SOIXANTE HUIT - SOIXANTE NEUF
A student room , Lancaster University. May 1968. Lux, 19
and Harry,20 are busy packing holdalls.
Lux: We must go.
Harry: Sure. Iím not saying we shouldnít.
Lux: What are you saying ?
Harry: Iím just making a point.
Lux: A point ?
Harry: Canít I make a point ?
Lux: What is your point ?
Harry: My point ?
Lux: Yes, what exactly is it..
Harry: You expect me to explain that !
Lux: You donít make yourself clear, Harry .
Harry: I make myself perfectly clear. Iím a language man.
Thatís my thing. Clarity of expression is my thing. Youíre always jealous
of the way I can explain myself. You think language is a female attribute. Well,
my linguistic brain is pretty sharp, even though Iíve got bollocks.
Lux: I hadnít noticed. What is your point anyway ?
Harry: If you canít understand my point, Lux, my perfectly
clearly expressed point, I see no reason to try to make it clearer.
Lux: You donít need to make it clearer. Iím not stupid.
Harry: Did I say you were stupid ?
Lux: You implied I was stupid.
Harry: How did I imply it ?
Lux: You said you didnít need to make your point clearer,
as if I needed it to be clearer to understand it.
Harry: You asked me to make it clearer.
Lux: Oh, Harry ! Thatís so childish !
Harry: Childish ?
Lux : Blaming me because you canít make a point properly.
Harry: I can make a point absolutely clearly. The
point is you canít understand the point I make.
Lux: Well, what is your fucking point , Harry ?
Harry: My fucking point is the CRS are bastards.
Lux: Some fucking point ! Has the world been waiting for
that piece of enlightenment !
Harry: Iím not saying itís world-shattering, Lux. Iím just
saying weíre going to Paris and the CRS are bastards.
Lux: Let me tell you something, Harry. They arenít just
bastards, theyíre trained bastards.
Harry: Absolutely ! .
Lux: What ?
Harry: My point precisely.
Lux: Your point ?
Harry: Exactly. Just what I was saying.
Lux: No, Harry. Just what I said .
Harry: Yeah, reitierating what Iíd said.
Lux: Reiterating ? There was no reiterating, Harry. I was
making a completely different point.
Harry: No, Lux. You were saying just the same as me. The
CRS. Bastards. Weíre going to Paris and those bastards are going to try to break
Lux: Thatís what youíre saying. Itís not what Iím
saying, Harry. Itís not what Iím saying at all.
Harry: Well whatís your point ?
Lux: Whatís my point ?
Harry: Yeah, what exactly is the point youíre making
because it isnít clear to me in the slightest.
Lux: Harry, youíre just being obtuse.
Harry: Iím not obtuse, Lux. Many things I may be but obtuse
is not one of them.
Lux: I didnít say you were obtuse, I said youíre being
Harry: Whatís the difference ?
Lux: Whatís the difference ?
Harry: Yeah, whatís the difference between being
obtuse and being obtuse.
Lux: Thatís just a fucking perverse question, Harry.
Harry: Perverse ?
Lux: Yes !
Harry: Whatís perverse about wanting clarity ?
Lux: Youíre not clarifying things, Harry, youíre just
behaving like a baby.
Harry: No youíre behaving like a baby.
Lux: Are you trying to say you donít want to go to Paris ?
Harry: Thatís amazing !
Lux: Is that what youíre trying to say, because I can go on
Harry: You donít even speak French, Lux !
Lux: Iím not going sightseeing, Harry.
Harry: All the more reason to need French.
Lux: This is a matter of action.
Harry: So you think youíre going to go to Paris in the
middle of a revolution and you wonít have to talk to anyone ?
Lux: I can communicate.
Harry: And suppose you get arrested ?
Lux: Iíll contact the British consulate.
Harry: And say what ? I came to Paris to join the
revolution and the bastards arrested me !
Lux: I still have the protection of my British passport,
Harry, whatever Iím going to Paris for.
Harry: Well this is revolution Lux and in revolutions
things get overthrown. Things get lost. Things get confused. And my advice is,
if youíre going to Paris to make revolution be sure you can speak the lingo.
A knock. Enter Spin.
Spin: Ready for off ?
Spin: Got a little Molotov cocktail in your luggage, Lux ?
Harry: Do you know what a Molotov cocktail is, Spin ?
Spin: A bomb. Isnít it ?
Harry: It has to be made in situ.
Lux: The expert.
Spin: I think youíre mad.
Harry: I donít claim to be an expert.
Spin: My father says they should shoot the rioters.
Lux: They arenít rioters, Spin.
Spin: They look like rioters to me !
Harry: Riots are the voice of the unheard.
Lux: Harry, it pisses me off the way youíre always dropping
pithy little quotes youíve read in a Sunday supplement.
Harry: How do you know I read it ?
Lux: You couldnít invent something as succinct , Harry.
Harry: Are you saying Iím verbose ?
Spin: I should think my father knows more about it than you
Lux: Not verbose, just not very succinct. Your fatherís a
Spin: As a matter of fact, heís a Conservative.
Harry: Like she said. Isnít that the same: verbose and not
very succinct ? Arenít they the same thing ?
Lux: All conservatives arenít fascists, Harry. And no it
isnít. Thereís a nuance of difference.
