‘Still, these men and women
-past and present-
have created and are creating
new worlds for
the rest of us,
despite the fire and despite the ice,
despite the hostility of governments,
despite the ingrown distrust of the masses,
only to die,
and usually alone’
Charles Bukowski from A Sickness?.
Dad: Seventy Two with silver hair and a good singing voice.
Son: Fifty two, bald, thin, wiry build.
Marta: Polish National, early twenties.
Back Room or Parlour of a Terraced House in the East End of London. Artexed walls and a large table centre stage where the action begins. A large Dictionary on the table.
SFX: BBC Radio Broadcast Winston Churchill The First Month of the War October 1 1939.
Poland has been again overrun by two of the great powers which held her in bondage for over 150 years but were unable to quench the spirit of the Polish Nation. The heroic defence of Warsaw shows that the soul of Poland is indestructible and that she will rise again like a rock which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave but which remains a rock.
Dad: We’ve gone soft!
I tell you we could learn a lot from these Poles. Catholics, white, hard working, God fearing.
Son: Do you know any Dad?
Dad: No, not personally but I’ve seen them, You can spot them! Square Heads!
Son: That’s the Germans Dad!
Dad: Yes, I know but the Pole has got a squarish face!
They can put up with a lot!
Their country has been invaded so many times.
They’ve got an in built defiance!
The Warsaw thingummy!
Son: They’re not English though Dad are they?
You’ve told me from a young age that we are the best fighters, the best footballers, the best lovers!
Dad: Yer Mum would have told you the same!
Son: Yeah Mum! She had to put up with a lot didn’t she?
Dad: What do you mean?
Son: I mean she had to put up with a lot Dad.
With me going into prison for such a long time.
It must have been a real worry.
She never missed a visit in all that time.
I miss her Dad.
Dad: I miss her more than you do!
She was a stranger when I married her!
I married a stranger and she gave birth to you!
Son: She was a stranger Dad was she?
Strange word that innit Dad!
Strange word is Stranger!
It’s got strange connotations!
Dad: Conner what?
You been reading that bloody dictionary again?
Son: No just me war books Dad!
I like reading me war books after what you told me about the war!
Dad: What do you mean conno/…
Son: Tations Dad, Tations!
Patience Dad, Patience.
I used to think a lot about you when I was inside Dad!
I had a picture of you and Mum in my cell.
It used to crack me up looking at it.
Dad: I didn’t come as often as I should have done, I grant you that!
I found it hard boy, first one in the family banged up!
It took a lot of explaining away!
You’re Mum came to see you every week!
Son: I paid my debt to society Dad and some!
Dad: What’s brought this on!
You still taking those pills!
You ok are you?
You been bad boy?
Son: Yeah Dad I know, I been very sick, very sick!
There’s not much in prison to stop you going mad Dad!
Dad: I don’t know what you mean, Veronica had to put up with a lot!
Son: Well I been sick!
She had to put up with me……..being inside like!
Dad: Is that what you mean?
Son: Yes Dad of course, nothing to do with you!
Dad: Well I thought!
Son: No Dad don’t be silly!
It’s getting cold now!
How much have we got on the meter?
Dad :Cold, Cold!
I put ten pound in day before yesterday!
That’s what I’m saying son!
I know you been sick but there was a weakness there!
I don’t know.
It can’t have been from my side obviously!
Son: Obviously Dad!
No it’s not cold now you mention it!
Prison did harden me up Dad!
It knocked off those soft edges you kept going on about!
Son: It’s like the word foreign dad innit!
Clear as a bell what that means done it!
Foreign and strange!
We are very lucky in our language Dad ain’t we!
Words sound like they mean!
Our language is in your face Dad innit!
Alien that’s another good one.
If they’re not one of us, their alien!
There’s no ambiguity there Dad! It’s unambiguous!
Dad: H.G Wells was right son!
War of the Worlds!
Clash of Civilisations.
We were the best footballers when I was growing up!
World Cup Willy and all that!
Son: Were you there Dad?
Dad: No I couldn’t get a ticket!
Well, my Dad couldn’t get a ticket for me!
We watched it on the telly, it was better!
We had more players than any other team in that England side!
Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Bobby Moore and Jimmy Greaves in reserve.
Should have played Jimmy!
I reckon that’s why he took to the sauce because they never played him!
Big Game to miss that innit!
I mean what you gonna do after that!
It’s down hill all the way!
Saturday mornings sat next to Ian St John. No thank you very much!
Son: I reckon we’re jinxed Dad!
As a team!
Somebody’s put a curse on us!
Dad: We’re a resilient team!
We come back from the face of adversity.
If Churchill had been a football supporter he’d have been an Hammer.
We won the F.A Cup in 1979.
Trevor Brooking’s Header.
Son: Long Time Ago Dad!
Not much since then!
We’ve been up and down like Yo-yo’s.
Dad: Kids today wouldn’t know what a Yo-Yo was or a Kite or a Hoola Hoop.
1966 was a long time ago! (Emphasis)
If England had more West Ham Players in their side it would be a different story.
Son: Are my roller skates still in the shed Dad?
I could have done with them getting about the prison.
Dad: Marbles, you don’t see em playing marbles any more!
Son: They were singing I’d rather be a Packie than a Jew when they played Spurs.
Dad: I’d rather be a Pole than a Jew.
(looking intensely at the paper)
That’s where its going to go off next time. Russia.
That’s what the Express is saying.
That’s why all the Poles are coming over here!
Because they’re fed up of Communism and they don’t want to be invaded again!
