Thursday, July 5, 2012

Case Study No. 0426: Pop

WWRY London - These are the days of our lives
Nigel Planer singing 'These are the days of our lives' from wwry london
Tags: wwry london 'nigel planer'
Added: 4 years ago
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Pop (Nigel Planer)
Pop is a former librarian, who has read the lost texts about music. In the first scene, he is arrested, but he returns in the final scene to help Galileo and Scaramouche discover the lost instruments which are buried on Planet Mall.



We Will Rock You (often abbreviated as WWRY) is a jukebox musical, based on the songs of Queen and named after their hit single of the same name. The musical was written by British comedian and author Ben Elton in collaboration with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor.

The story is set exactly 300 years in the future in a vaguely Orwellian world. Earth has been renamed as "Planet Mall", and is controlled by the Globalsoft Corporation. On Planet Mall, mainstream commercial conformity reigns, in which Ga Ga Kids watch the same movies, listen to computer-generated music, wear the same clothes and hold the same thoughts and opinions. Musical instruments are forbidden, and rock music is unknown.

At the beginning of Act Two, at the Seven Seas of Rhye pub, Pop the librarian is serving drinks to the lifeless Bohemians. ("These are the Days of Our Lives") When Galileo and Scaramouche arrive, Pop explains the full nature of the prophecy to them as inscribed by the three remaining members of the band Queen just before they were sentenced to death.



(The tabs go up. POP is sitting alone on a dark stage, reading a magazine. He takes out a recording device and speaks into it)

Pop: Central state library, stardate (whatever the date is plus 300 years). I must make haste, for I fear my arrest is imminent. Although I never discovered the exact day on which the music died, it is clear to me that an ancient entertainment phenomenon known as Pop Idol played a central role. It seems that the Globalsoft Corporation acquired the franchise and replaced the human contestants with computer generated cyber celebrities. With no cultural stimulation, the kids stopped caring. Democratic government collapsed - and the age of GaGa had dawned.

(A green cage of laser light appears around POP. KHASHOGGI and two MINIONS appear behind him)

Khashoggi: Oh my. Oh my, oh my, what's this? Do I see a little silhouetto of a spy?

Pop: Bummer.

Khashoggi: Tell me, old man. Why do you concern yourself so much with what is past?

Pop: Because it is only the past which gives us hope.

Khashoggi: But you've read the secret histories. Surely you've learnt that there is no hope.

Pop: There is always hope!

(He waves his arm and burns it in the green laser)

Hope is our birthright!

Khashoggi: Then where is it? Where is this 'hope'?

Pop: Any way the wind blows.

Khashoggi: What do you know of the term 'living rock'?

Pop: No more than that which the legend promises. That salvation is to be found there, at the place of the champions, and that a bright, bright star will show the way!

Khashoggi: Oh, god, I hate hippies! Consign this miserable creature to the Seven Seas of Rhye.

(the MINIONS put an orange helmet on POP's head)

Pop: Make love, not war!


(POP climbs up through a trapdoor centre stage, carrying a beer crate)


Sometimes I get to thinking
I was back in the old days, long ago
When we were kids, when we were young
Things seemed so perfect then - you know?
The days were endless
We were crazy, we were young
The sun was always shining
We just lived for fun
Sometimes it seems like lately - I just don't know
The rest of my life's been just a show

(the backdrop goes up and reveal a barroom scene. The back of the stage and part of the bar are covered in white drapes. The BOHEMIANS sit slumped at tables. POP puts the crate on the bar and walks around room, replacing drinks and wiping the tables)

Pop & Bohemians:

Those were the days of our lives
The bad things in life were so few
Those days are all gone now but one thing remains


When I look and I find no change
You can't turn back the clock, you can't turn back the tide
Ain't that a shame?
I'd like to go back one time on a roller coaster ride
When life was just a game
No use in sitting and thinkin' on what you did
You can lay back and enjoy it through the kids
Sometimes it seems like lately - I just don't know
Better sit back and go with the flow

Pop & Bohemians:

These are the days of our lives
They've flown in the swiftness of time
These days are all gone now but one thing remains


When I look and I find
Hope still survives
Oh yeah

(GALILEO and SCARAMOUCHE enter, stage right)

Galileo: Meatloaf! Guys, you're all here! Oh, it's so good to see you!

