Two old men in a pub drinking

Two Men in a Pub

Part One

RONNIE: YOURS?

DUD:  MINE’S A PINT, MATE.  ALWAYS HAS BEEN.

RONNIE: YOU WON’T GET A MEDAL Y’KNOW.

DUD: WHAT’S ALL THIS GUFF ABOUT MEDALS?

RONNIE: OLYMPIC GAMES, IN’IT MATE !

DUD: OLYMPICS?  GAMES?  THEY WAS IN JUNE, RONNIE.  COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO.

RONIE: YEA, TEAM GB WON A TON OF MEDALS.  OF COURSE, AS YOU SAY, THAT WERE A WHILE BACK.

DUD: GO ON!

RONNIE:  DON’T TELL ME YOU AIN’T BIN WATCHING THE OLYMPICS?

DUD:  DIDN’T KNOW THEY WAS ON!

RONNIE: DIDN’T KNOW THEY WAS ON?  WHERE YOU BIN?  YOU’RE ABOUT THE ONLY SOD WHO DIDN’T KNOW THEY WAS ON.  ADMITEDLY FOR THE FIRST TWO DAYS OR SO WE DIDN’T WIN A THING. THEN BY CRIKEY MEDALS FROM HEAVEN.  OF COURSE THAT WAS BACK IN THE SUMMER.  WHERE YOU BIN?

DUD:  GO ON!

RONNIE:  YEA.  RUSSIA AND CHINA NOWHERE. SMASHED. ALL THAT IRON DISCIPLINE COME TO NOTHIN’.  BLOODY ANNIHILIATED THEM, WE DID.  AND TEAM GB WEREN’T HALLUCINATIN’, EITHER.  FAIR AND SQUARE. ABOVE BOARD. GENUINE.  AND IF YOU COUNT ALL THE COUNTRIES WHO WAS IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE – NUMBER ONE, MATE.  ANYWAY, THAT ASIDE, WHERE WAS YOU DURING ALL THIS COMPETITION?

DUD: EMPIRE? HOW COME I NEVER HEARD ABOUT IT?

RONNIE:  HOW COME?  YOU BLEEDIN’ WELL COULDN’T GET AWAY FROM IT.  NEWS, BREAKFAST SHOWS, BLOODY TALK SHOWS. OLYMPICS, RIGHT AND PROPER.  NEWS OF OUR MEDAL HAUL WAS LITERALLY EVERYWHERE.  EVEN ON THE VICKY DERBYSHIRE SHOW.  FAIR CASCADING, MATE.  REHASHING ALL THOSE VICTORIES IN RIO!   SPECTACULAR, MATE.   AND WHAT WAS YOU WATCHIN’ BY THE WAY?  AND WHERE WAS YOU.   AIN’T SEEN YOU SINCE THE ELECTION.

DUD: OH, Y’KNOW.

RONNIE: NO, I DON’T.  GIVE US A CLUE!

DUD: WELL, BRITAIN’S HARDEST WORKERS FOR A START.

RONNIE: COR, BLIMEY.  LEARN ANYTHING?

DUD: AND THEN THERE’S THE GREAT BAKE-OFF, THE POINTLESS CELEBRITY QUIZ, AND… CLEAN EATING’S DIRTY SECRETS.

RONNIE:  GO ON, YOU WAS WATCHIN’ EASTENDERS REALLY.

DUD: NO, HONESTLY, IT WAS BARGAIN HUNT AND THE ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW.

RONNIE: HERE WAS YOU WATCHIN’ NORMAL, EVERY-DAY PROGRAMMES WHILE TEAM GB WAS SLOGGING THEIR GUTS OUT WINNING MEDALS.  THERE’S JUST NO GRATITUDE WHERE YOU’RE CONCERNED’

DUD: Y’KNOW I WAS NEVER ANY GOOD AT SPORTS.   WHY THEY PUT ME IN GOAL I’LL NEVER KNOW.  TWELVE NIL.  WHY COULDN’T OUR FORWARDS SCORE?  I GOT ALL THE BLAME.  IT WAS ALL DOWN TO ME IN THE END. MR CROUCH, IT WAS CROUCH WASN’T IT? … OUR SPORTS MASTER. NEVER FORGET HIS MONIKER.  MOST HUMILIATING BIT OF MY SPORTS CAREER.

RONNIE:  YEA, THAT WAS THE PENALTY SHOOT-OUT TO END ALL.  AND YOU WAS WEARING THAT ‘TIGER’ T-SHIRT.  TONY THE TIGER, WAS IT?   WHATA LAUGH!  MORE LIKE A PUSSY-CAT, YOU WAS.  YOU EVEN DIVED THE WRONG WAY.

DUD: YEA, WELL I DIDN’T HAVE FOOTBALL BOOTS.  STILL, YOU WEREN’T EVEN ON THE TEAM.  YOU WEREN’T EVEN RESERVE.

