Pursuing Pursuit (I am bound to follow)

A ‘fake’ transcript of an imaginary film script that developed as a response to the project The ties that bind … by Steven Paige for Exeter Phoenix in January 2012. A presentation on this project delivered at the conference ‘Performing Documents’, Arnolfini, Bristol (April 2013) is archived by Bristol University here.

Excerpt from Pursuing Pursuit (I am bound to follow)

with Jack, John, Rock and Hard

([1987], 2012)

1. INT. A cabin in the woods.

JOHN: ding dong

JACK: No need for preliminaries of name or stuff



The point of entry. JACK is ‘at home’, relaxed, and moves the action across the space.

JOHN: So where now does the question of faithfulness reside … source and target …

JACK: And labour is rewarded, fitting with high status value of self-making, with the benefits of working hard …

JOHN’s grateful.

JOHN: In particular … this also allows for bonding via a shared male knowledge …

JACK: What does it mean to do a version, to do a remake? another retake?

JACK can make this additional generous offer; it underlines his ownership; and he is ‘at home’ and he is in his underwear, it is his property; a property of being at home.

2. INT. The ideal(ised) bachelor pad.

ROCK: Is this one of the dividing lines?

ROCK has been walking to wherever he was headed.

HARD: All models are 18 years of age or older.

ROCK: When you’re ready …

Concerned for the wet figure … but guiding what happens? ROCK welcomes HARD in, draws him into the warmth of his den.

HARD: Get physical!



Setting up comparison as competition, the goal, and the aspirant. There is an element of play.

ROCK: Challenge up! there’s work needed, more than blue-collar nine-to-five this needs a seven-day-a-week commitment.

Clone zone. ROCK shifts it to a safe area off.

3. INT. An apartment.

JOHN: knock knock

JACK: pretty pretty

The expectation is JOHN will play the sub role, be the innocent.

JOHN: A more built version … something to work on …

ROCK: What is going on here? is it an homage?

HARD: ” … stryker never turned me on. … he was a bore, … & that hideous cult of an hairless body all start from him.”

JOHN: The master document / the master tape.

JACK takes the compliment, the appreciation … and the camera’s looking.

ROCK: So reiterating the competitive template.

HARD: They’re substitutable and interchangeable, and operate by number, weight, switching slots and spikes and slits and holes and prongs and reassembling the elements in various combinations …





JACK: It seems oddly banal, but perhaps there is an awareness of the legal code operating here among the other codes even within such a marginal or underground product as this … it extends the care giving, the provision of warmth …

JOHN: As something copied, as learned from models and templates.

ROCK: A ‘Dad’ saying!

HARD: Which we may adopt, occupy, enter, … and may adapt, colonise, take over … ; skins or costumes to play within, that offer us lines to speak, or actions to carry out;

Again JACK makes a generous gesture.

ROCK: Or one of those beautifully choreographed impeccably lip-synched drag performances that you just happen on in a beer-sticky, smoke-edged pub function room, with tinsel streamer curtains a glitter ball and a revolving colour disco light, where a man gets up on the tiny stage and does a fantastic Shirley or Judy or Barbara and his dress isn’t right and the make-up’s a little cakey but it still makes you cry … something about the almost matching, true-false, real-fake, displacement is affective …

JACK: He doesn’t need wrapping up … he doesn’t undress to show off … happy to get ‘natural’, rough-house for the outdoors man (like going Commando).

HARD: You can watch this footage in several ways at once, and other viewers will watch differently at different moments …

Linking the characters across the space, through the shots. Cutting between them.

ROCK: Not with an intention to give a definitive ‘reading’ or ‘playing’ of the ‘text’, but perhaps to open it up to multiple, various …

HARD: A permitted male looking that is allowed or even encouraged, a comparison and appreciation of physical development extending the tradition of Physique Pictorial that facilitated a male on male gaze …

Reintroducing proximity; JACK makes a positive reverse, shifts up a level.


[transcript by Mark Leahy]

Mark Leahy