Friday, January 08, 2010


William Lee - dented suitcase and typewriter case tucked under his feet - leaned against the creaking headrest of an Earls Court hotel bed after interrogation by London airport immigration officials. Lee turned dial to switch on small black and white television set end of bed.

Lee the paperback writer was on the nod.

On England's only commercial tv channel Patrick McGoohan is Danger Man - secret agent John Drake. Drake flies to Switzerland in pursuit of missing agent Hagan. In plot freelance western agent Hagan is suspected of working for hostile mob. Changing his face and identity to avoid recognition whilst remaining bankrolled by west in Zürich.

Benway-character Dr Brajanska grafts the face of dead patient Wallace, murdered by hostile mob, onto Hagan at Brajanska's sinister Einbeck clinic. Wallace's remains are given to local undertaker, Buchler, whose premises are destroyed by suspicious fire, along with Buchler himself - whom mob believe burned to death.

Dark empty room in clinic. Close up of Lee. Shadows dancing in background. Disembodied voice on slowed-down tv tape. Could be male, female, non-human, half-man half-animal.

Paperback writer awakes from horrible dream. He is sitting in shabby London hotel room. Woman with vacuum cleaner is noisily moving chair around. She finds Lee huddled on chair covered with blankets.

MRS JOHNSON: Mister Lee. Mister Lee. Wake up, Mister Lee. It's gone midday. You said you were going to the British Museum, Mister Lee.

LEE: Yes, the matter of the Akkadian Deluge cuneiform. Tablet of Lapus Lazuli. Thank you, Missus Johnson.

MRS JOHNSON: It's cold and foggy out there. Be sure to wrap yourself up nicely, Mister Lee.

HOTEL CONCIERGE (enters room with rolled cigarette hanging from mouth): What time of day you call this, Lee? When you going to clear out (placing vase of plastic flowers on table). Ideal Home Exhibition coming soon. Bookings for respectable guests.

from beat generation ballads sequence

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