LLYFR GALADRIEL -:-:- RAIN DANCES
"He has released a trailer", Nerdanel said. "I am amazed that he still has the nerve."
The two Elves were sitting in the cottage garden, as had been their habit for the last several weeks while they worked on their scheme. The inevitable tray of tea was beside them, and a few props from the scenes they had been filming were scattered on the grass. Nerdanel had the laptop, and was poking about the internet looking for material that could be of use to them; in the process she had learned a considerable amount of Tellurian profanity, which she found rather useful for describing most of what she found. Galadriel, lying back against the hedge with her legs crossed at the ankles, seemed to be doing nothing more than exchanging nose/beak rubs with the pigeon reposing on her sternum; she gave no sign of the tremendous activity within her head as she played through possibility after possibility for the next stage of their operation, evaluating each minor variation for effectiveness and risk.
"He can rationalise it to himself as a matter already accomplished, as with the entire third film", she said. "I left him that much. We need him to release all three vectors for our material to function as it should."
"Oh, great", said Nerdanel, minimising the browser and pulling up a window full of Elvish mathematical notation. "I thought our little intervention was supposed to stop him entirely. I had an idea this morning that might have saved us quite a bit of filming, but it has no solutions for powers greater than 2. Three films makes it a cubic, so we can't use it after all..."
"Are you sure?" said Galadriel. "Hop it, birdie..." She lifted the pigeon off her chest and sat up to look at the screen, draping one arm loosely around Nerdanel's shoulders. With the other hand she scrolled up and down the page, following Nerdanel's logic. "Oh, I see... Very neat." She perused the document some more, flipping between the top of the page and a lengthy equation a quarter of the way down. "Yes... But I would program this using a wavelet transform; it requires less CPU that way. If you do the transform at this point" - she tapped her finger on the screen - "you can then rewrite it as a Vanatarna matrix, and avoid those sticky polynomials altogether."
"Oh, quite. And then all I have to do is find the eigenvalues of a Vanatarna matrix", said Nerdanel. "Does this world have that much tea?"
"The machine can do it using iterative numerical methods", Galadriel pointed out. "For that, at least, there is plenty of tea."
"Ah - yes, of course. I am not accustomed to having such an option", Nerdanel said. "I shall have to make one of these machines for myself when we get home."
Galadriel did not laugh. Having seen the sub-optical resolution of the detail on some of Nerdanel's statues, she did not doubt that if anyone could craft integrated circuits by hand, it would be Nerdanel.
She hefted the teapot; it was light in her hand. "Tea that is ready to drink, though, we do seem to be short of", she said, and headed indoors with the tray to rectify the situation. While she waited for the kettle to boil she slipped back through the twist to the pigeon's cavern, and using the main console, selected a few recently-created media files and scheduled them for automatic upload to youtube and tumblr, with corresponding scheduled announcements on facebook and twitter.
"I have sent out a few tracers", she informed Nerdanel as she returned with the freshly-made tea. "With luck we will see some results in an hour or two."
They did. A picture of several dwarves beneath a mountainous skyline, captioned "On second thoughts, let's not go to Erebor. 'Tis a silly place", had already spread to several thousand facebook profiles. The same phrase served as the headline to a page of cartoons on the same theme which spread across tumblr like wildfire. On youtube, a video was accruing views at three times the rate of the Hobbit trailer; it showed a large static caravan, with multiple hairy feet in place of wheels and jacks, dancing to "A wizard's staff has a knob on the end". At the conclusion of the tune, a lanky gangrel creature knocked on the door to invite the occupants to a game of riddles, to be met by two witches of suspiciously Elvish aspect, one well padded with cushions underneath her cloak, the other a tall, thin and menacing figure who clobbered it with an oar. The balance of posts on twitter between those of happy anticipation and those which said that the whole idea of making three films was shit began rapidly to approach parity. And articles sneaked their way into the national press giving official confirmation that there would be no further cinematic interference with Arda by hirsute and adipose oviphiles.
"Who is Christopher Tolkien?" asked Nerdanel, reading one of the articles. "Another of the same family, I take it?"
"He is the son of the writer Tolkien", said Galadriel. "And he is on our side, in so far as the concept has meaning and his knowledge allows." She leaned over Nerdanel's shoulder to direct the browser to the interview with Christopher Tolkien in Le Monde. "There, you see... allowing for his purely Tellurian perspective and his personal connection with the matter, his understanding of the heinous nature of Jacksoff's act is perfect."
