‘Adventures in Paradise’ Romantic Comedy (Hackgate) Screenplay – Better than Leveson and a lot more fun …

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Hello all … europabridge writing to you about my Hackgate inspired screenplay ‘Adventures in Paradise‘ set in London. The script draws from various inspirations and sources to create a mixed genre film that I hope will break box office in 2017 or 2018 …

A romantic comedy-revenge caper, ‘Adventures in Paradise’ (WGA reg) is the feel-good movie of any year ~ for people with brains. The script is highly polished at 130 pages, and original in the way it looks at the events of Hackgate. But to say that ‘Adventures’ is about Hackgate… is perhaps like saying ‘Bringing Up Baby’ is about cougar conservation. (It’s not, is it?!)

RETROSPECTIVE: KATHARINE HEPBURN

RETROSPECTIVE: KATHARINE HEPBURN — Image by © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

The first draft I produced in 24 days after Hackgate broke in the press – written in response to an OP/ED Dan Hodges wrote in The New Statesman defending the NOTW. Though Hodges, notorious for his provocative rhetoric, might have been writing in jest, I wrote back to him to support the idea of privacy … inspiring myself to finish a first draft, and launch me on to this pet project, which has gone through enough twists and turns to merit its own screenplay.

The role of Clive Reade, written with Colin Firth in mind, or for someone with an equal degree of talent (Matthew MacFadyen, Rupert Penry-Jones?) is a celebrity in his own right for being the third richest man the world … Elegant, attractive, smart, with those rarest of qualities: kindness and decency. Aurora, a Cambridge educated reporter provides another window through which we experience the culture of Hackgate. Together, they conduct something like their own Leveson Inquiry, but their work is a lot more interesting, entertaining … not to mention romantic and sexy.

‘Adventures in Paradise’ is funny, satiric, tender, and at times justifiably savage, brutal, and surprising in the way it pushes the envelope on so many levels to examine privacy issues, love, public boundaries, harmony between career men and women, secret sex lives, thuggery, and some lovely romantic moments no one has seen in the theatre for decades.claridges-map-room-london.jpgSurprise, I am looking for an agent in the UK or in the US who has the power to reach over the pond, as most of the roles are written for British actors, and many of the locations are based in the UK … However, there are key roles for Americans (or actors who can impersonate them) – notably Californian millionaire bad boy Trent Cortigan – a role that calls out for a marvelous presence like Chris Hemsworth … In fact, I’d hold up a production schedule just to get him cast as Trent! Unleash the Kraken!Chris Hemsworth as Trent Cortigan in #AdventuresShooting locations also to include Cambridge UK, Cornwall, Geneva, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and various luxury island resorts … St John’s, Marbella, Seychelles.

And I’d like Michael Buble to sing ‘Foggy Londontown’ as one of the Adventures theme songs. mqdefault Buble in LondonBy the way, it’s useless to resist, as I’ve written the feel-good movie of the year for people with … brains!

MUSIC UP —

‘Adventures in Paradise’ a story of tabloid vandalism set against great wealth, poverty, corruption, betrayal of decency and innocence … with many great comic turns. Clive and Aurora find redemption from the tabloid life through their investigative adventures together … and love. (Thanks for stopping by europabridge …)

Photo Credits:

  • Katharine Hepburn/Corbis
  • Sailing Yacht: Hyperion Royal Huisman Sailing Yachts website
  • Michael Buble, Google
  • Claridges Hotel, website

NOTE: I do not claim ownership rights to any of the photographic or graphic materials used to illustrate my ideas or represent persons, places, or products (like hotels, restaurants, teddy bears, or yachts) when blogging about ‘Adventures in Paradise’, or my other screenplays or various ideas at europabridge.wordpress.com. I do claim absolute authorial copyrights for my screenplays, and for all the literary works I have written for television and film, as well as for short stories, or novels, and anything I discuss here or tweet about on Twitter. When tagging photos, I have tried to be descriptive or to refer to the website where the photo was featured. Many photos are in the public domain; others were being used in the same way I use them – on blog sites or fan sites – simply to represent persons or as a tribute to their personages, or to suggest certain possibilities. No photo is ever used to malign or harm a person’s reputation.

British RomComs, 30’s Comedies, and Hackgate …

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‘Adventures in Paradise’ (WGA reg) is loosely based on the events of Hackgate in London, and weighs in at some 130 pages … That’s a little over two hours in the theatre, as the script works very much like a puzzle, and moves very quickly.

