flat, 4.00 a.m.
Weedy with Nelson, a punter she’s brought, stands outside the barricade.
Nelson: Quality! No quality!
Michelle: It’s good quality.
Weedy: Yes, but how does he know that?
Michelle: I’ll give him this bit more to shut him up.
She separates a bit more off to give him.
He grudgingly gives money to Weedy, who hands it to Michelle.
Weedy eyes her as she sticks his money into Gish’s plastic bag. It is getting quite bulky.
As Weedy and Nelson are leaving, two guys and a dog have arrived behind the barricade.
Michelle: How did you get in?
Cut: Squatted Flat, 5.00 a.m.
Manley and friend stand outside the barricade.
Manley: Gish told me to come. Gish promised me a free hit.
Michelle: A free hit. Did he now? Only thing is, Gish never told me.
Manley: Well, that’s what he said. Tell you what, Gish said don’t leave till she give it you!
Michelle: You’re not getting it.
Manley: Gish said ...
Leaving them there, Michelle shuts an interior door and, hands shaking, she tries to ring Gish. No reply, but she may get a foreign voice on the answering machine saying:
Voice: Het stijt mij dat de moble telefoon neit beschikbaar is. Jaar ne weer bellen.
or a woman may answer the phone and then hang up.
Michelle: Yeah, you’re right. Sorry.
She hands over a small bag of tablets. The two men can’t believe their luck.
96. Squatted Flat, 8.00 a.m.
At last, some hours later, she is leaving, unlocking and going through the cage door and the front door.
She may forget to lock the outside door properly in her hurry to get away.
She runs through the estate with the carrier bag, bulging with money, clutched in her hand.
97. City Streets
Michelle threads her way through Cardiff streets as typical workers are on their way to work. She holds the carrier bag tightly. Unnoticed, the carrier bag has a hole in the bottom (or, it is raining and the bag begins to disintegrate). Money falls out and blows away on the morning wind.
A montage sequence shows us:
(1) A five pound note eddies in a shop doorway;
(2) A tenner blows into an open window;
(3) A twenty dances around a post box.
Michelle, happy, hurries back to ...
98. Fat Mick’s, Ext.
Michelle approaches the door, puts her key in, enters.
99. Fat Mick’s, Gish’s Room
Michelle bursts into the bedroom, exhausted and seeking Gish’s approbation.
But there’s no Gish. After a moment’s thought, she looks in the wardrobe. There are gaps. Some of his best clothes are missing, (or it is completely empty?) (Note: wardrobe pre-established in Scene 62.)
She hides the plastic bag of money at the back of the wurlitzer juke box just as Fat Mick enters.
Fat Mick: Reckon he’s gone back to Glasgow.
Fat Mick: Gish mentioned a girl up there that he was missing.
Michelle: Oh come off it, Fat Mick! I’m in touch with him. I’ve got the mobile. I can ring him any time I want to.
Fat Mick: Come for a cup of tea in my room then.
She looks in her handbag for the mobile. Her face registers alarm as she realises:
Michelle: Oh shit, oh fucking shit! I’ve forgotten the mobile!
She runs out and the next thing he hears is the door bang.
Fat Mick: No explanation. No nothing. (mutters to himself) Chicks!
100. The Streets, Ext.
Michelle is threading her way back through the streets towards the squatted flat.
101. Squatted Flat, Ext.
As Michelle approaches from a distance, she suddenly stops and her face changes.
Michelle: Oh, double shit!
From her p.o.v. we see one uniformed and one plain clothes policeman outside the building. The door is open.
102. The Club, Int.
Michelle arrives with Fat Mick. She is agitated.
Someone: Michelle! Hi! Hey, Michelle, where’s Gish?
Michelle: Don’t know, and I need him too. I’ve got to find him.
Someone: Me too.
With her eyes, Michelle searches the Club for Gish, but she can’t see him.
Roxanne joins them.
Roxanne: Michelle! Hi!
Fat Mick orders them drinks with a £20 note from an envelope which we notice, though she doesn’t, is addressed to Michelle.
Fat Mick: Plate of chips?
Fat Mick: I’m paying. Sausage? Egg? Bacon?