Nerdanel perused the article with interest. "This is remarkable", she said. "How is it that you have not mentioned this before? Surely we can make use of this text ourselves?"
"It looks that way, does it not?" said Galadriel. "But I think you have answered that for yourself..." She maximised the window of Nerdanel's equations and indicated a line of symbols. "Yes, there it is. You see the extra terms you would need to make that balance if we used it."
Nerdanel pondered for a while. "Oh, dear", she said finally. "Yes. The only solutions with significant probabilities would be the trivial ones, for which if I understand the idiom correctly the appropriate Tellurian description would be as useful as tits on a fish."
Galadriel gave a shout of laughter. "That has it exactly", she said. "The language is not beautiful, but some of its idioms are remarkably expressive."
"The more I read on this machine, the more I understand why they need them", said Nerdanel. She flicked idly up and down her page of equations, and as she thought of Galadriel's suggestion of wavelet transforms the fascination of an unsolved problem began to grip. "Is there any tea left in that pot?" Without taking her eyes off the screen, she reached out for the teapot, felt the weight of it, and refilled her cup.
Galadriel smiled, and settled back to her thoughts once more.
A troop of dwarves, clad in heavy leather armour and thick furs, with horned helmets on their heads, marched towards the mountain, their voices uplifted in song.
Gold, gold, gold, gold... Gold, gold, gold, gold... Gold, gold, gold, gold...
"Wonderful gooold! Wonderful gooold!" interposed a small scruffy one somewhere near the back. (In any military grouping, regardless of numbers, there is always one.)
"Gold, gold, gold, gold", sang the rest with renewed vigour, those nearest to him casting disapproving glares on the small scruffy one.
By the side of the way stood a dwarven food stall doing brisk business with the hungry passing troops. The dwarf cook was currently engaged in negotiations with a human warrior, who, though certainly hungry, seemed unable to find anything to his taste on the menu.
"Haven't you got anything without gold?"
"Well, there's rat, rat, rat, rat, rat, rat, gold and rat. That's not got much gold..."
"I don't want gold or rat."
Further to the south, the inhabitants of Esgaroth were engaged in political negotiations...
"King Bard! King Bard!" shouted the villagers.
"I didn't vote for him", grumbled the Master.
"You don't vote for kings!" exclaimed Bard in horrified tones.
Others of the villagers had problems of more immediate import to attend to. A fence had been demolished by some falling debris, and a flock of sheep, revelling in their new-found freedom, had set off across the lake, heading for the trees of Mirkwood. Several had already taken up residence among the branches and were calmly munching on the spiders' webs, to the fury of the helpless spiders, who found their fangs totally inadequate to penetrate the thick fleece and their techniques of web-entanglement useless against creatures who simply ate it.
A small dog regarded them wistfully; scratched itself, then shook its head vigorously as if to dislodge an invisible helmet of chicken-wire. "O for the wings of a sheep!", it sighed.
The human warrior had failed to find anything to his taste on the menu and was now trying his luck at another food stall. Satisfaction, however, still appeared to elude him; the food on offer was palatable, but the state of the cutlery was causing the proprietor considerable concern, and the discussion seemed to have reached what the man would probably describe as an imp arse.
Two grizzled old soldiers had found a sheltered nook among some rocks in which to kindle a fire, and were enjoying a brew-up. One of them took a drag on his cigarette, and idly followed the drifting smoke with his eyes. Something in its path caught his attention.
He nudged his companion, and pointed. "There's a penguin on top of the rock."
"Oooh, so there is", replied the other.
The soldiers looked at the penguin. The penguin looked at the soldiers.
The first soldier slurped his tea. "If it laid an egg", he observed meditatively, "it'd roll down the back of the rock."
The second pondered this for a while. "Unless it's a male, of course", he said eventually.
"Mmm, yes", mused the first. "It looks quite butch."
They drank their tea in silence, cogitating lazily upon the avian conundrum.
Slowly at first, then faster, a faint glow waxed upon a portion of the rock's surface; the cracks and roughnesses on the rock appeared to move, and gradually took on the semblance of a human face. A faint hiss emerged from one of the cracks, strengthened, and resolved itself into a voice.
"Good evening", said the rock. "It's nine o'clock, and time for the penguin on top of your rock to explode."
There was a sharp crack, and feathers spiralled down upon the soldiers out of a cloud of greasy smoke.
"'Ow did 'e know that was going to 'appen?" inquired one in tones of extreme puzzlement.
