Category Archives: Gods Of The Ring

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As a living poet I have always held a torch to tradition, using models like pillars on which to build my own poetical buildings. The Conchordia Folio is no different, for any self-respecting poet of substance, if turning to the dramatic arts, should really be focussing on the eminent dramatic poet of the language & his body of work.

But there is emulation & there is evolution, & for my own essay into theatre I have taken on board the love of my own zeitgeist for the Broadway/West End musical which has created, when blended with Shakespearean iambic pentameter, what I have call’d ‘Conchordia.’ In its purest essence it means ‘with chords,’ & all the songs I have provided for the conchords can be played on an acoustic guitar.

One must also praise the folk duo ‘The Flight Of The Conchords,’ who really raised the bar as to what an individual performer must be – part singer, part songwriter, part actor, part comedian, part dancer, etc… i.e. all the muses operating in a single bodily space.

The first 13 conchords of the CONCHORDIA FOLIO are;

LEITHOLOGY
Alibi
Tinky Disco
Gangstaland
Timewarpin’
No Nay Never

GODS OF THE RING
Fight Of The Century
Sunshine Showdown

LYRICAL HISTORIES
Flight of The White Eagles
Malmaison
Stars & Stripes
The Siege of Gozo
Charlie
Viriathus

Millhouse Green
22/04/21


The Conchordia Folio: An Interview with Damian Beeson Bullen (September 2019)

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Ever imagined what would have happen’d
If the Stone Roses had teamed up with Shakepseare? The Mumble caught up with the man behind it all…


Hello Damo. So you are here to talk about your new project, the Conchordia Folio – what’s it all about?
Hello Mumble. Well, in essence the folio is a collection of dramatic scripts, per se, rather like the Shakespearean folio. The only difference is I’m assembling it myself, whereas the Bard’s was collated by his pals a few years after his death. It should be ready in book & audio form by the Spring. There’ also an element of competition here – why not, you only get one life. As a poet I’ve written a better epic than Milton, but Shakespeare seems untouchable. But so were Liverpool FC before Fergie got the Man U job, & after declaring he wanted to ‘knock them off their fuc£king perch’ he went on to do so. I know I’m definitely a better bass-payer than Shakespeare, so I knew had to incorporate music into my scripts, play to my strengths kinda thing. Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock Shakespeare off his feffin perch!

So how exactly do you intend to ‘Knock Shakespeare off his feffin perch?’
I mean look, if a guy can run a marathon in less than two hours, another guy can outdo Shakespeare. Its the whole point of being human right, to better ourselves. Methodwise, its simple really. I’ve tried to outdo his sonnets already, creating a sequence of 154 which if you put against Shakespeare’s 154, I think I’ve got the edge. So it’ll be the same idea with the plays. I need to create a canonical 37 which when placed next to Shakepseare’s own 37, lets leave it to posterity to decide. My edge, I think, is going to be more penetrable language, shorter pieces & some proper banging tunes.

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Performing Alibi at Eden Festival, 2018

Thirty Seven plays – thats an awful lot to create in a single sitting – how long do you think will it take to achieve?
Well, I’ve written/been writing an epic poem, Axis & Allies, since 2001, so I can handle large projects no problemo. But I have set myself a time limit. With Shakespeare writing his last play, The Tempest, over the winter of 1610-1611, then he was 46 years old, approaching 47. For an even playing field, then, I need to be finishing my 37th play about the same time. I turn 47 in June 2024, so I’ve got just under four years to finish them all. Its totally doable, by the way, & watching that guy run a sub-two-hour marathon thro sheer hard work & dedication inspired me. I guess its a bit like if you got an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters, or whatever it was, one of them would randomly recreate the works of William Shakespeare OR you get one very determined bard from Burnley on an emulation mission creating something rather like the complete works of William Shaksepeare.

So what exactly is Conchordia?
Well. Its essentially the artform I’m inventing. Stripped down to its most basic level the term can be interpreted as ‘with chords’ – the idea is that one can witness a piece of drama accompanied by a single acoustic guitar. That’s the core. Then, I realised that guitar could be played by a performer, which reminded me of the very funny Flight of the Conchords duo. They are like proper multi-taskers – acting, singing, dancing, playing guitars – that’s what I want ‘Conchordian’ to be able to do. Act, sing, dance & playing instruments when they’re not on stage – even if its just percussive. Also, since Concord the airplane is now defunct, the name is up for grabs these days & I like idea of people going for a ride in one of my conchords.

What traits & attributes sets Conchordia apart from the other arts?
Each of the Conchordia has different DNA – there’s some that are just rock opera with barely any dialogue, & some that are simply musicals with an acoustic guitar. My later creations, however, are definitely realising a vision of theatre I have been developing. As a poet I have a gift for blank verse – its the most artistic way of expressing human speech. Shakespeare used it, so it can’t be that bad right? It certainly feels like at this point in time I’m the leading exponent of dramatic blank verse on the planet. I mean I just love it – there is a dynamic flow in those unrhymed five-stress ten styllable lines that  seems like the dream of ordinary speach in a greater version of humainity – the idealised tongue. The English also have a genius for songwriting, while the Americans have mastered the musical. So if we blend all these together – Shakespearean blank verse, English songwriting, plus a wee splash of Broadway, you get Conchordia.

What other musical instruments are used in Conchordia, apart from the percussion?
Well, to be honest, there’s no limit. I’m going off the old edict that for a song to be a good song it needs to sound good sung on its own with only an acoustic guitar. But any producer of a conchord may use that basis to add an orchestra, or a rock & roll band, anything they like really. Each text also has a few ‘set’ pointers, which may also be interpreted as the company sees fit.

Have you performed any of your conchords yet?
I have actually – last year I put on a piece called Alibi at the Haddington Corn Exchange & also at the Eden Festival. It was fun – everyone enjoyed performing it & watching it. Doing Alibi made me realise I was onto something & began to look at my past pieces.

Your past pieces, what do you mean?
Alibi was the first slice of musical theatre I ever did – in 2007 & 2008. I was wintering in Sicily & got an acoustic guitar for Christmas, 2006. I then started looking at my old songs, connecting the common threads & adding a story. Bingo, my first conchord! I performed a it a few times in Edinburgh, Sheffield & Leeds. Next was a piece called Charlie, about the Jacobite rebellion, which I made into a film. About that period, & ever since, I’ve created a few others, but all in sketch form, in various states of completion. The Conchordio Folio is the moment I get them all nailed – a line in the sand, so to speak.

What Conchords are to be included in the Folio?
Like I said before, 37. The first five come together in a quintology  called Leithology. There’s Alibi, Gangstaland, one I haven’t given a title to, a time-travelling one called Timewarpin’ & Tinky Disco. The idea is that they all interlink through characters, who each get a main musical to strut their stuff in. Like the X-Men franchise. Tinky Disco is based loosely upon The Tinky Disco Show, & will see the return of DJ Brooklyn – like a 21st century Falstaff. There are quite a number of histories – Charlie, Finnesburgh – based on a story in Beowulf – Malmaison, which tells the story of Napoleon on his return to Paris after Waterloo, one about Princess Diana, & Gods of The Ring, about the Foreman, Ali, Frazier fights in the 70s. There’s also a trilogy called The Rock & Roll Wars, its essentially a battle of the bands on a cosmic level. There’s Exes & Axes, a 19th century tale of romantic betrayal set in 19th century France – it doesn’t quite fit with any of the others, but its really funny.


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Composing Conchordia: Provence (February 2020)

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At the teddy bear shrine of Elizabeth Drummond

Just as Shakespeare toured Italy as a prelude to the writing of his Italian plays, when deciding to compose a conchord on Gaston Dominici, I thought a story-hunting trip to Provence in order to commune with the ghosts of that most famous of 20th century crimes would surely help my craft. The crime in question is the 1952 roadside murder of nutritionist Sir Jack Drummond, his wife & their 10 year old daughter. They had camped for the night near a farmhouse owned by Gaston Dominici, a 75 year old patriarch in whose barn was kept the WW2 carbine which shot Sir Jack & his wife, & then clubbed to death little Elizabeth. A shocking case which brought the world to the Durance Valley & also sucked to the surface old family quarrels & familiar local feuds which in the end saw Gaston sentenced to death. In the clear light of seven decades it seems likely that the perpetrator was Gaston’s grandson, 16 years old & probably drunk at the time, Roger Perrin.

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Last Thursday myself, Spud, Victor Pope & ex-Tinky Disco bandmate Al Roberts all made our bleary-eyed ways to Edinburgh airport for a 9.45 AM flight. Me & Spud always get wound up by Al leaving his house in a slow-shabby fashion, so opted to get to the airport ourselves – I took a tram & he the shuttle bus. Vic & Al shared an Uber without any mess-ups, which surprised us & proved a good omen to our week together on the road. As we stepped onto the tarmac to board our plane, the Scottish chill was fully raging & I was very much looking forward to a respite from the seemingly endless Caledonian winter.

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Gyptis choosing Euxene

A handful of hours later we were in Marseille & checking into our Air B&B right beside the Old Harbour, or Vieux Port. This was the spot where in 600 BC a guy called Euxene arrives from Phocae (an ancient part of Turkey) just in time for the local king’s daughter’s ‘choosing ceremony.’ In short, among a group of gathered suitors, Euxene was the one given a goblet of wine by princess Gyptis, who would later change her name to Aristoxenus. Euxene & Aristoxenus, now that’s already got the hallmarks of a conchord, I thought to myself, in the same way I thought that Gaston Dominici has a Motzartean ring about it. Looking at the Gyptis story at that point, tho, it unfortunately seemed a bit weak to make a conchord out of…

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Marseille with the lads was fun. Kicking back with a smart TV & cheap beer in the hypermodern flat or on the balcony overlooking the harbour, with the pointed cathedral rising on the central Marseille hill beyond. On the smart TV, we watched Netflix, played all our music videos, while Al could send to it our recent recordings – an album called the New Truth. I couldn’t help but notice the technological advancement of the species – the last time I was in Provence was 20 years ago & for fun me & my pal, Bryn, ended up making a chess board out of paper & stones. Here’s an extract from my journal of that time.


May 10th, 2000

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We woke up proper spangled, but a quick dip in the exquisitely cool pool proved enough of a respite from our frail noggins & we were able to pack & head out to Cannes. It was the first day of the festival & full of noisy Yanks, so we soon got out of dodge, striking inland on a bus to Grasse, a lovely town stacked high against the hillside. We had a couple of hours to kill so wandered around a bit & to our delight found it very swell, with lovely narrow streets & great prospects of the Cotes d’Azore in the distance.

After sending off our postcards we hopped on a bus north along La Route Napoleon. The view was spectacular as we climbed & wound thro’ the mountains, each one clad in trees giving a baize effect, & I could imagine Napoleon & his column following the same road. A rapid mist descended, however, followed soon after by heavy rain which showed no intention of letting up as we were unceremoniously dumped in the wee hamlet of Seranon. We dived into the only bar around for shelter & refreshment, obtaining a few funny looks off the funny looking locals.

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In the days before group emails & blogs

Eventually we found out the bus north didn’t leave til the morning, so we were stuck. We didn’t fancy putting the tent up in the rain so opted for a hotel. A friendly couple drove us a half mile down the road to their mate’s hotel, which was closed. Luckily the mustached madame opened it up for us (a whole hotel to ourselves), but we were forced to share a double bed (with pants on obviously). As soon as we paid our 15 francs the sun came out & we heaved a table up to the roof, bought wine, cheese, bread & sausage & had a most pleasant supper among the mountains. It was cool, me musing & Bryn sketchin’ & it felt nice to be doing spot of real travelling, the only sound being the constant chuckle of crickets. Bryn very correctly brought up the point we were stuck in a one horse dive & had less than two days to get to Venice, but I re-assured him all would be reyt. We made a chess-board out of paper & stones & played to the setting of the sun, before all the wine & well-thought-out moves took their toll & sent us both a-slumbering.


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At a monument to Rimbaud, Marseille seafront

Fastforward to 2020, on our first full day in France – Brexit day as it so happened – we enjoyed a daytime riviera stroll, followed by a wicked night out at bohemian La Plaine – a very funky part of Marseille. Drinking & dancing & downing tequilas, we met an English busker called Charlie, & his Slovakian girlfriend. The gods had answered our pleas, & he actually had 3 guitars. ‘Don’t worry, we won’t steal them – it’ll be too expensive to check them into our flights back,’ put him off from coming round for a jam, but he agreed to meet us the next day for a wee busk.

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It was more than a joy the following afternoon to find ourselves all jamming together by Marseille harbour to the infinite delight of the locals. Our immediate audience consisting of an annoying kid who kept banging the guitars, a Czech street lassie & a Parisenne rock-chick who finds Marseille a cheaper place to live. Before then, I’d taken a solo morning mission up to Allauch, a hilltop village right on the edge of the Marseille conurbation. It was at the old castle, even higher still, that I filmed the following Pendragon Poetry post, talking all about Conchordia.

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Allauch
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I was up in the hills as I’d read that a possible Gyptis object had been found in a hillside cave nearby. The curator of the slick local museum begged to differ, but I said I’m a poet & I didn’t want the truth to get in the way of a good story. Yes, a conchord was being born & on the way back to the appartment I googled a few Greek myths & found one, which I felt I could use – Alcyone and Ceyx. Basically, they offended the gods by calling themselves Hera & Zeus, & ended up being drowned & then turned into birds. A little creative furnace-burning later & I’d transmorped the myth into Euxene & Aristoxenus being turned into the the islands of Pomègues and Ratonneau which lie off the mouth of Marseille harbour. Like the Phaecean ship which carried Odysseus to Ithica being turned to stone.

