MAN IN BOOTH: Do you mind, granddad?

LIONEL: Sorry.


JEAN: You look like a frightened horse in that one.

LIONEL: I was angry.

JEAN: Oh well, an angry horse.

LIONEL: The one of the top of my head’s rather good isn’t it?

JEAN: Were you still angry?

LIONEL: No, just facing the wrong way.

JEAN: Oh, I have to ask. What is a Chinese gentleman doing in this one?

LIONEL: Butting in?

JEAN: Why?

LIONEL: Well he wanted to know if I was snogging.

JEAN: With whom?

LIONEL: Oh, there was  a young couple in there before me, and they said I was obsessed with sex.

JEAN: Are you?

LIONEL: No, of course not. Oh, well, they seemed to be in there a long time, so I asked them if they were just snogging.

JEAN: I won’t expect it’s called snogging these days.

LIONEL: No, they told me that as well.

JEAN: What is it called?

LIONEL: Fff…I can’t remember.

JUDY: Hello Lionel.

LIONEL: Hello.

JUDY: Oh, photos. I love photos. Is this a joke?

JEAN: I don’t think it was intended to be.

JUDY: What’s a chinaman doing in this one?

LIONEL: Oh, have copies made. Circulate them. Go on, raise the spirits of the entire nation.

JUDY: I’m only curious.

JEAN: So am I.

LIONEL: I’ll tell you over dinner.

JUDY: Oh, we’re going out are we?

JEAN: Yes, we are. Anything to add?


JEAN: I left my bag upstairs. I won’t be a minute.

JUDY: What’s the matter with the top of your head?

LIONEL: May I have them back please? Thank you.

JUDY: I’m glad you’re going out with mum. I mean, I am over you.

LIONEL: You make me sound like Beeccher’s Brook.

JUDY: No, it was just a silly romantic notion I suppose. I’m prone to those. It wouldn’t never have worked. I mean…

LIONEL: You’re far…

JUDY: …you’re far too old.  

LIONEL: Quite.

JUDY: That is what you were going to say isn’t it?

LIONEL: Yes, of course. What do young people call snogging these days?

JUDY: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s call anything. Why?

LIONEL: Oh, call it historical research.

JUDY: Is that what you’ve got in mind with mum?

LIONEL: No. Well…

JUDY: You’re embarrassed.

LIONEL: I’m not embarrassed.

JUDY: So, is it just companionship then?

LIONEL: God, you make it sound as though we should both be wearing woolly hats.

JUDY: Woolly hats?

LIONEL: It’s an image. I mean, we may not be in the first flush of youth, but…

JUDY: It’s amazing isn’t it?

LIONEL: No, it isn’t amazing. It’s…Oh, there you are.

JEAN: I always know when someone’s been talking about me behind my back when they say, “Ah, there you are.”

JUDY: I started it.

JEAN: Yes, I thought you might have.

LIONEL: Shall we go?

JEAN: Yes, let’s.

JUDY: I shan’t wait up, because I’m a bit tired.

LIONEL: Goodnight, Judith.

JUDY: So if you want a good song…

JEAN: Goodnight Judith.


LIONEL: What? Have it got a bit of food on me or something?

JEAN: No, wouldn’t it bunny if the chap in your photograph turned out to own this restaurant?



LIONEL: No, it would just be an extraordinary coincidence.

JEAN: You don’t laugh as much as you used to.

LIONEL: Less to laugh at I suppose.

JEAN: You never did tell why you had those ridiculous photographs taken.

LIONEL: Well, I didn’t intend them to be ridiculous. No, it was curiosity really. I just wanted to see what I look like.

JEAN: Most people use a mirror.

LIONEL: No. How I photograph.

JEAN: Are you thinking of becoming a model?

LIONEL: It’s the book. Alistair, the boy publisher, has decided that he wants me on the cover.

JEAN: You?

LIONEL: Thank you.

JEAN: Well, I suppose he knows what he’s doing.

LIONEL: Yes, well he wouldn’t endanger sales deliberately would he? Would you like a drink, brandy?

JEAN: Well, I wouldn’t mind actually, but the chap did say that the bar closed twenty minutes ago.

