When I first went into my local Indian restaurant I was the
only bloke who would go there and eat alone. Over the years others have
followed my example. I felt I made a mark for single mans lib. I still await
the women to follow suit
A very large man came into my local Indian restaurant with
his girl friend. They proceeded to have a row, whereupon she exclaimed.
“I’m pregnant with his child and normally he’s a very nice
Sadly he started to eat the wine glasses and was eventually
evicted by nine police officers. I found out the next day that he beat up his
girlfriend and the taxi driver who was unlucky enough to take them home.
I used to go into my local Indian restaurant many years ago
with my then girlfriend. She was slightly taller than me, slightly younger than
me, and much more attractive than me. She was also black and at the time very
much in love with me. So, why was everyone looking at us?
The first time I went to my local Indian restaurant and
needed a wee and the mens loo was engaged, I sneaked into the ladies. What a
revelation, it was immaculate. I had become used to the gents which were
frequently like a pig sty.
I went into my local Indian restaurant having just seen the
film Oscar, based on the life of Oscar Wilde. Tragic how they destroyed such a
talented man and his only crime as they saw it. “The love that dare not speak
Although perhaps they really punished him for his arrogance
rather than his sexual persuasion.
I went into my local Indian restaurant prior to the Iraq war. The waiters
asked me if I thought the Americans would bomb Iraq. I said “yes they would bomb
the shit out of the place.” They didn’t believe me and seemed to have some miss
guided belief that Saddam Hussein was some how invincible. I wondered why.
I went to my local Indian restaurant, I’d just finished
playing the butler in The Importance of Being Earnest at Wimbledon Theatre.
Although the run had finished I was still on a high, it was a good evening.
That’s why we are prepared to work for nothing. Who else would do that.
The dullest man in the world came into my local Indian
restaurant. I believe he was an accountant, which perhaps explained it. He
later came in with an even duller friend. What had I done to deserve that.
I went into my local Indian restaurant and two men came in
discussing their children and school. They discussed a school play where one of
the boys had performed an amazing dance number and how brilliant it was. What
progress, not that many years ago he would have been called a bloody poof.
I went into my local Indian restaurant and while I was there
I wrote another childrens story, it didn’t get published. It made some children
who read it happy and kept me fairly sane while I was writing it. Everything in
life has a purpose.
I went into my local Indian restaurant with my mother who
had come to stay with me for a year after my father’s death. She was well into
her seventies and this was the first time she’d been in an Indian restaurant,
Sad what a sheltered life my mum and dad had led.
I went into my local Indian restaurant, it was busy and as
usual I used the loo. The seat was covered in piss splashes. How come most men
can find a vagina and insert their penis in this comparatively small orifice.
Yet with a target as large as a toilet bowl they miss every time. After using
the loo I took some toilet paper and carefully wiped the seat. I hate doing
this but don’t want the next person in to think it was me who made the mess.
Why am I the only person who ever does this.
I went into my local Indian restaurant after watching a
television programme about Muslim women complaining that they were not allowed
to prey in the Mosque with the men. I was going to ask the Muslim waiters why
this was but I knew all they would come up with would be a load of bollocks.
Sometimes I haven’t the energy to try to have a sensible discussion with them.
Recently I went into my local Indian restaurant having given
up smoking for five years. The couple on the table next to me smoked all night.
As an ex eighty Molborough a day man I felt it would be a little hypocritical
I went into my local Indian restaurant, sometimes I get
depressed, I’m sure I’m affected by the moon. It’s like I’m on the verge of
tears, but being alone with my thoughts for the evening sometimes pulls me out
of it. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Two older men came into my local Indian restaurant. One
dressed in a very expensive and smart suit, the other in scruffy trousers and a
jumper. One had a full curry with all the trimmings and the other had an
omelette and asked for brown sauce. Oddly the sophisticated looking one in the
smart suit had the omelette with brown sauce.
A girl and two boys came into my local Indian restaurant.
They moaned during the course of the meal and refused to pay at the end. They
became somewhat aggressive and as the only customer left I tried to assist the
waiters in getting payment, only for the two boys to pick on me. My bravado was
backed up by the fact that one of the waiters had called the police in a voice
loud enough for them to hear. Eventually they got bored made the girl pay and
left. I was a little upset that the police hadn’t arrived sooner. I was even
more upset when the waiter informed me he hadn’t really called the police he
was just pretending. I was somewhat lost for words.
I have been using my local Indian restaurant for over thirty years. The food is excellent but the service is abysmal especially for those of us who have been going in for some years. Sadly familiarity breeds contempt.
A large group of men, about twenty or more came into my
local Indian restaurant. How strange to see such a large group of men with no women
with them. The first time they came in they told my friend they were a
religious group and later a rugby team. Although to look at them they looked a
little old for rugby. Perhaps they were vicars who played in a seniors rugby
team. I suppose they would always win having God on their side.
I have been using my local Indian restaurant for over thirty
years. The food is excellent but the service is abysmal especially for those of
us who have been going in for some years. Sadly familiarity breeds contempt.
When I moved away from my local Indian restaurant some five years ago there were only two or three of the regular locals who came to eat virtually every night. We did point out to the owner that it was us who were keeping the place going, one fellow even going as far as to suggest we might be entitled to a tad more respect in the service department. Sadly our comments fell on deaf ears. Not long after I moved I was passing and to my surprise the restaurant was closed, perhaps there was a truth in our comments about keeping the place going. It's a shame it closed and never made it as a Listed Building.
I bought my Austin Seven brand new in 1935, well I say I bought
her, it was actually Doreen who paid for her, she’d come into a legacy from her
She was a bit of a character Auntie Maud, none of the rest
of the family had anything to do with her, which is why I suppose Doreen got
She always used to say, 'just because she lives with Amelia
doesn’t mean there’s any hanky panky going on, and even if there is, so what, judge
ye not lest ye yourself be judged'.
She was like that, always looking for the good in anyone, 'you’ll get your reward in heaven', she’d say, although in our case we got our
reward from heaven, good old Auntie Maud.
We even lashed out the extra seven pounds for the deluxe
with the sun roof, Doreen said, 'it will be easier for Auntie to look down and
We certainly had some fun in her, picnics in the country,
trips to the sea side and unlike our bicycles we didn’t get wet when it rained,
although Doreen made us keep the roof open whenever possible just in case
Auntie was looking, I think they were probably the best years of my life.
We were so lucky, I got promoted to senior officer at the
station which pleased Doreen, she always worried when I was working, it meant
more responsibility but less front line fire fighting, which I missed a little.
Life for us was blissfully happy for almost four years, in
fact looking back, those carefree years before the war were good for everyone,
not just us.
We could all see it coming but didn’t want to admit it, and
of course the, 'peace for our time' speech made us cling to the hope of a
negotiated peace, it wasn’t to be of course, but even the early years of the
war lulled us into a false sense of security as nothing much happened.
I think as a nation we are good at pulling together when the
chips are down, even so we hadn’t expected what a devastating effect modern
warfare would have.
People were very surprised and frankly very scared when the war
came to us, last time it was all over seas, I remember thinking when I laid up
the car, I hope we’re all here to use her when this mess is over.
I’d taken the spark plugs out and put oil down the bores and
turned her over every week to stop her seizing up, even though I couldn’t use
her I kept her ready, just in case.
When I was a lad I’d worked in a garage before joining the
fire brigade, so I had been taught to respect motors and to treat them
One of my greatest pleasures was to work on an Austin Ulster
that raced at Brooklands, not that I was allowed to do anything too crucial and
when Mr Gordon won his class we all felt immense pride and that some small part
of his victory was because of us.
When the war first started I thought I was so lucky not to
be called up, I know fireman is not the safest job, but at least I was at home
with Doreen and the kids.
I’d sometimes talk to my father about his war but he didn’t
like to talk about it, he was in the cavalry, he used to ride the gun
He told me how he removed his spurs and replaced them with
halfpennies so he wouldn’t hurt the horses, an amazing thing to have done in
all that carnage, but I have to admit I’d probably have done the same.
I knew Doreen always used to worry about me when I was at
work, but as the war went on it was me who had to worry about her, she’d got a
job at the munitions factory, I didn’t want her to, but as she said, 'everyone
has to do their bit and this bit is mine'.
Of course so many men had been called up we had to use the
women, in fact without the land army girls, the ambulance women and the factory
girls and all the others we couldn’t have kept going.
Then the blitz on London started and we were all in the
front line, with nowhere to hide, for eleven weeks day or night the bombing was
ceaseless, there was no let up we were working as long as we were able to
stand, I didn’t go home from work for days at a time.
So many bombs and incendiaries fell that many nights our
worst fear was realised, the fire storm, you could sense it coming, first a
gentle breeze, then the wind, then that extraordinary roaring sound and the
When a fire storm took hold there was nothing you could do
except let it burn itself out and prey you didn’t get trapped in the inferno,
or crushed by the falling buildings.