Michelle and Fat Mick eating sausage and chips from one plate. Roxanne sits watching. Michelle is extremely hungry. She wolfs it down. She notices that Fat Mick has got disgusting table manners. He can’t seem to close his mouth.
Fat Mick: But you know you’re not really poor, darling.
Michelle: Why not?
Fat Mick: Well, there’s whatever it is you’ve got in that bag I saw you stashing.
Michelle: Shove off. That is Gish’s.
Fat Mick: It’s not very important to him though, is it? Now?
Michelle: Of course it is!
Roxanne: And what else is in the bag? There might be a note in there for you to meet him and you’re ignoring it, you dozy cow.
Michelle looks at them quizzically.
103. At Fat Mick’s
Fat Mick watches as Roxanne and Michelle are emptying the plastic bag of money on to the bed and putting it in piles.
Roxanne: Quite a lot!
Michelle: Quite a lot!
Fat Mick: At least half that is yours, you earned it.
Michelle: Bollocks ...
But Michelle and Roxanne exchange glances that Fat Mick doesn’t notice.
104. Hyper Value
Michelle: (Nobody screws me over! We’re spending! I don’t give a stuff about Gish! We’re spending ...) (Omit?)
Theme music begins again here (till awkward silence in 107)
Michelle and Roxanne are searching through piles of reject fashion-wear for the best bargains they can find amongst the cheap suits. They are on a shopping spree in the city centre.
104b). Mr Pound
They look at cheap rings and tiaras, which they (?) call wedding outfits.
105. Sports Shop
Michelle is landing some fairly professional punches at an expensive punch ball. To a rather surprised attendant, she says:
Michelle: Okay, I’ll have it.
106. The City: the Streets
Michelle and Roxanne struggling through the twilight with the punch ball. A heavy burden in brown packaging.
107. At Michelle’s Dad’s Place
The punch ball being unwrapped. It is Dennis’s birthday party. Michelle is excited because she’s been able to splash out on her Da’. When he finishes unwrapping it, the outcome is not what Michelle expected.
There is an awkward silence.
Dennis appears not to know what to say.
Trina: Where did the money come from to pay for this thing?
Trina is over the moon. She always hated Michelle.
Dennis: Yes, well ...
Michelle: Well, Dad, if you don’t want your present ...
Karen: I think it’s a wonderful present.
Trina: Answer the question!
Michelle runs out in tears.
108. Outside Michelle’s Dad’s Place
Just outside the door, Roxanne has been waiting for Michelle.
Roxanne: Michelle, Gish is back!
Michelle: Oh, good!
Roxanne: Yes, but, wait for it, he needs the money badly and he needs the mobile phone.
Michelle: Oh, shite!
Michelle is worried.
At that moment Trina comes out and shouts at Michelle.
Trina: Think you can buy your way back to your Dad’s affection? It’ll take more than that, you whore!
Roxanne siezes the front of Trina’s jersey. Trina puts her hands round Roxanne’s neck, Roxanne staggers back. Michelle (who’s had a bit of training from her Dad) lands a punch on Trina’s cheek.
Dennis emerges from the flat, followed by Karen, and attempts drunkenly to break up the fight, but gets drawn in.
109. City Centre and Outside the Club
Michelle and Roxanne are limping back towards the Club.
A car draws up alongside them, with Fisher in it.
Fisher: Where’s Gish?
There is menace in his voice.
(We may see the scene from a car parked further down the road. Click. The drugs squad are vigilant. Four pairs of eyes watching.)
(D.S. Flynn: Roger One to Tango Two, Roger One to Tango Two. Suspect has stopped two cows and appears to be threatening them, over.)
Michelle, a close-up held in a telephoto lens. Her voice audible via a bugging device.
Michelle is uneasy.
Michelle: I don’t know where Gish is. Honest!
Fisher looks her over and at length seems to believe her.
Fisher: That had better be true!
With a threat, he drives on.
It is becoming clear to Michelle that something bad is going on. She turns to Roxanne and says, urgently but quietly:
Michelle: I’m going back to my Da’s.
Roxanne: But ...
Michelle: I’ll explain it’s an emergency. He’ll have to get me the money from somewhere. Can you go back to Gish? Tell him I’ve got a problem, but I’ll put it right. I’ll have the money by tomorrow.