Scaramouche: How did you escape?

Galileo: This is fantastic! The bohemians are back! The fight is on!

(the BOHEMIANS look at GALILEO and SCARAMOUCHE blankly)

Big Macca: Do I know you, kid?

Galileo: But - it's me, Big Macca. You know. The man. The Dreamer. Galileo Figaro.

Big Macca: Nah, never heard of him. Buy us a drink.

Galileo: What?

Meat: Come on, you heard the man, buy us a soddin' drink!

Galileo: Meatloaf?

Pop: Your friends aren't there, dude. Their bodies are, but their spirits have gone. They've been processed.

Galileo: What do you mean?

Pop: This is where they all come - the guys and chicks who tried to break on through to the other side, and failed. They come to drown themselves in the Seven Seas of Rhye. Rhye whisky, man. The last comfort of those who have rocked.

Scaramouche: So - why do they come here?

Pop: You mean apart from in order to get permanently pissed?

Scaramouche: Yes.

Pop: There is something about this place. It's as if there's a spirit here. Long ago, before global warming, the lake was much smaller. Who knows, perhaps there's something down there, beneath the water. Something these washed-out mothers need to be close to.

Scaramouche: So who are you?

Pop: I was a librarian, astral babe. In the place where they keep the secret histories. I got a little too interested in the stuff I was reading.

Scaramouche: Did they process you?

Pop: They tried to, but I guess I knew too much. They couldn't zap it all. I may be pretty screwed up, but I'm still the most together guy here at the Seven Seas. That's why I'm the barman.

Scaramouche: So you remember something of what you read? Of the secret histories?

Pop: I remember one story. A legend so strong and powerful they could not wipe it from my brain. Would you like to here it.

Scaramouche: Nah, I thought we'd just have a drink and bugger off. Of course we want to hear it, you hairy old git!

Pop: Whoa! That is one gutsy chick, man! I bet she takes some handling!

Galileo: Well actually, she's not my chick.

Pop: Lucky you, I reckon.

Galileo: Perhaps you could tell us your story, Mr - er ...

Pop: Pop. They call me Pop.

Galileo: We'd love to hear it.

Pop: Well.

(he gestures the two towards him, and they all sit on the bar stools)

It seems that long ago, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, there were those who foresaw the nightmare that was to come. This was at the very beginning of music homogenisation. A time of boy bands. And girl bands. And boy and girl bands. And girl bands with a couple of boys in them that looked like girls. And boys who had left their boy bands to become just boys. And girls who were still in their girl bands but were nonetheless doing stuff as solo girls, sometimes in duets with solo boys. And also -

Scaramouche: All right, get on with it!

Pop: They called themselves bands, but they weren't bands. They were just pretty pretty dancers with multi-track voices.

Galileo: It's been that way ever since.

Pop: Exactly! A three hundred year bum vibe! But you see, some people saw what was coming. Take a look at this. It's a scroll of what I think they used to call 'celluloid'.

(he presses a lever and a video screen descends)

I stole this on the day I was captured, and through ten long years in a laser cell I've kept it hidden. Don't ask me where. It's only a fragment, but it's all that's left to us of a much longer, and seriously heavy message that was laid down for us in antiquity.

(he presses a button and the start of the video to 'Bohemian Rhapsody' appears on the screen, very grainy)


Is this the real life
Is this just fantasy
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up the skies, and see -

(the video ends)

Pop: That's all there is. Those four young men, singing to us from three centuries ago, were members of a rock freedom fighter collective known as 'Queen'. Even then, those young soul visionaries knew that real life was fast becoming someone else's fantasy. Look -

(he cues the video again)


Is this the real life
Is this just fantasy

(and pauses it)

Galileo: A fantasy - created by the computers of the global economy!

Pop: Exactly!


Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality

Pop: They foresaw a time when the kids would be caught in a landslide of computer generated marketing, and there would be no escape from that reality. All Queen wanted was for us all to ...


Open your eyes
Look up the skies, and see -

Scaramouche: So that's what it meant. Blimey. Sounded like a pretentious load of old bollocks to me.

