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Word on the Streets (continued)

 

CHORUS ONE
written first in Italian by Bandello and now in English
by Arthur Brooke

ARTHUR BROOKE [READING:]
As soon as she him spied, about his neck she clung,
And by her long and slender arms a great while there she hung,
A thousand times she kissed, and him unkissed again,
Ne could she speak a word to him, though would she ne'er so fain.
And like betwixt his arms to faint his lady is;
She fets a sigh and clappeth close her closéd mouth to his;
And ready then to sownd she lookéd ruthfully,
That lo, it made him both at once to live and eke to die.
These piteous painful pangs were haply overpast
And she unto herself again returnéd home at last.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE:
“A thousand times she kissed and him unkissed again…”

Now, what’s this?

CHORUS ONE:
The second tome of

CHORUS TWO:
‘The Palace of Pleasure’
by William Painter, clerk of the Ordinance and Armoury

CHORUS ONE:
The goodly History of the true, and constant Love between

CHORUS TWO
Romeo and Julietta,

CHORUS ONE:
The one of whom died of poison
CHORUS TWO:
and the other of sorrow
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
The one of whom died of poison

CHORUS TWO:
And the other of sorrow

HAROLD
In a Jewish wedding, the couple get married under
a ‘khuppe’,

CONNIE
It’s like a canopy.

HAROLD
It’s like a canopy.

CONNIE
And you were the best man.

HAROLD
I was coming to that.
I was the best man.

CONNIE
He had the ring.

HAROLD
I had the ring

CONNIE
So there’s Raymond and Sylvia
under the khuppe

HAROLD
And it’s hot.
It’s very hot under a khuppe, you know.

CONNIE
Raymond’s mother, Raymond’s father.

HAROLD
Sylvia’s mother,

CONNIE
Was her father there?

HAROLD
Of course he wasn’t, the mommza

CONNIE
Don’t say that,
It’s a bad word.

HAROLD
So I’m just about to hand Raymond the ring
And he faints!

CONNIE
He faints.

HAROLD
So me one side
And Barney Goldman the other,
We prop him up.
And that’s how he gets married.

CONNIE
That’s how he got married.
He didn’t know what was going on.

HAROLD
He was out of it.
We were propping him up.

CONNIE:
It was a lovely wedding.

[pause]

Shame he missed it.

COMMENTATOR

In 1865 the North London Railway
provided a short link with the City.
From Broad Street the line,
built at great expense through crowded Shoreditch,
ran close to the east side of Kingsland Road
to Dalston Junction station.

CHORUS  TWO THREE & FOUR
Dalston Junction station.

COMMENTATOR
The stretch from Broad Street to Dalston
did much to open the northern suburbs to commuters;
workmen's fares were available
and it soon had one of London's heaviest traffic flows,
with 322 trains terminating on weekdays at Broad Street
in 1903.

CHORUS TWO THREE & FOUR:
Three hundred and twenty two trains.

COMMENTATOR:
The Broad Street line and Dalston Junction station were closed
in 1986 and the track was taken up.

CHORUS TWO THREE & FOUR
Dalston Junction was closed and the track was taken up.

COMMENTATOR:
Most of this stretch of line will be utilised
in the extension of the East London Line
being built now, due for opening in 2010
with the stations at Haggerston and Dalston Junction
rebuilt and reopened.

CHORUS THREE
The track taken up

CHORUS TWO
New tracks to be laid

CHORUS THREE
Dalston Junction closed

CHORUS FOUR
Dalston Junction to be rebuilt and reopened.

DJ DEXTROUS [THIS TO BE USED AGAIN LATER WHEN IT FEELS RIGHT!]
[BEAT BOX]
Kilamanjaro
Kilamanjaro
Kilamanjaro

[etc]

VOICE 11
If you let it
A street will grow
People will come into its spaces

VOICE 12
Here is a family from Afghanistan
Terror in their eyes.
They have found a table
And some chairs.
They have bought some bread
From the TFC, the Turkish supermarket
They lay their heads on some cushions
And shut their eyes and go to sleep.