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Alcyone & Ceyx
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Pomègues and Ratonneau

Compositionwise I only managed a few speeches from VIRIATHUS in Marseille – the second Senate scene – in the early morning before the boys woke up, mainly at a cafe by the harbour. I usually compose on my morning East Lothian walks with Daisy, accompanied otherwise only by nature and the essential headspace needed to really zone out. Not so easy in a busy city as ever. There was no way I was going to achieve my goal of finishing Viriathus on this trip & then starting ‘The Flight of the White Eagles, ‘ – my conchord about the retreat from Moscow – the notes for which I worked intensively on before I set off. Still, they are all in the bank & Viriathus should be finished within days. I’ll be recreating the antics & dashing chit-chat of Seargant Bourgogne soon enough!

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We left Marseille the next day, the sunshine heating up, arriving by train at the Durance valley & the station which serves La Brilliane & Oraison. The River Durance patches its way between them on a hugely wide stony river bed, with hills framing the scene on either side, & the snow-capped Alps closing the vista far to the north at Digne. Public transport round these parts is pretty neglible, & with it being Sunday afternoon no shops were open. Of that first of the two matters, we soon hit paydirt. After walking over the bridge to Oraison, beyond the frustratingly closed intermarche, we came to a carpark where I asked a lovely fella could he take us to Dabisse, & he agreed gladly.

IMG_20200202_180849.jpgDabisse is a wee village with a bar & a bus stop kinda thing. The bar was well busy, tho, its car park full of temporary pebbledash for a meeting of the region’s petanque teams. It was a really serendiptous, masonic, monastic moment listening to the clink-clinks & murmours of the play. Getting a carry-out together we went back to our villa & gorged on the food previous Air B&B-ers had left behind – a severe stroke of luck for a hungry bunch on a Sunday.


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Ah, the good old days! Roll on a nigh decade & I found myself composing Viriathus, drinking wine by the pool of a plush villa in Provence. We had a look at the pool, but soon covered it up again – early February means a bit of algae & no need for pool-use, I guess.

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The fridge was now full. We’d hitched a lift to Oraison in the morning off the lovely John Christmas (real name Jean-Noel), stocked up at the supermarket, then caught a taxi back to Dabisse for the day. And what a day, far from the Scottish chill and ended by a walk with Al for a sunset view over the Durance valley.

Some of those 21 degree sun-soaked, Senate-based Viriathus lines composed by the pool read like this ;

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Galba
Senators of our majestic city
& many other regions in its stride,
This treaty is, in the highest degree,
Dishonorable to all we stand for,
Staining Servilianus’ career,
Viriathus is a craved barbaric,
Beheading, disembowelling at will,
A bandit on an unsubsistive soil –
To him a border is a line to cross
To empty beaten innocents of blood
& topple pillars, pillaging obscene.

Lupius
Obscene? Objection! You paint him monster,
Humanity, his high ascendency,
Distributes unifying spiritus
That never in the passage of this war,
In armies of tribal variety,
Was ever spill’d sedition, all obey’d,
All fearless in the presence of danger –
As statesman he was neither humble-knee’d
Nor overbearing in leagues & treaties,
Faithful, exact, aequis, veritable,
Vir Duxque Magnus, ancient ideals
Penetrated atoms of existence,
& as the adsertur of Hispania
Let us assert our honour to his will
Make good his claims to the fame of the world,
Too many lost already in that place
We owe him our respect

Galba
We owe him death
The retributive slew for youth hard lost.

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So to yesterday – the ultimate object of this mission & a trip to La Grand Terre, the farmhouse of the Dominicis. It began in fine fashion with me & Spud arguing about how to get to Lurs – it was a case of his gammy leg versus my abundant energy & in the end the lads got a taxi & I walked the muddy Durance-side fields down to the bridge & back up the other side. I got to Lurs scrambling up its rocky slopes & arrived at its medieval core to see the lads waiting at the entrance. Once reunited we hit the old goat tracks down to the road, & using a little satnav orienteering came out at the very spot where the Drummonds were murdered. The poignant teddy bear shrine is testament to the locals’ indignation at the death of a child.

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Looking back from Lurs Terrace on the way I had walked – Dabisse is the village middle left & I walked by the Durance to the right of the photo
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Oraison is the town in the middle distance – I crossed the bridge there & walked to this point
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Approaching La Grand Terre

After La Grand Terre, I’d got it in my head that we could ford the Durance – Dabisse was more or less facing us on the other bank. The lads humoured me & watched me make tentative efforts on a scouting mission in the shallower bits – but the plan was soon aborted & we caught a taxi back. That night I ruminated in a Pendragon fashion on the Drummond murders & got a pretty plausible idea of what went on that night – which I’ll use in my composition.

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The next day we chilled in the sun til 2PM, caught a taxi to the station, then a train to Saint Antione, conducted a wee walk to our Air B&B off La Pennes Mirabeau, then caught the Rangers-Hibs game over beers. At 6AM we hired a lift off our landlord to the airport & we were finally in Edinburgh by 9.30 AM. On the flight I pretty much worked out the structure of the Dominic conchord – 4 acts with a cliffhanger ending each one – & began sketching it out on the inside cover of an Agatha Christie book I was reading on the holiday- A Pocketful of Rye. Just like Agatha I was going backwards from the ending, & there’s a chance I could have a wee Mousetrap on my hands if I get mi ‘ead down. With bangin’ tunes & Shakespearean blank verse, of course!

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Composing Conchordia: Vaulting The Lockdown (May 2020)

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After the completion of the Leithology quintology – which will soon be on sale on all platforms – & the composition of Viriathus & Malmaison, I felt THE FLIGHT OF THE WHITE EAGLES was going to be a real statement-maker. If I really do wanna emulate Shakespeare, I need definitive works with meaty bodies – a bit like Hamlet innit – & so turned to Napoleon’s infamous retreat from Moscow as the first of my major conchords. There’s a hell of a lot of drama obviously, & when it comes to stagecraft the visual deterioration of the soldiers will be a wonderful story to tell.

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With five acts of seven or so scenes each, all bubbling with blank verse & containing both original songs & songs drawn from the period itself, WHITE EAGLES definitely marks a placement of my muse on a Parnassian plateaux of sorts. No looking back now – ten down, 27 to go!

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LEITHOLOGY – Available in book form soon

I began researching WHITE EAGLES last year after reading the fabulous ‘Memoirs of Sergeant Bourgogne.’ From this first catalyst – I was very verteux at the time – I began to research other memoirs up in the National Library of Scotland, such as those of Caulaincourt, & set to work on the composition period not long after my return from Provence sometime in mid-February. Then the Lock Down happened. I don’t need to rattle on about it, everyone’s experiencing it. I’m lucky tho’ – I walk dogs with my girlfriend which meant I could to & fro between my places in Edinburgh & East Lothian for ‘work that cannot be done from home‘ – the dog numbers had drastically plumetted, but there was enough to make it valid & of course meant I could compose pretty much anyway I liked – from the Lammermuirs to Leith Links. Here’s a Walking East Lothian post I created during the Lock Down.

Musically, WHITE EAGLES has been something of an educational dream, help’d along by my house-mate’s keyboard playing. By February I had a couple of tunes, but then began to write more & add local colour so to speak, translating from the French lyric into the English. Of my new songs THE BALLAD OF BORODINO is really beautiful I think, & THE GREAT NAPOLEON really fun – the Herod moment – my house mate incorporating the Tetrislike theme tune into via some techno rave from the 90s via Hicksy & Sharky. He also fell in love with Plaisir D’Amour & Compere Guillere.

The full list of songs is below, with astersks denoting my own compositions)

The Sable Raven – English version
Marlbrough is Going To war – English version
Plasir D’amour
Parisienne Skies (*)
On Va Leur Percer Le Franc
The Blood of Borodino (*)
Pomme de Terres (*)
Compere Guillere – French Version
Song of the Loricated Legion (*)
My Handsome Husband (*)
Soarin’ Home (*)
Chant du Depart
Crossing the Bridge (*)
The Great Napoleon (*)
Compere Guillere – English version (*)
Au Clair de la Lune
Le Depart Du Bologne
The March from Moscow (*)

Theatrically, there are a lot of parts – three main bodies of 8-10 characters; Napoleon & his entourage, Bourgogne’s company & the Russian partisans. There’s also another 20 or so walk-in parts, plus the crossing of the Berezhina bridge to depict – but whenever WHITE EAGLES does get performed everyone’s gonna JUST love it!

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Artistically, WHITE EAGLES is the bag daddy to Malmaison, but together they form a very good account of Napoleon’s life. Like I said at the start, it also represents the foot-scrambling heave onto the plateaux from where the rest of my conchords will be composed.

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The first of this new bunch is GODS OF THE RING & I’m extremely excited about it. The principle subject is the four fights between Ali, Foreman & Frazier, & all the dramas before, during, after & between the fights. The names of these epic combats have gone down in history – THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY, THE SUNSHINE SHOWDOWN, THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE & THE THRILLA IN MANILLA. Like White Eagles I’ve already got two tunes in the bank, a theme tune & the sublime, best song I’ve written in ages, BLACK POWER. I’ve been compiling the notes in the past few days, the bulk of which were studied for in the National Library just before the Lockdown.  I’m gonna print out the first notes today & get composing soon after.

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With White Eagles taking just over three months, & June the 1st on the horizon, I’ve got a feeling that every new conchord is gonna take a season – so Gods of the Ring is the conchord of the summer of 2020 – the weird summer, the one where the theatres were closed. For me, I think I’ll be spending some of it hopefully in Greece, where the next of these windows into my workings will be composed.


Songs From The GODS OF THE RING

OVERTURE

ACROSS THE USA

IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM

BLACK POWER

SLINKY DISCO


OVERTURE

America
When Smoking Joe Frazier met Muhammad Ali
It was the Fight (FIGHT) of the Century
When Foreman floor’d Frazier the talk of all Jamaica
Was the height (HEIGHT) of brutality

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Angels
Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

America
When Foreman took a tumble the Rumble in the Jungle
Was a night (OF) immortality
& man what a killer the Thrilla in Manilla
Saw the might (MIGHT) of humanity

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Angels
Welcome ye Gods of the Ring


ACROSS THE USA

I was born in Arizona
Moved to Tallahassee way
Now I live in California
Where I always want to stay
But if I wanna see America
I got to leave LA
Cos the open road is calling me
Acr.ooss the USA

I caught a bit of Woodstock
But the Hippies smelt too strange
At Altemont I dug the rock
But then I sensed the change
& now its ninety-seventy one
Saigon’s a firing range
A new spirit moves thro’ everyone
With the sixties all estranged

Cos there shines a new America
As bright as the new day
When a boxing bout thrills all of us
Across the USA


IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM

I found the freedom to do what I wanna do
The sum of patience & reason to think things thro
No longer under the rainclouds of painful confusion
That our socety’s under
& so I start to suggest that you do the same
There’s so much freedom in losing you chosen name
& when you’re choosing your own hang it up in a frame
That the world will look up to & wonder

Listen to me, I’m Muhammad Ali
I’m Beloved of God
You wanna be free from this state fakery
Switch your old life off
I’m Beloved of God


BLACK POWER

From civil rights by candlelight
In guru kinda places
To rubbing wax on caddilacs
To put them thro their paces
Gonna drive round town with my hood down
Saying fuck you to the racists

There’s black power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
See me rising in the street
Black Power

Well here’s my fist & here’s a list
Of all my consternations
Its been two strides forward one drag back
Since our emancipation
In brotherhood our mothers’ blood
Defines us as one nation

There’s black power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
See me rising in the street
Black Power

Let it roll thro my soul
We are fast & we are strong
Gonna fight the past, gon right the wrong
Cos there’s black power running thro my vein
Lionesses stroke my mane
Watching white men on the wane
Black Power
Back power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
Gon see us rising in the street



SLINKY DISCO

I’m singing halleluah
The tunes are wingin to ya
Come on let the truth widen your life

I tried it only last night
Rising to my full height
I felt a mighty love light up my life

Let the DJ mix it
Someone gotta risk it
Singing at the disco & that’s fine

Me & you are riding
Easy summer gliding
Lover songs are sliding down my spine
C’mon & share my wine

Elixir of the spirit
Guess ya wantin in it
Everybody spinning to the tune

Listen to the rhythm
Mixing like a prism
Glisten when we’re risen round the room

Revellers are burning
To the table turning
Everyone is learnin’ how to vibe

Me & you are moving
Fuckin funky grooving
Everybody proving loves a tribe
Come feel the love inside
Feel the love inside

Cos I’m a disco lover & I’m breakin it down
I’m a good time lover when the sun goes down
& all ya fun lovin’ people gonna hit the floor
Hit the floor hit the floor when ya want some more
Break it down

I’ve always felt myself as a
Stick of the chemical dynamite
I’ve always seen the girls as some
Body to keep, me warm, at night
& I know that I might be a
Bit of a good time alchemist
Cos I got disco in my soul,
That’s how it is

I’m singing halleluah
Music’s coming through ya
Come on let the truth widen your smile

Music in the morning
Hope ya shoes are worn in
As we feel reborn in a brand new style

Someone’s gotta make it
Someone’s gotta break it
Someone’s gotta take it to the top

Me & you are fusing
Cuddles are amusing
Summer weather cruising, never stop
We’re dancing til we drop
Keep dancing to you drop

Cos I’m a disco lover & I’m breakin it down
I’m a good time lover when the sun goes down
To the sound of the disco as we get on down
I don’t mind if ya sixty or ya seventeen
When the scene’s so swingin’, slinky disco team
We’re the cream

It’s a disco mix it up
It’s a disco mix it up ….
Slinky disco mix it up
Spin around & spank

We’re gonna get down mix it up
Let the minxes turn it up
There’s a heatwave on the floor
Were the kids on a candy store
Hes rockin’ all over town
She’s foxy shake it down
Were the fun-funk family
Slinky disco energy

