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.