Pop: No way, crazy lady! These are the words of truth! If only we knew the rest of the text.

Galileo: I think I may know some of it! Tell me, old wise one. What does 'Bismillah, we will not let you go, let me go, no, no, no, no, no, mamma mia, mammia mia, mamma mia, let me go, Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me' mean?

Pop: Actually, I think that bit probably was a pretentious load of old bollocks. But. Having issued their warning - and incidentally spent nine weeks at number one with it, despite what were quite frankly some rather dodgy stage outfits - Queen decided to fight back.

(POP grabs a chair, takes it to centre stage and sits on it. CLIFF, who had been sitting on the chair, slowly falls over)

You all right there, Cliff?

(CLIFF, lying on the floor, gives a thumbs up)

Don't worry about Cliff Richard, he's indestructible.

(SCARAMOUCHE and GALILEO sit on the floor in front of POP)

In order to protect the future of rock'n'roll, Queen decided to bury their finest instruments against a time when there would be none.

Galileo: Wait. You mean real instruments still exist - somewhere waiting to be found?

Pop: Yes. And they remain hidden. Queen wove deep and terrible spells to protect the precious weapons of freedom, from abuse by those not worthy of playing them. Even at the beginning of the dark age of globalisation, Queen knew that when the time was right a hero would be found and the instruments would reappear. Perhaps you are that man, man.

Scaramouche: But what happened to Queen?

Pop: The first of their number died young. Too wild, too beautiful for this world. The other three rocked on into the next century, but during Globalsoft's first battles for the soul of the planet, all three were captured and secretly killed. It is said that the hairiest of the gang - a man named Bri-Anne - was granted a final wish before execution. He asked to be able to play one last guitar solo, and was therefore able to postpone his death by three and a half days. Where are the instruments, Galileo Figaro?

Galileo: Me? How would I know, 'man'? A couple of weeks ago I was virtually a Virtual Highschool dropout. Why would the rock gods tell me the answer?

(there is the sound of heavy machinery)

Scaramouche: What's going on?

Pop: Don't freak out, sweet lady, they're just draining the lake. They steal our water all the time now. It's almost down to its original level.

Galileo: Hey - hey, look! What's that, emerging from the water? A man!

Scaramouche: A statue.

Galileo: A hero - made of bronze and rock.

Scaramouche: Who is it? Who does it represent?

Pop: I know this man! I saw many images in the secret histories! He is one of the freedom fighters of Queen, the first to die! The greatest, brightest star of his time!

Scaramouche: Star ... bright star! Gazza! Your dream! A bright star, that will show the way! It's not a star in the sky at all - it's a rock star!

Pop: Freaky.

Galileo: But what's it showing us?

Scaramouche: The way! It must be! The way to the place of living rock. Living rock isn't granite at all - it's music.

Galileo: But Queen buried the instruments there. How can they be buried in music?

Pop: No, man, the place of living rock. Live rock'n'roll music! It's pointing towards it, dude! The star is facing north! Well, north and a little bit west, actually. The place he once ruled - the place where people came together to play together and be together!

Galileo: The place where the champions played!

Pop: The place of champions! The old arena, I'm sure of it. The machines may have destroyed the stands and towers but they could never destroy the vibe of what they once called - Wembley Stadium.

Scaramouche: We must go, quickly! Well, now the stars shown us the way, it can guide the police there too. There's no time to lose.

Pop: I'll come with you, I can show you how to get there.

Galileo: But we need transport. I mean, we need wheels.


Bicycle! Bicycle! Bicycle!

Scaramouche: Bugger that! We're going to save rock'n'roll, we can't turn up on a bike!

Pop: Very eco.

Scaramouche: But it's not very cool.

Pop: You're right, crazy lady. We'll take my Harley.

(black tabs and a video screen come down behind them as a motorbike rises through the floor)

Rock's transport of choice. Not as fast, clean or efficient as a Japanese bike, but it sounds humungous.

(he starts it and climbs on. To SCARAMOUCHE:)

Get on behind me, baby.

(she does so)

Nice. It's been years since I've felt the soft warm thighs of a rebel chick wrapped round my skinny white arse.