So when Putin sends his army in we’ll be fighting along side the Free Poles once again.
That’s what makes me angry about your Chelsea supporter!
They ain’t got foresight! Abramovich he’s a big mate of Putin’s!
The Russians are taking the piss with us! They’re taking liberties! The whole city it’s teeming with the Russian Mafia. I mean what was all that with Litvinenko. Poor Bastard. They don’t take prisoners, yer Ruskies. One dirty look and its Dasvidanya my son.
When it kicks off, he’ll be back to Russia and Chelsea will be back where they belong.
Son: I only got sick after Mum………
Dad: No there were signs from an early age son!
Your Uncle Maurice, Gawd rest his soul, said you were a strange boy!
Son: Uncle Maurice didn’t know what he was talking about!
I was a shy boy Dad!
Dad: You make it hard work for yourself boy!
You don’t see shy kids any more.
No such thing as shy.
I wonder if the word is still in the dictionary.
We used to say it all the time “Never Mind, he’s just shy”
Son: I’ve lost me nerve Dad!
I can’t do anything!
Dad: (Picking up the Dictionary and leafing through)
It’s the cave mentality son!
Bound to happen! You don’t fink about it when you’re inside but when you get outside you want to be back inside. Not inside prison but inside your house. There are some ex cons you don’t see em again. They lock themselves away because they have been locked away!
Here it is Shy. Its an adjective with the words ‘of a wild animal’ in brackets. Easily frightened, timid, lacking confidence in the presence of others, here you are boy especially strangers.
Son: Especially Uncle Maurice.
What was he doing round here all the time Dad?
Dad: He was my youngest brother! It was my duty to look after him, keep an eye on him.
He was in danger of going off the rails.
Teddy Boy with his Bicycle chain!
Bit of a nuisance was Maurice but he calmed down after coming to stay here. He was always going up Notting Hill, looking for trouble and he found it.
Son: I felt shy around him Dad.
Dad: Well he’s gone now so you don’t have to worry about him neither.
Son: Ironic Dad! England V West Germany
Lots and Lots of Iron to build Hammers to break the Square Heads of the Strange Foreigners.
Eh! Quite Good that eh?
Soon, son, very soon!
Son: I mean the war being fought between England and West Germany and then we play em at football, twenty one years after!
I think Germany has learnt its lesson like what I’ve learnt me lesson.
We both been punished……..bad. We’ve learnt now how to operate.
Learnt how to be better, better for the benefit of others!
The others don’t really care at what cost though!
Me and Germany have had to suppress our natural inclinations!
Dad: I met your Mum when I was twenty one!
She was from Hackney!
I was living in Green Street!
She was shopping!
I noticed her!
Son: What did you notice Dad?
Dad: Don’t be so bloody cheeky!
Son: What Dad?
Dad: She was with her Dad!
I noticed her Dad!
What did I notice?
The bloody cheek of this boy!
If your Mum was here and she heard that you had asked what did I notice about her!
She wouldn’t have been very happy!
Son: She suffered Dad!
Dad: Yes son, she suffered but then we all suffered!
The whole of London suffered under the blitz!
But we got our revenge!
We beat them at the beautiful game!
Son: War is not a beautiful game Dad!
Dad: Football you idiot, fool!
You foolish idiot!
What do you think I’ve been talking about!
We was watching the telly up the Artichoke.
Me, your Uncle Maurice, and your Granddad.
Yes I was, with my Dad who had fought in the war!
Son: Where was Mum?
Dad: Washing your Bum!
She didn’t like football!
She gave me the day off from all your crying and bleating!
Son: I was ten Dad! I was ten in 1966!
Dad: Yes well you was still crying and bleating!
Still sucking your thumb at ten!
Son: I heard it on the radio!
I was on my own!
Dad:What? I left her here with you.
Well I don’t know where your mother was!
Probably gone shopping!
That’s all they do the old skirt, spend all your hard earned on kitchen floors and perfume and holidays you don’t need or want.
Son: Strange Foreigners Dad!
Yeah you said it Dad!
Strange Foreigners and your Dad, My Granddad!
He fought strange foreigners on behalf of England! England’s Glory wasn’t he Dad? Eh!
Dad: He was stood up in front of the telly in his full eighth army kit!
Shorts, vest and boots and he saluted when it was all over.He was then my age now so he was by no means a younger man like yourself but he was a proud Englishman and he had served under Auckinleck and Montgomery.
Son: He was at Tobruk wasn’t he?
Dad: He was son!
Strange Foreigners and flies!
Now his generation born in the early twenties had been born to poverty you see son and this is my point about the Poles!
They come from a hard, tough, background.
Now your grandfather was six when the General Strike was on and he told me that nothing moved!
Now you see if you’ve been brought up in poverty then war is a doddle because fighting poverty is like fighting a war!
It makes you tough!
You want to eat, you want to survive! You fight, you fight hard!
Not like today son!
They’ve all gone soft!
They’re all frightened of dying!
I don’t understand it!
This generation, they’re all cowards son!
Son: I think, I think I would have liked to have fought in the war!
Dad: Don’t let anybody round here hear you saying that!
There’s money now in this street!
That’s you’re officer class!
Not the fighters, not the grafters!
These are your tent dwellers son, map readers, pipe smokers!
Like you’re Bedouins, hiding behind the sand!
They disappear when the going gets tough!
Got an excuse for everything this mob!
Son: Your Dad was a Bulldog!
Dad: An English bulldog!
England expected in them days son!
Son: We had an enemy who was bad though!
Dad: Hitler was mentally ill but nobody picked up on it.