After a while we got used to the noise a building would make
before it collapsed, an odd creaking sound, but with all the other noise going
on you couldn’t always hear it and sadly many men were crushed to death this
There was one night in December 1940 when the Luftwaffe
dropped so many incendiaries that the whole of the Square Mile was ablaze.
We were getting water from the Thames
but it was low tide and even that ran out, some parts of Moorgate were left to
burn and then we got the call from Mr Churchill to save Saint Pauls at any
Amazingly it was only hit by one small incendiary bomb which
was put out by a fire watcher with a bucket of sand, all around was ablaze but
Saint Pauls was untouched.
I think initially a hell of a lot of people were scared to
death by what was going on, but it’s amazing how quickly you become hardened to
such things, you have to or you don’t survive.
Even during all this madness people still went out to enjoy
themselves, dancing the night away in underground clubs, going to the flicks or
the pub. I was told the Savoy
still kept it’s policy of only permitting dancing for people in evening dress
which I felt was unfair on the troops on leave who couldn’t dance as they were
We’d become used to seeing casualties from the front and
relatives dead or missing, but innocent children were much harder to bear and
sadly at work I was seeing far too many, even though lots of them had been
evacuated to the country.
I’ll always remember Jack who I went to school with, he
volunteered for the navy right from the start.
When he came home on leave we met up for a drink, he told me
his wife was pregnant but it couldn’t have been his, he swore me to
secrecy, then I heard he’d volunteered for
submarines, I can’t imagine how anyone can go in those things.
I couldn’t meet him on his next leave but I heard he was in
a bad way, they said he’d been mined on two separate occasions, he was in such
a state his mother wouldn’t let him go back when his leave expired.
The next day the Military Police came for him, but his
mother said, 'I am keeping him for one more week and then you can have him back',
surprisingly enough they went away, of course they came back a few days later,
then five weeks after that we heard the news he was killed in action.
His mother stood by his wife regardless of the tittle
tattle, and when the child was born she was still there, it’s people like that
who win wars.
Work was tough but Jacks’ mother was always an inspiration
to me and when London’s
burning someone has to deal with it.
You almost couldn’t cope with it, not just the physical
effort but the mental effort needed to turn out night after night knowing what
you have to face.
Then all of a sudden the raids stopped, day and night, and for
me it was almost back to normal, the only bad news was the retreat from Dunkirk, I lost my cousin
there and his brother only just got out although he lost a leg, such a shame as
he had been a promising athlete.
Tom told me they were on the beach together for three days
before they had a chance to escape, all the time strafed by machine gun and
rocket fire from the Luftwaffe.
Hundreds of small boats had been commandeered to transfer
the troops from the beach to the larger ships, mostly crewed by the navy though
some were taken over by their owners, fishermen and the like.
The first one Tom and Harry were on was destroyed so they
had to swim back to shore for another miserable day sheltering as best they
could waiting for another chance to get away.
Tom said the last time he saw Harry he was boarding a London
tug and assumed he would get home safely, it was only when he got back he found
out it was sunk on the way.
His last attempt to leave was on a fishing boat but once
again it was strafed by machine gun fire which destroyed his leg, and he was
incredibly lucky to have got out on one of the last hospital ships.
We were grateful to have only lost Harry, although I don’t
think Tom saw it that way.
The medical advances in those days were amazing, they gave
him a new tin leg, but I heard later he’d been killed in a tragic accident, apparently
he fell under a tube train and was killed instantly.
I hope that was it, but I just think the thought of not
being able to run ever again was too much for him, war makes people do crazy
things, sometimes they end up heroes and sometimes they don’t.
Still in all this madness normal life did carry on, Doreen
and I went to the Odeon whenever we could and even went to the Palladium once,
we saw Tommy Trinder, Arther Askey, a full bill and the dancers, that was a
night to remember.
We had some more nights, and days to remember when the
Doodle Bugs started to come over, the papers said they were rocket powered
bombs launched from France. The scariest thing about them was you could hear them
coming, a strange sort of wurr,wurr, noise that would suddenly stop, that was
the frightening thing, when the noise stopped it meant they had run out of fuel
and they were coming down.
It was alright if they did it above your head as they would
glide past you to the ground but if it was coming towards you and stopped that’s
when you were in trouble.
As the war went on the RAF got faster planes and would
intercept them and shoot them down or sometimes fly along side them and flip
them with their wing tips into the Kent countryside where no one was
Eventually even the doodle bugs stopped and life became a
bit more relaxed, people still lost friends and relatives overseas but at home
the worst gripe was about the rationing, it was odd that there were children
who had never seen a banana.
I managed to buy some petrol on the black market but was too
scared to use it as it was for the forces and marked with a dye, but I promised
myself as soon as it was over I would take a chance and go for a run in the
We plodded on with more and more good news, then all of a
sudden it was all over, Victory in Europe was declared
and although it seemed a long time afterwards we eventually got Victory in Japan and the
whole thing really was over.
Even though we still had rationing everyone organised street
parties to celebrate with tables in the street and bunting, what gay times we
had, getting back to normal was almost an anti climax.
Doreen gave up her job at the factory although a lot of the
girls didn’t, which did cause a bit of resentment from some of the returning
chaps, but things had changed, everyones lives had changed and we had to move
on and look to the future.
What times we’d been through both physically and
emotionally, but we’d all come through it, that’s what mattered, I always felt
grateful especially at work, every bombed out house or building told a tale of
someone who didn’t make it.
Everything in the garden was wonderful, things couldn’t be
better, then one day at work I got a phone call to say Doreen had been taken ill, no
details but I was to get home as soon as possible.
When I got there her mother met me at the door, 'it’s bad news
Ron', she said, 'Doreens dead', I’m afraid I just went to pieces I couldn’t accept
it, how could we have gone through all that for nothing, it seemed so
Apparently she’d had a massive heart attack, no warning,
nothing, just taken from me in an instant, I sobbed like a child.
I’m afraid I embarrassed myself at the funeral, I broke down
at the graveside and wept, I know I should have had more self control but I
couldn’t help myself.
The kids are at Doreens mums, I couldn’t look after myself, let
alone them, I would cry uncontrollably for no reason, I felt so utterly
When I woke this morning I knew what I was going to do, I
just wanted one last drive in the car first, I hadn’t been able to in the war
and anyway I had to warm the engine, I didn’t want it to stall half way through.
It should be easy, just put the hose on the exhaust pipe and
the other end through the window, off you go to sleep, easy as that, all the
It was raining when I went out, a terrible day, so I was
surprised when I got to Audley Wood it stopped raining, the sun came out and
there was the most amazing rainbow.
I couldn’t see it properly until I opened the sun roof, it
was so beautiful I started crying, but not in the same way as before, somehow
in that moment I’d let everything go, I knew Doreen was up there looking down, and
I felt peace.
I threw the pipe away and drove back like a lunatic to get
the kids, it’s such a lovely day, I think we should have a picnic.
ERIC SHIRVELL, 45 GAY/VERY CAMP,
BACK END OF PANTO HORSE.
GEORGE DAVIES, 50 JOBBING ACTOR, FRONT END OF PANTO HORSE.
TRACY PHILLIPS, 21 FRESH FROM DRAMASCHOOL,
JOHN SYNDON, 30 YOUNG SOAP
ACTOR, PRINCE CHARMING.
GWEN THOMAS, 65 OLD SOAP
ACTOR, FAIRY GODMOTHER.
ROSIE MORTON, 48 SEX MAD
JOBBING ACTOR, DANDINI.
DONALD COLEPEPPER, OLD STYLERSC ACTOR, BARON HARDUP.
WAYNE PETERS, 65 OLD 60’s POPSTAR, BUTTONS.
BERT BAXTER, 65 OLD STYLE
COMEDIAN, UGLY SISTER.
NORMAN ALLEN, 65 OLD STYLE
COMEDIAN, GAY, UGLY SISTER.
SUMMARY OF THE PLAY.
Hi Diddle Dee Dee is set in the dressing rooms of ten of the
cast in the pantomime Cinderella. The story is about the relationship between
all of them and how they may not be quite as they are seen.
THE FIRST NIGHT.
ERIC George you’re
such a bloody liar.
GEORGE I don’t know
what you mean.
ERIC Yes you
do you bastard, get me out of this, the bloody zip is stuck again.
GEORGE There, better
ERIC No, look
George you said no more rubies when we’re working and you farted constantly.
GEORGE Don’t be such an old queen.
ERIC It’s all
right for you, you bastard, you’re in the front, you should try mincing about
stuck in here with your head up some ones arse.
GEORGE All right Erica
dear, calm down, I’m sorry for farting.
ERIC It’s not
just the farting, although God knows it’s driving me mad. One night we ought to
swap ends and see how you like it.