I’ve had a wonderful time writing Clive Reade as a sort of Darcy – returned to our era – impossibly rich (billions), literate, articulate, brave, funny, and wise. Oh yeah … And handsome, generous, sexy, incredibly well-mannered, manly, as well as being an impulsive Bugatti driver – drawing comparisons to Cary Grant, no doubt.Mayfair_Map_Central_LondonI wanted to create a new screen icon in Clive Reade, since film viewers, especially female viewers, want to see some combination of Cary Grant and Mr. Darcy stroll into a make-believe world, and transport them to a place where people speak in more than commonplace utterances … After all, the gross-out comedies of ‘What Happens in Vegas’ cannot cover every human condition in life, or at least I hope not … Rupert Penry-Jones

I’ve had a wonderful time creating a complex character who is not so much perfect, as he is lovably imperfect – always catching up with who he needs to be, to face the challenges my screenplay throws at him. He is horribly betrayed, (as we all are), but endures in a Buster Keaton kind of way – making a brilliant comeback! And most importantly without using machine guns, taking out a contract on his ex-girlfriend, or blowing up a bank vault.

How does Clive Reade do it?! He has something almost extinct in our age … character, instinctive grace, and intelligence. And, of course, packets of dough!

Very helpful indeed.hepburn&grant classic movies digest blogspot

‘Adventures in Paradise’ draws on many sources: British RomComs, the 30’s Comedy of Manners after the Nick & Nora series, Hildy and Walter, Susan & Dr. David Huxley, Hitchcock’s stylish whodunnits, Evelyn Waugh, Noel Coward, even Dickens, and social satires like Network. I hope I’ve drawn on the very best satirists and comedians to tell a story that will last the ages … or at least until I’ve been in the ground for 50 years, and won’t know the difference!

The truth is the story has plenty of action, just no gratuitous violence (or maybe just a tiny bit), but it does constantly shift to keep you guessing in the midst of some fairly complicated developments.

The look of ‘Adventures in Paradise’ is also important to the overall concept of the film to reflect a kind of Contemporary-Retro look, which I have interpreted as Classic. The above lovely staircase I found in a mansion on Lyall Street in Mayfair, London where Clive lives …

Adventures co-star is a sophisticated young woman, Cambridge-educated, beautifully turned out – stunning in any context – and disastrously out of place at The Sentinel (tabloid) where she lands due to a frame-up and betrayal. Aurora Blunton’s progress as a major player in the London scene, and her character development are issues I carefully crafted. Possible casting … Carey Mulligan or perhaps someone else in the UK I am not yet aware of? Carey Mulligan as Aurora Blunton

Finally, I’ve started the sequel ‘Return to Paradise’ which will continue the caper in just as interesting ways. The opening of ‘Return’ is a knockout – featuring a comic wedding scene at Brides’ Cathedral on Fleet Street in London – the church for journalists in London – where Clive’s father and Aurora’s mother run off together in his Bugatti.

What a  funny concept: journalism and religion!

RELATED: Cinema Style – by Cathy Whitlock , film historian

Died of TV Guide – Leveson, Hackgate, and Press Reform in Adventures Hackgate Screenplay by Elan Durham

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Hello all … europabridge here … author of the original Hackgate screenplay ‘Adventures in Paradise‘ and other projects … MFA, ex-academic, world traveler, and future dweller in London and Cornwall, I hope.

A few thoughts relating to my own Hackgate-inspired ‘Adventures in Paradise’.

Rather than imagine a world where all inequalities or absurdities are erased, which is impossible – I like to imagine a world that functions with a sense of fairness and reason, as opposed to being guided by an ethos of all the spoils going to the rottenest.

In this context,  am reminded of Dan Hodges original response to Hackgate in The New Stateman. Yes, Hackgate happened, and it will happen again because the people want it. They want to hear Hugh Grant‘s conversation, they want to capture those tunnel death photos of Princess Di, and they want to know who’s shagging whom, in the ever-shifting power plays of London, New York, Hollywood, Washington DC, and Paris … because don’t you know … ‘Nobody rides for free … Pay up or play!’ (said Shylock).

Information is knowledge. And misinformation is also a kind of power that can be used against whomever we want to harm or control for political purposes or financial gain, as I have learned over the course of the past decade – just for malicious sport.

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation. I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.‘ What remains is bestial after personal agency, privacy, family, career, and personhood have all been invaded by these stalkers and their ‘right to know’. . Writing ‘Adventures in Paradise’ has resulted in a much more entertaining, witty, and enduring experience than a rant. Perhaps it is also my tribute to the women who dared to forge ahead in Aurora Blunton … She is my very own Leveson Inquiry.

Aurora c’est moi! Sorry Flaubert.