LIONEL: Oh, that’s all right. I’ve been here before. There’s a trick to it. Um, may we have a pot of china tea? 

WAITER: Yes, sir.

LIONEL: That’s china tea.

WAITER: Yes, sir.

JEAN: That’s the trick is it?

LIONEL: That’s the trick.

JEAN: Who with

LIONEL: Well, the waiter, obviously.

JEAN: No, no, who were you here with?

LIONEL: Oh, mind your own business. No, Alistair actually.

JEAN: Well, you should be pretty flattered that he wants you on the cover.

LIONEL: Well, I don’t have photographs taken, you see. I tend to turn out looking sulky.

JEAN: Well, you didn’t look sulky in this one.

LIONEL: Good god. That was us 38 years ago.

JEAN: You look a bit smug.

LIONEL: I felt a bit smug. I suppose they couldn’t use that for the cover of the book?

JEAN: No, it’s called My Life in Kenya, not My Life as a National Serviceman. Anyway I’m not in the book.

LIONEL: You weren’t in Kenya.

JEAN: I know I wasn’t in Kenya.

LIONEL: Oh, it’s never see.

JEAN: Oh, that’s the spirit.

LIONEL: Well, I’ve got used to things not turning out right, you see.

JEAN: Well, getting a drink after hours isn’t bad.

WAITER: One pot of china tea, sir.

LIONEL: Thank you. It’s like prohibition isn’t it?

JEAN: A large one?

LIONEL: Please.

JEAN: It’s tea.


JEAN: Thanks. You know I think there’s more riding not his book than Lionel admits. I think he needs the money.

SANDY: Well, speaking as one of the seriously underpaid, who doesn’t?

JUDY: It just needs to sell.

JEAN: Ah yes, the trouble is, we’ve all read it.

JUDY: He and you know how went out to dinner last night.

SANDY: Did they?

JUDY: Quite late back.

SANDY: Good sign.

JUDY: He didn’t come in, though.

SANDY: Ah, bad sign.

JUDY: Not much activity on the doorstep either.

JEAN: Do you two talk like this about me behind my back?

JUDY: No, it’s much juicer.

JEAN: Oh, that’ll be Alistair.

ALISTAIR: Well, hello! I just have that dress. I just love it.

JEAN: Yes, that’s Alistair.

ALISTAIR: What a wonderful way to start the day. Two beautiful women craving my attention.

JEAN and JUDY: Morning Alistair.

ALISTAIR: Three beautiful women craving my attention.

SANDY: I’m not craving anything. I just came in to collect my coffee.

JEAN: I don’t remember saying anything about craving either.

ALISTAIR: You said you wanted to see me.

JEAN: Yes, I do.

ALISTAIR: Same thing. What’s the prob?

JEAN: Ah, the prob is Lionel. He’s worried about the book.

JUDY: Is it going to sell or not?

ALISTAIR: I’m publishing it.

JEAN: Yes, but is it going to sell or not?

ALISTAIR: Within reason. Look, I can’t make the public buy it. But, uh, a bit of hype, a pick me up and buy me cover, and who knows?

JEAN: This pick me up and buy me cover, it’s a photograph of Lionel, isn’t it?

ALISTAIR: Well, of course. My Life in Kenya. He’s the main man.

JEAN: Does Lionel’s face say pick me up and buy me?

ALISTAIR: Well, we’ll just have to improve it somehow.


SANDY: A photograph of Lionel against a jungle background with a silly hat on?

JUDY: That’s just what mum said.

SANDY: Well, what will Lionel say?

JUDY: Something profane, I imagine.

SANDY: Did Alistair have any other bright ideas?

JUDY: Well, he waffled on a bit you know, kept using words like danger and excitement.

SANDY: There isn’t going to a be a lion in the photograph as well, is there?

JUDY: I sincerely hope not. No, I think Alistair just wants things to suggest danger and excitement.

SANDY: Did he say anything else?

JUDY: Well, nothing specific, but enough for mum to think that Lionel needs, um, preparing. That’s where she’s gone.

SANDY: It’s not going to be that awful is it?

