Saturday, 29 December 2012


I love playing games. It’s one of my hobbies and I’m quite passionate about it. In light of the recent bad press gaming seems to have had (things that I commented on in a previous blog post) I wanted to present quite possibly one of the most amazing gaming experiences I have ever encountered. I’ve actually wanted to talk about this game for quite a while but I’ve been holding off because I don’t think I could do it justice and convey just how exquisite an experience this is. The reality is the only way to truly understand would be to play it, uninterrupted, alone and completely open to be immersed by it. As gaming news and commentary is going to be something I continue to do, I wanted to start with “the right game” and it had to be Journey. There is nothing that comes close this year and arguably this decade. If you haven’t played it, I won’t spoil any of the key moments.

The main thing to note about Journey is that everything the game does serves one purpose and that is to drive the narrative and build towards a collective experience. It is difficult to talk about single aspects of the game because each system in the game compliments and supports another. It’s becoming more and more prevalent to see multiplayer or RPG elements added to games because it’s “in fashion”. Journey doesn’t do that, everything present is potent, masterfully crafted and has a purpose.

The first thing that hits you about Journey is the visuals. As soon as you start the game you are presented with a vast desolate desert, stretching out as far as you can see, and soon after you are quickly introduced to your single solitary goal in the game: reach the mountain top. A peak looms over the land in the distance and at its summit there seems to be a ray of light. As the title screen appears over the image of the mountain the distance it becomes abundantly clear that your journey is to get there. There is no quest text telling you what to do or mini map markers (in fact the UI is stripped entirely with all information being represented visually in the world or on the character), this is intuitive design. The simplicity of this game is its brilliance because it taps into core human emotions, this one being curiosity and the need to explore.

And then the music kicks in and suddenly you’re within the games grasp. As you wander the desert as the main character (who is designed with no specific gender) the music accents each step with emotion. Whether it is fear, excitement, curiosity or sorrow the games changing visuals and music create an emotional ride that sucks you in. The music in Journey is one of the standout features; it was nominated for a Grammy and if you’re listening to the video I linked at the top, it’s clear why.

The gameplay is as simplistic as the games aesthetics. You can jump (and glide) and let out a pulse of light. The pulse of light is an interesting mechanic because it is your only way to interact with world and all the wonders waiting to be found. It also serves as an interesting and creative way to communicate with any players you happen to pass by. Journey features a multiplayer component with adds to the games appeal, narrative and collective experience. You don’t know the identity of the people you pass by. There is no way to “connect”, anyone playing at the same point as you in the game has a chance to appear in your world and you theirs. There is no name plates, no way to start talking to the person, you cannot message them, you are just two strangers in a strange land and you can either continue on together or drift off into the sands. The multiplayer mechanic in this game taps into another core human trait, that being one of humanity. Simply working out how to communicate and work with a complete stranger was an uplifting experience.

It is this perfect cocktail of simple features and a world of wonder that make Journey such a fantastic game. I found myself exploring whenever I could and I was genuinely afraid when the games enemies would approach. Because there is no way of combating them, a crushing sense of fear and helplessness overcomes you. You feel concern for the person you’re on this journey with, even though you know nothing about them.

When it was over (the game clocks in at about two to three hours) I knew then that what I had just played was something crafted with care, with purpose and it was one of few instalments in this genre that can be considered art. I would put this alongside any painting, film or piece of music because it evokes the same emotions and I’d argue that those emotions are much more personal because you interact with the game, it is your story.

If you’re interested in games and are a little tired of the same old thing over and over again then I implore you to try Journey. If you’re not into games and enjoy books, films or music then I also implore you to try Journey when you get a chance, this goes beyond a video game and it is an experience. Journey is easily the best game of 2012, quite possibly the best game in the last 10 years.

Utterly haunting.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

I wish The Sun would go away

Sensationalist British media hardly fails to surprise me with its laughable standards “journalism”, however with the recent rise in mind numbingly stupid headlines following the unimaginable horror of the school shootings – I’m actually starting to wonder why anyone still buys these tabloids any more. Surely these readers would have more self-respect than to pick up The Sun and consider themselves informed of today’s current events, but these things continue to sell.

The Sun recently ran the headlines that reported the murderer who opened fire on innocent children in a school was somehow influenced by Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Hooray, it’s “let’s jump on the video games are evil bandwagon” time! Hang on; they just need to get off the “Goth killers” bandwagon first.

In the interest of transparency I’d like to inform you guys that I have just finished a game of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 before sitting down to type this up and no, I am not feeling any urges to grab a weapon and open fire on innocent children. There is no evidence to suggest that playing video games = mass murderers. It’s insulting to even suggest that. To even imply that Call of Duty or video games in general is a main cause (one tabloid reported Dynasty Warriors as being one!) is becoming less and less of a credible argument and the constant backing of such an argument simply makes you look ignorant, narrow minded, backwards and quite frankly stupid.