I tried it only last night
Rising to my full height
I felt a mighty love light up my life

Let the DJ mix it
Someone gotta risk it
Singing at the disco & that’s fine


THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY: Prologue-Scene 1

stars_and_stripes_by_divinedesign

The Gods Of The Ring


PROLUSION

Enter the Spirit of America & her angels

Angels
The Spirit of America shall speak

America
O for a Muse of air, that would transcend
The lightest season of convincive art,
As here, as erst upon an antique stage,
I rise to thee a proud exordial,
Long sent to steer this vessel of repute
Across a raft of retrospective wits
Adorning this gymnic Conchordia
Uploaded with prologean Chorus,
Such dainty diversions stand antidote
To times of dull labour, outstandingly,
To live thro’ deeds, not years, thro’ thoughts, not breath,
Thro’ intimacies of imitancy
Rare souls yet rouse Humanity to ken
Fair prospers capabilities within
Each all of us to be a living God
Admir’d & worship’d widely ‘cross the world
My golden theme such Giants of the Sun
Melded ankle-deep, brutal gang of three,
Forming a cosmic counterpoint to life
Four years of fabulous entanglements
As much excitement as a night can bear
As much commotion as a land can stand
Exploding beyond borders thro’ the Globe
Pantomimean pandemonium
Of boxing; its burlesque imperative,
Its irreproducable accident
Of history; its outstanding resolve
Thro’ acts of beauty, countrymen come hear
The names of our three principles, Ali
Frazier & Foreman – hear the angels sing

Angels
Welcome, yes welcome, ye Gods of the Ring

***

OVERTURE

America
When Smoking Joe Frazier met Muhammad Ali
It was the Fight (FIGHT) of the Century
When Foreman floor’d Frazier the talk of all Jamaica
Was the height (HEIGHT) of brutality

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Angels
Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

America
When Foreman took a tumble the Rumble in the Jungle
Was a night (OF) immortality
& man what a killer the Thrilla in Manilla
Saw the might (MIGHT) of humanity

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Angels
Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

***


CC27-Comparo-Eldo-f3qtr-4

SCENE 1: Philadelphia

Joe Frazier is sat in his car singing along to the radio – Muhammad Ali knocks on the window – Frazier gestures to Ali to get in the car – Enter Muhammad Ali carrying a suitcase

Ali
Hey, man, nice wheels

Frazier
Front-drive Eldorado

Ali
The Queen o’ Cadillacs I heard ’em say

Frazier
So where you wanna go

Ali
The bus station

Frazier
Sure, that aint far, I’m happy to oblige

Ali
Look at us, undefeated champions
Of the whole world’s heavyweight division
All in one space & ne’er comin’ to blows

Frazier
There’s a time & a place for that action
Mine was no ignoble supplantation
My honour says we’ll have to fight one day
I’ve even sent the Supreme Court letters
Begging them return your boxing license

Ali
I dig that, brother, your soul is shining
You got good days ahead, too, good money
You got Mac Foster coming up; Foreman –
George Foreman – both million-dollar gates
Rip’ning all the time, beautiful paydays
You got it made if you just play it cool,
But big up the truth, man, if you fought me,
Would you be scared?

Frazier
No, man, honest to God

Ali
You really wouldn’t be

Frazier
No kinda way

Ali
I mean my fast left jab, the way I dance?

Frazier
Noooooo! I’d get close to you, I’ve heard ’em talk
‘Bout how fast you is, moving away, but
You’ll find out how fast I am moving in.

Ali
Remember that time you came to see me
Fight Zora Folley? You wanted to learn
From me

Frazier
We all know a time of learning.

Ali
You believe you learnt enough to fight me?

Frazier
Hell, yeah! Maybe even if I didn’t
Know enough, I would never turn you down –
For any man that turns another down
In his profession deem less than a man

Ali
What if a man is wise & bides his time
As when we watch’d delinquents stab their knives
Stood safely by on sidewalks when us boys

Frazier
I’m ready now to beat you fair & square

Ali
So, do you think you could decision me,
Or could even stop me before fifteen?

Frazier
I’m sure I could stop you before fifteen.

Ali
You really do?

Frazier
I really do. You see,
The kinda stuff on you I’m gonna put
Y’ain’t ever seen before, you understand?

Ali
It’s impossible to dodge my jab

image-51

Frazier
Those other cats let you have it your way
Just like they let me have it my way, dig?
They let you jump around the ring, and dance,
But I’d be getting me right dead on you
Every time you breathe you would be breathing
Right down on my head.

Ali
You never whip me
You be tired after six rounds of scuffling.

Frazier
You be tired, too, trying to get away
Running and jabbing, ducking and dodging
You be tired, too.

Ali
I’m stronger than you think
{long pause}
I really believe you afraid of me

Frazier
{long pause}
No, I sure ain’t – I wanna fight you bad

Ali
After I get myself into good shape,
I’m gonna dance and move like Sugar Ray.
S’impossible to whip me with your style

Frazier
Well, I been up against real race horses
But I’ve whipp’d ’em all down to a slow trot.
Slammin’ sticky quicksand under bruis’d hooves.

Ali
I’ll admit you good, but I’m the fastest
Fist in the history of the whole world.

Frazier
Moving away, maybe, but moving in,
No way, that’s me, I’m fastest moving in

Ali
But you don’t have no jab.

Frazier
{aghast, almost stops car}
I don’t have a jab?

Ali
Keep driving! Watch it! No, you got no jab

Frazier
But man, I’d tear your head off with a jab!
I’ve got a jab like a cool machine gun

Ali
I’ve seen you box, I fought Sonny Liston twice,
When he was at his best – Floyd Patterson
I beat, & all those title defenses
Like Mildenberger & Henry Cooper.

Frazier
What you want me to do?

Ali
And I fought
Zora Folley & Cleveland Williams

Frazier
Which one you want me to fight?

Ali
They all beat – but leaving out me & you
Who you think would be the best two to fight
The all-time title

Frazier
Oh, like Joe Louis
& Jack Johnson

Ali
Damn straight, that’s who I think.

Frazier
Yeah, man, y’know I hope you do get back.
But, man, you ain’t gonna do no whipping.
Not on me. I hope there’ll be no hard feelings
When I whip your ass
{Sees Ali about to cut in}
Brother let me talk!
Got no hard feelings with you anyplace
But when we in the ring, you on your own.

Ali
But you be on your ownsome lonesome, too

Frazier
That’s the only way I know how to be.

Ali
If we can’t get along, let’s get it on.

Frazier
We’ll get it on. Ain’t no doubt about that.
Once that bell rings, I see you psych ’em out
But me, I’m a different cut – I’m the
Greatest psych artist ever put on earth
You’d outpsych Houdini easy than me

Ali
For that smart remark, here’s my prediction
A perfect blueprint of the first five rounds

Frazier
Who say you gonna last that –

Ali
Let me talk!
That night of the fight at the ticket booth,
I want the people to pick up the program,
See written out round-by-round what I’ll do
Like reading menus for an eight-course meal
Now the first round–Dong! See me coming out
But I ain’t gonna do nothing, no need
Just gonna show you off as an amateur,
I won’t throw one punch, I’m just gonna dance
& hold my guard down by my groovin’ hips
Gonna dance and move like I did with Floyd
Patterson, ‘what’s the matter son,’ I’ll say
As you don’t even get in one poor punch
But still, I’m gonna let you win that round.
Then, second round–Dong! I’m coming out fast,
I’ won’t be shooting nothing but left jabs.
Gonna hold my right hand down by my side
I won’t be needing it for no protection,
Nothing but left jabs, nothing but left jabs,
Here comes the jabs . . . then the third round–Dong!
I’m coming out, putting footwork together
Jabs together, right crosses together
& here come the unstoppable left hooks

Frazier
{exploding}
Sounds like you done won the fight already–

Ali
I aint gonna miss a left jab that round
And after that fifth round–

Frazier
{can’t stand it any longer}
Wait, wait–

Ali
You say what you say when I’m through

Frazier
Go & muzzle up that Nostradamus

Ali
Lemme finish, man, don’t be getting scared,

Frazier
Scared?

Ali
Yeah. Now, in the fourth round–

Frazier
{angry}
It’s coming off!
This fight has got to come off!

Ali
The fourth round–
I’l tie you up & in your feetless fifth
I’m gonna right-cross you, talking to you,
Telling you the history of your life
Teaching you & inventing new punches

Frazier
Now where I’m gonna be at all this time
Ya doing all these things, counting fingers?

Ali
You will be trying to throw everything
But none of those knick-knacks are gonna land

Frazier
Hear me Clay, it ain’t gonna be that way.

Ali
{shrugs}
You have a right to say that, as have I

Frazier
The right to say what I would wanna say
& now I’m gonna tell you what I feel
Its gonna go, you gonna run about,
A few rounds, throw a few pansy punches
Then in the sixth I’m gonna knock you down

Ali
No! Listen! Don’t you try my predicting

Frazier
I’m telling you

Ali
Be sure you back it up!
Your behind gonna be mine in round nine!
As soon as you start working the body,
I’m gonna shoot for your head–quick! WHIP! WHIP! WHIP!
You won’t get to my body ‘less you clinch

Ring Magazine Cover - Joe Frazier and Jerry Quarry

Frazier
Outta twenty-six fights I ain’t never
Held on to a man

Ali
But brother listen
We know the truth by reason & by heart
Something tells me you & me got bizness
I hope you’re still the champ when I get back
Effluent with unstocking’d refluence
All this for saying no to killing folk
Pinn’d down by an imperial pastern
I aint no triggerhappy dilettante
I got no quarrel with the Vietcong
No Vietcong ever call’d me nigger
Those Vietcong don’t put no dogs on me
Nor robb’d me of my nationhood, hey look
Its the station, pull over

Frazier
Sure thing, man

Ali
Nice one brother, real nice, & thank-you, hey!

Frazier
Yeah

Ali
You don’t have any money to spare
I’m short for the ticket

Frazier
Hah! Of course man

Ali
You’ll get it back with int’rest when we fight

Frazier
Here’s a hundred bucks

Ali
You’re a good brother,
Better friend, farewell & be prosperous

Exit Muhammad Ali


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

(FOC): Scenes 2-4

SCENE 2: MIAMI

5th Street Gym – Foreman is training with his trainer, Dick Sadler – Enter Ali carrying a suitcase

Ali
George Foreman! George Foreman! How ya diddling

Foreman drops his mitts with joy

Foreman
Cassius Clay!

Ali
That aint my name no more
That my slave name

Foreman
Sorry man

Dick
Stop the press!
Muhammad Ali is in Miami
For what do we owe this cockal honour

Ali
I was down in sunny Florida boys
& boxers are the only ones who dig
Truly what its like to be a boxer –
I must admit I miss the test of mein
The sweat of competition, & the ring
Times joyful lie in graves of memories
& I must live vicariously life
So George, I hear y’ave three fights coming up
As quick as my swift left-right-left, yeah?

Foreman
You hear right – on the sixth I’ve Hazelton
Then fight Levi Forte on the sixteenth
With Gary Hobo Wiler two days aft

Ali
Busy boy

Dick
He needs to be kept busy
He get nerve-edged & spleenful if he aint
All that agression & testosterone
Needs to be legally releas’d, ya dig?

Ali
You aiming for Frazier

Foreman
If he’s champ, yeah

Ali
He aint that good, I’ve seen the way he fights
When coming in – he’s weak on uppercuts
True quality don’t melt down from his blood
But listen George, let me show you something
{Foreman sits down, Ali begins to open the suitcase}
Just wait until to lay your gaze on this
If ever you world champion became
Status demands you’re reach’d by one of these

Ali reveals a portable phone – Forman laughs

Ali
What’s so funny?

Foreman
Thought I was gonna see
All the money in the world

Ali
You want it

Foreman
Say what?

Ali
It’s yours for twelve hundred dollars

Foreman
Brother, I aint got that kinda money

Dick
He will have one day, tho’

Ali
I’m sure he will
Just look at those arms gladitorial
I’m hearing good things ’bout that swing of yours
So speak me of yourself, George, where ya from
For we might have to range at blows one day

Foreman
Well – I’m a Texan by birth & by girth
From the infamous, impov’rish’d Fifth Ward
The rotten, scabbing face of Houston’s filth
Got tangl’d up, too many scrapes a child
King of the Fights, Lord of all Bullies
To cheap read wine I turn’d the stolen change
Thro deviant, delinquent alchemie
My only aspiration was to win
The respect of killers by killing too
Until a flash of godly vision fair
Told me to do something, try out this life,
& when I pull’d the gloves on that first dawn
I knew ‘d won salvation in the ring

Ali
Salvation? S’that what they call a whuppin
In Houston?