I do a bit of reading myself son.
They all followed him, the herd.
Today see with all that technology they could have done one of em brain scans on him.
He’d have been in a padded cell and that Mussolini…….
Sorry Son, I wasn’t thinking.
Son: But we don’t know who our enemy is today!
Dad: I know my enemy son!
I can smell em!
Know what I’m saying!
It’s normally garlic and some other shit!
Son: We’re not fighting the French now Dad!
Dad: You might not be son!
I try and get down Waterloo Station quite often and have a butchers like!
Son: The Eurostar Generation!
What if that had been operational during the war!
There’d have been no Dunkirk.
We’d have come back on the train.
Dangerous that tunnel is!
We are an Island race son!
That’s why we ain’t been invaded!
I’d have a flamethrower I would.
Stand at the entrance and give em all a singeing.
You could tell all the illegals because they’d have no eyebrows.
Any illegals and they’d have their eyebrows shaved off!
Son: that’s a bit severe Dad!
Dad: We had Wellington, Nelson and Churchill and my Dad had Monty!
As a leader, as a general! Monty was the man!
He was from Woodford, Essex he was!
Things have changed round here!
Too much change!
He said in 1959, Bernard Law, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein he said “Anyone who votes Labour ought to be locked up”.
Son: Where about’s in Hackney was she from?
Dad: Oh I don’t know, that block of flats, not far from the Empire!
Son: Did you go up there Dad?
Dad: Not often no!
Son: I missed a lot of school Dad because of the sickness.
I liked English Dad!
English and History!
I caught up in Prison Dad!
That Library was the best think about it.
Why didn’t you go up there Dad?
Dad: Why not?
What you bleeding after?
What is your game?
Your meant to be sick son!
But something is up.
Something is definitely up!
Son: I’m only asking Dad!
I want to fill in a few blanks, a few question marks.
Dad: They built a lot of housing estates up there after the Second world war.
The Face of London changed after the war!
I said to her, that it wasn’t natural for her and her old man to be living in one of them flats.
It was your bleedin Labour Government, after the war.
The politicians and planners were convinced that your 60 storey blocks of flats were the ideal habitat for human beings as recommended by a Frenchman son, Le Corbusier.
I said come and live with me in my suburban house and garden.
Son: Mary, Mungo and Midge lived on the eighth floor of a block of flats in a town. I never realised it was Richard Baker.
Dad: What do you mean?
Son: It’s time for your bed Dad!
You need your strength!
Dad: Your just like your old man……ain’t you!
Apart from the sickness of course.
Son: That was Mum’s side you think?
Dad: Well you said it son!
Quite likely, I mean Hackney son!
The Mist off the Marches like!
I can smell vinegar son!
Son: There’s an army of em in prison Dad!
Dad: State the countries in son!
That’s why they’re all going the way of Bethlehem!
Off to Bedlam in the Morning!
And there’s some of us who are still holding out for a new Jerusalem.
Son: I want a girlfriend Dad!
Dad: You’re too old to have a girlfriend.
You get a girlfriend and I’m dead.
She will take against me!
She will want you to spend your Incapacity Benefit on perfume and kitchen flooring and when you go off on a holiday that you don’t need or want you’ll come back and find you’re old man dead as a door nail!
Cobwebs, the smell, the works!
You won’t know how to cope!
What to do!
So I’m telling you again son!
No Girlfriend, not at the moment!
Son: But what if she’s sick like me!
We could support each other!
You’ll be like the twin towers crumbling!
Son: She was a beautiful woman!
Dad: Yes, she was attractive when I met her!
Son: She was a beautiful person!
Dad: Veronica was a good woman, yes, but I’m just wondering where she was the day of the World Cup Final!
She shouldn’t have left you alone!
Son: You said “There are only two days in your life when your wife gives you pleasure, the day you marry her and the day you bury here”.
You said it to the Vicar and he laughed!
Dad: Well, I was trying to make light of a serious situation son.
Son: Doesn’t matter now though does….
Dad: Yes it does it bloody matter!
Son: Sorry Dad!
Dad: You don’t think I cared enough about your Mum do you!
Son: You’re saying that not me!
Dad: Don’t use my tricks!
Son: She didn’t like football Dad, you said so yourself! Not many women do like football!
Dad: Well what you want a girlfriend for?
Son: Give you a Grandson Dad!
Dad: At 52 years of age!
You won’t have any sperm left!
Son: I’ve got some in a testube up the hospital!
Dad: Where you going to meet a woman whose prepared to stick a leaky testube up her?
Son: There’s a few get in the bar of the Artichoke!
Dad: Brasses! Harlots!
You’re going to offer to put a prostitute up the duff! You’ll stop all her earnings!
Son: They’re not all on the game!
Dad: They’re all on that bleedin crack though!
Son: We all need something Dad!
We all need somebody Dad!
Dad: There’s no war to keep you all occupied!
No, you’re better off staying in with your old man!
Couple of bottles of brown ale and the Quality Papers Boy!
I read the Express and pass it to you, you read the Mail and pass it to me!
What more do you need son?
I’ve accepted that the lineage is not to be carried on. It’s probably for the best son what with the sickness, you wouldn’t want a kid to go through what you’ve been going through…..
Son: Prison can do strange things to your head Dad!
Dad: They should send the prison population out to Afghanistan or Iraq!
Give them the choice!
It was saying in the Mail that a group of lifers from Italy had written to the Prime minister requesting the return of the Death Penalty.
I reckon the prisoners would go for it.
You could give a lifer the opportunity of regaining a bit of dignity by offering to lay dow
Lloyd George did it with the Black and Tans!
