Friday, April 07, 2006



Tommy Devine is ugly. You want to know how ugly he is? I'll tell you.

When he's born (series one, episode two) the midwife, a twenty-eight year old gay word puzzle enthusiast from Ohio, threatens to assassinate his mother. When he sees the kid he just falls apart; it's like he takes it personally, you know? Like little Tommy has rained on his parade and it's the mother's fault.

"How could you do this?" he pleads. "I mean, how?" He tosses his face mask and surgical gloves to the floor with a theatrical flourish. "I mean, at some point during the last nine months... well, you must have had some idea. Surely you couldn't have carried that around and not known, suspected even...? Couldn't you have done the decent thing?"

The mother, a giant hoverfly, passes out. Her wings collapse, creating a huge draught, which blows the anaesthetist off his feet and scatters instruments, swabs, wipes, anything that isn't tied down, all over the room.

"Ho hum," sighs the midwife. "You chase a horse and you catch a dog. Story of my life."

Tommy plays all the parts, it's Fatboy world: every character in every show looks like some version of Tommy.

That first script earned Jonny Hilltown, as he was then, a personal assistant called Dragona Hartley. Dragona believed in absolutes and, like Tommy, she liked to generalize...

Gangsters use the word "f..." more than any other, with the possible exceptions of "money" and "no". Gangsters in the main don't have what you might call a good command of the English language (the same can be said of comedians).

"You know why?" asked Fatboy. "I'll tell you why," breathing cigar smoke and garlic all over Jonny's new wool suit. "It's because they're all spiritual Italians and Greeks. Ok, some of them really are Italians and Greeks. But the ones that ain't, actually are, in that spiritual sense. You get me? It's that cultural thing about body language that the spiritual Italians and the spiritual Greeks share with the Italians from Italy and the Greeks from Greece: the hand gestures and stuff. It's the same with accountants: spiritually they're all Jewish." Then his eyes narrowed, his head tilted to one side and he looked Hilltown square in the face:

"You want to know something about writers? I'll tell you about writers. All writers drink in the afternoon. Did you know that? All writers are spiritual drunks - even the ones that don't drink."

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