110. A Derelict Space
Slap. Gish’s head is slammed against a concrete wall. We cannot see who is doing it to him, but it looks like two of the boys from London.
Fisher joins them.
Fisher: (to Gish) I wonder if you’d be so good as to get things sorted.
Theme music (till dialogue in Scene 112)
111. Bute Street
Gish stumbles along Bute Street. Two cops in an unmarked car accost him. They engage him in conversation.
CopI: You, fella!
Gish: Hey! What? Me?
Cop I: (getting out of the car) Just like to have a few words with you in the motor.
Gish: Well, okay
Cop II opens the door for him and he gets into the back.
112. Bute Street, a little further up
Fretful, Michelle is walking back under the railway bridge.
She passes Angie and Clare and stops.
Michelle: How’s business?
Michelle: Pity. I need to make some money. Really urgently.
Angie: Something to do with Gishy?
A kerb crawling car is approaching.
Michelle: Yes. Can I do this one?
Angie & Clare: Go on.
Michelle approaches the car. Her face changes. From her point of view, the world seems to go into slow motion.
As in a nightmare, Michelle sees her dad, Dennis, smile at his mate.
Dennis: That one’s fucking tasty. I think I’ll have it.
He hasn’t realised that this is his daughter. His mate turns on the headlamps to see Michelle better.
From their p.o.v. we see Michelle caught in their glare.
From Michelle’s p.o.v. we see, as he looks back from his mate, Dennis’s face change as he recognises her. Then he shouts, climbing out of the car:
Dennis: Michelle, you little whore!
Angie: Go on ‘Chelle, you better leg it!
Michelle takes off and, as she runs along the pavement, she can hear Dennis puffing and shouting behind her:
Dennis: Scrubber! Filthy little scrubber!
113. Montage: the City
Theme music really strong.
The camera weaves around the restless city as night dark velvet black.
114. The Club
Roxanne is wandering round The Club.
Roxanne: I’m looking for Gish.
Jack the Taxi: Me too!
Fat Mick: And me!
Fifi overhears the conversation and leans over.
Fifi: (self-satisfied) I am able to tell you some information about your Gish. Gish was last seen in conversation ...
Roxanne: Who with?
Fifi: With a couple of police officers.
There is general shock horror.
115. At Fat Mick’s
Fat Mick is cycling on his exercise bike, talking to Gish (who is also riding a bike?)
Fat Mick: I want you out. No way can I help you out and what is more, I want you out. Too many hoods have been calling round looking for Gish and the word is out that the cops have fingered you. The word is: ‘Gish will roll over and turn Queen’s evidence’.
Gish: (rattled) It’s not true.
Fat Mick: I want you out. I want you out. Anyway, it’s not appropriate you stay after what happened between me and Michelle.
Gish: (incredulous) What?
116. In Gish/Michelle’s Bedroom
Fat Mick (V.O.) It wasn’t me, mate, that started it. It was her. ‘I reckon Gish isn’t coming back tonight,’ she said, ‘how about you and me have a go on the sack?’
Fat Mick’s voice drones on and on in V.O. as ...
Gish staggers into the bedroom, throws himself down on the bed and punches the pillow over and over again.
Fat Mick (V.O.) (continues) So then she undone all those tweaky little buttons down her jugs. ‘Place your paws on my melons,’ she intones.
Then Gish rips and scatters Michelle’s clothes over the floor, not in rage but in desperation to find if she’s hidden the package somewhere.
With shaking hands, he gets out a bit of tin foil.
Fat Mick (V.O.) (continues) By now the old mutton dagger was reared up, ‘spect you can imagine? Familiar situation? Placing one hand on my manhood, she leads me up to my bedroom.
Now Gish is in the thrall of the dragon, again.
Fat Mick (V.O.) (continues) The beauty of it is, says she, that Gish will never know!
117. Archie’s Mum’s Place, Int.
Michelle, her face pale and contemplative, is looking at an art book.
We pull back to show that Archie is fondling her breasts as he watches a soft porn show, possibly ‘Baywatch’, on TV.
Archie looks contented. Michelle restless.
