Thursday 27 August 2009

Scene 4: The Back Knight. Dedicated to Simon Perry, Crispian Jago and Simon Singh.

An extremely bogus representation of the Adventures in Nonsense carried out by Simon Perry in the wake of Simon Singh, inspired (if after a 2.5 month-long pause) by Crispian Jago. Thank you and all the very best to all three.

(Sorry for the excessive colourfulness, but I found it was easier to read that way. I'm just not giving up my Pleiades.)

Enter PERRY and PATSY.

PERRY walks ahead, carrying a briefcase; PATSY walks behind with a camera and clipboard. They overhear howls of pain and soon come upon a chiropractic practice named "The Back Knight". After a few minutes a patient stumbles out rubbing his back. BACK KNIGHT watches him go with a stern expression. PERRY and PATSY examine numerous claims in the windows.

PERRY (to BACK KNIGHT): You practice on the strength of many claims, Sir Knight.


PERRY: I am Simon Perry, interested in trading standards.


PERRY: I seek the finest and the bravest chiropracters in the land to join me in my quest for science.


PERRY: You have unproved claims! Will you talk to me?


PERRY: You make me sad. Come, Patsy.

PERRY and PATSY attempt to enter the practice. BACK KNIGHT spreads his arms to block their entrance.

BACK KNIGHT: No scientists shall pass.

PERRY: What?

BACK KNIGHT: No scientists shall pass.

PERRY: I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight, but I must investigate your evidence.

BACK KNIGHT: Then you shall waste your time.

PERRY: I challenge you, as an honest man, to prove that!

PERRY points at a large banner claiming that manipulation of the spine can cure toddlers' asthma.

BACK KNIGHT: I prove for no man.

PERRY: So be it!

PATSY backs off and starts taking photographs and scribbling down frantically everything on the window. PERRY's briefcase springs open by magic (accompanied by battle-style music) and out shoots a scientific journal in which a blind trial finds no evidence that chiropractic helps infant asthma. It blazes a laser-like beam at the window advertisement. Another laser-like beam emits from inside the practice, carrying a bulletin of blogs, advertisements and other unconvincing sources of evidence to fight PERRY's journalistic weapon. After a few flashes of light, etc, BACK KNIGHT's weapons puff out and his advertisement falls crumpled to the ground.

PERRY (at door): Now stand aside, worthy advertiser.

BACK KNIGHT: 'Tis but a displaced vertebra.

PERRY: A displaced vertebra!? Your advert's off!

BACK KNIGHT: No it isn't.

PERRY: Well, what's that, then?

BACK KNIGHT: I've had worse.

PERRY: You liar!

BACK KNIGHT: Come on, you traditionalist!

More light flashes from inside the practice and out whooshes a soppy anecdote of a mother whose child's crying and bed-wetting improved after a session of chiropractic, the two events which she links with gratitude. A volume of statistics and the method for a blind trial shoot out of PERRY's briefcase. They do battle, and the anecdote crumples on the pavement beside the advertisement.

PERRY: Victory is mine!

PERRY turns away momentarily, calling Trading Standards on his mobile.

PERRY: "We call thee, Lawrence, because in your district . . . Ouch!"

BACK KNIGHT picks up a lawyer and hits PERRY with him.

BACK KNIGHT: Come on then.

PERRY: What?

BACK KNIGHT: Sue at you!

PERRY: You are indeed genuine, Sir Knight, but your science is wrong.

BACK KNIGHT: Oh, had enough courtrooms, eh?

BACK KNIGHT throws a brief at PERRY. PERRY starts to look slightly annoyed.

PERRY: Look, you stupid woo-woo, you've got no claims left.

BACK KNIGHT: Yes I have.

PERRY: Look!

BACK KNIGHT: It's just a subluxation.

BACK KNIGHT throws the lawyer at PERRY.

PERRY: Look stop that!

BACK KNIGHT: Skeptic. Skeptic!

PERRY: Look I'll have your reputation.

BACK KNIGHT throws a judge's wig at PERRY.

PERRY: Right!

PERRY darts into the practice and comes out with a business card which titles BACK KNIGHT as "Dr". He throws it to PATSY. Immediately a distant condemning-sound horn blows, green lights flash and a medical definition of "Dr" appears in the air. BACK KNIGHT's lawyer suddenly starts to look nervous, puts his judge's wig and briefs back in his briefcase, and scuttles away leaving BACK KNIGHT looking distinctly off balance.

BACK KNIGHT (fearfully): Right! I'll do you for that!

PERRY: You'll what?


BACK KNIGHT makes as if to run after his lawyer, who is by now out of sight. He turns back to PERRY looking hopping mad.

PERRY: What are you going to do, practice on me?

BACK KNIGHT: I'm infallible!

PERRY: You're a loony.

BACK KNIGHT: The Back Knight always cures! Have at you! Come on then . . .

PERRY looks up at the sky. Huge brilliantly-lit diagram-ghosts of bacteria, viruses, multiplying cancer cells, crowded conditions and poor hygiene zone in on the last remaining large claim in the window, which quotes from Daniel David Palmer that 99% of disease is caused by displaced vertebrae. Within seconds this last advert crumples and falls to the floor.

BACK KNIGHT (pleasantly): All right. Direct your questions to the BCA.

PERRY: Come, Patsy!


BACK KNIGHT: Oh, I see! Running to scientists, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you! I'll sue your legs off!

At this point a black-robed group of faith healers go past, hitting their noses so as to have something to heal, and a reversal of time takes place in order to take us to Scene 5, The Scientist Trial by Crispian Jago.


Jack of Kent said...

Brilliant - with the all important Monty Python quality of highly quotable lines:

"I prove for no man."

"Now stand aside, worthy advertiser"


Simon said...

Very funny, thanks for this.