VOICE 11
Here are two brothers
They’ve been dj’s and van drivers
And they’ve figured you can hire stuff out.
People want music for their weddings and parties
Sometimes they want decks and amps
So the two brothers
Get into an old space and people are coming
To hire their gear.

VOICE 13
Here’s Hilda
She’s lived upstairs in this place
For forty-two years
The wall is damp
She has ulcers on her legs
She used to work in the rag trade
Running up skirts.
Machinist.
She finished how many skirts?
Ten thousand?
A hundred thousand?

COMENTATOR
And here’s Hussein
How did the auction go,
Hussein?

VOICE (ANNA LAETITIA BARBAULD)
A woman comes to Stoke Newington.
There’s been a revolution in France.
The world is turning.
People are saying that someone
Doesn’t have the right to rule the country
Just because their father ruled it before him.
She and her husband come to Stoke Newington.

She is saying “Woman! rise,
assert thy right!
Woman! too long degraded,
scorned, opprest”
Anna Laetitia Barbauld comes to Stoke Newington

She is saying that Africa bleeds.
A “human traffic still proceeds”
But  freedom dreams
Of a new age.
Freedom dreams…
Freedom dreams
Freedom dreams

She adopts her little nephew, Charles
And teaches him to read.
She invents a book that is small enough for his hands
With print big enough for him to see clearly
With stories taken from her life with him.
No one has ever done that before.

Anna Laetitia [PRONOUNCED ‘Letisha’] Barbauld came to Stoke Newington

TURKISH HAIRDRESSER
You know what a Turkish haircut is?
You, how old are you?
You sixty.
Well, you know what you get?
First, you get haircut.
Nice cut, all over.
You can have it natural
Or we shave edges.
Then you want beard?
We can do beard.
Again, you can have natural
Or we shave edges.
Then shampoo.
You have shampoo
And finish haircut.
And when your head in the water
I give you massage.
Here, next your eyes
I push thumbs in there
Hard.
Very, very hard.
It’s good.
Then ears.
I light the thing, what you call?
Cotton bud.
I light cotton bud with fuel.
Paff! On your ear,
And then hit with my hand
Burns the hair out.
That’s ears.
Then nose.
You got hair in your nose.
I get trimmer on that.
Big eyebrows.
Man get big eyebrows.
How old you are?
Sixty.
Man get big eyebrows.
I get trimmer on that.
So you don’t get big eyebrows.
Ladies don’t like big eyebrows.
Then towels.
You want towels?
See that box?
In that box
I got the towels.
They hot.
Very, very, very, very hot.
You look worried.
First I get ointment.
Slap, slap, slap
All over your face.
Very spicy. Make your skin
Feel it very much.
Then hot towels come out
I put all over your face.
I make sure your nose look out.
So you breathe.
But hot towel all over your face.
Very, very, very, very hot.
You sit there for minutes
All wrap up.
Then it all come off
And you feel like young man.
Your face like spring day.
Fooooffff.
Lady like it.
She happy. You happy.
You have nice time.
And I do nice stuff on the hair
At the end.
Fifteen pound.
What you say?

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Two households both alike in dignity
(In fair Verona, where we lay our scene)
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

GREGORY
Draw thy tool – here comes of the house of Montagues

SAMPSON
My naked weapon is out. Quarrel, I will back thee.

GREGORY
How, turn thy back and run?

SAMPSON
Draw if you be men,

BENVOLIO
Part, fools, put up your swords, you know not what you do.

CHORUS (distributed amongst various voices)
Clubs, bills, partisans! Strike! Beat them down!

CHORUS THREE & FOUR
Down with the Capulets!

CHORUS ONE & TWO
Down with the Montagues!

SHAKESPEARE AS PRINCE
Rebellious subjects! Enemies to peace!
Three civil brawls bred of an airy word
By thee old Capulet, and Montague
Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets.

FASCISTS CHORUS ONE & TWO
Burn the synagogues!
Get rid of the Jews!

HACKNEY GAZETTE
Walking down Colvestone Crescent one Sunday evening
I heard a shout, ‘The fascists are coming!’
Instantly, children playing happily
were whisked indoors by their parents.
In Dalston High Street, gangs of youngsters
with older instructors in their midst
paraded up and down shouting anti-Jewish slogans
and catch-phrases.