Spin: My father says, only the conservatives can sort out
Harry: Is that what I said ? That her fatherís a fascist ?
Isnít that what you said, as a matter of fact ?
Lux: What I was pointing out, Harry, is that all
conservatives arenít fascists. Thatís just a fundamental mistake in thinking.
Harry: No, I was just making the connection. Thereís
a nuance of difference !
Spin: I donít know how you can be fagged. All that way for
a fight. My father says you canít beat the police at that game. Theyíre
the best streets fighters in the world.
Harry: Weíre going to Paris, Spin, not Basingstoke. In
Paris they have two revolutions before breakfast. Itís a national pastime: 1789,
Lux; This is the final conflict. Not a nuance of difference
Harry, a very great difference.
Spin: How do you know ?
Lux: Because Iím armed with theory, Spin. Theory in my
right hand, praxis in my left. This is a new world weíre making.
Spin: You couldnít leave me some dope, could you ?
Lux: You know I donít smoke.
Spin: What I really meant was, you know, the money for some
dope. I havenít had a spliff since Wednesday.
Harry: Why donít you ask your father ? So verbose and not
very clear is a nuance but fascist and conservative is a great deal of
Spin: I canít. He sent me a hundred quid last week.
Harry: A hundred quid ? What the hell did you do with it ?
Spin: I donít know. It just sort of, evaporated.
Harry: Went up in smoke.
Lux: I canít afford it, Spin. Anyway, you owe me twenty
quid. Yes, Harry. A great deal of difference. My parents are conservatives too.
Spin: I know. And I owe thirty to McGee and fifteen to
Egger and ten to Brown andÖ.
Lux: Donít you care about whatís going on in the world !
Spin: No need to get all pre-menstrual !
Lux: Iím not pre-menstrual Iím angry. You should be
angry. All you do is sit around smoking dope and dropping acid. You never open a
book. This is a university, Spin. Youíre supposed to take learning seriously.
Spin: But Iím so bored !
Lux: Thereís a revolution going on in Paris and all you can
say is youíre bored !
Spin: Iím like Emma Bovary. Iím a bored woman.
Lux: Why donít you do something for a change ?
Spin: Like what in this place ? God, the north of
England. All my friends went to Oxbridge, Durham and Bristol and I end up in
Harry : Durhamís in the north. And your dad isnít a
conservative, heís a fascist.
Spin: Is it ?
Harry: If you were up there youíd be able to go to the
Minersí Gala. Itís a great working-class festival.
Spin: Why are you two always talking about the
working-class. Fuck the working-class. If they donít like being working-class
why donít they get jobs with Barclays Bank like my father ?
Harry: All that dope has addled your brain, Spin.
Spin: All what dope ? God, canít even get stoned round here
! Anyway youíre not working-class either of you so I donít know why youíre
always pissing on about it.
Harry: I may not be working-class but Iím from
Spin: Your fatherís a fucking property developer !
Harry: But he was born working-class.
Spin: And now heís got money, so he isnít working-class.
Everybody wants money. Itís human nature.
Lux: Thatís so ahistorical, Spin. I resent that, Harry. My
fatherís right-wing but heís not a fascist.
Spin: So what ?
Lux: Itís a matter of ideology, not nature.
Spin: What the fuckís ideology ?
Harry: Everything your dadís always telling you. So why did
he say, in my hearing, that Mussolini is the greatest leader Italy ever had and
all they could do was hang him from a lamp-post ?
Spin: I sometimes wonder why Iím friends with you two. You
think youíre so fucking intellectual. Well, my father went to Oxford and thatís
more intellectual than you two put together.
Harry: And he became a banker.
Spin: Whatís wrong with that ? Donít you have a bank
Harry: The banks should be nationalised.
Spin: My father says nationalisation is a disaster. He says
the National Health Service is communist.
Lux: Heís right. My father was just making a comment about
the poor political leadership in Italy. Thatís all.
Spin: I wish I could meet some interesting people.
Harry: You left them all behind at Bennenden, Spin. You
donít believe that do you, Lux ? The man is an out-and-out fascist.
Spin: They were more interesting than you lot. Charles was
a great guitar player.
Lux: We know that, Spin. Have you packed a camera ?
Spin: Few photos for the album, eh ? Hereís me throwing a
Molotov at the flics !
Harry: Admit it ?
Lux: What ?
Harry: That your fatherís a fascist.
Lux: How can I admit it when it isnít true ? Whereís the
fucking camera, Harry.
Harry: How should I know !
Lux: Well you had it last !
Harry: How can you be so sure ?
Lux: Because I was naked at the time ! Remember, Harry ?
Spin: Oh ! You dirty little bastard !
Harry: Sheís my girlfriend, Spin. Thereís nothing dirty
Spin: Youíre like a dirty old man. You remind me of my old
geography teacher. Mr Sanderson. He was a funny, nervous little man who combed
his hair across his head to try to hide his baldness. And he walked with this
odd, springy step and had this ugly, sniggering, artificial laugh. He used toÖ
Lux: We donít want to know, Spin. Just find the camera,
Harry: I canít remember where I put it.
Spin: Oh my god ! Suppose someone else picks it up and gets
the film developed ! What a scrape !
