stadium image

A short film

He changed over the films. The audience stirred restlessly in their seats.

The image of a leaf appeared on the screen. A leaf in black and white.

‘Mmmm,’ said Phlebbs thoughtfully, ‘a black and white film.’

‘Do you have to comment on everything we see?’ asked Jaundice.

‘Just making a routine observation.’

Then the camera panned backwards and the entire wall of the upper room was covered in leaf-patterned shadow. The leaves fluttered as if moved by a small breeze.

Then the trumpets sounded. And everyone jumped in their seats. Flat crazy trumpets bleating discordantly. And here was a picture of them now. Being blown by men with puffed out cheeks and strange floppy hats.

The trumpeters were standing outside a tent on the edge of a wood. It was a fancy-looking tent, shaped like an onion with streams of bunting trailing down to the ground all round it. Not the sort of thing you’d normally take camping at all.

Then the tent flaps opened and a man stepped out dressed in peculiar fashion (again not at all suitable for camping) with a crown on his head.

‘The King! The King!’ said the trumpeters and blew another flat brassy wail on the trumpets.

The King stepped up on to a little box that somebody had left outside his tent, and spread his arms wide for silence.

A train went past cruelly shattering the illusion and bringing the modern world jarring back in upon them.

By the time the train had gone, the King had gone also.

‘The flower of the French Cavalry are gathered this day upon the field of Agincourt…’

Horses in fancy trappings were milling about, their riders rigid in their shining armour.

‘Opposed by the stout English bowmen.’

(Daft grins peering from among foliage.)

‘With their Longbows.

Made of stout English Yew.’

The film ended as the stout English bowmen lent back and their arrows were released…

‘And that’s what gave me the idea, you see?’ said Scabbit.

He looked round at the blank, expectant faces. It was clear they didn’t see at all. Phlebbs had stopped fiddling with his helmet, and was just staring at it vacantly, raising and lowering his eyebrows. Further explanation was needed.

‘We will make the pole out of stout English Yew!’ said Scabbit. ‘That way we shall be invoking all the ancient glory and history of this island.’