RONNIE: JUST DISMISS OUR SCHOOL DAYS FROM YOUR MIND, FRIEND. PUFF YOUR CHEST OUT, MATE.  THAT’S IT.  NOW BELT OUT RULE BRITANNIA – NO, SORRY, THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.

DUD: WHAT’S IT ALL IN AID OF, RONNIE?  AND I CAN’T HOLD A TUNE FOR LOVE NOR MONEY.

RONNIE: PRIDE.  NATIONAL PRIDE MORE LIKE.  TEAM GB THANKED THE LOTTERY, THE SPONSORS AND THE QUEEN.  AND SO THEY SHOULD.  EXPRESSED THEIR GRATITUDE, PROPER LIKE.  SEE EVERYTHING IN PROPER PERSPECTIVE, LIKE.  NHS PROBLEMS,  ZERO HOUR CONTRACTS, DISABLED CUTS.  MAKES YOU PROUD TO BE BRITISH.

DUD:  BUT WHAT ABOUT THE TAXPAYER?

RONNIE: YOU?  YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT THE TAXPAYERS?

DUD: WELL, THE SYSTEM CAN’T HANDLE CASH IN HAND, CAN IT?
RONNIE:  NOT WITH THE LIKES OF YOU, IT CAN’T.  BUT WHAT DO YOU MEAN – ABOUT THE TAXPAYERS? COUGH UP, MATE.

DUD: WELL, IT’S A SHAME.  AFTER ALL THE HARD WORK CAMERON AND OZZIE PUT IN.

RONNIE: WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT?  THEY’S YESTERDAY’S MEN.  WE’VE GOT A BRAND NEW GOVERNMENT ARRANGING THINGS.  AND A WOMAN PM FOR THAT MATTER.  JUST WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

DUD:  CAMERON AND OZZIE WAS ALWAYS ON ABOUT THE ‘HARDWORKING’ TAXPAYER.  ON AND ON, THEY WENT. SPEECHIFIYING, LIKE. THAT STUCK WITH ME.

RONNIE: WELL, WHAT’S THAT GOT TO DO WITH ANYTHING. YOU GOT TO EXPECT A LITTLE BRAINWASHING AROUND ELECTION TIME.  COME TO THINK OF IT YOU DIDN’T EVEN VOTE.  DIDN’T EVEN REGISTER IN CASE BIG BROTHER COTTONED ON TO YOU.

DUD: THE GUARDIAN SAYS THE UK TAXPAYER PAYS FIVE AND A HALF MILLION POUNDS PER OLYMPIC ATHLETE.

RONNIE: GOOD GOD. READING THE GUARDIAN, MATE.   HAD ME WORRIED.  NOT HARD CASH IN HAND, THOUGH.  THOUGHT YOU WAS GOING TO SAY EUROS WITH ALL THIS BREXIT LARK.  AND WHEN DID YOU START READING THE GUARDIAN?  THAT PAPER’S NOT FOR THE LIKES OF YOU AND ME. AND ESPECIALLY NOT FOR NOBBY.  GIVES US IDEAS ABOVE OUR STATION.  WORKING CLASS, BRED AND BONE, ME.  YEA, SOME OF US ARE  ON THE FIDDLE ALRIGHT, BUT YOU PAYS VAT.  NO WAY ROUND THAT.  ANYWAY, IF TEAM GB GOT 5 OR 6 MILLION QUID THINK OF THEIR TAX BILL.

DUD: FACILTIES.

RONNIE: WHAT YOU MEAN – FACILITIES?  PUBLIC CONVENIENCES.  THEY’VE BEEN CLOSING THEM FOR YEARS.  THE IRA PROBABLY.  AND NOW ISIS.  SPEND A PENNY.  WHAT’S WALLS FOR, MATE.

DUD: NO, TORY COUNCILS, MATE.  I MEAN SPORTS FACILITIES.  STADIUMS.  RUNNING TRACKS.  THAT KIND OF THING.

RONNIE:  YEA, GOT ME THERE.  BUT TOP ATHLETES HAS TO HAVE SOME PLACE TO TRAIN, DON’T THEY?

DUD: THERE IS!

RONNIE: THERE IS?  WHAT DO YOU MEAN? THERE IS?

DUD: VAT.

RONNIE:  WHAT ABOUT VAT?

DUD: THERE’S A WAY ROUND GETTIN’ OUT OF PAYING VAT.

RONNIE:  WHAT, DON’T BE SILLY.  VAT, WELL, IT’S LIKE A HEAD TAX.  IN NORMAN DAYS THEY’D ‘AVE USED A RED HOT BRANDING IRON ON YOUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS TO MAKE YOU COUGH UP.

DUD:  CIGARETTES!

