The Old Magic Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?



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# Oh, what happened to you?

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# Whatever happened to me?

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# What became of the people we used to be?

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# Tomorrow's almost over

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# Today went by so fast

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# Is the only thing to look forward to the past? #

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Hello.

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-Not before time.

-Hello, sunshine.

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-How you feeling?

-Not before time!

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-Not a word or letter.

-A letter?

-Or a card or a phone call.

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-You're not on the phone.

-She is, next door. Anything would have done.

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A carrier pigeon or smoke signals from your roof - anything.

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Just to have some human contact.

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-I've been up to my ears with the house and the wedding.

-And you put those before my health?

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I can't risk infection. Everyone's going down with this Chilean flu.

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I haven't got the time to be sick.

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It's not the plague. We haven't got to paint our front door yellow.

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-No writhing contortions and your hair falling out.

-So you've not been at death's door?

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I didn't say I hadn't suffered. I coughed so hard I ruptured my lungs.

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Chilean flu - it's fascinating, isn't it?

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It's fascinating a virus can travel so far. Like Asian flu.

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When my temperature was 103 and I was delirious,

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the thing that consoled me was the fact I had such a fascinating virus.

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-It comes in off the ships.

-And I get it.

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According to Look North, our programme of local news, it's an epidemic.

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What a month -

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out of the forces, no money, no job, no mates, you getting married,

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and some bug transports itself from the Andes, across two continents, two oceans and zeros in on me.

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You're not the only one, by far.

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-Cursed by the Incas. Typical!

-Half my firm's got it.

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I bet I was first - the trailblazer.

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No wonder you're delirious. What's this?

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"Advice Forum. A frank exchange of personal and private fears."

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What are your personal fears?

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Apart from relegation and baldness.

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Friends' desertion in time of need.

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That pales compared to this fella. Did you read this?

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-Anguished, Market Harborough?

-Where can he buy manacles and stocks?

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-Mail order, I suppose.

-Comes in a plain wrapper.

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Those letters stagger me.

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I never realised bondage was that popular.

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-It isn't, not on the Elm Lodge Housing Estate.

-Don't be too sure.

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Those letters aren't from Copenhagen or Hamburg.

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They're from Market Harborough and Evesham. There's even a Harrogate.

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If that's a fair sample,

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come Saturday night half this nation's in frilly underclothes, beating themselves with whips.

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-Not everyone watches Match Of The Day.

-Healthy people do.

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I was going to miss it on Saturday. If someone was better, I'd planned a treat.

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-I'm not being whipped.

-That's not what I had in mind.

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How about a meal in that posh place up the coast road?

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-Bottle of wine, great big steaks.

-Why?

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It might be the last chance, before I'm married, to have a chat.

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A quiet evening. A civilised reflective evening.

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I see. It's guilt at leaving me to rot.

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If you don't want to accept this last gesture of my friendship...

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-If you put it that way...

-What way?

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-When you put that voice on.

-What voice?

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Anna Neagle making a charity appeal.

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If you mean my voice conveys some emotion, I don't deny it.

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This week is the end of an era, and this meal was to commemorate it.

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You make it sound more like a memorial service than a nosh-up.

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-It is, in a way.

-Well, where's Thelma?

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Thelma doesn't rule my leisure habits. She doesn't issue pass-outs.

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-Anyway, Thelma's booked.

-What for? Soliciting?

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For her girls' night out, for a hen party. Her sister's coming over from Canada.

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I'd forgotten Thelma had a sister. Did we know her?

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No. She's five years younger.

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She got a job abroad.

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-What's she like?

-I can't remember. I've only recently started noticing schoolgirls.

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I might be all right at the wedding,

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with her as the bridesmaid and me as the best man.

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It's one of the unwritten laws -

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the best man reads the telegrams and has the bridesmaid.

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-Terry...

-You never know!

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-I might as well chance me arm.

-Don't jump to conclusions.

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I'm only going to chance me arm. I'll leave the rest of my anatomy till I see the lay of the land.

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-I wasn't referring...

-Maybe she'll be the lay of the land.

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Terry, you musn't take things for granted...about the wedding.

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I see, Bob. That's what this meal's about, is it?

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-Just the two of us, a reflective evening.

