humbly presented by MZK
For the launch of their 2020 exhibition, ‘Inherent problems, formal solutions’, Daddy and the Boy are pleased to announce the release of the unpublished manuscript for:
Just Three Boys in Kimonos (Excerpt) Written and edited by Ibrahim K. Taqi aka ‘the boy’
Character List ADAM
Dubbed ‘bin bitch’, ADAM is one of the residents of the house. ADAM is shrewd and cultured, yet cynical and fraught with anxiety, carrying the weight of the world on his young, slender frame. Adam is a ‘site-specific installation artist’, working (somewhat ironically perhaps) as a real estate agent.
The youngest of the boys, CHRIS is naive, inquisitive and earnest, posing questions to his friends; Yet he is astute, with a humble intelligence and worldliness of his own. Oft described as the most ‘emotional’ of the group, he is poetic in manner and speech. CHRIS is a linguist and resident literary fellow at the university. An old stoic and former student of critical theory and philosophy, HARRY is also a resident of the house. A father-figure to his peers, his intellectual manner is oft mistaken for him being ‘an arrogant twat’.
Also goes by ‘Ibby’. IBRAHIM is a friend of Jeff and one half of ‘Synthetic Russions’, an ambient, post-punk, alternative/prog rock band. Ibrahim writes on art theory.
JEFF Friend of Ibrahim and the other half of ‘Syntehtic Russions’. JEFF is a student of printmaking at RCA, the Royal College of Art in Battersea. JEFF works chiefly in offset and stone lithography, sugarlift aquatint and hard-ground etching. He writes a blog ‘strawhat-varnish-bites’. GEORGE A stubborn fellow, George is a paleontologist and doctorate research fellow at Oxford University with a keen interest in the ‘aesthetics’ of fieldwork and site excavation. Currently on a sabbatical, he has taken it upon himself to write his memoirs with Chris’ editorial support. GEORGE also runs a weekly evening improv class, ‘jus (t)roll with it’.
Acknowledgments My express gratitude to two of my closest friends: Harrison for his initial counsel and continued feedback, without whom this work would not exist and my bandmate Jeff for his continued support, readings and comments. These two have been a lifeline amidst the chaotic and turbulent brave new world of covid and I will forever remain appreciative and indebted to them. A product of the times, I couldnâ€™t think of two better people to spend confinement with. Thanks also to the staff and members of WSA sculpture studio 2020 for their help in the first official read-through, and for their comments/suggestions. Last of all to Avi, my dearest friend and one of the most intelligent people Iâ€™ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Thank you for your support in all my work and writing.
INT- KITCHEN. NIGHT. The kitchen was red and dense. Wafts of searing meat (freshly grilled BBQ chicken) filled the room and began to creep out of a crack in the shoddy window-frame, crawling out into the periphery of the quiet night. The sole source of light, a dim bulb suspended on a black cord, flickered briefly; its reflection dancing across the windowpanes, heavy with condensation. Two men (boys) in wide open kimonos, lie across a velvet chaise lounge. ADAM, a wiry, wriggly fellow donning horn-rimmed glasses and a pair of thick, well-maintained mutton chops stood suddenly and began to pace the length of the room. The other, HARRY, dangled a cigarette in one hand and traced the rim of his virgin piña colada with the forefinger of his other. CHRIS, the third of the boys, slowly ascends from his seated position upon the stairs, his kimono falls open as he enters the kitchen. ADAM stands and slowly starts to pace. CHRIS
I’ll find myself.
ADAM, the epitome of ass, briefly pauses mid-stride to cast an icy glance at CHRIS, then continues his pacing. Neither his anxious pacing nor his manner of strut goes unnoticed by the other boys, who act unaware. HARRY
CHRIS (eyes dart to Harry) what? HARRY
ADAM (muttering) he said joke — CHRIS (to ADAM ) ah, thanks bro. (turning to face HARRY) Alas, I joke not. Today I embark on a journey of self-discovery. Enough is enough and things need to be done. HARRY very well son. Inaction is the thief of opportunity. You know I’ve always been a big proponent of this manner of thought. ADAM
(rolling his eyes) what?
I said what.
Deflated at not being given the attention he so desperately sought, ADAM sank slowly back into the chaise lounge, splaying his legs out to dangle across the other boys’. He squeezed a lime quarter into his bottle of tequila and leaned back, letting out a deflated sigh.
aside his drink and takes a drawn out puff of his cigarette) Look Chris, I speak frankly with you because of the overwhelming respect I have for you my boy. The concept of ‘self-discovery’ has no legitimate basis whatsoever. It exists solely in the minds of those who deem themselves in need of correction, who view themselves as inadequate or lacking in some way. It’s a pointless endeavour my friend, for those who are well-adjusted enough to not adopt a mindset of such lack.
(CHRIS nods slowly, considering this and moves to join the others on the chaise lounge. He gestures to ADAM to pass the salt. The trio pass the salt around, slowly and tenderly. ‘crack, crack, crack’ is heard as the men crush the rock salt into a fine dust in between their teeth.) CHRIS
this is excellent salt boys.
good stuff, yeah…
(Moments pass as the boys sit in near-silence, salt dissolving on their tongues, crackling like popping candy.) CHRIS
but there’s no harm in keeping an open mind is there? might one not learn things about oneself from such a pursuit?
this is ridiculous. I thought tonight we play Apex?
