Thirty years ago, in 1982, the actor Rutger Hauer improvised a monologue in a film. The original script had read:
I’ve known adventures, seen places you people will never see, I’ve been Offworld and back… frontiers! I’ve stood on the back deck of a blinker bound for the Plutition Camps with sweat in my eyes watching the stars fight on the shoulder of Orion…I’ve felt wind in my hair, riding test boats off the black galaxies and seen an attack fleet burn like a match and disappear. I’ve seen it, felt it…!
Rutger Hauer changed this when the scene was shot in Blade Runner to:
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
His momentary improvisation has lasted and been remembered.
The original, written script… it is as if it never existed.
Last night, my eternally-un-named friend was cleaning the top of a very old bedside table. It is possibly 100 years old. Perhaps it was made in 1912 or 1922 or even earlier. Just before – or just after – the First World War. Obviously, being that old, there were marks on and in the wood.
Things had happened to the table – lots of tiny split-second things over the course of perhaps 100 years – which marked the wood. It remains scarred after all this time. The table could easily have been thrown away in the last 100 years. And then the scars would not exist.
Just like people.
At some point, the table will be thrown away and destroyed. Then it will not exist. Even the memory of it will not exist.
So it goes.
In the UK, apparently, many comedy clubs are getting perhaps half as many customers as they did a couple of years ago and are cutting back or closing down. “There is a crisis in the live comedy business” and a group of comedians and club owners are meeting in London tomorrow to discuss what they can do about it.
This is very important to them, because they are talking about their livelihoods, how they earn enough money to (just about) survive. In that sense, it is by far the most important thing in the world.
But, to put their troubles into perspective, here is an e-mail I received from comedy critic Kate Copstick this morning, currently working out in Kenya for her Mama Biashara charity. She tells me about something which happened yesterday.
Doris has gone off to Limuru where there is a problem with a childminder mistreating kids. She calls me from Limuru and explains that they had to batter down the door of the woman’s house at 11.00am and found eight children whimpering, famished and covered in their own poo and pee.
The mothers of the kids are what might be termed chang’aa whores – ie they will have sex with a guy for booze. A little like our time-honoured tradition of crack whores. But cheaper. And more prone to death, blindness and insanity (yer basic side effects of chang’aa – a brew that makes poteen look like a banana smoothie).
The women leave their kids with the ‘childminder’ while they go out at night and do what they do.
Sadly, in this case, the childminder simply dosed them with adult strength Piriton and left them while SHE went out overnight to do what she did.
According to Doris, the police were great: “They beat the women till they sobered up and then locked them in the cells”.
We are probably going to Limuru tomorrow with some food and meds for the kids. But, longer term, there is very little we can think of to do for a baby with a monster for a mother.