GEORGE Not with my back I can’t, you know how I
suffer with my back, I’m in constant pain, I’ve tried everything.
you ought to have a word with Rosie, I’ve heard she does that massage where
they walk on your back, very therapeutic so I’m told by Mike in the band.
GEORGE Well even if you fix it, I’m still not
going in the back.
ERIC I’d like to get
Trevor in the back of this thing when you’re having one of your bad nights.
GEORGE Our esteemed
director, well yes I’m inclined to agree with you, God knows how he became a
ERIC Like an
awful lot of them deary, he’s a failed actor, I’ve met so many of them in my
time. It’s all just a power trip for them. The only reason he’s doing this is
he can’t get anything better; he’s not fit to direct traffic.
GEORGE He’s not that
bad, he could manage traffic, just about.
ERIC How can
it have come to this, I went to RADA
for Gods sake. My best friend then was Laurence Booth, look how successful he
has been since leaving. He’s been playing Pontius Pilate in Joseph for years,
that’s where I should be, not the back end of a pantomime horse in Cleethorpes.
GEORGE The trouble is
that’s all he’s done since leaving RADA,
low budget films and the tour of Joseph, over and over again, it would have
driven you mad. Anyway what do you mean RADA, they chucked you out after the first term.
not the point, I’ve served my time, I’ve done years of training, look at my CV,
what have this lot done of any worth. Look at Tracy, Miss Thing, Phillips,
straight out of University with a Performing Arts Degree. How did she get
Cinderella, don’t make me play the who’s sleeping with the director game dear.
GEORGE Well every ones
got to start somewhere.
ERIC I know
George, I’ve just had enough, I’m sick to death of it. Flogging myself to death
eight shows a week for Equity minimum in some God forsaken place, what’s the
GEORGE Money, that’s
the point, if you had my ex wife to pay you’d see the point, I have to pay for
her and the kids every week regardless of whether I’m working or not, it drives
me mad. I know she’s got another bloke, but until he moves in, they’re just
good friends and so I keep having to pay. I think I’ll join Fathers for
Justice, how do you fancy climbing on the roof of the House of Commons with me
in the horse suit and Superman on our back.
ERIC Are you
mad I hate heights.
GEORGE I didn’t expect the answer to be yes,
by the way, but it would be a bit of fun. That’s the trouble I’m stuck working
any show I can get just like you, what else can we do, you’re not exactly cut
out to be a bricklayer and think how quickly you’d be bored to death flouncing
about in a hairdressers making tea.
ERIC It’s all
right for you, you don’t care what you do as long as you’re working.
GEORGE Oh, don’t I.
I’ll have you know I care very much, even now. I still live in hopes of that
big break, I did Chekhov last year.
ERIC At Edinburgh in a grotty
GEORGE Better than never at all and it wasn’t
in a church hall, it was in the Traverse Theatre; we had full houses all
through the run and some of the best revues I’ve ever had. That’s what made it
worth it; it’s not about the money.
ERIC I admire
your perseverance George I really do, but I’ve just run out of energy. I hate
this bloody company, look at them. Buttons. Buttons, have you ever met anyone
so arrogant. Ex pop star Wayne Peters, if he could stick to the script we could
get home half an hour earlier every night. Have you any idea how old he is.
GEORGE He says he’s
make me laugh dear, if he’s forty nine that would make us about sixty.
GEORGE Well he is the
housewives favourite and he puts bums on seats.
ERIC He may
be the housewives favourite but he isn’t anybody else’s favourite. I know when
he was doing Singing in the rain, everyone, even front of house used to piss in
the tank they used for the rain. That’s how popular he was dear.
GEORGE Well no one’s
they also pissed in the bath when he did Some like it hot, just ask Dilly the
GEORGE I’ve never
quite got along with her, she seems such an aggressive old dyke.
ERIC No she
isn’t, it’s just a front, a defence.
GEORGE I know I
shouldn’t say it, but it’s the tattoos, they look like they were done with a rusty
nail. The sad thing is I know underneath she’s a really attractive girl.
ERIC She is,
in fact she’s one of the few people on this job that I can actually have a
conversation with. You know her girlfriend is Sarah; yeah stunning Sarah, could
have been a model Sarah, like they say, never judge a book by its cover.
GEORGE Things aren’t
that bad then that’s Dilly and Fairy Godmother that you like.
Thomas soap star, well she makes me laugh, though probably not for the right
reasons. I’m sure she means well, but when she’s on she’s fumbling with her
lines and the rest of the time she’s off having a fag at the stage door. It’s
not fair George, look how long we were left hoofing last night before she
realised it was her cue. I was bloody knackered, my lallies were killing me.
Then on she strolls in a world of her own and utters the wrong line.
GEORGE Come on Erica
love, I’ve never seen you like this before, cheer up.
up, cheer up, are you mad. We’re working with Bert Baxter the most homophobic
comic since Kenny Lanning and you want me to cheer up. Ugly Sister, yes, ugly
is an understatement and I don’t just mean his eek. I wouldn’t trust him as far
as I could throw him. I was up for a commercial a few years ago and so was he,
but he went in first. When I went in the director asked me if I was feeling
better. I told him I was; well I’d just had my piles done. I didn’t get the
job, nor did I ever work for that director again. It was years later I found
out he’d told them I had aids.
GEORGE Well I’d like
to say I’m surprised, but sadly I’m not.
ERIC Here’s one if you want to be surprised,
GEORGE What Simon the
Simon, nice as pie, friend to all, Simon.
GEORGE So, what, tell
ERIC He’s in
the BNP dear, he’s a narrow minded
bigot he hates me and Dilly; he’s probably in the Bert Baxter fan club dear.
That’s why he never speaks to anyone.
GEORGE I just thought
he was a muso who just wanted to be in the pub with the rest of the band
ERIC Sometimes you’re delightfully
naive George it’s Simon who fixes the band, they are all in it together and
even if they’re not no one is going to say anything, they can be replaced just
GEORGE Well what about
the other sister Norman Allen he’s not like that, he’s a well respected family
man isn’t he, I know there were rumours a few years ago.
rumours dear, I should say so; he’s a naff old queen and a bitchy one too. Have
you ever seen his wife, they haven’t lived together for years it’s all just a
front. Just follow him one night when he’s off cottaging and as for the rug
dear, it looks more like a door mat.
GEORGE Well I’m no oil
different, you’re my friend.
GEORGE Thanks Eric
that means a lot to me.
it’s the little things that make the difference don’t they George. I remember
the time that bitch Allison from front of house said we’d all got to do the publicity
photos outside on the front and it was bloody snowing and you stood up to her
and said no.
GEORGE Well I had to I’m the Equity dep.
ERIC It was
still very brave of you, I mean I’ll stand up for myself but she’s a very scary
woman, there’s something just not right about her. She’s always hanging around
with those odd looking blokes; they look like ex KGB.
GEORGE I know what you
mean, I’m sure she’s dealing drugs; she certainly hangs around with some very
dubious looking characters.
sorry George it must be my time of the month but things just seem to be getting
on top of me at the moment. Mind you the only one who hasn’t got on top of me
is Rosie Morton. I mean that literally, I think she thinks she can change me,
God knows why. I keep telling her I’m an omi-palone, gay dear, homosexual, will
she listen. No. I’m Dandini she says, I’m a man too. Sad old cow she’d shag
anything with a pulse.
GEORGE I don’t think
that’s true, not anything.
George, I’m sorry I didn’t mean you.
GEORGE It’s alright
Eric dear, I was feeling a bit lonely.
ERIC I know
what you mean, you do some silly things when you’re feeling lonely. I’ve been
having a bit of a thing with Camp David.
GEORGE You mean young
David in the chorus.
that David. The thing is he’s not even gay, I know he thinks he is at the
moment but just wait until this is over and he wouldn’t give me a second
glance. That’s the way it is, I’m desperate and he’s lonely.
GEORGE Yes, we all
need someone who cares, especially when we’re on tour.
half the problem, feeling lonely, it’s hard not to when you’ve only this lot to
choose from. Look at Baron Hardup, poor old git; I’m Donald Colepepper I’ve
been with the RSC for years. Yes
dear, you have, but you’re not there any more, those days are gone. I’m sick to
death of his stories of when I was at the National with Johnny and Ralphy.
GEORGE Perhaps you’re
right, but we can’t give in we’ve a show to finish.
ERIC Show to
finish, are you mad. I’m on the verge of suicide and you’re talking about
finishing the show.
GEORGE Come on, the
second acts very short and it is our big number with Prince Charming.
ERIC Yes it
is our big number but can you remember how hard we had to work for that number,
I nearly left the show because of it. Bloody Sophie Augins, she’s a bitch.
GEORGE Surely she’s just a
George, she’s a bitch; I’ve known her since the beginning when I met her in
Pineapple. I used to go to the same cattle call auditions that she went to.
