Tuesday, 24 May 2011

An Interview with Simon Vinyl

As special guest star in the new season of Plastic St, Simon Vinyl's character is certainly making waves. But what's it like playing yourself on an internet phenomenon? We catch up with Simon on the set of his 'day job', I've Got Talent, Get Me Out of Here.

Simon, you're not the first celebrity to play themselves on a show. What's the attraction?

As a global megastar I'm always being offered acting parts. What drew me to the part of myself? Well, I've always admired myself. What better part could there be?

Could you stop licking the mirror? That's actually pretty disgusting.

Sorry. I also get to wear a helmet and visor for the whole show.

So you don't even need to act, really.

I could if I wanted to.

I'm sure. And how did you get on with the other cast members? Dame Margaret Montgomery, for example?

The old girl's a hoot! Nothing like her character. You'd never guess she was just an ordinary old granny, plucked off the streets with her tartan shopper still in her hand -

Stop - are you reading that?

- copyright Plastic St publicity department. What? No. Okay, okay! I took a bribe.

We know Dame Margaret's past was a publicity stunt, Simon. Cut the crap.

All right. I'll tell you the truth. Dame Maggie is an incontinent, alcoholic old hag -

On second thoughts, can you resume the crap.

With pleasure. The whole cast were lovely and we will all remain dear, dear friends. Facebook friends only, hopefully.

In the episodes we are about to see, your character Simon Vinyl, based on yourself, decides to start a reality TV show about Plastic St. Is this taking postmodernism to the extreme? An internet soapblog about a reality show about an internet soap blog? Do you think the producers are getting a bit 'up themselves'?

I thought you were a fan of Plastic St. Hang on - are you reading that?

Okay, okay! I took a bribe too! From Wooden St. It's a rival soapblog on - whisper it - Wordpress. They just wanted me to introduce some doubt, make Plastic St look pretentious.

You phoney.

You're the phoney, Simon.

God, I love phonies. Shut the trailer door. Let's lick some mirrors.

I'VE GOT TALENT, GET ME OUT OF HERE is on Saturday nights at 8 pm on Sid. PLASTIC ST is on whenever the producer can be arsed.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Episode 23 - Impressing Simon

The park erupted with a ear-exploding tidal wave of sound. Gore Hell Vandals were giving it everything they had. Everything they had consisted of two chords, and they gave those two chords as much abuse as they could muster.

Simon Vinyl nodded his head. It was hard to see his expression as he wore a helmet with its visor down. He was either nodding in approval or in affirmation of a decision to commit suicide. Wendy hoped it was the former. Perhaps being picked out for fame and fortune might help Brandon to live a better life. After all, celebrities had no problems. Look at Simon Vinyl himself: filthy rich, a judge on the greatest talent show in the world, Plastic's Got Talent, and a weekly fixture of Wotcha magazine's Wotcha Gotcha! page which photographed famous people pretending to look slightly annoyed but secretly being pleased. That was the life. If her son could have just a little bit of that, Wendy would be happy.

If he stopped trying to kill people too, that would be a bonus.

She ran (or rather, sashayed - Simon was watching) over to Joss and Mary, who were waiting on the pyramid tea bag stage for Uterus's chance to perform.

"As soon as they finish the last note, we start!" Joss said sternly. She meant business: her teeth were gritted and her plastic hair seemed more tightly curled than ever. Joss had poured her heart and soul into Uterus and now was the defining moment of her life. Was there room in the market for menopausal pop? If they failed, Wendy feared for her sister's sanity. What else could Joss do? If Uterus failed she would end up wandering round Plastic St muttering to herself and singing snatches of hormonally charged lyrics about why men never sorted out their sock drawers.

With that realisation, Wendy felt better. Her sister's life would go on much as before.

"Ready for that last note?" Joss yelled.

Wendy and Mary nodded. Joss strapped on her acoustic guitar while Wendy bent over her theremin with outstretched hands. Half an hour later they were still in the same positions.

"Exactly how long does Plastic Melts in Hell last, Wendy?" Joss sighed.

