TORCHSONGS & FIRE HOSES
a lyric drama
One fateful night, the appalling and tangled love-life of Mr MAN completely devoured every disturbed atom of his being, and he woke up as a 2D entity, trapped on the wall of a gallery, compelled to relive his heartaches over and over again at the whim of any idle spectator.
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MAN goes out from his bedsit. MAN wanders around his stormy city, sorry about the state of his emotionally charged and unreliable lovelife, but gaining comfort from imagining some superficially contented man in a safe and loveless marriage, ensconced behind the walls of one of the houses that he passes.
MAN reaches a cliff and watches the waves swirling and crashing and is reminded of how similar his relationship with GIRL ONE - a dark French acrobat is. He sees her and himself in the waves.
The following morning, MAN heads into the countryside. It is very sunny but still damp from the storm. He finds a small, empty church and begins to play the organ. He is optimistic and tries to convince himself that his relationships will work out and that he will enjoy every last moment of his tangled love-life.
Meanwhile, the priest is having gay sm. sex in the Vicarage
MAN is in bed, unable to sleep. All over town, nightclubs are exploding with horrific, vampyre-type clubbers. MAN imagines GIRL ONE asleep - then in the thick of the drug-Fuelled club action, which always tempts her away from him.
MAN wakes up, feeling rough - and remembers waking up on other rough mornings in the company of women. On one of these mornings he broke up with GIRL TWO - a jolly, blonde, materially-inclined, business-woman.
MAN sits alone in his shabby bedsit at night and remembers GIRL ONE running off with one of the clubbing vampyres to take drugs and have sex. Her cigarette stubs are still in his ashtray.
MAN leaves the night-club, where he has just seen GIRL ONE go off after rowing with her about drugs. He angrily pounds the streets and the city turns into outer space, coldly compounding his rage. His fierce stare scares passers-by.
MAN sits in GIRL THREE's flat, drinking wine. She wants to seduce him. He imagines all the relationships that connect with him and GIRL THREE, a curvy American who truly desires him when he only truly desires GIRL ONE.
MAN wakes up, discombobulated, in a strange flat and gets up to look around. He finds cast-off clothes and mess scattered about the place. He begins to suspect that he has had sex with a girl. This is confirmed when he meets GIRL THREE, naked. He feels elated.
MAN remembers his reconciliation with GIRL ONE, who arrived one rainy night at his bedsit and seduced him. However, he is rather cynical about GIRL ONE now and the song verges on parody.
MAN sits in a cafe and sees a pretty student laughing with her friends. He imagines her declining, like GIRL TWO, into a dull, prosperous, middle age - which will lead to her being left by her husband for a younger, less bitter woman.
MAN is in a late-night bar; torturing himself with jealous images of GIRL ONE drinking with her druggy lover and having all kinds of weird sex.
MAN remembers how he first met GIRL ONE. A curlew flies above them both.
MAN walks through the dark, rainy streets. Through a pub-window, he sees two of his friends playing electric violin. He feels better and phones GIRL ONE on his mobile. She has, in fact, been in bed all evening with a cold - neither drinking, not having sex.
MAN and GIRL ONE have a wonderful time together for a few days and extract themselves from their other lovers and entanglements.
GIRL ONE wakes up in bed with MAN and in a bad mood - MAN knows that the whole day is going to be consumed by her Hell-sent temper, which, like her lovers, she will take absolutely no responsibility for.
MAN is still in regular contact with GIRL TWO, who uses him as an emotional prop and adviser on a series of dull, rich boyfriends. Eventually, MAN?s irritation overcomes his misplaced sense of obligation and he explodes angrily at her.
MAN and GIRL ONE sit in a cafe drinking wine - at ease once again with each other - discussing the oddness of love and sex while watching the world go by.
MAN and GIRL ONE spend a weekend in Rome. They are as close as anyone can be, but the ruins around them create a sense of transience and foreboding. They can never be this happy together
MAN's sense of transience rises as he and GIRL ONE walk in a park together.
Back home, MAN is alone on a pavement on a grey day. Suddenly, a beam of light breaks through the clouds and MAN remembers GIRL ONE. GIRL ONE, for her part, is having self-torturing, guilty sex with an ugly stranger.
As autumn arrives, GIRL ONE withdraws from MAN, who knows nothing of her renewed interest in sexual self-degradation with Strangers. He tries to persuade her to go out to parties with him.
GIRL ONE is on tour with a circus show. MAN is waiting at a bus-stop, on a startlingly bright day. He thinks about himself and GIRL ONE, traveling to different places - and remembers them getting on a bus together in Rome, in the rain, watching their reflections in the windows.
MAN walks by the river in the sunshine. He keeps seeing traces of his three lovers in different girls' faces. Time seems to slow down and he realises that he is going to be fine. The river is flowing on, there is a party atmosphere spilling out of pubs, and girls faces shine in the light and in the ripples of the water.
He sits down on a bench and looks at two pretty girls walking towards him. As they smile and stop to talk to him, the world becomes real again.