By the time you read this scheduled post I should be enjoying my own Anthem of the Sea on a cruise around the Scottish Aisles. I’ll share some pictures of the voyage when I get back, or check out my twitter page @ThomWolf to see where I’ve been so far. In the meantime, here’s another deleted scene from Anthem of the Sea.
Today’s scene involves Oliver Gill. It’s another flashback filling in the backstory of the boyband Overload. Oliver’s a deeply disturbed young man when we meet him in Anthem, but this flashback demonstrates how highly strung he has always been. Like the early scenes it was cut for pacing. I managed to incorporate the back story in a more efficient manner in the final book, but I do love this scene.
See you soon
Deleted scene #4
“Fucking hell. What’s the point of any of this? These numpties can’t sing for shit.”
Eighteen years old, Oliver Gill already had the temperament and attitude that he would become notorious for. Difficult: one of the softer words used to describe him. He’d been a diva in the making since primary school. By his teens he’d developed a sense of entitlement to go with his self-belief.
Newly formed boy band Overload were putting the final touches to what was slated to be their debut album. Oliver hated everything about being in a band but most of all he loathed having to share. He sang lead vocal on all of their tracks and made sure he stood front and centre during their performances and photographs, but that wasn’t enough. He still had to share the spotlight with four other boys – or baggage, as he called them.
He was destined to be a solo star, not one of five boys in a crappy line up. The fact the other four were all better looking than him was something he was loath to admit. They hadn’t been hired for their singing skills. That was fairly obvious. Anyone with ears would know who the real star of Overload was.
“It’s a means to an end,” his sister, Rachel, assured him. “Use the band to get famous, then dump them.”
She was right of course. Robbie Williams, Geri Halliwell; they both started out as members of a band, walking out at the height of their fame. That’s exactly what he planned to do.
Ditch these losers at the first opportunity.
Overload were in the studio to hear the playback of their album. The whole thing was mixed and ready. They were due to shoot their debut video in a couple of weeks.
Oliver sat apart from the rest of the band. He resolved to start how he meant go on with them; keep his distance and let them see who the star of this show was. They sat on a sofa together – Ben, Christian, Luke and David – grinning like lunatics, giving each other juvenile high fives. Fucking idiots.
Oliver sat in an arm chair, off to one side, wondering how quickly he could get out of this. This album should be enough. Four hit songs. Everyone would see he was the voice of Overload. Record companies would line up to offer him a solo contract. It would all be so easy. Seeing these dick heads crash and burn without him, that would be the icing on the cake.
Anderson Pole, the twenty six stone record producer, waddled in, out of breath, with the album on disc. “This is it boys. Enjoy it.”
The first track started to play. Oliver flinched when his lead vocal came in. Anderson had added some kind of electronic effect to his voice. What the hell? He could understand them having to use technological tricks to sweeten the vocals of the other four, but he didn’t need it. Maybe it was just an effect on this one track.
Three songs in and the treatment on his voice got heavier. He got to his feet and hit stop on the player.
“Is this a fucking joke? What have you done to my voice? I sound like a God damned robot.”
Anderson Pole turned his piggy eyes towards him. His chubby cheeks were scarlet. “It’s a modern sound,” he said, sounding calmer than he looked. “Most records on the charts are like that. Even Madonna uses a vocoder these days.”
“I’m not Madonna. I’m Oliver Gill.”
“No. You’re Oliver from Overload,” one of the boys chipped in. The others sniggered.
“Whatever you’ve done, I want you to change it back,” he said.
“You’re not the producer,” Anderson told him. “I am. The effect stays.
“I don’t need it. I’m not like the other four. I can fucking sing.”
“You think you can sing,” piped up Ben, “but your tuning is awful.”
“Ha. What would you know about tune? They might as well take the four of you cunts off the record for all you contribute. I’m the singer in this band and you all fucking know it.”
“Calm down, Oliver,” Anderson warned.
“Oh, give it rest you fat bastard. Get back on the mixing desk and put this shit right.”
The other boys were on their feet, all siding with the producer.
“You need to pipe down and apologise,” Christian said.
“Apologise! That’s a joke, right? To whom? For what? For being the only voice in this piss poor excuse for a band? For having that voice ruined in production by this idiot? You didn’t need to make me sound as bad as them, Anderson. You needed to make these cunts sound better.”