To me that is the best way to describe the general institution of British Journalism, most (not all!) is quite frankly antiquated and a relic of times long since passed. More and more people are finding their news elsewhere. More and more people get their fix of entertainment gossip elsewhere, these trash tabloids quite frankly should just die out now – and quickly – and reform themselves in the wake of more connected and smarter audiences. I’m normally not one to just lash out at such a large sector of people, writers and journalists however this is just another instance of brazen sensational “journalism” where these tabloids get away with presenting shit as fact.

This follows the scandalous investigation into phone hacking and the invasion of privacy by journalists in more and more bold attempts to sell newspapers. Finally they were somewhat threatened by the Levinson Inquiry but the reforms suggest by that didn’t go far enough. We shouldn’t live in a world where journalists can offer depressed and mentally unstable people money for drugs and sex just to get a story. Or a world where whole sections of people (the killer was labelled as a Goth in a recent headline) are quite frankly discriminated against, whether they are immigrants, gamers or people who are interested in alternative music, attire and values, by large corporations whose interests solely lie in sales and political control. An establishment that can change its entire political belief at a whim to stay “in with the readers” loses all integrity with me.

It’s trashy, uneducated and petty. Their attempts to tarnish all forms of media and entertainment in which the large News Corporations have little control (for example News Corp has very little control in the games industry or avenues of Goth music and fashion) are getting obvious and quite frankly laughable.

We deserve better from our media and government and it burns me up inside that productions such as The Sun are still able to operate today. They are a fountain of hate and bigotry that are in the business of scaring readers and keeping them under their control rather than presenting news.

How about they stop finding out what music and games the killer listened to and plastering his face all over the front page and focus their attention on the innocent lives lost and the families having to deal with such a tragedy. Maybe that’s asking for too much.


Monday, 17 December 2012

Living up to destiny

My editor (his official title from now on) told me that I was supposed to finish the project that I was currently working on, one which – in all honesty – I had stumbled upon. And while I’m ready to talk about the project itself the implications of what this person said has stuck with me.

Often people stumble into jobs, careers or a routine and it becomes their normal life. They work 9-5 and earn their living and live their lives. There is nothing wrong with this at all and for a long time it was the destiny that faced me after I had tried my damnedest to torch my potential in my youth. Fast forward six years and I’m a mature student faced with a potential futures in academic and creative fields…. and someone is telling me that this is it; this is what I was supposed to do. This project has the potential to be one of the most important and rewarding things I ever do.

The project I’m referring to deals with subjects that I am passionate about (culture, religion, race, war, politics) and in fields which I have only recently discovered a deep reservoir of enthusiasm (imperialism, critical and cultural theory) thanks to the guidance of some special tutors at my university. Sometimes people in my family ask me why I’m writing and it comes from two deeply rooted character traits of mine. I like to help people and I like to engage with people. Living in a world that is often just wracked with conflict I want to be able to say something for the better. I guess there’s a rather egotistical reason involved to because I want to be remembered and all these things compound upon a single project that I’m meant to do. It’s odd that it’s taken me this long to blog something – because this format actually suites me quite well. Truth be told it wasn’t until I had an exchange of a few emails with another blogger that I actually saw this as a legitimate space for … randomly talking about crap I want to talk about, rather than a collection of amusing cat pictures (I’m sure I can add the odd cat picture in here and there).

The odd thing is my editor’s edict isn’t the only thing that legitimises my feelings towards my work. In an eerie turn of events I found out that I was somewhat aping my grandfather with some of my work that I was writing for assignment (something I’ll post up here soon). Someone who I rebelled against wrote a short book based in the topics and fields which I am now passionate about. Through a somewhat cathartic experience my hatred for him turned into understanding and … acceptance to a degree. I’ll never agree with everything he did but now I have root with which to try and understand why he did what he did. This understanding in turn fuels my passion and it’s all compounding upon one another. The pressure in the cooker is rising and the lid is about to blow off.

A sense of responsibility weighs heavily on a story I want to tell, a point I want to make and a challenge I wish throw out there. I have to do all this justice and that is basically the story of my entire third year of this degree, I have to do all of this justice. It’s the difference between doing something what I have always dreamed of doing – sitting on my arse and writing and living that way, or not. Either can happen, I’m not at all convinced that these turn of events guarantee success but who knows.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Isolde, For Her

ATTN: Coming from a multicultural family in a diverse community, I respect all walks of life and all branches of faith people believe in. This piece of fiction was created to ask questions and stimulate discussion not to offend people of a particular faith.