Aurora Blunton is a celebration of the kinds of female characters I grew up looking at in movies starring Audrey Hepburn, Katharine Hepburn, Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo, Irene Dunne, and Myrna Loy … She is light as a feather, has the gravitas and intelligence of a British barrister, and the appeal of a major movie star. Only in my movies! And Clive Reade is my old world Hollywood hero, the Cary Grant we all still crave for our age. He’s not some schmuck foisted upon by Hollywood executives because his twitter following exceeds the 3.5 million mark (or whatever).

My screenplay is a statement about the life of the community, the press and its standards; celebrity, the pursuit of any story no matter how absurd, or ludicrous, and the glare of the limelight … no matter how lurid.

Hacking, expressions of online hate, stalking, revenge porn, and tabloid gossip go much deeper than aspersions cast upon a person’s appearance, political views, or status in the community or world. They represent an effort to change the course of human history by creating a social corrosive so strong it etches away and destroys all evidence of the standards of civilized life, perhaps such that no human witnesses remain … just players in the game.

Stalkers and hackers can conjure up a thumbs up or thumbs down agenda for whatever hapless dunk-drunk draftees end up in the docket of world doom … Can’t you hear the roar of the crowd? See the down-pointed thumbs? Unholy wieners & stale beer! Talk about fascist populism. And the British public subsidizes this kind of hooliganism with more than half a billion dollars of tax pounds per year!  

‘Adventures in Paradise’ is my response, a fleet-footed film for people with enough brains to think, also a window to escape through for a few hours, to have a laugh, or the last laugh … For the rich, the poor, the press, the hard-pressed … hopefully to live on in the public imagination for decades.

Perhaps we can all agree upon one thing: At the end of the day, people need a break from reality. I do not trivialize the events of Hackgate in ‘Adventures’, but rather I wanted to place them in a context people will enjoy watching, a context that will endanger no one, and still manages to address all the key issues while entertaining, and distracting for a few hours …

Finally, it is probably more accurate to call ‘Adventures in Paradise’ a dramedy – a mixed genre film sprinkled with romance, revenge, satire, glamour, travel, tabloid intrigue, corruption, and betrayal – one that ends happily for my hero and heroine. I really do love the way the story ends – every moment of happiness hard earned and believable.

Thanks for stopping by  … And feel free to retweet, with an acknowledgment to @europabridge1 on Twitter …

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Diatribe against defensive posturing (I’m not British) Seed of ‘Adventures in Paradise’ Hackgate Screenplay by europabridge

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Hello everyone, europabridge here … reporting from Boston.

This blog concerns the letter I attempted to post at the New Statesman in response to Dan Hodges blog there … which they did not print. I can’t imagine why but I think it’s relatively interesting that I knew right away NOTW would go down.

Dan Hodges in  New Statesman July 7: “The Phone Hacking Scandal is a Disgrace. And it Will Happen Again.”

And those other co-conspirators. The great British public. Phones are bugged because we want to read what’s on them. Police are bribed because we want to hear the stories they have to tell. Politicians acquiesce because despite out strenuous denials, when they tell us how to vote, we listen.”

Using my letter as the basis of Clive Reade’s complaint against Aurora Blunton in my ‘Adventures in Paradise‘ screenplay, this, in essence, started me on my quest to create the perfect blend of satire, romantic comedy, and revenge caper, and you can read that here. It also became useful in a BBC conference statement I have Aurora Blunton present in a scene where she busts her newspaper ‘The Sentinel’ for Hackgate-like actvities … Exciting stuff.

Letter to New Statesman: (Probably around 7/7/2011)

Dan Hodges facile, unctuous self-justifications only expose the degree to which his profession has sunk into the muck and mire. Come clean? Impossible! ‘We’ll be back!’ … The toxic heroes of misinformation, public shame and blame are guaranteed a living, ladies and gentlemen, whilst the rest of us are stuck feeling merely human with our outrage.

In fact, ‘we’ do not want your caviling; nor do we want you hacking into phones–unless it happens to belong to an international mobster, terrorist, or someone like Bernie Madoff …

Further, the NOTW is not indispensable. A paper with better standards may come along to replace it, and I hope that it does so soon.

And as far as the Guardian being on ‘its last leg’, a debatable claim at best, this must be due to the fact that it has not been complicit in bugging everyone’s arses in the UK.

That Hugh Grant did more to expose the sleaziness of this practice (along with The Guardian) speaks volumes about the press; give him the bloody Orwell since journalists at various other venues were too busy justifying the thuggery of a new era of lawlessness.

Mr. Hodges, may I make an observation? You stink with your “Ain’t it lovely that we’re really rotten, but the public is even worse and stupid to boot because they give a crap. Another round of drinks for our colleagues at International News!”

Regards, Elan Durham

Oh dear. Well, it was a big deal … and still is.