-Right.

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-I understand, kidda.

-Do you?

-Certainly.

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Thank God! You're having second thoughts.

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NO! I am not. You never give up. I was referring to bridesmaids and best man.

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I see, Dame Anna. It's moral outrage, is it?

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Just because she's Thelma's sister.

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I don't care, as long as you enjoy yourself.

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What I was referring to wasn't your sexual menace.

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It was...your status.

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-Status?

-Lack of it.

-What do I lack?

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-Best-man status.

-What?

-The best man at my wedding... My best man...

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-Yes.

-Is not you.

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It is in principle.

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It's you in principle, just not in fact.

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I'm not your best man?

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I didn't know you'd reappear after five years, out of the blue.

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-I'd already asked Frank Clark.

-You don't have to explain.

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You think I'll let you down.

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My working-class ways are too rough for your in-laws

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with their caravans and Masonic handshakes.

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How could someone like me possibly officiate at your wedding?

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I might wear overalls and clogs and toast the bridesmaids in meths.

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If I hadn't asked Frank you'd be the first choice.

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I wear the substitute's shirt on the bench.

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If his speech is lousy I come on in the last ten minutes.

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Be reasonable. Not keeping in touch like that, you'd become a memory.

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A fond one, but just a memory.

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An IOU in your drawer. A scar on me shin from the time we fought over Brenda Davidson.

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That's all I am to you, is it? A scar on the shin.

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You could forget someone altogether in five years.

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You didn't forget the IOU in your drawer. What was it for?

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Morecambe Illuminations, 1967. Five-card brag. £11.42 and a half in decimals.

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I'll let you off the half.

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You'll get your money. I've been away, you know!

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I know. That's why you're not the best man.

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-So this meal's to make amends for this betrayal.

-The offer's open -

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great food, big helpings, all on me.

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I don't know if I can, Bob, after that news.

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What with me virus and that blow, I couldn't eat.

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My appetite won't ever be the same again.

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I'll have prawn cocktail, fillet steak,

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-chips, onion rings, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and sprouts, Can we have more bread?

-Certainly.

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-How's the melon?

-It's lovely, sir.

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-Fine. Then the entrecote - medium rare.

-Some vegetables?

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No, just a green salad, tossed.

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-No potatoes. Would you open the wine so it can breathe?

-Of course.

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HE GASPS

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What's the matter with you? Green salad, no chips.

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-I watch my carbohydrates.

-Do you?

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-This is very nice. Cheers!

-Cheers!

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I'm glad you made a miracle recovery in 24 hours.

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It's these foreign diseases.

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When I needed help laying my carpet you'd lost the use of both legs and your sight was failing.

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Today's wonder drugs.

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Fine. Lovely, thanks.

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-Agghh!

-Terry!

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No hard feelings then, kidda?

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It hurt, Bob. I can't say it didn't.

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I've been closer to you than your mother, never mind Frank Clark.

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Your first day at mixed infants.

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It was that long ago when we met.

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I remember. We were only five.

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The teacher said, "There's your desk and crayons.

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"Playtime's at ten and don't talk to Terry Collier."

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Miss Hyndemarsh always had it in for me.

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Character shows at an early age. Even at five, you were trouble.

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"Don't talk to Terry Collier."

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Our school motto!

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I was you first friend. The first person to split your head open.

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Frank Clark can't recall colourful anecdotes from the past.

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Our anecdotes aren't fit for a wedding speech.

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Frank Clark didn't sacrifice five years of his life for you.

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-Oh, God! We're back to that.

-Yes.

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Five years of sweat and toil... and pain.

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-One day we'll hear about that famous war wound.

-Not from my lips.

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You said that the most memorable thing to happen was getting tattooed on your left buttock.

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What happened? Did the needle slip?

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That waiter never did bring that bread.

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-Is your friend all right, sir?

-He was cursed by the Incas,

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-and during a full moon his leg plays up.

-I see.

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-Did you clock them?

-I clocked you giving them your winning look(!)

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-I've won a few with it.

-You've lost a hell of a sight more!

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-They're tasty, though.

-They cured your limp.

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Or was it a case of "Take up thy bread and walk"?