Hundreds of dancers in the day all fighting to be one of ten or twenty for some
minor pop video or trade show. She was a hard faced cow even then. Pity anyone
trying to pick up the routine should ask her for the counts. It’s not that hard
to tell them; no it’s five six seven eight and one two and three and four, I
mean how hard is that. It’s easy, if you help them and they get the job it just
means they’ve got the look they were after. You know in those days all they
wanted was white girls with blond hair. She was the first to have her hair dyed
although she swore it was natural, but I know girls who saw her in the shower
and she didn’t have a matching set. Then she made it in one of those dance
groups on Top of the pops, Hot Sex, or whatever they were called. She was a
pushy cow, don’t get me wrong I admire her success in a way, but I think she
paid a high price for it. She lost her soul. Then eventually she got too old to
dance and became a choreographer and destroyed the lives of so many girls who
joined the group. So many of them got anorexia or became addicted to drugs to
keep their weight down. She was a cow; she didn’t care as long as the show
looked good. Now she’s taking it out on us.
GEORGE I’m sure you’re
right, but we still have our big number with Prince Charming.
ERIC How in
Hells name you can call John Sydon charming is beyond belief. I’m sure he’s a
paedophile, have you seen him with the young kids in the chorus. Most of the
time he’s so coked up he’s almost incoherent. It’s all too depressing I think
I’m going to cry.
GEORGE Oh Eric, I hate
to see you cry; John isn’t that bad, you’re just having a bad day. Let me give
you a hug; you know the show must go on.
ERIC Must it
George, must it.
MANAGER Act two beginners
this is your call.
GEORGE Yes Erica dear,
it must. Now wipe your eyes, it’s show time.
George, of course you’re right. There’s just one thing.
GEORGE What’s that.
promise you won’t fart second act.
GEORGE All right, I
THE SECOND NIGHT
A KNOCK AT
TRACY Come in.
you’re in early tonight.
TRACY Yeah, I came
in to run through a couple of new numbers with Simon.
numbers, just for you.
TRACY Yes, it was Trevor’s
JOHN Oh, Trevor’s
idea eh, has he any other plans for anyone else, do you know.
TRACY Not as far as I know, why is that a
JOHN No, not
at all, it’s nice to see someone young who’s enthusiastic about their career. I’m
afraid I’ve become a bit lax with mine. It’s sad, I’m not that much older than
you and yet we’re so far apart. I can remember being like you, a fresh faced
youth just out of drama school and desperate to succeed. It’s surprising how
soon you learn to compromise, to settle for second best.
TRACY What on
earth are you talking about, you’re in Eastsiders, you’re famous. I see your
face in the magazines every week; you’re always at some party or other. You’re
rich, you’re successful, what more can you want.
JOHN Yeah, but
look who’s at those parties; sad C list celebrities desperate for some
publicity. I don’t want to be there, I want what you’ve got, I want to be back
at the very start of my career, I want to start again.
TRACY What on earth
for, you’ve made it.
JOHN Made it, is
that what you think Tracy.
TRACY Yes, that is what I think,
you’re in one of the most successful soaps on tele, you earn a fortune and you
want more. For what it’s worth I think you’re a greedy bastard, most of us
would give our right arm for what you’ve got, you should be so grateful for
what you have.
JOHN I am
grateful, I am, I can’t tell you how grateful I am. In many ways I have
everything I could ask for, I’ve shed loads of money, I’m famous, for what
that’s worth, I can have any girl I want, I should be as happy as a pig in
shit. The trouble is in real life I’m still like you. I was bloody lucky
getting Eastsiders so early, I thought at the time, I’ve hit the big time what
more can I want. It’s only now I’m beginning to know what I really want.
TRACY I’m sorry
but from where I’m seeing this you still seem to be somewhat ungrateful to say
JOHN I can see
why you think like that, but don’t believe all you read in the tabloid press.
I’m not a coke addict, never was. I have a speech impediment which comes on
when I’m stressed or tired which makes me slur my speech. Ok I used to do a
line every now and then but never anything serious. The trouble is once the
press have an opinion on you that’s what sticks and people believe it. All that
rubbish about being at so and so’s party and all the other things, so much of
it isn’t true. You know there was a rumour I was a paedophile, just because I
liked being with the young kids. There’s a reason I like being with the young
people, it reminds me of my sister Holly who died when she was eleven. She had
melingitis and I miss her like hell. That’s why I like being with young people,
it reminds me of the good days with my sister.We used to
have such good times, I was her elder brother, I should have been there to look
after her. It was because of her I’m in the business; I went with my mother
when she took Holly to ballet class and I wanted to join in, that was the start
of my career. I wish she was here today to share my success, well not all of
it, not the silly parties. People like me go to the opening of an envelope just
to keep our faces in the press, because without the publicity we’re dead. Do
you remember when you started your career, doing some fringe play in a pub
theatre, or some low budget film about some worthy topic. That’s where I
started, a fringe play about The Marchioness River Boat disaster, a play that
eventually made a difference to safety on the Thames
river boats. That’s where I want to be, I want to be doing something that matters, not leaning on the bar in The Red Lion in
Eastsiders asking for a pint and chatting about the weather. I don’t want to be
a Gwen Thomas, God knows she means well but look at the poor old cow. She’s
been in Grange Road
since the first episode, you know the one they keep showing on the outtake
shows, the one where the set fell down. Nothing much has changed there, the
sets still wobble and so do the actors. I know they joke that they wheel Gwen
about on a dolly but I don’t think it’s far from the truth.
TRACY I think
JOHN She is but I can’t stand to see
her, she’s me in thirty or forty years time if I don’t do something about my
situation. The only reason she’s still in Grange Road is to pay for her scrounging
TRACY You have a very jaded outlook on life, I’m surprised,
you’re nothing like I thought you were.
JOHN I know,
I’m sorry, I told you I’m not like my tabloid persona.
TRACY I didn’t
mean that, I meant you seem a bit sad.
JOHN I am
bloody sad, you’re right; I’m drowning in a sea of success. That’s the problem
with the press; all you ever see is me going to parties apparently enjoying
myself, when I’m actually a far more serious person who’s desperately concerned
about his career.
TRACY Why don’t you just ask them for better
JOHN You have
no idea how many times I’ve asked, I even slept with one of the producers in
the hope it would make a difference. I know it’s mad but I want to be like
TRACY He’s a
boring old fart.
JOHN He may be
to you and to some of the others, but if you really listen to what he has to
say you can really learn from him. Have you ever bothered to look him up in
Spotlight and read his CV, he’s done everything that’s worth doing and more.
TRACY The trouble
is he rabbits on about the old days all the time, that’s why no one listens to
perhaps you should listen in the future, he taught me loads of things and he’s
some great stories about the old days. Do you know the one where he was in
rehearsals with Johnny Gielgud and Johnny came up to him and asked him; what are
you doing in this scene Donald. Donald had no lines in the scene and said to
Johnny I’m doing nothing in this scene, whereupon Johnny turned to Donald and
said; oh no, you can’t be doing nothing in this scene dear boy; I’m doing
nothing in this scene. That’s class, I love it.
TRACY Yeah, but
he’s skint and he’s doing this for the money and you’re doing it for the
JOHN What about
the other one he tells about Dustin Hoffman when he was working with Laurence
Olivier in Marathon Man. Dustin has to run into the room out of breath as it’s
a cut from outside when he was jogging. So before the director calls action
Dustin starts running up and down the studio, the director calls action and
into the room runs the out of breath Hoffman. They do endless takes as they do
in film, Hoffman the method actor keeps running before every take. Finally the
director is satisfied with the shot and Olivier says to the exhausted Hoffman;
have you ever thought of trying acting dear boy. You’ve got to admit he had a
point, I’m a great believer in method acting but you can take it too far
sometimes. You know in some ways I’d rather be like George.
TRACY I see what
you’re saying about starting again, but surely you don’t want to be like
George, although at least he’s the front of the horse.
JOHN I do, that’s my point,
he did Chekhov last year at Edinburgh.
TRACY For peanuts though.
JOHN It’s not
about the money, it’s about the quality of the work.
TRACY That’s easy
for you to say, you’re rich, you could do something like that any time you
that’s where you’re wrong, if I leave Eastsiders and I’m off the tele for six
months I’m as good as dead. How many times have you heard people say, whatever
happened to so and so, I thought he was dead.
TRACY I know what
you’re saying but you have the money which gives you the opportunity to take a
chance, to do something risky.
JOHN Ok, Tracy, I give in you’re
right, I’ll tell you the truth. I’d love to do Chekhov or something risky. You
know what stops me, I’m scared to death of failure. I can stand in the bar in
Eastsiders and do my lines week in week out, it’s safe, it’s within my comfort
zone. Can you imagine the reviews if I did Chekhov and made a mess of it,
they’d slaughter me. Then see how quickly my storylines in Siders would dry up
and my character would have a nasty accident or leave to go on the run in Spain to escape
from some minor gangster.