By the way, I follow @DPJHodges on Twitter, and we have since discussed Hitchcock, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, so I do not hold a grudge. And for the record, I do find my response to be a bit overheated.

Finally, that my letter was not printed motivated me to write ‘Adventures in Paradise’, a witty, sometimes scathing global romp set among the ruins of the tabloids that may be as good as Rear Window … (I hope.)

Dan Hodges does not write for The New Statesman anymore but pens political blogs for The Independent. And as you probably know, I am on Twitter looking for an agent for Adventures in Paradise, its sequel, and Kelmscott Manor, a Pre-Raphaelite mystery.

Thanks for checking in @europabridge.

For Writers … A Tribute to Colette … Writer-Vagabond-Actress!

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This tribute to Colette is an idea I had after cracking open a book I hadn’t looked at since the 80’s The Vagabond.

I was introduced to her in Southern California by an older friend, which began with the innocent loan of The Vagabond, and ended with my reading until I’d made my way through her entire oeuvre, which includes some 50 volumes.

Along the way, I became enamored of Paris, married a Frenchman — disastrously — and eventually became a writer myself, looking back at Colette with some mixture of skepticism, nostalgia, and love, which is also the way one sometimes regards old friends who become enemies. Or perhaps in the acrimony of a bad marriage, Colette’s own contributions to my life became for a time somewhat tarnished.

Nevertheless, Colette lived a remarkable life.

Growing up in the countryside of Burgundy, raised by a woman who rightly looked upon her daughter as her greatest achievement, she went on to marry a Parisian — Willy — who would lock her up in an attic, and force her (child-labor-style) to produce some talented, and entertaining adolescent books exploring the saucy adventures of one Claudine

The Claudine books Willy signed his name to, refusing Colette’s authorial rights, which made him a fortune, and a personage in Paris, and Colette a kind of literary slave and ultimate arm-candy.

Eventually they divorced, and she went on to write under her own name, tread the theatrical boards, and become one of the first entrepreneurs of that era — creating her own line of make-up, and merchandizing products the way major stars do today, with her ‘Claudine’ & ‘Colette’ brands.

She was the first woman inducted into the esteemed Academie Goncourt in Paris, but is known, if at all in America as the author of Gigi, a play which launched Audrey Hepburn‘s stunning career on the stage and screen, and Leslie Caron‘s career in film.

Actually, it was Colette who discovered Audrey Hepburn … Spotting the gamine ballerina at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, she pronounced: ‘Voila! There’s our Gigi!’

C’est tout! A star was born.

I could go on about Colette for quite some time, if for no other reason than her life is so storied … She wrote beautifully, she lived dangerously, she loved outrageously — while sometimes embracing the most time-worn cliches, yet somehow making them seem exquisitely her own.

And she died at peace with champagne on her lips, and a priest’s blessings on her soul.

Not bad for a woman whose very presence in France, not unlike other revolutionary figures in Arts & Letters, provoked debates about the condition of the human soul.

From the juvenilia of Claudine to the full-bodied and wry observations of Lea about her own Cheri, Earthy Paradise — an amazing collection of writings — forms her autobiography and temple. Edited by Robert Phelps, it is a testament to her generous life, capacious person, fine sensibilities, and implacable reason.

Above, a film poster remembrance from Stephen Frear’s effort, and Colette’s most famous creation from the Parisian demimonde — Lea’s Cheri — the young lover who cannot live without his older courtesan. How very French!

An excerpt about writing from The Vagabond follows. No comment needed, Colette speaks for herself, as ‘Renee Nere’. A stirring testament to ‘the old scar that writing represents’, this translation by Enid McLeod is still a bit flowery for my tastes but never mind … The book was chosen in France as one of the best twelve books of the 20th Century.

Read from one of the links below to learn more, and check out Antonia White‘s translations.

I love this photograph … Colette looks like she is in exile, a refugee in her own life.

“To write, to be able to write, what does it mean? It means spending long hours dreaming before a white page, scribbling unconsciously, letting your pen play round a blot of ink and nibble at a half-formed word, scratching it, making it bristle with darts and adorning it with antennae and paws until it loses all resemblance to a legible word and turn into a fantastic insect or a fluttering creature half butterfly, half fairy.

Gigi

Gigi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To write is to sit and stare, hypnotized, at the reflection of the window in the silver ink-stand, to feel the divine fever mounting to one’s cheeks and forehead while the hand that writes grows blissfully numb upon the paper. It also means idle hours curled up in the hollow of the divan, and then the orgy of inspiration from which one emerges stupefied and aching all over, but already recompensed and laden with treasures that one unloads slowly on to the virgin paper in the little round pool of light under the lamp.