"It was an educated guess", said the rock.
On the edge of the forest the sheep, their digestive systems now generously loaded with spider web, began to projectile-defecate in long, cohesive, gluey strings which the spiders were as helpless to avoid as they were to entangle the sheep in their own fibrous product. Within seconds of its capture a spider would begin to change colour, assuming a faintly greenish dark brown hue, then its body would partially melt and separate itself into loosely-cohering globules, the hapless creature now doomed to a vegetative existence as a slowly-decaying simulacrum of a giant pile of ordinary sheep dung. The surviving arachnids, chittering in fury, began to retreat through the trees; the sheep, with joyful baas, spread their wings and romped through the branches in pursuit.
The commotion disturbed the repose of a tall, leafy figure, which shook itself with a rustle. "Hoom", it said, in deep, organ-like tones. "Soy un Ent y parezco un árbol."
A small round object fell out of it and bounced on the forest floor. "Soy una nuez", it squeaked manically, "y parezco un cerebro!"
Something stirred in the leaf litter and a round head poked out. "Soy un hongo", it growled, "y detesto este juego."
The human warrior had now moved on to yet another food stall but he still didn't seem to be having much luck. "Normally, sir, yes", the proprietor could be heard explaining. "Today the wagon broke down."
High on the mountain a cluster of moving dots, with another dot some distance ahead, marked the location of a pack of Wargs chasing a naked man across a snowfield.
Deep within the mountain, someone had switched on a cassette player; the music issuing from it was not, however, to the dwarves' taste, and they responded by ignoring it.
"War! Huh! What is it good for?"
"Gold, gold, gold, gold..."
"Gold, gold, gold, gold!"
In another part of the cave, an old man, with little of his face visible beneath the broad brim of his hat save his beard and eyebrows, sat in a circle with one hobbit and several dwarves. The dwarves' furs were dyed in swirling, bright colours, their beards were dreadlocked, and some of them had ankhs or CND symbols hung around their necks. On their feet they wore no iron boots, but only light sandals; one or two of them followed the example of the hobbit, and eschewed footwear altogether. All of them had pipes, of various designs ranging from simple tubes with a bowl on top to elaborate arrangements involving water chambers, cooling fins and built-in lighters.
"We could all be sat round..." said the old man in a far-away voice. He took off his hat, fished around inside it, and brought out a bag of weed, which he emptied onto the floor in the middle of the circle. Fragrant smoke arose as pipes were packed and lit. For a while there was no sound but the bubbling of the water-pipes and the occasional racking outburst of coughing. Eventually one of the dwarves found his voice.
One by one, the other dwarves joined in until their chorused voices began to rival in volume even the continual chanting of "gold, gold, gold..."
Hiho, hiho, we smoke a lot of blow
We keep on smoking all day long, hiho, hihohihohiho...
"I've got trouble finding where I'm going", said the old man to the hobbit, "and my backside is very badly lit..."
("The Beatles died in the frost and my arse is dark", interjected a random rabbit for no apparent reason.)
"I'm really stoned", carolled the hobbit. "I'm really stoned, permanently out my bone, I'm really stoned."
He stood up, while the old man rose to his knees; thus positioned at approximately similar heights, they each put their hands against the other's and swayed back and forth as their voices rose to the roof in competition with those of the dwarves.
"Come on, change your mind
You never know what you might find
Break out the Rizlas and roll up a place to unwi-i-i-ind..."
"Near Harad beaver cheese?"
"Not today, sir, no."
The running man ran into a barn; the Wargs followed. For a minute nothing happened. Then flames erupted from the barn, man and Wargs piled out again, and the pursuit resumed.
"War is stupid, and people are stupid..." warbled the cassette player. Suddenly the song jerked to a halt with a loud crash as an angry, shaven-headed dwarf slammed his heavy boot into the machine. "SHUDDUP!" he yelled furiously. "OI! I GOT A LITTLE BLACK BOOK WIV ME POEMS IN!"
"A most intense young dwarf", sang an Elf who had wandered in. "A soulful-eyed young dwarf, an ultra-poetical, super-aesthetical, out-of-the-way young dwarf."
The dwarf spun round to face him. "OI!", he bellowed, his eyeballs starting from his empurpled face. "GET YORE FILTHY 'ANDS OFF MY DESERT!"
("What'd he say?" muttered one of the stoned dwarves to his neighbour.)