Michelle: Archie, I actually came here to ask you a favour.
Suddenly there is banging on the door, it opens and a very grim faced Archie’s mother says:
Archie’s Mother: Someone for you.
She lets Roxanne in. Roxanne waits until Archie’s Mum has left, closing the door behind her.
Roxanne: (rather enjoying the drama of it all) Gish is up the spout. He’s got to have the cash, or he’s dead.
Michelle: (appalled) You’re joking?
Archie: What’s all this?
Jump cut to:
118. Archie’s Mum’s Place, Int. (later)
Archie’s Mum: Look, I’ll give you the money, both of you, to buy a ticket to London and I’ll give you a lift to the station.
Michelle looks at Roxanne.
Archie’s Mum: Get out of Cardiff for a few days. You’ll feel better for the break.
Roxanne: We’ve hardly ever left Cardiff. We couldn’t make out anywhere else.
Michelle: And I couldn’t leave Gish. Not now.
Archie’s Mum: Well, I’ve made the offer.
Michelle and Roxanne look at each other again. But they know its not realistic.
Michelle: Archie’s Mum, can I ask a favour?
Archie’s Mum: What’s that?
Michelle: Borrow £500?
A beat, the two women look at each other.
Archie’s Mum: No. I’ll buy you both a ticket to London. I’ll drop you off at the station. But money, no. I don’t think that’s what you need.
119. On Bute Street, Ext.
Two of the girls are laughing at something Gish has just said.
Angie: Oh, go on, Gish!
Suddenly he pulls a knife.
Gish: Where’s Michelle?
Angie: I don’t know.
Girl: I don’t know, Gish, honest!
Gish: You’d better find out or I’ll slit you open!
120. Doorway of Mr Pound, Ext.
Roxanne and Michelle are sitting huddled in the doorway.
Roxanne: There is one way you could get the money to pay back Gish. Offer full sex. I know for a fact there’s two blokes who’ve always fancied you. They’d go for full sex but they won’t go for hand jobs. And it’s without condoms. They’d each pay £150 (£500? £1,000?).
Michelle: £150 (£500? £1,000?) each? I’m not worth that!
121. The City
Music (till the dialogue in 122)
The camera weaves around the city as dusk turns into darkness.
122. The Johnny Run
We find Michelle leaning against a wall.
From her p.o.v., in the shallow focus shadows, we see what looks like a punter advance towards her.
But they embrace.
Michelle: (whisper) I thought you weren’t coming back.
Gish: (whisper) I thought you’d ditched me.
Michelle: (whisper) Why? Nothing’s changed, has it?
The death threat on Gish has scared both of them and bonded them again.
Gish: (whisper) No, but it will do if I don’t keep Fisher sweet.
Michelle: (whisper) I’ll get the money back, don’t worry.
Gish: (whisper) Can you really?
Michelle: (whisper) Meet me at 13 Bernadette Street at three tomorrow morning. I’ll have it.
123. At the Club
It is St Valentine’s night. Fifi has put on a special show. Several new acts have been booked, and one is just finishing.
Poppy waits to go on stage.
124. The Docklands Flat
Michelle is being led into the dark damp flat by Roxanne. There is no electricity and no curtains. Roxanne has got a saucer and ten candles.
Roxanne: Your first client is on his way over.
Roxanne plonks down a saucer and lights a candle which she places on it. She places ten other candles beside it.
Roxanne: Alright, I’ll leave you to get ready.
125. In the Club; Ladies Toilets
Fisher has just shaken hands on a deal with a punter.
Fisher: Get in there for a moment.
The punter goes into a cubicle.
Fisher: Don’t leave till a minute after I do.
Weedy comes in.
Weedy: I’m freezing from being out on the beat and desperate for a hit.
Fisher: Fuck Off. Dozy Slag.
Weedy: Fuck off yourself. You wouldn’t tell me to fuck off if you knew what I knew.
Fisher: (sneers) And what do you know?
Weedy: Give us a couple of tabs and I’ll tell you where Gishy is.
126. The Club, Main Area
Fisher scans the Club. He’s looking for a couple of his Boys from London.
Poppy is singing ‘Summertime’.
Fifi is beside her doing the hand actions in parallel with Poppy.