RONNIE:  CIGGIES?  COFFIN NAILS?  HOW COME?

DUD: SMUGGLE THEM IN.

RONNIE:  YEA, RIGHT.  HOPE THE REVENUE ARE ON TO THAT LITTLE WRINKLE.  THEY’RE BEING DIDDLED SOMETHING AWFUL ON INCOME TAX.

DUD:  AND MERRY-GO-ROUNDS!

RONNIE:  LOOK MATE, IT’S A REGULAR CARNIVAL WHEN TAXES COME INTO IT.  OLYMPICS PAY TAXES, DON’T THEY?  COR, BLIMEY, YOU’RE ON YOUR SIXTH!  HEY GEORGE WE’VE ONLY HAD HALF A DOZEN.  KEEP THE CONVEYOR BELT MOVING FOR GAWD’S SAKE.

DUD:  I’M JUST SAYING  NOT A WORD OF THANKS FROM THE OLYMPIANS FOR ALL THE BLEEDING TAXPAYER HAS DONE FOR ‘EM.

RONNIE:  KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN, DUD.  THAT’S MY ADVICE, MATE.  THE BIG BOYS AIN’T PAYING THEIR TAXES. THAT MEANS SOMEONE ELSE ‘AS GOT TO FORK OUT, LIKE.  REVENUE PICKS ON LITTLE PEOPLE LIKE US.  CAME A’TER ME LAST YEAR.  IN A PROPER SWEAT, I WAS.  GOT LUCKY THOUGH.  GOT THE WRONG BLOKE.  SOME CHARACTER WITH THE SAME NAME AS ME.  ONLY THE MIDDLE INITIAL WAS WRONG.

DUD: YOU KNOW THE ROMAN EMPIRE WENT DOWN THE KHASI BECAUSE THE RICH WEREN’T PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE.  IN TAX, I MEAN.  AND THE BIZANTINE EMPIRE, LIKEWISE.

RONNIE: THAT’S BLEEDING HISTORY, MATE.   NOTHIN’ TO DO WITH US NOW, HAS IT?

DUD:  NO, EXCEPT IT’S AN EXAMPLE.  A STARK WARNING!   COULD LIKELY HAPPEN AGAIN IF WE’RE NOT CAREFUL.

RONNIE:  THAT’S THE REVENUE’S WORRY, MATE.  WEIRD, THIS HERE IS MY EIGHT AND I DON’T EVEN FEEL A BIT WOOZEY.  STILL GLADYS OVER THERE IS BEGINNING TO LOOK A LITTLE GLAMOUROUS AND SHE’S A DAY OVER NINTY.

DUD: WHO’S GLADYS?

RONNIE:  THAT GREAT GREAT GRANNIE OVER THERE – IN THE NOOK.  COMES IN HERE WITH HER MATES EVERY DAY.  REGULAR AS CLOCKWORK.  GIN AND IT, THAT’S HER FAVOURITE TIPPLE.  STEADY AS A ROCK THOUGH.  YEAH, GLAD CAN HOLD HER LIQUER.  MORE THAN SOME HALF HER AGE.  SOBER AS A JUDGE, MATE.

DUD:  THERE’S NOT MUCH OF HER, IS THERE MATE?

RONNIE:  DRINK YOU UNDER THE TABLE, MY LAD. INURED.  COURSE SHE ALWAYS KEEPS TO GIN.  DOESN’T GO ABOU’ CHANGING HER DRINKS, LIKE.  TOO MUCH SENSE.  STEADY AS A ROCK ON HER PINS.  AND NO SHAKES.  NO TREMOURS.  ROCK STEADY.  OUR GLAD.  MUST HAVE DRAWN A FAIR AMOUNT OF OLD AGE PENSION BY NOW.  STILL, NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT.  SALT OF THE EARTH.  LOST HER HUBBY WAY BACK.  SERVIN’ QUEEN AND COUNTRY, HE WAS.  SHE’S MADE HER SACRIFICE, SHE ‘AS.  AND SHE’S GOT HER FAMILY ROUND HER.  DAUGHTERS AND SONS.  AND GOT SOME BROTHERS AND SISTERS STILL LIVIN’.  LONGEVITY, THEY CALLS IT.

DUD:  JUST THINKIN’ RONNIE.

RONNIE:  NOT TOO HARD, OLD SON.

DUD: JUST STRUCK ME, MATE.  THE BRITISH EMPIRE WAS ALSO BUILT ON A HEAD TAX, LIKE.  READIN’ ABOUT IT LAST WEEK.  WHEN SOME BLOKE, THE YOUNGER, I THINK IT WAS, BROUGHT IN INCOME TAX THERE WAS A RIGHT OLD SHOUTING MATCH ABOUT IT.

RONNIE: DON’T DOUBT IT.  PEOPLE JUST DON’T LIKE PAYING INCOME TAX.  NOBODY DOES.  EVEN GOES OFFSHORE TO AVOID IT.