Harry: Will you stop using those public school expressions
! Fagged ! Scrape ! You sound like youíve come straight from the pages of
Spin: And you sound like youíve come straight from
Coronation St. You canít even speak properly, Harry.
Lux: Have you ordered a taxi ?
Spin: Driver ! Take me to the Revolution ! Number one
Barricade St ! Keep the change, comrade !
Harry: Sometimes youíre almost witty, Spin, which for
someone from your background is amazing.
Spin: I canít believe youíre going to leave me on my own
just for some stupid student prank !
Lux: This isnít an Oxford rag, Spin. This is serious. We
can change the world ! No more poverty ! No more war !
Spin: No more dope ! Now thatís serious.
Harry: I thought you were getting the taxi !
Lux: Canít you get anything right ? Letís go.
Harry: What about the camera ?
Lux: Fuck the camera !
Harry: Shut the door when you go, Spin. Weíll send you a
Spin: Send me some dope ! If I find the camera, Iíll take
it to Boots ! The dirty little bugger. Revolution ! Oh fuck, I just canít be
fagged with anything !
A cheap hotel room, the Latin Quarter. Victor
stretched out on the bed, smoking. Lux seated.
Victor: We emptied a waste paper bin over the head of Paul
Lux: Really ? Whoís he ?
Victor: Philosophe. Of the wrong kind. Christian and
bourgeois. He talks rubbish, we empty rubbish over his head.
Lux: Thatís great. This is a great moment, Victor. To be at
the centre of history !
Victor: Want to fuck ?
Lux: What ?
Victor: Before your boyfriend gets back. Free love is part
of the revolution.
Lux: He might be back any minute.
Victor: Lock the door.
the door and starts to take off her clothes. Footsteps, knocking.
Harry (off): Open the fucking door !
Lux: Just a minute.
Victor: Tant pis !
Harry( off): For fuckís sake !
the door. Harry rushes in carrying baguettes and wine.
Harry: Whatís the door locked for ?
Victor: This is a revolution. We have to be careful.
Lux: So, you got the stuff.
Harry: Do you have to smoke those things? God, the stench
in here ! I know what it is Victor, but how do you dry it ?
Victor: What does he say ?
pushes the window wide open.
Lux: Donít be so bourgeois, Harry. Heís free to smoke if he
Harry: And whereís my freedom to breathe fresh air ?
Lux: Thatís so petty.
Harry: Whoís paying for this room ?
Lux: Must you introduce money ?
Harry: Donít be so bourgeois, Lux
Lux: Youíre so pathetic, Harry.
Harry: Well, you wonít want any of my pathetic wine,
then will you ?
Victor: Oh, les enfants !
Lux; Thereís a fucking revolution going on out there and
you quibble about a few francs and cling to your plonk like a baby to its
Harry: As a matter of fact, there isnít a revolution going
on out there. Thereís nothing going on.
Victor: Wait till tonight.
Harry: Tonight Iím staying here.
Lux: You coward !
Harry: Who ran away and left me on my own ?
Victor: Cíest comme ca. You canít plan a revolution.
Harry: You ran away from the revolution !
Lux: Whatís the point of getting arrested ?
Harry: You wouldnít have got arrested, Lux. Those guys
werenít trying to arrest me, they were trying to smash my skull.
Lux: Youíre always talking about people smashing your
Victor: Heís right. CRS. Salauds. You have to run fast when
they come after you.
Lux: Anyway, you escaped.
Harry: No thanks to you two comrades !
Victor: You canít fight a war without losing some soldiers,
you know ?
Harry: Okay. You get out there tonight soldier and let
those bastards have it, because Iím staying here to get nicely smashed on some
very bourgeois Bordeaux.
Lux: Thereís no need to be so melodramatic, Harry. I mean,
youíre just showing off your neurosis as if itís a status symbol.
Harry: My neurosis ! Thatís a good one.
Lux: Donít try to deny it, Harry. Iíve met your parents.
Harry: Lux, your mother !
Lux: Donít start.
Harry: Start ?
Lux: Whenever you talk about my mother you get insulting.
Harry: You evoke my neurosis and Iím
Lux: Iím not insulting you, Harry, Iím just pointing out
what youíre doing. Iím just giving an objective explanation of
whatís going on here.
Victor: Revolution gets everyone emotional. Save your anger
for the CRS.
Lux: Iím not angry, Victor.
Victor: Well, youíre a little bit hors de toi.
Lux: No, Iím in control. Iím always in control. Iím
surprised you havenít noticed that about me, Victor.
Harry: Iím surprised you havenít noticed it too.
Lux: Whatís that supposed to mean ?
Victor: Okay. Youíre in control. Letís talk politics. Weíre
trying to change the world. This is not the time for bickering in a hotel room
like bored children in les grandes vacances.
Lux: Heís bickering, Victor. Iím just putting clear and
Harry: Youíre accusing me of being neurotic.
Lux: Iím not accusing you, Harry. Iím pointing it out.
Harry: And thatís objective !
Lux: Your neurosis is a fact, Harry.
Harry: So is your frigidity, Lux.
Lux: I have orgasms, Harry. I just have them when youíre
Harry: Well if you have orgasms, you keep them pretty
Victor: What is this to do with the revolution ?
Lux: We need a sexual revolution too, Victor. A woman must
be in control of her own body.
