Category Archives: The Sunshine Showdown

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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!

Capture

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.


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 Ali floor’d with pristine precision
Still haunts my soul, I’ve seen it sixty times
For as long as Frazier’s the heavyweight
Champion of the world, I got no chance

King
Undeliver your defeatism, son,
It is the boxer’s business to be more,
Not less, than a man… I have faith in you
Like old blind men tapping their stick around
Joe Frazier boxes, searches one good punch,
But with that reach of yours he won’t get close
For I have been eagerly astounded
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

The Sunshine Showdown: Scenes 5-7

Scene 5: Los Angeles

George Foreman is training for the Sunshine Showdown / a musical interlude / Foreman is Shadowboxing (hooks, jabs, uppercuts)/ at the Punch bag with Eddie Futch & Yank Durham / Skipping / Push-ups / Sparring / Enter Bryant Gumble & a cameraman

Bryant
This is Bryant Gumble, NBC News
George Foreman is here in Los Angeles
Publicizing his January fight
With Joe Frazier next year in Jamaica
He’s looking strong, an athlete in good shape,
So George, can we stop you for a minute

George stops training

Bryant
George, how fares thoughts on your fight upcoming
With Frazier

Foreman
Mine opportunity knocks
But this is not his opportunity
That’s my big advantage – he’s had his chance
& dines, now, with kings, queens & presidents
But with nineteen seventy three drawn nigh
That year might well be my mine, my time to shine,
That’s the opportunity, intend I
To take advantage of it, I aint had
Much television like this, I want this,
He’s tired of it, makes fame an every day
Occurrence, but not me, this is my time

Bryant
Does it upset you, does it bother you
When people belittle your skills, & say
You’ve fought with failures, skittl’d nobodies

Frazier
No, not really, it depends whom utters
Are you saying that

Bryant
No

Foreman
Well, alright then
I like to think that every time i fight
I go out to make all my opponents
Look like nothing, & I hope Joe Frazier
Goes down in likewise manner, like the rest

Bryant
Thanks George

Foreman
You’re welcome

Foreman returns to training

Bryant
Foreman’s fresh & good –
Since Ali, Frazier has only fought twice
& both of those opponents nobodies
Unless he’s ready Joe’ll have quite a fight
Upon his hands in Jamaica, next year;
I’ve been Bryant Gumble, NBC news

Exit Bryant / Foreman stops training

Foreman
I’m really gonna have to do it now
But how the hell am I gonna beat him

Futch
Well, he is a very clever boxer
& smart enough to win the world entire
Protecting the button he hides his chin
Behind fantastic defences, if chin
Feels unassailable, ignore it plain,
Use your height & hit him on his headtop

Durham
I don’t think there’s nothing to worry on
He’s far too nonchalant, he’s gone too soft
Fancy clothes, cadillacs & chevrolets

Futch
One of them’s a thirty-four

Foreman
I seen it

Durham
A swimming pool shap’d like a boxing glove
By four hundred thousand dollars of home
Such trappings of success an ancient trap
When warriors prefer women & wine
& hearths & rugs instead of open fields,
Then they’ll soon miss the missile in the fray

Foreman
But everything you’d never want to face
In boxing Frazier’s got

Futch
I’d do the same
But better – if he tries to move in close
Stop him, block him, get out of the way
Then when he’s open pulverize & pound

Durham
Easy

Foreman
I wish I felt your confidence
A tougher cookie I aint ever seen
With vicious left hooks and rights to the side
He’s buzzsaw, giant killer, a machine,
Aint lost a fight since nineteen sixty four
To Buster Mathis at the Flushing trials
& has since decimated the divison

Futch
But you succeeded Frazier’s golden torc
& you have never lost a single fight

Durham
Just keep going George, we believe in you

Futch
Yeah, back to work, pick up that skipping rope


Scene 6: New York

Press conference / Enter Don King, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Archie Moore stands by Foreman’s shoulder / Journalists 1,2 & 3 are present

King
Well, thank you all for coming here today
The Sunshine Showdown’s glowing in the dawn
O! what a day loaded in store for thee
& what a night of boxing out Kingston,
Jamaica, this January comingm
Whose arena of forty-two thousand
Stack’d rafter-pack’d above two boxers sees
Joe Frazier, the champion, George Foreman,
The Challenger; today they gonna sign
The contracts, but first, boys, lets see those fists…
I’m gonna call on Mister Joe Frazier
To say a few words, Joe

Frazier
Good afternoon,
About George I’m not gonna say too much
For as you know my own lip-rapping skills
Aint so great, you know how it is, no mouth
Run-offer, like some people that we know
{Laughter}
Because of one particular reason
I’m stoked to bits this fight is coming off
For me & George are in the fighting game
For fighting aint no politician thing,
When sportsmen go off rapping, that aint right,
The ring no place to showcase opinions
Other than that which settles whose fought best,
& so, I feel this fight should entertain,
While George tries to strip away my title
I’ll do my very best to keep it close

King
Thanks Joe, so George, some words you wanna say?