TRACY That’s really sad
John, I thought you’d made it, I thought you had everything you could possibly want;
now you’ve depressed me. I can’t tell you how pleased I was when I got this job;
it’s my first since leaving Uni. I
fought hard to get it; I had three recalls before they finally told me I’d got
it. I nearly wet myself I was so excited, I beat four other girls to get this
job fair and square.
JOHN I don’t
want to upset you but the rumour going round is that you only got it because
you slept with the director.
TRACY Slept with
Trevor, are you mad, who told you that.
JOHN Oh, no
TRACY That’s terrible, Trevor and I are
good friends he went to school with my cousin, but we’re certainly not sleeping
together. He’s a lovely bloke to talk to but sexually I wouldn’t fancy him if
he was the last man in the world. I hate beer guts, no no no, not Trevor.
JOHN I’m sorry
I got it wrong, it’s so easy to believe the rumours.
TRACY It’s the
same with the rumour about Eric being a bitchy old queen. He certainly isn’t
like that with me; he’s been the most helpful member of the company as far as
I’m concerned. I remember when I first arrived I bumped into him at the train
station, we shared a cab as his digs were close to mine. He came round later to
see how I’d settled in and found me in floods of tears; my digs were absolutely
awful, there was mould and damp everywhere. He physically dragged me out and
told the landlord where to stick his agreement. Five minutes later I was in a
cab with Eric on the phone and ten minutes later I was at the new digs he’d
found for me. He pops round all the time to check I’m ok, he’s one of the loveliest
people I’ve ever met.
JOHN I think you’re right; who else do you
TRACY Well David’s
very nice but I think he’s gay so I don’t fancy him.
JOHN He’s not gay, he’s just lonely,
TRACY Oliver, the
black boy in the chorus, I could fancy him. He’s got the most fabulous body,
the trouble is he knows it and I have a feeling he might not be the most loyal
boyfriend to have.
JOHN You know
who I fancy in this company.
winding me up; you don’t really, do you.
JOHN I’ve been
nuts about you since the first day I saw you in rehearsals.
TRACY Why didn’t
you say something.
I’m not like they portray me in the press; I am actually a very shy person.
TRACY John; kiss
TRACY Where are we going from here.
JOHN I don’t
know, but I do know wherever it is I want to be
there with you.
TRACY You need to
know some things about me before you say that, I’m not what I seem, I’ve been
an awful person, you need to know.
obviously a very shy bloke and I don’t want to hurt you; I’ve had more men than
you’ve had hot dinners. I used to have anorexia; you know what it’s like in
this business especially if you’re a dancer. Then I went the other way and put on loads of weight and I lost my self
respect, I couldn’t see any man wanting to be with me; I became a complete
slag. I threw myself at any man who came along just so I felt wanted. It took
me years to become normal; I’m sorry but you should know.
JOHN I don’t care
about your past there were reasons for the way you behaved, all I care about is
our future. I think both of us have learned something very important about each
other tonight. I shouldn’t have believed the rumours about you and Trevor but
you know what it’s like if no one stops a rumour it tends to become truth.
I’m sorry I got it wrong
about you and Trevor, I thought…
TRACY Well you
sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you.
TRACY Well you did and you’re going to have to pay
sorry, what do you want, flowers, dinner, what.
TRACY Nothing so
easy, when we finish the run you and I are going to get together and we’re
going to do a Chekhov or some risky fringe play and your agent is going to give
it maximum publicity.
JOHN Ok we will.
JOHN I love you.
THE THIRD NIGHT
GWEN Rosie, is it safe to come in.
ROSIE Yes it’s safe,
of course it’s safe.
GWEN What do you
mean, of course it’s safe; the number of times I’ve come in here and found you
in the middle of some sexual act with one of the band or some other poor soul you’ve dragged off the street.
dear, perhaps we need a do not disturb sign for the door.
GWEN Do you
mind, this is my dressing room as well as yours.
ROSIE It’s not my fault, I can’t use my digs they
keep complaining about the noise.
GWEN I’m not
surprised the way you scream; I’m surprised they haven’t called the police
thinking someone’s being murdered.
ROSIE It’s not my fault I
have multiple orgasms.
because you’re doing it with multiple partners. Lord alone knows what you were
doing the last time I caught you with the two young boys from box office;
frankly I’m amazed someone of your age is so flexible.
ROSIE I do a lot
GWEN You do a
lot of something.
GWEN Not of your
reputation; you know the band call you Rosie the bike because they’ve all
ROSIE If they
want to get bitchy I’ll tell you some things about the boys in the band. You
know John the drummer, you wouldn’t believe what a bad sense of rhythm he has.
The only way to have sex with him is to lie him down and climb on top, then
tell him I’ll do the rhythm, you just lie back and think of England. Then
there’s massive Mike on the bass; he can only do it if you abuse him. He gets
off when I take of my Dandini costume and walk all over him just dressed in the
stockings suspenders and stiletto heels. Ask to see his bruises, he’s not shy.
GWEN I couldn’t
ROSIE I think
you’ve led a sheltered life.
GWEN I think,
compared to you everyone’s led a sheltered life.
ROSIE I’ve had a
twosome with Stan on trombone and Jack on trumpet; you can’t believe what they
can do with their lips, it must be something to do with all that puckering they
GWEN I’m never
sure if you don’t just make this stuff up.
ROSIE Oh no, you
can’t make this up; the only one I’ve not had in the band is Simon. You know
he’s in the BNP, well he uses
prostitutes, black ones; it’s the only way he can get it on, he absolutely
hates it and he’s terrified that people will find out. There must be some deep
seated phycological reason but I’m dammed if I know what it is. Perhaps he had
a miss spent youth reading all those old National Geographic magazines with the
naked tribeswomen. I know I stole them from the school library when I was a
girl; very stimulating.
beyond help, you are.
ROSIE No I’m
not, all I need is some more help from Oliver the gorgeous young black boy in
the chorus, he’s divine. He’s also hung like a donkey and so obliging, if I
wasn’t old enough to be his mother I’d seriously consider becoming monogamous.
you’re just so tacky, sometimes I find you embarrassing beyond belief.
ROSIE Don’t have
a go at me; people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
GWEN And why do
I live in a glass house.
ROSIE Gwen dear,
are you joking; I’m sorry but just look at the way your children treat you,
what you put up with there leaves me lost for words. No wonder you always get
cast as the Fairy Godmother. There’s not a week goes by without your Justin
coming in here demanding money with menaces. If he acted like that with anyone
else they’d have him arrested.
GWEN He’s always
asked for money like that, I’m used to it; it looks worse than it is.
ROSIE Worse than
it is; he stands up in your face and pushes you around the room, I’ve seen how
terrified you are of him.
GWEN It was my
fault I left their father when they were just teenagers they must have felt
awful. I destroyed their lives, I’m the guilty one, it’s my fault.
ROSIE What the
Hell are you talking about, you’re guilty; you left a man who was physically
and mentally abusing you and you think you’re the guilty one. Get real here,
where do you think your children have got it from; like father like son.
GWEN I know
you’re right, but I can’t stop feeling I’m guilty, it’s just the way I am.
it’s the way you’ve been conditioned to feel; if you’ve been constantly beaten down
and told you’re useless for years it’s hardly surprising you believe it after
all this time.
GWEN I don’t
know how to change.
ROSIE Well we’re
going to have to find a way; it’s hard to believe you’re such a successful
actor, you’ve been in everything, now you’re the star of Grange Road and yet
you let your children walk all over you.
GWEN I know,
it’s pitiful isn’t it.
ROSIE Yes it is, but I’ve got the
solution; you’re a brilliant actor, I think we need to do some improv; some
role play where you take control. Come on lets give it a go.
GWEN Ok, I’ll
ROSIE Right I’ll play your son;
GWEN Ok; action.
ROSIE Hi ma, give
me some money, ma give me some money, come on I need some money. I need it now,
give me the money don’t mess me around.
GWEN Would you
please let go of my arms, you’re hurting me.
ROSIE I’m not
going to let go until you give me some money, come on give me some money; I’ll
go away as soon as you give me the money. Give me the money; now.
GWEN Please stop
you’re hurting me.
ROSIE Gwen, stop
this, you’re supposed to be acting and you’re just being yourself; you’re just
being a victim.
GWEN I’m sorry
but you scared me it was just like when Justin scares me.
ROSIE You know
what the problem is Justin is a bully, just like his father and the thing to
know about most bullies is that underneath they’re cowards. Now lets try again.
GWEN I’m sorry, you’re right.
ROSIE Ok, so;
give me the money, Ma give me the money, I’ll go away as soon as you give me
the money. Come on I want money; now.
go of me, let go of me Justin, I mean it, I mean it now. I’ve had enough of
your bullying. Leave me alone, Justin.
better, see, you can do it.