A faint whistling noise made itself heard, and gradually grew to a shriek; then there was a tremendous BOOM and the entire mountain quivered as sixty tons of meteoric sperm whale slammed into the ground at several hundred miles an hour. Stones fell from the roof and clanged off the dwarves' helmets.
"I don't care how fucking runny it is, fetch it hither with all speed."
"Ungoliant destroyed the Trees", came the quiet voice of an unseen singer. "The Silmarils were robbed, by Morgoth in his cloak of black. And Fëanor, over lunch one day, robbed the cruisers of his kin, apparently to make him give them back."
"The cat's eaten it."
"Take all your overgrown infants away somewhere, and build them a home", wailed the Elf. "A little place of their own... the Finwë Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants of Rings."
"Thorin?" called a voice from the entrance. "Thorin Oakenshield?"
"What is it now?" replied that dwarf grumpily, turning to face the speaker.
"Delegation from the village, sir", came the answer. "At the main gate, requesting an audience. Says it's important, sir."
Thorin rolled his eyes. "They would. All right, I'll come and see what they want." He followed the other out of the cave.
"Not much call for it? It's the single most popular cheese in Arda!"
"Not round here, sir."
From high up on the mountainside came the sound of a small explosion; the corpse of a Warg tumbled down the slope, half its face burnt off.
The angry shaven-headed dwarf, who had now shaved his eyebrows off as well, climbed onto a table and surveyed the room with a piercing gaze. His voice rang out over the assembled dwarves. "Are there any queers in the theatre tonight? Get 'em up against the wall!"
One by one, the dwarves turned to face him, but none made any reply. The old man, however, blew a series of rainbow-coloured smoke rings which drifted across the cavern and dropped one by one over the dwarf's head.
The dwarf brushed them away. His arm shot out, pointing at the old man. "There's one in the firelight, he don't look right to me!"
Too late he realised that the dwarves were staring, not at him, but at something above his head. Too late, he looked up - just in time to see the great sphincter begin to open as an enormous disembodied bewigged arse descended from the ceiling to engulf him.
"Well I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to shoot you."
"Gold, gold, gold, gold... Gold, gold, gold, gold... PARP, parp, PARP, parp......" The singing resumed, the giant arse making a valiant if largely unsuccessful attempt to join in.
Faintly, from the entrance, the sounds of Thorin's diplomacy filtered into the cavern. "I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"
"What a senseless waste of dwarven life", muttered the disconsolate and still hungry warrior, turning away from the corpse of the stallholder just in time to avoid being hit on the head by a bowl of petunias which whistled out of the sky and smashed into the ground where he had just been standing. He mooched slowly off, kicking grumpily at half-seen pebbles and rocks. Clack, clack. Clack. Clack. Squish... squish? He poked at the black lump with his sword, skewered it, and brought it up for inspection. Whale meat? He shrugged. Meat, anyway. He began to look for firewood.
A dwarf in ragged clothing stumbled out of a tunnel onto a ledge on the mountainside and surveyed with apprehension the cheering crowd of dwarves who had been calling for his appearance. Their adulation was cut short by the appearance of another dwarf, dressed all in black, who informed the throng that the first dwarf was not Durin, but a very naughty boy, and dragged him back inside.
An approaching army of Orcs was defeated singlehandedly by one solitary dwarf with a megaphone bellowing some incomprehensible sentence at them in what sounded like German, but wasn't. The spectre of Death appeared to usher them away, ignoring the indignant protests of one of them that he didn't even speak German.
A naked woman with disordered hair piloted her spaceship down towards the surface of the planet. Lower she came, and still lower, the scene of battle now visible as a crawling splotch on her visiplate. She descended further, and individual soldiers became visible; further still, until she could discern their faces and armaments with ease.
She shook her head disgustedly - "Weapons, always weapons! The eternal male!" - then, of a sudden espying a certain tall, square-jawed warrior clad all in grey leather, pointed the prow of her craft skywards, cut in her Bergenholm, and tore the air apart as she accelerated off into space. The tall warrior smote his brow in chagrin and began to dash frantically about the field, crying, "A spaceship! A spaceship! My kingdom for a spaceship!"
A small boy scampered over to the tall warrior, a plastic model of the Enterprise clutched in one grubby hand. "Here you go mister now can I have the kingdom please?" he said, all in a rush.
"Is this a duck I see before me, its beak pointed at my hand?" wondered the warrior, failing at task-switching for a moment. He shook himself, and bent down to face the boy. "Huh? What?"