JUDY: Well, it can’t be awful. I mean, Alistair gets rich from selling books. He must know what he’s doing. It’s all a matter of taste I suppose.

SANDY: And Lionel’s taste does not run to wearing silly hats or a jungle background?

JUDY: Or whatever else Alistair has in mind.


JEAN: Oh, hello Lionel.

LIONEL: You made it sound urgent. 

JEAN: Urgent? No. I’ve made some sandwiches.

LIONEL: Oh, good.

LIONEL: Shouldn’t you be at work?

JEAN: That’s not a very gracious thing to say.

LIONEL: Well, it’s curiosity really. I mean you haven’t taken the day off just to give me sandwiches, have you?

JEAN: Don’t you like them?

LIONEL: Yes. They’re very nice.

JEAN: I think there’s nothing like a  nice sandwich sometimes.

LIONEL: Oh true. I often think that a nice sandwich is the high spot of my life.

JEAN: That’s a silly thing to say.

LIONEL: What did you really want to see me about?

JEAN: Ah, well, I bumped into Alistair and we got talking about this photograph of you for the cover of the book.

LIONEL: I see.

JEAN: Now, don’t say I see like that. I haven’t told you what Alistair said yet.

LIONEL: Well, don’t bother with all the peculiar words he uses. Just give me a loose translation.

JEAN: Well, he said it needed something.


JEAN: Well ‘something’ is what he kept saying. Unless, of course, you use all those words like pizazz and chutzpah which you claim not to understand.

LIONEL: Thank you. Pezazz and chutzpah with me as the subject?

JEAN: Yes, I agree, it’s not a natural connection.

LIONEL: What’s he got in mind? Me lying naked on a pile of coffee beans?

JEAN: Oh, that’s not very helpful.

LIONEL: Well, he produces half baked ideas as fast as most people blink.

JEAN: It’s his way. And a lot of good ideas sound half baked to begin with.

LIONEL: Like what?

JEAN: Well like…er…flying.

LIONEL: Alistair doesn’t claim to have invented the airplane does he?

JEAN: No, you know what I mean. Fish fingers.

LIONEL: Fish fingers?

JEAN: Yes. Fish don’t have fingers.

LIONEL: Oh really?!

JEAN: When somebody said, “I know, let’s make them in the shape of fingers and call them ‘fish fingers’”, it may have sounded half baked, but it was brilliant.

LIONEL: I’ve never actually met anybody with fingers shaped like fish fingers.


LIONEL: I mean, actually they’re just rectangles.

JEAN: So, you’d have called them ‘fish rectangles’ would you?


JEAN: That’s just pedantic and dull, which is what Alistair doesn’t want the cover to be. He wants something which says, ‘Pick me up and buy me.’

LIONEL: I could have that printed across my forehead.

JEAN: Now you’re just being obstructive.


JEAN: You know he sell books, he must know what he’s doing.

LIONEL: Well, I don’t do anything ridiculous.

JEAN: Well, he’s not going to ask you to stand on your head or pull funny faces is he?

LIONEL: Well, I shall find out tomorrow. He’s set up a session in a studio.

JEAN: Oh now, you will cooperate?

LIONEL: I will not make a fool of myself.

JEAN: Just bend a little, mm? It’s for the book. It’s to sell your book.

LIONEL: I’ll cooperate.

JEAN: That’s a good fella.

LIONEL: Chutzpah!

JEAN: Bless you.



SANDY: Well, why did she come back to the office?

JUDY: She didn’t come back until three o’clock. That gave them three hours. I mean, does it take three hours to talk about a book cover?

SANDY: So, your version is half an hour’s talk, and two and a half hours of unbridled passion?

JUDY: Well, perhaps not unbridled. They’re getting on a bit to be unbridled.

SANDY: You have got over him haven’t you?

JUDY: Oh yes! But he is sweet.

SANDY: Not a word I’d have thought of.

JUDY: Pity mum’s not a sea otter.

SANDY: A sea otter. Why?

JUDY: Well, you must have seen that program. When sea otters make love, they bit each other’s noses.

SANDY: Funny thing to do.

JUDY: Yes it is, but the point is you can always tell when a sea otter’s made love.