Foreman
I don’t wanna be as modest as Joe
For he’s already proved himself a king
I gotta get out here to preach & brag
& big me up & let you people think
I’m a monkey or something, so all yous
Can come along & see me do something
I want all the people in this country
Complaisant with all planetary parts
To light their eyes upon this special fight
I know myself it shall be mighty brawl
An evening when George Foreman will declare
Wars on Joe’s bones, & that’s a definite!

Crowd
Right On

Frazier
Most people suggest a fighter
Loses his legs ascending certain age
But now my legs feel stronger than ever
I don’t know, I must have got one of those
The guy who run so fast

Journalist 1
A second wind

Frazier
No – the Six Million Dollar man, yeah?

Journalist 2
Yeah

Frazier
When I hit the road in the morning
I’m like the Six Million Dollar Man

Foreman
You people are certainly gonna see
A mighty fight, in which avow’d am I,
The only way to take leave of that ring
Victoryless before the fifteenth end
Is stretcherborne, unconscious, void of force

King
We’ll see you all in Kingston on the night
It will be grand, it will be exotic
A royal, unforgettable battle
As if they were the houses roseate
White York & Red Lancaster, clamp’d by gore
Together on a sodden, windswept moor
But under sultry island sun instead
So a good day to you all
{To Frazier & Foreman}
This way boys

Journalist 3
Mr King, could you answer some questions

King
That will be all, thank-you

Journalist 3
But Mr King
Is it true there’s twelve thousand empty seats
On an island where the average wage
Is only twenty-five dollars a month
Was that to be expected… Mr King?

Exit King & the Boxers

Journalist 1
So how you think the fight is gonna go

Journalist 2
I can’t see Foreman lasting seven rounds
He’s barely hit the third before his foes
End the bouts, encrumpl’d upon canvas
But Frazier is a different being
& by the fourth or fifth Foreman will tire

Journalist 3
I don’t think it’ll even last that long
George Foreman’s just an old-fashion’d slugger

Journalist 1
But tough, I wouldn’t be so sure

Journalist 2
Come on
You’re kidding right, Foreman don’t stand a chance

Journalist 3
But Jamaica, hah, better than New York
In winter, don’t forget to pack your shorts

Journalist 2
I’ll be there Jack, & newly single too!


Scene 7: Jamaica

Joe Frazier’s hotel, poolside / The Knock-Outs are playing, Frazier is singing to a crowd of lithe Jamaican ladies & journalists

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

Enter Eddie Futch & Yank Durham

Futch
Hey Joe, Joe Frazier, what are you doing?

Joe
Hey, guys, relax, we’re just having a jam

Futch
A jam, a jam, your fight is in five days

Durham
This is insane, Joe, why ya not training

Foreman
I was this morning

Futch
We heard about that
You were getting bested by Ken Norton
& that aint ever happened before, Joe

Durham
We’ve told him his service no more needed
& have a nice vacation here

Futch
Like you
It seems, Joe, but this aint no holiday,
Its hard work, its elite competition
Its, its not this anyway

Frazier
Eddie, Yank
Relax, I got this

Durham
Singing by the pool
In this heat drains your strength – its just stupid

Futch
Its time to get outta here, gals & girls
Go take your party to another pool

Jamaican Woman 1
Alright, alright

Jamaican Woman 2
See you later, Joe, thanks

Frazier
Bye ladies, boys, nice music today

Knockout 1
Yeah

Knockout 2
You’d better hightail back to yer training
Mr Futch & Mr Durham don’t look pleas’d

Futch
Damn right we aint pleas’d, now get outta here

Frazier
I don’t know why you guys are all upset
I got Foreman, he got nothing on me
All blunderbus & blunders, whats the fuss

