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Bloomer & Keogh Investigate spacer Issue 1
Bloomer & Keogh Investigate
Apocalypse Now Again
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Our brief is to compile a feasibility study for the re-making of Apocalypse Now. We really don't know what a feasibility study is or how to go about it. It sounds like a lot of administration, hard work and organization. Mr. Bloomer thinks it would be more straightforward to just go ahead and make the film. That was Apocalypse Then. This is Apocalypse Now.
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Bloomer & Keogh Investigate
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A Production Diary:
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Thursday 7.45 pm: I'm just back from work, making a film sounded like more fun yesterday, to tell you the truth I'm not too enthusiastic about listening to Mr. Bloomers "ramblings". He's making me watch Apocalypse Now the Director's cut and is frantically taking notes. It's longer than a Bollywood extravaganza. But there's enough coffee and teacakes to keep any man focused. Teacakes' boxes look like they haven't changed since the 1940's. Tunnocks' milk chocolate teacakes, coated with the finest milk chocolate, a far superior chocolate than that of wagon wheels. I'd love to make wildlife documentary about woodlice living in your house; Daddy Longlegs must seem gigantic, if you're a woodlouse. (Stay focused too many delicious Tunnocks' teacakes).
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...I'd almost fallen asleep, the forty-five minutes of previously unseen footage was obviously cut for a reason. I'll pretend I'd watched it all, that'll do.
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Bloomer & Keogh Investigate
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Saturday early O'clock: We've had a whole night of introspection and reflection, trying to understand the character's minds, motives and what really drives them...
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Mallard is dragged out of a well-known drinking establishment. Bouncing off the walls and landing in dog shit. He shouts at the bouncers "I'll take the pair'a'ya's". One of the bouncers replies "You couldn't even take my wee sister". Later he is played a recording of the voice of Colonel Kurtz...
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‘I watched a heron kill a rat and swallow it whole. That's my dream, it's a nightmare. Gently slipping down it's throat, and savouring it... But we must kill them, we must incinerate them, pig after pig, cow after cow, site after site, project after project. And they call me corrupt? They lie. They lie and we have to be merciful for those who lie, I hate them…'
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The Mission:
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We are told where Kurtz is holed up. We have to travel up the Lagan to terminate the Colonel's command, he has quite obviously gone insane.
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We need to move stealthily and look inconspicuous. Urban camouflage is needed. Suits preferred by Laganside developers are perfect… To catch your prey you need to understand its minds and habits. To prepare for combat I enter the mind of my spiritual beast, the monkfish. A complex and resourceful creature it can mimic any background. If under threat it can use a startling display of intricate, pulsating colour to dazzle its enemy into shock and submission.
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A classified mission as hairy as this needs specialised equipment. The correct choice could mean the difference between life and death. Seminars? technical de-briefings? Pah! It's just bureaucracy, consuming valuable time! Experience, that's what counts, and the word on everyone's lips was the Pacesetter 200 available from Makro for £9.99. A robust and stealthily craft, there was no doubt. For land transportation the nimbleness and lightning acceleration of the shopping-bike was decided upon unanimously.
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Saturday - 8:00am
Scene One
Landing on Belfast Beach:
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It's shopping trolley city out there. I was taking in water at a furious rate. The humidity and malaria in ‘Nam were forces that could fray the strongest men, The river Lagan threw up different trials. I'd lost the feeling in my feet but exposure was the least of my worries. A man wouldn't last two minutes in that vein of puss. If the undercurrents didn't get you the jelly-mouthed creatures of the slime would.
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...Sea-gulls twelve o' clock; one o' clock; four o' clock… My God we're surrounded.
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The city must have made me soft. I've not been operating as part of the air tight production team that has got us this far. ‘Cook' was in trouble. The valve on his dinghy had failed; he was drifting helter skelter towards the path of oncoming rowers. Deranged laughter was weakening everybody. That is apart from the rowers, deluded into thinking they owned the river, their sour faces would wipe the smile off anyone. Sympathy is all I can feel for them. I hardly even want to write about their sick games let alone get involved in them. They row skinny boats up and down, day and night locked in their own personal purgatory, shouted through a megaphone by a man on a bicycle. If they don't do what he says the dwarf stuck to the end of the boat will vent the wrath of ten jack russell's upon them. I don't know what ‘S' and ‘M' means but I do know that the ‘S' stands for sick.
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Meeting With Colonel Killburn:
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It's time to land on Belfast beach for the meeting with Colonel Killburn. It might be January but we couldn't have picked a better day to be out on the river. The distant buildings reflect the orange glow of the sun still low in the sky; a bird with legs the colour of oranges, wades as happy as Larry. Oyster shells litter the beach. You wouldn't think oysters would be common here, I wonder where the seagulls get them from, probably from St Georges market.