To write is to pour one’s innermost self passionately upon the tempting paper, at such frantic speed that sometimes one’s hand struggles and rebels, over-driven by the impatient god who guides it — and to find, next day, in place of the golden bough that bloomed miraculously in that dazzling hour, a withered bramble and a stunted flower.

To write is the joy and torment of the idle. Oh to write! From time to time I feel a need, as sharp as thirst in summer, to note and to describe. And then I take up my pen again and attempt the perilous and elusive task of seizing and pinning down, under its flexible double-pointed nib, the many-hued, fugitive, thrilling, adjective … The attack does not last long; it is but the itching of an old scar.

It takes too much time to write. And the trouble is, I am no Balzac! The fragile story I am constructing crumbles away when the tradesman rings, or the shoemaker sends in his bill, when the solicitor, or one’s counsel, telephones, or when the theatrical agent summons me to his office for ‘a social engagement at the house of some people of very good position but not in the habit of paying large fees.’

The problem is, since I have been living alone, that I have had first to live, then to divorce, and then to go on living, To do all that demands incredible activity and persistence. And to get where? Is there, for me, no other haven than this commonplace room done up in gimcrack Louis XVI? Must I stay forever before this impenetrable mirror where I come up against myself, face to face?

Tomorrow is Sunday: that means afternoon and evening performances at the Empyree-Clichy. Two o’clock already! High time for a woman of letters who has turned out badly to go to sleep.”

From The Vagabond by Colette. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York 1955

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Larry the Cat @10 Downing Street, A Holiday Letter from europabridge

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Hello All!

europabridge, scribe here … Since it’s the holidays, I thought I’d send some holiday cheer to the Mouser-in-Chief at #10 Downing Street. After all, Larry the Prime Minister’s Cat follows in a long line of felines taken up residence at #10 since the time of WWII and Neville Chamberlain.

And for those of you who have stumbled across my blog, the show-stopping ‘Big Ben‘ a Russian Blue is my operative kitty nom de plume just for missive purposes, as I have no cat, much less one named Big Ben.

Rationale for writing Larry the Cat in London? To ask that he authorize me to ghost-write his memoirs … I hear that Larry likes to hang out right in the power center in Cameron’s office At #10 — so just imagine the stories he could tell.

Does David pour a sherry at the end of a long contentious day with Clegg, and sit down to discuss the pros and cons of the Coalition Government with the Ratter-in-Chief? … How about the latest scandal with Andy Coulson, and NoTW or the reunification of Great Britain with the EU? How does Britannia fare? Minds reel.

December 14, 2011

Larry the Cat

10 Downing Street

Or somewhere around the hot-air vent outside the back door @10

Westminster, SW1A2, UK

Dear Larry the Cat,

I am writing to you from the United States, however, I’ve been following your life story, churnalism not withstanding, and thought I’d drop you a line from across the pond.

Actually, I am telling a bit of a fib here. My mom is writing this for me because while there might be a keyboard cat, there has yet to be a laptop computer kitty who writes to Official Downing Street Cats.

By the way, how’s Maisy? (Larry’s girlfriend – right) And isn’t that a name usually given to dance hall girls with somewhat compromised reputations? We wondered if you had caught any mice yet, or are you too busy with Maisy?  

Personally, we loathe rats … Thus, we admire you for your fearlessness but please don’t tell any rats we wrote you, as we’re trying to keep a very low profile … far away from vermin.

Other interesting things about my mom … europabridge, scribe … who is writing this for me:

She loves Scottish lambs wool blankets and cashmere, she loves driving around the Scottish countryside, and staying in 4 & 5 star B&B’ s and Inns and Historic Castles … And she especially loves hotels in London like The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury, and The Dorchester.

She also loves Masterpiece Theatre, and is old fashioned that way. Thought Downtown Abbey was so much fun — who’s greater than Maggie Smith? The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was always a favorite film.

Cover of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"

Cover of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

And finally, she likes a really good Pouilly Fuisse or a good Claret from time to time … I ask you, is that a crime?

At any rate, my mom does not stink, except on some days lightly of the odor of chrysanthemums. I should know, I’m a Cat and I can’t even stand for my litter box to have even one little poop in it.

We heard Margaret Thatcher bought Humphrey (see below), the former Downing Street Cat, a tin of sardines in Germany once during the PM’s travels. How did your own fundraiser go in September? Mom felt so sad that #10 had to raise money to feed a kitty.  And you’re involved in fundraising for the Battersea Shelter for dogs and cats? What a good cause … Although I am a Champion Show Kitty myself, we do not discriminate against orphans of mixed parentage …

Okay, the reason for my letter is this: If you ever wanted someone to write your life story for you, my Mom would be a great ghost-writer.