Dick
My boy don’t take no whuppins
He blest with a catalogue of endowments

Ali
I see just that – to win Olympic gold
No mean feat – it was mine back in Sixty
Joe Frazier won the same in Sixty-four
& both of us went on to rule the world
Well – Joe Frazier’s only the fake champ –
But you dig my meaning, brother

Foreman
I do
To be a classic in one’s own short age
Is tantamount to cosmic excellence

Dick
Your famous gift for scrying things to pass
As acccurate as when you’ve pluck’d the rounds
From living aether’s dream – my man should leap
Like you & Frazier from the rostrum’s edge
Unto the pinnacle of punch & pain,
His power grows uncanny & too much
For the very best veteran fighters
His left returns like recurring pistons
Bigger, stronger, faster Sonny Liston,
With these fists he’s dismissing everyone
Atavic to Numidian giants
Who fought off Rome upon the desert’s fringe
He like a jivehound hiving with the drones
The unearthly scourge of his division
That is the richest it has ever been
Quarry, Ellis, Oscar Bonavena,
Macfoster, Shavers & george Chavala
All steamroll’d by the Houston Tornado

Ali
He don’t scare me – you aint no monster, George
But good luck anyway in all you box –
So, do you want the phone

Foreman
The what

Ali
The phone
You can have it for nine hundred dollars

Foreman
I gone told you I don’t have no money

Dick
He don’t be needing no portable phone

Ali
No sweat, I’m sorry to disturb you boys
& see you both some time along the line

Foreman
Goodbye Muhammad

Dick
That cat’s coming back
I can feel it & I do not like it
That alley cat Ali drives me crazy

Foreman
Maybe so, but the division needs him
& if I’m ever gonna be the champ
Outright & undisputed to the world
I’ll have to fight that madman in the ring

Dick
You’ll have to down Joe Frazier first, so back
To work, come on son, let me see your jabs

George Foreman returns to training


SCENE 3: Philadelphia

The street outside Joe Frazier’s gym, 2917 N. Broad Street / Enter Ali with a rowdy crowd including photographers & a film cameraman

Ali
I want Frazier, I want Frazier, I want
Frazier, I want Frazier, I want Frazier
Come out here Joe, come out here & fight me

Crowd
We want Frazier, we want Frazier, we want
Frazier, we want –

Joe Frazier & Eddie Futch appear at the door

Frazier
What’s all this commotion

Ali
Man, you aint no champion of the world
We end those signal farcicals today
Swerving your curveballs back to real truth

Eddie
What are you doing in Philly, Ali
This aint your town, these cats aint your people

Ali
These cats are sick & tired of hearing lies,
Seeing false visages of victory
They want to see the proper champion
Forgo the inglorious arts of peace
& beat up on an ugly pretender

Frazier
You what!

Ali
Lets go & fight in Fairbank Park

Frazier
You’re crazy man

Ali
Well you’re a coward
The whole world knows you’re a flat-footed bull
Who moves like plowhorse thro’ rain-sodden mud

Frazier
Hey sissy! You can’t hit, you got nothing

Ali
I want you Joe

Frazier
I want you too

Ali
Well then,
At five o clock meet me up at Fairbank
{to the crowd}
I have a lot of speed
I have a lot of endurance
When I’m done with Joe Frazier
He’ll need more insurance
{Crowd laugh}
Joe Frazier too rebarbative to be
The representative of human might
He’d be better off donating his face
To the National Bureau of Wildlife

Frazier
See what I do to your pretty face, Clay

Ali
Whaddaya call me?

Frazier
Clay… Cassius Clay

Ali
Aint so, Cassius Clay is my slave name
I didn’t choose it, I didn’t want it
I am Muhammad Ali, a free name
It means Beloved of God, you dig God?
Joe, right?

Frazier
Dont go bringin’ religion into this
This all about two men gettin’ it on

Ali
Lets get it on then, Joe, in Fairbank Park
At Five o Clock

Frazier
I aint coming you fool
Your dearth of noblesse falls appalingly
I won’t be fighting no lunatic brawl

Ali
Dont be a coward, Joe, see you at five
{to crowd}
Can one of you lovely locals tell me
Where’s the flavourbest ice creams in Phily

Exit Muhammad Ali & the crowd

Eddie
Gassius Cassius, Louisville Lip
Coming making you look bad in your crib
I thought he was your friend

Frazier
Yeah, so did I

Eddie
Funny way to show it

Frazier
He don’t rile me
He nutting but a shunting stunt monkey
Engladdening the basest strains of men
When lenses land upon him he cries fake
But I guess such zero-adding antics
Won’t hurt a jot when come the paycheques, right?

Eddie
You wanna fight that schmuck

Frazier
He’s outta shape
& outta touch with all reality
For Mister Bigshot Sixties decades change

Eddie
So back to work, focus on Joe Ellis

Frazier
His time will come, I’ve seen it in my dreams

Eddie Futch & Joe Frazier re-enter the gym


SCENE 4: Fairbank Park, Philadelphia

Muhammad Ali is surrounded by a large crowd chanting ‘Ali-Ali-Ali-Ali-Ali’

Ali
I’m Hercules struggling thro’ his labours
I’m D’Artagnan, Cyrano & El Cid
When I smile women swoon, grown men shudder
As I scowl, some would say I’m dangerous
Too dangerous, it seems, for Joe Frazier
& prettier by untold magnitudes
A better boxer obvious to all
Tho’ Uncle Tom got my championship
They refus’d to fight me at five o clock
Its now ten past, shows Frazier was afraid
Of a good whuppin in front of you all
Here I am, aint had a fight in three years
Carrying an extra twenty-five pounds
& Joe don’t show up, what kind of a champ
Is that

Crowd-member 1
Joe’s just a phoney

Ali
He sure is
& now we’ve all seen he just a coward
I’ll have to find another way to scrub
The tainted glaze of someone’s else’s hands
Upon my sacred crown, but I’ll need dough
To pay this Supreme Court date coming up
So off I go to Broadway

Crowd
Broadway

Ali
Yeah
To sing a heap of songs in Uncle Buck

Crowdmember 2
Right on

Crowdmember 3
Give us a song

Ali
You’ll have to wait
But boy, am  Ithe world’s greatest singer

Exit Ali & crowd


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

(FOC): Scenes 5-7

Ali-jet-magazine-Buck-White.jpg

Scene 5: Broadway

George Abbott Theater / Muhammad Ali is playing the lead role in the musical, Buck White – he is stood before a crowd of black Americans

***

WE CAME IN CHAINS

We came in chains!
We came in misery!
Now all our suffering, pains are part of history.
We came in chains!
You must remember that!
For that, and that alone explains exactly where we are at.
We came in chains!
We came as living loot!
So you could boast! Slave gotten gains.
We’ve grown beneath your boot!
We came in chains!
And how our blood was spilled!
Together with our sweat, it stains this nation we have built.
We came in chains!
We didn’t volunteer; and yet today the fact remains.
We’re still held captive here.
We came in chains!
Now, I say cut us lose! Though, that may go against your grain.
Still, there is no excuse!
We came in chains!
Now, who down there is gonna bear the cost.
Till every one of us regains, the freedom, we have lost.
We came in chains!
And now, your choice must be… to either blow out all my brains!
Or else, you’ll set me free!

We came in chains
Four hundred years
No justice, no freedom, no equality
Ninety Seventy – still in chains
sociological chains
Economical chains
Chains
Look at thsese chains
Chains – chains – chains


alijd7f-2-web

Scene 6: The dressing room

Enter Ali / he takes off his wig & beard & begins remving his make up / Enter Rahman Ali

Rahman
As-salamu alaykum

Ali
As-salamu alaykoum

Rahman
Brother, that was brilliant – your Buck White
Is all black – a mighty fine performance

Ali
I have to admit I was fantastic,
Forget Belafonte, Porgy & Bess
I captur’d the stage with straight charisma
But what use nautical genius
When navigators act the neophyte
& crewmen do whate’er they wanna do
We set sail for Hudson’s sunrise harbour
But ended up in Anchorage at dark
Lingering in miserable perdition

Rahman
That sounds the harshling cry, Zev Bufman looks
Like shaking apples from a fruitful tree

Ali
Maybe, when they’re all ripe, but not tonight
Or any night with Buck White, that was bad

Rahman
Bad, yeah, Beautiful Alleluia Days
That is the music groove you galvanised
With this scintillating singing of yours
That fell like medicine into mine ear

Ali
I did sing fine, the story aint that bad
But there was something lacking in the soup
For those who sing of serious problems
Will cheapen them with cliches well-meaning
But enough pathos, how are ma & pa?

Rahman
Pa still drinking hard, ma still Christian
She misses sitting ringside at your fights

Ali
She can watch us squabble at Thanksgiving
Over Turkey best bits & apple yams

Enter Angelo Dundee

Dundee
Muhammad Ali, that was terrible
Cuirassiers on pantomime horses
Carry more honour & look more noble

Ali
I know, I sense fair time to give it up
This febrile public stance, & do God’s work
The shape of beauty moves off from my life
Leaving discomfort shifting foot to foot

Dundee
I wouldn’t be so hasty in retreat
I took a call this morning that should sway
Your soul from all its awkward inertia

Ali
What was it

Dundee
You’re going to Atlanta

Ali
Atlanta

Dundee
They’ve agreed to let you fight

Rahman
They gave him back his license?

Dundee
They sure have

Ali
& the Supreme Court

Dundee
While you’re appealing
Your born-in livelihood deem sacrosanct
& you may fight, my boy

angelo-dundee-the-corner-man
Angelo Dundee

Ali
Your boy is back!

Dundee
Fifty cities turn’d you down, Atlanta
Be the fifty-first

Ali
I love Atlanta

Rahman
What made them swerve towards the righteous path
My brother walks, alone, despite the bile
Especially in Georgia, whose only
Sports prestigious tourney be the Masters
That rolls on categorically for Whites
Ghouls of the rotten Confederate heart
Enclos’d in the pollution of the soul

Dundee
The guts of Leroy Johnson we should thank
He’s attorney, State Senator – & black!

Ali
I heard him on TeeVee, he speaketh well

Dundee
Morehouse College Alum, well anyway
He pull’d a few strings & twang’d a few bows
& BOOM! We’ll be trippin’ to Atlanta

Ali
Salt that proposal with magical thinking
Didn’t I tell you I loved Atlanta

Rahman
You did, brother, you did

Ali
& Georgia too!
I love Atlanta & Georgia I love
I am a tiger at an open cage
No longer feel the knee upon my neck
I might not have my title, but my right
To fight, first step upon that vital road
Which bridges each misprision, & vaults
Each dreadful river of racialism

Rahman
Praise be to Allah! Sing Alleluia!
& when the Supreme Justices admit
I love my god like he or she loves theirs
They’ll understand my conscience & my cause
For how can they true champions supress
They let me back on my terms, I denied
Nothing I believe in, I’m still the same
Everything… so boss, whomah gonna fight!

Dundee
The Great White Hope

Ali
Quarry

Dundee
Jerry Quarry

Ali
& then I’ll whup Joe Frazier

Dundee
Sure you will

Ali
He’ll drop like Jack Johnson dropp’d Jim Jeffries

Dundee
Cos you’re the greatest

Ali
I am the greatest!

Rahman
You are the greatest

Dundee
Yes, boy, you are still
That sleek & tawny beautiful gazelle
That dazzl’d broad Johansson with your jabs

Ali
Hey come on sucka, show me what you got
I sang to him that special second round

Rahman
You sure did make him angry, made him swing
That sledgehammer right – it miss’d by three feet

Ali
No boxer lives can touch my pretty face
Two left jabs, a rapid right cross, a hook
Was all it took to stun poor Ingemar

Dundee
Poor fool – now come on, lets get outta here

Ali
But what about the after show party

Dundee
You ain’t going, we’ve got running first thing
A nice ten miler made to remind ya
To rise up side-by-side Hercules
Is gonna take an ocean’s worth of sweat

Ali
Hah – let me catch you down in the foyer

Rahman
Alright brother

Dundee
Don’t forget your make up

Ali
{wiping off his make-up}
I ain’t no clown with make-up on my face
I am Muhammad Ali, Heavyweight
Champion of the world, despite the hate
I fight for my god, my people, my fame
Remember me forever as the flame
Burning as bright as starlight in the skies
Woven in sacred sable tapestries
In motion of no less celerity
Than that of thought!


Muhammad-Ali-and-Joe-Frazier-press-conference.jpg

SCENE 7: Madison Square Gardens

Ali & Frazier are sat at a table either side of Bob Arum / the room is filled with photographers & journalists including ABC’s Howard Cosell

Arum
Splendid afternoon to everybody
Welcome to these dangerous inductions
& thanks for all for coming here this day
But as we all admit this day rare pois’d
These are two undefeated champions
Hand-set to tip the balance either way
What storms-a-coming, happy are they both

Cosell
I’m sure they are, purse fretting free to burst
As if a bounty on a proditor
Set by the richest kings of Xanadu

Arum
That’s right, five million split evenly
Between our handsome, priceworth prize-fighters
The whole world wants to see them battle raged
& slam a wage against the winning odds
Every heart trembles, every wine flows
For what should be the Fight of the Century,
Better even that the famous long count
When the Manassa Mauler, Jack Dempsey,
Took on Gene Tunny, the fighting marine
More famous than when James J Corbett fought
John L Sullivan in twenty one rounds
This event is greater by multitudes
Than when Joe Louis batter’d Max Schmelling
& bloodied Hitler’s nose & attitude
This is the biggest we have ever seen
By ten hundred million people watch’d
Across the world – Poland, Arabia
The Odeon in Burn-e-ley, Hong Kong
You name the place, they’ll be watching the bout

Journalist One
What do the fighter’s think?

Journalist Two
What round Ali?

Ali
I aint gonna call the rounds, but I’ll still shine
A singular prediction’s lantern light
When he & I enfisted ye shall see
Ungarish, cut-ingraven amateur
Completely outbox’d, so easy to hit,
When the fans will throw dirt at the critics
& experts for misleading them so much

Frazier
You got time

Ali
What do you wanna say, Joe
How ya gonna riposte all that wisdom

Frazier
I say it nuttin but a bunch of noise
His brain is threading needles back thro time
But today is today, man, understand
You’re not fighting Oscar Bonavena
You’re not fighting Patterson or Liston
You’re fighting Joe Frazier

Ali
I know that man
Everybody know that, that’s not the point

Frazier
That is the point

Cosell
Joe, what’s your prediction

Frazier
The fight won’t go the distance

Ali
No it won’t

Frazier
I’ll stop him

Ali
Stop me

Frazier
You

Ali
How soon? What round?

