Listen to the Episode
EPISODE 6: CITIES
SFX A CD-ROM is placed in a CD-ROM drive.
SFX Quid Pro Euro 96 launch music.
GUIDE: Would you like to start a NEW GAME or LOAD an existing game?
SFX Mouse Click.
GUIDE: You have
SFX CD Whirr
SFX CD Whirr
GUIDE: Saved games!
SFX Mouse click.
ATMOS Outdoor and still. There is a lamppost humming warmly.
GUIDE: It’s snowing.
Look. Look at the snow. It’s covering the tops of the buildings and all along the road. All along where the road… was.
Muddy, isn’t it.
I think it used to be cobbles.
Yes, look there. Big piles of cobbles. One on top of the other. How do they balance like that? What happens when you touch one?
SFX Cobbles fall over
Isn’t it nice to be in a city? Even a broken city with ankle deep mud and cobbles in piles. It’s pretty in the snow. See how it’s settling on the balconies? And there, on the lamppost.
The lamppost is still working. Aww.
SFX Lamppost stops working.
And it’s just starting to obscure the graffiti on that caved-in block of flats. What is the graffiti? Maybe a mural that can tell us the history of the city. Or a signature telling us who lived here.
It’s a great big face of a clown.
Do you know what the singular of graffiti is? Yes? Well keep it to yourself or I’ll tell everyone how clever you are.
There are many great big faces of clowns. Look. Down the road, those streaks on the sides of the blocks of flats. They’re clown faces. You have to stand here at the top of the hill to see them in the proper perspective.
Move the mouse to see the street in proper perspective.
SFX Camera moving noises,
Hey look, there’s writing under that one. What does it say?
City: 0. Circus: 1.
So there was a contest. Sport maybe. Or… a war. That’s why it’s all destroyed! A war between town and clown.
The road opens onto a square. Shall we investigate? Sorry, shall you investigate? I know my place, journalist!
SFX CD Whirr
When I’m in cities, I like there to be so many things to do I don't know what to choose and run around all night from restaurant to theatre to statues to orchestras to language lessons to life modelling for poets and finally collapse in exhaustion in half a bed.
Look at these paintings. All around the square! And statues and pottery… and on the ground there’s an absolutely enormous fountain pen. It’s an outdoor museum! Very city. Very free.
Is it free?
The nice thing about being free is you can do whatever you want. Did you know that when you’ve finished cutting your nails you can click your nail clippers together for a quick bout of Morse code? Nobody can stop you!
Well, so long as you’re being free within the rules nobody can stop you. You can’t click your nail clippers together in Caesar cipher. That’s against the rules.
SFX A crashing behind us.
What was that!
Oh no, the road we came up is blocked now! By… that’s a picture frame. With a painting. It’s so big! But look, the painting is a painting of the road we came up. Shall we have a look?
Hmm. I don’t know much about art but this painting looks much neater than reality. No piles of cobbles or pale blocks of flats, but there are people hanging out their washing, hitching horses to wagons. This must be what it used to look like. Painted from right here at the top of the road. There’s a long stretch of… canvas tents? And the laundry is hanging on bunting. There are clown baker… bakers, and strongman butchers. There's an elephant on roller skates doing the crossword, the best part of the newspaper. And that's a dancer on a horse buying vegetables. Have you seen enough?
You know, I don’t think the city came first. The circus did!
SFX Three more massive paintings crash down.
Woah! Now there’s a giant picture frame blocking our every path. Three of them. Why don't we look closer?
The first picture frame shows the old Acrobats Road to the west - see, there's a name on the frame. It went up a hill. Look at them all sitting on their trapezes and talking, and swinging from laundry lines… and the road itself is a very long trampoline where baby acrobats are playing. But look, here, this is different. There is a group of people not in circus clothes. They’re building a little block of flats in pale stone.
In the first painting the city people arrive and it looks like they’re getting along famously with the circus people. Let’s look at another.
The second painting shows, what does that say, the Street of Big Cats. There they are, sitting along one side of the street with the lion tamers looking out. Pss pss pss pss. Hello! Pss pss pss pss pss. Who’s a lovely pusscat? [Chuckle] But look on the other side, the city people have gone further now. Tall blocks of flats, little cafés, newsagents… They’ve taken over half the painting. But they’re all still getting along. Look, on that balcony, it’s a banker pouring coffee for a leopard.
I think these paintings tell the story of what happened here.
The third painting. It's a boulevard of magicians! This must have been quite the sight (when they wanted you to see it)! Flocks of doves and rabbits appearing and disappearing out of top hat chimneys, homes made from vanishing cabinets, and, look, here's a wall with a row of assistants who have been sawn in half and are sharing a cigarette. And here… why here’s the city folk bringing in their cobbles. See how they’re piling them up, ready to lay them on the dirt road? Oh no. These ones are taking a magician hostage. They’re forcing the magician to pose for a public transport photo ID - the monsters! He’s resisting though. He’s throwing playing cards at them.