She suggests the title ‘Cattus Memoria: An Insider-Feline’s View of Number 10′. I suggested ‘cat’s eye view’ as I thought it more compelling but we’re still going back and forth over this.

Think about it.

A cat has his own particular way of viewing the world, and many people cannot be cured of their love for the furry little things, mom included, so be in touch … Ratter-in-Chief.

For instance, how much sherry does Cameron really drink at the end of a long day? Any monkey business going on? How about Clegg? Does his preference for existential literature lend a certain somber cast to his days at #10? Does he really own a French chateau? If so, when can we come and visit?

Did you ever bite Andy Coulson? I beat you did! What about Darling? And do you chase Osbourne around, and demand a pay cut, so you don’t have to run a charity to buy a tin of sardines?!

You should be eating Beluga Caviar, Larry!

Finally, do take your own baths — or do you have your own man-servant or Kitty-Attache?

Please write back after the Battersea fund-raiser, and tell us how much tuna you raked in … And say hello to the Prime Ministers for us as well, as we support both, insofar as an American woman and her imaginary house cat can support the Prime Ministers of England.

Cheerio, Best Wishes & Happy Holidays!

Your pal, ‘Big Ben’

P.S. My mom has written @NickClegg to ask that #10 buy you a modest townhouse for the backyard, so you are not forced to sleep on a vent.

A (New) Modest Proposal by Elan Durham europabridge, scribe

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(Note to Reader: Written during the financial crisis …)

Hello all … europabridge scribe and author of ‘Adventures in Paradise’ Hackgate Romantic Comedy-Revenge Caper screenplay here. Colin Firth Tinker Tailor

Because I am a tinker, tailor, spy … No, wait a minute … that’s someone else. Because I am a thinker and innovator  … Yes, I am, I thought that I’d share my newest idea with my readers, of which there must be thousands!

Americans have approximately 349.5  problems … I leave it up to you to decide which are most important. However, the ones I am most concerned with at present are morbid obesity, roughly 35% of the US population, depending on which state you reside in, unending wars in the Middle East, and the bane of American existence: lack of vocational futures due to the financial crisis … for the homeless, for the people who lost their homes, and for those people who fell between the cracks: everyone but Donald Trump.

We also have rising unemployment, little growth, foreclosures, bankruptcies, rampant systemic corruption, snooping on a ginormous scale, and many other pressing problems, but I cannot fix everything in one afternoon.

Still, I have come up with a unique solution to the first three problems (fat, fuel, wars), and I outline it in the following ways … Please pay close attention.

As you know, obesity contributes to such costly problems as heart disease, diabetes, and possibly cancer posing among many other serious health concerns, social and interpersonal dilemmas. Not the least of which, you may find yourself being tossed off an airplane as Kevin Smith did on Southwest – hopefully not mid-flight.

But hang on now, if plastic surgeons were given huge tax breaks for performing #FreeLiposuction on every willing morbidly obese person in America, this would create a surplus of something like 10 gazillion cubic tons of fat, which could then be transformed easily into a clean, reusable source of fuel for cars in America … And perhaps even heating oil, (but I haven’t looked into that yet).

Lipo-Recycling-Gas-Up-Centers (@copyright 2011 Elan Durham europabridge) could provide access points for customers, such that they could drive into one door a 400 pound fatty, and exit from another weighing some weight much more reasonable, and then zoom away – refreshed in their cars – fully gassed up on recycled human fat – heading for that skinny decaf! The surplus supply of fat would insure that fuel would cost no more than say … 50 cents a gallon, though this is a guestimate. With so many fatso’s, we could theoretically supply free fuel into infinity.

Moving forward with their slim streamlined lives, Americans’ dispositions would feel so much lighter, and perhaps not so inclined to train high-powered assault rifles on each other either … a side benefit of my program.

Lipo-recycling centers could be built by the homeless and run by them, thus providing this booming population with new careers in Alternative Human Fat Energy (AHFE).

Minimal training would be required: checking the fat lines to make sure nothing gets clogged (GAG!), and monitoring equipment would be about it.

However, the more resourceful types could perhaps be trained in methods related to siphoning off excess fat — or Vocational Liposuction. Further, they would be trained at different levels of certification such as ASVL or AHLS.

Advanced Science of Lipo-Suction would include discussions of Fermat’s Theorem gratis, and Advanced Humanities of Lipo-Suction would include a free manicure!

Here is the equation for the recycling of my new clean energy source for America; you’ll find it is quite efficient and simple … An elegant and modest proposal.

Equation

Wow. That was something! Okay, investors, if you know of any humanitarian-entrepreneurs who would like to support an original American inventor, while helping America slim down, and also fuel up without causing another war, which will cost us hundreds of trillions of dollars … thus, balancing the budget, and raising the national self-esteem quotient … please be in touch with yours truly.

