What I’m working on right now…

Before you start pointing out logical errors and typos and stuff, remember, this is a first draft. First drafts are supposed to be crummy. Note also that the names have been shortened to protect my ideas: The line finally starts moving at around half past ten and the line snakes from the open sun to the shade of the auditorium.

‘Oh shit,’ mutters T as they enter, ‘It’s still freaking hot.’

‘They’ve left the air conditioning off,’ says F. ‘Why would they do that?’

‘Maybe they’re saving money,’ says T.

‘Here,’ says S, handing her daughter another flyer from the protestors. ‘They’re keeping the pressure on you. Don’t think about it too much.’

They shuffle through into the big open arena, scuttling through a maze of portable seat-belt barriers, passing people from in front of them and behind. F spots a desk with the MusiClash logo, the new one, draped over it. It’s similar to the judges' desk, but seated at this table will be one of the producers, the first point of rejection. There are four tables working simultaneously, pumping as many people through in the shortest space of time. This is not the most glamorous job in television. A rickety old table plonked seemingly at random in a cavernous auditorium and hours after hour of potential talent given barely a minute to prove their worth. In eight hours these tables will conduct triage on over 1,500 people.

Beyond triage, the maze continues. Most contestants will pass through at least three vetting stations, the final most likely manned by the executive producer before a contestant is finally let loose in front of cameras with the on-camera judges at the helm. They keep them in a separate room behind huge wooden double doors. They’re the same doors every year, from city to city. F figures they must drag the things around the country with them.

Once the young hopefuls breach the double doors, their families, mates, girlfriends, boyfriends sit by the doors on the floor. The only chairs provided are reserved for production crew. A camera is set on a tripod aimed at the door, waiting for the moment someone emerges fresh from a barrage of Lionel Brownstitch’s abuse. Some of the show’s most famous moments come from people who return through the doors, back into the real world. The rejects.