"It depends if it's the remixed version or -" Wendy stopped mid sentence. "Look, it's Mum!"

Granny Gold was creeping out of the school house cradling something under her arm. As the members of Uterus watched, she sidled up to the main stage where Gore Hell Vandals were performing and shoved the device underneath.

Then she ran.

Wendy smiled. "Isn't it nice to see Mum take an interest in the community?"

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Episode 22 - Let the Battle Commence

Brandon hurried over to the park where the rest of the Gore Hell Vandals were waiting for him. The stage was set up and a trickle of people were beginning to arrive - mostly those with no lives. Brandon sneered at them.

At the other side of the park he could see Mary Plastic, his mum Wendy and his annoying Auntie Joss doing vocal exercises for Uterus's Hot Flush number. What a load of losers. They had nothing as good as the Vandal's Anarchy in Plastic St, Up Yours with Plastic Bits On and the haunting I've Got a Piece of Plastic for a Heart, Have You?.

His mum caught sight of him. Before he could escape she came hurrying over. "Mary says you tried to push her off the abyss, darling!"

"Didn't," Brandon mumbled.

"Could you please stop trying to kill people, just for today?" Wendy tried to take her son's arm but he shook her off. "I do worry about you, darling, living with Granny in her den of evil. And have you seen Grandad recently? I hear he's wandering about claiming to have had a religious experience!"

"You mean he's alive?"

"Of course he is! Oh Brandon, you didn't, did you?"

"Why do you always blame me!" Brandon burst out. "Whenever someone gets killed it's always my fault!"

Suddenly there was a screech of brakes and a red sports car drew up. Out stepped a mysterious figure in full racing driver gear. He looked Wendy up and down approvingly, or at least his helmet turned in her direction.

"Hi, babe!"

"Simon Vinyl!" Wendy gasped, collapsing into Brandon's arms.

"That's right, you menopausal minx! I hear there's a music contest going on round here. Why don't you show me what you've got, and maybe I'll show you fame and fortune!"

Brandon dropped Wendy and ran to his drum kit. "'Quick, play Plastic Melts in Hell!" he yelled to the rest of the band. "One, two, three, four!"

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Episode 21 - Shocking Evil

Being evil wasn't easy, Granny Gold mused as she began to gather the equipment she needed. She hadn't made a bomb since she was a child. Things had certainly changed since those golden days. She vaguely remembered running wild through the Street, posting explosives through people's letterboxes and laughing until she wet her knickers. Actually, things hadn't changed all that much.

She started to assemble the bomb, following her own instructions on the Lesson 35 diagram. What a pity all her training manuals for Brandon on becoming the Ultimate Evil were going to be wasted. He had seemed such a promising child, torturing his sisters and even getting one put into a wheelchair. For a time she had admired him, had almost lov... lov... lov... No, she couldn't even think the word. Granny Gold was incapable of love. But if she hadn't been, she might have loved Brandon.

Not now, though. He was as vacuous as the rest of them. The Battle of the Bands? What was next, the Plastic Factor? Dancing on Plastic? I'm Plastic, Get Me Out of Here?

She had no idea where those show titles came from. There was only one television in Plastic St and she never got to watch it because it was in The House. The only house. The house that should have been hers. She was the oldest person in the street. She had the weakest bladder. That house had a toilet and a bath with running water sound effects!

Enraged at the unfairness of it all, she misaligned some wires and gave herself an electric shock. Luckily she happened to have a mild heart attack at the same time and the shock simply restarted her heart without her knowing anything at all about what had just happened.*

* Comic situation copyright Harry Hill 1997. Goal!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Episode 20 - Going for Gold

Granny Gold pushed her pointed yellow glasses up her nose and took a sip from the cup of tea that was permanently stuck to her hand. Where was Brandon? And why hadn't she heard the bloodcurdling screams that usually followed a fatal disaster? Surely by now the whole Plastic family should be at the bottom of the abyss in a horrible heap, preferably a two-dimensional one.