GWEN Yes I can, you’re right
I can; it’s time to put a stop to this, pass me the phone.
Hello, Jason, it’s your mother here; now don’t say anything I have
something important I want to say and you need to listen. I said listen. I’ve
had enough Jason, I’ve had enough of your bullying ways and I’m not putting up
with it anymore. You’ve picked up your violent temper from your father and I
should have stopped you years ago; well better late than never. Jason, shut up.
Listen to me Jason; don’t you ever come demanding money from me ever again. If
you do I swear I will call the police and have you arrested. If you or your
brothers want to see me I will see you on my terms, that is properly and
respectfully. Do you understand. Good. Goodbye Jason.
ROSIE My God Gwen, I
knew you were a good actor but that was brilliant.
GWEN No it
wasn’t; I wasn’t acting.
ROSIE I don’t
know about you but I could do with a drink.
GWEN Yes I think
that would be a good idea, open the wine; look my hands are shaking.
ROSIE I’m not
surprised I’m a bit in shock myself.
GWEN You know I’ve been so foolish I should have
done that years ago, you were right I was bullied, I was bullied all my married
life. When I look back I can see where I went wrong; my husband was such a
waste of space. I carried him all through our married life and yet he made me
feel like I was the useless one. It wasn’t me that had affairs, it wasn’t me
down the pub all the time. He just treated me like a skivvy to look after him
and the kids. I’ve been taken for a ride all along; well now, thanks to you that’s
ROSIE I’ve never
told anyone this before, but I was married once.
married, I don’t believe it.
ROSIE I can
hardly believe it myself, it was such a long time ago. He was from the same
mould that your husband came from except he was worse. It all starts in such a
subtle way, they get control of you before you’ve realised what they’re doing.
Little things like criticising your cooking, undermining your confidence in
everything you do to the point where you believe it’s all your fault. I used to
cook him meals every night, if I had a pound for every one he threw at the wall
I’d be richThe mad thing
is, he comes home drunk throws your food at the wall and you’re the one who
feels guilty and apologises and cleans up the mess. Some nights if I was lucky
he’d fall asleep in the chair before he threw the food, other nights I’d have
the option of a good slapping or having sex. Actually the option was a good
slapping or being raped, or some nights both. The tragic thing is you
eventually accept all this as normal and even worse you accept it as your
fault, I wouldn’t have treated an animal the way my husband treated me. He’d
frequently humiliate me in front of my friends, to the point that in the end I
didn’t have any friends; he was my only friend. How bizarre is that, my abuser
became my only friend. I suffered his abuse for years, the police didn’t get
involved in domestics in those days, though God knows they came often enough.
It would always be a male copper and my husband would say, oh she’s been
getting out of order and deserved a slap. As long as things were pacified they
would leave and I would quietly submit to yet another rape from the man I had
grown to hate. The trouble is you hate and fear them in equal measure, so how
can you get away. I had a girlfriend in the same situation, she tried to leave
and he found her and threw acid in her face. He’s in prison now, but she’s
disfigured for life and petrified in case he finds her when he comes out and
we’re supposed to live in a civilised society. I’ve become involved with the
battered wives refuge; if you spent a day listening to some of their stories it
would break your heart. There have been far too many honour killings just
lately and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. For every death there are at
least ten suicides, young girls who are in love with someone the family won’t
accept, scared to death they will be sent home to marry someone they haven’t
even met. What a sad waste of a young life and the worse thing is lots of men
get away with it such is the climate of fear they create, people are too
frightened to testify against them.I've known that fear, I’ve been
hospitalised by my ex too many times to remember, that’s why I hated to see the
way Jason was treating you. The last time my husband hit me I ended up in
intensive care and yet I still went back. I told him I’d give him one last
chance and what does he do two months later; well this time I’d had enough. We
were in the kitchen and I grabbed a knife and I stabbed him.
GWEN My God,
Rosie, what happened.
ROSIE I hit an artery; I didn’t mean
to I was just lashing out to protect myself, he was a brute, he deserved it.
GWEN What happened.
ROSIE He died; I
watched him bleed to death in front of me, I watched him screaming and
squirming on the kitchen floor. You know what I felt.
ROSIE Nothing, I
happened to you.
ROSIE I got ten
GWEN My God
Rosie how did you cope with that.
ROSIE The same
way you cope with the beatings; you can get used to anything if you have to. The
only good thing about prison, was the sex, as long as you’re broad minded; I’d
never thought of myself as lesbian but inside it’s different. I was locked up
from the beginning, I didn’t get bail; you can’t imagine the shock when you go
inside for the first time. The first night I shared a cell with a prostitute
who was addicted to crack, she scared the life out of me but I suppose she must
have been scared to death of me too, after all I was in for murder.Gradually you
get used to it and by the time you’re sentenced you’ve become
institutionalised. The thing that got me through it was the friendship and
support of the other girls, some in a mental way and some physical. I had more
sex in prison than I had before when I was being raped by my husband all the
time. The difference was of course inside it was by choice; I still prefer sex
with a man but my God some of those girls had some imagination when it came to
sex. I only served six years what with time served and remission, I came out
changed my name and got on with my life; in many ways it was worth it to be rid
GWEN I’m so
sorry I had no idea, I shouldn’t have been so critical of your lifestyle.
ROSIE That’s ok,
we all have our ways of coping with life.
there’s more to your way than I thought.
ROSIE It does
put a smile on your face every now and then; you ought to try it. I’ll tell you
what I’ll set you up on a date with Colepepper you could do with some love in
your life. Ok.
GWEN Yes, yes
ok Rosie, thanks.
THE FOURTH NIGHT
DONALD Hello Wayne old boy, are you
WAYNE Yes I’m here
where else would I be.
DONALD I’ve no idea,
but it’s just polite to ask.
WAYNE How are you
DONALD Well actually
I’m in a delightful mood, although I’m a little tired.
WAYNE And what have
you been up to that should make you so tired.
DONALD Well old chap,
for the first time in years I had a date.
WAYNE A date eh, who with.
DONALD With Gwen.
WAYNE Gwen, who.
Thomas; Fairy Godmother Gwen.
WAYNE Really, and did you have a
fabulous, I haven’t had such a good time in years. I’d forgotten what it was
like to go out with a woman on a one to one basis. She’s such a nice person she
seems to have blossomed all of a sudden. We went to the Italian in George Lane; we chatted
all night. It made me feel like a young man again and the best thing is we’re
going to do it again; I can’t wait I’m like an excited schoolboy.
WAYNE Did you get your leg
over then Donald.
DONALD I can’t believe
you would ask such a question. No I didn’t, although I do believe if I’d had
the chance I could have done.
WAYNE You old devil,
so tell me more.
DONALD There’s not much
more to tell; we chatted all night, I haven’t felt so relaxed with someone for
years. She told me all sorts about her life and may I say I reciprocated. I haven’t been that open with anyone for
years. I found it a very cathartic experience, she helped me to let go, to open
up. Thirty five years ago my wife was killed in a car accident and last night
with Gwen was the first time I’ve spoken to anyone about it since it happened.
WAYNE I’m so sorry
Donald, I didn’t know.
DONALD That’s awfully sweet of you
old boy but you don’t have to worry, after last night I can talk about it with
anyone. I’d always been a shy old bugger so I was getting on a bit when we
married but it was the best day of my life; I’ve never loved anyone like I
loved Dorothy. Then to put the icing on the cake not long after we found out
she was pregnant, I couldn’t have been happier. Shortly after that I got Henry
five with the RSC at Stratford upon Avon, how much better could life get. Dorothy drove me up
and stayed to do some sightseeing while I was in rehearsals, it was one of the
best times of my life. She went back on opening night; I told her to wait and
go back in the morning but she had an early meeting the next day so she went
back that evening after the party. I was woken in the early hours by a
policeman who told me Dorothy had been involved in an accident and had died at
the scene. My life fell apart; in that moment my wife and baby were dead and I
didn’t have the where with all to deal with it. The only way I could deal with
it was to immerse myself in work; wasn’t it Oscar Wilde who said; I love
acting, it’s so much more real than life. I know I keep
quoting Gielgud and Olivier and a lot of this company think I’m a sad old fart
but that was a very important part of my life. Working with Johnny, Laurence
and Ralphy at the RSC was the high
light of my career and yet the lowest point of my life. I could have killed
myself at the drop of a hat and yet the applause and the adrenalin kept me
going. I kept all that sadness bottled up for years and then last night in
Gwens digs I let go of it all.
WAYNE Oh, in Gwens
digs was it.
DONALD Yes it was and I know how your brain
works, so yes we did spend the night together, what was left of it. We had a
cuddle in bed, naked, it was heaven.