Harry: What about a man ?
Lux: You clearly have no control over your body,
Harry: Well, youíre not by any means the first, Lux.
Lux: Oh, god !
Harry: Oh god what ?
Lux: Not that old line ! My other women have
never complained. Do me a favour, Harry, thatís the cheapest evasion a man can
mount of his inability to satisfy a woman.
Harry: There are many satisfied woman who will testify on
Lux: I really canít believe this, Harry.
Harry: What canít you believe, Lux ?
Lux: That you can be just so fucking immature
A street. Night. Sounds of clashes,
jeering, cheering, sirens, breaking glass. Chants of Nous sommes tous un
groupuscule. An injured student lies on the pavement , his head bloodied.
Lux: Weíve got to get him out of here.
Victor: No time ! Run !
Lux: We canít leave him !
Victor: The CRS will call an ambulance. Itís their duty.
They donít want dead students on the street. Come on !
Lux: For godís sake, Victor ! Letís carry him. Get his
Victor: Okay. But if we meet the CRS we drop him and run.
Lux: Okay, okay ! Which way ?
Victor: Oh, putain ! This way. Weíll leave him in Brunoís
cafť. Heíll look after him.
Lux: He needs more than a patron de cafť, Victor !
Heís fucking unconscious. Look at his head !
Victor: La vache ! Heís heavy.
Lux: Letís take him to a hospital.
Victor: How ?
Lux: A taxi.
Victor: Mais tu es folle ! Taxi drivers are throwing
paves at the CRS.
Lux: An ambulance.
Victor: Oh, mais merde ! Heíll be okay. He got a bump on
the head. He bleeds a bit. Heíll be okay in the morning.
Lux: Iím scared !
Victor: One thing to be scared of, the CRS. We see them, we
go. You stick around, your head looks like his.
Lux: Where is the nearest hospital ?
Victor: Too far. We canít get there.
A siren sounds, growing louder.
Victor: CRS ! Allons-en !
He lets go of the student whose crashes painfully to the ground.
Lux: Victor !
Victor Quoi !
Lux: You let him go !
Victor: Drop his feet !
Lux: We canít leave him !
Victor: You stay.
He runs off. She hesitates.
Lux: Victor !
She looks at the student. The siren gets ever louder. She lets go of his feet
and runs off. The siren gets very loud then diminishes. Lux edges gingerly back
Lux: Victor ! Victor ! Itís all clear. Theyíve gone. Victor
Victor comes equally gingerly back on stage.
Victor : Fais vite ! Letís get out of here. Theyíll be
Lux: You take his feet.
Victor: But heís too heavy for you.
Lux: (Struggling to lift him) Iíll lift him, Victor. Iím
not leaving him to you. You drop him a second time he might hit his head. You
could kill him.
Victor: Is he still alive ?
She drops him and recoils.
Lux: You think heís dead !
Victor: Maybe now ! You dropped him, thatís very dangerous.
Lux: For godís sake Victor ! Make sure heís alive.
The sound of marching feet and beating truncheons growing louder.
Victor: Les salauds ! Come on !
Lux: Supposing heís dead ?
Victor: The CRS wonít be interested . They like to hurt
people. Letís go !
Lux: Letís take him with us !
The marching and beating get louder.
Victor: Adieu ! Bonne chance !
He runs off. Lux looks down at the student. She grabs his feet and tries to drag
him off. He doesnít move. She lifts his shoulders from the ground and tries to
drag him. He doesnít move. The marching gets suddenly much louder. She drops the
student and runs off.
The hotel room. Harry is on the bed
with a bottle of wine. A radio on his bedside table is playing Georges Brassens:
Je Suis Un Voyou.
Harry: (Turns off the radio) Whoís that ?
Spin: Cíest moi !
Harry: Who the fuckís moi ?
Spin: Itís me, Harry. Let me in.
Harry: Whoís me ?
Spin: For fuckís sake ! ME ! Donít you recognize my voice,
Harry: Spin ?
Spin: Genius !
Harry: What the fuck are you doing here ?
Spin: Waiting for you to let me in !
Harry: What are you doing in Paris ? Thereís a fucking
revolution going on !
Spin: Youíre telling me ! I was nearly arrested. I had to
smile, feign stupidity and flash my passport.
Harry: Flash your what ?
Spin: My fucking passport ! Now open the door, Harry.
Harry: Lux isnít here.
Spin: So ?
Harry: Sheís on the barricades.
Spin: You donít expect me to wait for her to get
back do you ?
Harry: Itís her room.
Spin: Donít you sleep in it ?
Harry: Sort of.
Spin: Oh, let me in you cunt !
Harry opens the door. Spin enters dressed in combats a Che
Guevara t-shirt under her jacket, dragging a huge suitcase.
Harry: What the fuck are you wearing, Spin ?
Spin: I didnít want to look out of place. Do you like my
Harry: Thatís Che Guevara. What would your father say about
Spin: Handsome isnít he ?
Harry: He was a communist.
Spin: He probably just did it to impress the girls.
Harry: He shot people who let him down, Spin. He was a
revolutionary. He thought you had to kill the enemies of the revolution.
Spin: My father says communists are no better than Hitler.
Harry: Would you wear a t-shirt with a picture of Hitler on
the front ?
