Hoodening Play 1979

(Moll sweeps)
Don't stand for no nonsense, Moll, shove 'em aside
Those lads at the front there I cannot abide
The loveliest wenches should stand to the fore
Don't let any one of them get near the door
Now move on, you dumb horse, those words were your cue
It's no use us waiting. C'mon, say how d'you do!
(Dobbin shakes his head)
(They try to get Dobbin to enter, but fail. Joe and Clive enter, shrugging their shoulders in despair)
If Dobbin won't enter, he'd better be whipped
He's still not quite used to enacting this script
It takes him a year to rehearse a new part
Although all he does is trot, gallop and… (Dobbin farts)
          … fart!
At least he now knows all his lines right off pat
While some of us here have to look in a hat
(Nudges Joe, who is studying his lines inside his hat. Joe looks embarrassed)
Try tickling his belly; at least that'll prove
If he's any life in him. I bet he'll move
(Moll misunderstands Clive, and approaches Joe with her broom, looking puzzled)
Not me, you old bag! Don't touch ME with your broom
It's Dobbin needs tickling; he's in t'other room
(Moll goes out. A loud whinny is heard. Dobbin bolts in, ridden by the Boy, who dismounts. Moll and Adam follow)
You know, Joe, this Hoodening's still good for a lark
But somehow I reckon it hasn't the spark
It had when we did it before the Great War
I remember it, though I was only 'bout four
Ah, in those days the Hoodeners was never invited
We just went around, and whenever we sighted
The house of a farmer or someone we knew
We'd open the door, and straight in we flew
Old Dobbin went first, and with a great neigh
He'd knock all the furniture out of the way
He didn't PRETEND; he really let fly
And the head of the household, he'd curse and he'd sigh
Until he saw ME coming in with my broom
I used it to polish his SHOES, not the room
(She does so)
Then in came the rest of the Hoodeners and me
We'd already had plenty to drink; so you see
We weren't as polite as you folks are today
In fact our arrival caused general dismay
Remember that time at St Nicholas Court?
We enjoyed ourselves more than you'd ever have thought
Each man went and grabbed any wench he could find
He kissed and squeezed her, and pinched her behind
(Demonstrates with a female member of the audience)
So Dobbin proceeded to make a great muddle
While we were just having a nice little cuddle
I'm a darn sight too young to remember those days
But I bet it was fun, just like old Joe says
Why don't we attempt to repeat it tonight?
I wouldn't mind giving these people a fright
All right then; you go and give Dobbin a prod
(Dobbin looks behind, anxiously)
In his leg or his arse; then the silly old sod
Will kick up a fuss and distract their attention
While we get to grips with those wenches I mention
This hot BRANDing iron ought to do just the trick
If not, I'll just have to give Dobbin a kick
(He brands Dobbin. Dobbin reacts violently and gallops round the room)
(taking hold of a lady in the audience)
I've found one I fancy. Here, let's sneak away
Let Dobbin cause chaos, and we'll go and play
(Leads her out)
(pointing to the supply of alcohol)
Take a bottle or two to pour down their throats
You NEED lubrication when sowing wild oats
(Follows Clive)
Leave Molly to cope with the horse if he's rough
She's too old a woman for this sort of stuff
(Joe and Boy take another woman from the audience. Dobbin follows the Boy. While they are out, they put black smudges on the girls' cheeks, with burnt cork)
He's following me! Come and get hold of him, Moll
(struggling with Dobbin)
I can't! He's completely beyond my control
(Dobbin charges out)
They're gone, and good riddance; they've done enough harm
Unless I'd let go I'd have broken my arm
(rubs her arm)
They think I'm too old; well I know I'm no belle
(examines herself)
But if that's how they feel, they can all rot in hell
They think I'll hold Dobbin, but they're out of luck
I'm old, so forget it; let them go and…
(raises two fingers)
(Dobbin enters, carrying Clive's trousers in his mouth, followed by Clive, in long-johns. Dobbin is chased round the room by Clive)
Here, Dobbin, you bastard, come back with my trousers
Must YOU interfere now, just when they've aroused us?
(Joe, Boy and Adam enter)
Best not tell his wife — although YOU may well laugh
Clive's only been married a month and a half
The bride that he's wedded would probably kick us
If we took her husband back home in his knickers
I reckon the horse is just trying to tell us
Our new kind of pastime has made him quite jealous

(Dobbin nods)

That's true, and he isn't the only one here
(points at audience)
Those men in the corner are angry, I fear
Let's hand back these damsels before they complain
(They let the ladies return to the audience)
In that case I'd better get dressed once again
You can't, unless Dobbin agrees to surrender
The trousers he took, and your missing suspender
I'll pull at the trousers; the Boy'll hold his tail
That means of extraction can't possibly fail
(They push Dobbin into the middle of the room)
All right, then, I'm ready now: One, two, three, GO
(Boy pulls Dobbin's tail; Dobbin kicks him over)
He's spewed out the trousers, but laid the boy low
His dirty great hoof hit the front of his head
There's no doubt about it — the poor lad is dead
At twenty his life has been nipped in the bud
Just look at his forehead, all covered in blood
His shoulder resembles a hunk of red meat
Let's wrap him up quick in a funeral sheet
Each year this old sheet gets a little more frayed
We've used the same on for nigh on a decade
(Joe, Moll and Clive wrap up the corpse and carry it, singing:-)
Now we must bear all of Kier that does remain
Down to the old cemetery in Shuart Lane
Silly old goof
Should have watched the horse's hoof. Ah
We always knew he was such a scatterbrain
This corpse is too heavy for us two to bear
'Twas half a stone lighter last Christmas, I swear
(They put the corpse down)
Ah, that's 'cause since then he's had plenty to drink
Yes, alcohol used to SUSTAIN him, I think
I wouldn't mind betting, though dead he appears
He'd soon come to life if he had a few beers
A drink would revive him, of that I've no doubt
We saved him with liquor last time he passed out
That time we were lucky — 'twas at the Bell Inn
We asked for a beer, so Dick gave us a gin
Diluted with garlic. He charged us ten pence
(Dick's wife's got more bosom than Dick's got good sense
He knows 'bout as much about running a bar
As our vicar has learnt about playing the guitar)
(gets a drink and gives it to the boy)
Ah, that's what he needs. Just you watch him revive
He'll be on his two feet before you count 5
(Boy stands up and continues to drink; then walks off with the bottle, as if to hand it back to the landlord. Joe grabs him by the shoulder)
Hey! Don't put the bottle straight back on the shelf
I need a few drops of refreshment myself
Let go of my shoulder, you great guzzling hound
I thought I might ask them to pour us a ROUND
One bottle's not much when you've been near death's door
And each of us here has a throat that is sore
I'm sure that my trousers would not have been chewed
If it weren't for our horse being quite starved of good food
In fact it's a wonder he didn't collapse
They've worked him so hard ploughing fields at Dick Tapp's
The gov'nor, he said: "If that horse ever stops
You flog him. What matters to me is the crops."
(He hits Dobbin, who snorts)
So now's your chance, Dobbin and us to regale
With sandwiches, biscuits and cider or ale
We'll do no more damage; your wives we'll excuse
As long as you give us a feast and some booze
And spare a few quid to restore our old church
Dig deep in your pockets; your wallets now search
We'll hand round our nosebag — please pass it along
And while you cough up, we shall sing you a song
Remember our motto, we use it each year
Adhere to this rule and you've nothing to fear
If ye the Hooden Horse do feed
Throughout the year ye shall not need

Produced by Ben Jones (contact details). All rights reserved. .