She peered out of the schoolroom window and a grimace spread across her face as she saw Mary Plastic hurrying up the road, closely followed by Brandon. Behind them strode Ray Plastic and Richard. They were deep in conversation.

Furiously Grany Gold rapped on the window and Brandon looked up. His face filled with fear but he hurried towards her. She ushered him in quickly and closed the door.

"I am extremely disappointed in you, Brandon! In fact, I hesitate to call you my grandson. Can you not commit a simple mass murder when I ask you?"

Brandon looked back sulkily. "Dad turned up. He told Grandad not to come back. He said you were evil."

"Mmm..." Granny Gold stroked her whiskered chin. "He's cleverer than I thought." She grabbed Brandon by the collar. "But you are stupid! What's that brain of yours filled with?"

"Plastic?" Brandon choked.

"I've trained you to be one of the nastiest, most villainous children Plastic St has ever had. What a waste of time and energy. Hours of lesson plans - for nothing." Granny Gold grabbed a thick lever-arch file titled 'How to be Horrid' and threw it on the floor. Worksheets and diagrams scattered everywhere. She would never get to draw up Lesson 149: First Steps to Fraud now.

"I'm sorry, Granny," Brandon mumbled.

"Sorry?" Granny screamed. "Sorry! Saying sorry isn't in the manual, is it? Apologising isn't in your curriculum! Get out of my sight."

Brandon took a step backwards.

"My sight isn't that bad!"

Brandon ran out of the door.

"Go forth and commit evil!" Granny Gold yelled after him.

"I'm going to the Battle of the Bands!" Brandon called back, still running in case she tried to stop him.

Granny Gold pursed her lips as she watched her grandson disappear. The Battle of the Bands, eh? A big deal. Probably the biggest event in Plastic St. Everyone would be there.

Knees clicking in protest, she knelt down on the floor and began to go through the scattered worksheets. Somewhere here was exactly what she needed. It would be perfect. After all, she didn't need to bother about keeping Brandon out of things. He had gone soft. If this idea worked she would be rid of them all, and the Plastic house and all of Plastic St would be hers.

"Ah! Here it is!" She held the handwritten A4 sheet in the air triumphantly. It was lesson 35: How to Build a Bomb in Ten Easy Stages using only a Hearing Aid, an Electric Toothbrush, an Incontinence Pad, a Pair of False Teeth and Some Handy Household TNT.

Granny Gold smiled.


Friday, 10 December 2010

Episode 19 - Talk to the Hand

Ray got up and peered down into the abyss. There was an old man down there, waving an outrageous pair of novelty glasses. Brandon had been telling the truth! Again that boy had been able to bring Ray back into the here and now, to make him face reality instead of wondering if he was the victim of some crazed experiment.

"Okay, we need a rope and a line of very strong people. Mary, stand aside."

"I will not, you chauvinist!" Mary said hotly, clutching a hand to her unborn child.

"I'll get your kids," Brandon suggested. The evil plan Granny Gold had tasked him with was beginning to come together. The Plastic family would die, horribly, and he, Granny and Grandad could move into their lovely house with a toilet, television, and fake hob, all with realistic sound effects. He rubbed his hands in glee. Soon the whole family would be tumbling over the edge. Screaming, hopefully. He had always loved making people scream.

"Wait!" called out Richard.

Brandon's face darkened. Could his father have figured out the plan? Richard had always thought the worst of him, and had even made Brandon move in with Granny Gold. It was all because he didn't have ginger hair like the rest of the family. And because he had set fire to his sisters' bedroom. But it wasn't fair!

"It's very kind of you and your wife to offer to rescue my father, but I simply can't let you," Richard said to Ray. "I'm Richard Gold, by the way."

Ray held out his hand. "Ray Plastic. Pleased to meet you. And this is Mary."

They shook hands. Richard looked puzzled. "New, are you? Strange, I feel as though we've always known each other."

"I have that feeling too," Ray said. "About everything, really. I wonder, do you ever feel like there's nothing else out there, like we're just lumps of moulded material, bent to another's will -"

But Richard had already approached the edge of the abyss and was leaning over it.

