Thread: Chapter 4 - 8pm

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Chapter 4 - 8pm


    Having failed to get people to pay to touch my moustache and failed to keep silent for a whole day it was pretty much down to An Evening with Dennis Brent to save the day. This high prestige evening out for all the family (as long as they are over 18 – not because the show is ribald but because I detest young people even more than the people they will one day mutate into) had been arranged some months earlier and it was simply good fortune that it happened to coincide with this wretched but potentially lucrative "charity” shebang. The Bendaton Opera House had played host to many great entertainers over the years including Joe Longthorn and many others who had been left out of every book or pamphlet published on the subject. My recent bad luck in breaking my silence was the good luck of the audience as it meant I would be able to entertain them with my mouth and not just my hands. I arrived at the theatre and passed the time of day with the woman running the ticket booth (if women can be said to “run” anything <g>).

    “How are sales, Miss Mounder?” I asked.

    “Dreadful” she said humorously

    “Brisk?” I prompted, guessing her breadth of English wasn’t as hefty as the breadth of her unmentionables.

    “Awful” she told me.

    “Lively?” I suggested.


    “How long was the queue?”

    “I haven’t seen a queue round here since Joe Longthorn offered refunds when his hair didn’t arrive in time for the show” she informed me. Obviously, even in Bendaton, people buy tickets for events on the internet.

    “How are internet sales?”

    “We had a computer for a while but someone – don’t tell dad it was me – put a pot plant on top of it and watered it into an electrical fire.”

    “Roughly how many people will be in tonight?”

    “Can’t tell you – data protection – but definitely less than 10.”

    “More than ten did you say?” I said, feigning optimistic deafness.


    I went off to find my dressing room in a bit of a fog. The show had definitely been advertised – I’d designed the poster myself. It featured a large, monochrome picture of my face and text in the Times New Roman font saying “An Evening with Dennis Brent”. How much clearer could I possibly make it? There was no ambiguity to explain the slow ticket sales and all I could think was that walk-up sales would make up for it only if people weren’t put off by the length of the queue. I worried about it for a few minutes before deciding that the best thing I could do was relax in the dressing room’s only chair – a satisfyingly hard affair that was almost Methodist in its austerity – and do some mental brass rubbings of Lime Grove Studios circa 1962 when almost all experts agree they reached their technical peak. It is an irony that isn’t lost on me.

    I was imagining rubbing my brass against Camera B2 (pre-lens upgrade naturally) when a voice reminded me it was ten minutes until curtain up. I checked my tie in the mirror – purely routine as I had no reason to suspect it had become loose, crooked or that the knot had fallen badly out of fashion – and went over my opening remarks. I’d play to the cheap seats by asking if anyone was in from Bendaton. Obviously there would be a contingent from out of town but the majority would be locals, they would whoop and holler like the barely evolved simpletons they are and this would release the tension they would feel at being part of history. My greatest fear was that they would simply be too overawed to react as fully as they should. Knowing that they were looking at the actual tie Cornish wore in the camera rehearsal for episode 2 of Story CCC might lead them to clam up in shock. If that happened they would miss my extremely funny follow up remark about how ironic it is that Cornish didn’t wear that tie in the actual recording session as it was deemed too colourful. The lack of a publically available colour print of the episode means that we can laugh heartily at the director for making a mistake that is very inefficient with hindsight. Normally, depending on how appreciative they were about this comical historical event, at this point I produce the receipt for the replacement tie and remind any viewers old enough to have paid television licence fees in 1970 that they contributed to this unnecessary extravagance. Once – and only once – I telephoned the director, Ferguson, to take him to task for this waste of money. He didn’t join in the joke – for example by admitting he was wrong and apologising to the audience to whom I was relaying the conversation – and sent me a solicitor’s letter by return of post, barring me from ever calling him again. I wrote back asking if I could send him telegrams (these were the days before electronic communications) and his solicitor replied telling me never to communicate with him again using any form of words. I had the last word though as I made a gesture at him during a video cassette signing and if he saw it I’m sure he realised his legal clowns had not silenced me.

    I sipped my pre-show glass of tap water, checked my tie again in case wistfully remembering my humiliation of Ferguson had led to unconscious stroking, and went out into the chilly theatrical corridor. A woman pointed me in the direction of the stage, swore at someone she thought was standing next to me (mad woman, Francois Devine and I later joined forces to sign the necessary forms to have her sectioned but quibbled fatally about the cost of the stamp and the letter was never posted). I poked my head through the curtain and saw the audience was disappointing. An enormously fat woman occupied three seats in the middle of the auditorium and three static, slightly waxy men (no doubt lunatic fans dressed as Autons) sat either side of her. Seven was not especially good but at ten pounds a head it was £70 towards my winning total. Finally The Memo was looking destined for Dennis Brent and Dennis Brent alone. All I had to do was go out and be entertaining for an hour. What could possibly go wrong?
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...


    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    West Sussex


    Quote Originally Posted by Lissa View Post

    it meant I would be able to entertain them with my mouth and not just my hands.
    < chokes on hot coffee , spitting it all over monitor >

    You're a wicked woman, Lissa
    Bazinga !

  3. #3


    Quite possibly the funniest Brent episode evs. The bit Jon quotes, the fat woman and the 'Autons', and - my favourite bit - 'I was imagining rubbing my brass against camera B2' made me do actual LOLs. Brilliant.

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