Games? Must We?

The voice of James Mason has, according to Frank Key, an even finer timbre than that of Richard Burton. As such, it makes the perfect basis for a challenging comprehension exercise…

Study the four-second film clip above very very carefully. You may, like me, wish to view it umpteen times. Then, using skill, judgement, and inspiration from your spirit guide, complete the tasks detailed below.

1. Make a list of the games you think James Mason may be showing such reluctance to participate in. These might include, for example, card games such as My Lady’s Bonnet, Jack Hulberts!, Spite, or Soviet Hen Coop; parlour games like Pin The Sheet Of Paper To The Cardboard or Musical Sideboards; or outdoor games such as Toppling Into The Ditch, Swan Pebbling, or Dismantle That Pluviometer!

2. Devise a speech, of at least two dozen separate and coherent words, designed to persuade James Mason why he must indeed take part in some of the games you have listed. You may deploy a combination of sweeping prose, obscure rhetorical devices, and menace.

Alternatively, if, like James Mason, you are reluctant to take part in this exciting pastime, you may wish instead just to play the clip to cheer yourself up every time you contemplate the absurd folly of the forthcoming London Olympics.

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

6 thoughts on “Games? Must We?

  1. Worm
    March 16, 2012 at 09:15

    Ahh James Mason, have you ever seen brown-tinged 70’s northern potboiler ‘Spring and Port Wine’? It contains a remarkable performance from JM, in which he utterly fails to do anything remotely like a convincing northern accent, which is even more puzzling considering he came from Huddersfield

      March 16, 2012 at 23:48

      If that’s the one with Billy Whitelaw and a big house and Mason as a chimney sweep stroke burglar then “dust tha want tha chimily swept or dust tha want tha chimily swept” if not then he played a good second fiddle stroke artist opposite a tidy set of knockers down under, the geographical location that is, not the knockers.
      How’s it all going then dabblers? I see that bloke with the beard has jacked it in.

    March 16, 2012 at 13:18

    Looking very, very obsessively, I think I can make out a Kerplunk! set on the bottom right of the bookshelf, so I assume he’s referring to that.

    March 17, 2012 at 01:49

    Perhaps I’m overthinking this (or underthinking it), but my mind leapt instantly to some sort of complex relationship in which Mason’s character must be involved. Thus, read for “games” something like “head games,” “mind games,” etc.

    Somehow I’m sure this isn’t the right answer, but Mason’s suavity just suggests something more is in play here than charades or a round of bridge.

    And so the proper response would depend on the precise “game” being played and the interlocutor’s position in it, but might be no more than a few words: “Oh come now,” or “Whatever do you mean?”

  4. Gaw
    March 17, 2012 at 07:21

    I think he’s responding to a suggestion that he joins his mate down the pub to watch all three Six Nations games being played today.

    John Halliwell
    March 17, 2012 at 08:19

    This is James Mason finding Cary Grant a little tiresome because he lacks the good grace to simply agree that, having been kidnapped at gunpoint from the UN building in NewYork, he is George Caplan and not some bloke called Roger Thornton. This is a perfectly fair reason to be irritated. And it beats me how Townsend (Mason) keeps his cool when Caplan/Thornton (Grant) challenges him to a series of games with the winner claiming the gorgeousness that is Eve Marie Saint:

    Game 1: Comparing handsomeness. Grant’s favourite game, having recently done battle with, and slaughtered, Errol Flynn, Ronald Coleman and Marlene Dietrich.
    Game 2: Making a case for Bristol (Grant) and Huddersfield (Mason) having produced the best looking, most sophisticated, sonorously voiced, and sexually questionable actor in Hollywood.
    Game 3: Identifying the precise location of the mole on Randolph Scott’s ****
    Game 4: A race across Mount Rushmore with a Hitchcockian blond strapped to the left leg (and no groaning!) involving a crawl up Lincoln’ nose and a dive down Washington’s left ear hole.
    Game 5: Standing on the top of Mount Rushmore, and using only the bosom of Eve Marie Saint as guide, determining the exact position of North By Northwest.

    Mason reluctantly agrees to playing the games as long as Malty withdraws his piss-take.

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