Durham
It aint him we’re worried about, its you,
Dwell we do upon your poor well-being,
Away from the gray-iron grasp of the gym
& that wet, wild & windy Philly
You’re losing your intensity & drive

Futch
And its not just this island’s soothing balms
We should have cut your gloves off once Ali
Hit canvas, too much damage that night dealt,
& now you’re just a shadow of the man
Who charg’d upon the title like a train
You’re now proud owner of a new-bought yacht
Loving to dive into the sun and fun

Frazier
What you on about, Eddie, I’ll be fine

Durham
He’s got a point, you’re losing something Joe

Frazier
I gotta hear this bullshit from you too
& on the eve of a title defence

Futch
Joe, you got enough money, whatever
Happens next week, its time to give it up

Frazier
Damn, give it up, what’s to gain, I’m World Champ
You think I’m gonna walk away like
that?
All the work and sweat, Climb this high mountain
Pain all the way, to come down on a plane
No, no chance, not happening, now lets work,
George Foreman’s record is a deception,
I got too much for him, I’ll be too strong
Then maybe, in a year or two, retire
Cos’ I still gotta make sure Clay stays down
You got my back

Durham
We got it Joe

Frazier
Good, Good
Now come on, lets get outta here, you’re right
A poolside aint no place for a fighter
Nor ringside too, but on the canvas he
Belongs – as the Zulu with his Assegai
Dwells natural in his tribal impi –
Knuckledust fists like burnish’d katana
In the hands of a silver samurai
I’ll show George Foreman & the watching world
Joe Frazier is a trueblood champion

Futch
Yeah-heah – that’s the spirit

Frazier
I got this boys

Exit Frazier, Futch & Durham

The Sunshine Showdown: Scene 8

SCENE 8: The Sunshine Showdown

Don King arrives in a limo with Joe Frazier to the sound of Desmond Dekker & the Aces ‘Israelites’ – the crowd is excited as they enter the stadium – out of the car also steps Marvis & his aunt, Mazie

Marvis
This is all amazing Auntie Mazie
I’m so excited at this my first fight
Daddy watching, & in Jamaica too!

Mazie
All this is gonna blow your mind my boy
There is nothing like seeing your daddy
In action, so supremely does he flow

Enter Mavis & Mazie / enter Foreman

Journalist 1
Hey its Foreman

Journalist 2
Good luck George

Journalist 3
You’ll need it

Dundee
Hey George

Foreman
Hello

Dundee
I’m Angelo Dundee
Ali’s trainer

Foreman
O hi, here for the show

Dundee
We want to talk to you after you win
{Foreman laughs}
There are rumours rumbling of Africa

Foreman
I heard them, in Zaire or something, right

Dundee
Right – I’m here to pin it on the rematch
But I’ve seen your jab, Sonny Liston style,
& well, you’d better get a passport boy!

Foreman laughs & enters the stadium

Journalist 2
Hey Angelo, why ya backing Foreman
He’s a wide-swinging brute with no technique

Dundee
With his parries, pivots, blocks pivots & step-aways
He’ll act just like an agile matador
To Frazier’s raging bull, a clash of styles,
Foreman’s an old school fighter who prevents
A punch before it has even begun,
Pinning arms, pushing shoulders, pulling gloves,
I don’t think Frazier’s gonna land a blow

Journalist 3
You’re crazy man

Dundee
We’ll see, lets watch that fight

The Journalists & Angelo Dundee enter the stadium


Scene 9 : THE SUNSHINE SHOWDOWN

Referee: Arthur Mercante

Commentators
Howard Cosell
Don Dunphy

Dunphy
Here we ringside, Kingston, Jamaica
To see who’ll be the next World Champion
Of the global heavyweight division
Here comes the challenger, big George Foreman
This undefeated warrior was born
In Marshall, Texas, nineteen forty-nine
Which makes him twenty-four, in sixty-eight
He won Olympic gold, turn’d pro, sithen,
Guided by Dick Sandler, canny-handed,
He’s won all of his thirty-seven fights
With thirty-four by knock-out, six feet four
With a range of seventy-eight inches
George Foreman’s the man who floor’d Chavala