Frazier
{angry & fluster’d}
One to ten, you’ll be outta there, I’ll stop…

Ali
He’s agitated! He’s agitated!
{laughter from the journalist}
He’s famous cos there were no good boxers
To fight him

Frazier
Get ready cos here I come

Ali
I’ll still my tongue, now, no more prefight talk
But I would like to offer one more wise
Even tho’ I twice beat Sonny Liston
The Boxing Commission ne’er was convinc’d
I was the right & proper champion

Frazier
But that’s all over, now you’re fighting me

Ali
I’m the true champ, your fights only draw
Four thousand people tops, there’s more folk come
To see me train than watch your actual
Y’aint no-one, they only wanna see me

Frazier
Who got top billing? Who got top billing?

Ali
{standing up shaking his fist}
Wait ’til I get you in the ring

Frazier
{pushing back Ali’s fist}
And what?

Ali
Get your hands off me! Get your hands off me!
The whole world recognizes me as champ

Frazier
You got one half & I got the other
It doesn’t really matter anymore
We’ll make a fight, revive & shape it whole

Ali
No man alive could ever beat myself
If Joe Frazier whups me I’ll be dropping
On hands & knees to crawl across the ring
I’ll crawl across the ring, look up & say
You are the champion

Frazier
{putting his hands on Ali’s shoulders}
I’ll tell you what

Ali
{shrugging off Frazier}
Get your hands off me
Then I’m gonna crawl
Back across the ring, then leave behind
The boxing world forever – hang on man –
Whatma saying – that aint gonna happen
I’m gonna whup you, I’m gonna whup you

Frazier
The thing is you aint gonna be able
To crawl anywhere, you’ll be laying down

Ali
Listen to me boy you will bleed, bleed bad

Frazier
We’re gonna try & see who is the best

Ali
I’m the best

Frazier
No, I’m the best

Ali
No I am
I’m the greatest – the world is gonna see
Two heavyweight champions, one phoney
One real – to distinguish will be easy

Joe
I’LL BE THERE

Ali
How ya gonna hit me, Joe
I’m too fast

Frazier
I’ll be smoking’ right on you

Ali
I’ll be picking, poking, pouring water
On your smoking

Frazier
I’ve had enough of this
I’m outta here
{to Ali}
I’ve no further with you

Exit Joe Frazier

Ali
Where ya going, Joe! Where ya going, Joe!
I got him running scared, he aint no champ
Not in the eyes of Black America
He fights for Uncle Tom, my opressors
After I lost my title to the draft
They gave it Frazier, the White Man’s negro
The pale-ass-kisser who stands up only
For purses in rings, forgets his people
Joe Frazier’s nail’d on to get telegrams
From folks in Alabama in Georgia
Saying, ‘Buddy, play the White Man tonight
& demolish that draft-dodging n!gger!
yeah, whup that uppity, loud n!gger, Clay,’
But ninety-nine percent of my people
Are with me in the ring, identify
My struggle as theirs’, its the same damn one
They fighting every day, when if I win
They win, if I lose they lose, but listen,
I aint gonna lose against Joe Frazier
He’s too ugly to be champ, he’s too dumb
He’s nuttin gut a griftin street slugger
He take five good punches just to give one

Arum
OK, that’s about enough for today,
& we’ll be seeing you all very soon

Journalist One
We’ll be there Bob

Journalist Two
Ali, what’s the status
Of your case

Arum
I’m sorry, that will be all

Exit Bob Arum & Muhammad Ali


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

(FOC): Scenes 8-11

Scene 8 : Outside Marvis’ school

Joe Frazier is waiting in his car / Marvis gets in looking dejected

Frazier
Hey son, whats up, you don’t look too special

Marvis
I don’t wanna talk about it, daddy

Frazier
Hey son, if there’s one person in the world
You can talk to, that’ll be your daddy

Marvis
I’m getting into all kind a-trouble
At school

Frazier
Yeah, go on

Marvis
It’s the other kids
They’re like, ‘Ali is gonna whip your dad
Your dad cant fight’ I say why you say that
They say you is a Tom

Frazier
I aint no Tom
Don’t listen to them words, them words are harsh
Spew’d falsely from a liar’s portmanteau

Marvis
So whaddowha do daddy?

Frazier
Just be true
There’s no wrong way to do right, no right way
To do wrong, you aint better than no-one
They aint better than you, only your deeds
May be accounted by those divine eyes
Which watches all we people do on Earth,
Such eyes as those watch’d me work extra hard
& grant our family extra blessings

Marvis
So what shall I say when they call you Tom

Frazier
Just tell them that your poppa make him pay
For purveying untruths, to them relay
Your daddy gonna beat Cassius Clay
& you know, son, that fool got it coming
Spitting razorblades with febrile rash,
I gave my heart & soul to help him out
But the brother came back with a dagger
Plung’d it right in my back, I’m no Yes Man
No White Man’s champion, I represent
The People, believe me I’m one of them,
At six o clock, back at the slaughterhouse
I started my shift, but two hours before
I was in there, training, pounding slabs of meat

Marvis
You’re gonna pound him

Frazier
Sure am, cos I’m a…

Frazier & Marvis
Small piece of leather well put together!

Frazier
I’ll fight him all night long, tear off his wings,
Grind down his stinger

Marvis
I wanna see that

Frazier
You will, son, you will, now lets get ice cream
You want ice cream

Marvis
Pistachio?

Frazier
You got it

Scene 9: America

Enter the Spirit of America

***

ACROSS THE USA

I was born in Arizona
Moved to Tallahassee way
Now I live in California
Where I always want to stay
But if I wanna see America
I got to leave LA
Cos the open road is calling me
Acr.ooss the USA

I caught a bit of Woodstock
But the Hippies smelt too strange
At Altemont I dug the rock
But then I sensed the change
& now its ninety-seventy one
Saigon’s a firing range
A new spirit moves thro’ everyone
With the sixties all estranged

Cos there shines a new America
As bright as the new day
When a boxing bout thrills all of us
Across the USA

***

Before important actions pass to thought
& build a pleasure dome from the project
Those thoughts ensure a Xanadu remain
Of esoteric sensitivities
On foundations of vivid ideas
When imagination’s endless powers
Protagony combines & modifies
With feelings & affections made ideal,
Admire these two prizefighters in their prime
Pois’d in the cyclone’s eye with one purpose,
America is torn & polarised
Between bad guy, good guy, good black, bad black,
There is no middle land, fanatical
Cabins of moonshine, old men with rifles
Bicker cross valleys, this civil war,
Profusing with spiritual foison
Exploding one nation divisible,
Meanwhile, all aspects of our planet’s moon
Reflect the coming bursts of stars & light,
The streets of Buenos Aires are empty,
From Borneo up to the soft-strewn snow
The world stands by, bistros & beerkellers
The retinas of every Human drawn
To one small square of canvas, brightly lit,
& watching on with eager, hungry eyes
See young George Foreman, set to step within
The ropes himself, to fight whomever wins
The Fight of the Century… & begin!

Scene 10: Madison Square Gardens

Muhammad Ali is at his weigh-in

Ali
Who is the champion of the world?
Who is the champion of the world?
If I’m not the champion of the world
Then who is – don’t think about Joe Frazier
Y’all musta come down with amnesia
Forgotten how good I was or something
Let me refresh your memory tonight
I’ll show you what a real champion is
I’ve fixed up the round Joe Frazier goes down
I’m sick & tired of all of this y’see
They took away my title & then talk’d
All this phoney stuff about Joe Frazier
But after tonight there’ll ne no more Joe
This game is real, this aint no phoney game
I’ll fight them all regardless of the risk
I am Heracles struggling thro’ his labours
I am D’Artagnan, Cyrano, El Cid,
When I smile women swoon, grown men shudder
When I scowl, some might say I’m dangerous
Because I’m fighter born & fighter breathe
All those chumps are just commercializing
In a few hours you will all bow to me
{laughter}
I aint laughing, you will all bow to me
{to referee}
I want the exact weight, so take your time

Referee
Its two-eighteen

Ali
Thats dancing weight, lets dance
I’m ten pounds heavier than Joe Frazier
But still I’m looking better than the fool,
Remember I am Muhammad Ali
& evermore the greatest shall I be!

Ding! Ali comes out to meet Frazier but Frazier starts to retreat
If Frazier goes back an inch farther he’ll wind up in a ringside seat
Ali swings to the left, Ali swings to the right. Look at the kid carry the fight.
Frazier keeps backing but thereís not enough room.
Itís a matter of time Ali lowers the boom.
Now Ali lands to the right. What a beautiful swing. And the punch lifts Frazier clean out of the ring.
Frazier’s still rising but the referee wears a frown
For he can’t start counting til Frazier comes down.
Now Frazier disappears from view
The crowd is getting frantic.
But our radar station picks him up
He’s somewhere over the Atlantic.
Who would have thought when they come to the fight
That weíd see the launching of a coloured satellite.

Scene 11:  Madison Square Gardens / Joe Frazier’s dressing room

Joe is praying – the room is very quiet  enter Eddie Futch

Futch
Joe, watcha doin, it is almost time

Frazier
I’m praying

Futch
Sorry

Frazier
That’s OK, I’m done

Futch
I’m glad to say I lived to see this night
& serv’d its better part beside your dreams,
So tell me the substance of your prayers

Frazier
I ask’d the lord to help me kill this man
For lacking righteousness – I’ll kill this man
& even if I have to die myself

Futch
Don’t say that

Frazier
I mean it, this is blood feud
For what he’s done & said God strike him down

Enter Van Colbert

Van Colbert
That vast arena shines electric blue
With every star bright striving to be seen
As if the Milky Way trails unobscur’d
& radiant to the crystal degree

Futch
Tonight the sight of God suspsends his scales
& finds one to be light

Van Colbert
They stand in line
As if the crown jewels of old England
On loan in New York, so many diamonds
There’s Diane Keaton & Ted Kennedy
Gene Kelly, Bill Crosby, Woody Allen
Diana Ross in black, velvet hot pants
Outrageously, glamourously, stylish
Sinatra’s on an assignment for Life
The only way his fame could entrance make
So scarce are the tickets for this catwalk
Of butterblond gals with cadillac souls
All feather’d & furry with laces & boots
& butterfly hair by mink-coated pimps
More the coronation than the fist-fight
Bejewell’d entourages where the men
For once outclass the women in their dress

Futch
So champ, tell me, the moment that you hear
The mad, hollow rumble of the Gardens
& that first leaping heartbeat of the bell
What you gonna do to Cassius Clay

Frazier
I’ll close off the ring, connect with power

Futch
Ya gonna weave, weave,

Frazier
Go in on the weave
I’ll never stop my locomotive steps

Futch
Thats why they call you Smokin’ Joe

Van Colbert
Damn straight

Frazier
I’ll remonstrate his turpitude all night
Keep hooking & ducking, exhaust his force
Then canvas the chump with a clean, straight punch

Futch
Go get him, Joe

Frazier
I’m ready boys, lets go

Futch
This your destiny, boy, don’t forget it

 


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

(FOC): The Fight of the Century

THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY

Fighters: Joe Frazier (champion), Muhammad Ali

Referee: Arthur Mercante
Commentators: Archie Moore, Don Dunphy & Bert Lancaster
Announcer: John Addie


Archie Moore
The hour of truth for Ali has arrived
& here he comes decamping in the ring
Clad in a most beautiful red -white robe

Bert Lancaste
With Angelo Dundee, Bundini Brown
& Doctor Pechekio, what a night!
Just listen to the fever of this crowd
Anticipate of fabulous evening’s
Boxing, fought out all corners of the globe
Tell me Don, how does Ali look to you

Don Dunphy
He looks wonderful

Bert Lancaster
Yes

Archie Moore
& very trim

Don Dunphy
Would you say he’s psyched up

Archie Moore
Yes, he looks it

Don Dunphy
Here comes Joe Frazier, dress’d in Chinese jade
Just listen to that roar of awesome notes
The excitement here is monumental
A spectacular evening this should be

Bert Lancaster
In a first for heavyweight history
We shall see two undefeated fighters
Face-off in phrenzied combat

Archie Moore
They both look
Tremendous, Bert, & eager to begin

Enter John Addie

Bert Lancaster
Here comes the announcer, Johny Addie

John Addie
Good evening my ladies & gentleman
Tonight there shall be up to fifteen rounds
To become undisputed heavyweight
Champion of the world, introducing
From Louisville, Kentucky, in red trunks,
The challenger, Muhammad Ali…
His opponent, from Philadelphia,
Wearing green trunks, heavyweight champion
Of the World, Joe Frazier

Don Dunphy
How do they look

Archie Moore
I think Frazier is in best fighting trim
While Ali’s in good shape, there’s a diff’rence
Between such states, one laurels wins & one
Looks on exhausted in the hard-churn’d dust

The referee, Arthur Mercante, brings the fighters together

Arthur Mercante
Since this contest is for the ultimate
Determination of the heavyweight
Championship of the world, we hereby
Ask proper attention paid to the rules
By the World Boxing Commission foresworn
In case of a knock down mandatory
Eight counts will follow, & if in one round
Three knock-downs receiv’d the fight then forfeit
Break when I tell you to break… shake hands now,
{They shake hands}
Return to your corners

Don Dunphy
We’re almost ready
For the well named Fight of the Century
Hundreds of millions across the globe
Into the battle tuned, play’d out before
A pack’d, boistrous Madison Square Garden.