Promised them their freedom from Glasgow’s jails if they would go and do a little job for him over in Ireland.
It would sort the overcrowding out!
80,000 and rising.
Prisoners and soldiers!
They are all at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
Son:I wasn’t socialised properly! I’ve missed out.
Dad: Socialised, what sort of word is that!
We fought a war against that type of thing.
Your lucky to be here at all.
Your bleedin Hitler was socialised, a national socialised and look what happened there.
Lucky we didn’t listen to him son!
Lucky for you!
Son: I didn’t learn about emotions Dad.
Nobody teaches you about emotions.
When your in school you just learn facts and figures.
You learn how to fail exams.
You need to learn about emotions when you’re a teenager. They should have emotions teachers.
Why didn’t you teach me about emotions Dad!
Dad: We don’t have emotions in this country son!
That’s a European invention!
We have stiff upper lips son!
We wouldn’t have won the war otherwise!
Moral weakness is emotions!
That was your Lady Di and Anthony Blair!
They opened the Floodgates there!
They, the herd, boy, they mourned extravagantly. I ain’t never seen the like of it, extravagantly.
Weakness boy, Weakness!
Son: That’s what’s caused all the problems today Dad! People not talking about their emotions.
Bottling it all up!
Dad: So you’re blaming me and your mum now.
And she’s not here to defend herself.
We did our best!
It’s not easy being parents you know!
Son: I read a bit of Psychology Dad inside, like from the Prison Library.
I wanted to work out what was wrong with me!
I was reading that the more completely boys and girls free themselves from their parents, the less likely it is that the incestuous Oedipus Complex will manifest itself in the form of neurotic symptoms.
I lived here with you and Mum, then I went to prison, then I came back here to live with you.
Dad: I thought the Doctor told you what was wrong with you!
Son: He did!
Son: Psycho-Affective Disorder!
He said that there was a part of us, the unconscious mind, to which the laws of reason and morality did not apply.
Inherited ancient emotions have an important and sometimes tragic influence on adults.
Dad: You’re a Psycho in other words!
Son: I prefer the word ‘Lunatic’Dad!
It’s the only thing that’s been a constant in my life!
(Gets up from his chair and walks over to the window)
Dad: What is?
Son: The Moon, I could see it from me cell window.
I was on North Wing on the right hand side, third floor up.
Dad: The Moon?
Son: It shone a natural light into me cell, after hours of artificial white light, the moon’s rays comforted me.
I used to look at the picture of you and mum through the moonbeams.
(Turns to look at his father)
I didn’t think I’d end up in prison Dad.
Dad: What can I do to make amends?
Son: Get me a girlfriend Dad!
Dad: And how am I going to do that son!
Call one in off the street and introduce you through the letterbox!
Shall I tell the till girls down the food shop that I’ve got a balding, toothless, mentally ill son at home just dying to meet them.
Son: Beggars can’t be choosers Dad!
Dad: No son of mine is a beggar!
You’re a worker, not a beggar.
Son: I’m on Incapacity Benefit!
Dad: Well I’ve paid my taxes!
Women like workers! They like you to bring home the bacon!
Son: It’s not like that now Dad!
There’s equality of opportunity!
A lot of women like to pay their own way, have their own say!
Dad: Well, it wasn’t like that in my day!
Until the opening of the first launderette in 1949.
That was the beginning of it all.
They should have been at home!
They know it and all!
When did all that Feminism come in!
Under a Labour Government.
Wouldn’t have it in my house!
You see what they done back then was to persuade us to buck our biological legacy.
Listen up son! You might need the dictionary for this!(pushes the dictionary across the table)
They claim, your girlfriends and your wives, that governments, religions and education systems have added up to nothing more than a plot by men to suppress women.
Keeping women pregnant was a way of controlling them even more.
Historically that’s how it appears but the question needs to be asked son, if women and men are identical as your feminist claims, how could men ever have achieved such total dominance over the world?
The women’s movement freed modern women’s attitudes to their sexuality but unfortunately for thee and me my boy it did not increase their basic urge to have sex.
Son: I thought you were going to bed!
Dad: What’s the matter?
Son: You said!
Dad: I said!
You started talking about strange foreign women!
You sidetracked me.
You got me talking about some of me favourite topics.
What is that smell of vinegar?
It’s good for weeds you know.
Your still a child son!
You haven’t become a man.
Son: She smelt like a rose !
Dad: What the prossie up the Artichoke? They smell of vinegar!
Son: No Mum!
When she came home after Engerland had beaten West Germany at Wembley!
Dad: How do you know what a rose smells like?
Son: There used to be roses in the garden Dad!
You used to grow roses!
You’d let them grow wild!
Dad: Your mum smelt like a rose that I grew in the garden. Well I never heard such nonsense! A boy of ten!
Son: Women smell really nice Dad!
Dad: They can smell your money son or lack of it!
Go to Bed!
Take a cold bath as well if I were you!
Read a war book before you go to bed!
Monte Casino or that one about Vietnam!
Better than a cold shower!
Son: Good night Dad!
Thanks for the chat!
Dad: You’re at a difficult age son!
Son: Good Night!
Dad: You’re 52 son.
You don’t want to be bothering with women/girls.
They’re a bleedin nuisance son!
Son: Here Dad there’s a geezer in the Express saying that we should have our own anthem.
Dad: I agree boy! There’ll always be an England.
Son: It’s got to be Jerusalem Dad!
Come on Dad! Sing us the song Dad!
We always finish the night off with a song!
Let’s have it Dad!