Cassel
We’re now awaiting the arrival of
Joe Frazier, the defending champion
To a twenty foot ring with a canvas
Like a mattress, very soft, the Frazier
Kind of canvas, that man does not bounce
This slugger coming at ya like a tank
Wait a second – in the background cheers I hear
{Joe Frazier arrives with Don King}
Now here comes Frazier, twenty-nine years old
Coming down the aisle, his strong arms hanging
Onto his manger, Yancy Durham
As always has his habit sent him in
This South Carolinan soul, Buford born
In nineteen forty-four, would win his gold
In sixty-four, by Hayes, Carr, Larrabee,
Under Yancy Durham’s style & wisdom
He’s won every professional fight
Twenty-nine victories straight, twenty-five
By technical or natural knock-out

Dunphy
But four men have ever gone the distance
With Joe, there’s Muhammad Ali, of course
In the never-to-be-forgotten bout
Of March eighth, nineteen seventy one
Oscar Bonnavena has done it twice.

Cassel
Joe is five feet eleven – with a reach
Of seventy-three & a half inches
Who says he’s not too happy with Foreman
Spitting disparages on his focus
& yearns to do away with Foreman swift

Dunphy
& now he’s thro’ the ropes, & in the ring
Powerful, in his colourful attire
Of white gown, trim gold-gleaming & a belt

Cassel
Joe Frazier came in at a surprising
Two hundred & fourteen pounds, that’s eight pounds
More than on the night he fought Muhammad Ali, who is also here at ringside
Watching on – we’ll survey his opinion
Upon the fight some moment opportune

Dunphy
The referee is Arthuyr Mercente
Who refereed the Ali-Frazier fight
A man who is gen’rally consider’d
The best boxing referee in the States

Cassel
They are trying to psyche each other out
& look, there is no fear in either man
Especially George Foreman knows no fear
He’s grown enormously in confidence
Of presence & speech, as well as boxing

Dunphy
Arthur Mercante makes his announcement

Mercante
This Heavyweight Championship contest
To decide the world title is govern’d
By the rules of the Jamaican boxing
Federation scoring rules – a clean fight
With legal punches up above the waste
Conform the ten point must scoring system
There will be a mandatory eight count
Even after three knockdowns in the round
The fight goes on, no saving by the bell,
Go wait for the bell & come out boxing

Dunphy
When phantom fortune proffers tangible
In title fights before a titan crowd
I hope excitement strikes thee as it me
We are all close to the start of round one
Come any second now & we may have
An interesting evening
{BELL}
Here we go

Cossel
Frazier’s status as the fight favorite
Is understandable, but Foreman flies
Out punching with a right, Frazier responds
With usual style, smoking he puts it
His job’s to get inside, his best weapon
The left hook, to which Foreman’s vuln’rable

Dunphy
Frazier’s in the white trunks, Foreman’s in red
George Foreman looks a little pensive, tense
But lands a left jab, pushes Frazier back

Cossel
Frazier is not landing any punches
Tho’ he is the aggressor

Dunphy
But Frazier
Rarely wins the first, I would be surpris’d
If he won one now

Cossel
Foreman has been struck
Struck good by Frazier’s left hook’s beastly best

Dunphy
Yes, Foreman looks a little looser now

Cossel
Now there’s another heavy left by George
Who’s getting punches into Frazier’s head,

Dunphy
We will find out tonight how much Ali
Extracted from Frazier, if anything

Cossel
& lets discover just how good is George
In punching & in taking of a punch

Dunphy
Foreman, there, with a good, smart, snappy jab

Cossel
He hurt Joe Frazier, Joe Frazier is hurt!

Dunphy
Foreman is having a very good round

Angelo Dundee
{ringside]
Frazier’s hurt, Joe Frazier’s hurt, oh my!

Cossel
Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!

Dunphy
The mandatory eight-count is taken
By the heavyweight champion, while pois’d
As can be, Foreman is pois’d as can be
Upon the neutral corner ropes, relax’d,

Marvis
{ringside}
Daddy, stop playing daddy, stop playing!
Why’s my daddy playing, get him daddy!