Isolde, For Her

The world was a different place. Gone were the technological advancements of a civilised age. Rubble and bone littered the ground, piercing the feet of those who sought to survive. We lived in constant fear in a land suffocated by smog and ash from the fires that consumed all we once held dear. Or at least that’s how I remembered the world, before they took my eyes.
They had burst through the barricade I’d set up during the night. The Beasts, the last remnants of the religious heretics that set the world aflame with their scaremongering, had taken up residence nearby. The door flew off its hinges and they swarmed in screaming, their arms flailing. Mary screamed beside me and retreated. I plucked up my rifle as quick as I could and fired a shot. Down to three, I reminded myself. One of them grunted and collapsed but it wasn’t enough, they were upon us. Their hands groped for my neck, nails digging into my skin. I tried to push them off, panic bubbled inside me. Mary screamed again. One of them began to light a fire, their grisly features made that much more terrifying in the flickering light. They were humans once, now they resembled a pack of wolves, hairy and feral. Their backs hunched over, their finger nails were long.
“Richard!” I glanced over as best I could and saw the pack dragging Mary across the floor, whatever clothes she had on her were torn. The beast on top of me grumbled something in a guttural language to one of his brethren. Not her, she’s all I have left! I thought as I pushed harder.
“Without pain, there can be no penance,” the beast grumbled at me, his breath was rancid and hot. Another one shuffled over, a bottle in his hand which he handed to the one on top of me. They both looked at me as they pressed the bottle against my face, the molten glass burned. I screamed. My skin began to bubble as he pulled the bottle away and uncorked it with his teeth.
“May this oil help you see the father in a true, pure light,” he groaned as he poured the hot liquid into the whites of my eyes. I screamed again and woke up alone.

