WORDS OF THE WEEK: Bed springs eternal

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
`Up Against It', an unfinished screenplay by Sixties' playwright Joe Orton, far right, has been adapted for Radio 3 by John Fletcher. It was originally written for The Beatles and is now to star Blur's Damon Albarn, right. Here is an extract.


Furtive sounds in the dark. Four men, including Christopher Low and the Mayor, on the footpath beside the Municipal Boating Pond.

Mayor: Pee.

Low: Why do you want us to pee?

1st Old Soldier: Do it, son.

Low: But why?

Mayor: Just pee in the Municipal Boating Pond.

Suppressed laughter from other two.

Low: Why?

1st Old Soldier: Because we tell you to.

2nd Old Soldier: Just for fun.

Mayor: For me, I'm an old soldier.

Low: All right. Just here?

2nd Old Soldier: Right!

1st Old Soldier: Just there!

Sound of pee hitting water. Suppressed guffaws.

2nd Soldier: Bingo.

1st Soldier: Bombs away.

Mayor: C'mon, let's go.

1st Soldier: Out of it.

They run off.

Low: But ... but ...

His pee continues to hit the water as a single simple violin string line version of the opening bars of "Yellow Submarine" - "In the town where I was born" - is heard.


Old, quite plummy/theatrical, Michael Macloimoir/Dylan

Thomas without the Welsh, but not as OTT as Donald Sinden.

The Great City lies asleep. What a panorama spreads out beneath us. (Solo string enters again with soft, gentle version of "Penny Lane".) Streets, office towers, church towers, row upon row of mouldering redbrick Victorian terraces crowding down toward the river, the great, thriving docks. Here and there a milkman, a drunk, the occasional thief. But almost everywhere, beneath the stars (Music switches to two or three upthrusting notes of "I Am The Walrus" - McTurk's music), people sleep.


Rowena enters.

Rowena (Thrusting, self-confident, upper-middle class, 25): Ian McTurk - get your clothes off!

McTurk: But I haven't got any on!

Rowena: Sublime serendipity - neither do I. Quick - on the bed!

McTurk: You can't do this. Bursting into innocent young mens' bedrooms on erection bent.

Rowena: I'm the most modern woman in the world. You don't like it when I straddle you and wave my magnificent mammaries in your face? Ian McTurk, stop beating around the bush and get stuck in.

A yelp from McTurk as she forces the issue.

Narrator: Now, however, like a giant box of kippers strewn across the eastern sky, dawn starts to fill the city with detail and perspective.

Again return of simple, quiet string version of "Penny Lane" (or possibly "Eleanor Rigby").

Smoke drifts from chimneys. Ships are coming into port, trains leave for other great cities, buses bring the workers to their factories and shops.

Amid all the bustle, we focus in on one street, a church at the end of it, beside the church a large house standing in an unweeded garden, overgrown laurels and rhododendrons all about. A cat crosses the tiles.

("Let it Be" music starts on fiddle, slow, meant.)

We pan down to a little window at the side of the house looking into the hall. Up to us stares the face of a young, earnest girl.


Patricia: Oh Ian McTurk, I love you, I love you. (She turns to face McTurk. Low. Coughs.)

Ian McTurk, Christopher Low, Father Brodie will see you now. He's been wrestling with his conscience all day.

McTurk: Who won?

Patricia: A girl like me can't put a question like that to a priest. Ask him yourselves. (Going) Come with me, please.


Father Brodie sits at his large desk. Beside him are arranged, sitting, Connie Boon and The Mayor, Terrence O'Scallion. Before them are ranged, standing, McTurk and Low.

Brodie: I am Father Brodie, priest of this parish.

Connie: I am Police Superintendent Connie Boon

Mayor: And I am Terrence O'Scallion, Lord Mayor of this town. I hold fanatical views on drugs, promiscuity, and bubble cars.

All three: We are here to judge you!

Brodie: Defendants may be seated.

McTurk: Thanks.

Low: Cheers.

Brodie: Not on that chair - it has a broken leg.

McTurk: Haven't you sent for a doctor?

Brodie: Doctors can do nothing for it. It has a wooden leg.

McTurk: What about faith healing?

Brodie: To the matter. If this great town in which we were born stands for anything, it stands for the sanctity of womankind ...

Connie: Here, here.

Mayor: Rather.

Brodie: Ian McTurk... ?

McTurk: Yes?

Brodie: At four am this morning my niece, Miss Rowena Torrence, the most advanced woman in the world, was seen entering your room in an advanced state of nudity. What is your excuse?

McTurk: She'd come to borrow a cup of sugar.

Connie: The gel's on a diet.

McTurk: I refused to give in to her demands.

Mayor: Was she provocative?

McTurk: Nobody is provocative at four o'clock in the morning.

Brodie: That isn't true. I saw the incident with my own eyes. (To Connie) Do you confirm that, Police Superintendent?

Connie: Indeed I do, father. I handed you the binoculars with my own hands.

Mayor: And you left the blinds up as well, McTurk. The last indulgence of a sensualist. We were forced to sit there watching your sordid and often dangerously athletic proceedings.

`Up Against It' is on Radio 3 on Sunday 21 September.