"Dad! You know I love you, don't you?"

"What?" Grandad Gold bellowed.

"I love you!"

"I know you're above me, that's the whole problem! Would somebody please help me up?"

"No, Dad. You don't understand. This is your chance - your chance to walk away from Mum. She's evil! Evil, I tell you! Walk away - and don't look back!"

Grandad Gold stood alone in that great empty space, like a small children's figurine left on a giant carpet. "But I love her," he said simply. "And there's nowhere left to turn."

"But there is, Dad! There's always hope! We can get you counselling - you can join a self-help group."

"Spouses Of Dangerous Enigmatic Matriarchs," Mary suggested.

"Mary says SODEM!" Richard called down.

"No, son, there's literally nowhere to turn." Grandad gestured with his arm. "It's empty down here. So please can I come back up? Your mother does make a nice cup of tea, for all her faults. And I did want to see the Battle of the Bands. Satan Rising by Gore Hell Vandals is sick!"

Brandon and Mary looked at each other. They were both competing that night, Brandon as drummer with the teenage tearaways Gore Hell Vandals, and Mary with her post-menopausal girl group Uterus.

"Uterus are going to win," Mary growled.

"They can't if you're not there," Brandon growled back. He made a grab for Mary and suddenly they were teetering on the edge of the abyss, each trying to push the other over.

"Stop!" Richard shouted. "Brandon, we must play tennis before you die! At least one game!"

Brandon paused and stared at his father. "What's with the weird priorities, Dad?"

Richard swallowed nervously. How could he tell Brandon he suspected he was the result of Wendy's foolish fling fifteen years ago with Goran the professional tennis player?

Mary took the opportunity to duck out from under Brandon's arms. Pushing a concerned Ray away, she checked her watch. "Battle of the Bands starts in ten minutes and I'm not letting Uterus down." She marched back up the road, Brandon running after her making a rude gesture while frantically practising his drum solo at the same time. Ray and Richard exchanged resigned glances, sighed, and followed.

Alone again, Grandad Gold cleared his throat. "Hello? Hello up there? Where is everyone?"

Suddenly a huge dark shadow appeared over him and he was lifted high into the air by what looked like five enormous pink sausages. Before he could wonder what was happening, he was set down gently on the edge of the road leading back to Plastic St.

Grandad Gold brushed himself down. "Humph," he said to himself. "That was handy."

The giant hand behind him paused, as though considering giving the old man a slap, but then seemed to think better of it and rose slowly back into the air and out of sight.

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Return of Plastic St!

Hold your tongues, gossip-mongers! And may you be fitted with scold's bridles if you tell false tales! Can it really be true? Can Plastic St be returning? We sneaked an interview with creator Lou Treleaven to find out the truth...

Lou: Yes, all the rumours are correct. Plastic St is returning.

Us: I hadn't actually asked you anything yet.

Lou: Yes, yes - I told you, stop pestering me! It's true, all right? This siege by the paparazzi has to stop.

Us: Siege? I just bumped into you in the Co-Op.

Lou: And you can leave my private life out of this as well!

Us: So tell us, as we're here, why did you choose now to come back with more Plastic St?

Lou: Well, as you know, Dame Margaret Montgomery, who plays Granny Gold, has been in rehab, trying to cope with her sudden unexpected success. She was just plucked off the street you know, an obscure, everyday granny -

Us: Ahem. We already revealed in a previous interview that that was a publicity stunt.

Lou: All right, Dame Maggie wanted more cash. Okay? I've had to remortgage my house. But now we're back. The grasping old hag.

Us: Did anyone else have a pay rise? I always thought the vet should have had a bit more to do. He's in the opening credits, after all.

Lou: Yes, but they were filmed when we still had a budget.

Us: So there'll be no special effects this season, then?

Lou: Not quite, but watch out for explosions, special guest stars and... the hand of God!

Us: God? Doesn't He count as a special guest star?

Lou: Not according to Granny Gold's contract.

Us: Fair play.

Halt those ducking stools, the rumours are true! Come back soon for the first of the new episodes, Plastic fans!