DUD: WELL, WITH A HEAD TAX YOU HAVE TO PAY IT.  NO EXCUSES.  PAY UP OR ELSE.

RONNIE:  SOME CALLS IT A STEALTH TAX.  NOT SHOWN ON THE TILL RECEIPT IS IT?  CREEPS UP ON PEOPLE, SORT OF.  IN THE US OF A IT’S ALWAYS THERE.  THEY DON’T MIND BLAMING THE GOVERNMENT.

DUD: ASK GEORGE ABOUT IT.  HE’S BEEN TO UNI.  DEGREE IN HISTORY OR SOME SUBJECT OR OTHER.

RONNIE:  HEY, GEORGE.  OVER HERE, LAD.  DUD, HERE, SAYS THE BRITISH EMPIRE WAS BUILD ON HEAD TAXES.  EXACTLY WHEN DID THEY START CHARGING INCOME TAX?

DUD:  OK, GEORGE.  HELP US OUT.  I’M NOT A FOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE WHERE HISTORY’S CONCERNED.

RONNIE:  SO DUD IS RIGHT.  INCOME TAX WAS BROUGHT IN JUST WHEN THE NAPOLEONIC WARS WAS OVER.  WAS THERE ANY SORT OF BUST-UP?  A HELL OF ONE!  TOLD YOU SO, DUD.  THE MONIED CLASSES DON’T LIKE FORKING OUT, DUD.  OH, THE LANDOWNERS CUT UP ROUGH AS WELL.  SEE, CHAOS, LAD.  IT WAS ONLY SUPPOSED TO BE TEMPORARY THOUGH.  NO WONDER THE TOFFS COMPLAINED.

DUD:  WHAT KIND OF PERCENTAGE WAS IT,
MATE?  TRIVIAL,  HARDLY WORTH THE EXCHEQUER’S TIME.   HOW MUCH?  YOU’RE NOT SURE!

RONNIE:  THAT’S THE TROUBLE WITH HISTORY.  IT’S A LONG WAY BACK.  AND GEORGE IS BARELY TWENTY-FIVE.  COMMONSENSE.  CAN’T BE EXPECTED TO CARRY ALL THE FACTS IN HIS HEAD, CAN HE?

DUD:  HISTORY IS WRITTEN DOWN, RONNIE.  ALL THOSE DOCUMENTS COUNT FOR SOMETHING.  YOU HAVE TO WEAR GLOVES TO TURN THE PAGES OR EVEN LOOK AT THE MANUSCRIPTS.

RONNIE:   THAT’S THE TROUBLE YOU SEE, MATE.  HONEST SWEAT HAS NO PLACE IN HISTORY BOOKS.  PEASANTS ALWAYS GOT THE WORST OF IT.  BARONS AND KNIGHTS THE BEST OF IT.

DUD:  UNTIL THE COMMERCIAL REVOLUTION, RONNIE.  THEN KNIGHTS AND BARONS GOT DISPENSED WITH.  SERVED THEIR TIME, MATE.  HISTORICALLY SPEAKING, THAT IS.

RONNIE:  SERVED THEIR TIME, HAS THEY?  WHAT ‘BOUT THE HOUSE OF LORDS?  BARONS AND EARLS AT EVERY TURN.  AND WOT ABOUT KNIGHTS OF THE GARTER?  AND THEY GET THEIR DRINKS AT TAXPAYERS’ EXPENSE.  AND DINNERS, TOO!

DUD:  LLYODD GEORGE WAS SUPPOSED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.  EVEN THE KING WAS CONCERNED.

RONNIE:  AND EXACTLY WHEN WAS THAT?

DUD:  GEORGE, HELP ME OUT HERE.  WHEN DID LLOYD GEORGE THREATEN TO
FLATTEN, OR WAS IT DISPERSE, THE HOUSE OF LORDS?

RONNIE:  IN 1913. GOR BLIMEY! AND THEIR LORDSHIPS AND LADYSHIPS ‘RE STILL GOING STRONG.  LLOYD’S NOT EXACTLY A FAST MOVER, IS HE?  ACTION MAN, HE AIN’T.   OVER A CENTURY, AGO.   WELL THAT’S BLEEDING PROGRESS, FOR A START.  OF COURSE THERE’S ALL THIS BLEEDING FLUMMERY TO GO THROUGH.  YOUR GRACE THIS AND YOUR GRACE THAT.   BUT SOME OF THESE BLEEDERS DON’T HAVE BLUE BLOOD EITHER.  HOW COME THEY GET ELEVATED?

DUD: HONOURS, RONNIE.  SERVING QUEEN AND COUNTRY.  AND PEOPLE, LIKE.

RONNIE:  HONOURS, MATE.  WHY HAVEN’T I GOT ONE?