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I'd like to know what they are doing alone in a place like this.

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They're two girls having dinner.

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Even before women's lib you had unescorted females in public places.

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On a Saturday night? Spare? They're up to no good.

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You've got some bigoted sexual ideas -

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widows are desperate, women without handbags are depraved, negroes are more virile.

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A few years ago a fella playing tennis was a poof.

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A few years ago we wouldn't let the minutes tick by.

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-Let's ask them over.

-Certainly not.

-They can pay for themselves.

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No! I'm not out on the pull. It's the end of an era. That's what this meal's about.

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Yeah, yeah. I suppose so.

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A few years back they wouldn't have stood a chance.

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-A few years back...no.

-Admit it. We didn't half put it about.

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-Oh, aye! We were deadly.

-No woman was safe!

-A team!

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-The terrible two.

-The dynamic duo.

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-Twin strikers.

-Chivers and Hurst.

-Lee and Bell.

-Our best season?

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1965, definitely - a vintage year.

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-A good year for blue-eyed girls.

-Blue-eyed, green-eyed, cross-eyed - we took all we could.

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-A string of victories.

-The champions of the Roxy ballroom.

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-#

-We were the champ-ions!

-#

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Oh, gracias, amigo.

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-Thank you very much.

-Excuse me.

-Thanks.

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1965... Did you... Did you really have a string of victories?

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What?

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I know we took a lot of girls out,

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but did you have any complete, total, all-the-way victories?

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If you put it that way...

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-I am putting it that way. Be honest.

-Complete victories?

-Complete.

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-All the way, like.

-All the way.

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Honestly.

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No.

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-I thought so.

-And you?

-Extra time once with Dorothy Armison, but...

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-You'd never crack that defence.

-I was thinking.

-What?

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A whole season - we must have been the only twin strikers not to score.

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-Aye! The end of an era.

-Aye, well.

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Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

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-Aye.

-It's one way of looking at it.

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-They were grand days.

-The best is to come.

-Great times.

-It's one way to look at it.

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When you think what we must have been like, eh?

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Now we're mature and civilised but then we didn't know owt from nowt.

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So randy - we chased everything that moved.

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Mind, we were choosy - they had to be awake.

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That was the only thing that mattered, and football.

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I think we're still the same people underneath our civilised exteriors.

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-I'm more mature now, sexually...

-Certainly...

-And experienced, like.

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Life's all down to sex and football, isn't it?

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-The same for everybody.

-No, some people don't like sex.

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Takes all sorts.

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My twin obsessions. That's what Thelma says. Sex and football.

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She reckons the height of ecstasy for me

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would be making love in E block, during a European Cup tie.

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By the time we get into Europe, making love in public will be legal.

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-You know Nigel Hutchinson?

-Oh, aye.

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-He had to see a psychiatrist about his obsession.

-Never.

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The doctor said that subconsciously he wanted to make love to every woman in the world.

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-What's wrong with that?

-It was an illness. He'll go mad.

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He's not going to get through North Shields, never mind the world.

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There's always somebody worse off.

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At least I won't go through that.

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I'm content to be with just Thelma.

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Come on! Being with Thelma never stopped you shopping around, especially at school.

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I'm getting married, not carrying her satchel home from Park Juniors.

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-Those two might be your last chance to grab somebody else's satchel.

-I don't want to.

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I know...you're separated now and your marriage didn't work out,

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but there must have been a time when your eyeballs didn't swivel out of their sockets

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when you saw another fraulein.

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There is never a time when a man doesn't notice other women.

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Even Uncle Norman, 82, leapt on the Meals on Wheels lady the other day.

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-Never.

-Aye. She's refused to go back.

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Wasn't there a time with Ute when love was a many splendoured thing?

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When I thrilled to the sound of her voice and all that rubbish - the gooey period?

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When you weren't looking at every bit of passing skirt.

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I don't know. I met Ute when I was in the army. I was a war bride...GROOM.

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I wasn't in a town. I was on a windswept German plain.

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The only excitement was a singsong and a cup of cocoa.

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There wasn't any spare. I never had to test out my fidelity.

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I don't know how I'd run the sexual gauntlet of this permissive society.

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-I've managed.

-Yes, probably because you're saturated with sex.

