Wildebeest is an edgy political comedy for all those who find themselves shouting at the radio or television whenever a politician or third rate celebrity utters something pointless. I started writing Wildebeest, after becoming annoyed listening to Prime Minister’s questions. I asked myself, "What if the public governed Britain?"
That seed grew into a fictional autobiography about rugby player Oscar Longstaff, who at thirty-four retires from the sport without future plans. He spends months convalescing, getting increasingly irritated by the politics, reality television and the celebrity culture of Britain before impulsively deciding to exploit all three evils.
Longstaff invents Wildebeest Democracy, a movement favouring public referenda for all legal and policy decisions. He stands as a candidate at the 2005 General Election and wins the seat of Loughborough. Over the next parliament he colourfully engineers himself into a position to come from nowhere and win the Election of 2009. Once in power Longstaff takes the responsibility for policymaking away from Westminster and hands it back to the British public with amusing and sometimes disastrous consequences.
Longstaff is well meaning, but is hamstrung by his contempt for the tabloid press, the whims of the public, and a sex drive that mirrors that of a fourteen year old (or fifty-something politician). His reign as Prime Minister ends in Hong Kong, when the collapse of reasonable policymaking in Britain and revelations about a sexual encounter in Moscow that led to an illegitimate child make his position untenable.
Wildebeest is for those who believe that British governance couldn’t get any worse, by showing them that in Longstaff’s hands it probably could!
Scrum - Opening chapter to Wildebeest
(Sunday 4th April 2004 – Welford Road, Newcastle Falcons versus Leicester Tigers)
Bollocks! Walder’s converted, that’s twenty-five each. Haul arse to half way.
“How long have we got sir?” Skip wants one more push.
“About half a minute!”
“Forwards, our ball!”
“Green five, behind the kicker!”
Easy ref, I’m knackered.
Jaco’s kick. It’s high, chase. They’ve got it, Rhino’s in wrestling, hit maul.
Rhino’s ripped, it’s coming back! Game on! Drive! Maul’s rolling, we’re moving, can win! Ball’s still coming. Rip ball, I’ve got it! Space blind, break, run blind. Steamroll tackler! Through defence. Five . . . ten . . . fifteen yards . . . there’s try line . . . I’ll win this . . . Where’d he come from? . . Spilled it! . . It’s forward . . . there it is . . . regather . . . ref’s missed it . . . duck tackle . . . reach . . .
“No advantage! Scrum 5 meters out.”
He did notice. . . catch breath . . . bind on skip . . . drop to knee. . . squeeze head in arse sandwich . . . hand above Rhino’s cock.
“Mind the scrote mate! You don’t know where it’s been!”
“I’ve an idea!”
Not pleasant! Squeeze it before grabbing top of his shorts.
“Careful don’t rouse Rhino’s Horn!”
Shut up Rhino.
“Crouch! Pause! Engage!”
“One, two, three, heave.”
Push! . . They’re pushing hard this late! . . Push! . . Come on studs, dig in! . . Push! . . Must get lower! . . Push! . . Muddy studs no grip! . . Push! . . Can’t lock out, sliding backwards! . . Push! . . Why am I doing this? . . Push! . . Head squeezed like pimple! . . About to burst! . . Push! . . Ears massaged by floor sander! . . Push! . . I’m tired! . . Can’t push! . . Scrum’s wheeling! . . Neck’s bending! . . What am I doing here? This sucks.
That was the moment of zilch.
Falcons retain control of the ball and kick to touch. A shriek from the ref and it’s over! My last moment in rugby is to butter-finger the winning score. I trudge to the captain, “Sorry skip, I’m through!”
“We’ve all dropped one Staffy,” he said, “that’s rugby!”
“I’ve had enough, I’m spitting out my gum shield!”
“But the season’s not over.”
“Doesn’t matter, I’m done!”
“I dropped that ball because I’m shot! I’ve given Tigers thirteen years and thirty games a season. We must scrummage with resets a dozen times a half. Excluding training, I’ve cuddled a bloke, had my head between the butts of two twenty-stone lumps, and my hand above a grunt’s nadgers something like,” I pause to work out the maths, “Something like 9,360 times.”
“I’m fed up being crushed near the middle of a thirty-two legged spider.”
“I’ve had my face buried so often my beard feels like grass that my stubble picked up and the cauliflower ears were grown in an allotment.”
“These days it takes longer to recover than I have between games, and most of those are for the development side. I’m too old to be developed, am the right side of 10,000 scrums. It’s time to hang up the boots.”
“Staffy, shut up!” He laughed. “When put like that, I might even retire myself!”
At the end of the next season, the great man did.
At 130,000 words Wildebeest is currently undergoing an edit, if you are interested and would like to read more, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.