SANDY: So you mean if your mum had walked in with a red nose…?

JUDY: Exactly.

SANDY: I’m glad it’s not so obvious with people.

JUDY: Yes, so am I actually.

SANDY: Well, his coat looks in good condition.

JUDY: Hello Lionel.

LIONEL: Oh, hello.

JUDY: Are you going in?

LIONEL: Um, probably I was. In fact I am. There. What are you looking at?

JUDY: No…It would probably have worn off by now anyway.


JEAN: Yes. Three o’clock would be fine. Absolutely. I’m sure we will. Yes, I look forward to seeing you. Thanks, bye.

JUDY: Prawns and mayonnaise on brown bread, and Lionel.


LIONEL: Hello.

JEAN: Hello, Lionel. 

LIONEL: Have you got a thing about sandwiches?

JEAN: No. Just eating.

JUDY: I’ll have lunch with Sandy.

JEAN: Right. Oh do sit down Lionel. I won’t be a minute. Now listen you two, George Stillman’s coming at three o’clock this afternoon. It’s important that he likes us. It’ll mean four or five secretaries for three months. Understood?

JUDY: How much does he lave to like us?

SANDY: It’s not a red nose job is it?

JEAN: What?

JUDY: No, she’s just being silly.

JEAN: Well, it seems to me that you’re both being silly. Look, I’m talking about a good impression. It is important.

JUDY: Yes, mum

SANDY: Yes, boss.


JEAN: Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher: all is vanity.

LIONEL: Substitute anxiety and you’ve got it.

JEAN: Oh, this afternoon is it?

LIONEL: Yes…Me, Alistair, a photographer, and chutzpah.

JEAN: Oh, you’ll be all right.

LIONEL: I wonder if you’d like to come along.

JEAN: I’m afraid I can’t.


JEAN: I’d like to, but I really can’t.

LIONEL: Oh, that’s fine.

JEAN: Would you like half of my sandwich.

LIONEL: No, thanks. It’s best not to eat really. I don’t mean not at all, just this afternoon. You carry on.

JEAN: Oh, I can’t you’re putting me off.

LIONEL: Oh, I am sorry.

JEAN: Well, it’s the tension. I can feel it coming out of you like gamma rays.

LIONEL: You can’t feel gamma rays.

JEAN: Oh, well, whatever.

LIONEL: Oh, god, it’s so silly isn’t it. I mean I was shot at in the Korean War, actually shot at.

JEAN: Oh, it wasn’t just the mule that kicked you then?

LIONEL: No. But this prancing around in front of a camera.

JEAN: It’s not prancing around. 

LIONEL: Well, posing, posturing, whatever you call it.

JEAN: You’ve got cold feet…

JUDY: Do you want some coffee?

LIONEL: No, thanks.

JEAN: No, thanks Judy. I’ll wait till later.

JUDY: Right.

JEAN: Is that all?

JUDY: Yes. Yes. That’s all.

LIONEL: What’s all that about?

JEAN: A vivid imagination I expect. You’ve got cold feet.

LIONEL: Oh…well she didn’t…

JEAN: Yes…and I was late back to the office yesterday afternoon.

LIONEL: Oh. The French are reputed to make love in the afternoon.

JEAN: The French are reputed to do all sorts of things. Now, about these cold feet.

LIONEL: Oh, could we use some other expression?

JEAN: Oh well, anxiety. Look it’s only having your photograph taken.

LIONEL: Oh, I suddenly hate what I’m doing. I’m whinging. 

JEAN: No. I would come with you if I could, but I simply can’t.

LIONEL: I shouldn’t have asked you. It’s pathetic.

JEAN: Oh no it isn’t. You once asked me to come and watch you play rugby for the home counties brigade. 

LIONEL: So I did. Rather different case, that. I asked you then, because I wanted to show off.

JEAN: Did you really?

LIONEL: Yes…youthful limbs, all of that.

JEAN: That’s my boyfriend, I thought. Number seven on his back. Brave as a lion.

LIONEL: We got massacred by the parachute regiment.

JEAN: Well, they were bigger than you.

LIONEL: Yes…Boyfriend?