Spin: Oh god no ! Ugly little man. I wouldnít want him
anywhere near my tits.
Harry: Whatís in the suitcase, copies of The State and
Spin: Iíve just brought a couple of dresses in case I get
the chance to go anywhere nice.
Harry: Are you staying for a year ?
Spin: Why did you book into such a crumby hotel ?
Harry: Itís cheap, and in any case the streets are full of
Marxists, Trots, Maoists, anarchists, revolutionaries of all shapes and sizes.
Itís not healthy to been seen coming out a fancy hotels or wearing anything
bourgeois for that matter.
Spin: Anything what ?
Spin: Oh, thatís just silly. My father says the
middle-classes are the only people with real values.
Harry: Thatís very similar to what the Maoists say.
Spin: Is it ? Well, at least some of them have common
Harry: NoÖ..forget it.
Spin: Thatís so rude, Harry. Youíre always saying ďforget
itĒ to me as if Iím too stupid to understand anything.
Harry: I canít believe youíd come here, Spin !
Spin: I canít believe youíd come ! Leaving me alone.
Youíre horrible to me. Why are you always horrible to me, Harry?
Harry: Donít start that public school stuff, Spin.
Spin: You see ! Youíre always horrible. I canít stand it,
Harry: Oh God, donít start crying, Spin.
Spin: I canít help it. Iím exhausted. I came all the way
here to be with my friends and you donít make me welcome. Youíre a bastard,
Harry: Okay, Iím a bastard. But we came here to overthrow
capitalism, Spin. Weíre not on holiday. Weíre revolutionaries.
Spin: Some revolutionary, pissed on plonk in a smelly hotel
! Why arenít you on the streets ?
Harry: Me and the revolution have had a loversí tiff.
Spin: I knew you wouldnít like it.
Harry: Itís not a question of liking it, itís matter
Spin: Whatís the difference ?
Harry: You can like or dislike Brussels sprouts but it
isnít matter of principle. Itís not that I donít like the revolution, itís that
Iíve been let down.
Spin: You need someone you can rely on, Harry. Iíve come
all the way from Lancaster to see you. It took me an age and I had a terrible
scrape at Waterloo with a chap whoÖ
Harry: Donít say ďscrapeĒ.
Spin: Why do you have to be so horrid !
Harry: It grates on my nerves, Spin. It sounds so fucking
Spin: I canít help my background. You canít help yours.
Things about you get on my tits too.
Harry: For example ?
Spin: The way you say ďfuckĒ instead of ďfackĒ. Itís so
vulgar. I mean, if you were to ask me to ďfuckĒ I might say no, just because of
the way you say it.
Harry: Well, Iím not going to ask so donít let it worry
Spin: Iím not short of people who want to fuck me, Harry.
Harry: What woman is, Spin ?
Spin: You say such horrid things !
Harry: Itís not horrid, itís true ! Itís what blokes are
Spin: Well, I think itís horrid. The point is, Iím
attractive to men. Not all women are`attractive to men, Harry. The problem is
Iím not as attractive as Iíd like to be to the men Iíd like to be attractive to.
Harry: Want some wine ? Thereís a mouthful left.
Spin: Have you got a glass ?
Harry: No, this is true bohemianism. Straight from the
Spin: True what ?
Harry: Itís the life artists live, or used to , in Paris.
You know, scraping by, living on your wits, putting art before ambition for
money and status, a community of imagination. That kind of thing.
Spin: My father says art is a waste of public money.
Harry: Bohemians donít take public money, Spin. Theyíre
outsiders. Like me. People who donít belong anywhere.
Spin: Youíre just feeling sorry for yourself. Itís
Harry: Itís objectively true.
Spin: Oh god, donít say that. You sound like Lux. Always
on about whatís objectively this and objectively that. Whatís so
fucking good about being objective anyway.
Harry: Donít you have any desire to understand the world,
Spin: Oh, I canít be fagged ! Itís so fucking difficult
! Iíd rather enjoy myself. Iíd rather live in the world ! God, I feel as
if I just canít get my life going. Iím just stuck on a train going nowhere.
Thatís objectively true !
Harry: No, Spin, itís entirely subjective. Itís just
the way you feel about things.
Spin: Are you saying the way I feel doesnít matter ?
Harry: Of course it matters, but youíre feelings can lead
you astray. Your feelings can be false.
Spin: How do you know whatís real and false about
my feelings ?
Harry: Because itís easy to see when people are being
phoney ! You can see that yourself, canít you ?
Spin: Fuck you, Harry ! Iím off ! Iíll go and stay in a
proper fucking hotel and get my father to pay.
Harry: No,no! Stay, stay !
Spin: So you think Iím a phoney ?
Harry: No ! Not just you. Everybody. Weíre all
Spin: You donít make any sense to me, Harry. All your
objective stuff and you just donít make any sense at all. Youíd think
someone who knew how to be objective about everything would at least make sense.
Harry: We live in a phoney culture, Spin. Itís what we are.
Itís what goes on in our heads. Itís all, I donít know, phoney, false.
Spin: I think thatís subjective. Itís just the way
you feel about things. I donít even have the faintest idea what you mean by
everyone being phoney. What do you expect people to be like ?
Harry: This conversation is a waste of time, Spin.
