The Mudford Festival of the Arts was a month-long celebration of all things music, dance, poetry, literature, comedy, drama and visual art, where in the month of July the centre of Mudford was brought to life with a myriad of street performances, installation pieces and special shows. Radio 2 was there for one week, and various performers made guest appearances on the shows. The Kayotics were selected to debut their first ever “Kayocoustic” set on the drivetime slot with Simon Mayo, where their brand of gloriously promiscuous hard rock was given a stripped back, softer feel. Michelle and Becky’s electric guitars were swapped out for acoustic guitars. Yumiko put down her electric five-string bass for an acoustic four-string, which she played in a higher octave. Chloe played a real piano rather than keyboard. Kassidy’s drumming became more sparse. As an experiment, it went down well.
It was following their rendition of Epica’s “Solitary Ground” (which for most of the crowd may as well have been an original) that Simon announced a regular part of the show was about to begin. “And now it’s time for our confession, and as we’ve been saying all evening, tonight’s confession comes from one of the Kayotics themselves.”
Her four bandmates all looked at Becky, sat stage left with a microphone in front of her face, her guitar laying peacefully on her lap. “Yes, it’s me,” she said, blushing a little bit. “Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned. It’s been a lifetime since I’ve last confessed. So, what I’m seeking to repent for is a prank I pulled in my youth. Now, I grew up in the 1990s, and if there was one common theme in family entertainment back then, it was gunge. If you wanted to get messy, you could go on a TV show and it would happen. You had an annoying family member or teacher or neighbour or whatever, you could go on TV and get the chance to gunge them.
“Now, when I was about nine, my sister Rachel was seven and my brother Jake six, we had a babysitter. She was a tall, Glaswegian student who did Chemistry at Mudford Uni.” Some of the crowd cheered at the dropping of their university’s name. Even Chloe didn’t mind punching the air, lightly. “Now, it would be remiss of me to omit that I found her to be very pretty on the outside. Really tall, or at least compared to my young self, with long red hair, shimmering blue eyes and a body like one of those supermodels. On the inside though… not so much. I’ll not humiliate the girl by using her real name, but let’s call her Mona. She was one, too. A moaner, I mean. She would complain all the time about stuff and blame us, even though it wasn’t our fault if the cheese she used to make cheese sandwiches was of a slightly different maturity to what she liked or whatever. If we were watching TV, she’d always moan about how she’d rather be watching something else until we changed the channel. If we were playing, she’d moan that we were being too noisy. She’d also moan about how exhausted and achy she was from working. There was even one time when she made me rub her bare feet.
“Needless to say, I wrote many, many letters to Get Your Own Back, but not once did I get a reply. Disheartened, I decided that I didn’t need the show, as fond of it as I was, to give Mona her comeuppance. Of course, I didn’t have access to real TV gunge at the time, so I had to improvise. One day when she was around and watching some crappy telly show, I went into the kitchen and opened the cupboards. There was a great big plastic mixing bowl, which I decided would be perfect for… well, mixing up a messy concoction. I grabbed it, along with a wooden spoon and took it up to the bathroom.
“I made several trips and to this day, I count my blessings that Mona never saw me! My horrible mixture consisted of anything I could find. Custard, rice pudding, semolina, various food colourings, a bit of lime marmalade (or slime marmalade as my old dad would call it), milk… I didn’t know what to expect, but I know what I was going for – the thick, colourful, sludgy muck that was all over those aforementioned TV shows. What I ended up with was a fairly faithful copy, though a lot lumpier thanks to the rice pudding and slime marmalade and the like.
“Now that I had my gunge, I just had to deploy it. I was never much of an actress, but I was definitely skilled at making myself sound ill. ‘Mona, Mona! Come quick!’ I called, groaning for emphasis. ‘I feel ill! Mona!’ I added after a bit, doing some very fake coughing. Sure enough, she came running while I waited at the top of the stairs. I stood on a chair above the stairs, looking straight down at bottom. Sure enough, there Mona was, stood in her favourite white t-shirt and skinny blue jeans… both of which were ruined just a moment later! I tipped the bowl and dropped it over the edge and it landed straight on her head, splattering all over. She was totally covered in my colourful sticky slop, from the top of her lovely ginger locks to her freshly pedicured toes” The crowd laughed at Becky’s recollection, and the image of ‘Mona’ getting gooped. The laugh was just as much of a cringe.
“She looked stunned at first that this could happen to her. ‘Just you wait until your mam gets home!’ she shouted as I ran to my room, cautiously treading so I didn’t step in the goo that hadn’t quite made it to the edge of the landing. As I heard her power up the stairs, leaving a trail of slime like some kind of angry slug, she demanded to know who had done this. I lay down on my bed and looked up innocently while clutching my stomach.
Now we come to part of the story I seek forgiveness for. Mona changed her ways soon after, and I think the fact I’m in a famous metal band means I had the last laugh in the end. It’s not the wasted food or the mess caused either, since I paid for that at the time through some vigorous scrubbing and docked pocket money, as did Rachel and Jake. In fact, it’s Rachel and Jake whom I beg for forgiveness. Until this day, I never admitted that I had pulled the prank and got my own back on Mona, but I had been so meticulous in my vengeance that I made it impossible to prove who had pulled the prank. My lovely little siblings ended up paying the price for something which was entirely down to me, and for that I seek the forgiveness of Father Simon and the congregation.” Becky took a deep breath, with a sense of relief that she’d finally relieved herself of a lingering demon – a demon that had lingered with her for thirteen years.
“So there you have Becky’s confession. Babysitter from Hell, Becky decides to give her a bit of a comeuppance, kind of sets up her siblings to take the fall. Let’s start with Sister Rebecca,” said Simon, looking to business news host Rebecca Pike.
Rebecca sucked air in through her teeth. “It’s a tricky one. If Mona the moaner was as bad as you say, then I can forgive you for wanting to get revenge. Any babysitter who complains about the wrong type of cheese in the fridge and demands footrubs… Yeah, that’s high-maintenance. However, you wasted food and set up your siblings to take the fall so for that, I can’t forgive you.” The crowd cheered at the verdict.
Becky pouted as Simon passed over to the next co-host. “Well, we can see what the crowd think! Father Matthew?”
“Well like Sister Rebecca, I’ve got mixed feelings, but I think I am going to forgive you,” said Matt Williams, the sports host. The crowd booed, but after Simon settled them, Matt continued. “The thing is, you’re the oldest sibling, and someone’s got to keep the little ones in order! And your babysitter sounded horrible, from what you said, so I totally agree with getting back at her! Yes, you’re forgiven!”
“And how about Sisters Yumiko, Kassidy, Michelle and Chloe?”
The rest of the band looked at each other and chuckled. “Yeah, we forgive her,” said Yumiko, to more than a few boos. “It’s typical Becky, really. If we couldn’t forgive her for that, we’d never be able to put up with her!” the bassist explained, the crowd laughing with her.
“So it’s a mixed reception. Text us on the usual number with whether you forgive Becky or not and why.”
Thought I’d try something a bit different, or different by my own taste anyway. I know the babysitter revenge fantasy’s popular, but I don’t think I’ve seen this sort of format used before. But hey, why always make the same thing?
So, do you forgive Becky?