My hand instinctively went to the bandage I had wrapped around my wounds before setting out. Making the bandage from my sleeve was easy; using the last of my vodka to disinfect the mess in my eye sockets was much more difficult. A cold breeze stabbed my skin like sharp needles, it howled in the darkness, chilling me to my very core. Now I walked through a valley of death, shrouded in shadow and darkness but I was not afraid. I had her with me.
Mary. Her face swam before me; raven hair framed her fierce green eyes. I took a deep breath and her scent tickled my senses. I had followed her perfume this far. It guided me through the darkness, a breadcrumb trail leading me back to her and her warm embrace. The perfume she wore was called ‘Isolde’; we found a box of it in a ruined warehouse a few months ago. Apparently Isolde smelled of blueberries. Before the war they had produced a male fragrance, ‘Tristain’, but we never found any. I smelled again and found myself inside her, her sweat on my lips, her breath rushing past my ear. I could feel her drawing me in as I devoured her odour.
“I’m coming, Mary,” I said out loud. I had to save her. I wasn’t going to leave her to those beasts. We were meant to be together, I told myself as I pushed off the rubble with my rifle.
“My rifle is my life,” I mumbled. I smirked when I realised what I had done. Echoes of my Lieutenant’s voice rippled in the darkness. He used to bark that phrase at us. You have no idea how true that is, LT. Checking weapons for ammo, stripping them down or inspecting them came easy to me – they made us do it blindfolded. I trapped the butt of my rifle in my armpit and set off carefully through the darkness. The rubble of civilisation strewn across the floor made for a difficult terrain to traverse; the floor would ungulate and dip unexpectedly. My ankles and shins bore the bruises of my tumbles.
Blueberries led the way; every so often I would take a deep breath and feel closer to Mary. Her love acted like a shield, keeping at bay the nagging fear and doubt of what was out there in the night. There used to be groups of travellers, tradesmen and hunters looking to trade their wares for something in return. They’d often tell stories of demons walking the earth, their eyes as bright as fire and of men practising dark arts to raise their loved ones to warm their beds once again. It had been six months since I last saw someone other than Mary; we’d locked ourselves away when we found out the beasts roamed close. We’d once hidden in the attic, huddled close in the dust. I still remember how red her cheeks had gotten from running up the stairs. We were playing hide and seek, must have been no older than seven. We’d always been together.
An image of a crucifix flickered in my mind, like a weak bulb expending its last reserve of energy. The beasts had taken residence in the nearby church; I had to laugh at that. They were the ones that slaughtered innocents in the name of their God and subsequently believed that he had abandoned them. That was where I was heading, my gun in my hand, vengeance warming my heart. They’ll pay. Back in the civilized world I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking up arms against a civilian but we were no longer in a world governed by rules or laws. No faceless set of morals guided our day to day lives anymore, this was survival of the strongest, kill or be killed and the beasts had failed to kill me.
My leg slammed into a hard surface. I tumbled forward and hit the rubble. Instinctively I reached out for my rifle that fell beside me to make sure I still had it. For a moment I just stayed still, my heart thumping as fast as a drum. Anger burned in between my teeth, I allowed myself to seethe for a moment before taking a deep breath to calm my nerves. I imagined lying back in green pastures; the smell of freshly cut grass filled my nostrils. I would never see a green field again, that warm green glow you get when the sun rises. Blueberries tickled me once more, Mary’s smell bade me to get up but it wasn’t until I tried to get to my feet that I noticed something wrong.
A sharp pain stabbed through my left leg as I tried to move it. My only pair of jeans, tattered and sweat stained clung to my leg, warm and moist. I slowly reached down with my hand, the pain got worse the further I got towards my knee and then I felt it. Old, cold and rusted, a piece of metal had lodged itself in my skin and worked its way under my kneecap. Pain throbbed in time with my heart. I tried to keep calm. I’d already used my left sleeve to bandage my eyes so I turned to the right; I ripped the sleeve off my shirt and took another deep breath. I grasped the grotesque jagged piece of metal with my right hand and… one, two, three… pulled it out. It slid out with ease, the motion nauseating; the metallic smell of my own blood mingled with rust saturated the air. I quickly tied my sleeve around the wound and pulled tightly, the pressure felt comforting.
I laid back and brushed away beads of sweat and bits of dried blood off my face, my heart still thudding. I reached out for my rifle and used it to help myself up. It clinked against the floor as I used it as a walking stick. I dragged myself onwards; no amount of pain was going to stop me from rescuing my beloved. As I staggered in an unknown direction, guided by the faint smell of perfume, I couldn’t help but remember an image of Mary. She glided down the aisle dressed in pearly white. Lace and netting complimented her wedding dress, her green eyes shone through a vale, even covered they sparkled magically.
The ground began the slope upwards, the strength in my wounded leg continued to seep away but I pushed on. My arm, outstretched in front of me, began to ache. Each step was a step further into the darkness there was no light at the end of this tunnel. My head began to spin, being suspended in eternal darkness caused my sense of direction and balance to become erratic. The blood loss wasn’t helping matters either.
“We’ve always been together,” I mumbled to myself, my words were slurred as if drunk on love and determination.
“I know,” I answered back.
The hill began to relent, I felt the air open up around me and the ground levelled out. In my head I was stood atop a tall mountain, the decent a vertical slope down. A gale rushed around me. I leaned onto my rifle to steady myself and took a tentative step forward as if dipping my toe into a pool. A soft noise in the wind roused my courage; a bell hanging in a large tower rang softly – the church… Mary!
My heart leapt, but it wasn’t in joy. It was more of a lurch as I felt my foot slip. I was in a free fall, my hand clutching my rifle. Cold air slapped me time and time again as I fell for I don’t know how long. Finally, science brought me back down to reality. The floor hit me the hardest; the wind was knocked out of me as I continued to tumble bouncing off the surface. Bits of glass and rock impaled my skin until mercifully it was over.
A white light began to fade into my vision. It flickered and struggled as the darkness fought it off. Was I dying? I heard the soft bell toll again, closer this time. People always said stay out of the light but I didn’t have a choice, it was overwhelming me. Apart of me did want to just give up….
Something grasped me around the neck and the white light took over.
A cold slap made the whiteness dissolve, my face dripped. My back was against a hard surface, it was warmer than before. I tried to move my arms to find them bound to something. Something hard and coarse scraped the skin around my wrists.
“You must leave,” a voice uttered from the darkness. It was the same guttural growl as before. I recognised it. Anger bubbled up inside me like lava and I erupted.
“Mary! Give her back to me; give her back to me now!” My voice echoed in the room, it must have been quite tall and cavernous. I shouted and screamed until my throat tightened and I felt like throwing up.