FASCIST
A song we sang at that time was a parody of ‘Sons of the Sea’
We loved singing it at Ridley Road meetings to the words:

CHORUS ONE & TWO
“ Scum of Aldgate, all Yiddish boys,
marching down Whitechapel
with their Hebrew cries of ‘Oi, Oi, Oi!’
they can build their barricades
Use their razor blades
But they can’t beat the boys of the BUF
Who made old Mosley’s name!’

JAMES COTTER
The first Sunday I went to Ridley Road,
the East End Mosley boys were there in force.
Speaker after speaker from the Union-Jack-draped platform
hurled insults at the local Jewish residents

FASCIST SPEAKER
‘The Jew is an inferior being
The Jew will contaminate you.
If a Jew is on the same bus and train as you
Throw him off.
Don’t wait for the Jew-controlled Socialist government to act.
They won’t.’

JAMES COTTER
There were hundreds of anti-fascists, and members
Of the Jewish 43 Group there

CHORUS THREE & FOUR (various)
Down with fascism! Down with fascism!

We fought you at Arnhem,

You are fascists!

They should have hanged you with Lord Haw-Haw!

‘Down with fascism’.

‘Didn’t your lot lose the war?’

JAMES COTTER
We on the fascist side weren’t officially armed but
one enthusiast showed me a cut-throat razor
another, a handkerchief filled with stones wrapped around his knuckles
and others with lead piping.

Hamm made his usual ‘Wake up, Britain, Britain for the British’ speech,
then we retired to the Rose in Kingsland Road just by Dalston Junction.
There, as the fascists made the toast:

CHORUS ONE AND TWO
‘Perish Judah’,

JAMES COTTER
…one Blackshirt said that four of the 43 Group were in there.
The four Jewish lads left the pub
And were immediately set upon by the fascists outside.
They fought their way out and ran down Kingsland Road
To a bus stop.
With some fifteen to twenty fascists punching and kicking them
The four Jews went down fighting.

Several passers by attempted to intervene
But were driven off with coshes and other weapons.
One was struck in the face with a knuckleduster.
A young airman braved the mob and kept shouting:

AIRMAN
Leave them alone! What have they done?

JAMES COTTER
One of the Blackshirts gave the answer,
His eyes shining with excitement,

FASCIST ONE
they’re Jews! 43 Group Jews!’

FASCIST TWO
‘Nark it, the cops are coming!’

JAMES COTTER
…and the fascist rabble scattered,
leaving their unconscious victims on the ground,
covered in blood.

COMMENTATOR
In October 1947
The anti-fascist 43 Group was attacking an average of
15 outdoor meetings every week
and by whatever means
causing more than half to close down prematurely.

MORRIS BECKMAN
 Ivor grabbed my shoulder, pushed and roared:

IVOR
Go, go, go

MORRIS BECKMAN
We went at the fascists and they fought back hard
It was a savage few minutes.
There were punches, boots flying, curses
And Ivor yelling,

IVOR
Don’t pissball about – hurt the bastards!

MORRIS BECKMAN
I found myself trading punches with a stocky youth
With slicked back, greasy blond hair,
wearing a leather bomber jacket.
He kept yelling at me,

FASCIST ONE
‘Fucking Jewboy bastard!’

MORRIS BECKMAN
I landed several blows on his face.
For a few moments he was my whole horizon.

DANIEL HOPKIN – MAGISTRATE
This case is heard before Daniel Hopkin
In the North London court

If speakers went into an essentially Jewish district
To talk anti-semitism, and stir up racially hatred
They must take what was coming to them.
The case involves the issue of free speech, but it is wrong
To use free speech to create disorder and insult a body of people.

COUNCILLOR DAY
I move the motion that:
The Hackney Borough Council prohibits the use of all premises
under its control to fascist organisations

CHORUS ALL
The motion is passed.

COUNCILLOR ALMAN
This is the first occasion on which a body elected
Democratically is taking an active step
In defence of that democracy.
It is not an attempt to curtail free speech
But is a protection against those taking advantage
Of the freedom, to destroy it.