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The landing is successful and the meeting with Colonel Killburn commences immediately. Questions are asked about the logistics of making it safely up river, only to be interrupted by an unruly drunk smashing a bottle of buckfast. Killburn lifts the neck of the broken bottle and sniffs it: ‘you smell that? Do you smell that? That's Buckfast son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of buckfast in the morning. You know once we were on a hill, bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all over I woke up, we didn't find one of ‘em, not one stinkin half bottle left. The smell, you know that benylin smell, the whole hill, smelled like boke... Some day the war's gonna end'.
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Bunny Girl Scene:
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Here come the bunny girls, moving at a tremendous rate of speed in a standard issue motor boat. Miss January, Miss June and Playmate of the Year arrive to raise the troops morale. The boat is mobbed by drunken clerks.
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Playmate of the year slaps her thigh with her cowgirl hat. Blowing her mock six shooters one at a time she moves in slow motion towards the bow of the boat. Miss January and Miss June wait in anticipation, showing more bare flesh than you're ever likely to see on the Lagan on a January morning. They have come to put on a show. Frantically the drunken clerks take to the water by any means possible. It gets messy as the clerks grab on to any part of the boat they can, some getting dangerously close to the workings of the out board. Grasping hopelessly at their pin up fantasies in a pathetic display of desperation. Vanity is breached as a once proud clerk loses his trousers in the struggle. I am witnessing the absolute violation of a man.
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...The boat makes a 180-degree turn and opens up full throttle. Funs over... it's been called off for an emergency. Men drop of like poultices, left to wade hopelessly in the wake of the boat.
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The emergency is to rescue one of the disgruntled pseudo professional rowers from drowning. Just what did he think he was playing at. A shambles of an outfit...
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With brevity the famous scene where Martin Sheen emerges slowly from the water is shot. Emerging from the water didn't bother me in the slightest. Entering the oily sputum vomiting from the culvert was not pleasant. That evocative eggy smell making me dry wretch with the memories of a previous mission I'd rather not talk about.
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A few custard creams and off we go to the tropical ravine, for the jungle scene.
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The Jungle Scene:
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I can't remember how the scene went or was meant to go. Cook and someone else leave the boat to look for chips in the jungle and are attacked by a ferocious terrapin. All the terrapins are gone for some reason, so Koi carp have to do.
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"Oh my God it's a Koi carp we better run away" I'm meant to do something but I think I'm getting hypothermia. Mr Bloomer is going to give me the sack if I don't smarten up my act and get these silly ideas out of my head. Anyway after holding him up with a knife Ivan has put Dave through a window so it really is time to run away.
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Crew take five minutes break at Dave and Dave's house.
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Two or three hours later… "Fuck the film drink more cuppa soup" A better idea has never passed a man's lips.
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Kurtz Land Scene:
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The location for Kurtz Land was Lagan meadows, an area of outstanding natural beauty along a stretch of the canal, neglected, overgrown and long since redundant. The night was still but I knew I wasn't alone. There were cows. I couldn't see them but I could feel their stare. The birds almost lifted the mood but their communications could be described by no stretch of the imagination as song, sounding more like a smoke alarm running out of batteries.
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As we got closer to Kurtz Land the overpowering musk of sweaty alcoholic dementia took hold of our chipped senses. I could feel his presence now probably because he was beside me on a shopping bike ranting and raving about not having enough drink.
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We arrived on site and lit a large fire. The rest of the cast arrived with the strong juice. Tins of Spam were chopped as a blood sacrifice with a meat cleaver.
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On instruction from the director our already bedraggled suits had to be frayed or tatterdandelioned as it's known in the trade. Slashing the suits whilst still on the actors may not have been the most sensible of decisions, an incident involving a feral clerk and Kurtz resulted in not only the clerks suit being slashed: "He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. He hath been tatterdandelioned with his terrible swift sword."
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"Oh fuck Ivan what have you done, look at the fuck'n state of him, what'll we do?"
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When we're here we may as well shoot the other scenes, get it over and done with.
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Meeting Kurtz:
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I am confronted by a crazed war photographer. He moves and talks like a man on speed. Talking about Kurtz like he's some sort of God. I am taken to Kurtz, who isn't hard to find, as he's going apeshit around the fire, either falling in or pushing people in. The atmosphere here dissolves morals. The crew are acting with less dignity than hyenas. Judging by the startled and worried looks on everyone's faces, no one was sure if Ivan is acting. You could see the reflection of the fire in his eyes but god only knows what was going on behind them. Kurtz had to be killed. Ivan had to either go home or be locked up.
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Kurtz Gets Killed:
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There's nearly another accident with the meat cleaver. It wasn't so much fun anymore. Dave isn't looking very well. Custard creams won't fix this one. Just like the real film the ending is a disappointment.
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Come on Dave its time to go to hospital.
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