Monday, May 18, 2009

What Maisie doesn't know

Hah - didn't I say so!

The lamentable dismal tragedy story of Juliet Chantelle, Romeo Alfie and their little Baby Maisie brings to mind the comic routine of the fictional pre-WWII comedian Gorgeous George, retold in Angela Carter's last novel Wise Children (1991) by her narrator-protagonist Nora Chance:
" ... and this boy's thoughts turned lightly to" - big poke in the air with the gold club - "so he says to his dad, 'I want to get married to the girl next door, Dad.'

" ' Ho, hum,' says his dad. "I've got news for you, son. When I was your age, I used to get me leg over - ' "

Roars, shrieks, hoots; but all so much titillation without any substance, I tell you, because he gave them a shocked look, pursed his lips together, shook his golf club in reproof.

"Filthy minds, some of you have," he grieved in parenthesis. Renewed hoots and shrieks.

"What I was about to say before I was so rudely interrupted ..."

That was his other catch phrase.
... was, I used to get me leg over the garden wall -'

He made a fierce lunge in the air with his golf club and looked around, working his eyebrows as if to defy misinterpretation.

'... and, cut a long story short, you can't marry the girl next door, son, on account of she's your sister.'

The air turned blue. Mothers forced reluctant children outside, bribing with ice-cream.

"So this boy buys a bike" - he straddled his golf club, mimicked pedalling, renewed roaring - "and pedals off. Pedals, I said, Missus; what d'you think I said? He pedals off to Hove."

Wonderful diction. Grandma herself couldn't have done more with that long 'O'.

"He comes back, he says to his father: 'I've met this nayce girl from Hove, Dad.' 'Hove?' says Dad. 'Sorry to say, son, I frequently hove to in Hove when I was your age and - '"

He halted, working his eyebrows, manipulating his golf club. Say no more. They laughed until they cried.

"This poor boy, he buys himself a day return, he goes up to Victoria, he meets a girl under the clock. Clock, I said, Missus. But his father says: 'We had trains in my young day, son ...'

Appreciative gurgles.

"The boy goes into the kitchen for a cup of tea. Big sigh. His mum says: 'You've got a face as long as a - '"

Eyebrows. Golf club. Roars.

"What I was going to say, before I was so rudely interrupted, was ... as long as a fiddle!"

They pounded the floorboards with their feet.

" 'Looks like I'll never get married, Mum.' 'Why's that, son?' He told her all about it, she says: 'You just go ahead and marry who you like, son -' "

Split-second timing. That pause. Perfect.

' 'E's not your father!' "

All them DNA-tests paid by Max Clifford and co. really spoil the fun.


Geoff Coupe said...

Ah, Angela! She was taken from us far too soon...

mikeovswinton said...

If you think that's good,try the real thing. Can I suggest you get onto Amazon and buy the CD of Frankie Howard at the Establishment. Not as blue tinged, but a record of a master at work. Listen out for Kenneth Williams' laughing himself silly in the audience.