JEAN: That’s what you said in those days.

LIONEL: Anyway, I’m glad you came.

JEAN: So am I.

LIONEL: Right. I’m off. I shall look at it this way. What are Alistair and a photographer compared to the parachute regiment?

JEAN: Oh, good luck.


ALISTAIR: Here we are, mate, Wondersville. Li…Oz. Oz…Li. Li…Lee. Lee…Li.

OZ: Hi.

LEE: Right.

LIONEL: It’s not Li. It’s Lionel actually.

LEE: Right.

OZ: Hi.

ALISTAIR: So, what do you reckon, mate?

LIONEL: What is it?

ALISTAIR: What is it? It’s Kenya.

LIONEL: It doesn’t look anything like Kenya. It looks like a set for a Tarzan film.

ALISTAIR: Mate, make space in your head. This is what most people want Kenya to look like.

LIONEL: Well, they must be idiots.

ALISTAIR: Well, don’t put them down, they’re your potential readers.

LIONEL: How very encouraging.

ALISTAIR: Mate…Describe the Land of Oz to me.

LIONEL: I don’t know where he come from.

ALISTAIR: No, no, no. I mean Oz as in ‘Wizard of.’

LIONEL: Oh. Oh, I don’t know.

ALISTAIR: Oh, go on, just for me.

LIONEL: Well, er…Those little red riffed houses, big flowers and those obnoxious munchkins and…

ALISTAIR: Go on, go on.

LIONEL: Oh, for heaven’s sake.

ALISTAIR: Bear with me, bear with me.

LIONEL: Well, there was a road, a yellow brick road, and I think it led to the Emerald City.

ALISTAIR: Now tell me, have you ever been to the Land of Oz?

LIONEL: Funny enough, no. I understand you have to be rendered unconscious by a storm in Kansas to get in.

ALISTAIR: So, in fact nobody actually knows what Oz looks like?

LIONEL: The implication being that nobody knows what Kenya looks like?

ALISTAIR: Right. But believe me, this is what most of your readers want it to look like.

LIONEL: Then they are idiots.

ALISTAIR: We’ve already done that one mate. Believe me, ok? Just trust me. Ok, er…Let’s burn rubber…Oz cots megabucks by the hour.

LIONEL: Does he? All right, where do I stand?

ALISTAIR: Lionel, no. Not like that. Get into your costume first.

LIONEL: Costume?


JEAN: Twenty to three, is that really the time?

JUDY: Yup.

JEAN: Oh, what the hell. He’s only a client.

JUDY: You don’t usually get in a state about clients.

JEAN: I’m not getting into a state about a client. I’m getting into a state about somebody who faced the parachute regiment without flinching.

JUDY: Wild guess, Lionel? What about George Stillman?

JEAN: Well, you deal with him. And you.

SANDY: Me? What if I can’t?

JEAN: Oh, no problem. You’re fired.


LIONEL: I will not wear the hat. 


LIONEL: I was a coffee planter, not a white hunter.

LEE: Rifle.

ALISTAIR: Oh, that is superb.

LIONEL: And I am most certainly not holding a rifle.

ALISTAIR: Oh, come on mate. You must have shot things.

LIONEL: I grew coffee.

ALISTAIR: With the greatest respect, Li, coffee does not sell books.

LIONEL: But rifles and silly hats do?

ALISTAIR: Well, at least the hat’s authentic.

LIONEL: It says ‘Made in Taiwan.’

ALISTAIR: It’s bound to be authentic then isn’t it? Look what does the cover have to say?

LIONEL: ‘Pick me up and buy me.’

ALISTAIR: Right. A hint of danger says that. A hint of adventure says that. A hint of sex says that.

LIONEL: What hint of sex?

JEAN: Is it all right?

ALISTAIR: Of course, come in and join the A Team. Jean…Oz. Oz…Jean. 

JEAN: Hello.

OZ: Hi.

ALISTAIR: Jean…Lee. Lee…Jean. Lee Jeans!

LEE: Right.

JEAN: Right.

ALISTAIR: Now come over and talk some sense into my main man.

LIONEL: I thought you couldn’t come.

JEAN: Well I discovered I could. I can always go again. 