“Quiet, fool… You must leave and never return.”
“Fuck you!” I spat back with all the venom and hatred I could muster. “I’ll kill all of you, I swear to you. I will rip you apart and gorge on your blood you sons of bitches!”
He made a sound that resembled a chuckle.
“How? I have your weapon,” he muttered something I didn’t quite make out and then I heard footsteps getting closer to me.
I licked my lips as if I was ready for a meal.
“Yes, that’s it come closer,” I said, ravenous. A second one laughed as he made his way towards me. I felt a thick, heavy hand strike me violently across the side of my face.
“Is this close enough, godless?” he asked, his breath hot and surprisingly sweet.
Another eruption of anger exploded out of me, I snapped forward with my head and bit into him; any part of him it didn’t matter. Warm liquid filled my mouth and dribbled down my chin. I pulled back, bits of flesh fell from my lips as the beast howled and cried. I spat back a mouth full of muscle and tendon and screamed. The sound of gurgling and retching indicated that I had hit the throat. Good.
“He’s just the first! I’ll get you all! You should have killed me when you had the chance! You’re pathetic!” I couldn’t stop the anger kept flowing out of me, all my frustration and fear. “He left you, he left you to die!”
“Enough!” This voice wasn’t like any of the others. It was thick with emotion and soft, it was the voice I had been longing to hear for so long. I heard a door close, the beast was still dying nosily in the room somewhere, I didn’t care, fuck him.
“Abraham, leave us a moment please,” Mary said. “Take John with you and ease his pain.”
I heard them shuffle out wordlessly, the one I wounded still moaning in pain. The door clicked shut again.
“You shouldn’t have come here, Richard,” she said softly. I felt her get closer to me. “How did you find me?”
“Blueberries,” I said with a slight smile. “What… let me down… we need to get out of here.”
“You need to leave, sweetie.”
“What? Mary… what’s going on? I c-came for you, let’s…” She touched my face, the warmest and lightest of touches. I felt my legs weaken, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end.
“I don’t agree with what they did to you but they’ve been kind to me,” she said in little more than a tender whisper. A sudden urge came over me, I leaned forward again, my face covered in blood to kiss her. My lips met hers but she withdrew. “No, we can’t…”
“Why not?”
“It’s wrong! Because… I don’t have to let you do these things to me anymore…”
“I know… I know I might have… started it but I know you liked it, I felt it… how can love be wrong?
“I’m only human, Richard. It had been six years since anybody had touched me, kissed me… any one would have enjoyed it, that doesn’t make it right.”
“Love is love… haven’t I kept you safe and made you feel good and… why won’t you just come with me?”
“They look after me here Richard. They’re well stocked with provisions,” her voice began to crack with emotion, “you can’t stay with us though. As much as it breaks my heart to say this, you can never come back.”
“I’m not leaving without you.”
The door opened again. I heard Mary shuffle away.
“How is he?” she asked the newcomer.
“We’ll bury him in the cemetery at dawn.” It was Abraham, I recognised his voice in an instant now and the anger reared its ugly head inside me again. I heard him walk towards me.
“Richard, I tried to warn you. I tried to send you down the righteous path and give you a chance to atone for your sins. Yet, here you are.”
“Unchain me and I’ll begin to atone, right after I rip your throat out. I don’t know what you bastards have done to her but…”
“What we did? We rescued her from your sinful ways. We provided her with warm shelter, protection, food and a chance to rebuild a life… what did you give her Richard? You kept her locked away in fear and raped her…”
“Sinful? You’re the ones that attack and kill people in the night! Don’t you dare sit there and judge me in your high and pious seat, fuck you!”
“I’ve had two chances to kill you and I have not taken them yet on both occasions I have lost a brother to your rage! Even now, I cannot bring myself to pull the trigger on your rifle.”
“You blind me and disguise it as a blessing… don’t make me laugh, I know all about your God and his ways.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“What kind of God would put guns in the hands of children or let planes fly into buildings as innocents went about their day to day lives? What kind of God would make me and the person I love most in this world siblings? A cruel one, that’s what. If he ever existed, he’s left this place and all of us to rot.”
“He gave us a chance to start again Richard. That’s what you fail to see. He gave us a new perspective on life, as I tried to do for you. We will rebuild our lost civilisation. For years we’ve struggled to survive but we’re in a good place now. We have food and supplies to last us for generations, medical supplies and the ability to bring children into this world. Mary’s child will herald a dawning of a new age.”
“Mary’s what…? You’re pregnant?” I asked, breathlessly into the darkness. Her voice replied, meek and afraid.
“Even the sinner may contribute to his divine plan. I took pity on you Richard; I could have left you out there to die from your wounds. I watched you stagger around, blind, your rifle propping you up. But it was my compassion that led me to bring you in, clean you up and tend to your wounds,” Abraham prattled on, I had lost all interest in him, my rage had subsided. All I wanted was Mary.
“Mary… why didn’t you tell me?”
“What good would it do?” she answered softly. “You can’t be involved in the child’s life.”
“Because I have to leave… because I’m a sinner… You’re both full of shit. You sit there and talk of pity and compassion and yet you’re throwing me out. You beasts will never be able to achieve anything anyway, look where religion got you the first time!”
“My hair may be long, my teeth rotted but there’s only one beast here. May God have mercy on you Richard, my mercy has limits. Here, give this back to him, I’ll wait for you inside.” I heard a click and then something small, heavier than a pin, dropped to the floor. Heavy footsteps came towards me and fumbled with the chains around my wrists. My arms finally fell back down to earth, they were heavy and lifeless. I could scarcely lift them. I heard the footsteps fade away, followed by the click of the door handle indicating that Abraham had left.
“You’ve got the gun haven’t you?” I asked glumly. Mary didn’t answer. “You’re pointing it at me aren’t you?”
“Richard… I will always love you but…”
I held my breath. I couldn’t quite tell how long went by in the eerie silence. I waited for the white light to consume me once again. If falling in love with the wrong person was a crime then so be it. I would pay my price gladly; I didn’t want her to be afraid of me anymore. I loved her too damn much.
“There’s a door to your left,” she said finally. “I’m leaving the gun at your feet.” I heard her place it on the floor and then retreat to the door. It clicked open. “I’ve left you a bullet.”
“Will I see you again?” I asked, my lip trembling.
“I… don’t know,” she said, her voice straining. She closed the door.
I fell to my side, utterly exhausted. The floor was warm wood, clean. My limp arms fell in front of me; the tips of my fingers brushed the rifle. I grasped the butt and slowly dragged it towards me with all I had left. I used the rifle one last time to help me sit up. My rifle is my life. I felt like crying. Can I even cry now? I wondered. Can someone cry without tears? The butt nestled perfectly in between my crossed legs. I ran my hand up the smooth barrel and reached the rough edge, worn away by the unorthodox use. I opened my mouth and stuffed the barrel inside, until the tip touched the ridge of my gums. I’ll sin so she doesn’t have too. My rifle is m- the white light took over.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Script: Red

