Frank City Film Club – Episode Three

Brian Snuff – Faithful Narrator of a Lost Generation

All generations are lost. The writhing, habit-forming, un-requited love drug keeps us distracted from the real issues. Then we realise time has passed. My twenties are nearly over. Where am I? I spent most of last decade in some cyber reality, a game zone where death is less real than love. All I have to show for it is poor eyesight, repetitive strain injury and a calculated philosophy of dread. The rest of the hours I watched films in order to freeze time.

The film club is a paranoid reaction to all this. We’re all in semi-dead-end jobs, people are starting to marry off and stuff. Some weekends I still chase good music and proper 3am chatter, blinking in the early light as I stagger home. Then, Sunday, I pop round to see a mate who has reproduced an actual real little humanoid. I can refer to them affectionately as ‘spawn’ and fictionalise their hiccups. But they’re real. And it scares me.

Video games and telly and films, and the whole interwebs are addictive because I feel I stay young inside them. I’m a young traveller collecting insight. I’m still learning, and if I’m still learning, I’m still young.

But then the sober daylight slaps me like a bitch. It’s 7am and I’m walking to the game shop where I work. Today a customer will ask me a stupid question. Today a customer will express their opinion on something as though it is a concrete truth. I’m the specky kid behind the counter smiling politely, thinking indeterminate swearwords. New swearwords spawned from old swearwords. Clamped over my mouth like a facehugger.

SNUFTY: Do you think we need to make films to stay young?

BANE : What the fuck are you on about?

Bane of all people is in the process of ‘settling down’. Out of all of the film club, he is drifting fastest towards having a life plan. He has lived with his girlfriend, Rhian, for three years. When he first moved in there, I didn’t think he’d last the month. Back when I flat shared with him, I couldn’t use the same bathroom. Now his habits are nearly civilised.

SNUFTY :  We make frames, we create a Neverland.

BANE : Can you just do a Masters and write a bloody thesis, to save us from your theories?

Jeanie seems to have absorbed my question and is thinking deeply about it. But she’s like a cat when she looks thoughtful. Sometimes you wonder if they have everything unravelled, in a true meditative state… other times you recon maybe they’re just thinking up new cruel ways to toy with their prey.

Jeanie is a catastrophe waitress. People patronise her a lot because she has this slow way of speaking that can infuriate. Jeanie only has one speed setting. How much of that is personality and how much is the effects of long-term weed-smoking I can only guess. Jeanie’s contributions to the process of filmmaking are very ‘girl’. I waste a lot of time trying to explain technical and rational things to her. This annoys Bane, he didn’t want girls. But Jeanie is a great little actress, and she and Nikita come as a package. And we needed Niki. She has an incredible brain and she makes us get shit done. Bane sees this as hen-pecking, but without it we’d still be drunk on the novelty of being back together as a group, reminissing about the student days.

I thought Niki wasn’t listening, but she looks up at me from her laptop.

NIKITA : If this isn’t relevant to the script, can you just put it on your blog? Someone in cyberspace appreciates your insights more than Bane.

SNUFTY : That’s the worry. I’ll stop existing in the real world because of fear that nobody I know gives a flying pig’s ear.

She holds me in her deadpan gaze for a moment. Time freezes. My heart slumbers in fanciful juices. She breaks my gaze and looks back at the screen. I watch her lips as she sighs inaudibly.

NIKITA : It’s difficult to write this bit. I don’t know how to describe it how I see it in my head. I just want to make the vision.

Niki has short, dark hair and electric blue eyes. She doesn’t look like the character Nikita, but there is something of the same toughness. But a tender toughness. Luc Besson does that with all his female leads.

JEANIE : Say what you see in your head and I’ll type it.

Niki slides the laptop across the table to her.

NIKITA : So, he’s swimming along the bed of the lake. With the goggles and dramatic bubbles. He sees this movement through the blurry, tinged water. At first it looks like an animal, a porpoise or something. He realises it’s a person swimming towards him.

She stops talking and stares into the distance. We’d already plotted this and deconstructed the levels of cliché, but there’s still subtle impact in her pause.

NIKITA : He realises that it’s him. A doppelgänger.

BANE : Can we film this, with our resources? Kes? What do you recon?

Kes has been sketching things in his notepad. Lost in the beauty of nuts and bolts. The things which make artistic vision into proper stuff. He points at his drawing and opens his mouth to speak, but Niki interupts.

NIKITA : Where the fuck is Leon?

I read his text out to her from my phone.

SNUFTY : ‘Sorry dude, can’t make it tonight. Things are bad.’

Niki rolled her eyes and sighed again.

NIKITA : Fucking sick note.

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