The music of ‘Summertime’ continues (till the dialogue in Scene 132)
127. The Docklands Flat
Michelle is having sex with Fat Mick.
128. The Club, Main Area
Fisher is snaking the Club. He’s found his two mates.
129. The Club, Male Toilets
Fisher boots in the door of a cubicle.
Two men dressed as nuns are fucking inside.
130. The Club, Main Area
Fisher has been waylaid by a self-contained and well-dressed man. We can’t hear what they’re saying over the music, but he appears to be Fisher’s superior, and annoyed.
Fisher seems to be soft soaping him, but as we track into his hands, laced behind his back, his palms are sweating.
131. The Docklands Flat
Jack the Taxi is being serviced by Michelle. He kneads her breasts, sucking at them hungrily.
Jack: Turn around.
He undresses. His flabby paunch spilling out over his Y-fronts.
Jack: Bend over.
He comes close to her, crushing her mouth with his (being something of a contortionist, he’s able to kiss her from behind?)
Jack: Daddy’s going to spank you with his rod.
He produces a large cock (or jack handle?)
132. The Docklands Flat, Downstairs (later)
Roxanne doing a crossword puzzle as she waits downstairs.
She looks up as she sees Jack going.
Jack: Ta, love. I’ve invited her for a meal, so you come too if you want.
Roxanne: All right, love. Is she alright?
132(b). The Docklands Flat, Upstairs, the Toilet
Michelle is shivering and upset.
She squats and tries to flush a used condom down a seatless lavatory.
Poppy (V.O.) at the Club has just completed her song and there is applause.
Michelle: (talking to herself in the mirror) That’s well done, darling. One more and you’ll be sorted. (Or: Now you’re sorted.)
Poppy: (V.O.) Hush little baby, don’t you cry.
The song continues over till it becomes synch in Scene 134
There is a banging on the door.
Michelle looks through the window, sees ...
133. The Docklands Flat, Ext.
From Michelle’s p.o.v. we see a man she takes to be another punter.
This is Vaughan, a strapping man with a pony-tail, slightly seedy and reminiscent of an ex-bouncer.
Roxanne opens the door.
Roxanne and Vaughan are talking. We can’t hear what they’re saying.
134. The Club
Fifi is singing ‘Favourite Things’ from The Sound of Music. Poppy is doing the action.
135. The Docklands Flat
Roxanne: Michelle, it’s a guy called Vaughan who says he’s your Mum’s new boyfriend. He says she wants to see you!
Michelle: (dully, but with a hint of excitement) What?
Vaughan: Hey, I can see you’re your mother’s daughter.
136. Outside the Docklands Flat, in Vaughan’s Car
From Desirée’s p.o.v. we see:
Michelle sticks her head in the back.
137. Derelict Theme Park
Michelle and her Mum are wandering round.
Desirée: Me and Vaughan are caretakers here. Easy job, it closed down a year ago. (Or: it’s always just about to open.)
Michelle: (What, and never actually does open?) That’s good. Mum, I might need your help.
Desirée: Really? Well, as a matter of fact, I need yours too. Listen, Dennis has got a policy that’s coming up for maturity. It’s in both our names. We paid a lot of money for it and I want my share. Can you get it for me? I can tell you where he keeps it. And I know how there’s no love lost between you.
Michelle: There’s lots of love between Dad and me!
Desirée: Well, I don’t know. I’ve been told quite a long list of things Dennis and Trina have been saying about you which I’ve heard through the grapevine.
Michelle: Such as?
Desirée: Well, that ...
Michelle: Not one half of what they say is true!
Desirée: Of course it’s not. And I’ll put my actions where my mouth is. Are you having housing problems? Go on, get the policy for us and then you could come and live with us, if you like.
They have arrived outside a mobile home.
Michelle: That would be wonderful! (then, after a pause) Could my bloke come too?
Desirée: You and your bloke. You could stay tonight if you want to.
Desirée swings open the door and Michelle looks in.
Desirée: That suit you?
Michelle: Wonderful. But no, not tonight. I’ve got to sort something out. Tomorrow. Gish and I ‘ll come up together, tomorrow.
Desirée: Gish ... Not a rutting black, is he?