HAROLD
Hoxton? Hoxton!
I’ll tell you about Hoxton.
Eighty years ago
I was sitting under my Auntie Adey’s stall
Watchin the man on the other side of the road
Chopping up live eels.
He’d take his knife in one hand
And hold the eel with the other
And chop, chop, chop, chop
Into little bits
And then swoosh’em all into a bowl.

SONG
“My old man said,
"Follow the van,
don't dilly dally on the way!"
Off went the cart with the home packed in it,
I walked behind with me old cock linnet.
But I dillied and dallied, dallied and dillied,
Lost the van and don't know where to roam.
You can't trust the Specials like the old-time coppers
When you can't find your way home.

HAROLD
Cos they’re doing a midnight flit, int’ they?
Cos they ain’t paid the rent.
Can’t afford it.
So they’ve scarpered.
And the old time coppers’d look the other way, you see.
But the specials was on to yer.

GILES ALLEN (landlord of the land The Theatre stood one)
[VERY INDIGNANT]
About the eight and twentieth day of December,
fifteen hundred and ninety eight
one Cuthbert Burbage, his brother Richard,
his friend William Smith, of Waltham Cross,
Peter Street, chief carpenter,
and twelve others -
(labourers such as wrought for wages) -
riotously assembled themselves together, 
armed themselves with many unlawful and offensive weapons,
(namely): swords, daggers, bills, axes, and such like,
and so armed did then repair unto the Theatre,
and then in very riotous,  outrageous and forceable manner,
attempted to pull down the Theatre.
breaking, and throwing it down.
in very outrageous and violent, sort.
They did then also in most forcible and riotous manner
take and carry away from thence all the wood and timber of the Theatre
unto the Bankside,
in the Parish of St. Mary Overies,
and there erected a new playhouse

COMMENTATOR
And this new building
with William Shakespeare as one of its shareholders was
of course
The Globe.

ANNA SEWELL (sings)
I had the German measles
I had them very bad
They wrapped me in a blanket
And put me in a van

The road was very bumpy
I nearly tumbled out
When I got to hospital
I heard a baby shout:

‘Mamma, Papa
Take me home.
Take me from this rusty home
I’ve been here a  year or two
Now I wanna be home with you.

Here comes Dr Glannister
Sliding down the banister
Half way down he ripped his pants
Now he’s doing a cha-cha dance.

COMMENTATOR
Hussein, how did the auction go?
Did you get it?
What did it cost you?

HUSSEIN
They sold my place, and another whole load of places
To a developer.
They said it was all, what you say,
One lot.
I couldn’t bid for mine.
He owns my place now.
He can throw us out.

COMMENTATOR
Who is this developer?

HUSSEIN
I don’t know. He wasn’t there.
He had a man do it for him.
People say he don’t live here.
He lives abroad somewhere.

COMMENTATOR
But, you, you had a letter
Inviting you there…

HUSSEIN
Didn’t mean nothing.

VOICE 3:
They dream of childless towers
Of one-bed, two-bed apartments
No need for swings or slides
No need for the visiting nurse
They dream of weekday workers
Heading home at weekends
They dream of childless towers.

MRS HEADLEY
I am very well thank you
We come back from Jamaica
After Headley’s Daddy pass away.

I am afraid that Headley is not well.
He went to the hospital for his hip
And it go wrong.
We don’t know why.
The nurse say it is something to do with this MRSA
And it get in there.

