Saturday, 12 October 2013

Cloud Junkies

Although I've not been posting, things have been very busy for me here at EvilFlea Towers (I've never called it that before, but I'm considering starting).  I'd put posting here on the back-burner for a little while, because I have a few things I intend to be more organised with, and I've been more seriously trying to establish myself as a regular on the stand-up comedy circuit.  Then I found myself in a play and (willingly) co-opted into another top-secret project, so even the stuff that put this site on the back-burner, has been itself temporarily moved onto the back-burner.

Then, this week, I was challenged to make up a story on the spot based on two words chosen by my challenger.  Those two words turned out to be "cloud" and "junkies".  And I was bloody pleased with the story I came up with.  So today I wrote it up.  And drew a picture for it.  Enjoy.

Cloud Junkies

The day of the professionalisation of cloud-spotting was perhaps our greatest mistake. Everything changed that day. What started as an amusing pastime of children and tourists, seeing animals and objects in the sky that weren't really there, became a mascot for the rampant commercialisation of everyday fun.

It all started innocuously enough. International tournaments broke TV viewing figures. The very best cloud-spotters, who saw Father Christmas riding in on dreadnaught battleships, and cats chasing dogs with flaming tridents, became household names.

It wasn't long before Channel 5 were broadcasting cloud-spotting-themed dating shows in the primetime slot on Saturday nights, and even The Royal Family published cloud-spotting publicity photos to show how much they had in common with ordinary folk like you and I.

Inspired by what they saw in the media, people took to the streets, and then to the rolling hills and meadows of Britain. Workers' lunchbreaks extended to two or three hours as they searched ever more desperately for that perfect image, be it a yo-yoing cockatoo, or Da Vinci's Last Supper.

As they tried in vain to emulate their heroes - sporting, royal or otherwise - they found new friendships, new rivalries, new loves. They tore down the social structures that were in place before and began to build new ones.

And all the while they trampled the crops in the fields to feed their addiction. The countryside population swelled with people who should have been at work, while their offices in town lay barren and empty. Slowly at first, but swiftly gaining momentum, the economy began to falter.

The stock markets collapsed. Multinational conglomerates filed for bankruptcy. And on the high street, once proud fried chicken shops stood empty and abandoned.

The only days when any work was done at all were cloudless ones, or when the sky was completely overcast and grey. But even that was not to last.

The technologists saw a gap in the market. One by one, they bought up all the old chicken shops and refitted them with virtual reality chambers. Each had its own built-in electricity generator, to guard against the power outages that had become a part of everyday life.

They were the only successful business. People would spend what little they had left to get a taste of the clouds on days when there were none. But, like the long defunct fruit machines of old, the machines were rigged to offer punters just enough success to keep them coming back for more, but never enough to satisfy them completely.

Now they live in the virtual reality chambers all of the time. I haven't seen anyone out here for years. Until you came along.


I'm working on a way to set a recording of this to music, using this music gizmo that I linked to back in January.  Can't quite make it sit right at the moment and don't have the time to do so, but I've been dying to have a proper play with it for months.

Incidentally, the play I'm in is 23rd to 26th October in Clapham.  You can read what I posted about it on my other website, or go straight to reserve your seats here.

Right, I'm off to check this back-burner doesn't boil over.  The pesky thing.


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