DUD:  YOU DON’T GET AN AWARD FOR PROPPING UP A BAR, RONNIE.  IT’S KIND OF RECOGNITION FOR SERVICES RENDERED TO THE COMMUNITY, THAT SORT OF THING.

RONNIE:  WELL, I NEVER.  SERVICES TO THE COMMUNITY.  AND WHAT DO I DO?  READ A LOT OF CORRESPONDENCE FOR FUN AND ADVISE PEOPLE ON HOW TO FILL IT IN PROPER.

DUD:  NOT THE POOLS, RONNIE.  AND NOT THE LOTTERY, FOR GAWD’S SAKE.  MEANINGFUL SERVICES.  LIKE NURSING OR HELPING THE DISABLED.  THAT SORT OF SERVICE.

RONNIE:  GOT IT, DUD.  NO GRATITUDE, IS THERE?  NO ACKNOWLEDGMENT.   HELPING PEOPLE WHO WANTS TO BETTER THEIRSELVES GETS NO BLEEDING RECOGNITION. ASPIRATIONAL, THAT’S THE WORD, MATE.
THE SOONER THEY GET RID OF THAT LOT IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS – IS IT LORDS OR LAYABOUTS – THE BETTER.  THEY’RE NOTHING BUT A MONKEY WRENCH IN BRITISH SOCIETY.   TRY TO HELP ORDINARY FOLK AND YOU’RE PENALISED.  IT’S A BLEEDIN’ AFFLICTION.

DUD: IT’S THE WAY OF THE WORLD, RONNIE.  THE PAPERS HAVE BEEN ON ABOUT HOW YOU HAVE TO STUMP UP IF YOU WANT TO MAKE PROGRESS.  CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE, SORT OF.

RONNIE: YOU KNOW WHAT, DUD?

DUD:   WHAT’S THAT RONNIE?

RONNIE: I’VE BEEN THINKING.  I’LL HAVE TO START CHARGIN’ FOR MY BLEEDING SERVICES.  THAT’S WHAT I MEAN.  NEVER REALISED HOW VALUABLE THEY WAS.  MAYBE I WAS A BIT HASTY IN WRITING ORFF THE HOUSE OF LORDLIES.  ON REFLECTION, I THINK THEY DO A BLEEDING GOOD JOB.

 

Two old men in a pub drinking

Part 2

DUD: Mines a pint, mate!

RONNIE: Here that Ginge – George. If only he’d stop at that.

DUD: Hey, since when’ve you been against alcohol? Don’t mind him, George. Just keep ’em comin’.

RONNIE: Hard liquor. Draw at line at rotgut, I DOES. Never lets it pass my lips, mate. BLEEDING SACROSANCT, MATE!

DUD: Just pour, you’re always saying. Wine, port, eggnog, Jack Daniels, parafin. No discrimination, you say. NO PREFERENCE.

RONNIE: S’right. Never refuse a drink. Bad etiquette, mate.

DUD: You mean just as long as somebody else is paying you’d drink poison.

RONNIE: What’s your poison is a drinking TERM, my man!

DUD: Well, you can certainly down it. You’ve even got the beer belly.

RONNIE: That’s my own personal vat, mate. 90% proof too!

DUD: I’ll have another, George. Yeah, the same.

RONNIE: Me too, mate. Can’t have enough fluids. Always danger of dehydration, laddie.

DUD: You’re slowing down, me old mate. You’d have inhaled five by now.

RONNIE: Sad but true, mate. It’s all these world events. One thing after a bleeding other. Last time you was here you said you’d become politically – aware, was it?

DUD: You’re right there, mate. Politics is my main concern. Reason for living, like. Politically conscious, that is.

RONNIE: Politically unconscious, more like.

DUD: Seriously, Ronnie. Politics has changed. Look what’s happening in America. And Europe for that matter. And the Middle-East. Even Brasil is in uproar. The whole world is accelerating politically. No brakes on the bleeding car.

RONNIE: Down the khasi, more like. Hey, you’re not an agitator by any chance, mate.

DUD: Naw.

RONNIE: Very relieved to know you’re not an agitator. You’re not a Red, are you? No. George. Not Man United. Like Reds under the bed, kind of thing. Comes of employing a vegan. And George is teetotal too, ain’t you mate? A teetotaler in a bleedin’ hostelry. Yeah, I can understand that. But vegan. Only serious drinkers in this pub. No time for steak and chips. Or any other nosh. Even the OAPs who come in here take their drink seriously.

DUD: Didn’t know George was a vegan. Is that a religion or a political persuasion?

 

Part 3 FEMINISM

RONNIE: TWO PINTS, GEORGE.

DUD: YOU PAYING, RONNIE?

RONNIE: JUST AT THE START, MATE. WE PAY ONE FOR ONE A’TER THAT. RECIPROCAL THEY CALLS IT.