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Now you're limping into retirement.

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I am aware of other women. I have to drive every morning past the Ministry of Pensions.

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Don't tell me those teenage typists aren't a navigational hazard.

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I don't forget my responsibilities as a fiance and a road-user.

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-How come you ran into the back of a laundry van?

-Clutch slipped.

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-Mind your brandy doesn't slip while you clock them two.

-I'm not!

-Get away!

-I'm not!

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-I'm vaguely aware one of them's pretty.

-Which one?

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The one with the dark hair who wrinkles up her nose.

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Just a vague impression, was it?

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Compared to Thelma, how could I? You'll find someone,

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and you'll realise how wonderful it is to have found life's partner.

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It's not Bob and Terry any more.

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It's Bob and Thelma and their friend, Terry.

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Thelma's my partner. There's new words in my vocabulary -

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-marriage, trust, fidelity...

-Boredom.

-Old words, I've forgotten,

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like tail, spare, score, crumpet.

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Old days and old ways are gone forever.

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I bet we could pull those two.

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Those days are over you just said.

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I just bet we could, that's all. A few years back...

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We're entering another era. You've told me at least ten times tonight.

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-We could pull them and score.

-Your vocabulary's come back.

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-I fancy the dark one. I fancy them both.

-You've got Hutch's disease.

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I just wonder, don't you? If the old technique's still there. The old magic.

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Waiter. Watch this.

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Could you ask those two ladies in the corner...

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Could you say we recognise them and, if they don't think we're too forward,

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-perhaps they'd join us for coffee and liqueurs.

-Yes, sir.

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Bloody hell, that was good.

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A few years back, on the way to the lav I'd have said, "Fancy a jar?"

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Then it would have been a few jars and nothing.

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-They've got the message.

-Down, boy!

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-Remember this is your fault.

-I can handle it. I always could.

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If they're American heiresses looking for some northern rough,

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and they whip us off to their mansions in Palm Springs or Hawaii, with yachts, it wasn't my fault.

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-They're only coming over!

-The twin strikers find their feet.

-Or lose their heads.

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The old magic's still there.

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-Good evening. Would you care to...?

-Oh, thank you.

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I hope you don't think we were being too...

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You see, it was just that we thought we knew you from somewhere.

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-I'm Bob and this is Terry.

-I'm Norma.

-And I'm Susan.

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Thought they looked familiar...

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Yes, have you ever been to Palm Springs?

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-Park Secondary Modern.

-Pardon?

-Pardon?

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You won't remember. You were in the seniors when we were in the juniors.

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You mean you remember us from then?

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Bob Ferris and Terry Collier. Of course we do!

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The teacher warned us about you. "Don't talk to Terry Collier."

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-Not that you'd have talked to us. Not you.

-Really?

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-We didn't have a look-in.

-Not with you.

-Really?

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-You were objects of desire.

-Figures to idolise.

-A fantasy.

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-Glimpsed from a distance.

-So near, yet so far.

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Isn't it lucky we met?

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You don't think we'd let you pick us up?

0:22:450:22:48

-No, no.

-No, no.

-But we had to meet you in the flesh.

0:22:480:22:52

You were legends in your own lifetime.

0:22:520:22:56

We do our best but it's not easy being a living legend.

0:22:560:23:00

-I think you've lost weight.

-Oh, yes. He watches his carbohydrates.

0:23:000:23:06

-You're the same. You were...

-WIRY!

0:23:060:23:10

-Would the girls like a drink, Bob?

-The bar's closed.

-Pardon?

0:23:100:23:15

-It's too late for a drink.

-No, it isn't.

-If we want a drink we'll have to go ON somewhere.

0:23:150:23:22

I see. Goodness me, the bar's shut. Well, we'll have to go on somewhere.

0:23:220:23:27

-Where were you thinking of going?

-Yes.

-Yes.

-Er, yes.

0:23:270:23:32

Good question. We could go back to my house.

0:23:320:23:36

We could go to my house. I have a house...where we could go back to.

0:23:360:23:41

We could go back to my house which would be a good place to... go back to.

0:23:410:23:47

Tell you what, why don't we go back to your house?

0:23:470:23:51

We can play a few records, have a few drinks.

