Monologues charting the UK gay experience. The 1967 Sexual Offences Act will revolutionise everything, right? Perhaps not, as far as dapper gent Jackie is concerned.
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This programme contains some strong language.
# They seek him here
# They seek him there
# His clothes are loud but never square... #
I love sherry because it's just a little bit too strong.
I like a small glass, first thing,
just so I can feel my heart in my chest.
Sip, sip, sip, like an old dowager,
which suits me now I'm respectable.
But we'll come back to that.
# He thinks he is a flower to be looked at
# But when he pulls his frilly nylon panties right up tight
# He is a dedicated follower of fashion. #
I love this one.
Oh, yes, dear. Please and thank you.
Dry sherry. None of your Harveys Bristol.
Look at all these bright young things.
Enough to make your head spin.
like kittens in a shop window gambolling and pushing each other about.
Oh, I could eat them all.
I might, at that.
Me with my handsome face all lined and my hair all grey.
I call it "distinguished".
I could teach them a thing or two.
If I had a whistle, I'd be like him in that film, Captain Von Trapp,
bossing around the little virgin from the convent.
The polone with the butch riah who does the twirls on the hill.
Some of them like that, being ordered about.
But they all come into my shop.
They like to flirt a little and hear me talk the polari to them.
Ooh, vada that great butch lucoddy.
It makes them roar.
It's in Duke Street, my place.
It's cheaper than Savile Row.
I am the Duchess of Duke Street.
Put all my ill-gottens into my little tailoring establishment,
so I can now spend my dotage politely touching up young men with
the heating on full blast. Bona.
And then I come here every day after I've shut up shop.
Might be some sport to be had.
There's a crackle in the air this week.
Excitement. The burden of lily law has been lifted from the homosexual.
We may now practise our sexual offences without fear of prosecution.
Provided it's behind closed doors,
you keep your jacket on and don't frighten the horses.
One of them comes trolling into my premises with the good news,
bold as brass but not actual brass.
A beautiful chicken slathered in cologne.
His trousers are very tight so you can see his front room.
I made them like that on purpose.
And well appointed it is, too.
His jacket, it's kingfisher blue.
He's got on a polo neck sweater, cashmere.
you would have sworn he'd have got bored of playing a harp on a cloud
and just bounced down into the West End for a lark.
And his face, his eek,
the countenance divine.
My arse was snapping like a Venus flytrap.
He's a chorus boy at the Drury Lane,
spends the interval flashing his bum at the dressing room window of
The Fortune. Says there is another chicken on the other side smiles at him.
It's like semaphore for buggers, I suppose.
This way, dear. This way.
"So what are you going to do now?" he asks me.
Well, you know, now that it's all legal.
Like he's done all the heavy lifting himself.
"Think how it'll change your life, Jackie.
"What will you do now?"
Well, I'll do what I'll always done.
I'll praise God. I will laud and sanctify his name.
I will lift up my voice to the heavens in constant jubilation.
hosanna in the highest.
"Oh, you're so funny, Jackie," says he.
"I'm not trying to be funny," I say.
That is what I'm going to do.
You just don't understand.
Anyway, now you're here, anything I can do for you, doll?
How about a whisky? Is it too early for a couple of fingers?
Oh, you bought a hat, didn't you?
If you're here to get your beaver felt, I'm afraid it's not quite ready.
And he bounces off.
And that's my lot.
Like I say, apparently I'm respectable now.
It wasn't always thus.
I took the king's shilling in 1932.
I don't want to be indiscreet, heaven forbid,
so I won't say which regiment,
but it's the oldest regiment in Her Majesty's Armed Forces,
has a dolly red tunic and a bearskin hat.
I joined up at a good time.
Well, they knew better than to put me near a fight,
and the top brass always loved me for my ability to polish 'em up and
turn 'em out looking like Cleopatra in her barge.
Corporal Jack Edwards, best boot polisher around.
In the early days of my career,
I did what I was told and looked very smart.
But one summer's evening as I was taking the air in St James's Park,
I was pleased, nay, delighted to discover
that the meagre income provided by the king could be
easily supplemented by the generosity of older gentlemen.
Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.
I have been a rent boy, a renter.
Or as I prefer to say it, a rentleman.
I have sucked from the forbidden cup,
I have whispered the love that dare not speak its name,
and I could tell you the price of a wank each year since the abdication.
This generation here, drunk on possibility and privilege,
will never know the happiness I did at that time.
I knew exactly where I stood.
Usually that was in a cottage cubicle tossing off a judge or a man of the cloth.
I always loved a clergyman customer.
Well, it was my privilege to step out with several princes of the church.
We all used to love them.
They'd come quickly and they'd always pay what they said they would.
That's a very Christian act in my book.
Five minutes tops,
I'd be a few bob richer and there'd be spunk all over me bearskin.
I'm only joking, I wouldn't wear a busby to suck a vicar's cock.
I'm not a monster.
I spent all the war in England.
Never set foot in a foreign field
but by the time it all kicked off,
I was safely ensconced as batman to a colonel, thank God.
That's a bona job.
I followed him around, making sure he looked the part.
London may've been burning but at least we looked dolly while it did.
Don't think me flippant if I say there are things I miss.
What I really loved was the darkness, the blackouts.
We're like eels, you see, my kind.
Eels live at the bottom of the lake where it's coldest and pitch-black.
They slither around and they burrow in the mud.