He’s very quiet now
And we must just hope for the best
Hope for the best

ANNA SEWELL  [BREATHLESS AND FAST]
It is always difficult to drive fast in the city
in the middle of the day,
when the streets are full of traffic,
but we did what could be done;
and when a good driver and a good horse,
who understand each other, are of one mind,
it is wonderful what they can do.
I had a very good mouth—
that is I could be guided by the slightest touch of the rein;
and that is a great thing in London,
among carriages, omnibuses, carts, vans, trucks, cabs,
and great wagons creeping along at a walking pace;
some going one way, some another,
some going slowly, others wanting to pass them;
omnibuses stopping short every few minutes to take up a passenger,
obliging the horse that is coming behind to pull up too,
or to pass, and get before them;
perhaps you try to pass,
but just then something else comes dashing in
through the narrow opening,
and you have to keep in behind the omnibus again;
presently you think you see a chance,
and manage to get to the front,
going so near the wheels on each side
that half an inch nearer and they would scrape.
Well, you get along for a bit,
but soon find yourself in a long train of carts and carriages
all obliged to go at a walk;
perhaps you come to a regular block-up,
and have to stand still for minutes together,
till something clears out into a side street,
or the policeman interferes;
you have to be ready for any chance—
to dash forward if there be an opening,
and be quick as a rat-dog to see if there be room
and if there be time,
lest you get your own wheels locked or smashed,
or the shaft of some other vehicle run into your chest or shoulder.
All this is what you have to be ready for.
If you want to get through London fast in the middle of the day
it wants a deal of practice.

COMMENTATOR
From the site of the New Parkesine Works
Hackney Wick
I can see
Over the River Lea
To where
The earthmovers
have started work.
In four years time
five thousand sports writers and commentators
will be screaming into their mobiles and mikes
just a few feet from here.
In six years time,
After the five thousand sports writers and commentators
Have packed their mobiles and mikes and laptops away
And gone home to their newspapers and radio TV stations
All over the world
What will we have then
Near to where Alexander Parkes first
Dissolved cotton in
Pyroxylin nitrobenzole
Aniline, glacial acetic acid
And camphor
To make the world’s first plastic?
What will we have then?
What will we have?

VOICE 1
Evening falls between the trees
The drumming for Ghana fills the leaves
The wicket falls
High fives all round
Conkers shining in their nests
Mr Softee pulls away
She makes love to her mobile
So happy he’s called

VOICE 2
Here a plane tree
Higher than a warehouse
Thicker than a rubbish bin
Stronger than a promise
Older than a Town hall.

VOICE 1
Evening falls between the trees
The drumming for Ghana fills the leaves

ANNA LAETITIA BARBAULD
Lessons for children
from Two to Three year Olds
1794
It is dark.
Bring candles.
Snuff the candles.
Shut the window-shutters.
Do not shut them yet.
Look at the moon.
O bright moon! O pretty moon!
The moon shines at night
When the sun is gone to bed.
The chickens are gone to bed,
And the little birds are gone to bed,
And the sun is gone to bed
And Charles must go to bed.
Poor little boy is sleepy.
I believe we must carry him upstairs
Pull off his shoes.
Pull off his frock and petticoats.
Put on his nightcap.

MICHAEL ROSEN (very fast)
The bus goes on and it’s full and it’s leaving
and it’s laughing and it’s going on and it’s morning
 and it’s evening and it’s in Punjabi
and it’s daytime and it’s full and it stops
and it’s suspicious and it starts and
it’s in Ibo and it’s shouting and it’s shopping
and it’s rapping and it’s lit up and it’s dark
and it’s ‘Shove up!’ and it’s crying and it’s
squealing and it’s in Dutch and it’s braking
and it’s in Geordie and it’s at the station
and it’s skint and it’s full of babies and it’s
full of men and it’s going on and it’s past
the Vietnamese café and it’s past the tyre depot
and it’s past the silver car and its chauffeur
and it’s waiting for Sinatra to start up  and
it’s in patois and it’s chips and vinegar and
it’s past the park and it’s full of football and
it’s a bellyache and it’s full of jokes and it’s
scared and it’s n Arabic and it’s back from
school and it’s pushing and it’s raining and
it’s ripe armpits and it’s ‘tranks’ and it’s angry
And it’s full of yesterday and it’s riding under
The lights and it’s pissed off and it’s smell of oil
and it’s lean and it’s combing and it’s kissing
and it’s packets of rice and it’s cassava and
it’s over the canal and it’s the baby’s bottle
and it’s over the railway and it’s under the cranes
and it’s in the shadows of the palaces in glass
and it’s in Albanian and it’s bleach and it’s the
homework in late and it’s spuds and it’s the hijab
and it’s shoulders next to back next to fronts
and it’s revving and it’s too late and it’s too early
and it’s not enough and it’s going on and it’s on
time and it’s dreaming and it’ll get there today
and it’ll get there tomorrow…

 

 

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