(apalled, SCARAMOUCHE jumps off the bike)

Scaramouche: Forget it. I'll go in front.

(she climbs back on, in front of him this time)

Pop: All right, but don't blame me if I push the bone.

(SCARAMOUCHE leaps away from him, right to the front of the seat)

Scaramouche: I think I'm going to puke! Gazza, you get on behind me. And don't get any fresh ideas.

Galileo: It is time. Time to avenge the mighty Queen. Time to avenge them all!

Scaramouche: The word rhymes with 'banker'.

Pop: Get on your bikes and ride!

(GALILEO climbs on between POP and SCARAMOUCHE. The bike takes off (apparently) and flies to its destination. On the screen behind them we see the path of their journey - across the sea, past the remains of Stonehenge, overtaking Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, past the Millenium Dome with the Globalsoft logo on it, and finally to the gates of Wembley Stadium)

Galileo: Rock'n'roll!

Pop: Find me a bat! I want to bite its head off!


And you're rushing headlong


Down the highway


And you're rushing headlong


Out of control


And you think you're so strong


But there ain't no stopping


And there's nothing you can
Nothing you can
Nothing you can
Nothing you can
Nothing you can
Nothing you can
Nothing you can do about it

(at the gates they get off the motorbike, which sinks back into the stage)

Galileo: Nothing. Nothing at all.

Pop: Bummer.

Galileo: There aren't any instruments here! There isn't even any rock.

Pop: Just rubble.

Galileo: This place must have been destroyed centuries ago. It's no place of champions any more, if it ever was. I've failed, Scaramouche. I'll never find where the holy axe was hidden. I'll never play the lost riffs. My dreams - they never came true.

Scaramouche: Don't blame yourself, Gazza. It's not your fault.

Galileo: Thanks, Scaramouche.

Scaramouche: I mean it's not your fault you're a spineless, gutless, whinging little crybaby!

Galileo: Excuse me?

Scaramouche: I know why you can't find the guitar, mate! What was it Pop said? Queen wove deep and terrible spells to protect the instruments from those not worthy of playing them!

Galileo: You mean me?

Pop: Ouch.

Scaramouche: What do you think the mighty Queen died for? What? So you could act like a pathetic little coward? You wanted to be a rock star? They wouldn't let you in a boy band!

Galileo: Hey! Babe! I'm getting a little sick of this self-righteous thing of yours, all right? We tried, we failed. The instruments aren't here. Get over it!

Scaramouche: Then we'll just have to make music without them!

Galileo: What? A capella?

Pop: No!

Scaramouche: If necessary!

Pop: No! It is never necessary!

Scaramouche: Isn't that what it was all about? In the beginning? It was kids, doing it for themselves! They were playing in the streets, in the garages!

Pop: Yes, it was, it was!

Scaramouche: So come on, Gazza! Where's the bloke I used to love? Where's the bloke with the lead in his pencil? Where is Shagileo Gigolo?

Galileo: Right here, babe!

Scaramouche: Then prove it! Are we gonna rock, or what?

Galileo: Yes! Yes we are! I don't need any second-hand instruments to make music with, I can make music on my own. The music of a human being, and not of a machine!

Scaramouche: Right on!

Pop: Hello, Wembley!


Galileo: But not without you, Scaramouche. Don't you remember what Britney Spears said before he died? Making music is about love. You do it for your baby. And I can only do it for you. I love you with all my heart. Please come back to me. Because if you don't, I don't know if I can do this thing. And the kids'll forever be in chains!

Scaramouche: Oh, god. Talk about emotional blackmail ...

(she kisses him)

Pop: Ooh, I've gone all tingly.

(they part)

Scaramouche: So - let's rock!

Galileo: Yeah! I don't know how to start.

Scaramouche: Well, come on buddy, you're a boy ...

Pop: Make a big noise!

Scaramouche: Playing in the street ...

Pop: ... gonna be a big man some day!

Galileo: Wait - that's it.

Buddy ...
Buddy, you're a boy
Make a big noise
Playing in the street
Gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place

Pop: What a curiously exhilarating collection of words!