BELL: start of round one

Archie Moore
Frazier will try to pounce upon his man
Ali may try a blitz – a good right hook
He got in there – Frazier no longer feels
The easy target he once used to be
A-bobbing & a-weaving all the time
He’s dangerous – his best punch is the jab
When follow’d up by good combinations

Bert Lancaster
Ali got tagg’d there

Archie Moore
Yeah, strangely enough
He’s not using the ring as in his youth
He’s standing there with Frazier toe-to-toe
& blow-to-blow

Don Dunphy
He seems flat on his feet
Not like the Muhammad Ali of old
Three years ago Ali was a dancer
Tonight he’s in a slugfest with Frazier
Who fights just one way only, he bores in
& punishes

BELL: end of round one

Bert Lancaster
Thats the end of round one
& one of the most exciting first rounds
We’ve seen exceedingly in time’s long waltz

Don Dunphy
Frazier is relentless – keeps moving in
He hasn’t given Ali any room
To move around & make the fight his own
It seems as if Frazier’s making the fight

BELL: start of round two

Archie Moore
Ali got in a good one two, Frazier
Might have hurt a little bit by that punch

Don Dunphy
Muhammad Ali cannot keep Frazier

Away from him, however, he’s scoring

Heavily

{Muhammad Ali connects 4 times}

Bert Lancaster
Look at those rights, & those lefts

{Frazier says bring it on with a gesture}

Archie Moore
Frazier’s taken a battering this round
But every so often whips his left hook
To body with a viscious certitude

Bert Lancaster
This fight’s a dandy!

Don Dunphy
Frazier has been hit
By solid rights that would have easy fell’d
Ordinary men

Archie Moore
Beautiful left hook

Bert Lancaster
Thus far that was the best punch in the fight

{Ali still shaking head}

Archie Moore
But the champion deposed just shakes his head
Reassuring his global idolators,
Tossing it off with a scoff & a shrug

BELL: end of round two

Don Dunphy
A beautiful round from Muhammad
Exhibiting skillset magnificence
& punching power harder than I’ve seen

Archie Moore
There’ll be no question that if Ali wins
He’ll be beating Frazier at his own game
Don’t you think

Bert Lancaster
Sure – the referee’s ready

BELL: start of round three

Don Dunphy
And here we go again, tremendous stuff

Archie Moore
Joe Frazier just spit blood – he is bleeding
From inside his mouth, but drives undeterr’d
Into the solid phalanx of his foe

Bert Lancaster
This fight, so far, ranks with the greatest ones
Again the refreee seperates them
& tells them to stop talking

Archie Moore
Look at that!
Ali sent a few rockets Frazier’s way
His longer reach while jabbing forms a fence
Of steel his fierce opponent cannot pass

Bert Lancaster
How many of those jabs can Frazier take?

Don Dunphy
These are big rounds for the ex-champion

Bert Lancaster
O what a jab by Frazier, Ali’s hurt

BELL: end of round three

Bert Lancaster
Another tremendous round

Archie Moore
Neither one
Has ever fought such calibre they share
Ali hit Joe with everything there is
But Frazier is relentless, like a tank

Don Dunphy
Here we go for number Four, Ali’s up
Before the bell

BELL: start of round four

Bert Lancaster
Frazier leaps to meet him

Don Dunphy
Muhammad’s scoring heavily, his best
Punch must be that whupping right undercut
Up-piling tremendous numbers of points
This stage of the game he is way ahead
No question

Archie Moore
But he could get discouraged
Frazier keeps coming thro’ the battering
Anyone else would have been on the floor

Bert Lancaster
O what a punch from Joe! Ali buckles
& another one

BELL: end of round four

Archie Moore
Ali’s looking tired
Frazier hit him with a fantastic punch

Bert Lancaster
A great round, what a great round, the first half
Was Ali’s all, then Frazier’s on a spin

Don Dunphy
I think that round was Frazier’s overall

Archie Moore
I do too, this fight a carousel
Or roulette wheel, life’s certainties dismiss’d

BELL: start of round five

Don Dunphy
Joe comes out bouncing

Archie Moore
Muhammad Ali
Was told to move more – he’s up on his toes
For the first time tonight, but he was tagged

Bert Lancaster
Ali’s dancing for the first time tonight
But Frazier has caught him again, & says

Son, come on in & fight

Don Dunphy
I love his jab

Archie Moore
& now he mimicks Ali with a smile

Don Dunphy
If anybody here’s psych’d, it aint Joe,
He’s just laughing at him, talking to him
Mirroring Muhammad Ali’s own taunts
Against opponents thro’ his fervent youth

BELL: end of round five

Bert Lancaster
what a round what a round, wow, what a round

Archie Moore
Joe Frazier has taken the play away
From Muhammad Ali

Don Dunphy
I don’t know how
Either man can bare these punishing wheels
That pommel round in punches

Archie Moore
Joe Frazier
Looks like he’s trying to outpsyche Ali

Don Dunphy
It certainly looks that way

Archie Moore
Joe Frazier’s
A man who keeps a great deal of anger
Unto his opponent in heart entrench’d
& now he’s really gonna make him pay

BELL: start of round 6

Bert Lancaster
So we have reach’d Round Six, the very round
Ali said he was gonna win the bout

Archie Moore
But look, Ali’s grasping all the clinches
& there’s another left hook from Frazier
& another

Don Dunphy
Those are wicked weapons

Archie Moore
Frazier’s trying to end it with one punch
& takes his turn to do the pot -shotting

Don Dunphy
The scoring’s gonna be interesting
Frazier’s now the agressor, that will count
A great deal for his corner if the fight
Endures the full fifteen`

Archie Moore
Perhaps it won’t
I get the feeling they are tiring now
Ali’s almost a sitting duck at times

{Ali shakes his head after being punched suggesting it was nothing – the whole fight freezes}

Ali
God told me the sixth

Frazier
God can’t help you now
I aint going nowhere – you got your lunch?

BELL: end of round six

Don Dunphy
Thats the round over, Ali did not score
A knockdown to fulfil his prophesy

Bert Lancaster
Joe Frazier was relentless, relentless
Just pouring it on in there, he’s murder
Among the toughest men you’ll ever see

BELL: start of round seven

Archie Moore
It looks like Bundini’s talk’d to Ali
Who starts to hold Joe off at a distance

Don Dunphy
This has to be maybe the most torrid
Heavyweight title fight of all time long

Bert Lancaster
& again Arthur Addie tells Ali
Stop putting those gloved hands around Joe’s neck

Archie Moore
There is a lot more holding in this round

Bert Lancaster
Ali is scoring with those solid jabs
& Frazier might be wading in fatigue

BELL: end of round seven

Don Dunphy
Round Seven is over, what a great round

Archie Moore
Absolutely terrific

Bert Lancaster
Ali seems
Disgusted with himself

Archie Moore
He might be tired

Don Dunphy
He’s having a tough night handling Frazier
Would you be willing, Archie, to agree

Archie Moore
I’d say he’s slowly running out of steam

{The crowd begin to cheer Ali’s name – he acknowledges them}

Bert Lancaster
The crowd is bursting lungwind to Ali

Archie Moore
Joe’s summoning Ali to come & fight
The bell hasn’t sounded

BELL: start of round eight

Archie Moore
There it is – round eight

Don Dunphy
Both men project a splendid condition
No question they are athletes absolute

Bert Lancaster
Joe Frazier took command at that moment

Archie Moore
Now Ali starts to pile up points with jabs

Bert Lancaster
Joe looks like he’s in a training session

Archie Moore
His punching blows are short but punishing
Some land on elbows but some pierce the shield

Don Dunphy
Ali’s on the ropes, his pitter patter
Punches making miniscule returns

Archie Moore
& talking still

Bert Lancaster
Wow, look at Joe Frazier
Lit’rally dragging Ali from the ropes

Archie Moore
I don’t know one soul who shares the sheer joy
Of combat the way that Joe Frazier does

BELL: end of round eight

{Ali cheekily scuffs Frazier’s cheek after bell rings}

Bert Lancaster
So, Archie, what do you think of all that

Archie Moore
I think Ali is as tired as a siege
Trying his optimum to needle Joe
Who in his turn has barely won a wince
Of pain

Don Dunphy
For me Ali’s took a whuppin

Bert Lancaster
I don’t know how this fight will distance flow

Don Dunphy
Its possible that one or both of them
Could punch out strength before the final bell
But like you say these boys share condition
Of most marvellous physicalty

Archie Moore
The crowd, I sense, definitively chang’d
At first they were shouting Ali! Ali!
& now they’re all shouting Go Joe! Go joe!

BELL: start of round nine

Don Dunphy
& here they go again

Archie Moore
Its the ninth round of a fifteen-rounder

Bert Lancaster
Frazier is the freshest without question

Archie Moore
You must remember this in the scoring
Mohammad Ali has been making most
Of the clinches, such will count against him

In the scoring

Don Dunphy
He’s broke off exchanges
More often than not, but he’s also scored
Some devastating blows across Joe’s head

Archie Moore
Frazier’s bobbing & weaving like crazy
Itching to let that lethal left hook fly
But taking punches all the time he hunts

Bert Lancaster
Ali has moved on to the ropes again
O what a punch

Archie Moore
That was a wicked punch

Bert Lancaster
A brilliant punch

Archie Moore
Look at Ali’s legs

Don Dunphy
Frazier connects again!

Bert Lancaster
Ali staggers!

Archie Moore
He seems to be punish’d by troubles now

Don Dunphy
Wait, what is this, he throws out wild right hands
& somehow seems to steady on his feet

Bert Lancaster
What a fighter – what a fight – what delight!

Archie Moore
Ali is coming back, drums up reserves
From some deep cave no man alive has seen

BELL: end of round nine

Bert Lancaster
What a show!

Archie Moore
That’s the best round for Ali
Especially integrating that hook

Don Dunphy
That was a round of clear desperation

Archie Moore
Joe looks like he’s tiring, Ali looks fresh
Don’t you think Don

Don Dunphy
Ali has summon’d up
Hidden reserves upon the verge of doom

Bert Lancaster
What a battle, what a pace, what a race
Archie, have you ever seen speed like this
Combat relentless, a beautiful thing

Archie Moore
I think of Henry Armstrong, only he
Could keep this kinda pace up, but for two
Big heavy boys like these, remarkable

BELL: start of round ten

Archie Moore
Round ten is here – its scheduled for fifteen
Now lets see how this Viking punishment
Verging on the torture of Blood Eagles
Has effected Joe Frazier in his head

Don Dunphy
He’s probably been told to stay in close
To nullify that long range of Ali

Archie Moore
We shall see who draws the most benefit
From that minute’s rest

Bert Lancaster
I dont think you’ll see
Joe Frazier stood in the middle again
Just trading punches

Don Dunphy
Frazier is grunting
When he goes driving in with those punches

Archie Moore
Ali looks tired again, but that could be
Deceitful, that uppercut was lovely

Bert Lancaster
Frazier tries to pin Ali on the ropes
& takes a heap of punishment en route

Don Dunphy
Ali is coming back at Joe with heart
& strength & brutal beauty, to defy
Whatever his opponent might muster

Archie Moore
Frazier’s taking that battering again

BELL: end of round ten

Don Dunphy
Another great round & another great round
Incidentally for Ali, I feel
He’s come back with combatative beauty
& stunning combinations to astound

{Crowd compete between Ali! Ali! & Lets Go Joe}

Fighters: Joe Frazier (champion), Muhammad Ali

Referee: Arthur Mercante
Commentators: Archie Moore, Don Dunphy & Bert Lancaster are the commentators
Announcer: John Addie


BELL: start of round eleven

{Muhammad Ali slips}

Archie Moore
No knock down, no knock down

Don Dunphy
Ali slipp’d there

Bert Lancaster
They both look tired

Archie Moore
Joe’s got him on the ropes
& trying hard to land that lethal shot

Bert Lancaster
Muhammad is talking to him again

Don Dunphy
I would say there’s not much happening now

Archie Moore
Frazier has gotten wild

Don Dunphy
Yes he has lost
Timings immaculate from earlier
His rhythm has evaporated too

Archie Moore
But that one hurt, & that one, so did that
Ali’s against the ropes with a stagger

Bert Lancaster
He has been rock’d & holds on desp’rately

Archie Moore
There’s thirty seconds to go in the round

Don Dunphy
Muhammad Ali is in real trouble

BELL: end of round eleven

Bert Lancaster
The round is over, the round is over
What a round!

Archie Moore
Ali was almost out there

Don Dunphy
Joe Frazier clobber’d him with everything
Downwritten in the book of boxing lore

Archie Moore
Angelo Dundee is on the warpath
Berating Ali inbetween the rounds
With speeches of living inspiration

Bert Lancaster
He needs it by his trophy’s withering

Don Dunphy
Ali stands on the verge of first defeat

 

BELL: start of round twelve

Archie Moore
Its round twelve – Frazier ‘s gone out there swiftly

Bert Lancaster
Well who thought it would go this far

Archie Moore
Ali
Tries to fight back gamely – but sees quite spent
Joe Frazier’s lookin’ pretty spent as well

Don Dunphy
He’s smartly going to the body now
He’s getting in some wicked body licks

Bert Lancaster
Muhammad Ali is missing punches
& Frazier’s smiling, laughing at the gusts

Archie Moore
This could be a very tough fight to score

BELL: end of round twelve

Archie Moore
That round was a tremendous duel again
Ali has made an undoubted come back
From somebody who was out on his feet
The round before he seem’d as fresh as dew

Don Dunphy
But now he’s tired, look how his corner works
With phrenetical medical fury

BELL: start of round thirteen

Bert Lancaster
Its round thirteen & they’ve come out scrapping

Archie Moore
Those punches conduct all of Alis pow’r
& must be hurting Joe

Don Dunphy
Both should expect
To give out mammoth pain takes mammoth pains

Archie Moore
The biggest crown in the world is at stake
The Heavyweight Championship

Don Dunphy
It is
& Ali seems to be on his way back
He’s piling up the points

Archie Moore
For a tired man
These moments he boxes beautifuly

Bert Lancaster
It seems Frazier has let him get away
After the leviathan eleventh

Archie Moore
But look that lovely left hook hurt Ali

Don Dunphy
This is such a tremendous slugging match
& in an instant turns the onslaught’s tide

Archie Moore
Ali’s no room if Frazier stays on top

BELL: end of round thirteen

Don Dunphy
Round 13 is over, & what a round!
Joe Frazier’s got to be some kind of man
With combinations Ali hit him hard
Of every kind a boxer could think of
Not once, not twice, not three times, & not four,
But five or six

Archie Moore
But that’s made Ali tired

Bert Lancaster
Joe just keeps on going relentlessly
He has more power & more stamina
Than anybody I have ever seen
Don’t you think so Archie,

Archie Moore
I think so too
& whatever happens he’s still ready
To go out again

BELL: start of round fourteen

Archie Moore
& yes there he goes

Don Dunphy
Its round fourteen of a fifteen rounder

Archie Moore
A wicked punch by the ex champion

Bert Lancaster
Stop holding says the referee

Archie Moore
Ali
Is doing the holding, stalling for time

Don Dunphy
Remember in the scoring Muhammad
Ali’s been making most of the clinches
While dealing out most of the punishment
Frazer is very puffy round the eyes
Implanted by tremendous jabs & hooks

Archie Moore
Joe’s right eye looks might be closing

BELL: end of round fourteen

Bert Lancaster
The end of round fourteen & yet again
In three fast minutes we’ve witness’d greatness

Archie Moore
Now if you look over at Joe’s corner
There’s seeming something wronging with his face
& now wears a welt of enormous size

Don Dunphy
Back in Round Eleven Ali seem’d out
But he is now amazingly reborn

Archie Moore
Stronger & stronger he grew in that round
& proven to a whole lot of people
He could come back as always he’s declar’d

 

BELL: start of round fifteen

Bert Lancaster
Right, this is the final round of the fight
& what a fight its been

Don Dunphy
Perhaps the best

Bert Lancaster
Ali is down!