Ben moved forward, fists raised, and was stopped from hitting Oliver by the rest of the group. Undeterred, Oliver proceeded to spew abuse at the others until security was called from the foyer and he was dragged off to an empty office.
Sam LeFerve, the bands manager, arrived half an hour later. Oliver knew from the look on his face that Sam was livid. Everything above the neck of his shirt was crimson. Good. Oliver was angry too. It would be useful to have someone see things from his side for a change.
“I was in a meeting with tour promoters,” Sam said. The calm of his voice was at odds with the anger in his eyes. These fat guys should really keep a lid on their temper. Sam and Anderson looked like they would have heart attacks. “I had to cut my meeting short to come and sort this shit out. What the fuck is going on?”
“Have you listened to the final mix of the album?” Oliver demanded.
“Of course I have. I approve everything.”
“How could you approve that? It’s utter shit. Have you heard what they’ve done to my voice? It doesn’t even sound like me.”
“You’re not Pavarotti, kid. You’re in a boy band and I want you to sound like every other fucker in the chart. Don’t you get that?” Sam took out a cigarette and lit up.
“I don’t think we should be a boy band,” he replied indignantly. “I sang all the main vocals, the others did nothing. Put them on backing, let me be a solo artist. They can be my dancers.”
Sam’s eyes widened and the cigarette hung limply in his mouth. Suddenly Oliver didn’t feel so sure of himself. This wasn’t going how he expected it. Sam didn’t fight his corner like he ought to.
Sam laughed. It was a flat, humourless sound. “Jesus Christ, you’re serious, aren’t you?”
He stood up straight. “Of course I am.”
“It’s a boy band. I don’t want a solo act. I want five cute boys that girls and gays will want to fuck. I don’t give a shit about the singing. I’m paying Anderson to sort that out.”
“He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
“He’s produced a dozen top twenty singles. I’d say he knows a lot better than you do what works and what doesn’t. He’s told me all about you too. You’ve been a pain in the arse since day one.”
“That’ll be right,” Oliver sneered. “Two face, fat bastard.”
Sam drew slowly on his cigarette, watching Oliver through narrowed eyes. “It’s vital that Overload look right. But there’s something more important than looks in this band.”
“Attitude, kid. And yours stinks. I’m sorry. I’ve got a lot of money invested in this project and you’re a liability I can do without. It’s over. You’re fired.”
“What!” He heard the words but couldn’t believe them. “You can’t sack me. I’m the lead singer. It’s the others you need to sack.”
Sam shook his head. “I’ve got no problem with the other boys. They look good and they do what they’re told to. You’re a pain in the arse I just don’t need.”
Oliver trembled. Sam was serious. Shit! Why couldn’t he keep his mouth shut? “Look, I’m sorry. Okay? I’ll keep quiet from now on. Do what you say.”
“This isn’t going to work,” Sam said. “I made a mistake in choosing you. I need to cut my losses before it’s too late.”
“But ... but the album. It’s already finished,” Oliver said.
“It’s nothing I can’t fix. We can take you off and record new vocals with another singer. I’m freeing you from your contract.”
“Noooo.” The world had turned to shit beneath his feet. He’d been so stupid, pushed everything too far, but it wasn’t too late. It couldn’t be. Surely there was a way of turning this mess around. “Sam, I said I was sorry. I’ll behave. No more tantrums. I’ll be nice to the rest of the guys. But don’t do this, please. Don’t fire me.”
Sam’s expression was fixed. “Too little, too late. I’ve had a bad feeling about you for weeks. Since I put you all together. The constant feedback I get is that you’re a pain in the arse. Anderson, choreographers, stylists, the rest of the band – you make it difficult for everyone. Nobody wants to work with you. Me included.”
Tears pricked at Oliver’s eye lashes. Don’t cry, he warned himself. Do not cry. “Can’t we work something out? Just you and me. I know you like me. I know why you hired me. Let me make it worth your while. A blow job, right now.”
Sam took a step back. He looked horrified. “Oliver, stop.”
“You can fuck me, if you want. I’ve never done it in the arse before.” A lie. “You can be my first. I’d like that. You would too, wouldn’t you? To pop my cherry.”
“Oliver, don’t insult me or demean yourself.” Sam was angry now, heading for the door before the situation got worse.
“Don’t go,” Oliver pleaded.
“I’m sorry but it’s over. There’s no place for you in this band.”
Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/anthem-of-the-sea
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/anthem-of-the-sea-thom-collins/1126384702?ean=9781786515681