Sometimes they bump into each other down there in the mud
and it feels nice.
They rub their cold,
slippery eel skin against each other and they love it.
But then they move on, slither on,
and back then, I could find my way in the dark, you see.
These ogles of mine were already accustomed to it.
And everybody was moving around all the time, constant motion.
All in need of comfort, really.
All of them scared, desperate for some kindness.
best of all, were Americans.
The Americans saved our bacon.
Well, we would have lost otherwise,
and I would be speaking German at best.
Now, I've heard many a sermon from many a pulpit and they're always
very keen to tell you about heaven.
Heaven this and heaven that,
heaven shall be our reward for living a good life.
By which they mean paying your taxes and not causing any trouble.
Well, I can tell you, categorically, they're all wrong.
Paradise, if it's to be found anywhere at all, is right here on Earth.
For I have seen the face of God right here in the West End.
Just around the corner from here is a great big square,
and in the middle of it there's a statue of a sea captain
and around him, four bronze lions.
And that day, standing by one of the lions,
is an American private with green eyes and curly hair.
Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.
And the sun is on his face,
hosanna in the highest.
He's looking at me.
A daytime look, full of cigarettes and advice.
I can't tell the steam from his breath from the smoke of his cigarette
and he has no gloves and he's looking at me,
not sizing me up to see what he can get,
and he has little apples in his cheeks.
In his cheeks.
And finally I understand why the Trojans fought their war
and why Orpheus looked back,
and why the fucking nightingale was singing in Berkeley Square.
He's looking at me.
He doesn't even know what it means.
I approach him for a light,
he tells me his name, but...
I won't to tell it to you.
I suggest we take a turn around the square.
We walked around London all that day.
I bought him some gloves.
He taught me some words in American and pestered me for fags.
The war had been cruel to him.
Most people had been cruel to him.
But I gave him sips of whisky
to see the apples glow.
As the lights started to fade, the fear set in.
The dragons come at night, don't they?
Terrible wail of sirens, and scrambling haste
to save places underground.
Those with an investment in the future want to clasp their precious
progeny to their bosom and hunker down,
exalting God to grant them another dawn.
But not me.
I was in the presence of my God.
And for once, it was the others that were subterranean.
And the likes of us roamed the plains, and for one night, we were free.
on the mouth in the street.
We went to my room and I undressed him cross-eyed with excitement,
and for that night we were abandoned to each other.
I laid him out and worshipped every inch of his beautiful body by turn.
I was lost in his arms.
But it was easily worth the risk of staying aloft in an air raid.
Had that been my last night on Earth,
then a lucky man was I.
Next day he was gone.
Two things you must always do before sex at my age.
Cover all the mirrors, and put on the wireless or whatever you want -
just not silence, but definitely cover the mirrors.
I once caught a glimpse of myself going at it.
Looked like one of those lions in East Africa eating a gazelle,
rubbing his nose in the viscera.
I've seen it on Zoo Quest.
If you care to ogle me for a moment,
you will see that I am a lesson in the art of growing old with dignity
and elegance. I have, like the stately homes of England,
been somewhat in decline since the end of the war.
My paintwork is peeling, my plumbing is Victorian,
and my servants' entrance is badly in need of attention.
I know what I am and what I like.
I make the most of what I've got.
I play the hand I'm dealt as best I can.
I come here every day and more often than not, I do well.
I'm generous to renters, pay them what I say I will.
Maybe even the rentlemen will dry up now.
Have their heads turned by the possibility of living together
like Mum and Dad in their little houses.
Is that really what they want?
Sex is more fun if you do a little bit of groundwork.
Christ. I've raised it to an art form.
It's a kind of hunting.
You send out signals, a bit of polari here and there.
See what's on the radar.
Christ, it's a thieves' cant, for heaven's sake.
It's supposed to protect you from lily law.
It's not supposed to be on the wireless every day for the amusement
of bored polones.
I'd say bona to vada your dolly old eek, dear.
Come on, doll. Let's go for a bevvy somewhere ajax so I can ogle the dish on that omi.
Trust me, homosexuals will be no better off than they are now
or my name's not Cassandra - and my name's not Cassandra.
We will be forced to swallow the great lie that romance happens only once
and that love is forever.
That's just not true.
Why do you think normal people are so unhappy?
Because they have unrealistic expectations.
I am what everybody learns to fear.
The lowest of the low.
A dangerous predatory homosexual,
the kind that lurks silently,
waiting to corrupt the healthy manhood
of this septic isle.
And that's exactly what I am and they can all fuck off.
I'll be in my tailor shop.
They're walking straight into a trap, but not me, dear.
No point in that.
They won't catch me.
It's a short walk from Duke Street to Trafalgar Square.
I walk there everyday.
I stand in the same spot, I look over to the lion, I make my devotions.
I remember the apples.
Shorter walk still from the square to this place.
A watering hole where the gazelles gather, and the hunting is good.
I've been doing it all my life,
I'll do it in my lean and slippered pantaloons, I hope,
because you never know what's coming round the corner.
I want to fall into someone's arms, not someone's hands.
I want to make my devotions to a teenage god with perfect skin,
hot with life and blushing.
What secret shame...
doth rose thy Ganymede cheek?
# They seek him here
# They seek him there
# His clothes are loud but never square. #
The 1967 Sexual Offences Act will revolutionise everything, won't it? Well, perhaps not as far as dapper gent Jackie is concerned.