Archie Moore
What a punch!

Don Dunphy
Watch the time!

Archie Moore
Ali takes the mandatory eight-count

Bert Lancaster
That was the only knock down of the fight

Archie Moore
Muhammad Ali was flat on his back
But, he is a well-conditioned athlete

Don Dunphy
Frazier’s smartly going for the body
Forcing Ali to cover in defence

Archie Moore
Needless to say the crowd is in bedlam

Don Dunphy
Woah ! what a shot – if Joe would have followed
Up that fierce blow up this bout would be finish’d

Archie Moore
Muhammad Ali has never taken
Such a battering as brutal as this
But might unleash a last minute flurry

Don Dunphy
Indeed, he is fighting back most gamely

Bert Lancaster
Frazier looks tried & his eyes are closing

Archie Moore
There’s only half a minute now to go
Frazier has won the bigest rounds by far

Bert Lancaster
Ten seconds, five seconds, & there it is

FINAL BELL

Archie Moore
Some of the best punches I’ve ever seen
Were flowers in the gardens of that brawl

Bert Lancaster
Thro’ fifteen rounds full arsenal each employ’d
Small arms to nuclear megatonnage

Frazier slumps in his corner / the ring fills with people, the crowd chanting Joe – Joe – Joe

Don Dunphy
There’s people in the ring, its a bedlam

Bert Lancaster
Everybody’s waiting the decision

Johnny Adie collects cards from judges & steps into the ring with a microphone

Johnny Adie
Ladies & gentlemen, here’s the result
Referee Arthur Mcanty scores it
For Frazier eight-six, Bill Recht has nine-six
& Artie Aidala eleven-four
& so the winner I can now announce
& by a unanimous decision
& still the world’s heavyweight champion
Joe Frazieeeeer – lets get in to talk to him

Archie Moore
Its Joe Frazier – for the first ever time
Muhammad Ali has been beaten, wow!

Don Dunphy
Joe Frazier looks so spent, but has just scor’d
The greatest victory of his career
Of anyone’s career

Bert Lancaster
It does not look
As if he’d like to take an interview
But only seeks the solace of his rooms

Archie Moore
Wait, he’s trying to get to Muhammad

Frazier
{yelling to Ali}
I want him over here – he gotta crawl
On the floor to my victorious feet
Why won’t Ali crawl, I want him to crawl

Johnny Adie
PLEASE EVERYBODY GET OUT OF THE RING

Bert Lancaster
Ali’s angry, he thinks he’s won the fight

Archie Moore
It is a wild scene Bert

Bert Lancaster
Ali was spent
If anything was left in Frazier’s tank
He would have certainly knock’d Ali out

Don Dunphy
It was a fine fight, about that no doubt

Archie Moore
I think in the final anyalsis
What might have influenc’d the decision
What might have weaken’d Muhammad Ali
In reckonings of judges was his holds,
Where’s agression in defensive clinches
In New York State they like to see fighters
Lead by the front foot, act willing to fight

Don Dunphy
It was close, but Frazier own’d the big rounds,
The monumentous ones – & the knock-down

Did count for so much, its Joe Frazier’s game.

Exit Ali – Frazier collapses in exhaustion

(FOC): Scene 13

 

Scene 13: New York

A badly batter’d Joe Frazier is in a hospital bed, unconscious. At his bedside is Marvin. A female nurse & a male porter are outside the room, watching Frazier through a window.

Porter
Well there it is, in black & blue, Ali’s
The greatest fighter e’er to walk this Earth,

Nurse
You been taking your patients’ drugs again?
Joe Frazier will be shinin’ soon enough
Knowing he’s number one, your ‘Greatest’ down’d
With the most elegant punch ever see
Ali’s just a ropeboy in a cradle
While Frazier’s a fighter, a real fighter

Enter Muhammad Ali

Ali
Frazier’s not a great boxer, but that thing
He got going, he sure is great at that

Porter
Champ!

Ali
Don’t call me champ, for he’s the champ now

Porter
How ya feeling’

Ali
My jaw is killing me

Porter
Not physically, I mean, but up here

Ali
Whats the big deal, its just a fight that’s all
I just got paid two-point-five million
For having my ass whupp’d

Nurse
Dat good money

Enter Dr. James Giuffre & Dr Ferdie Pacheco

Dr. James Giuffre
Muhammad Ali, its a great pleasure,
& a great fight, a classic one could say
As much a worth of art as French ballet
In style & structure a liturgical
Ritual of accidental beauty
To watch the two of you in contention,
The killing ground of immortal fighters,
Then see you slammin’ canvas made me feel
Just as I did when Doctor King was shot
Tonight the bad guys won, or so it seem’d
I too oppose the war, & your defeat
Intensified into personal loss

Ali
I will be back to right this royal wrong,
Can count on it like summer runs from spring

Dr Jones
I sure do hope to see you champ again
But in the meantime…

Ali
Of course

Dr. James Giuffre
Nurse Johnson…

Dr. James Giuffre enters Frazier’s room with the Nurse

Dr Pacheco
Your X-rays say ya gonna be OK
But best to rest, to stay in overnight
& shoo away exhaustion’s wolfen claw
Which could the dangerous wound yet inflict

Ali
I sure am tired, one helluva fight, right?
But I sure aint stayin’ in overnight
I want it unrecorded the days
Of future poets writing songs & plays
That Smokin’ Joe did plant me in the wards
No! I’m goin’ back to the New Yorker
To lick these wounds & contemplate my fate
Don’t worry Ferdie, my beloved friend,
We aint thro’ yet

Porter
So what happen’d tonight?

Dr Pacheco
It was astonishing to say the least
I’ve never rated Frazier in the ring

Ali
Me neither, but my jaw says different

Dr Pacheco
Ya lucky that it aint broken brother

Porter
Well I never saw it coming myself

Ali
As I, too – I got so big I became
Intoxicated with so-call’d ‘greatness’
Thinkin’ I’d only need three miles a day
Of runnin’ for the fight, I did not try
As hard as I once did, convinc’d myself
I’d get by my talents natural
That would have simply prosper’d on the night
With princely prowess & a kingly claim!

Marvin emerges from the room with the nurse, visibily upset

Marvin
What you do to my daddy Muhammad

Ali
Hey, son, calm down… how’s yer daddy doin’

Marvin
Ehm – ehm

Ali
Look, what I said before the fight
It wasn’t real, I respect Joe Frazier
He’s just another brother workin’ hard
His family to feed, a genuine
Fella in the swamps of ungenuine

Marvin
I don’t think my daddy can hear my voice

Ali
He will, son, & soon – where ya goin’ now

Marvin
To get some candy

Nurse
Let me come with you

Exit Marvin & Nurse / Ali looks crestfallen through the window at Frazier / Dr. James Giuffre emerges

Ali
How is he

Dr. James Giuffre
He was very close to death
The pressure of his blood could rockets raise
His face spasming into bloody pulp
He was very close to death
The pressure of his blood could rockets raise
Stratosphere’d one-sixty over ninenty

Ali
Is that bad

Dr. James Giuffre
Yeah, it should be one-twenty,
While see that inflammation of the eye
Its practically an island

Ali
It looks bad
How’s his retina – has it been detach’d
As with Leotis Martin

Dr. James Giuffre
That is just rumour, his eyes are intact
With a healing period undisturb’d
All ends well should

Ali
Don’t tell him I was here

Exit Ali

Porter
Wow

Dr. James Giuffre
Yeah, something else aint it

Porter
It sure is

Dr. James Giuffre
Dont think we’ll ever see a fight as good
As that, they fought tonight like stallions
Enraged

Porter
This century aint over yet
& the seventies have only just begun

Exit Porter & Dr. James Giuffre in different directions / part one ends with poignant music & Frazier in a deep sleep, on his own in his bed


AND SO ENDS PART ONE OF THE GODS OF THE RING

THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY

 

THE SUNSHINE SHOWDOWN: Scenes 1-2

Scene 1: San Fransisco

Joe Frazier & the Knockouts are performing at the Winterland venue – Frazier sings a medley;

Repertoire
Knock On Wood
Like a Knock-Out drop
First Round Knock Out
They Bigger They Come

Frazier
So that’s all folks, tomorrow morn, y’see,
Joe Frazier & The Knockouts, this brave band
Take venture of a European tour
Endeavouring the chance to have some fun
To see the world, sharing a native song
We don’t expect to set the world alight
But I’ve loved singing all my lucky life
& singing’s harder far than boxing’s art
But easy seems in Cisco, what a crowd
Appreciation is the spur of art
Without a Renaissance would Raphael
Ever have deliver’d godframed visions
Without the operas of Vienna
Wold ever have Herr Mozart humm’d a tune
No, not at all, without an audience
Each War in Peace is merely book of of words
& so, wheree’erso in this world we go,
We’ll always take a slice of you guys with,
Our thanks to all who came, & good night all.



Scene 2: Dublin

A TV Studio / enter the presenter, Cathal O’Shannon

Cathal
Pugilist & poet, King of the Hype
With his rhetoric he makes the ring ring
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Just mentioning his name starts great debates
Is he super boxer or superstar
The most talk’d about human in the world
Where no mortal is more synonymous
With sport than who proclaims he’s the greatest
& maybe he is – certainly I will
Not be arguing with him about that –
Deliver him an All Irish welcome
Ladies… Gentlemen.. Muhammad Ali!

Enter Muhammad Ali

Cathal
Welcome to Dublin

Ali
Its nice to be here

Cathal
You look fit, certainly, still training hard?

Ali
Well, yeah, since my last bout with Joe Frazier
I’ve fought a lot of fighters, I’ve just box’d
Jerry Quarry, I’m active & ready
A contender should stay in contention
The new tramp, oops, I mean champ, Joe Frazier
Been doin’ diddly squat, seven months rest
Between each fight, battling people even
You could beat, Cathal; no, I gotta keep
The fighting game alive, fibres of fate
Entwine with the spirit of Champions
& haunt them with a braying restlessness.

Cathal
Your Fight of the Century saw perform
Two champions – I notic’d Joe Frazier’s
Unquantifiable combination
Of youth, desire & ability true,
While for yourself all the public hatred
You had chaperon’d burst furiously,
When even your detractors show’d respect

Ali
Begrudgingly, yes

Cathal
You said you’d retire
If you lost, but of course you’ve kept going
Why so?

Ali
I thought about it once or twice
But then, one evening, when watching my wife
Give our baby milk thro’ tears & wailstrife
Whose holerings could wake the frozen dead
Expecting milk the moment cries lunge forth
Ten years from now my baby’s gonna be
Just ten years old, needing money for school
Sweets, books & busfare; parties, games & clothes
My daughter, too, on her turning twenty
She gonna need a house, I won’t see her
Working in a diner, people will say
Look at Ali’s daughters – born in riches
But given beeswings like the rest of us
I’ve still got an mighty punch left in me
Next time we meet I’ll knock Joe Frazier out
& then I’ll face your Irish champion
& knock him out the same

{LAUGHTER}

Ali
I got a laugh

Cathal
You’re in Ireland

Ali
So if I can save up
Two million dollars, how much is that

Cathal
About eight hundred thousand pounds, I think

Ali
So, if I can save a million pounds
I can relax, can sleep at ease at night
For now its gonna take a lot of work
& one has gotta work hard – nobody
Gives you anything, right

Cathal
Right, so tell me
Upon your loss to Frazier, what passions
Envelop’d cognitive recollections

Ali
Well, you tell me, people who saw the fight
Will say I claim’d the laurels of most rounds
Especially those understanding boxing
& all its clever nuances unseen
By casual spectators of the sport
I know I lost two rounds, I’ll say as much –
In the eleventh he shook me real bad
& then, of course, that knockdown in fifteen,
But all the time, for every once he struck
I’d offer four firm blows of equal mein,
So terrible the whupping what he got
He spent a weary month in hospital
Pain’d by intensive treatment, while myself
I look’d the same but for a swollen jaw
Which faded soon, no features distorted
Unlike Joe – one judge was so outrageous
He cough’d up Frazier’d won eleven rounds
Any boxing fan across the planet
Would deem impossible I’d just won four

Cathal
So, you’re hoping to fight Frazier again

Ali
Of course I am, but first he gotta come
Out of his hidey hole, dya know he bought
Some plantation deep in Alabama,
& started rearing chickens, what a joke

Cathal
How do you rate his skills as a boxer

Ali
He slugs good, yes, but shames the boxer’s art
I’ve even got a better voice than him
He was in Ireland recently, singing
That right?