It's been a while, I know. Here is a script I wrote for an assignment. It was praised quite highly and i've finished making some final edits. If you like it, recommend it to someone! If you've got a comment on it, please Tweet/Facebook/Text me as i've not set up this thing to alert me to comments. This script deals with some mature issues and has profanity from the outset so, if you're easily offended, it might not be for you.


RED, by Tajinder Sandhu


You find yerself alone, the only light in your life the glow o’the t.v left on in the night. Life has its ways of playing with you though… Just when you think it’ll let you die in peace…

DRIVER, a man of 42 who looks ten years older than he is, kneels motionless in a drive way, illuminated by the light spilling out of the front door. Sirens are wailing in the distance.


Life has its way of complicating things.


RED, a young girl of 21 whose natural blonde hair is dyed red, slams the front door shut and tries to lock the door. She drops the keys and fumbles when she tries to pick them up, her hair gets in her eyes. She kicks the door and jams the key into the lock. She walks down towards the gate gingerly, a limp in her step.


I told my wife this was going to be temporary. I’d get a bit o’extra cash for Christmas. It’s funny ‘ow much has changed since then, ‘cept this taxi.

DRIVER is leaning back in his seat yawning, he glances at the time (3:34am). The door opens and RED gets into the taxi. DRIVER leans forward and mumbles something into his dispatch radio and starts the car up. The radio is humming in the background, cutting in and out due to a bad antenna.

Wher’ya off ta, love?

RED stares out of the window and doesn’t answer.

Wher’ya off t-

Westridge Drive, Beaumont Park

DRIVER nods and begins to head towards the destination.

DRIVER (into the dispatch radio)
Thirteen to Beaumont Park.

The radio cuts out for good. He tries to fiddle with it but it won’t come back on. He looks through the rear view mirror at his passenger. RED is staring out of the window, her eyes bloodshot and her complexion pale.

Ery’thin alrigh’ love?

RED ignores him again; she reaches into a bag and begins to look for something, growing more frantic as the search continues.

Bit late to be out an-

Just drive the fucking taxi.

Sorry, I wa’ jus’ askin’

Sure you were…

Look, I wa’ jus’ worried is all.

And who are you to be worried about me? I don’t know you. Why would I want to know an old perv’ like you?

RED leans forward and looks towards the gear stick.

Why am I not surprised? No wedding ring.

DRIVER continues driving for a few moments.

DRIVER (mumbling to himself)
Bollocks to this.

DRIVER pulls the taxi over and turns off the engine.

Get out.

RED doesn’t move. She looks up at the roof of the car. DRIVER looks through the rear view mirror and sees red marks around her neck.

Dya’ ‘ear me Red? Get out. There’s no charge.

The radio scratches in for a few brief moments and then dies again.

I’m sorry, I didn’t… I just need to get to…

Wha’ part’a get out don’t you get? There’s no charge. Call another taxi, walk – I don't care.

Don’t do this to me, not now.

DRIVER (turning around)
You’ve got five seconds before I-

RED pulls a gun out of her bag and presses it against DRIVER’S lips. DRIVER’S eyes widen in shock, his body becomes rigid, as gasp of shock escapes his lips.

Or what? Take the headrest out.

DRIVER pulls the headrest off of the seat, his hands shaking, he stares at her for further instruction.

Now turn around and drive.



The radio cuts in and out until eventually it remains on, the signal weak.

Like I said, life has its ways. She came in smellin’ o’ roses and lookin’ like hell, I couldn’t help myself… more fool me.


RED has the gun pressed against DRIVER’S skull as he drives.

You have to understand I wouldn't do this if I had a choice...


DRIVER changes gear, as he brings his hand back up the steering wheel he knocks the dispatch radio into his knees. He holds the button on the side down in between his legs. The red light on the receiver flickers on.

So, what’s yer story Red? Thief? Murderer? Lunatic? C’mon we’re a little past passenger and driver now...

Stop talking.

RED leans forward again, keeping the gun pointed at DRIVER. She pulls the wire out of the receiver, the red light flickers off, as does the sound from the radio.

RED (leaning back)
Nice try.

Can’t blame me, can ya?

Why couldn't you just drive? You had to go ahead and open your gob and complicate things. This is real simple; drive and you’ll be fine. This gun isn't meant for you.

DRIVER changes gear again, with a little more force than is necessary. They continue to drive in a prickly silence when RED begins to cough violently. The gun lowers as she covers her mouth with her free hand, blood covering her pale skin.

