Features Published 28 May 2015

Eye of the Tiger

A response to the article 'A critics plea: stop all arts funding now' - with tigers.
Stewart Pringle

The offices of a well-known centre-right broadsheet. 10am. An EDITOR sits, reading from a tablet. A DEPUTY enters.

EDITOR – Thanks for coming, close the door.

DEPUTY – Morning.

EDITOR – Morning. So you read the brief?

DEPUTY – Ah, no. Did you just send it?

EDITOR – Five minutes ago.

DEPUTY – Sorry I was probably/

EDITOR – Fine, not a problem.

DEPUTY – I’ll take a look now.

EDITOR – It’s fine, I’ll fill you in. It’s just an op-ed. Culture section.

DEPUTY – Okay.

EDITOR – Something fighty. Something to get them clicking. Seen what the Indy’s been doing recently?

DEPUTY – Sure.

EDITOR – Something like that. But bigger.

DEPUTY – Right.

EDITOR – Bolder. Just really kick the shit out of something. Get the lefty luvvies properly fucked off, you know?

DEPUTY – I think so. Something pro-cuts to the arts? Hit up Vaizey for a few zingers?

EDITOR – Too dry. Something stronger.

DEPUTY – Stick it to the BBC? Slice the license?

EDITOR – No, no, no. Hang on, I’ve got it. ‘Abolish funding for the arts’.

DEPUTY – All of it? All of them?

EDITOR – Absolutely. Fuck ’em all. How about ‘All funded art is shit, a critic’s view.’ Actual theatre critic says ‘it’s all a pile of wank’.

DEPUTY – Wow. Okay.

EDITOR – ‘There has never been a decent piece of funded art, it’s all just lesbians paying kick-backs to lesbians.’

DEPUTY – Okay, that’s…

EDITOR – Strong. Fierce. Fucking irresistible, that’s what that is.

DEPUTY – Piss off a lot of people.

EDITOR – Fucking right it will. They’ll go mental.

DEPUTY – They will.

EDITOR – Absolutely mental. They’ll go for it. They’ll go for blood.

DEPUTY – Thing is…

EDITOR – Thousand words, keep it snappy.

DEPUTY – Only question/

EDITOR – An hour. Make it happen.

DEPUTY – But who’s going to write it?

EDITOR – Get Charlie to do it. Ah fuck.

DEPUTY – Charlie’s gone.

EDITOR – Course he is. Shit.

DEPUTY – And I don’t think Dominic/

EDITOR – Hasn’t got the balls for it?

DEPUTY – He wouldn’t write it. Too far for him.

EDITOR – Shit. Letts? Do it for a favour?

DEPUTY – Might do it. You’ll pay for it though. Greedy bastard.

EDITOR – Hang on. Thought forming. You still got Douggie’s number?

DEPUTY – Douggie? ‘Tiger’ Douglas?

EDITOR – Tiger Douglas.


EDITOR – But what?

DEPUTY – You can’t be serious. How could you even suggest that?

EDITOR – What’s the matter with Tiger Douglas?

DEPUTY – Tiger Douglas is demented.

EDITOR – Damn fine writer.

DEPUTY – Sir, no offence but we can’t use Tiger Douglas. He’s… I mean… He’s not even really a critic.

EDITOR – Writes for The Stage.

DEPUTY – That was years ago. And he only writes about

EDITOR – Circus, I know. That’s fine. Circus is big.

DEPUTY – Not circus, though. Circuses. He only writes about circuses. Actual circuses. With tigers and dogs jumping through hoops.

EDITOR – Nothing wrong with that. Everyone likes a circus.

DEPUTY – Everyone ‘likes’ a circus, sir. But we’re not talking about ‘liking’. Tiger Douglas is obsessed. It’s like an illness for him. Did you see his latest article?

EDITOR – Remind me.

DEPUTY – ‘Edinburgh Fringe Gets Circus Hub But I’d Rather See Some Lions’


DEPUTY – He means it though. He wants to see some lions. In a circus. He’s upset that there aren’t any lions any more. Lions and tigers.

EDITOR – Good man. Everyone likes lions. He’s got the common touch.

DEPUTY – But it’s not about ‘liking’! He’s written a book about it. He’s written several. He’s written a Mills and Boon or something called ‘The Showman’s Girl’ with endless rambling descriptions of what circuses smell like.

EDITOR – Listen, I want this article and I want Douggie to write it, is that clear?

DEPUTY – But sir…

EDITOR – Is that clear?

The sound of an organ playing ‘Entry of the Gladiators’ is heard, growing slowly louder. The men freeze and turn to the office door. 

EDITOR – What’s that sound?

DEPUTY – Oh God.

EDITOR – Where’s it coming from.


EDITOR – Someone there?

A growl from outside the door.

EDITOR – Call security.

DEPUTY – Too late.

EDITOR picks up his phone and dials.

DEPUTY – It’s… Tiger Douglas.

The door explodes in a shower of splintered wood as a man riding a giant orange tiger bursts through it. The tiger rears 


The DEPUTY begins to scream, the EDITOR begins to scream. And as DOUGLAS MCPHERSON advances on his stripy, razor-clawed steed



Stewart Pringle

Writer of this and that and critic for here and there. Artistic director of the Old Red Lion Theatre.



Enter your email address below to get an occasional email with Exeunt updates and featured articles.