CRIMES AGAINST MUSIC – PART 1 (THE SENTENCING OF PETE WATERMAN)
(The courtroom assemblage rise as portly, bewigged Judge Churchill enters the chamber and ponderously takes his seat.)
COURT USHER – Please be seated. The court is in session.
(Everyone sits. A bracing air of tension and suspense fills the courtroom. The Judge rather milks the dramatic pause before commencing, shuffling papers on his desk and clearing his throat, all to make Waterman sweat.)
JUDGE – The trial of Pete Waterman has been a particularly long, protracted and gruesome process for all concerned. Witness testimony has been shocking, disturbing and utterly incriminating. Before I read out the punishment, I must acknowledge the outstanding services rendered to this court by the twelve jurors. I hope it may serve as some consolation to them that, never again will they be asked to perform jury service in a British court of law. This special dispensation has been obtained for them due to the undeniably traumatic experience they have undergone, having to listen to every Stock Aitken & Waterman album and single ever produced.
(The courtroom assemblage shudder violently as one, Many of them gaze sympathetically and horror-stricken at the jurors. The camera now shows the twelve jurors who look zombified, stupefied and catatonic. One of them gazes listlessly into the middle distance with a rope of drool descending from his mouth down his chin.)
JUDGE - Indeed, the jurors’ ordeal only serves to remind us of the original purpose of why we are here.
(Churchill glares at Waterman who reclines back in his chair arrogantly and defiantly.)
JUDGE - Every member of the jury will be offered professional counselling for the remainder of their natural life. This may help them begin deal with what they have undergone in this courtroom but there are no guarantees.
(The Judge gazes sadly at the jurors, clearly of the opinion that no amount of counselling will undo the damage.)
JUDGE - So now, to my decision; as our jury managed to deliver a unanimous verdict of guilty before they became utterly catatonic, it merely remains for me to pronounce a suitable and fitting punishment for the accused. Will the defendant please rise?
COURT USHER – Peter Alan Waterman, stand before the judge!
(Waterman, flanked by his expensive well-dressed lawyers, rises grudgingly to his feet, his hands bound by handcuffs. A snigger lies at the corner of his sneering lips.)
JUDGE – Peter Alan Waterman, you stand here today having been found guilty by a unanimous verdict of heinous crimes against music. You have abused, corrupted and polluted the minds of millions of men, women and children with you late-eighties, processed pop. Tinny drumbeats, unimaginative melodies, vacuous, anodyne lyrics and soulless vocal delivery by complete non-entity singers without charisma or the slightest dash of charm - I think it is important this court be reminded of the sheer scale of your musical outrages before I announce your punishment.
(Waterman sticks his crabby chin out defiantly here, facing the judge square-on, wholly unbowed and unrepentant. In Waterman’s twisted mind, he has done nothing wrong. The Judge continues.)
JUDGE - At its height in the late eighties, Stock Aitken and Waterman was shifting millions of singles and albums each year. In total, your company sold over 40 million records. Just imagine for a moment, each unit of that bilge being absorbed into the fragile, impressionable young mind of a teenager without the musical education or knowledge to defend themselves against your bland onslaught. As we have heard at length, many have never recovered.
(Rumblings from the assembled crowd. Clearly parents of victims are present.)
JUDGE - Fortunately, by the early nineties, your septic commercial bubble had burst. Grunge and gangsta rap among other genres had supplanted your run of chart-topping success but the damage had been done and the seeds of your appalling musical legacy had been sown. The toxic fallout of Stock, Aitken & Waterman remains with us to this day. I would never have believed it until last week but your garbage actually does get worse with time. Only last week, Radio 2 played that heap of shit by Jason Donovan…
(Sharp intake of breath here by numerous courtroom audience members for whom the memory of Jason Donovan still hurts sharply.)
JUDGE – ‘Too Many Broken Hearts In The World’.
(Waterman interjects here, unable to stay silent any longer.)
WATERMAN – Jason wrote that one, the music and the lyrics! You can’t pin that on me! Take it back I say! Take it back!
(Judge Churchill furiously bangs his gavel. Waterman’s lawyers hold him back and tell him to shut up.)
JUDGE – Silence! Waterman, you are in contempt of court.