Desirée: Only joking. Your Dad must have gone up the pole.
Michelle: You couldn’t lend me £200 ...?
Desirée: Yeah, if you wanted Monopoly money.
138. The Docklands Flat, Ext. & Staircase
Michelle makes sure she isn’t seen as she enters and then shuts the door firmly, bolting it behind her. She mounts the stairs.
139. The Docklands Flat, Upstairs
Michelle enters. Gish is already in there.
But all of a sudden ...
There is a pounding on the staircase as Fisher, Fifi, and two other guys, propelling Roxanne, pile up the staircase.
Gish moves in front of Michelle as if to protect her.
Roxanne: I’m sorry, Michelle. (She’s apologising for having led them here.)
The two guys grab hold of Gish.
Fisher: Gish, you fucked up twice.
Michelle: Let him go!
Fisher: Tell your whore to keep quiet.
Michelle hits one of the two guys with the plastic bag in which she’s been stowing the money. The guy restrains her.
Fisher: (to Gish) Where’s my money, Mr Gish?
Gish pauses. A moment of truth as he wonders whether to betray Michelle or not.
Meanwhile, not noticed by Gish, Michelle is beginning to open the plastic bag to show that she’s got most of the money.
Gish does not notice this and decides to distance himself from Michelle.
Moving away from her, he says:
Gish: Ask her. She’s the one that spent it.
Fisher: I know that. I know about her Daddy’s dumbell. But it was you that let her have it!
One of the two guys is moving his arm to reach for a knife.
Michelle moves to get between him and Gish and puts her arm out to get him to drop the knife.
She’s not really noticed yet that Gish has betrayed her.
As she puts her body between Gish and the knife, the knife accidentally cuts Michelle.
Roxanne: Don’t do that!
Roxanne moves to help Michelle, but Guy II stops her.
Meanwhile, Fifi is taking off her blouse and her wig. Her disrobement reveals her as a wiry man, preparatory to taking part in the action.
Gish: (trying to incriminate Michelle) She lost the phone and spent the money. I just came here to get it.
Michelle tries to escape but is held by one of the two guys.
Fisher takes in the situation that Michelle is wounded.
Fisher: Okay then, she can take the message.
(and then to Michelle) Didn’t you know that you don’t fuck up with Fisher? That’s right, isn’t it Gish? She shouldn’t fuck up with me, should she?
Gish nods. He’s absolutely terrified.
Fisher takes the knife and wounds Michelle.
Then he hands it to each of the two guys who do the same.
Then it’s Fifi’s turn. Fifi wounds her.
Fifi hands the machete to Roxanne. She has to be helped to make a wound.
The knife is handed to Gish.
He looks round at the menacing four men and into Michelle’s dying eyes.
Then he delivers the killing wound.
140. At the Club
Various regulars are watching a Crimewatch reconstruction of the murder on the TV.
Nick Ross (V.O.): So why do you think the £300 she had got in her bag that night wasn’t taken?
The various other theories that the police have put forward are met by gales of laughter by Fifi and party. Gish is amongst those laughing.
141. On the Telly
A particularly pasty faced Detective Sergeant replies:
Det. Sgt: This is one of many aspects to which we don’t have an answer yet.
142. In the Toilet
Nick Ross (V.O.) And when you say that only one weapon - a knife or machete - was used, but more than three people wielded the murder weapon, what grounds do you have for saying this?
Det. Sgt: Our forensic evidence suggests that ...
Gish is retching down the toilet.
143. Outside the Club
As Gish leaves the Club, he sees Roxanne is waiting for him.
Clandestinely she gives him £50 in the same manner as Michelle used to.
Gish: Nah, you keep it.
Roxanne: Go on, where else are you going to get it?
He accepts it and she turns to walk away and then turns back.
Roxanne: Shall I see you later?
Music till finish
144. The City Streets
Roxanne walks towards the Custom House. Down the neon lit streets, the concrete pavements echoing and wet from the rain. As she goes on into the darkness, she passes a police ‘murder’ poster with a request for information and picture of Michelle.
As she walks on past it, we close in on the picture and it dissolves into:
145. Pictures of Michelle
(1) Michelle aged sixteen, as above.
