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Speed Read: Paranoid Pictures presents “Groundhog May”

Blog date

17.06.2019

Author

The Friday Speed Read

Each week, The Friday Speed Reads wakes up at 6am and then spends two hours fretting about the opening paragraph of its regular roundup of the week’s news. Often somewhat silly ideas emerge and are then, rightfully, dismissed. Every now and then, however, one of these ideas slips through. 

Every year on the second day of February, residents of the quaint community of Westminster SW1A, gather around the neat entrance to a small burrow waiting for the emergence of Putthebinsout Phil, a cute, fluffy groundhog in a pin-striped shirt and round glasses. According to ancient Germanic legend (that someone made up in a pub in Basingstoke in 1974), if the London skies overhead are clear and Phil casts a shadow on the pavement, he will retreat into his burrow, braced for a No Deal Brexit. If Phil casts no shadow, then the EU will capitulate on its previously unmovable position on the Irish backstop and there will be mild rejoicing.

Due to a paucity of better material, this ancient and entirely nonsensical legend is now the inspiration for a (John) major new motion picture and as readers of The Friday Speed Read, we’re giving you a special sneak preview of the screenplay. You’re welcome. You deserve it. So, sit back, switch on the 4K IMAX projector of your imagination and enjoy:

 

                                                                         GROUNDHOG MAY


INT.  TM THE PM’S HOTEL ROOM – BRUSSELS. DAY

A digital clock radio changes from 5.59 to 6.00 AM. The radio switches on, playing the end of “The Final Countdown” by Europe.

TM the PM sits up in bed and looks around the room. The décor is tasteful and stylish, in contrast to TM’s wheely valise that sits, lid open, on the excellent carpet, spilling its collection of blue trouser suits into the room.

A chirpy, heavily-accented DJ begins speaking on the radio.

DJ
Okay negotiators! Rise and shine! And don’t forget your booties because iz cold out zere  today!

TM the PM drags herself out of bed and moves to the ensuite bathroom where she looks at her reflection in the mirror.

DJ
But ze big question on ze lips of everyone today is, do you think Putthebinsout Phil’s coming out to see his shadow? That’s right Brexit lovers! It’s Groundhog May!

TM the PM looks like she might cry.

INT. EU NEGOTIATING BUNKER – BRUSSELS. DAY

TM the PM sits around a table with JEAN-CLAUDE JUNKER and DONALD TUSK (who is drunk).

JUNKER
I’m sorry but we’ve told you a hundred times Theresa. We’re not going to change our minds.

TM
You have to. I told Parliament that you might. Two weeks after telling them that you                                wouldn’t.

JUNKER
We don’t have to change our minds and we certainly won’t change our minds.

TUSK
There’s a special place in hell for people who change their minds.

JUNKER
The backstop stays.

TM
Please. S’il vous plait. Bitte.

JUNKER
No.

TM
I’m begging vous.

TUSK
There’s a special place in hell for people who beg.

TM
A no deal Brexit would be terrible for the EU.

JUNKER
We’d cope. There’s lots of us. And only one of you.

TM
(tears welling) Why won’t you save the Conservative Party? What’s wrong with you?

JUNKER
Don’t cry for me Theresa. Why not have some wine?

TUSK
There’s a special place in the cupboard where we keep the wine.

ANDIE MACDOWELL
Hi.

JUNKER
What are you doing in the cupboard?

ANDIE MACDOWELL
I hadn’t noticed. I just wondered if there was going to be any attempt to make the Groundhog Day analogy work, given that you spent so long setting it up? What about Putthebinsout Phil?

JUNKER slowly closes the cupboard door.

EXT. A BRUSSELS STREET. NIGHT

TM the PM stumbles through the streets. It is snowing heavily. She won’t be going home tonight.

INT. TM THE PM’S HOTEL ROOM – BRUSSELS. NIGHT

TM the PM lies in her hotel bed and closes her eyes. She’s angry and a bit drunk but sleep comes quickly.

INT. TM THE PM’S HOTEL ROOM – BRUSSELS. DAY

A digital clock radio changes from 5.59 to 6.00 AM. The radio switches on, playing the end of “The Final Countdown” by Europe.

TM the PM sits up in bed and looks around the room. The décor is tasteful and stylish, in contrast to TM’s wheely valise that sits, lid open, on the excellent carpet, spilling its collection of blue trouser suits into the room.

A chirpy, heavily-accented DJ begins speaking on the radio.

DJ
Okay negotiators! Rise and shine! And don’t forget your booties because iz cold out zere today!

TM the PM drags herself out of bed and moves to the ensuite bathroom where she looks at her reflection in the mirror.

DJ
But ze big question on ze lips of everyone today is, do you think Putthebinsout Phil’s coming out to se his shadow? That’s right Brexit lovers! It’s Groundhog May!

TM the PM looks like she might cry.

As does the rest of the UK.

***

And so on and so on and so on. You get the idea.

Away from Groundhog May, this week saw Nissan renege on its promise to build its new X-trail model in its Sunderland factory (a decision that was only partly to do with Brexit) and will have to return the secret £80M that the government gave it to sweeten the deal; people with dementia may be tracked via their smart meters (according to the Mail) and energy prices are going to rise again for some, with OFGEM raising the price cap only a short time after its introduction.

Elsewhere, we’re certain that Liam Neeson was trying to make a nuanced point about the intoxicating effects of anger, loss of control and atonement when he told an interviewer that he once walked through the streets trying to find a black man to kill after his friend had been raped. Problem is, the world’s media is not predisposed to understanding nuanced points about the intoxicating effects of anger, loss of control and atonement and so this week we got:

“Liam Neeson in racist murder plot” and “My primal hatred” (amongst many others).

At the Desk of Revelations this week we discovered that bees can count, Cleaner Wrasse fish can recognise themselves in a mirror and that beer before wine isn’t “fine”, it just makes you more pissed. That’s why we’re sticking to cider before cider which “may make you wider” but at least we’ll be happy.

Right, that’s your lot. Have a great weekend. Here’s a tune! The Pet Shop Boys (ask your parents) released a new song this week and, well, it’s not subtle but it really could be the song for our times.

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