Kebabs and Wilde totty

`Ah, the exquisite Richard Littlejohn,' he would murmur, `the ineffable in pursuit of the unsayable'
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The Independent Culture
THE SUN has come out as an Oscarist. In the most unusual alliance since Vince Hill sang "Say You'll Stay" to the theme from the overture to Wagner's Tannhauser, the nation's foremost mouthpiece of homophobic philistinism has declared its natural affinity with Oscar Wilde. Ruminating on the unveiling of the Irish playwright's monument in London last week, the Currant Bun opined: "Oscar Wilde's writing genius lives on 98 years after his death. He has finally got a memorial in this country. The Sun says: About time too. He may have been one of them but we reckon he was also one of us. He would have loved The Sun." Now that they're such fans, will the newspaper embrace his example?

But would he really have loved The Sun? You can imagine him, can't you, sitting among the plush banquettes of the Cafe Royal at one in the morning, toying with a hock-and-seltzer, eyeing the talent at the bar, languidly leafing through the early edition of his favourite journal, kindly brought along by Robbie Ross. "The exquisite Littlejohn," he would murmur, "the ineffable in pursuit of the unsayable..." How he would enjoy the punning headlines, the saliva-drenched telly review, the violent partisanship. And it would, perhaps, give him a few ideas...

The scene: Algernon Moncrieff's flat in Half Moon Street. LANE is arranging afternoon tea on the table. Enter ALGERNON.

Algernon: Ah, Lane. See the match last night? I thought Dublin played a blinder.

Lane: I missed it, sir. I was engaged in procuring bacon sandwiches at the Get Stuffed All-Nite Grub emporium, for your tea with Lady Bracknell. They are reheating in the chafing-dish.

Algernon: Shame. It was Villa what won it. Though the word "villa" hardly conveys the scale of their genius. I see them more as a country mansion with spectacular wings. Did we consume much last night?

Lane: Eight bottle of champagne, a case of claret, two crates of Newcastle Brown, and some Irn Bru.

Algernon: Did Mr Evans and Mr Gascoigne get home all right?

Lane: I believe they took a hansom cab to Marcel's Absinthe 'n' Kebab Den at dawn. I was awakened by the sounds of prodigious micturition in the shrubbery.

Algernon: A pity Samantha and Denise couldn't stand the pace. (Wistfully) They were lovely girls, so innocent and ethereal yet so - so mad for it.

Lane: They were, indeed, what is commonly known as Top Tottie, sir.

Algernon: Don't agree with me, Lane. When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong.

Lane: Leave it out, sir. (Exits.)


Lady Bracknell: Good afternoon, dear Algernon. See EastEnders last night? Looks like it's all over with Ricky and Bian-caaaah, then. (Laughs raucously.)

Algernon: I am more concerned, dear aunt, about that Grant Mitchell, and the new bird in the square. His intentions may not, I fear, be honourable.

Lady Bracknell: I'm sorry if we are a little late, Algernon. I was obliged to speak with Mr Max Clifford about the Sunday Sport. They appeared to have gained some awkward intelligence about my shame at the three-in- a-bed romps with the Reverend Chasuble and Merriman the butler.

Algernon: What advice did Mr Clifford offer?

Lady Bracknell: He suggested that I tell the News of the World I was happy to initiate a debate on the parlous state of modern marriage.

Algernon (reflectively): The marital state is, like any other state, open to periods of misgovernment. What happens in parlours, on the other hand...

Lady Bracknell: Don't talk bollocks, Algernon. Have you any crumpets?

Algernon: Here you are. (Offers plate.) I do enjoy a nice bit of crumpet.

Gwendolen: Don't get me wrong. I see glamour modelling as a stepping- stone to a career on the classical stage or as an ambassador for World Peace.

Algernon (sotto voce): I love you, Gwendolen. My passion for you is overpowering. My love for you is as true as the wind, as deep as the ocean, as vast as the mountains...

Gwendolen: Mountains? Are you suggesting I've had a Boob Job to Enhance my Assets?

Algernon: Let me take you away. We could get married in Paris. I could show you the Eiffel Tower.

Gwendolen: I know the Eyeful you're after. I don't get my kit off for a cent under five grand.

Algernon (kneeling): Marry me, Gwendolen, and I promise to relinquish My Drugs Hell and buy you a posh three-bedroomed home in leafy Ruislip. I assure you I am perfectly sincere.

Gwendolen: A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

Algernon: But my darling...

Gwendolen: I don't trust you. I fear you may be a Love Rat who will dump me for Steamy Sessions with fun-loving Mandy, 17.

Lady Bracknell (returning): Rise, sir, from that semi-recumbent posture. It is most indecorous.

Enter LANE

Lane: Mr Jack Worthing.

Enter JACK.

Jack: It's Jazza, actually. How are you, Al-boy?

Algernon: My dear chap, what brings you up to town?

Jack: I had tickets for the Palace game.

Algernon: Did we win?

Jack: Regrettably, they stuffed us, three nil. Got any cucumber sandwiches? Or falling that, some meat pies?

Lane: I'll see if there are some porky scratchings in the pantry.

Algernon: Mega. Jack, allow me to introduce Lady Bracknell and her daughter, Gwendolen.

Lady Bracknell: Under no circumstances may you address me as Lady Brazza.

Jack: How do you do? See Corrie last night? That Ken Barlow should be given a good kicking. Phoooar, hello darling. You're a lovely girl. Bit of a stunna, as we used to say. How old are you?

Lady Bracknell: One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.

Jack: I sought to establish your daughter's age merely with a view to casting her in a cinematographic entertainment in which I am involved. It is entitled Kerri-Ann Does Kensington. It is a video.

Lady Bracknell: I see. (Laughs.) Literally.

Gwendolen: I'm afraid I don't have experience in anything really sizzling.

Jack: Experience is merely the name everyone gives to their mistakes, darlin'.

Lady Bracknell: I cannot allow this to carry on. My daughter is a young person of unbesmirchable virtue. She...

Jack: If you play ball with us, Lady B, there could be a bung in it for you.

Lady Bracknell: A bung? Do you refer to some form of bath plug?

Jack: It's a bribe. That is the sort of man I am, you see, Lady Bracknell. I am a little bit whaay, I am a little bit whoah, I am a little bit tasty.

Lady Bracknell: And where am I to receive this... this bung?

Jack: I'll leave it for you in the hallway downstairs.

Lady Bracknell: But where in the hallway downstairs?

Jack: In a handbag.

Lady Bracknell: A handbag?

Jack: Come on, Gwen. A few sherbets in Dean Street, then I'll introduce you to some of my gentlemen associates.

(They exit).

Algernon (opening can of Tennant's Extra): There is only one thing worse than being shafted by the media, and that is being completely ignored by the media. (Drinks reflectively.)

Lady Bracknell: You couldn't make it up.