Dunphy
There’s a full minute to go in the round
& already this fight is proving out
What some expected

Cossel
Tis spectacular
Frazier’s in real trouble here – ooh, that left
Is getting in

Dunphy
Frazier seems to be hurt,
He’s being rock’d

Cossel
Frazier’s been dull’d & dazed
Getting hit over & over again
Same temple hit so often by Ali

Dunphy
Foreman’s winning the fighting completely

Cossel
Foreman steadily goes about his job
Determin’d, like a sheepdog on the holme

Dunphy
Tho’ Frazier fights back gamely, trouble’s spear
Seems but a step & a second away

Cossel
George Foreman is all over Joe Frazier

Dunphy
There’s only twenty seconds in the round

Cossel
George Foreman fires off right fist at Joe’s jaw

Dunphy
Frazier is down again

Cossel
Frazier is down
& he… maybe… no, he’s rising, he’s game!
He is dazed, he doesn’t know where he is

Dunphy
The mandatory eight count, Joe looks lost
& wobbling like the scarecrow in a storm

Cossel
The round’s about to end

Dunphy
Frazier looks beat
He’s never taken punishment like this
{BELL}
Frazier goes down again at sound of bell

Cossel
But look, he’s up & the bout continues

Dunphy
Three knockdowns in the first round by Foreman
Muhammad Ali, watcha make of that

Ali
George punches like a reckless amateur
& telegraphs each thrust as semaphore
With sweeping, sluggish movements of his arms
His left jab’s fine, but fails to follow up
All Frazier needs to do is keep away
But making mistakes is his insistance
Straight from knockdown he’s lunging at his foe
A times for pride, a time for common sense
He’s thinking as he is the champion
He’s gotta get his man, but runs instead
Into George Foreman’s mandament display
If he’d just step away from the slugfest
He could win the fight, George looks very tired
After one round only, his punches wild
But Frazier’s tenaciousness, lack of fear,
Intimates Foreman’s intimidation’
Remember when Joe fought Bonavena
Was two-times knock’d down in the second round,
But got back up, with non-stop punches won –
This fight could be Joe’s yet…

Bell

Dunphy
There goes the bell

ROUND TWO

Cassel
The Challenger’s scarily dominant
Joe’s hooks that even land have hardly phas’d
This cool marauder Foreman, all’s in awe

Dunphy
Joe’s coming out, wants come back hurrified

Cassel
You’ll find no man gamer than Joe Frazier

Dunphy
Foreman batters Frazier in his corner

Cassel
Oh – he is all over Frazier again
Frazier’s knees buckle

Dunphy
Joe goes down again

Cassel
He is down for the fourth time in the fight

Dunphy
Just forty-five seconds, now four-times down

Cassel
A quick left, & another, Foreman sent
A short & vicious compact to the chin

Marvis
Auntie Mazie, my Daddy aint playing

Mazie
No son, he’s human like the rest of us

Marvin
But, he’s the champion of all the world!

Dunphy
There goes Joe down again
Fallen for the fifth time in this fist-fight

Foreman
{to Frazier’s corner}
Yank, stop it or I’m going to kill him

Crowd yelling & shrieking Stop it! Stop it! Stop the fight! / Frazier gets back on his feet / Foreman resumes the attack

Cassel
It is target practice for George Foreman
But Frazier is ready to go again

Dunphy
Joe’s down again, a jamboree of jolts
Let us see if the referee stops it

Cassel
Three times down, the fight is stopped, no its not

Angelo Dundee
Stop the fight, stop it, someone stop the fight

Dunphy
Mercante has taken hold of Foreman
Tries to lead him to a neutral corner
While Frazier barely recognizes breath

Cassel
Angie Dundee is screaming out ‘stop it!’
It is over, it is over, the fight
Is over only in the second round!

Cassel
George Foreman wins it in the second round

Dunphy
I’m going up into the ring to talk
To Frazier, the loser, & Foreman
The winner because Joe Frazier has been
A great champion, thoroughly deserves Consideration

Cassle
Nancy Durham is hugging George Foreman
They’re going crazy about him up there

The ring becomes rapidly inundated by a swarm of men – two fist-fights spontaneously erupt / Don Dunphy with Dick Sandler & Don King get in the ring & head for Foreman who is just having a word with JF in his corner

Dunphy
This ring’s a madhouse, a stunning upset
A burst of brawling bedlam gone abroad
We have a new heavyweight champion
I cannot wait to interview this man
& hope to hold on to my microphone
I am trying to get to George Foreman
Out of my way, good fellows, if you please

King & Dunphy come together & get to Foreman – King graps his shoulder, Don his arm

Dunphy
George, George, do you have anything to say

Foreman
Joe Louis, I have more respect for him
Than all the world’s fellowship, next to him
Mister Archie Moore

King
My man, I got it

Foreman
What round is it?