(HARRY and CHRIS exchange looks.) CHRIS (to HARRY) I mean, ‘lack’ isn’t a necessary component for such a line of enquiry? Don’t you think it’s a very human desire - to wish to discover or find oneself? (pauses, takes a sip of his diet cola) Humans in general, naturally seek to better themselves, to become civilised, or find some meaning or purpose in their existence… the rational man at least — ADAM BS. People are selfish… no better than animals. We want, take and indulge. And grandiose ideas of guilt, remorse, empathy - conscience even - they’re nothing more than abstract ideas that rarely factor into the equation. So Apex? CHRIS
I’m not saying that there aren’t folks who lead lives of self-indulgent, hedonism… a simple Epicurean philosophy right?
CHRIS — but base, animal tendencies aside, look at the capacity humans have to cogitate, to question and critically examine. The very concept of human intelligence — of intellect. HARRY
Absolutely. It is exclusively man who possesses this ability.
ADAM sighs and begins to mutter lightly under his breath. HARRY
What real difference is there between myself and a rabid dog… or even a regular dog? Very little then, perhaps the sole distinction is my ability to critically examine and better myself.
CHRIS Exactly brother, that is what separates us so fundamentally from animals. And at some point or another, even fleetingly, isn’t it very natural for us to consider who we are - our notions of self? Individually.. for me to explore my own notion of self. (pauses and starts to roll a cigarette on the chaise lounge) Isn’t that a thing to be encouraged? HARRY
Enough son, it’s getting late. Tomorrow.
HARRY stubs out his cigarette into a DIY clay ashtray and slowly stands, doing up the front of his kimono. CHRIS So a desire to find oneself, need that be viewed so negatively? from a place of lack? (long pause) …Harry? HARRY
I grow weary of this.
Kitchen lights slowly dim as CHRIS and ADAM recline and stage fades to black. Scene Two INT- KITCHEN. DAY. Low rumbling as kettle boils. The windows are closed and thickly coated with condensation, as is typical of the house on Bar End Road. Sunlight pours in, filling the room with a warm yellow glow. ADAM lies unconscious across the chaise lounge, glasses askew, his legs dangling over the arm of the sofa, his head sloping off the edge. HARRY
(offscreen) Do you want just hot water in it?
HARRY enters left stage, hair ruffled, yet kimono wide open. JEFF stumbles from his perch at the doorway to lean against the edge of the table. ADAM (lets out a sharp snore and rolls over to face away from the audience) hmmm… (exhales slowly) HARRY (lets out a slow yawn as he shuffles around, making coffee) So Chris says he wants to find himself. JEFF (sighs) Not this again. HARRY
He’s on a mission of self-discovery apparently.
Self-discovery? What’s there to discover?
I dunno Jeff
You know he looks to you for guidance -
HARRY Really it’s quite odd, my paternal instincts take me over sometimes. I’m not sure why exactly but I feel compelled to guide the boy. Light, intermittent snores from ADAM can be heard in the background and the occasional muttering as he lightly stirs in his sleep. JEFF
He means well I guess. Poor guy though - if he’s looking to you as a role model he must really be desperate. Ha.
only joking mate, I forget you’re such an old man sometimes.
Is this about the monopoly thing again? The game just goes on forever and it’s not like I don’t still play with the rest of you boys.
JEFF Haha, I forgot about the monopoly. Us boys? Jesus Christ man. HARRY hands a mug of coffee to JEFF and joins him at the table. JEFF
How’re you finding that new brand of cigar? Little Corona right? What a joke.
Excuse you Jeffrey - it’s petit corona. And the brand is Oliva Connecticut Reserve. Corona refers to the actual shape of the cigar my friend, even then a corona will vary from brand to brand.
JEFF (scoffs) Corona - brilliant. HARRY
It’s not bad actually, I’ve never been the biggest fan of cigars though myself. (gestures to ADAM) this guy is quite the connoisseur as you know, he suggested I give this one a try. I’ll stick to my pipe thanks.
HARRY (nodding) and rollies. A draft of air blows open HARRY’s kimono as he stands and exits. JEFF lets out a long sigh and stretches as he sinks deeper into his chair. He sips his coffee and closes his eyes briefly. CHRIS enters, donning a floral kimono. CHRIS
ayy Jeff, how’s it going friend?
all well, all well thanks. and you?
very well thanks
you sure mate, you’re looking a bit off
yeah yeah all good. (gestures to JEFF’s mug) Coffee?
yeah you want?
JEFF gets up and busies himself making coffee for CHRIS. CHRIS meanwhile sits down and pulls a rubix cube from the pocket of his kimono. He fiddles with the puzzle, his brow furrowed in thought. CHRIS actually mate, I don’t know... maybe I’m not okay. I’m going through something and it’s difficult to put into words or articulate what exactly this is. (hesitant pause) I don’t - it’s... JEFF
what’s up dude? I’ve got all the time in the world if you want to talk it through.