ALISTAIR: No way. No way. Persuade. Okay? Now, where on Earth has Paddy got to?

LIONEL: I don’t like denying other people pleasure. You can shriek with laughter if you like.

JEAN: Why should I?

LIONEL: Well, look at me. Look at this.

JEAN: You look rather good, actually.

LIONEL: Oh, do I?

JEAN: Rather rugged?

LIONEL: Rugged?

JEAN: Yes.

LIONEL: I didn’t plant coffee looking like this.

JEAN: Oh well, call it artistic license. You know, ‘Pick me up…

LIONEL: And buy me.’ Yes. All right let’s get it over with Alistair.

ALISTAIR: Great. Oh, come on Paddy love, do.

PADDY: I chipped a nail, all right? Hi!


ALISTAIR: Li…Paddy. Paddy…Li.


LIONEL: Yes, hi. Alistair, may I have a word? All right, who is she?

ALISTAIR: Insurance, mate.

JEAN: Who’s she?

LIONEL: Insurance.

JEAN: She’s not selling policies is she?

ALISTAIR: No, no, no. Pick me up and buy me. Danger, adventure, sex. She’s the sex.

JEAN: She looks like all three if you ask me.

LIONEL: Well, who is she supposed to be?

ALISTAIR: Well, I’d have thought that was obvious, Li. Your woman.

LIONEL: My woman. I never saw a woman looking like that in Kenya in the whole of my life!

ALISTAIR: Pretendo time, remember?


JEAN: It wasn’t my idea.

LIONEL: Well, go along with it, you said.

JEAN: Well, go along with it.

LIONEL: Yes, all right.


LIONEL: Then I shall have myself committed immediately afterwards.


PADDY: Hold on a sec.

ALISTAIR: Right, uh…Rifle in the crook of the arm, I think? Hmm…Hat a bit further forward. Monster!

OZ: Could he look a bit more determined?

ALISTAIR: Can you look a bit more determined, Li?

LIONEL: I shall think of killing you, that should do it.

ALISTAIR: Whatever. Good for you Oz?

OZ: Good for me.

LEE: Right.

ALISTAIR: Ok, in you come, Paddy. You know what to do.

LIONEL: What’s she doing? What is she doing? You’re laughing! You’re laughing!


SANDY: Oh and Beth phoned in. She’s got the flu.

JUDY: Ah, terrific.



JUDY: How’d it go?

JEAN: Well it depends upon one’s point of view. How did George Stillman go?

SANDY: Ummm, quite quickly, I’m afraid.



JUDY: He seemed to be quite offended that you weren’t here.

SANDY: Well, he didn’t actually say it, but I think it was the dealing with bits of girls syndrome.

JUDY: So are we on the streets or what?

JEAN: Well, let’s just say hanging by a thread.

LIONEL: Well, thanks for waiting.

JEAN: Well, the mood you were in, it wasn’t much point in my waiting, was there?

LIONEL: I have never felt such a complete fool in all my life!

JEAN: That’s because you were determined to the minute you set foot in the place.

JUDY: Retreat, I think.

LIONEL: I never should have listened to you.

JEAN: Look, I didn’t dream up your woman with the tears all over her dress.

LIONEL: The whole thing! You bumped into Alistair. I should have never believed that in the first place. And then you turned up.

JEAN: You ask me to!

LIONEL: Not to laugh at me.

JEAN: Oh, don’t be so precious. I’m too old not to think it laughable, and you’re too old not to think it ridiculous. But we don’t know. Selling this book or not is in the hands of the young.

LIONEL: Children.

JEAN: Success children.

JUDY: I thought you’d like some tea. Yes, I have been listening at the door and you are an ungrateful old bugger. She won’t tell you. She’s as stiff necked as you are. But I will. My mum just lost several thousand pounds worth of business to come and prop up your ego.

LIONEL: Why would you do that?

JEAN: Well, because I care. There is room in your life for someone who cares isn’t there?

LIONEL: You did laugh.

JEAN: Oh, shut up and have some tea.

LIONEL: No chance of that being brandy I suppose?

JEAN: Oh, none whatsoever!

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.