Dunphy
You forgot when you won

Frazier
I thought it was the fourth

Dunphy
No, the second
D’ya know how many times you knock’d down Joe

Foreman
I can’t remember

Dunphy
George, I got to know
Your future plans, will you fight Joe again
Or will it now be Muhammad Ali

Foreman
My plans, right now, were to win the title
I’d like to tell the kids if work thee hard
& pray, then you can do just anything
I would like to spend my whole life preaching
My next fight is to work with juveniles
That’s my ring, the world is my true ring

Don King escorts Foreman out of the ring / Bryant Gumble & a cameraman find Ali

Bryant
Muhammad Ali, did you expect that

Ali
No I did not, Foreman’s upset my plans
I’ll have to beat them both now for to prove
I’m true champ born, the greatest of all time

Bryant
So what do you think of Foreman right now?

Ali
He hit Joe like all of his opponents
I will admit he’s hard, but if a man
Can stay out of his way for just five rounds
In good shape – stick him, move, stay out of range,
He’ll retire George Foreman, this man depends
On getting his man in the first two rounds
If he don’t do that he gets frustrated
If you stick him with left jabs, right crosses,
Tie him up in boxing, he will retire
& I know I’m gonna whup George Foreman
& I’m gonna whup him in Africa
In the Congo, where boys Lumbaba are

Bryant
Now then, Ali, answer me this question
How could that man go fifteen rounds with you
& only two with Foreman

Ali
That’s easy
‘Cause George Foreman’s not as good a fighter
Scientifically as I am, right,
But I admit he’s stronger, hits harder
I’m not a hard puncher, people know that
But boxing ability will give me
Victory, with ease, whupping him on points
Over the distance if necessary

Bryant
So a fight in your home territory,
You couldn’t now be any happier
With what is coming up this September

Ali
Why would you call Africa my hometurf

Bryant
You have been telling me that for ten years

Ali
That’s right & if you lot come over there
Talking all like that we’re gonna cook you

Ali slams down the microphone mike & storms off

Bryant
Well there you have it folks, its all over
The Sunshine Showdown sets into the stars
& leaves a trace of glory in the night
That when pierc’d next by Dawn’s roseate dart
On Stanley’s peak her golden tint shall fall
That’s all from NBC, great fight, good night

The Sunshine Showdown: Scenes 9-10

Scene 9: The Foreman dressing room

Just after the Sunshine Showdown, George Foreman, his trainer, Dick Sadler, & his brother, Roy, are winding down

Roy
My God, you are a monster in the ring
Frazier’s invincible aura shatters
Mighty the swings of your cannonball fists
Mixing an assassean attitude
With thunderous powerstrikes zeusean

Dick Sadler
Well, I aint seen its like since Fifty Nine
Johannsson floor’d Floyd Patterson five times

Roy Foreman
It was seven

Sadler
Whatever, what a rout!

Foreman
Was that a dream? it feels no dream, my skin
Tingles with a sensation symphony
No sleep administers adrenaline
As that which now administers my world
& I, the bonnie champion of it,
From hoodlum youth to gladiator freed
From economic grinditude, applied
The best of prowess – train’d, innate, made good
Among the pantheons of tribe & time,
The undisputed, the undefeated,
Now the youngest ever champion to claim
The title as his own, my life is bless’d

Roy Foreman
Not bless’d as such, success from hard work springs
& a real man attends to his own fortune

Sadler
Arguably a brutal dethroning
Nevertheless, an easy victory

Foreman
Easy, yes, but long in paindays building
& I guess I wanted it much harder
Full forty months of sacrifice & sweat
While he lapp’d up the good life & money
A famous life of music & parties
But lost his appetite for the fighting
& drown’d his hunger in the Roman baths
Sate by fat senators while long I train’d,
Sparring with Carthaginians enslaved
Duelling Numibians for the thumb
Undistracted by liberal excess
& could not lose, only poor man being

Sadler
Each devastating knock-down different
Fetch’d weapons from your ruthless armoury
Pulverizing hooks, uppercut rockets
& that last right half hook-half uppercut
That lifted Frazier clean up off his feet.