WAYNE No wonder
you’re in such a good mood, I’m really pleased for you, I hope it works out ok
for you both.
DONALD Thank you Wayne, I hope things work
out for you to.
WAYNE Work out for
DONALD I do know Wayne and if there’s
anything I can do to help.
WAYNE Know, what.
DONALD I know about
your dementia; it was obvious to me I’ve seen the signs before with my uncle. I
know you’re desperately trying to hide it, that’s why I always try to help you
with your lines.
WAYNE I didn’t think
DONALD It doesn’t yet
to the others, they just think you’re an arrogant old pop star milking it for
all it’s worth. I’m sure I’m the only one who realises you’re just doing it
because you can’t remember the lines. When were you diagnosed.
WAYNE Last year;
they prescribed Donepezil which initially seemed to slow it down but lately it
seems to be getting worse again.
DONALD And the
WAYNE I don’t know; well they don’t
know, except of course it’s going to get worse.
DONALD I’m very sorry
WAYNE That’s ok Donald, in some ways
it’s a relief to tell someone about it.
DONALD Yes, a problem
shared is a problem halved.
WAYNE I’m afraid
Donald, I’m really scared for the future, my mother had it, I know what it can
do to you. I feel so sorry for my sister she had to look after her, I was lucky
to be working away all the time. My mother deteriorated from a fit healthy old
person to a shell in six years, my sister went through hell in that time.
Mother started to loose her physical abilities first, it started with being
unable to walk the dog or get to the shops. It seemed to have come on so
suddenly; it was after she had a fall in the street, they took her to hospital
but could find nothing wrong except her blood pressure was a little high. They
sent her home but it was the start of her slow deterioration. Gradually she
became more and more dependent on my sister to the point where my sister was
her full time carer. Every day mother would loose her wedding ring and they
would spend hours searching for it before she could pacify her. Eventually my
sister took it from her for safe keeping so then she started to loose the keys
for the house, there was always something mad going on. Mother started to see
things, she’d see a young girl behind the couch or people climbing the walls,
she’d be terrified. Some days sis
could calm her down by telling her it wasn’t real, it was her brain playing
tricks with her and she’d be ok, but other days there would be nothing she
could do to pacify her. I don’t know how my sister coped being on call twenty
four hours a day; she’d get calls from the police to say they had found mother
walking the streets in her nightie, it was frightening anything could have
happened to her. Eventually my sister had to move in to be there full time, by
now mother had lost control of her bladder, she’d be standing there talking and
just piss herself. My sister persevered for years because she’d promised mother
she wouldn’t put her in a home. It would have driven me mad, in fact I think my
sister was close to a nervous breakdown. She phoned me one night to say she’d
locked herself out of the house and couldn’t work out how to get back in, she
was crying uncontrollably. All she had to do was go to the next door neighbours
who had a spare key, but she couldn’t work it out for herself. Thank God not
long after that mother had another fall and was taken into hospital, they
thought she’d had a stroke. It was the final straw she had to go into a nursing
home, she was virtually a vegetable. My sister visits her every day except
Sunday, she gives herself one day a week off. I don’t know why she goes, it’s
got to the point that mother has no idea she’s there; she hasn’t opened her
eyes for almost six months and when she speaks it’s completely incomprehensible.
I think my sister is so conditioned to going every day she doesn’t know how to
stop. She’s still in the nursing home unable to do anything for herself,
shitting in a nappy like a baby. I don’t want to end up like that.
DONALD It hasn’t come
to that yet, that’s a long way off old chap, in the mean time there’s not much
I can do to help, the only thing I can suggest is to be honest with everyone
else, at least then everyone can help you with your lines.
WAYNE Yeah, thanks
for the line prompts, it does help. You know I’m so pleased you’ve got together
with Gwen, I knew her years ago. She was in my film Summer Weekend and she was
a very nice girl and I mean that literally. She was virtually the only girl I
didn’t sleep with on that job, after all I was the star, they were lining up
outside my dressing room. Gwen was better than the others she had the integrity
to say no.
DONALD Well that’s nice
WAYNE You know who
else was on that film, Norman Allen; that was in his hay day when he and Bert
Baxter used to have their TV show The Comedy Hour. It’s amazing now to think
that celebrities were queuing to appear on their show to be humiliated by those
two fools. They had Shirley Bassey on and they did a black and white minstrel
DONALD Yes, indeed, I know they had Johnny Gielgud on
and as you may know he was convicted for persistently importuning for immoral
purposes, or picking up a man in a public toilet, cottaging as they call it
nowadays. So predictably all the jokes were taking the mickey out of gay
people; the trouble was you had to go on even if you didn’t want to. Can you
imagine the press in those days, if they’d found out you were asked and had
WAYNE The sad thing is they’re
still using the same gags today.
DONALD I must say I’m not a fan of
them at all, their material is so sexist.
WAYNE Yes especially
there’s a reason why he’s so sexist, it’s a front.
DONALD How do you mean.
WAYNE He’s gay.
DONALD I know there
were rumours in the business, but what about his wife.
WAYNE She was his secretary, he just married her
as a front, he’d been living with his manager for years. They all used to live
together in that big house in Totteridge next door to Adam Faith. I was friends
with Adam in those days so I used to get all the gossip. They both used the
same gardening company which was mostly staffed by fit young men. Normans wife
Ellen had sex with nearly all of them at one time or another, sometimes two at
once, apparently she was insatiable, it’s no wonder the garden looked so
unkempt. They did say that while all this was going on Norman and his manager
Brian were frequently seen arguing around the swimming pool; Brian dressed in a
blonde wig, pink dress and white sling backs, just like Doris Day, except for
WAYNE It was only a
couple of years ago when his manager died that he divorced his secretary, he
still won’t come out though. Perhaps we all have our skeletons in the cupboard.
DONALD I suppose you
know mine, now what’s yours.
WAYNE Mine Donald, I
don’t have one.
DONALD I’m sure with
your miss spent youth there must be something.
WAYNE What’s this, true
confessions, get it off my chest before it’s too late, before I’ve lost my
DONALD Well perhaps, if
you have something to confess, now would be a good time.
WAYNE Ok Donald, you
and I are more alike than you would imagine, remember I said I’d had every girl
on Summer Weekend, well there was one in particular who I fell in love with,
her name was Wendy. I would have married her if I’d had the chance, but in
those days it was the kiss of death to a young pop stars career, we had to be
seen to be available. Looking back it’s ridiculous but that’s how it was then;
anyway one day Wendy came to me and said she was pregnant, I was just a kid,
just starting my career, I couldn’t have anything jeopardize that. I gave her
the money to get rid of it but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. I told her
that if she had the child never to name me as the father
as I would deny it and she would look like a fool. She must have felt so
rejected she threw herself in front of an underground train and killed herself.
I was the one who was the fool, I should have had the guts to stand by her.
Like you Donald, the love of my life was dead; no one connected her with me,
there were just a few lines in the paper; young dancer killed in tragic
accident. I did exactly the same as you, I worked myself to death. That’s why
everyone thought I was so arrogant, because all I thought about was me and my
DONALD It wasn’t your
that was the way things were in those days, we’re all victims of our
WAYNE I know you’re
right but it’s hard to move on, even now.
DONALD Hard, but not
impossible; you’re right we are surprisingly alike and yet so different. We’ve
both lost someone we love, someone who meant everything to us and have both
taken far too long to come out the other side. I’ve come through it with Gwens
help, now it’s your turn to let go of the past. It wasn’t your fault, we were
both victims, but like me it’s now time for you to stop being a victim and move
WAYNE You’re right
Donald, it is time for me to move on.
DONALD I’ll tell you
what, I’m going for a meal after the show with Gwen, come with us old chap.
Nothing heavy, nothing pressured, just a drink and a meal with friends who
WAYNE Thanks Donald,
I’d love to.
NORMAN Come in.
BERT How do I
NORMAN Turn the knob on
BERT I haven’t got a knob on my side.
NORMAN Goon Show 1960,
I’ll name that gag in one.
BERT Evening Norman, dead right,
although I think you’ll find the year was 1959.
NORMAN Yes Bert, I bow
to your superior knowledge you’re right Eccles and Bluebottle 1959.
BERT I can’t
believe this was the last night, it seems to have flown by.
NORMAN Well it was a fairly good company this
year, that helps.
BERT Have you
been with the same company as me, some of them are the most boring people I’ve
ever had the misfortune to meet.
Colepepper, God if I have to listen to another of his; when I was at the
RSC with Johnny and Ralphy
NORMAN He’s a sad old
bugger but he means well.
about the two fools in the panto horse, I’m sure they’re an affair, they’re
always skulking around together.
NORMAN I sometimes
wonder about you; you can be such a bitchy old queen yourself.
moi, how about Gwen, no wonder she’s always on her own. God knows I like a fag,
but she’s like a bloody chimney.