DUD: I’M NOT FEMALE, RONNIE. NO USE GETTIN’ ME PLASTERED.

RONNIE: I’M A LOT MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN THAT, DUD. ANYWAY, BINTS DON’T DRINK PINTS. AT LEAST NOT THE ONES I ASSOCIATE WITH. GIN AND IT’S MORE THEIR KIND OF TIPPLE. OR ALCO POPS.

DUD: LONG AS YOU’RE SURE, MATE. DON’T WANT ANY MISUNDERSTANDINGS LATER ON.

RONNIE: GEORGE, ANOTHER FOR THE BOTTOMLESS WELL HERE. HARDLY SIPPED MINE AND HE’S FINISHED HIS. YEAH, GEORGE, I’M SUBBIN’ THE LAD.

DUD: SURE BREXIT HASN’T CHANGED YOUR PSYKE?

RONNIE: CERTAIN. SORRY TO TELL YOU YOU HAVEN’T DEVELOPED A VOLUPTUOUS FORM OR AN ALLURING FACE, OR BOTH. STILL THE SAME OLD HOWS-YOUR-FATHER BODY.

DUD: AS LONG AS THAT’S CLEAR, MATE.

RONNIE: ANYWAY, NOW THAT WE’VE SETTLED THE GENDER ISSUE, LET’S TALK ABOUT LOFTIER SUBJECTS.

DUD: NO ARGUMENT THERE, MATE.

RONNIE: HAVE YOU ANY ISSUE IN MIND?

DUD: WHAT ABOUT FEMINISM?

RONNIE: WE’VE JUST BEEN DOING IT. DO Y’KNOW WOMEN CAN’T HOLD THEIR LIQUEOR AS WELL AS MEN CAN?

DUD: ALL TO DO WITH BODY MASS, AIN’T IT?

RONNIE: BODY MASS. WOT YOU TALKING ABOUT?

DUD: MEN ARE BIGGER. GOT MORE MASS.

RONNIE: NOT THE BIRDS I KNOW.

DUD: BMI – BODY MASS INDEX. LOOK AT YOU. WITH THAT BEER-BELLY TWICE THE SIZE OF THE AVERAGE WOMAN.

RONNIE: YOU DO GET SOME FANCY IDEAS. WHERE YOU GET ‘EM I DON’T KNOW.

DUD: WATCHING INFORMATIVE TELEVISION PROGRAMMES, THAT”S WHERE.

RONNIE: LOR’ ALMIGHTY. HE’S BEEN WATCHING VICKY DERBYSHIRE AGAIN. MAKES YOU FEEL ASHAMED TO BE A MAN. FAIR POISONOUS IDEAS.

DUD: YOU CAN LEARN A LOT. PUTS YOU IN WOMEN’S SHOES. YOU SEE THEIR PROBLEMS WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX. GETS SOME KIND OF PERSPECTIVE, LIKE.

RONNIE: GOOD GAWD, I TOLD HIM NOT TO WATCH HER PROGRAMMES, GEORGE. HE’S EVEN THINKING LIKE A WOMAN NOW. EMPATHY, THAT’S THE WORD.

DUD: THEY DO MOST OF THE WORK AND GET PAID LESS FOR IT, THEY DO. NO USE ARGUING, RONNIE. YOU’RE JUST A WOMAN HATER THAT’S ALL.

RONNIE: WOMAN HATER? NOT ME. NOT BY A LONG CHALK. OPEN DOORS FOR THE LITTLE WOMAN. AND GIVE UP MY SEAT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT, I DO. NAW, THE SOUL OF DIPLOMACY, I AM. ONE OF NATURE’S GENTS, I AM.

DUD: GO ON, MATE, YOU’RE NOTHING MORE THAN A MALE CHAUVINIST PIG. OPENING DOORS AND GIVING UP YOUR SEAT. BIG DEAL. AND STOP SPLUTTERING IN YOUR PINT. THAT’S THE FIFTH BY THE WAY. TELL ME WHO DOES YOUR IRONING?

RONNIE: OUTSOURCING!

DUD: OUTSOURCING? YOUR TWO SISTERS PLUS YOUR MUM IN AN EMERGENCY.

RONNIE: WELL, THEY LIKES DOING IT. THEY LIKES TO KEEP ME LOOKING SMART. WOMEN LIKE A MAN WITH A GOOD APPEARANCE. PRESENTATION. DEDICATED THEY IS TO KEEPING ME UP TO GENTMANLY STANDARDS. REMEMBER DAVID NIVEN. PERFECT GENTLEMAN. TURNED OUT IMMACULATE HE WAS. THAT’S IT. MATERNAL INSTINCT. WOMEN HAVE THIS NATURAL CAPACITY FOR NEATNESS IN THEIRSELVES AND THEIR MEN KINFOLK.