Thanks for listening … To learn more about europabridge continue on to one of the many links about ‘Adventures in Paradise‘ my Hackgate screenplay, the first romantic-comedy caper to take on press reform, privacy issues, and the question of what it means to be human – in the context of fun-house mirror of tabloid culture.

P.S. My ideas for fat recycling are actually workable. Human fat can be recycled and used in cars, though it is illegal. Tant pis.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), the radical Irish essayist, wrote the original “A Modest Proposal” wherein he famously suggested a solution to the Irish potato famine – eating children.

Remember: In glutinous societies no one actually starves, except for reasons that matter … Bon Appetit!

Right, Saturn Devouring His Son, Goya

RELATED LINKS

Charlie Stapleton (a Dickensian presence) from ‘Adventures in Paradise’ Hackgate Screenplay by europabridge

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Hello all … europabridge scribe here reporting to you from Boston.

During my years as a struggling actor (or deluded Hollywoodian), I read Dickens as an endless source of noble, mischievous, and villainous characters.

The following scene from ‘Adventures’ is set up by events that are so Dickensian and apocalyptic, from the point-of-view of the tabloid-hounded, that they very nearly destroy Clive Reade. But from the point of view of the tabs, what happens to Clive is a field day, feeding frenzy, and bonanza for circulation and sales. Classic Schadenfreude.

Enter Charles Stapleton or Charlie, an unwitting angel, and at Christmas … And I like to think a character straight out of Dickens.

EXT. LONDON ALLEY – NIGHT

CHARLES STAPLETON or Charlie – sixtyish, currently without a home but possessing a friendly gap between his front teeth to match his disposition, and robust constitution.

NOTE: The gap between Charlie’s front teeth is like Lauren Hutton‘s – it is not a missing tooth. Once a chef in a good restaurant in Newquay Cornwall, Charlie’s wife died, the economy went south, and he was laid off, but he is not so much a seasoned bum as he is simply out of work. One of his eccentricities is that he uses locutions like Guvnor, wot, and in’it.

EXT . LONDON ALLEY – NIGHT

Charlie, decently dressed in a clean shirt and flannel trousers, walks down the alley past La Grange (kitchen exit) WHISTLING a tune. He sees the crumpled figure of Clive Reade, runs over to check his pulse, and finds Clive breathing. Charlie locates a wallet, and Clive’s ID with his address, and instantly recognizes his face and name.

After a moment’s thought, he extracts several twenty-pound notes from a thick roll of bills, returns the roll to the wallet, and effortlessly hauls Clive over his shoulder. He then walks toward Upper Brook Street where he hails a cab with a single piercing whistle.

CUT TO

CLOSE ON – CHARLIE’S GAP-TOOTHED WHISTLE.

CUT TO

EXT. MAYFAIR/SIDE-STREET – NIGHT

A Black cab pulls up, and WALTER, the cabbie and friend of Charlie’s, steps out to inspect the scene.

WALTER

(droll)

Well, well, what have we here, Charles?

CHARLIE

(philosophical with Clive Reade slung over shoulder)

Oh, a man what got himself into a bit of a pickle, I should think.

Charlie places Clive, still unconscious, into the back of the cab. Walter PEERS at Clive.

WALTER

Who is he? And where am I taking him to?

CHARLIE

His name is none of your business, my friend, but if you would be so kind as to drive him to Prince Albert House on Eaton Square — and don’t whisper a word of this to a soul — there’ll be three twenty pound notes in it for you. (waves twenties in air)

WALTER

Why that’s less than a mile away! You drive a hard bargain, Charlie.

CLOSE ON WALTER

(Peers again at Clive)

But this is Clive Reade (with satisfaction). How the mighty are fallen!

CHARLIE

(warning)

Mum’s the word, Walter … And speak to the Concierge.

WALTER

Righto, you’re the boss … (kisses twenties, pockets them, and roars off in cab) See you later, Charles.

INT. BLACK CAB – NIGHT – MOVING

CLOSE ON — CLIVE SLUMPED DOWN IN BACK SEAT UNCONSCIOUS

CUT TO

EXT. LONDON STREET – NIGHT

Charlie strolls up Upper Brook Street singing ‘ La Calumnia e un venticello’ (Barber of Seville). His silhouette cast by the street lamp stretches several feet ahead of him, as the orchestral version of Rossini’s opera swells …

INSERT — SUBTITLES

Calumny is a little breeze’.