(2) A fourteen year old, all flick fringes and lipstick.
(3) An eight year old, pushing sister Karen on the swing.
(4) A five year old on the beach with her mother.
(5) A three year old, green eyed and smiling on Santa’s knee.
We pull back to show her held lovingly by her proud Mam and Da’.
(6) A little babe in arms, wrapped so tightly.
“Michelle’s Story” is a modern story based on fact. A powerful tale told with humour and pathos, portraying in depth the complex reality of one girl’s life, and what happened when bad times hit her.
Like “Raging Bull”, “Christiana F” and “Goodfellas”, “Michelle’s Story” uses documentary techniques to create a realistic modern urban landscape and to show the complex internal life of characters developing, reacting, and struggling within that landscape.
Michelle is the smiling two year old, the cheerful fourteen year old at the school party, the attractive sixteen year old who dreams of when she’ll be allowed to go out clubbing.
But Michelle’s home is the tough docklands area of urban Cardiff, an area largely unknown to strangers, yet it is as seedy, dangerous, and compelling as Harlem, Chinatown, Little Italy, places a thousand times more notorious. You could find people living lives in this area that are fulfilled and happy, but there are also many of whom this could not be said and whom this community has not so much failed as betrayed. Michelle is the attractive heart whole sixteen year old, a family girl who loves her Da’, but she is to become a dupe and a victim, sucked remorselessly towards a horrible fate.
Her story unfolds in the flipside of Cardiff, typical of the blight at the heart of so many inner cities, the poverty, the day to day impact of current welfare and educational philosophies, the alarming reality of urban crime and especially we’ll highlight the world of prostitution and drug cartels.
As in “An Inspector Calls”, we will scrutinise the many people who failed Michelle or helped her.
Inner city Cardiff is in a state of breakdown. Ships no longer call at the docks, the night time coal trains no longer rumble down from the valleys. The energy has gone from the heart and it begins to consume itself.
Part of the problem in modern cities is that the visible values are all cash values. So we’ll have shots of bargains, soundbites telling of bargains, etc. Human flesh is for sale too in these cities. An unsophisticated person can come to evaluate their own worth by how much people will pay to ‘have’ them.
The city as hero / anti-hero. Here is the capital city of Wales. A post industrial society trying to emerge from the buildings and structure of industrialism. The workers are freed from their treadmill. The manual class citizens of Cardiff have leisure such as their grandparents never dreamed, or only dreamed. For what?
Many contributors to Michelle’s downfall could be identified; perhaps the school she left having acquired very little learning and no skills;
perhaps the Youth Training Scheme which provided no training;
perhaps the Income Support that provided no support;
perhaps the father and mother who (at different times) betrayed her;
or the young men who lured her with apparent love and affection and who later used violence to subjugate her and turn her into a human fucking / earning machine;
perhaps all those who chose to have sex with her at £10 a time, dehumanising her and themselves, perpetuating the jungle cycle of the prey and the preyed upon.
... and finally, three particular people, one who Michelle believed loved her, who butchered her and left her to die alone on St Valentine’s day.
Occasional flash-forwards, never more than a second or two and some almost subliminal, will show Michelle fight for life, in - as yet - indecipherable moments of the terrible final scene.
Recalling films like ‘Harlem Story’, ‘Cathy Come Home’ and ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’, ‘Michelle’s Story’ will depict an underworld which is hard, witty and brutal. Shot documentary style and using voice over as well as dialogue, the film will have a realistic edge and will feature the distinctive Cardiff regional sense of wit. The powerful story, set in a highly realistic urban context, where conversation is couched in the distinctive, colourful, allusive and highly witty local vernacular, will make Michelle’s Story resonate long after the final frame.
‘Michelle’s Story’ portrays a small, unique urban culture but its twilight jungle theme is relevant to any city in Europe. It is also of intense relevance in a world where more and more people proportionally are moving into cities. Cities are growing huger and huger ... and at the heart of all this springs up the atrophy known as inner city blight. The core becomes rotten, so the twilight jungle, urban bedlam, that is created in the heart of all great cities have certain qualities in common and others that are their own, uniquely.
Jeremy Sandford FanClub Archives
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