DUD: YOU WOULDN’T EVEN GET TO THIS PUB WITHOUT HELP FROM YOUR OWN WOMENFOLK.

RONNIE: WAIT! I SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING. NOWHERE. YOU’RE DOING THAT OLD MAGICIAN’S TRICK. DISTRACTION, THAT’S IT. REDIRECTION. DIVERSION!

DUD: WE’RE TALKING ABOUT FEMINISM HERE, MATE.

RONNIE: OH, YES, THAT’S IT. FIRST WE GET THE OBVIOUS ONES OUT OF THE WAY.

DUD: GO ON. I’M A BELIEVER IN TRANSPARENCY. ASK AWAY.

RONNIE: LET’S GET THE OBVIOUS ONE OVER FIRST. PORN! HE ALWAYS FEELS GUILTY WHEN HE WATCHES PORN. APPROACHING SAINTHOOD WHEN HE’S FINISHED. THIS FEMINISM LARK HAS ALL THE TRADE MARKS. HERE, LET’S BE HAVING YOU. THE EYEBALLS, MATE.

DUD: GO ON, HAVE A DECCO!

RONNIE: CAN’T BE THAT. WHITE AS VIRGIN SNOW. Y’KNOW GEORGE, NOBBY NEARLY WENT COMAT.., AFTER A LONG SESSION. BLOOD-SHOT EYES. HEARING IMPAIRED. LOST FOCUS. OH, IT WERE A NEAR THING. ME, I CAN TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, MIND.

DUD: GET ON WITH IT, MATE.

RONNIE: NEXT ONE, MATE. HAS SOME LOVELY PIECE OF WOMANHOOD STOLEN YOUR HEART AWAY? GOT HER HOOKS INTO YOU DEAD PROPER? GEORGE, HE’S ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT WOMAN. NOW THAT’S BLEEDING DANGEROUS. LIKE GOING INTO THE ROMAN ARENA WITH HUNGRY LIONS LOOKING FOR DINNER.

DUD: NOT FALLEN UNDER ANY SPELL, MATE. FAR FROM IT.

RONNIE: IF THEY CAN GET BY HIS MUM HE’S HAD IT.
STILL, THAT SAINTLY LOOK RAISES MY SUSPICIONS.

DUD: NO, I HAVEN’T BEEN TO THE PICTURES.

RONNIE: DANCIN’ DAYS ARE OVER. SAD, THOUGH. DUD USED TO BE A RIGHT TEAR-AWAY. YEARS AGO HE AND NOBBY WENT DOWN TO A JOB CENTRE AND DRENCHED SOME OF THE FEMALE STAFF WITH A FIRE EXTINGUISHER.

DUD: HEY, I WAS A TEENAGER THEN.

RONNIE: DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT. WELL INTO HIS TWENTIES. ANYHOW, NOBBY GRABBED THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND WHOOSH. WATER ALL OVER THE GIRLS. TALK ABOUT A WET TEE-SHIRT PARTY. THE FRONT OF THOSE GIRLS. LOVED IT, THEY DID. COURSE I WAS THERE. ONLY I WASN’T ONE OF THE PERPETRATORS.
NO IT WASN’T OUR LOCAL JOB CENTRE. DO YOU THINK WE WAS BORN YESTERDAY?
COME TO THINK OF IT, DUD HELD THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND NOBBY AIMED THE HOSE.
HOW DID IT END? WELL DUD AND ME MADE A CLEAN GET-AWAY BUT NOBBY GOT CORNERED BY A POLICE DOG.

DUD: IT WAS YOU AND NOBBY. I WAS JUST AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER. COMPLETELY INNOCENT, MATE.
RONNIE: COUGHED UP, HE DID. NOT THAT I BLAME HIM. POLICE DOG THE SIZE OF THE BASKERVILLE HOUND. TOOK A DISLIKE TO OLD NOBBY, HE DID. WE ALL THREE GOT DONE. CAUTIONED, WE WAS. FINGERPRINTED. NO DNA TRACING IN THEM DAYS.

DUD: I GOT A POLICE RECORD FOR JUST BEIN’ THERE. ON THE SPOT. NO IDEA THEY WAS GOING TO COMMIT AN ANTI-SOCIAL ACT EITHER. OBLIVIOUS, I WAS, GEORGE.

RONNIE: THE THREE MUSKETEERS, WE WAS IN THOSE DAYS, GEORGE. COURSE WHEN NOBBY CLOCKED THE POLICE SERGEANT HE SPILLED THE BEANS. SIX FOOT FIVE IN HIS SOCKS. AND A MOST UNSYMPATHETIC FACE. CRAGGY, JUST LIKE A CLIFF FACE, IT WERE. MY, NOBBY WOULD HAVE CONFESSED TO A BANK ROBBERY WHEN HE SAW THE SIZE OF THE SERGEANT’S HANDS.

