Hoodening Play 1992

The Hoodeners are here!
(All characters apart from 'arry enter)
It's been nigh on a year since we saw you last
But much has happened in this year past
The Chunnel is drawing nigh, they say
A united Europe, and no more affray
Our Waggoner 'arry seems to reckon his chances
To take some of the French girls out to the dances
'e tried it once, but found he'd been tricked
Probably the fault of that bloke called Maastricht
It seems they weren't French, and to his surprise
They weren't even girls, but men in disguise
(looks at Moll)
Speakin' of 'arry, where is he now?
(to boy)
See if he's still repairing that plough
Find him yourself, you stupid old cow!
(Moll threatens Boy with broom, so he rides Dobbin out to look for 'arry)
Who was it who took on that YTS trainee?
Ask 'im to do anything an' he just answers "Why me?"
In Britain in general, things don't look bright
Poor Charles & Squidgy aren't happy…
                     You're right
Anne did get hitched to an offshoreman
But then, with the help of good ole Norman
The Tax Office went and gave the Queen a fright
Isn't that so George?
                     Yeah, you're right
Even Fergie forgot to patent her toe
So some sweet company's made a million or so
(Dobin strolls in with onions around his neck, leading a horse [with beret]; others don't recognize them.)
Excusez-moi, have you seen some chickens?
Yer what? What'd he say?
                     What the Dickens…?
I am looking for special food
To sample the delights of this neighbourhood
I'll tell you where you can get some delight
Just follow your nose, till you see a red light
Of course if you do not fancy the strumpets
You could always try our host's…
You'll find them on the table, in the next room
What a handsome horse, are you its groom?
Mais oui, we're on the Tour de Britain
I must say too we are quite smitten
By the Customs of zis land
Zey took my duty-free right out my hand
But now, we must be moving along
Au revoir
(Dobin and horse leave)
          That accent — there's something wrong
Who cares? I wish them luck with their trip
It's a good idea, getting sponsorship
Especially that "CV" idea -
He must pass his 'round, to further his career
I just can't get on with the French
Probably 'cos they can't stand your stench
But garlic, and snails' legs and frogs (?!) are much worse
Than the sweet odours you find in my universe
And I don't smoke those bloody Gitanes
If you ask me, that's one thing the EC should ban
Don't get me wrong, I like foreigners for sure…
But remember the archers of Agincourt!
(Holds two fingers up towards where Dobin disappeared; others hum "Archers" tune)
But we can't complain, things could be worse
We've still got our jobs, and still got our horse
And a waggonner to boot, who makes our lives hell
There's one thing to be said for him, at least he don't smell!
'ere he comes now, with the horse and the boy
One after another, like a travellers' convoy
(Enter 'arry, Boy & "real" Dobbin)
Evenin' all, where's the home-brew?
No, before that, fill me in on what's new
What with Europe becoming one
There are possibilities for lots more fun
We could take Dobbin and work our way round
Better than staying here, with the state of the pound
(Dobbin takes the hint and tries to leave, pulling the boy out with him; boy struggles to pull him back)
That's if we felt up to it, but look at us all
If the Mummers were here, a Doctor they'd call
Let's face it, we ARE all feeling tired
Some say it's time you went and retired
The Boss just keeps on trying to replace us
He don't understand that we're the basis
For all his handsome profit margin
With the help of a little shrewd over-charging
But still he accuses us of slacking…
As though our efforts were ever lacking!
(Boy relaxes grip on rope, and nearly gets pulled over by Dobbin again)
Our Waggoner 'arry seems to be in cahoots
I think he's getting too big for his boots
'arry offers us stimulation
In the form of flagellation…
('arry cracks whip)
It marks your back and stings a bit -
I quite enjoy it, I must admit!
You lot just don't pull your weight
(Dobbin pulls his weight — boy fights back; Sam ignores them)
If my guts weren't in such a state
I'd do more than you all combined
That's not quite true, I think you'll find
You're talking out of your behind
Hold on Sam, we can explain
The reason for all our aches and pain
You hear us out, and you'll surely perceive
That our sorry state was in fact, by your leave,
Caused by you
           - and with luck you'll see
That instead of a whip it's some beer we do need
If you must, I'll let you present your excuses
But as I know how much you boozes
You'd better tell a convincing tale
Or else I'm afraid I'll buy no ale
(Others hum "Nowell" for a few seconds)
Actually it's not age that's made us like this
The toilets are blocked, so we can't have a piss
No — it was rather an event which went slightly amiss…
Last Mayday it was, when fate struck us
Over in Moscow they had a right ruckus
'ere in the village we was 'avin' a fete
Some thought it was Easter, come 'round too late
We hitched a ride on Sarre Mill's cart
(Sit back-to-back together; except Sam, left at the side)
Sam sat alone, just in case he might fart…
If you think it was Dobbin that pulled us that day
You'd best think again, that's not his way
(Dobbin leans against everyone sitting down)
Shirk if you can seems to be his policy
Maybe he could do with a bit more Ecstasy
(Boy takes pill out to offer it — Sam hurriedly makes him put it away again)
(quietly to Boy) Not now! It's later we go to the rave
(normally to audience) Some people just don't know how to behave…
So he tottered along tethered behind
And towards Bell Meadow our way we did wind
When we arrived, we piled out on the green
(Moll, 'arry and Boy stand up, George falls over)
And old Dobbin began looking more than keen
(Dobbin waggles his ears, rolls his eyes, grins, etc.?!)