END SCENE

Click on the link to Barber of Seville and you’ll find the Looney Tunes cartoon version of Bugs Bunny shaving Elmer Fudd. I went for a comic approach to the tabloids in this scene, as there are plenty of other opportunities in ‘Adventures in Paradise’ for drama.

Or, we can translate the libretto to ‘You’ve been punked, Clive Reade!’ (Hmm, I sort of like this liberal translation of Rossini, don’t you?)

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays Charles Dickens …

A scene from ‘Adventures in Paradise’ Hackgate romantic comedy-revenge caper written & copyrighted by Elan Durham europabridge 2011

Investigative Reporter/Editor Various scribblings … NYT’s, Salon

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Dear Readers:

A few links to some things I’ve had published on the Web follow … If you like what you read, give me a tweet.

NYT’s Arts Comment of the Week

”This may seem a bit obvious, but the mood of the nation is not exactly attuned right now to introspective music. After all, we’re in a recession, unemployment is high, and there are simply too many pressures affecting people’s moods to sit in the heat and weep or swell with nuances of reflection worthy of a Wordsworth poem. (P.S. I like Sarah McLachlan’s music.) I would suggest moving Lilith Fair’s tour dates to the fall, or into concert halls around the winter holidays, when people are more attuned to relating to one another. Lady Gaga is like the Busby Berkeley of pop music, and we’re in a 1930s kind of mood.”

ELAN DURHAM of Cotuit, Mass., responding to Jon Caramanica’s column about Lady Gaga, Sarah McLachlan and feminism in pop music.

NYT’s Editorial: Turning Back to the Home Front

To the Editor:”The War at Home” (editorial, April 20) presented the domestic agenda of this administration with great clarity.

George W. Bush’s ethos is that success in war, on both domestic and international fronts, is its own justification, no matter how many people are left behind or hurt in the process. Winning is everything.

A few years down the road, maybe the American people will fully understand how Pyrrhic these victories were, and then ”shock and awe” will take on new meaning.

ELAN DURHAM

Wilmington, N.C., April 20, 2003

When  Predator Collides with a Fabricator: 378 Reader Recommendations

Maureen, I’m sort of surprised that you have taken this angle, now that much of the evidence is in the public domain concerning the maid’s broken credibility.

It seems just as likely she offered herself to Strauss-Kahn because she was conspiring with her money laundering-thug friends to blackmail him, receive a huge settlement from Sofitel, or from the man himself. Whatever evidence falls from that tainted tree is poisoned …

As far as her physical evidence (bruising, torn ligament), it’s not impossible that she produced it in some way (self-inflicted), since she did not leave his room and go straight to Management. There was a time lapse …

Further, a character who would lie about her husband being murdered and being gang-raped herself is desperate; she would not be above producing the evidence–no matter how painful to herself. His semen would be welcome. This was the DNA evidence she needed.

Strauss-Kahn undoubtedly has a problem with self-control. This is not contested; his female colleagues in France have attested to as much. My guess is that he finally met his match: liar meets liar.

But really, this woman has done a tremendous disservice to women who have suffered from rape and assault. Now there will be cries all over the Internet from men who are convinced there’s not a woman alive who has claimed to have been raped who isn’t lying or didn’t ask for it.

Salon.com The Death of Online Civility

FYI: For those of you who are scratching your heads and wondering why so much ink is wasted correcting a professionial journalist’s grammar and understanding of Gothic architecture, welcome to online bullying, or trolling. Sometimes, disguising themselves as well-meaning ‘correctors’ they often exist simply to demolish any coherent discussion of the issues the journalist was hired to write about … (Or about which the journalist was hired; an absurd construction appropriate for the hopelessly tone-deaf … Oops, dangling preposition, call the language cops.)

Most recently, two bloggers obliterated the dialogue between readers on no less than half a dozen or more threads in response to Salon’s Emily Matchar’s “Why I can’t stop reading Mormon housewife blogs”. The men were obscene, irrelevant, blogging endlessly about hell, damnation, guns & ammo, and in monopolizing the conversation robbed other readers, who apparently had something to say, of a forum … These readers, by the way, would’ve had to wade knee-deep through caca to read the genuine responses to the author’s thoughts, as I did, (and I flagged every bogus blog along the way). Not a great way to spend an evening, by the way, though I did come across a blog that was so arresting; it gave me an idea for a new novel.

The nitpicking here is a minor example, but I would bet any amount of money I do not have that neither of these men would bother a writer at the NYT’s or The New Yorker or any other online magazine with their exquisitely-tuned sensibilities, as they concern sentence construction and building construction. Despite all this, I can’t help but consider how lucky the readers of this article at Salon are now … being informed by Ms. Miller’s friend in Cambridge who actually knows something about architecture.

Thanks, Laura Miller, for clearing up these issues