Cathal
He came here touring with his band
Joe Frazier & the Knock-outs was the name

Ali
I understand he only drew eighty
In twenty-thousand seater arenas

Cathal
He did a little better over here
& drew about a thousand

Ali
If I play’d
That same venue, it would capacitate
Now let us speak of mirth & stint all this
Who told Joe Frazier he could even sing
There is music to boxing, I grant this
But gladiator’s never played the harp

Cathal
But did you not the chords joytwang yourself
On Broadway

Ali
I was in a musical
Titl’d ‘Big Time Buck Wright’ – altho’ the play
Never made it, I was a great success
The New York critics said I was perfect
So yeah, I beat Joe Frazier singing too

Cathal
Could you prove it to the Irish people

Ali
Sure I can – it would be a great honour
This is a land of song, of Galway pipes
& Dublin ditties sang by pretty girls
If its alright to enter your circle
I have a poem set in music’s field

Cathal
What is it all about

Ali
A man’s true name
I’ve found mine own? its Muhammad Ali,
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee
Cocky, loquacious, fit for greatness born,
Fourth generational Kentucky slave
Root to the fruit, along paths of purpose
I trod, & knew I must discard the chains
Of given names ingrain’d with hard labour
As such was Cassius Marcellus Clay’s
Continuation of a day’s routine,
Of degradation, drudgery & death,
My cheeks deep-claw’d, flow’d tears of blood on each,
Whene’er I heard those cursed words, each time
A spike of horror in my mind! no more!
I have set myself free from tvile bondage
Possessing such a slave name doth entail,
Into the hinterlands of history
It has been cast, deep flung, with full disgust,
As from the vaults of heaven came the next
Unshackl’d from all racist crudetie,
Muhammad means ‘worthy of most praises,’
Whilst Ali means most high

Cathal
Quite beautiful
In sound & meaning, so can you tell us
Of Islamica what attracted first

Ali
Many perks, but salient among them
Is pride, some would say love, for given names;
The Chinese have Chang-Chong; & the Russians
Have Kruschev, Karpov, Korchnoi, Kasparov;
You have your Kennedys, Your O’Gradys;
The Jews have their Goldbergs, their Feigenbaums;
Africans Manbongo & Lamubo;
But American Blacks, tho’ thro’ their blood –
Do torrents of the Congo Falls hard flow –
Are nothing now but a whitewash’d negro
With names like Hawkins, Johnson, Smith & Clay…
Muhammad is a beautiful Black name
& I do say it proudly

Cathal
As you may
& few on Earth dare test your stern resolve
In any sphere, even the Supreme Court
Has bended to thy will, & set aside
The orders that tore you from your title

Ali
Let me tell you, Dermot, about my case
At first I was a thankless Antichrist
A draft-dodging antiwhite terrorist,
Helpless as fair won title stripp’d away
But nothing stops the ceaseless wheel of time
What hums with life soon crumples in the dust,
& something chang’d in America’s psyche,
Whose criminals now those who go to war,
Whose conscience is the ones who found my gloves
Classified conscientious objector
& I’ll soon fight again, we boxing sort
Must stay in port to make a patent pay

Cathal
Well, we cannot wait to hear your new song
Ladies, Gentlemen, Muhammad Ali,
Singing ‘Whats in a name’

Ali
Thank you Cathal

IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM

I found the freedom to do what I wanna do
The sum of patience & reason to think things thro
No longer under the rainclouds of painful confusion
That our socety’s under
& so I start to suggest that you do the same
There’s so much freedom in losing you chosen name
& when you’re choosing your own hang it up in a frame
That the world will look up to & wonder

Listen to me, I’m Muhammad Ali
I’m Beloved of God
You wanna be free from this state fakery
Switch your old life off
I’m Beloved of God

The Sunshine Showdown: Scenes 3-4

Scene 3: Pleasington, California

George Foreman is stood in the street chatting to two white girls, Sandy & Lucy

Lucy
This body you possess, Mr Foreman
Flows pectorially perfect, Sandy
Place your hands here with pressure’s lightsome flight
Touching this point, feeling tectonic force
Upheaving from Earth’s core into this heart
Which beats the smelt of blood as if the drums
Of war did thunder oer Montana’s plains

Sandy
{feeling Foreman’s chest}
Hmm – Hmm – why, that is a wonderful thing

Lucy
How often do you train, Mr Foreman

Foreman
George, girls, call me George, why every day

Sandy
But not all day, tell us about your nights

Lucy
Do you have time for play before you sleep
For we love playful funtimes after dark

Sandy
Tonight the both of us have nothing on

Lucy
Would you like to see us with nothing on

Enter Policeman

Policeman
Excuse me ladies, is he troubling you

Lucy
Not at all officer

Foreman
They came to me

Sandy
Its George Foreman, the boxer,

Lucy
We’re big fans

Sandy
So what are you gonna do officer,
Arrest him for being to good looking
I’d leave my white husband in an instant
For half an hour of passion with this man

Policeman
You’d better move along ladies, right now

Lucy
But

Policeman
I said move it

Lucy
See you later George

Policeman
Move it, move it, I’m watching you Foreman
Famous boxer or no you’re just a nigger
to me

Foreman
& all the Confederacy
A century has pass’d since Gettysburg
Destroyd satanic tangents down which slaves
Driven by shameful, disgraceful mutants
Sir, this is now nineteen seventy two
& Civil Rights permit my right to claim
Your use of nigger as a deep offence
But.. I’ll forgive you for your ignorance
Education beats humilation

Policeman
What you call me boy, you want some of this
{Foreman squares off to him / the Policeman spits}
I’m watching you

Foreman
& I’m watching you leave


BLACK POWER

From civil rights by candlelight
In guru kinda places
To rubbing wax on caddilacs
To put them thro their paces
Gonna drive round town with my hood down
Saying fuck you to the racists

There’s black power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
See me rising in the street
Black Power

Well here’s my fist & here’s a list
Of all my consternations
Its been two strides forward one drag back
Since our emancipation
In brotherhood our mothers’ blood
Defines us as one nation

There’s black power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
See me rising in the street
Black Power

Let it roll thro my soul
We are fast & we are strong
Gonna fight the past, gon right the wrong
Cos there’s black power running thro my vein
Lionesses stroke my mane
Watching white men on the wane
Black Power
Back power running thro’ my beat
Feel the freedom in my feet
Gon see us rising in the street


Exit Policeman, Lucy & Sandy / enter Don King

King
Powerful song from a powerful man

Foreman
What

King
Allow me to introduce myself
My name is King, Don King, a businessman

Foreman
So, what’s your business

King
Boxing promotion
I see an opportunity in thee
Whose supreme being fills me with intent
To send your essence thro’ the wider world
I’ve never seen such miracles of strength
Credibility crowning performance
Your foes disintegrating at your gaze

Foreman
What are you saying

King
Joe Frazier

Foreman
Frazier?!

King
He says he’ll fight you if the price is right

Foreman
I aint ready for Joe

King
Sure you are,
Three hundred & seventy five thousand
Fills me with thy possible transcendence

Foreman
How much?

King
Its by Jamaica guaranteed
Shewing a world beyond America
Where black men making money never hear
Their genius defam’d as crooked wiles

Foreman
I still don’t know, Joe’s scary, that left hook
Which floor’d Ali with pristine precision
Still haunts my soul, I seen it sixty times
When as long as Frazier’s the heavyweight
Champion of the world, I got no chance

King
Son, undeliver your defeatism,
It is the boxer’s business to be more,
Not less, than man… with thee I dig deep faith
Joe Frazier boxes like an old blind man
Tapping his stick around for one good punch,
But with that reach of yours he won’t get close
For eagerly astounded I have been
By all your battles’ rich abilities

Foreman
I guess when I lay my fists on these guys
It feels as if Archdruid I’ve became
Wielding a blade temper’d in dragonsbreath

King
Less druid, more Adonis fully-form’d
Thou art as marvelous a specimen
As might be found in all our Human rolls
To never flinch at challengers the print
Of champions, Frazier picks no-hopers,
Beats with them ease, thus his force is dulling,
Straining the lack sharpness from his mind,
Yet what an abundant promise of wealth
Ticks in your heart, & you’ve got hunger too

Foreman
Nevertheless his fighting’s infernal,
He’s never lost a bout, & beat Ali,
Whose ‘Greatest’ egotag fair ratified

King
That fight with Ali left Joe Frazier spent
As if he’d won the Kentucky Derby
Destin’d to never run so fast again
Sithen he has continued as a barge
Cruises canals of glass tranquility,
While favourites can fall if they refuse
To scout ahead all fences in a race
Before it run – he’s never seen you fight,
Or if he has fairly unfancies thee,
But I don’t, George, I think you’re fantastic

Foreman
You really want me to fight Joe Frazier

King
I do, brother, the contract ready form’d
& by the lord in Heaven preordain’d

Foreman
OK – I’ll read it

King
The world is waiting
To crown its next heavyweight champion

Foreman
I’ll let you know tonight what I’ll decide
Come meet me in that diner over there
At seven o’ clock

King
Sure, I will be there

Foreman
O & Mr King, thank you very much

King
You know it makes sense, lets make some money
& bend this exhibition to the bout

Exit Don King – Foreman starts to analyse the contract


Scene 4: Vernon

The Great Gorge Playboy Club: Joe Frazier is relaxing with a newspaper eating his breakfast / enter Hugh Hefner

Hefner
Morning Joe

Frazier
Good morning Mr Heffner

Hefner
Do call me Hugh, so how is your breakfast

Frazier
This sausages & bacon taste sublime

Hefner
Only the best at the Playboy Hotel
Twenty million dollar luxury
Salubrious among the Vernon hills,
The Sinatras, Harry Belafonte
Have play’d, Dean Martin, Duke Ellington too
Our entertainment’s Vegas, food gourmet,
Our famous pool’s fit for Olympians,
There’s twenty seven holes of sterling golf,
Jacuzzis & spas &…

Frazier
Its magical, Hugh,
But a strange place to train, all these bunnies
Bouncing about my body & my brain
The very antithesis of Sparta

Hefner
To see our newly-form’d facilities
Put to the test by a man such as you
Redeems the validation of my dream
You are the world Champion after all
How long, & for free, would you care to stay
At the Great Gorge?

Frazier
Well, I’ve been here a week
I’d like to reside another ten days
It would have been longer but for the snow
I need to run, you see, for stamina
Atlantic City’s where I’ll burn those miles

Hefner
Seems like you’re training harder for Foreman
Than Roy stander & Terry Daniels

Frazier
Well I would say yeah, not because of Foreman,
But I’ve been out a little longer, dig
George is young & strong, he’s a big fella
Who’ll try out all the tricks in book & box
To take that title

Hefner
What about that size
He’ll tower over you as did Ali

Frazier
Well, I got all the remedy for that
I’ll get underneath & keep myself low
As much as possible, while otherwise
I’ve got a new thing for him, you’ll see me
Hitting George with a host of jabs this time

Hefner
His reach is long, you don’t mind getting hit

Frazier
I do mind getting hit, but its a game
Y’know what I mean, if you go out there
You expect to get hit – I dont worry
About tiring, I know can take it,
But only time does tell what will happen
& I’m getting myself together well,
But fear is absent from my agile thoughts
He swings too wide, I’ll teach him a lesson
Like all those other guys before my fists
He’s never felt the clipfull rough of hurt
& yeah, what he did to George Chuvalo
Ruffl’d a fly surprisement – but I got
Too much command of motion in that ring
To see no other outcome but a win

Hefner
& then you are ya gonna fight Muhammad
He’s still the first pretender to your crown

Frazier
The Number One Contender, who’s he fought
Some bruis’d up boys I’ve already beaten
Ali was floor’d, while Foreman’s never lost
But when I slay him in a flash of sweat
Another tilt I’ll give to Ali, sure
& next time knock him out

Hefner
I’m sure you will

Frazier
That nigger makes me mad as murderers
Hes really only in it for the dough
Y’know, some times he calls me up at night
Spittin’ ‘we’re big & bad, why don’t we fight
& carping all the while about the purse
While preaching to the world I aint no good

Hefner
I guess you gotta wait til the four-square
To shut his puss

Frazier
Yeah – I just don’t like him

Enter Kitty, a waitress, carrying a breakfast tray

Kitty
Here you are, Mr Frazier, your breakfast

Frazier
Can I get another pot of coffee

Kitty
Of course, Mr Frazier

Hefner
Thank-you Kitty
{Exit Kitty}
My girls think you’re cute

Frazier
I’m a married man
Mr Heffner

Hefner
She’s a lucky woman
Amidst this siren sensuality
You’re still obsessed with boxing

Frazier
That’s my bag
But as for Cassius Clay, give me five
Months off after Foreman, then I’ll fight him

Hefner
I hope such things transpire as you predict
For now I am a Frazier man, to see
Strength temper’d by tender humility
Cast in a lamp of powerful illume,
I’ll blink in wonder at thy mighty light,
But please excuse my lowly sycophance
There’s business to attend to, & my girls –
Enjoy your day, we can meet this evening
For dinner with my Bunnies, if you’ll wish

Frazier
I’ll be there

Exit Hugh / enter Kitty

Kitty
Your coffee Mr Frazier

Frazier
Thanks Kitty

Kitty
You’re very welcome – enjoy

Exit Kitty / Frazier begins his breakfast