Spin: Thatís so horrid ! You always say that, Harry.
You always say thereís no point talking to me about serious things. You treat me
like an idiot.
Harry: No I donít. But itís question of level. You know,
why do people talk about the weather ? Remember Bertís lecture ? Phatic
communion. That stuff. People donít talk about serious things when all theyíre
really after is social warmth. They talk about anything. Itís the talking thatís
important. Just someone to chat to and itís not whatís in the words that
matters. See what I mean ? But serious stuff. That needs a different arena. You
start chatting to your friends about serious stuff and pretty soon you wonít
have any friends.
Spin: Sometimes I think I donít ! And why do you always
call prof Lawrence, Bert ?
Harry: D.H. His name was David Herbert. He hated David. He
liked to be called Bert.
Spin: And why does everyone call you Harry when your
nameís Frank ?
Harry: Frank Roberts. Hence Harry Roberts. The train
Spin: Donít you mind being nicknamed after a train robber ?
Harry: It was a joke. As soon as Harry Roberts hit the
headlines all my mates at school started calling me Harry. It stuck. It was a
joke. Friendly. Now everyone calls me Harry.
Spin: And everyone calls me Spin, thanks to you !
Harry: Itís a joke ! You have to see the
friendliness behind it.
Spin: I wouldnít accept it from anyone but you. Even if you
Harry: It was just a way of being friendly and funny. For
godís sake, some people take life so fucking seriously. The worldís so
screwed up the best thing to do is laugh at it.
Spin: Well, why did you come here then ? Trying to make
revolution ! Whatís funny about that ?
Harry: Oh, itís the funniest thing under the sun if you do
it right ! Itís pulling the rug from under the feet of the pompous, the
arrogant, the pretentious, the poncey rich, the poseurs, the twats down
in St Tropez with their million dollar yachts who think theyíre fucking gods and
goddesses and mince around expecting everyone to ogle them, and then all the
fucking half-wit sycophants who do ogle them ! Itís about the subversive
power of democracy, Spin. You know what democracy means ? It means no-one
is good enough to have power over anyone else. But like everything , it gets
corrupted. Time-serving politicians with egos the size of jumbo-jets get hold of
democracy and it means vote for me then piss off back to work, do as youíre told
and watch your television. Thatís what Iím here for. To say the streets and
everything in them, every factory, every school, every office, every hospital,
every cafť, every shop: theyíre ours.
Spin: Someone has to be in charge, Harry. If no-oneís in
charge, thereíll just be chaos.
Harry: Take a look around, Spin. The worldís in chaos.
Thatís Ďcause weíve got people in charge.
Spin: My father says strong government is the answer.
Harry: Donít you think itís time to stop quoting your
Spin: Youíre being horrid again. Youíre always undermining
me. You never miss an opportunity. I canít open my mouth without worrying that
youíre going to make some clever comment to make me feel small.
Harry: Iím just trying to say. At your age. You know, your
father, he isnít the fount of all wisdom. We outgrow our parents. Itís a good
idea to start thinking things through for yourself. No, itís essential to
start thinking things through for yourself.
Spin: Oh, I canít be fagged. Itís so hard. And so
confusing. How am I supposed to make sense of it all ? Even the great
minds just disagree with one another.
Harry: On our behalf.
Spin: Not on my behalf. They just give me a
Harry: Well, thereís paracetemol. Thereís an invention of
great minds for you. Without them, you couldnít even get rid of your headache.
Those great minds struggling to find a bit of truth. They give us some clues to
follow. We all have a responsibility to try to make sense of things.
Spin: Well, my father went Oxford and he knows what heís
talking about so why shouldnít I just listen to him. Itís a lot easier than
sorting it out for myself. And anyway, I agree with him.
Harry: Sure. He approves of your dope smoking, I suppose ?
Spin: God, heíd have a fit !
Harry: Thereís something to work on. Something you
Spin: Anyway, I bet you agree with your parents about lots
Harry: Yeah, but I donít quote them all the time ! I donít
begin every third sentence with ďMy father saysÖ.Ē
Spin: Youíre so horrid ! Why canít you just be nice to me,
Harry. Iím knackered. Why did I come here ? I just want to go to sleep and wake
up and find everything different.
Harry: Take the bed. Lux will have to share. Iíll crash out
on the floor.
Spin: Why canít Lux crash out on the floor ?
Harry: Too draughty. You know how fussy she is. Itís her
upper middle-class background. Itís made her precious.
Spin: Like me, I suppose.
Harry: We all struggle against circumstance. Is the world
as youíd have chosen it ? You were just born into this crazy time. Here we are,
trying to make something of our lives in circumstances we didnít make. Itís the
same for all of us.
Spin: No, the world isnít as Iíd have chosen it. Iíd be
lots richer and I would never have gone to the north and Iíd find a man who
wouldnít be horrid to me all the time.
Harry: See what I mean ? Thatís your manifesto. Youíre just
like me, Spin. Youíre fighting to remake the world to fit your inner needs.
Spin: God, Iím so fagged out, Harry.
She starts to take off her clothes. Rapid steps on the stairs, off. A frantic
hammering on the door.
Victor: Vite ! Vite ! Open the door !
Harry opens and Victor and Lux fall in. She has her hands to her face which is
covered in blood.
