It is with great sadness we announce that Trish Keenan from Broadcast passed away at 9am this morning in hospital. She died from complications with pneumonia after battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care.
Life of a Dummy by Patricia Keenan
Paul McCartney has found out. He is looking at my photograph in the newspaper. His missing head has been found in my bed. He is smiling. Officer: She stole only your head from the box Mr McCartney. Paul smiles again. John: He’s secretly flattered officer. (Turns to Paul) Dirty sod. George: She bloody loves YOU, yeah yeah yeah. Ringo folds his arms. [Fade to black]
“I love when you stare at me Paul. When your eyes follow me in the mirror I feel stronger than myself. I can resist what the world has planned for me. You are making me beautiful Paul. You are turning my eyes from green to blue. I am more than just a bit of action. Aren’t I? Stare at me Paul, like Omar Sharif would stare at Bardo or Monroe.”
Monday: Diana Dors is filing a complaint against Tom Jones Mr Mason has asked for my assistance. He said I was to help ‘smooth things over’. I’m bending over backwards already. She wants to move near The Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra. She’s already refused an offer of a place beside Humphrey Bogart, saying the quality of light there reveals her marionette lines. Tom Jones is furious, ‘I can look at any woman I wants to,’ he said, ‘You can’t censor my eyes. My own free will.’ So now she’s being deliberately difficult, dropping hair and sequins, and emptying the fluff from her pockets out onto the floor.
Paul is still reading the newspaper. John Lennon is still joking. I am the subject of his ridicule. John: How come he always gets the kinky ones officer? (Looks at Paul) Officer: Well Mr Lennon, I’m not sure if there was any indication of (pauses) that. John: Paul’s head in her bed? No indication? What was it doing there then officer, checking the bed sheets?’ George and Ringo are all smirks, their bodies have loosened. [Think bubbles appear above their heads, they are imagining me and thoughts of themselves.] They look at each other and laugh. Paul looks up from the newspaper [he sees what they are thinking] He joins in the laughter. This then OKs it for the police officer to have a chuckle. Paul’s face drops it’s smile but the sound of his laughter carries on. He frowns and looks confused. Noone has noticed. [Audience laugh and applaud.]
“We are infinite in these mirrors. Look at us. A million times me and you together. A gorgeous couple. My body is for your eyes to watch. Enjoy all my reflections undressing. Your faces press down on me like hands. Respect me Paul, like the Rolling Stones respect Ruby Tuesday. You won’t hang a name on me Paul.”
Tuesday: Everyone has read Diana Dors’s statement in the office. She says that Tom Jones does not stop staring at her breasts. Gary and Ken have been quoting her, doing impressions of her, “He never looks into my eyes” they say, it’s the office catch phrase. The statement goes on, name dropping all over the place, Tom Courtney, Alan Bates, Albert Finney, John Gilgud, Richard Burton. Gary said that none of them were names in the States, except the editor of Life magazine. In the statement she refers to Tom Jones constantly as ‘the working class butcher boy’ it has not put her in favour with Mr Mason. She’s pushing for a sexual harassment charge. But there’s no way they’ll let the statement get out of the office. Gary and Ken are very fond of Tom.
George: So officer, what have you charged her with, Grievous No-bodily harm? (He scratches his head like Stan Laurel.)
Ringo: Skullduggery? [Bum bum. Audience sigh]
John: Hedonism? [Cut to close-up of John lifting his eyebrows like Groucho Marks.]
[Audience laugh] Paul stares closely at the photo of me in Devon. He begins to read to himself. [We hear his overdubbed reading voice]…Marie Michaels an employee at Madame Tussauds was arrested yesterday for the theft of Paul McCartney’s waxwork head. (He pauses to look at the photograph again, then continues)…The museum employees were shocked, ‘She was a quiet and indispensable member of staff,’ says her boss Mr Peter Mason. (He begins to hum and ad lib in his head)…Mmmm..Marie…lah lah…Oh Marie…hurry hurry, Marie Marie.
“Your fringe darkens the light over my eyes. I go under with each kiss, vanish from the surface of myself. I am quiet for both of us. So that listeners will not disturb us by listening. That they won’t knock with questions about our intimate exchanges. Spy on our favourite way of kissing. They linger on the stairwell for an accidental meeting. Their friendship reduces us. They follow me with facts about you, holding up pictures, playing songs in shop doorways. They want to tell me things that I do not know about you, for power, to cast themselves in our story.”