0:23:510:23:55

We can have a few records, play a few drinks.

0:23:550:23:59

-I think that might not be a very good idea.

-Why?

0:23:590:24:03

-Why?

-It might be indiscreet, something you regret in the morning.

0:24:030:24:08

-I won't. I promise I won't.

-I won't either.

0:24:080:24:11

-It's a bad idea.

-Why? Please, why?

0:24:110:24:14

You're marrying my sister next week.

0:24:140:24:17

I don't feel well.

0:24:230:24:26

-Terry's come to see you, Bob.

-Not before time.

0:24:330:24:37

Here's your tea. Would you like a cup?

0:24:370:24:42

If there's one made.

0:24:420:24:44

-How've you been, petal?

-I have been at death's door.

0:24:470:24:52

Your mam says your temperature's never been above 101. The bug's lost its power.

0:24:520:24:59

Couldn't take the climate. It's flying back to the Andes, knackered.

0:24:590:25:05

It's fascinating though, how a little virus can travel that far.

0:25:050:25:10

Fascinating how long you took to get here.

0:25:100:25:14

-Hasn't Thelma visited?

-She's ill, too. Didn't go out with the girls.

0:25:140:25:19

-You're sure that's why she hasn't visited?

-She doesn't know. Susan didn't say.

0:25:190:25:25

-Didn't she?

-Don't sound so sorry.

0:25:250:25:28

Don't get at me. I tried to hold you back.

0:25:280:25:32

I don't know what came over you.

0:25:320:25:34

That wine went to your loins.

0:25:340:25:37

-Obviously the bug was in my system. Obviously I was delirious.

-Obviously(!)

0:25:370:25:43

I brought you this month's.

0:25:430:25:46

It's spreading. Worksop, Paignton, North Berwick - that place is full of Edinburgh widows.

0:25:460:25:53

-Can I ask you something?

-Anguished, Market Harborough's more anguished.

0:25:530:25:58

He's lost the key to his stocks.

0:25:580:26:00

-It's important.

-What about that? Maul of the month.

0:26:000:26:05

She's going straight into my next fantasy.

0:26:050:26:09

-I was going to ask you something important.

-Ask away, little pale face.

0:26:090:26:15

-I've had second thoughts.

-Ha ha!

-Not about my bride.

0:26:150:26:20

About the bridesmaid? She's a bonny girl, Susan.

0:26:200:26:24

You'll be all right there.

0:26:240:26:26

Of course I won't be. She'll be thigh-to-thigh with the best man,

0:26:260:26:31

and I'll be stuck next to my mother and one of your hideous cousins.

0:26:310:26:36

You won't. If you're thigh-to-thigh with anyone's thigh, it'll be hers.

0:26:360:26:41

That's what I wanted to say. I want you to be the best man, Terry.

0:26:410:26:46

What you said is perfectly true.

0:26:460:26:50

We've been through everything together,

0:26:500:26:53

so how could I not have you as my best man?

0:26:530:26:57

My best friend in all the world.

0:26:570:27:00

What about Frank?

0:27:000:27:02

Forget Frank. That's not important. The thing is...

0:27:020:27:07

will you do it?

0:27:070:27:09

I...don't know what to say, Bob.

0:27:110:27:14

It means a lot to me, Terry.

0:27:140:27:17

Well, of course I will, mate. It's my privilege.

0:27:180:27:23

-Here's your tea, Terry.

-Thank you.

0:27:230:27:26

Don't stand too close. You'll get re-infected.

0:27:260:27:29

I'd risk that...for a friend.

0:27:290:27:32

Isn't it awful about Frank Clark?

0:27:320:27:35

He's developed complications.

0:27:350:27:38

He's going to have to miss the wedding and everything.

0:27:380:27:43

IS he?

0:27:460:27:48

-Did I say something wrong?

-Ooh!

0:27:490:27:52

Intelfax Subtitles by Kate Shaw for BBC Subtitling, 1995

0:28:250:28:29

Terry is disappointed that Bob has asked someone else to be his best man at the wedding, but eventually agrees to go out for a meal with his friend before he gets hitched. After a few drinks at the restaurant, they start to chat up a couple of pretty girls who are also eating there.


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