Spin: Oh my God !
Harry: Shit !
Victor: CRS. Les salauds !
Spin: Shouldnít we get her to a hospital ?
Francis: Mais non ! Too dangerous. We had to fight with
Harry: What the hell hit her in the face ?
Victor: Rubber bullet. Not straight from the gun. A
ricochet. Her nose is bleeding. It looks worse than it is.
Harry has assembled towels. He brings water from the en suite and begins to try
to clean her up.
Harry: Youíre going to be okay, Lux. Youíre a real class
warrior now ! Scars to prove it.
Spin: Youíre crazy !
Lux groans half articulately.
Harry: What ?
Lux groans again.
Harry: I canít make it out.
Spin: She says youíre a silly cunt, Harry.
Harry: Thatís enough, Spin.
Spin: Look at her face ! Suppose her nose is broken ! You
may have ruined her looks.
Harry: I didnít smash her face, Spin. The State did.
Spin: You always talk such crap, Harry. A policeman did.
And whose fault is it ? If you hadnít brought her hereÖ.
Lux shakes her head and tries to speak.
Harry: Me ! Do you think she followed me ? I couldnít have
stopped her. Supposing sheíd come on her own. Where would she be now ?
Victor: Sheís among comrades here.
Harry: Oh yeah, where are they all ?
Spin: She needs friends not comrades.
Harry: She needs both. We all need both. Shit Victor, why
didnít you look after her out there ? Why didnít you protect her for fuckís sake
Victor: Protect her ? She can take care of herself, no ?
Harry: No ! Not in Paris in the middle of a revolution.
Sheís just a middle-class kid from Surbiton. Sheís about as street-wise as a
violently pushes him away. He falls over. Blackout.
A table in the Deux Magots.
Harry and Lux sit opposite one another. Her nose is heavily bandaged.
Harry: I tell you itís him !
Lux: Donít rubberneck !
Harry: He hasnít noticed. Heís writing. It is her
Lux: You canít tell from the back.
Harry: Well, it looks like her and who else would he be
Lux: How do I know ?
Harry: Theyíre committed to one another. Like a bourgeois
married couple. Only without the licence. Free choice. Heís not a big bugger is
Lux: He isnít a rugby player, Harry. You donít have to be a
heavyweight to write philosophy.
Harry: An intellectual heavyweight, Lux ! Donít you
think itís amazing ? Itís like sitting in Le Procope with Voltaire or
Diderot. He used to go there to get away from his missus you know.
Lux: Where did she go to get away from him ?
Harry: She was a nag, Lux ! She was married to one of the
greatest minds of the eighteenth century and she nagged him to death.
Lux: Iím not surprised if she was just married to a mind.
Harry: You wouldnít want to be married to someone mindless
would you ?
Lux: What you mean by mind Harry is that he was an
intellectual. That doesnít mean he was a good husband.
Harry: A good husband ? What kind of bourgeois crap is
Lux: You know what I mean .
Harry: Be precise, Lux. You canít afford to be sloppy in
your theory. Weíre in the midst of a revolution remember. Weíre putting theory
into practice. We canít overthrow the reign of the bourgeoisie and talk about
being a fucking good husband, for godís sake !
Lux: If he was married he should have been a good husband.
Harry: He was a revolutionary in his time, Lux, like us.
They threw him in prison for his writings. Donít you think itís a bit
pusifuckingllanimous to talk about being a good husband? What do you think he
should have done, taken a job in a bank ?
Lux: Thatís so ahistorical, Harry.
Harry: Whatís more ahistorical than talking about being a
Lux: Youíre just perverting my point, Harry.
Harry: What is your point ?
Lux: Itís perfectly simple, if you take the trouble to try
to understand. And what, anyway, is your point ?
Harry: Lux, thatís Jean-Paul fucking Sartre over there.
Weíre in the same room as one of the greatest minds of our time. Itís partly
thanks to him De Gaulle has fucked off out of the country. The workers are
taking over their factories. Imagination in power ! Think where it might lead,
Lux. Here we are, two English students from the boring suburbs sitting in the
Deux Magots in a great city risen to revolt and a few yards away Sartre is
scribbling in a notebook. Have you got the camera ?
Lux: Shit Harry, you canít take a picture ?
Harry: Why not ?
Lux: You donít work for fucking Paris Match ! Heís a
private individual. Heís sitting in a cafť. Leave him in peace.
Harry: Heís a private individual but heís also a public
figure, Lux. His pictureís in the newspapers all the time !
Lux: Harry, youíre so irresponsible !
Harry: Iím a literary man, Lux ! Itís something you donít
have the same feeling about.
Lux: Youíre a literary man !
Harry: You know it, Lux.
Lux: I know youíre full of bullshit, Harry. Iím the one
with the smashed up face. Iím the one whose made the sacrifice for the
revolution. All you want is a snapshot of Sartre for your album. Donít you think
thatís a bit trivial in the circumstances ?
Harry: Thatís not all I want, Lux. Thatís your
typical overgeneralisation. I wouldnít mind a picture and for you that becomes
all I want. You see how that letís you see yourself in a good light ?
Lux: Donít give me the kindergarten psychoanalysis, Harry.
I read Freud before you.
Harry: You read some Freud, Lux.