Wednesday: Today I found spit in the aisle. I am unsure of who it was, or who it was meant for. I didn’t report it though there was no time for gripes. It’s the Christmas costume change, the whole film industry is having a make-over. I had fittings for Julie Andrews and all seven children, plus the main cast from It’s A Wonderful Life has arrived, James Stewart is lovely to work with. Diana has been digging her heels in at every opportunity. She wants to know what’s happening with her statement. Fitting her for the white dim-ante basque was not easy. She squinted at everything I did, it took twice as long with all her twitching and time wasting. She kept asking about her statement, ‘Take it up with the office,’ I told her. I’m falling behind with my work. She’ll get me the sack with all this moodiness.
The officer pulls out his handkerchief to wipe away tears of laughter. Officer: Gentleman (he can barely hold the laughter back) we do have reason to believe she was planning a pregnancy. There were various fertility (pauses) gadgets and baby clothing still in the packaging. And lots of mirrors. * * *
“If only we had a universe of our own. Separate and not found-out. A place that would not absorb love from us. Come to the pillow with me Paul. Whisper words into my hair. Penny Lane. Become me, so there’s nothing left. I was born with memories of you. We waited to meet each other. That day we opened up together. You breathed beneath my chest. I saved you in my warm blood. Make me pregnant Paul. Say that you’re ready, that you’re not like Alfie. Tell me this is real Paul. Paul?”
Thursday: Today I shouted, ‘Everyone’s important!’ It surprised Diana. She watched me all day. I could never tell her what happened. She would only gloat and tell me some story about him, something from before we met. It doesn’t pay to share things. She didn’t noticed that I’ve taken the ring off. I found it hard not to look at my bare finger in front of her. James Stewart said I was quiet, ‘Is he doing the dirty on you Honey?’ Straight away I burst into tears, ‘He doesn’t want to have a baby.’I said. I tried to not let her hear. Deep down, I know what it means. It’s just the contrast, all those lovely words for Michelle and Rita and Sadie. But when it came to me, a real person, he couldn’t think of a single word.
Officer: She claims to have (looks at his notepad) only got as far as kissing the (pauses) thing.
Paul: (Speaks but his lips do not move.) [His over dubbed thinking voice is heard only by the audience]….Should we be privy to all this information officer? (Noone hears him.)
John: The mirrors? Paul: …This is unfair. Officer: Yes. The mirrors were positioned around the room, but the incident act did not take place. John: There was no incident act, with the mirrors?
Officer: Yes, there was no indecent act involving reflections.
Paul: This is her privacy. (Still noone can hear him. He begins to shout in his head) This is not for our ears!
John: Ah! (He points at the officer) Is this her first offense? Officer: No. (tries to supress a smile) She’s a repeat offender! [Audience start to laugh but it dissolves quickly, they don’t find this joke as funny.]
“Don’t you see more in me Paul? More than one You? A child is the only thing we don’t know. To make something for this world that no one else can. The talk of a future has emptied you. My room caverns me. I hear the corners of it. I feel the husk of it. I thought we we’re the same, found by each other.”
Friday: This morning there was a meeting about Diana Dors’s move. Ken and Gary have put forward three options for her to ‘take or leave’. The first is next to Sean Connery, but only on the condition that Ingrid Bergman does not arrive before the morning. Dors does not like this. The second option is beside Rock Hudson, but no one wants to be caught between a Rock and hard place Ken said. The third is the old offer of Humphrey Bogart. She is not happy. Tom Jones was winding her up, ‘Did I tell you about the time when Lizzy Taylor slapped me on the arse?’ Diana said nothing, she just looked across the room. ‘It was during her and Richard’s filming of Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolfe. I was chatting her up you see, while Richard was over talking politics with some twat. Mind you, he had his eye on me like, he knows I’m a bit tasty, and her liking Welsh men and that. I said to her, ‘Where you keepin’ your Cleopatra wig these days?’ She’s quick you know, “With my asp’s milk,” she said. I said,”I’ve got some asp’s milk right here if you need any,” and she leaned over and stung my backside with her palm. She can take a joke, that Lizzy. A real star.’
John: (Looks at Paul) Your quiet. Paul: No, it’s just you can’t hear me!
Ringo: He’s speechless, over a woman John.
Paul: For god’s sake! I’m trying to say..(shouts louder in his head)..something about all this. (Holds up the newspaper)
George: (George takes it from him.) Oh ta! (John and Ringo watch Paul and frown.)