Dad: (Sings in broad Cockney and loud emphasising every end word)
And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of god
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine,
Shine forth upon those clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds unfold;
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.
Banging on the walls. Voices in a different language
Dad: Goodnight Son!
Son: Night Dad!
The Following Morning.
Son: It must be a disappointment, this country now Dad to your strange foreigners!
Your alien refugees must find it a bit unfriendly like.
Dad: Oh yes son, I’m absolutely, sure of that!
Why should it be any different?
We are going to hell in a handcart son.
(Dad tucks into the breakfast placed before him)
Your fighting man, your killing man has got standards!
He has a code of conduct to live by!
He instilled that in me when I was working.
You have to have standards.
Store Man for the Council after I done my National Service. I get a pension off the Council.
That’s what keeps us in this style.
Pension is very important son!
I had to make provision for you and your Mum!
I had responsibilities boy!
I married at twenty one, your Mother was nineteen.
Son: Yes Dad, we all have choices to make.
Dad: You’ve got less choices than the rest of us because you would be classified as ‘Mentally Ill’.
Son: I just get a bit anxious, a bit worried!
Dad: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying boy!
You shouldn’t worry boy!
That’s what fathers are for!
That’s our job!
You ain’t a father your still a boy!
You are Mummy’s boy!
Son: I think I’d like to get out today Dad!
Son: I’d like to leave the house!
Dad: No son! The freedom to travel is the only freedom we have left in this country and it isn’t given out freely, it isn’t given out willy nilly.
World Cup Willy Nilly!
You’re grounded son.
You can’t go out there.
Son: They might be having a bit of a celebration in Trafalgar Square.
Dad: Unlikely son!
Only Foreigners and Strangers get to use that place!
Son: I ain’t been out of the house for a long time now Dad!
Dad: It’s out there that makes you sick!
Son: Well you’re looking good on it Dad!
Dad: Well I ain’t sick boy am I!
I ain’t got the melancholy.
I live in the moment son.
You for some strange reason keep living in the past.
Doctor said you’ve got to take it easy boy.
Son: I need to make some sense of the future Dad!
Dad: The future is you and me in here keeping company, watching the clock, listening to the radio.
Looking at the birds out the back!
I was going to head down the station to watch em coming in today!
Son: The Immigrants Dad?
Dad: Yes son!
I’ll only be gone two hours at the most.
Son: Don’t forget your flag dad!
Dad: Drape it round my soldiers son!
It doesn’t half make people look, seeing a man of my age.
Son: A man of your hairstyle and kidneys!
Dad: A Man of my advanced years! It’s the grey hair.
Son: You look like a Silver Fox Dad!
Dad: The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.
Proverbs Chapter 20 V 29.
It’s not the flag.
It’s the shirt and tie that fools them.
Son: Soldiers shoulders, Dad. You’ve got soldier’s shoulders.
I wish that I had soldiers shoulders!
Dad: Still time boy.
Son: No Dad! My time has gone! I lost my youth to the sickness.
Dad: The malaise that has blighted our country since 1966. We won but we also lost at that moment.
Son: I had ten good years Dad! I was ten when it started!
Dad: We fulfil different functions, high and low, in accordance with our different abilities and these functions are not of equal importance to the whole society.
That’s your Nietzsche! Not your Nurture!
My work for example in the Council stores was not as vital as that of the Prime Minister.
I recognised that!
Bleedin shambles son!
Withdrawal of troops from responsibilities East of Suez son.
These Poles I was telling you about yesterday.
They’re hard working women!
There’s something about your Pole.
They’re almost more English than the English are if you understand what I’m saying!
I wouldn’t mind a Polish Daughter.
A Non Complainer!
Look son, in places like Borneo, parts of Africa and Indonesia and amongst the Inuit of Greenland they understand their roles.
Men appreciate women and women appreciate men.
Each sees the other as uniquely contributing to the family’s survival and well-being.
For your men and women living in civilised countries, the old rules have been thrown out.
Chaos, confusion and unhappiness have been left in their place.
Dad: We were on top of the world in 1966!
We were world champions!
I want to know what has happened to our country, our civilisation since then?
I need to know!
Was I sleeping?
Ted Heath and the Common Market.
That was the start.
That was when they started coming in.
Son: You was working for the Council Dad. In the stores.
Dad: Yes son, in the Quartermasters Stores!
Their like rats boy running round!
You can’t even go into your own garden now!
Your own property without feeling uncomfortable.
You turn round and there’s somebody there!
If you can’t see em, you can sense em.
Son: I don’t see em dad! I can’t sense them.
Dad: They’re getting closer boy and it’s like we can’t do anything about it.
What you want to go out there for!
They’ve put something in the water.
You see I’ve always thought it was a tragedy that the two great Saxon races fought each other.
He admired us old Hitler, that’s why he didn’t invade.
He was an incredible orator, people forget that!
Eva Braun! Now there was a woman!
A strange foreign woman, I am not saying but loyal.
Loyalty is the key!
What woman in this day and age would bite into the arsenic with you!
Son: Was Mum loyal Dad?
Dad: If it’s the type of loyalty that I’ve been showing to West Ham over the years.
Then yes I suppose she was loyal.
Would you say that you’d been loyal to us son……having done what you done?
I mean was you sick, when you done what you done?
Or did you become sick, in prison like, after you done what you done?
That is the question!
Son: I really don’t know.
Dad: Well less of this talk about loyalty then boy I have to start thinking about going, about leaving like.
Leaving you at home alone!
I don’t like doing it!
