Passport to Portsmouth Deleted Scene

The scene that follows will never be performed on stage, but I had some fun writing it, so I thought I’d air it here rather than have it lost forever. And given that the scene deals with the people of Portsmouth holding a referendun on whether or not to leave the UK, it’s somewhat timely and topical.



The pub. BRUCE stands behind the bar, putting up a badly handwritten sign which reads, ‘Poling Station’.


BRUCE: Good morning, how can I help you?

VOTER: I want to vote in the referendum, is this the right place?

BRUCE points to the sign.

VOTER: Oh, good. So how does it work, then? Where’s the ballot box?

BRUCE: There are two boxes. One for the Ayes – that’s aye for leaving the UK – and one for the Nays, if for some reason you don’t want to break away from a tyrannical regime. I give you a token, and you put it in the box to make your choice.

VOTER: But it should be a secret ballot. I don’t want someone from the other side seeing me cast an opposing vote.

BRUCE: Worried about reprisals? Don’t be: this sign should reassure you.

BRUCE puts up another sign, which reads, ‘No traitor bashing’.

VOTER: Traitor bashing?

BRUCE: No, we’ll have none of that here – it’s expressly forbidden on these premises. Of course I have no control over what goes on in the street outside …

VOTER: Riiiiiight …

BRUCE: Anyway, the two boxes are far apart, so voters for one can’t see the voters for the other.

VOTER: Alright then. So, like, just out of curiosity, what if someone wanted the Nay box?

BRUCE (points): Have to go through the toilets to get there. Unfortunately, we’ve had a rather unpleasant plumbing malfunction, so you would have to wade through a little raw sewage to reach the box.

VOTER: Just a little?

BRUCE: Not too much. Barely ankle deep in places.

VOTER: Okay, so where’s the Aye box?

BRUCE (points): Just that way: in the cuddly kittens and puppies plus free beer, wine and barbecue gazebo. You’d be quite welcome to stay on after casting your vote, we have patio furniture there, but there is an eight drink limit.

VOTER: Eight drinks?

BRUCE: I know it’s not much, but we have to be business-like right now. The proper drinking can start after the result comes in.

BRUCE hands over a token.

VOTER: This is a beer bottle top.

BRUCE: I know. I’d be a bloody useless publican if I didn’t recognise that. But anything that fits in the box can be used as a token.

VOTER: Err … thanks, I guess.

VOTER stands for a moment, looking back and forth from the Aye and Nay sides, before heading towards the Aye gazebo. Scene ends.



Litmus Launch

Last night, for the third time, I was part of a book launch event. The previous two were for the Rhondda Cynon Taf Libraries’ Awen – Inspirations anthology series; this one was my turn to be part of the University of Winchester’s Litmus legacy. This yearly release showcases the work of the graduating MA classes, and may be a first step to stardom for some of the writers.

Like the previous two launches, I did a reading as part of the event. When in Pontypridd to read my stories ‘Senghenydd’ and ‘Aberfan’, I declined to attempt the accent of the setting – dw i’n gallu siarad Cymraeg eitha da, but I still can’t do a decent Welsh accent when speaking English.

Last night I learned I can’t do an American accent either. My story ‘Chasing the Sunset’ is set in a dystopian Georgia, so I practised my English Guy Does Deep South voice, a la Stephen Moyer in True Blood and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead. But there’s a reason those guys make the big bucks and I don’t.


I wasn’t to trying to sound like a cowboy, although I may have ended up sounding like someone born of the unholy union betwixt man and bovine. I was going for somewhere in between Forrest Gump and K-Billy’s Sounds of the Seventies; I think the end result was closer to the former, and a pretty bizarro version of that. I kept my held buried in the book to avoid seeing anyone’s reactions.


Those that did react found it comical, when it’s supposed to be a serious story; but I’m cool with that. (Pretentious statement alert!) I think the writer serves as a conduit in these things, and it’s for each audience member to apply their own meanings to it. And at least my current works in progress are set in Southampton and Portsmouth respectively, so I won’t have this problem again: more a case of ‘write how you speak’ than ‘write what you know’.


Anyway it’s great to be in another book, and even better to be there alongside so many friends. May we all find ourselves back in print, time and time again.

Chasing Sunset.jpg