An Afro-Caribbean man in his early sixties sits on an upturned packing case/tea chest.
He has a bottle of red stripe in his hand.
Brixton, it might as well change it to Brickstown
Cos dem taking de 1970s bricks down one by one
And dem ‘gentrifying’ de area.
Me know what a gentleman is ya kna!
Even though dat gentleman would not recognise his grandson now.
He came off de Windrush wid his hat and suitcase, looking and sounding every inch de gentleman.
You kna how him learn to count?
Counting de white dots, den came de darts
Best practice a man can have for Mental arithmetic
Counting down on de darts.
Dem didn’t have such a ting in de 1950s
Harold Macmillan told my Grandad that ‘he’d never had it so good’
He had a damn cheek dat Conservative
You kna ya history,
Ya don’t want a ‘mental’ telling you ya own damn history
Mental, Loony, Nutter, Crazy
Ya kna once de white doctor in de white coat give you de diagnosis
Dat it den!
You got to take de pills
You got to take de injection in de batty!
Dey got ya!
Dem imprison your ancestors on a boat from Africa
Dem bring ya over to fill dem shitty jobs your lovely neighbour wouldn’t do
And den when you tink ya got it sorted
Dem come down wid de chemical cosh
Cos der is nuttin more dangerous to a white man dan an angry black man
And we got every damn right to be angry.
I’m furious on a damn daily basis as you go past on de bus wid ya headphones on
And ya ipad on shuffle
I’m watching ya!
I’m seeing ya!
I don’t say you don’t work hard, you work too hard
And ya like to play hard don’t ya!
Ya come to take de first and last colony of Brixton back haven’t you?
Ya appetite for dem fancy latte’s kno no bound man
Ya kna how much de coffee grower is getting?
Ya kna how much de farmer is getting for his milk?
Ya certainly know how much dat stick thin man wid de beard is getting don’t ya?
But ya don’t check ya change do ya?
I know I seen ya!
It only going to be a matter of time for you
Before ya realise dat its all a load of bullshit
what are you now?
You wait till you get to ya forties and fifties
den it will hit yo like a damn brick man
Ya been lied to by everyone
Ya tink what ya doing is worthwile
But charity begin at home ya kna?
Can ya spare some change?
I don’t like to ask ya in de middle of a dramatic monologue in a nice middle class theatre
But how am I going to get ya damn attention anywhere else?
Cos less people are giving now ya kna?
Cos nobody knows anybody else
Because community all gone man
And dat was another damn Tory
And a damned woman at dat!
I bet your parents didn’t do too badly out of her eh?
You wouldn’t be sat der now otherwise.
Don’t do what dat titled woman did though!
She felt so guilty, she gave it all away
She went to live in a squat
She went mental as well
I was on de streets in de eighties
My Grandad was still alive den but he wasn’t happy
He didn’t stop me
Cos he realised dat Macmillan and Thatcher had been lying all along.
We always hear about dictator in other country
We don’t realise we hear about dem from our own.
Got arrested didn’t I
Did a bit of time didn’t I
Didn’t have to go very far
Dem put me in Brixton nick wid all me friends
Well me taught dey were me friends.
Dats another thing about getting older
You realise who da real people are
And ya know what by my age
There aren’t a lot of dem left.
So ya heard de old saying
“Give a dog a bad name”
Well what ya gonna do when ya come outta prison?
Nobody want to give ya job den.
Ya take a bit of weed, ya deal a bit of weed
Da weed get stronger
Ya smoking a lot of weed
De weed become a skunk
And you become a skunk head
And de next ting ya know
Ya standing outside Brixton Tube station reciting Martin Luther King’s Speech
‘Free at Last Free at Last, Thank God almighty we are free at last’
And you are de last person in de world to realise dat you ain’t free
Cos de damn white doctor in de damn white coat
Tell ya dat ya had a ‘Drug Induced Psychosis’ and dem tink
dat you are seriously mentally ill
Well who am I to argue?
Social Services look after you den.
Well meaning types who wouldn’t know Mental Health if it parked on dem foot.
So come on den
Give me some change?
Come on, I seen ya buying your Lattes and ya Couscous!
It just you and me in here ya kna!
I couldn’t do ya no harm
But I know ya scared!
I tell ya what, I know ya pay for ya ticket but I put my Rasta Beany down here
And I turn around on me tea chest
And I leave it completely up to you
‘Love thy Neighbour’
Lights Down: Music Plays https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FsDwwhQvFc