Son: You go Dad! I’ll go and sit in the garden!
Dad: Sit in the garden!
What in the middle of winter!
With all those nosy neighbours!
Son: I’ll wear a hat Dad!
Dad: What do you want to go out there for boy!
You wouldn’t have anything to talk about with them!
Them’s you’re educated types son.
Been to University a lot of em.
Even to your public schools!
They’ve all moved in here because the properties that little bit cheaper.
I better leave!
Spectacles, Testicles, wallet and watch eh son!
I’ve still got some balls.
The Silver Fox and his balls marching down to Waterloo because I march son!
Soldier’s shoulders back!
Flag nay banner!
The Cross of St George! I’m off like the wind!
Son: Same place Dad! Top of the escalators!
Dad: Don’t you go into that garden boy! Don’t you dare!
Son: Someone gave you money once!
Didn’t they Dad!
Dad: Are you trying to stop me from leaving!
Company at all costs!
Son: No Dad!
I just remember you not being very happy when that strange foreigner gave you money.
Thought you was a busker or a beggar.
Dad: I shall take the District line Westbound.
I’ll show you son that beggars can be choosers.
What your woman don’t realise son is that men came back from the war brutalised!
They’d seen their best mates blown up in front of their eyes and they’d get home and they expected it to be the same like it was before the war.
The war changed everything boy!
Son is wearing a West Ham sun hat and looking out at the back garden. There is a knock on the front door.
Marta: Hello, how are you? My name is Marta Kostirova.
Shows her identification Badge.
Have you heard of the European Concern Foundation?
Marta: Would you be interested in helping with our work?
Son: We have a swallow, you see in the garden.
It starts to rain.
Son: Come in for a moment.
Marta: The European Concern Foundation works with Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Son: Come and see the Swallow.
Marta: You live here…alone?
Son: Yes, this is my house.
Marta: Would you like me to tell you some facts about our organisation.
Son: I haven’t got any money. Is it all about money?
Marta: No but….
Son: I’m on Incapacity Benefit.
Marta: We don’t have such a thing in Poland.
Son: You are from Poland?
Son: Would you like a cup of tea?
Marta: Yes that would be very nice.
We provide information and support services for refugees and asylum seekers.
Son: Do you work for them?
Marta: I am a volunteer fundraiser. I am a waitress.
Marta: A Resteraunt in Leicester Square.
Son: How long have you been in England?
Marta: 1 year.
Son: I am fifty two. How old are you?
Marta: Twenty eight.
Son: Are you one of those?
Marta: One of those?
Son: A Feminist.
Marta: I am a woman.
Son: I can see that. It’s the Tits that give it away.
Marta: I think I’d better go.
Son: You can’t go. Why did you ask where my wife and son were? I told you I live alone.
Marta: I didn’t. I’m sorry. Please I must go now.
Son: You can’t. My father would like to meet you.
Marta: You said……
Son: Confusing isn’t it. Life in England.
Marta: Where is your father?
Son: Waterloo Station. He goes down there once a week to watch the tourists and visitors who come in on the Eurostar.
Marta: He likes people from abroad. He is not a usual Englishman.
Son: He admires the Poles. You’ll be all right. He’ll be pleased to meet you. Here’s your tea!
Marta: Can I ask why you don’t work?
Son: You can ask, doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you.
I have Mental Health difficulties. I take tablets.
Marta: My son also suffers.
Son: Your son. How old is he?
Marta: He is ten.
Son: Where is he?
Marta: He is at home in Poland. He stays with my father.
Son: It must be difficult.
Marta: I will be going home soon. I wanted to experience life in England. We hear that there are many opportunities.
Door opens and Dad enters and doesn’t see Marta at first.
Dad: Fucking Foreigners. They was swarming like ants down there.
Son: Dad, this is Marta!
Dad turns and looks as if he’s been shot. He stands with his mouth open.
Marta: Hello Dad!
Dad: I need a drink. Get me a Scotch!
Son: Marta called around collecting for the European Concern Foundation.
Dad sits on his chair and his face is frozen in shock.
Son: What’s the matter Dad? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.
Marta: I am sorry Dad, I better go.
Dad: What are you calling me Dad for? I’m not you’re Dad.
Son: Marta has got a ten year old son. He lives with her father in Poland.
Dad: I need to speak to you Son!
Son: Yeah, what Dad?
Dad: No I need to speak with you!
Marta: May I use the bathroom?
Son: Top of the stairs and to the left.
Marta: I know where it is… I mean I’ll find it, thank you.
Marta exits and Dad grabs Son by the shoulders
Dad: Who is that woman? Where did she come from?
Son: She’s from Poland. What’s the matter Dad.
Dad: She looks, she looks like someone. What does she keep calling me Dad for?
Son: She doesn’t know your first name. Come to think of it I don’t know you’re first name.
Dad: I’m Dad to you son, just Dad. I’m not having a strange foreign woman calling me Dad.
Son: What did you call her Veronica for? That’s Mums name.
Dad: I don’t know. I feel a bit strange son. How did she get in here? I thought I told you not to open the door to anybody.
Son: I forgot. I was bored Dad. She’s nice.
Dad: Don’t you see the similarity. She looks just like your Mum. I can’t believe it. I’ve got a photograph of your mum when she was that age. It’s uncanny son. I don’t feel well son. I need a stiff drink. Where’s that Scotch?
Marta: Well I’d better go. Thank you for the tea. It’s been a memory meeting you Dad.
Dad: I’ll see you out.
Son: Don’t go…please!
Dad: She has to go. She needs to knock on more doors.