Y’alrigh’ back there?

RED rolls down to the window, gasping for air, covering the door with her blood. The fresh air helps.

I’m fine… just … keep going…

Wha’ the hell is going on here!?

Why the hell do you care? It’s nothing to do with you.

Got ever’thin’ to do with me now love...

Just hurry up, I need to… my son, he took him away from me!

And you need a gun to get him back?! D’ya even know how to use tha’ thing?

RED takes the gun away from DRIVER’S head, points it at the front passenger side window. She turns away and fires. The window shatters, DRIVER yelps in shock. The car veers out of control for a few seconds.

The fuck you doin’?!


DRIVER slams his fist into the steering wheel and thumps the car into gear.



The radio continues to cut in and out.


Can’t you turn that off?

Tried, trust me.

DRIVER is complying with RED’S demands. RED is sat behind him with the gun pressed against his skull, taking deep breaths. Inhaling through her nose and exhaling out of her mouth. DRIVER reaches into his pocket. 

Stop, what are you doing?

Relax, Red.

DRIVER’S phone tumbles out and rolls under the seat as he pulls out a cigarette packet and a lighter. He slides one into his mouth and lights it, inhaling deeply.

DRIVER (offering box)
You smoke?

Smoking kills.

So does driving taxis apparently. You sound like my ex wife… just my bloody luck. (Mumbling to himself) Last fare of the night, son’ova bitch…

You were married?

Oh now you wanna’ talk?

DRIVER flicks ash towards the shattered window.

Yeah, I wa’ married. We wa’ young, prolly round your age. Young an’ daft. Got a son too.

What happened?

Some arsehole. She always said I needed somethin’ to fix, a bed, a light, whatever… I couldn’t fix my marriage though. He was a company executive… I was an “ol’ pervy” taxi driver. Din’t handle it well.

The radio flickers on, MUSIC (Shark Water by Projected Twin) begins to play.

What did you do? Hit him or something?

Threw ‘im into a lake. At their wedding. (laughing) He didn’t get his deposit back on that suit.

RED laughs, DRIVER watches her through the rear view mirror smiling.

She looked good when she laughed. Compliment her I told myself… Say something nice, say she’s thin…

DRIVER clears his throat, preparing himself.

You er… look… malnourished… I mean like, not sick but… just… thin… you look good is wha’ I meant.

Idiot. Grade A idiot.

RED laughs harder and leans forward, reaching for the cigarette box on the passenger seat, she takes one and lights it.

Wha’ happened to smokin’ kills Red

I’ll risk it. If that was the extent of your chat up lines no wonder you’re divorced!

RED laughs again, DRIVER joins her but not for the same reasons.

What’s your name?

RED hesitates for a moment, smiling before answering.

I like Red. Yours?

Guess I’m Driver then. Well Red, tha’ all happened a long time ago. So long ago infac’ tha’ I don’t remember what she looks like… or my son. That’s anger fer ya.

Not the same for me. It won’t get any worse than it is now for me.

Things always get worse. I failed him see, he’d be ‘bout your age and I couldn’t recognise him on the street. You a big film fan?

Not really.

My favourite is Leon. Seen it?

RED nods, DRIVER sees it through the rear view mirror. He almost misses the traffic light turning red watching her.

Is that what you think is happening here?
Sorta’ is. Two strangers, forced into a situation… helpin’ each other… Now if we go by the US version, they’re just friends. The one released in Europe though, Mathilda falls in love with Leon… we can be friends, ya know.

Don’t. This is something else you can’t fix.

Gotta try though, righ?

RED hesitates for a moment, glancing out of the window.

Pull over a second, I feel sick.

DRIVER pulls the car over, RED scrambles out of the backseat and takes a gasp of air. She doubles over as if she is about the throw up. Inside the car DRIVER stares at the ignition for a moment. He glances out the shattered window towards RED and then back at the ignition before finally shaking his head he cuts out the engine and exits. 


DRIVER walks over to RED who is doubled over trying to throw up; the gun is still in her hands.

You ok Red? Want me to get you something to drink or-

No, I’m fine…

RED leans against the car and takes deep breaths. DRIVER watches her carefully and eventually does the same, they both stand there gazing over a large field, the sun begins to peak up over the horizon.

His name is Wayne. My mum met him when I was thirteen. He was so nice to me at first, he used to take me out shopping and buy me things. He gave me a mobile phone even though mum didn’t want me to have one. We’d play you know, sort of wrestle, he’d tickle me and try and pick me up. It felt nice, felt like I had a father again. Things changed between us, but it didn’t feel wrong at first. He told me he loved me, I didn’t see anything wrong with the odd kiss here and there but it didn’t stop there. Mum didn’t believe me when I told her what he used to do to me. She said I was making it up to try and break up their marriage but she didn’t understand he used to hurt me. I left when I was eighteen, didn’t speak to mum for years until a few months ago when Wayne found me. He said he found out that I’d told mum what was happening; he was going to shut me up for good.