DUD: YOU WAS NO BETTER. ‘DON’T HIT ME SERGE’! ‘I’VE GOT A BAD BACK!’ AND BOTH HIM AND NOBBY CLAIMED I WAS THE INSTIGATOR. AND THEY GOT AWAY WITH IT. BULLIED THEM, THEY SAID.

RONNIE: THOSE WERE THE DAYS. WILD YOUTH. NO EXCUSES. OH YES, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, WE WAS WILD IN THEM DAYS. JUST RARIN’ TO GO. LEAN AND MEAN, WE WUS.

DUD: YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO KNOW ‘EM THEN, GEORGE. WORE LEATHERS AND THEM WITH NO BIKES. YOU KNOW THE SORT. AND EVEN DONNED BANDANAS. TIED ROUND THE HEAD LIKE REAL BIKERS. SAW THAT FIFTIES FILM – THE WILD ONE. MARLON BRANDO AND LEE MARVIN ON HARLEY HOGS. WHAT WAS THAT LINE – SOME GIRL IN THE FILM ASKS WHAT BRANDO IS AGAINST AND HE SAYS – ‘WHAT YOU GOT?’ RONNIE WAS BLEEDING MUMBLING FOR WEEKS. AND IN A YANKEE ACCENT. INFATUATED. FIXATED, THEY WAS. EVEN TRIED JOINING A MOTOR-CYCLE GANG AT THE LOCAL CAFF. BIKERS TOLD ‘EM TO COME BACK WHEN THEY HAD WHEELS. SO THAT WAS THE END OF THAT.

RONNIE: CAN’T ROLL BACK THE YEARS, GEORGE, SOMETIMES WISH WE COULD. SOME OF THEM BIRDS. NOT MUCH UPSTAIRS. OH, YEAH, THEY HAD A BODY ON ‘EM, GEORGE. OH, YES, SIREE WHAT I MEANT WAS THEY DIDN’T HAVE MUCH GREY MATTER. NOT ROCKET SCIENTISTS, LIKE.

DUD: YOU WILL SNIGGER, RONNIE. URSULA ENDED UP RUNNING A CHARITY FOR HEAVENS SAKE. VICKI IS NOW A BIOLOGIST. WORKS IN SOME INSTITUTE OR OTHER.

RONNIE: O K, NOT THEM BIRDS. THEY WAS A CUT ABOVE THE REST. STILL THEY WERE BOTH A LOT OF WOMAN.

DUD: YOU JUST GO ON APPEARANCES, MATE, YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED IN WOMEN’S BRAINS, ARE YOU?.

RONNIE: BLEEDIN’ RIGHT, ME OLD MATE. COURSE AFTER I’VE SLAKED MY ANIMAL PASSIONS THAT’S ANOTHER THING. SOUL OF DISCRETION, I AM’. ENJOY LISTENING TO A GIRL’S TROUBLES. SENSITIVE, I AM. MOST TACTFUL. QUITE THE DIPLOMAT, OLD CHAP.

DUD: YOU CAN’T ALTER, MATE. FOOTBALL AND WIMEN. YOUR WHOLE WORLD REVOLVES ROUND THEM.
RONNIE: DON’T FORGET THE BEER, MATE. LIFE’S SUSTENANCE.

DUD: WHAT’S THAT, GEORGE. DOLORES IS SUBBIN’ YOU FOR THE REST OF THE SESSION. YEAH, GOT IT. HEAR THAT, RONNIE.

RONNIE: WHA’S THAT, DUD.

DUD: GEORGE IS BOWING OUT. DOLORES IS SUBBING FOR ‘IM.

RONNIE: WHAT’S UP WITH GEORGE? WE’VE LOST COUNT. GEORGE IS A DAB HAND AT COUNTIN’.

DUD: WELL, GEORGE HAS TO TAKE A BREAK SOMETIME. HAVE YOU ANY IDEA OF HOW MANY PINTS WE HAD. EH, RONNIE, I ASKED YOU MANY PINTS WAS IT………….RONNIE, CONCENTRATE! WHAT’S COME OVER YOU?

RONNIE: SEE THAT?

DUD: WHAT, DON’T POINT. NEVER POINT.

RONNIE: DOUBLE DYNAMITE, DUD. AND THAT YOUNG LADY WILL BE SERVING US ALL DAY. BLISS!

DUD: DON’T EMBARRASS US, FOR GOD’S SAKE, RONNIE.

RONNIE: YES, DOLORES HAS GOT A BUILT ALRIGHT. EH, DUD? BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS FEMINISM LARK, DUD?

DUD: BLEEDING RIGHT, RONNIE. AND THEN SOME!

RONNIE: HOPE SHE HAS A SISTER. FOR YOUR SAKE, I MEAN.

The View from Hugh

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