John: Are you cut up over this girl our Paul?
Paul: I don’t think it’s fair, (still no one can hear) the way we’re talking about this
George: Crackpot. Listen to this everyone. (George begins to read the newspaper in a news reader’s voice) Marie Michaels, a mid 30’s sizzler from the Midlands
Paul: Hold on.
George: .seen here in bikini
Paul: ..she might be ill or something.
George: …at Weston Supermare, was sacked from her previous job as a chambermaid for
Paul: … it’s none of our business!
George: …stealing hotel property. She later made allegations of sexual harassment against her former boss but
Paul: That’s her own private business. (Paul is tensing his arms.)
George: …the case was thrown out of court. (Looks at Paul) Are you alright?
Paul: (Grabs Johns hands and looks into his eyes.) Can you hear me, John? (Looks around) Ringo? George? (They hear nothing)
Ringo: He’s not looking too good Lads.
Paul: (Paces over to the officer.) Officer? (Looks around frantically at confused faces. Screams.) Can, anyone, hear, me? [His voice echoes off into silence.] hear me, hear me, hear me. [Fade to black]
[Fade back in]
John: Paul? Paul? Wake up lad. Come on lad, open your eyes.
Ringo: Get the other side, let’s get him on his feet. (John and Ringo hook one arm each)
John: He won’t stand. Lie him down, lie him down.
[Door bell rings].
George: Here’s the Doctor (looks out of the window) I mean Doctoress. The officer opens the door. I enter and kneel down over Paul.
You are a contradiction. The Paul that the world knows is not the I that inhabit you. You are not who you are. I never found the inside You.
Doctor: (I open Paul’s eyelid and shine a light into his eye.) Did he have any slurring of speech?
George: He’s been quiet all day Doctor.
Doctor: Any difficulty forming words? (I put on a stethoscope and listen to his heartbeat … bum bum, bum bum.. I look down at him.)
I collect my own past Paul. I am my own first person. All that space inside you won’t fill up
John:What do you think it is Doc’?
Doctor: (I still kneel over Paul and looking into his face) You have to share that space with people, share it, cause the emptiness will eat you up.
John: You what love? (Frowns) Don’t you mean let’s monitor him over the next 24 hours Doc?
Doctor: (Into Paul’s face.) There has to be more than just getting a piece of action. What about feeling something?
George: Er..Make sure he gets lots of sleep and rest. Something like that?
Doctor: (I take Paul’s head in my hands) You can’t ignore your feelings can you Paul?
John: Steady on now girl! (John and George take hold of me)
George: That’s definitely enough of that. Officer?
Saturday: Diana has been upsetting Humphrey Bogart. ‘I, would never spit!’ She said. Humphrey was only trying to make her feel welcome. ‘Please do not refer to me as “the blonde” Mr Bogart,’ she said. Humphrey nearly jumped out of his skin. He tried to apologize but made it worse, ‘Nor a dame, Mr Bogart,’ she said. Tom Jones started laughing up the isle, ‘You’ve got her now Humphrey mate,’ he shouted, ‘She’s all yours.’
“I understand now that Michelle is fixed into position, her smile glued in place, she only appears to listen, but disappears behind a face. Rita is occupied by a shell. A woman on a hill. Did you use me Paul? Did you use us all? To echo your own words back to you? Did I really exist Paul? As a real person? Write me alive into a song one day. You made me beautiful. Goodbye Paul. You’re the only head I’ve had the pleasure to have known.”
It is a sad truth that when world-famous pop bands reform after years in retirement they generally find something missing. In the case of the Beatles, who reunited for a rare public appearance at Madame Tussaud’s yesterday, that something turned out to be their bodies. The severed heads of Paul, John, George and Ringo form the centrepiece of Cooper Owen’s Music Legends Auction of rock memorabilia . “For years they were believed to be missing,” said Ted Owen the auction house’s director of acquisitions. “Then four months ago they were discovered in one of the museum’s depositories, sitting in a sealed crate.” The waxworks were cast in 1964, at the height of Beatlemania. They later featured on the cover of the 1967 album Sgt Pepper’s Lonley Hearts Club Band where they were installed as a reminder of the Beatles’ mop-top past. Other Sgt Pepper props feature a waxwork bust of Diana Dors and a doll sporting a tshirt that reads “Welcome the Rolling Stones”. The auction takes place at Tussaud’s next Thursday.
Published in The High Horse, 2006