Foreman
But he still got up again, didn’t he
I have never seen anything like it
I’ve seen him fight & as we fought I thought
Boy, you mess’d up now, you’ve knock’d Joe down
He’ll be angry, I’d better be careful
He’s gonna getcha, so I jump’d on him
& knock’d him down again, each time I did
I kept on thinkin’, boy, you’ve made him mad
This fight was all about keeping him down
I was thinking if I don’t hurry up
& end this thing then he’s gonna end me
But come that marvel moment, Mercente
Stopping the fight & all, I felt fulfill’d
Into my soul floated all the others
A gallery of angels inrushing
I saw Joe Louis, John O’Sullivan
& Rocky Marciano smiling on

Roy Foreman
They’re not alone, whereby tomorrow morn
The world should ponder who this wonder is
The man who beat the man who beat Ali

George Foreman
That’s Me

{Knock on door}

Sadler
It could be press

Foreman
Yeah, I’m ready

Enter Joe Frazier

Frazier
George, I just wanna say how fine you fought
Too good for me, I still don’t understand
Just how you did it, brother, but you did

Foreman
Thanks man, it musta been my lucky day
I’ve more respect for you as a fighter
Than any man I know

Frazier
If that is so
You could have lump’d on me less punishment
A bruising wall & you were cruising too

Foreman
I wouldn’t go as far as saying that
I fear’d your punches whizzing pass’d my head
Like bullets from an unforgiving gun
If one of them had hit me, well, you know

Frazier
I might be a sniper at a slugfest
But if my gun aint loaded, that’s the shunt
Your Houston Tornado tore my town down
I felt set on some underwater drift
With dull depth charges dropping on my head,
Or with a change of stance & shift of weight
You lifted me straight off the floor, both feet
But by the by, let me leave you to it,
For you’re the champ now, congratulations
I’ve had my victories, & they were sweet
Enjoy yours now, you deserve it brother

Foreman
Thanks

Frazier
No problem, see you at the rematch!

Frazier & Foreman share a laugh – exit Frazier

Foreman
Angel-hearted, but boxing Samael
Who took a buzzsaw to an era’s swathe
& tore a host of glories

Knock on the door

Roy Foreman
I’ll get it

Enter the Spirit of America

Spirit Of America
The press are waiting for Mr Foreman
There’s cameras, reporters, radio
From various places, races, nations
Is he ready?

Foreman
I’m ready, yes, lets go
But somebody order me fried chicken

Roy Foreman
No sweat, brother

Foreman
& grill’d cheese sandwiches
Such as were disavow’d by my training

Exit all but the Spirit – if possible, during the song, show Foreman leaving with Don King in the same limo that King arrived in with Frazier

Spirit Of America
You gotta love those cool gladiators
Like avatars of Vishnu from the void
This age’s lives rise as fortunate ones
When status inclinations of the day
Are all for voyeurism of elites
A golden era when best fought the best,
Doses of ultraviolence assur’d
With weapons devastating, never seen,
Especially those fists of George Foreman
So perfectly invincible evolv’d,
Frazier had taken him far too lightly
He’d never thought him special – big, strong, young,
Ambitious – yes – but very beatable
Alas, such is the cocky juice of fools
Who feel the flaming pinions of fame
Might only shine for them – no, Joe was wrong
As planets move in orbit round the sun
Our faces move & alter in the light
Like human moods they change, like fickle fate
Like woman’s love, like everything alive,
Our fame is but ephemeral, tho’ some
Might linger in the magic of the skies
Like singers stitching fabric thro’ our lives.


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


Scene 10: The Dick Cavett Show

Throughout the singing of ‘Slinky Disco’ the scene changes to a TV studio & a show hosted by Dick Cavett / on the guest couch is Jack Benny / Bill Cosby is playing saxophone along to Slinky Disco

Bill
…well, the guy starts blowing the saxophone,
Y’know, brr-brr-brr-bah-bah-brr-brr-bah
Then all of a sudden all the people
Sat before me, y’know, so cool, so still
They’re watching this guy clambour onto stage
The next thing you know he’s banging cymbals
Like ding-a-ding-ding, lots of ring-a-dings
& its Max Roache, y’know, hes rescued me
Well, he was just sat there doing his thing
So I made beeline to the wurlitzer
& said, ‘hey guys I want my money back!’