That last painting had no name. But it did have spaces where a name should go. And there's this enormous fountain pen lying on the ground. Click the pen and click the painting.
I'll hold the back of the pen, you move the nib. [effort] Nine letters, then a space, then nine more. Why not write in a name for the picture? But what to call it? Let’s see. Each of these paintings is a road named after its original inhabitants. And this is a boulevard full of magicians.
SFX An absolutely enormous fountain pen writing on a picture frame
Boulevard Magicians, of course!
SFX The canvas tears as a television on wheels hurtles through it.
WOAH! That television tore through the canvas! I was not expecting that.
This is Oliver, a classical guitarist who grew up in Aalborg, the city of angels, but now lives in Turin, the city of devils.
SFX Man fixing a bus engine
Oliver is funny, educated, a good cook and handy with an engine - so long as it's the engine of a bus. He can't get the hang of car engines which is why he drives a bus. Oliver has a lot to offer!
However. Oliver is a shy man. If, at a party, you were to ask him what he does, he would ignore you, put on a scarf, pick up a book, and sit under a good tree.
SFX Oliver and his Mum pottering around the house
Oliver has no friends. Oliver has no siblings. No grandparents, and no father. He lives with his mother in a modest house in a western neighbourhood of Turin where they go about their routines like making lunch or grinding coffee. They watch television in the evening, customarily and deferentially arguing with each other that the other should take control of the remote. But Oliver’s mother always has the final word.
SFX Oliver walking in the street
Here is Oliver, walking home from burying his mother. With nobody left in his life, to whom can he turn?
Here he is walking past a Catholic church. Does that interest you, Oliver?
SFX Shy knocking on a church door
The door has been barricaded against Turin's famous demons. But a priest opens it a crack and ushers in the forty one year old orphan.
SFX Door opens and he hurries in.
SFX Footsteps in a church.
A typical Catholic church. Holy water. Stained glass windows. Anti-demon .50 caliber machine gun.
SFX Army marching in a church.
Here is the congregation marching up and down the aisles. As a son of Aalborg, with its long standing occupation by the armies of heaven, Oliver is familiar with training daily to resist supernatural invasion. He once saved his teacher from an angelic landmine.
SFX Angelic landmine
What do you think, Oliver, could this church answer your loneliness?
SFX QPE Sigh
SFX Door opens, back to the street.
It's not for him. Oliver leaves the church and returns to himself.
But wait. Here. Something has caught his eye. What's that building? Tall and proudly carved from blellow marble.
SFX Aww-inspiring sting
It's the Office of the European Training Foundation, one of the many beneficial agencies of the European Union. It might as well be the European Maritime Safety Agency or the European Chemicals Agency or the European Office for Scuba Chess - what it does doesn't matter. It's what it is that attracts Oliver with its bright blellow searchlight, and what it is is the European Union.
SFX Automatic doors
Oliver slips through the automatic doors and never comes out.
SFX Top Tip
Top Tip: If you don’t know where to turn, turn to the European Union.
I can see the road behind the canvas. Bright and sunlit. It looks like it hasn't been much hit. Shall we head - oh!
SFX The canvas begins to roll up like a blind.
The canvas is rolling up. Well that's easier.
SFX The other canvases roll up.
Oh, the other canvases are rolling up. We can go wherever we like!
SFX A great big canvas roles up. It is the city they have been walking through.
Ahh, what's happening, the floor is moving, the streets and stone are flying past. Run! Run! The whole city must be one giant canvas; I don’t want to be rolled up, come on! Come on! Faster than -
SFX The canvas finishes rolling up.
SFX CD Whirr
Ominous ambient music
Are you alright?
SFX Crows take off.
Crows! They're gone. Oh look, a crow's nest, we can use that for building a boat.
I’ve fallen in the mud.
What's that building? With the barbed wire and the heavy door.
Before we continue, would you like to Save your game? To save, press Caps Lock three times and think about a time you were in hot water but kept a cool head.
GUIDE: Would you like to SAVE, start a NEW GAME, LOAD an existing game or QUIT?
GUIDE: Saving in Slot 1.
SFX Saving. Ding!
GUIDE: Would you like to PLAY ON, LOAD another saved game, or QUIT?
SFX Click + Quit
GUIDE: OK. Goodbye for now. See you back on the island next time you play Quid Pro Euro 96! Quid Pro Euro 96 is a European Videos game.
SFX Quid Pro Euro 96 shuts down. CD-ROM removed.