Galileo: Scaramouche - can you hear it? The beat! It's returning!

(sure enough, we hear the beat. Soon we can hear it all over the auditorium, as well)

Buddy, you're a boy
Make a big noise
Playing in the street
Gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place

We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you

(suddenly, on the of the gateposts splits open, revealing a guitar)

Scaramouche: What's happening?

Pop: Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening!

Galileo: An instrument! A real musical instrument!

Scaramouche: So they do exist, after all!

Pop: The dream machine! The greatest weapon on freedom known to mankind! An electric guitar! Seize it, Shagileo Gigolo! For none but the just shall play the hairy one's mighty axe! None but the kids!

(GALILEO takes the electric guitar)

Scaramouche: Wow. You're my guitar hero.

Galileo: Yes I am, baby. And now - let's rock!

(he tries to play it but is very bad)

Pop: Ooh, no, the rebirth of modern jazz.

Scaramouche: Give me that.

(she takes the guitar and plays it)

Galileo: The hairy one is back. And this time, she's a babe.

Scaramouche: So - I'll play, you sing.

Pop: And I'll be a groupie! Would anyone like to see my tits?

Scaramouche: Shut up, Pop!

Pop: Message received and understood. But first -

Galileo: What're you doing, Pop?

Pop: What do you think? I'm hacking into the Globalsoft mainframe, and emailing the power of rock to ever GaGa kid on the planet! Soon they'll all be bohemians!

Scaramouche: But Pop, Killer Queen will get your message too!

Pop: Oh, no, man! She just did! She wants to schedule a meeting ... we're all going to be downsized!

(a video screen descends, showing KILLER QUEEN)

Killer Queen: Who dares to play live rock on Planet Mall?

Galileo: I do! Me - and my baby!

Scaramouche: Oi, steady!

Killer Queen: I've heard your music, boy, and you - you are going to be huge! You'll make a million trillion zillion! I'm thinking merchandising, spin-offs, rip-offs, GaGas, go go! Napster, crapster! By tomorrow morning your face could be on every coke can in the universe! What you need is a manager!

Galileo: I don't think so, Queen! Shagileo Gigolo only rocks for the kids.

Killer Queen: You mean, for free?

Galileo: Yes. Yes I do! Pop, get me my mike.

Pop: I shall be thy roadie!

Killer Queen: Noooooooo!

(her screen ascends)


Buddy, you're a boy
Make a big noise
Playing in the street
Gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place

(BOHEMIANS enter behind the gates. SCARAMOUCHE shows them the guitar, and POP breaks the lock so they can all come through)


We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you


Buddy, you're a young man, hard man
Shouting in the street
Gonna take on the world some day
You got blood on your face
You big disgrace
Waving your banner all over the place


We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you


Buddy, you're an old man, poor man
Pleading with your eyes
Gonna make you some peace some day
You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Somebody better put you back into your place


We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you


I've paid my dues
Time after time
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I've made a few
I've had my share of sand
Kicked in my face
But I've come through


And we mean to go on and on and on and on

We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting till the end

We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the world

We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the world

(walkdown music and bows. After everyone has taken a bow, the words 'Do you want Bohemian Rhapsody?' come up on the video screens. After more applause they are followed by 'Oh ... ..all right then.')


Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away

Mama, ooo
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters


Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
My body's aching all the time
Goodbye everybody - I've got to go
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth


Mama, ooo


Anyway the wind blows


I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all


I see a little silhouetto of a man


Scaramouche, scaramouche will you do the fandango
Thunderbolt and lightning - very very frightening me









Galileo figaro magnifico


I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me


He's just a poor boy, from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity


Easy come, easy go
Will you let me go


Bismillah! No, we will not let you go
Bismillah! We will not let you go, let him go
Bismillah! We will not let you go


Let me go


Will not let you go


Let me go


Never let you go


Let me go

Never let me go


No, no, no, no, no, no, no


Oh mama mia, mama mia


Mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
For me, for me

Killer Queen:

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye
So you think you can love me and leave me to die


Oh baby, can't do this to me baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here


Nothing really matters


Anyone can see


Nothing really matters
Nothing really matters to me

Anyway the wind blows ...

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