He knew there'd be some young mares there
The one time he gallops is at the fayre
This year too it was no exception
In his eyes, some o' them looked right fetchin'
He must have decided to lighten his load
And went ahead and did it, in the middle of the road
(Dobbin drops poops)
Being quick-witted, our George used the chance
To earn a few coppers — he's not such a dunce
(George juggles; others hold out caps)
With our new-found wealth, us three were waiting
Watching the maidens joyfully feting [/ mating]
Sam here looked decidedly queer
(Sam looks queer)
We thought it was through lack of beer
But I knew better, and went to a stall
To scoff some food — and I paid for it an' all!
(aside) So did we…! (holds his nose)
Meanwhile Dobbin was staring at Snowball
A new young filly stabled up by Manor Hall
Straining at his rope, his face turned blue
I reckon he just wanted a…
ANYWAY, Sam was behind us eating his grub
And we were about to head off to the pub
When suddenly Sam's bowels erupted
The peaceful day was rudely interrupted
Dobbin thought he were back at the races
When he's on form, even Red Rum he outpaces
He heard the explosion, and he revolted
Straight towards Snowball, off he bolted
All three of us leapt for his rope
You might as well've tried to sleep with the Pope
He dragged us along for almost a furlong
And the air we passed through? Struth what a pong!
There's all this talk 'bout curbing pollution
Disposing of Sam's the simplest solution!
So you reckon this is how you all became cripples?
And its how Moll lost her nipples…
A GOOD story for sure, but there's just one catch
You said Dobbin could perhaps be a match
For a racing horse — you think I'm naive?
That's one thing I will never believe!
It is no lie, and if you have doubts
Just watch Dobbin fly when one of us shouts
You'll eat your words, I'll guarantee it
So if he fails, I win?
If Dobbin does not make you boggle
We've much to lose — but a crate of grog'll
Suit us nicely if we win
If not we'll give you anything
(Moll & 'arry leap forward)
… except our wives and daughters, mind
We wouldn't want you to go blind
From too much — um — shhhnagging through the night
So now, let us begin the fight
Clear a space please, there on the right
Allow him a passage for his flight
This beast's so fast he'll shoot straight through
I'd mind your drinks, if I were you
[He's got less control than the Cabbage Crew]
(Clears a slight space. Sam stands confidently off to one side)
OK 'arry, do your stuff
You're the one with the puff
Just make sure it comes out from above
Right then Dobbin, we're relying on you
To ensure for us a supply of home-brew
(Produces a loud vulgar noise from… wherever he chooses; Dobbin shies away, and turns around to face Sam)
Come on you nag, show some life!
If you do well, we might find you a wife…
(Dobbin looks excited; all Hoodeners urge him on and he rushes around in a circle. As Sam moves closer in with a smug expression, Dobbin suddenly backs into him and knocks him over).
You idiot 'arry, we didn't say "Fart!"
What're you talking 'bout, you tart?
You asked me to make 'im shift
There go our jobs then — get my drift?
This time the boss'll really sack us
And not just for being slackers
(aside from on ground)
I hope he kicks you in the knackers!
Accidents do happen, they say
What if we phrased it that sort of way?
Or better still hide his remains
And say our extra hours explains
Why we couldn't stop his attackers
Who took him away like kidnappers
George you're a genius — well maybe not
But certainly you're not a clot
I say we carry out your plot
(Sheet gets chucked over Sam, and Moll, 'arry and the Boy try to pick him up to the music of the Funeral March; but just pick up a leg or his head all at different times)
Hold on a sec, I've had a thought
If like I said, we say he fought
Against some robbing parasite
He'd have no cash left on him, right?
So we could empty out his purse
And none would be any the worse
George, how could you, that's not moral
If you ask me, it's downright sinful
But he's no use for money now
He owes it to us anyhow
(They move in on the body and feel inside the sheet for pockets)
Ah-hah, what's this, a buff envelope…
No, put that back, you stupid dope!
It could be a tax demand, you see
This new bloody tax on property
Mind you — I don't say this with malice -
It looks like the size for Buckingham Palace
(All jump back)
Who just poked me in the nose?
And why'm I wearing these funny clothes?
(Wriggles around and gets sheet off; clutches head)
What happened? Why am I down here?
The truth Sam is just too clear
When you saw Dobbin leap the gate
Quite overcome, you fell prostrate
Because you realized your fate
(All proffer their caps)
(Standing) Well fair is fair and I will pay
But there is something I must say
I don't begrudge your beer, of course
But is there no more worthy cause?
In fact there is — to be precise
We thought that it would be quite nice
To give the school a set of bells
To drown out the little nippers' yells
In fact, these handbells are well overdue
It's a long story, but between me and you
The kids could produce some melodious chimes
Much better to listen to than his bloody lines
(nods at George)
Then again, the sound could be quite hair-raising
(holds hand to ear like telephone)
So next time you're asked, "Could I interest you in a free quote for some new double glazing?"
Think again — it might be worth the expense
To give your ears a form of defence
Given enough practice, they might come along
With us next year, and join in with our song
So dig deep in your pockets, as you do each year
And let us wish you some good Christmas cheer
For if ye the Hooden Horse do feed
Throughout the year ye shall not need

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