IBRAHIM enters, nods to the others and gestures to JEFF for a coffee. He and JEFF both don matching band t-shirts, their respective getups seem almost outlandish, entirely non-traditional for the kimono-donning house on Bar End road. CHRIS
jeez dude, when did you get here?
crashed here after dinner last night, the girls are apparently out of town so they’ve got a couple beds going
(IBBY moves ADAM’s head to the side and seats himself on the chez lounge, letting out a long sigh. His eyes roll back as he slowly lies down and closes his eyes)
so what’s the goss fellas?
I dunno. I’m confused, frustrated, tired and I can’t quite pinpoint the problem. This perpetual exhaustion can’t be normal right?
this whole sanctioned lockdown thing - it’s not like we’re really running in regular modus operandi, if its any consolation, I’n sure everyone is going through their own stuff? like not meaning to belittle - but provide context, I dunno, reassurance?
I know, it’s more than that though. There’s something wrong and I feel like it’s been wrong for quite a while now.
what do you mean?
I dont think I’m unhappy per se - but I don’t feel at ease. Call it anxiety if you will? A crisis of faith? I don’t know.
I guess that’s normal. Anything I can do to help? Coffee?
what do you mean crisis of faith?
CHRIS I dunno. I don’t feel content I think. I really don’t know. Maybe its an existential crisis... (long pause) I have so many ideas and thoughts, and I’m realising increasingly I don’t know how to process them... what to make of them. I really don’t know. IBBY
relatable af dude
dude - take him seriously.
I am - jeez. (rolls eyes)
CHRIS (sighing) sorry folks. It’s my problem, I don’t mean to go on about it. Obviously though, if you have any feedback or guidance or advice or anything, please, I’m all ears. JEFF
Ib and I were discussing something similar the other day. We’ve been struggling to finish the last verse of ‘rock lobster what’... what were you saying the other day?
rock lobster what - it’s the last track to our EP, it’s for this ‘EP a day’ project thing we’ve got going on. All about constant production and celebrating the whole concept of fluid, process-led making, going with the creative process n all that.
homage to the B-52’s
oh yes boy.
we’ve been discussing how to adopt a more open-ended writing practice - how to make music and write stuff we’re genuinely passionate about when everything is going to shit - without slipping into the whole ‘overly relatable cliche angsty emo’ content trap - it’s not easy
so Jeff came up with this beautiful riff -
JEFF (raises eyebrows) thanks IBBY
- like a very erratic melody and just started playing it over and over again, it had this weird Adam-like energy to it, really wriggly and jumpy and sort of all over the place
JEFF it was pretty cool, and instead of jumping immediately to how we could make this work or use it in a song, we both just went with it and had this sort of profound experience IBBY
it was insane
and this more experimental style of writing, more retrospectively I guess, around
a melody, around a riff, it lets you work through, processing thoughts and ideation itself, it’s something else. It’s not actually knowing what you’re doing when you set out to do it, and sortof being okay with it
and the patternation isn’t set, the intricacies, the character of the music - it’s not exact or fixed or always replicable each time. That sort of energy, you’ve gotta be open to it.
we had no lyrical idea at the time, just followed the melody and the rhythm -
- and then only later on we fit the words - the writing - to the rhythm.
IBBY gets up, pops two slices of pre-buttered bread into the toaster and leans over the counter, poking them with a knife. He swigs from a cup of coffee on the side, grimacing and pouring the remaining coffee in the sink. CHRIS
and I don’t remember what it was exactly, but I was stressing about finishing this song and instead, we have this beautiful piece of music that we don’t know quite what to do with, but not letting it derail us, or see this as a distraction or a detraction from what we were initially trying to do, I don’t know. It’s just got this insane energy and power to it.
(nodding) no I get you. I think. It’s like to let yourself get lost in the flow or process or whatever, and clear your mind from all the other stuff - about presence in the moment and a full commitment to what you’re doing
exactly - I don’t know if this useful to you but I think there’s something to be said about the loss of ego or sense of self in the midst of something like that
but I think it’s not the kind of thing you can plan for right - like it happens to you. Is it possible to actually actively go out seeking that?
maybe, I dunno (shrugs), anyways - I best be off. Ibby you coming?
IBBY grabs a slice of toast, takes a big bite out of it and nods to CHRIS as he exits. CHRIS
in a while. (salutes to CHRIS and exits)
CHRIS continues to fiddle with the rubix cube for a few minutes. Light snoring from ADAM continues in the background. Birdsong is heard from beyond the kitchen as CHRIS makes his breakfast, vegan ‘bacon’ slices and eggs sunny side up. When he finishes, he pockets a granola bar in his kimono and lies down next to ADAM on the chaise lounge. Lights dim.
Extract from the screenplay by Ibrahim Taqi, aka 'the boy' from the fictional interdisciplinary art collective, 'Just 3 Boys in Kimonos', a...
Published on Jul 4, 2020
Extract from the screenplay by Ibrahim Taqi, aka 'the boy' from the fictional interdisciplinary art collective, 'Just 3 Boys in Kimonos', a...