NORMAN What about Rosie,
I thought you two might get together, there was a rumour she was a
BERT I’m sure
she is, that’s why I hate her; she rejected me, I’ve no idea why.
NORMAN She’s very deep,
Tracy Phillips, she’s such an air head, what’s wrong with young people today,
all they think about is their looks.
NORMAN Perhaps it’s a
lesson we could learn from.
BERT Not at my age, we can’t, I’m old I’m
balding and I’ve a beer gut; it took years of abuse to get to look like this.
There is no way I want to go back to the way I was when I was young. When
you’re young you can do all night what it takes you all night to do when you’re
old, that’s the only good thing about being young. Old man of eighty decides to
take a Thai bride, all his friends are worried about his health.
NORMAN So he goes to the
doctors for a check up and the doctor warns him about the dangers of violent
sexual activity and the possibility of a heart attack.
BERT So the
old man says; well if she dies she dies.
NORMAN I thought you got on with
John he’s a young thrusting Prince Charming, just like you were when you were
BERT Are you
sure, I never did drugs, well only fags and booze, I may have been thrusting
but I’ve never been charming in my life.
NORMAN Wayne’s ok, I worked with him on Summer
Weekend, he was fun.
BERT He might have
been fun then, but now he’s a pain in the arse. Milking every scene for all
he’s worth, why he can’t stick to the script God knows, anyone would think he’s
NORMAN Well we’ve had a
laugh, haven’t we.
BERT Yeah, I suppose so. Mans idea of safe sex.
NORMAN Padded head
board. I married Miss Right.
BERT I hadn’t
realised her first name was always.
NORMAN I haven’t spoken
to the wife for eighteen months.
TOGETHER I didn’t like to
NORMAN I can still enjoy sex
BERT I live at
75 so it’s no distance. I want to die in my sleep like my father.
NORMAN Not screaming and
terrified like his passengers.
proper gags, not like this modern rubbish. It’s come to something when there’s
more things you can’t make gags about than things you can. The only people who
can crack Jewish gags have to be Jewish, don’t get me going about black gags,
that was half my act. I hate to think what would happen if you cracked a gag
about the wife or the mother in law, I can’t stand all this political
NORMAN You know what we are, dinosaurs; all our
feeding grounds have gone and we’re slowly dying out. All the pubs and working
mens clubs are closing, you’re looked on as a leper if you have a fag in the
street; God forbid anyone should dare to light up in the pub. It’s all well and
good for those politicians to ban smoking but it was our living. What the hell
was wrong with a smoke filled club, we all chose to go there, Les Dawson had it
right, you can’t die of nothing.
BERT He used
to do some fabulous gags, remember Cissie and Ada, him and Roy Barraclough dressed as
women. That was a class act, I wanted to steal his Over The Garden wall act for
us when he died but it seemed disrespectful. Take her at number fourteen, she’s
no better than she should be. Too thick with her lodger for my liking.
NORMAN Well I heard her
bed springs going at
this morning and her husbands on regular nights.
BERT Yes, he was magic; I went to the doctors to
get something for persistent wind, he gave me a kite.
NORMAN I took my mother
in law to Madame Tussards Chamber of Horrors and the attendant said keep her
moving sir, we’re stock taking.
BERT You know
he left his dressing room in The Empire Theatre in Sunderland
vowing never to work there again. He never said why, although it’s supposed to
be haunted by the ghost of Sid James who died of a heart attack in the
BERT Ironic that Les died of
a heart attack not long after. Want a fag Norm.
NORMAN Yeah, I’m
BERT Here you
NORMAN Thanks Bert; this
is ridiculous, here we are two grown men, senior citizens, skulking around by
an open window to have a fag like two naughty school boys.
BERT How are
the mighty fallen.
NORMAN You’ve got a
point, when we were doing The Comedy Hour we used to smoke on the set.
happy days, we were the best, there was no one to touch us. What’s blue and
NORMAN Blue fluff. There
was a knock at the door, I knew it was the mother in law because the mice were
throwing themselves on the traps.
BERT The wife
said, how would you like to talk to mummy, I said through a spiritualist.
NORMAN Mixed feelings is
when you see your mother in law driving over a cliff in your new car.
BERT My mother
in law has come to our house at Christmas seven years running. This year we’re
having a change.
NORMAN We’re going to let her in.
BERT Yeah, the good
old days, we had chauffeur driven limos then, what have we got now.
NORMAN Our bus passes
and our memories; we’ve known each other for so long we’re like an old married
couple, we even…
each others sentences. I said to my neighbour; take my wife, now they’ve gone
NORMAN I don’t half miss
BERT Well you
NORMAN Know what.
BERT Norman, it’s five years
since Brian died.
NORMAN Brian my manager.
Norman, Brian your lover.
NORMAN I can’t believe
you said that, I thought you were my friend.
BERT I am your
friend, that’s why I said it. Don’t you think it’s time to come clean.
NORMAN Don’t you mean
come out; how can I come out it will ruin my career.
BERT Your career. Norm your
career and mine went down the pan years ago when they invented political
correctness. Out of the two of us you’re the one with a chance of a career if
you do come out. Look at Frankie Howerd he rose from the ashes more times than
the Phoenix and
you both went to the same rug maker.
NORMAN How dare you, do
you know how much I paid for this syrup.
BERT Too much.
NORMAN Don’t mock
BERT There you
are, you can do it, that’s your new career sorted.
NORMAN I think I need a
lot more rehearsals before I can pull that off.
BERT That’s ok,
we can work on it, I’ll be your manager, although I’ll just stick to the
manager bit, I’m not Brian. I’ll leave the shirt lifting to you.
NORMAN That’s a bit
politically incorrect Bert.
BERT Like I
care, I’m too bloody old to change now, you were right, we are dinosaurs.
NORMAN It’s a funny old
business being a comedian.
BERT No, it’s
actually deadly serious.
NORMAN You’re right, so
many of them have committed suicide, look at poor old Hancock.
BERT Yeah, Tony
was a beautiful man, too fragile for this business. Drunk himself to death
consumed with self doubt about his talent, so sad. They published his suicide
letter; it said, things went wrong too many times.
NORMAN My friend Kenny
Williams, tortured soul he was. He was like me he never came out, even though
everyone knew he was gay. I never did a Carry On, but they say Charles Hawtrey
was worse; he was a drunken promiscuous old queen who smoked and drunk himself
lucky at least we survived.
NORMAN Do you have any
BERT Loads, and you.
NORMAN One or two;
you’re right I should have come out ages ago.
surprised you haven’t been caught by the press.
NORMAN There have been the odd;
Friend of Dorothy stories, perhaps I’m not a big enough story any more.
NORMAN Well, yes,
remember all those years ago I was in Wayne Peters film Summer Weekend. He got
one of the young dancers pregnant and told her to get rid of it. She came to me
for advice and I told her to think of her career and get rid of it. She was
such a delicate thing and I was so hard on her, she looked upon me as a father
figure and I let her down. When I found out she’d committed suicide I was
devastated, it was as if I’d lost a child myself. Then later when Brian died
that’s when I should have come out, not pretending he was just my manager. You
have now idea how I hated his funeral, I wanted to shout out, he was the man I
loved. The man who had devoted his life to me was dead and I didn’t have the
guts to say I loved him. That’s my biggest regret.
BERT We all have our
regrets, I was a right bastard in the early days, I’d do anything to get a job.
You know how homophobic the old bookers were especially in the northern clubs,
well I’d start a rumour that some of the acts were gay, it’s amazing how soon
their bookings drop. I did it to Eric, you know Eric Shirvell, back of the
horse. We were up for a commercial and I told the director Eric had aids. I
know he never worked for that director again; I wonder if he ever found out
what I’d done, I must ask him one day. He wasn’t the only one I did that trick
on, I was an absolute bastard.
NORMAN Did you ever do
that to me.
BERT No, you
were a bloody good comedian, better than me that’s why I wanted to work with
you. You know how we got together as a double act.
NORMAN Yes, my agent
suggested we’d work well as a double act and he’d already had a tentative offer
for a TV show.
that’s close but no cigar, it was me who set the whole thing up. I set up the
TV deal, then told them to speak to your agent to sort it out. I always was a
manipulating so and so, that’s why I was always top dog in the act even though
you were a better comic.
NORMAN Well you learn
something every day, you cunning bugger,
one of the best things I ever managed to arrange, I’ve never had a moments
regret about our partnership it was the best thing I ever did.
NORMAN Blimey Bert, I
never knew you cared.
BERT Well now
NORMAN Come on let’s go
or we’ll be late for the party.
no rush, it will be the same old rubbish as last year. Trevor going on about
what a wonderful company it’s been this year and how he’s really looking
forward to working with us again next year and it will sound like he really
NORMAN Perhaps he does,
I know I do. Come on we’ve a party to go to.