"I said, here's a spaceship, mister, now can I have the kingdom please?" repeated the boy, holding out his plastic Enterprise.
"Ha, ha, thanks, kid, no, I meant a real one. Now run along, eh?" said the man.
"This is a real one", said the boy obstinately. "It's the Enterprise. Captain Kirk flies it." He dug in his pocket and produced a Kirk action figure by way of supporting evidence.
"Yes, but I can't fly it, can I?" said the man. "I need one that I can fly. Sorry, kid."
"You never said", retorted the boy. "You just said a spaceship."
"It should", sighed the man, "have been obvious."
"But you never said and I brought you a spaceship", said the boy. "Now can I have the kingdom please?"
"No, you can't. Now go away."
"Why not? You said."
"Look, kid, it was a figure of speech, OK? Now beat it."
"What's a figureospeech?"
"It means", said the man, "that I haven't got a kingdom, and I don't want your crappy plastic spaceship. And you will feel the flat of my hand if you don't run along."
"Ummmm, you told fibs", said the boy. "Ummmm. I'm telling on you." The man raised his arm and the boy decided to retreat, chanting under his breath - "Ummmm, ummmm, I'm telling on you, 'cause you went to the loo, and there did a pooh."
Then a thought struck him and he turned back to face the warrior. "My mummy says", he said, "that if you say you'll do something, and it's a fib, then you have to do it anyway, to teach you not to tell fibs. Even if you can't do it you still have to if it was a fib. So can I have the kingdom please?"
The soldier lost patience. He bent down with his hands on his knees, and bellowed into the boy's face from six inches' range: "WILL! YOU! FUCK!! OFF!!!"
The boy skedaddled. Reaching a safe distance, he turned round, stuck his thumbs in his ears, waggled his fingers and blew a long, loud raspberry. He turned back and scampered away, zooming his plastic Enterprise through the air and making phaser noises.
Another approaching Orc army was obliterated by a slightly-built hippy girl hidden camouflaged among the rocks, stoned out of her tree and firing a Bren gun from the hip, it being a measure of how stoned she was that she thought this was a good idea. Immediately upon pulling the trigger she lost control of the thing and could do nothing but hang on desperately while it sprayed bullets in all directions until it ran out of ammunition, which thanks to some kind of extra-dimensional extension to the magazine took several hundred times longer than one would normally expect. It was loaded with a mixture of explosive and soft-nosed ammunition; Orc heads exploded, gaping holes appeared in Orc bodies, severed Orc limbs flew hither and yon.
"Loos, 1915", she muttered, staggering dizzily about with her hands to her ringing head. "Английские Урч."
Two dwarves came haring around a spur of the mountain and fell headlong into the loose crowd of idle dwarves killing time in the sheltered hollow on the other side. Their chests heaved frantically as they tried to regain enough breath to speak.
"Kez..." one of them managed to gasp. "Kezr..."
"Easy there, mate", said one of the idle dwarves, grabbing him by the arm to support him. "Can't be that bad, surely?"
The dwarf shook his head, panting, and pointed back over his shoulder. "Kez..."
The other dwarf coughed violently, gasped a few times, coughed again, and this time managed to turn it into words. "K'ez'rek d'b'duz!"
"Why?" said the idle dwarf. "We're quite comfortable here."
"K'ez'rek d'b'duz!" said the first dwarf, having managed to accumulate half a lungful spare. He tugged himself free of the idle dwarf and began to shove his way through the crowd, urging them along with him. "K'ez'rek d'b'duz!"
"K'ez'rek d'b'duz! K'ez'rek d'b'duz!" called the other, emulating him. A wave of unease spread through the hitherto complacent gathering; here and there dwarves got up to follow, and slowly the crowd began to move as herd instinct made itself felt.
The tip of a black pointed hat appeared over the spur of the mountain. A figure rose into view beneath it; a woman, tall, straight, piercing of eye, clad all in black. The crowd swirled; the shouts of "K'ez'rek d'b'duz!" became general, and the trickle of departures began its transformation into a flood. The dwarves at the back pushed forward on those in front in their haste to get away; the beginnings of a panic could be felt.
The woman raised her hand to tuck away a wisp of silver-gold hair that had escaped from beneath her hat. She stood on a boulder, and swept the crowd with her gaze. She did not speak, but waited, watching, as the crowd's movement slowed, then stilled; reluctantly, one by one, the dwarves turned to face her. She stood with folded arms, grimly surveying the audience as the shuffles and muttering faded to silence. A solitary cough echoed faintly around the hollow, and then all was quiet.