RED looks away, brushing away a tear.

I knew what he wanted, this time I said no. That didn’t stop him though. I just felt so powerless while he was doing it…

RED looks down at her hands, the skin along her forearms has peeled away in places, she smirks.

I – er

You wanted to know right? The worst time was when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t know what to do. I rang my mum up for the first time in three years and told her, told her all about the check up and that it was a boy, part of me hoped  she might be happy...

Tears well up in RED’S eyes but she doesn’t cry.

He beat me, he punched me in the stomach over and over again, I screamed stop and begged him to let go but he kept hitting me and hitting me, he threatened me with a gun. I thought I was going to die. I was bleeding so much, I didn’t know what to do, I was so angry, I screamed until my throat sore. I took something for the pain and dragged myself to my feet. He’d left the gun on the table.

RED gestures with the weapon, a smirk on her sad face.

More fool him. I’ll walk from here, it’s not far.

RED turns to leave.

No you won’t, get in the car. I can’t just leave you know.

I could have left her, I should have. But I wa’ in way over mi’head. Half my age, half in love. Idiot.


DRIVER and RED get back into the taxi. DRIVER starts the car and begins to head towards the destination, both of them in total silence.

Ya’ need to think about this Red, murder isn’t something you can get away with. Think about it. I know how angry you must be feeling righ’, don’t get me wrong, but you’ll end up in jail.

DRIVER stops at a red light. RED fumbles around in her back and pulls something out. A plastic bottle bounces off DRIVER’s head and lands on the passenger seat. DRIVER looks down and see’s the Ibuprofen label.

You din’t tek them all didya?

Enough to give me the time I needed. There is no getting away with murder, Mathilda dies at the end of this one.

DRIVER turns into Beaumont Park Road and begins to turn the car around.

We’re going to the hospital.

RED cocks the barrel of the gun, loading a bullet into the chamber. The radio begins to cut in and out again.

Keep going.

DRIVER (turning around)
I’m not goin’ any further, love. Either you come with me or you fuckin’ shoot me!

RED stares at DRIVER for a moment before shaking her head and scrambling out of the car. DRIVER is shaking; he turns back into his seat and grabs another cigarette. He struggles to light.

The sound of the radio cutting in and out begins to irritate him. He hits the panel, it stops. He watches RED turn into Westridge Drive.

Turn around you old fool, it’s not worth it. She doesn’t feel the same way. She’s half your age, just a child…

He puts the car in reverse and turns around, heading back down the hill. At the red light he looks around at the taxi and stares at the Ibuprofen bottle again.

Fuck sake

He turns the car around and heads towards Westridge Drive.


RED stumbles into a gate and staggers into the drive way. We hear a car screech around the corner, the headlight illuminating the street.


DRIVER speeds up the street looking for the right house. He notices a door open, the light from the house sticking out in the darkness.

He turns the car around and dumps it on the side of the road before scrambling out of the taxi. He runs towards the gate and notices blood on it.

Ahead, RED is on her knees screaming. WAYNE is stood over her. Blood on his hands.

Get away from ‘er!

WAYNE steps over RED and heads DRIVER off. They fight.

WAYNE throws DRIVER to the ground; DRIVER’s head hits the concrete step. Blood begins to pour from a wound. WAYNE stands over DRIVER, he raises his boot – 


A gunshot echoes in the empty street. WAYNE staggers back and falls to the ground, squirming and screaming.
DRIVER crawls over to RED who has fallen into the side of the house. He brushes the hair out of her face, it is matted with blood.

Hold on, I’ll call an ambulance.

DRIVER reaches into his pockets, the phone is in the taxi. RED coughs up more blood and gasps for air.

You… came back?

Like I said, we’re a lil’ more than driver and passenger now. C’mon, we’ll get you to an ambulance…

He would have been such a beautiful boy…

RED begins to nod her head slowly.

You fixed the radio. Turn it up; this is my… favourite song…

RED’s body becomes lifeless; DRIVER looks around at the mess and picks up the gun beside her body.

Sirens are wailing in the background, not music.

DRIVER runs back to the taxi and pulls out his phone from under the seat. He dials 999.

I called the ambulance. They asked forra name. I didn’t know it, I knew nothing about her but… that didn’t matter…

DRIVER hangs up and places the phone, with much difficulty, into his pocket. He slowly staggers back RED and takes her hand. He begins to talk to her as if she is still alive. The V.O overlaying the scenes.

I tell myself that she… made me feel something. After years of dinners for one, falling asleep on the sofa, feeling anything was… well… a bloody miracle. She gave me hope in a life time of despair… or that’s what I tell myself. I’m just the idiot, half in love with a girl half his age.


DRIVER is seen bent over his coffee table, a frame in his hand. He is repainting the faded purple frame a bright crimson colour. Beside the back is a picture of a young woman and a baby boy.