Marta: I will be finishing for today. I will be going to my other job now.
Son: Give her some money Dad. Marta came here collecting for the European Concern Foundation.
Marta: Your son says that you are liking people from other countries. You go to Waterloo to welcome them.
Dad: Yes, Yes, I have the utmost respect for you Poles.
You are very resilient.
Son: She looks like Grace Kelly!
Dad: Grace Kelly is dead!
Son: She married Prince Rainier, the year that I was born.
It was a solemn cathedral ceremony by all accounts!
Marta: She was very beautiful. Thank you.
Dad: What was?
Son: The marriage of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier.
Dad: How do you know that?
Son: Mum told me!
Dad: Veronica………my wife………….your mother told you that Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier in a solemn cathedral ceremony.
Son: Yes she did!
Dad: It’s been quite a day!
Did she tell you anything about our wedding?
Were any secrets given away about that day?
Son: Prince Rainier was very nervous. Grace Kelly had to help him on with the ring.
Dad: And when was you told these little pearls of information.
Son: 1966 the day of the World Cup Final before Mum went out………..shopping.
Dad: I don’t believe what I’m hearing.
Marta: I am still here Dad.
Dad: Why do you call me Dad?
Marta: You haven’t told me your name.
Dad: What is your father’s name?
Dad: Oh my God! Oh my God. I’ve got to go and lie down son. Excuse Me!
Dad leaves the room
Son: I haven’t seen him like that before.
Marta: You mustn’t worry son.
Son: You do seem very familiar.
Marta: You didn’t recognise me?
Son: Have we met before?
Marta: Oh yes, but don’t worry. I have changed.
Son: When did we meet?
Marta: I must go now. I will be late for my job
Son: I want to come with you.
Marta: What about Dad?
Son: He won’t stir now till morning. It’s been a big day for him.
Son: I haven’t eaten. What food do you serve in your restaurant?
Son: Lovely. That was Mum’s speciality. I’ll get my coat.
SFX:BBC Radio Broadcast(Do your worst and we will do our best)
Winston Churchill July 14th 1941
London will be ready.
London will not flinch!
London can take it again.
We ask no favours of the enemy, we seek from them no compunction.
On the contrary if tonight the people of London were asked to cast their votes as to whether convention should be entered into to stop the bombing of all cities,
An overwhelming majority would cry no!
The people of London with one voice would say you have committed every crime under the sun.
It was you who began the indiscriminate bombing.
Dad: West Ham lost again!
Son: Tell me something new Dad!
Dad: Looks like they’re going to get relegated!
Son: They make me dizzy!
Cup of tea Dad!
Dad: Lovely son!
Son: No Dad!
Dad: Took you for a fool boy!
Son: Yes Dad!
Dad: I thought she was a strange foreign woman!
Son: Well it don’t matter now Dad does it!
It’s just thee and me Dad!
Silly old men with their dreams!
Son gets up and moves towards the window.
Dad: You expecting something in the Post?
Son: Dad seeing as we are talking man to man!
What was it that you first noticed about Mum?
Dad: I told you! It was her Dad! I saw her and then I noticed her Dad! He was picking up some fruit and I saw his arm. I saw the numbers on his arm. Then I saw your Mum again! And that was it!
Son: Numbers on his arm?
Dad: Do I have to spell it out to you son! My Dad liberated his Dad!
Son: But your Dad was at Tobruk!
Dad: The North African Campaign was over before it began! He came back from Tobruk! He was one of the squad that liberated a Concentration Camp in Poland.
Son: He weren’t a Jew! Mum’s Dad!
Dad: He was a Catholic. They rounded up the Catholics as well boy!
Son: I thought it was the Americans that liberated the camps!
Dad: Not all of em son! You ain’t been reading the proper history books boy!
Son: Why you ain’t told me this before?
Dad: I didn’t think it was right with your mum alive.
Her Dad and my Dad became very good friends.
My Dad even took her Dad up the Hammers!
He died just before the World Cup Final in 1966.
Yer Mum son! Yer Mum was up at the graveyard day of the Final!
Son: You left me alone in the house with the radio!
Dad: This house son!
This very house!
The only house left standing in the street.
And we beat em son!
We beat the Germans again!
Yer Mum son!
Son: Mum said she couldn’t stand hearing the German or the Russian Language.
The sins of the Fathers. The Sins of the bleeding Fathers.
(In a whisper)
(Loud knock on the door)
Dad: Bleedin Hell! Whose that?
Son: Nobody knocks here anymore! Nobody!
(Loud knock on the window)
Dad: Who the hell?
Son: Shut up for a minute!
Dad: Don’t you tell your father to shut up, here who do you think you are?
You’re not the boss around here!
(Loud knock again on the door)
Son: I’ll have to open it!
Dad: You open that door son and you know what will happen!
Son: It’s Marta!
Dad: No bleedin way!
Son: Dad it’s Marta!
Dad: Don’t open it boy!
She left us!
Son: But she’s come back.
I thought she would.
I knew she would.
(Loud knock again on the window)
Son: I’m opening up!
Dad: You are a little bastard.
You are a bastard son!
Marta and Son are standing over Dad who is sitting down looking worried.
Son: Choices eh! I’ve never had choices before!
Stuck for words now you old Bastard.
She said she’s had enough and she wants to go home!
You was the one singing their praises before she got here!
She says I can go home with her Dad! I can go back to Poland with her if I want to!
I remember Mum teaching me at the Kitchen table when you was out at work
It all come to me last night Dad. And this morning of course!
You let your guard down this morning!
Talking Man to Man like!