Then she raised a hand, and spoke. "Ghosts of the mind and all device away, I bid the truth to have its tumpty-tumpty day."
It was a wet, windy night. The sound man shifted awkwardly, trying to find a position which would minimise the amount of wind noise that made its way past the shield; the camera operator juggled an umbrella in an effort to keep the rain off the lens, muttering rude words as the wind tugged at it; it was hard enough working with this reporter anyway, she was so tall that anyone she talked to tended to look ridiculous, and this weather was the icing on the cake. Raindrops bespattered the outside of the fat man's spectacles and condensation fogged the inside, causing him to hold his head at awkward angles as he sought for a relatively clear spot to peer through, and his hair stuck to his pate in damp rats' tails. Behind them the departing cinema-goers seeking transport home huddled under their coats, using their programmes as makeshift rain-hats. Only the reporter seemed unbothered by the weather, the wind barely stirring her elegantly-draped dress and the raindrops apparently avoiding her entirely, her radiant hair as dry and unruffled as if they were sitting in a warm studio instead of broadcasting from outside a cinema in half a storm.
"There seemed to be a lot of empty seats in the cinema tonight", she said. "Are you surprised, or disappointed, at the low turn-out? Or is it just the weather, do you think?"
"I am a bit disappointed, but not really surprised", the fat man responded. Through some indefinable oddity of movement there was a faint air of the marionette about him, some vague impression of wires. "I think if you have been watching social media over the past few weeks it is much as would be expected."
"You think people are losing interest, then?" the reporter asked.
"Yes, I do, really", the fat man replied. "As I said, if you look at social media it's quite clear that people are getting fed up with my shit. There is no excitement. Nobody gives a toss any more."
"Would you, in the light of that, now say it was a mistake to have made three Hobbit films?"
"Oh, certainly, with hindsight, definitely I would. It seemed like a good idea at the time but, well, I suppose if I keep on making random shit up and slapping Tolkien's name on it to sell it people are going to get fed up with it eventually."
"You didn't expect that, then? It came as a surprise to you?"
"Well, yes, it did, rather. I put plenty of horseshit and stupid bollocks in the Lord of the Rings films and people didn't seem to mind it then."
"May I ask why you went to the trouble of doing that, instead of simply using it as Tolkien had written it?"
"Oh, I couldn't possibly have done that." For a moment the fat man's face was animated by a fleeting grimace of shock. "I wouldn't have made nearly enough money if I'd done that."
"It's all about the money, then?"
"Oh, yes, certainly, what else would it be?"
"You have said in interviews that you had loved the tales since you were a child...?"
"Oh, fuck that", the fat man broke in. "That was just bullshit to gain me PR points. You know, I was still making the films at the time. No, they're just books. But they're popular books, so I thought I could cash in on the name and make lots of money out of it."
"You weren't concerned with the integrity of these much-loved tales."
"No. My films are no more an accurate representation of Tolkien's histories than Braveheart is of the history of Scotland. Less, really. I've made up far more bollocks than Mel Gibson did, which is quite something, even if I do say so myself."
"I see. Now, about the reactions of the audience that did turn up. Some people were throwing things at the screen at one point..."
"Oh, the scene with the Elves singing We are dainty little fairies? Yes, that did surprise me a bit. I thought Gilbert and Sullivan would be more popular, especially in Britain."
"It seemed to surprise the audience a bit, too. Perhaps they were not expecting it?"
"If they weren't, they should watch the earlier films again", the fat man snorted. He dug in the pocket of his duffel coat and produced a box of DVDs; dug again, came out with a notebook, scribbled something on a page, signed it, tore it out and tucked it inside the box, which he held out to the reporter. "Here; broadcast these, it'll help to jog people's memory."
"Oh, well, thank you very much. Obviously we can't show them right this instant", said the reporter turning to face the camera, "but I can assure our viewers that we will do so very soon." Her hand vanished out of shot for a moment as she handed the discs to a member of the crew. "Do you intend to make any more movies?" she addressed the fat man again.
"Oh, fuck, no, not a bloody chance", said the fat man, shaking his head vigorously. "No fucking way, no, I won't be doing that. No, no. Fuck that for a game of soldiers."
"And for that we may all be profoundly grateful", said the reporter to the camera. She smiled, and her hair gleamed in the streetlights. "This is Svetlana Belokuraya returning you to the studio..."