Cosby joins Benny on the couch

Jack
I didn’t understand a word he said
But I still loved it

Cosby
Ask Dick what I said
I will tell you right after the show, Jack

Bill
Trust me, it was funny

Jack
It felt funny

Cavett
So moving on t’where everybody knows
One of the most profoundly upsetting
Boxing events distinguish’d by giants
Was just play’d out in Kingston Jamaica
When, just one minute & fifty seconds
Inside the second round, the champion
Joe Frazier lost his title, being fell’d
Four or five times by the young contender
George Foreman, well… tonight we’re gonna try
& figure out just how, for Joe Frazier
The bout went south – ladies & gentlemen
Joe Frazier

Enter Joe Frazier

Frazier
First thing first I’d like to say
I wrote down something before I came on
{reading}
I will not lose another fight this year

Cavett
How ya not gonna lose anymore fights

Frazier
That’s easy, I aint gonna fight again
Not this year, anyway, I still feel blue
About losing my title, but I lost
Fair & square, I got whupp’d, but my momma
Whupp’d me too

Cavett
What do you put it down to
How does a champion lose his title

Frazier
Over & over I’ve studied the fight
To isolate its worst mistakes, y’know,
So, for now, its back to the drawing board
There start from scratch, get myself together
& next time in the ring more careful be

Benny
Can I just say one small thing

Frazier
Sure you can

Benny
You’re among the nicest fellas I’ve met
{applause}
Your attitude encapsulates honour

Frazier
My terms are fair, I caught some wicked shots,
But vigourwith I should have dodg’d them all,
I been around far longer than young George
I know the fighting game & understand
Such debacle should never have occur’d

Cavett
Tell me, during the fight, was there a time,
Of your locality you’d lost all sense ,
Of where you were, Joe, did you lose your track
Of your locality

Frazier
That first dull blow
From Foreman short-circuited my life-force,
I said, hey, what, but an instant’s flashing
& I took another of those punches
With no time to convince myself I’m fine
& take a breath of peaceful steadying
Instead I stood, hotheaded & angry,
Me, Joe Frazier, champion of the world,
Its like, I couldn’t believe it happen’d
& so it could never have happen’d, right?

Cavett
Right, but it was happening, how did you feel,
Was your mind alive?

Frazier
Tis not a dream you feel
But a titan shock, some gadfly surprise
Back in sixty-six or sixty-seven
Oscar Bannavenna left me flatten’d
On canvas floor, then nothing until George
Unflatteringly clatter’d me once more
I said to myself, what happen’d here Joe,
Y’know, this can’t be real, so up I got
Instead of using the old proroutine
& take precaution when a danger looms
& move around until my wits flew home
But groov’d on thro’ the fight just as before
So doing thus was lord of my mistakes
Cos the man hadn’t tasted my punches
But I’d just had a taste of his, ya dig,

Benny
Might I ask one question

Frazier
Sure

Benny
In a fight
When being hit, do you feel pain at once
Or does it later hurt you

Frazier
Well then Jack,
Tis something unexplainable & queer,
Not the lively pain of bullets & knives
No charge of Apis, when nerves raise legions,
But more a drifting to a higher state
Like taking, Jack, those pills you took backstage

Cavett
There’s no dude in your brain sayong oh-oh

Frazier
If you’re thinking your timings together
Like when you are doing a show, y’know,
Before an ambrosial audience
Even after I was fell’d the fourth time
I was happy in mine elementals
& readied myself for more performance
A little off-key, perhaps, but steady

Cavett
How does your love of fighting fare, still keen?

Joe
Sure am, & shall be going back to work
To win my title back a wiser man

Cavett
Are you aware, Joe, that the outside world
Is full of peoples’ deep ruminations
Upon your lack of realization
Such was the beating by Ali bestow’d
& came to Foreman fighting in fractions

Frazier
Well, I cannot give any man credit
For anything another man has done
Twas Foreman who defeated me, not Clay
He’s a big, strong fella, I’m not sure yet
How good a fighter he’s got, but one thing
I do know is… he packs a ten-ton punch

Cosby
I’d rather bomb with a joke any day
Than be hit on the head by George Foreman

Jack
Did you ever hear from Ali, after
Your epic adventure in life & ring

Frazier
I never heard from Clay, no, not at all

Cavett
It would be nice if Ali deliver’d
A small, little note saying I’m sorry
Apologizing for unpleasantness

Frazier
A note could come, but never face-to-face
For we don’t be getting along so well
But as it stands if each of us desires
Once more to don the crown, we’ll have to duel

Cavett
Thanks Joe… & please take up your microphone
& see this super show out in best style
{Joe moves to stage}
Let us say a big thank-you to our guests
Bill Crosby, Jack Benny & Joe Frazier
Great to see you guys… take it way Joe

Frazier sings My Way