I could see a chink of humanity this morning, but then I remembered what a horrible old bastard you were to Mum!
You and your Dad!
He was in the bleedin N.A.F.F.I.
He was no more than a cook in Tobruk!
Any fighting he did was against womankind and you, you filthy old git took over his mantel.
Bleedin Predators the pair of you spotting Mum and her father Machek!
You knew what you were doing!
You controlled them for the rest of their natural born days.
They survived the Holocaust only to cross paths with the most evil men in the East End.
I am the son of a Fascist!
You’re a Nazi Dad!
You’re a bleedin Nazi.
Last house in the street!
Last Concentration Camp!
No wonder the Germans didn’t bomb it.
They knew the work of the National Socialist Party would continue even if Adolf and Eva swallowed the arsenic.
Cos it was your English, your’e Anglo Saxon who invented the Concentration Camp Dad!
Dad: Bloody Traitor!
Son: No wonder I was in nappies until ten years of age. I was traumatised.
Dad: She’s turned your head son! Turned you against me!
Son: Do you know how they described this place in Victorian Times ‘á shocking place…an evil plexus of slums that hide human creeping things.
Well it hasn’t change much, has it?
Dad: You don’t know anything! Your mentally ill son!
She’s poisoned you against me!
Son: Yes Dad!
And your completely sane!
Thank God Mum’s gone!
She suffered in this bloody house!
You controlled her like you control all women.
Dad: Your soft!
Son: Since when has that been a criminal offence?
Dad: She’s not saying a lot!
Son: She don’t need to!
Dad: You what!
Son: You arrogant bastard!
Why should she!
A Polish phrase book.
Get learning you old fucker, you’re going to need some Polish where we’re going!
Dad: What do you mean?
Son: What do I mean?
What do I mean?
You’re like a stuck record Dad!
I’ve got choices Dad!
For the first time in my life!
You forgot I been in nick all them years Dad!
You got on with your life!
I asked whether she was loyal to you!
She told me just before she died that Uncle Maurice had forced himself upon her in the Spare Room Dad and that was with your blessing!
The Spare room Dad!
Where you made me sleep afterwards!
(Dad appears to break down and pretends to cry!)
Dad: I ain’t going nowhere! I’m seventy one!
Son: You ain’t got nobody but me.
Dad: I ain’t going nowhere!
Son: Can’t leave you here Dad! You’ll die!
Dad: I’ll be allright son!
I can do a foodshop!
If you want to go, you go boy!
With my blessing!
Fly the nest son!
Son: Dad I’m fifty two Dad!
Fly the nest!
You should have told me that when I was Marta’s age!
Day of the Bleedin Queen’s Jubilee I could have gone to Poland then, seen where Mum’s family are from.
I could have met em while they were still alive.
Talked about stuff!
They was invaded by Hitler and they capitulated!
World War II began on 1st September 1939 in Gdansk,at that time the free city of Danzig, where 182 Poles at Westerplatte held out for a week against the battleship Schleswig Holstein, Stuka divebombers and thousands of German troops.
To the West the Polish Pomeranian Brigade of mounted cavalry met General Guderian’s tanks, medieval lances against modern armour in a final suicidal charge.
What about the Warsaw Ghettoe Dad which you so eloquently call the Thingummy.
During the Ghettoe uprising of April 1943, some 70,000 poorly armed, starving Jews led by Mordechai Anielewicz held out against the full weight of the Nazi Army for 27 days.
The Nazis reduced the Jewish quarter to rubble.
Dad: You’re just showing off now!
Son: Six million Poles died during the war, half of them Jews.
Dad: You’re Mum was a Catholic.
(Son goes to strike Dad across the face, Marta moves across to stop him)
Marta: Chodzmy! (Let’s Go)
Son: The Warsaw Uprising was begun on 1 August 1944 by the Home Army as Soviet Forces approached the right bank of the Vistula.
The intention was to evict the retreating Germans from Warsaw and have a non-communist force in place to greet the Red Army, but the uprising was premature.
By the second of October when the remaining partisans surrendered with honour, some 250,000 Poles had died, many of them civilians slaughtered en masse by SS troops.
Dad: You can read History Books son!
That’s all it is history.
One man’s history is another man’s bollocks!
You don’t understand your country.
You don’t understand your heritage.
How far do you think a Council pension runs to?
Son: Oh yes Dad! I forgot Dad!
It’s poverty and misery that breeds intolerance.
“Don’t know, can’t say, just dislike them”.
Marta: Chodzmy! Chodzmy! (Come On, Come On)
Son: Well Dad, it’s time to go!
If were going to catch the Eurostar!
Time to say goodbye to Number 66 Dad!
Dad: Where are you taking me?
Dad: What? What about my things!
Son: Things! You ain’t got no things!
Dad: It’s cold out there!
Son: Funny, you’ve never felt the cold before!
There’s a man called Machek who wants to meet you.
Dad: Son, have mercy!
Son: Mercy Dad!
That’s got interesting Connatations Dad!
Tations Dad, Tations, Railway Stations!
The clank of carriages!
Dad: Your sick son! Your sick!
Son: (Pause) Arbeit Macht Frei Dad! (Work makes you free)
1966 and all that!
Dad: Tell me where we’re going Son!
Son: Oswiecim, a medium sized industrial town 60km west of Krakow. (Auschwitz)
(Marta opens the door, Dad looks over his shoulder into the house, Son pushes him out into the street)
Son: Ale okropna pogoda! ( Weather’s on the Turn)
Lights down and Music to close John Williams Schindler’s List Theme.