Lux: In any case, de Beauvoir is a better writer.
Harry: Oh, come on !
Lux: Come on what ?
Harry: Sheís a good writer, but better than Sartre ?
Lux: Have you read Memoirs díune Jeune Fille Rangee
Harry: Iíve looked at it.
Lux: Whatís that supposed to mean ?
Harry: Iíve dipped into it.
Lux: Oh, and I suppose youíve dipped into Líetre et le
Neant too .
Harry: Thatís a seminal text.
Lux: Ha !
Harry: Whatís wrong with that ?
Lux: How do you know itís a seminal text ?
Harry: Thatís such a stupid thing to say, Lux.
Lux: De Beauvoir is a better writer. Sartre is taken more
seriously because heís a man. As a matter of fact, it wouldnít surprise
me if she writes his books for him.
Harry: Thatís not feminism, you know, itís just ignorance.
Lux: And didnít Frieda do a lot of the donkey work for good
old D.H. ?
Harry: He was bound to spark ideas off her wasnít he? They
were married. But she wasnít a writer.
Lux: How do you know, Harry ?
Harry: Just look at Lawrenceís style.
Lux: Yeah, well just look at my face and forget taking
photos of Jean-Paul Sartre to show your grandkids.
Harry: Oh, are we starting a family ?
Lux: There are other wombs in the world, Harry.
Harry: You know, Iíd like to make you pregnant.
Lux: What would Jean-Paul make of that ?
Harry: Itís a revolutionary act. It flies in the face of
bourgeois caution and parsimony. We should have six kids, blow all that two
point four stuff out of the water.
Lux: You want six kids, youíd better get yourself a sex
Harry: Biology is biology.
Lux: Donít give me that anatomy is destiny rubbish.
Harry: Who said anything about destiny ?
Lux: And why isnít Jean-Paul at home changing nappies ?
Harry: Heís sixty-three.
Lux: A granddad ! How many grandchildren does he have ?
Harry: I donít suppose heís lived the kind of life where
having kids would have fitted in.
Lux: Or maybe heís too cautious or parsimonious.
Harry: Heís a revolutionary, Lux.
Lux: So am I, but Iíve got a broken nose.
Harry: Didnít I tell you the CRS` are bastards !
Lux: I didnít need telling, Harry. I needed some
intelligent support !
Harry : I wasnít even there !
Lux: Precisely !
Harry: You donít expect me to offer you protection do you ?
Wouldnít that be a bit sexist ?
Lux: Iím not saying protection.
Harry: Well what are you saying ?
Lux: Thatís typical of you, Harry.
Harry: What is ?
Lux: That fucking pedantry.
Harry: Whatís pedantic about asking you what you mean ?
Lux: You always get hung up on semantics. Itís
always what do you mean by this and what do you mean by that. Anyoneíd think you
didnít understand English.
Harry: Or maybe I understand English too well. Maybe itís
because Iím so sensitive to language that Iím always asking for precision.
Lux: Youíre about as sensitive as a lamppost, Harry.
Harry: Very good. Nice simile.
Lux: Donít patronise me. The point is, this is about
solidarity. And where were you ? Sitting in the hotel room getting pissed and
Harry: I wasnít sulking, Lux. I was acting on principle.
Lux: What principle is that, precisely ? That when
you donít get your own way you go off and suck your thumb in a corner? That
principle makes every two-year old a moral genius.
Harry: I canít believe this !
Lux: Donít you think we should be going ?
Harry: Why ?
Lux: Weíve finished our coffee.
Harry: This is the Deux Magots, Lux. Coffeeís not
Lux: Well, what is the point ?
Harry: Canít you rise to the occasion ?
Lux: I might ask you the same thing.
Harry: I never have any trouble in that department.
Lux: True. Always eager as a puppy-dog.
Harry: Iím glad you admit it.
Lux: Admit ? God, itís endurance thatís the problem
Harry: So you say.
Lux: Well I should know shouldnít I ?
Harry: Should you ?
Lux: Now youíre scraping the barrel, Harry.
Harry: Female physiology is difficult, Lux.
Lux: Oh god !
Harry: Thatís natural selection for you.
Lux: Donít give me that reactionary Darwinist crap !
Harry: Itís not reactionary and itís not crap. You know
Marx wanted to dedicate volume one of Capital to Darwin ?
Lux: You know Darwin said no ? You know why ? Because he
was a reactionary.
Harry: He was of his time, but think what he did !
Wasnít that a triumph for materialism ?
Lux: Not when it lets men blame women for their sexual
Harry: Thereís nothing inadequate about me.
Lux: There speaks the male of the species.
Harry: Theyíre going !
Lux: Stop staring. Youíre just making a fool of yourself.
Harry: We are part of history, Lux. Weíre making history
Lux: Yeah, and history has broken my fucking nose !
The hotel room. Victor is on the
bed smoking a spliff. Spin is on the floor.
Spin: They went out to eat or have a coffee or something.
God Iím famished. Iíll have to go to a cafť.
Victor: Tíen fais pas. Iíll go out and buy a few things.
Bread, cheese, ham, tomatoes. Weíll have a little feast.
Spin: Get some more dope while youíre at it. Itís the only
thing keeping me sane in this situation.
Victor: What situation ?
Spin: Being here. The revolution. My friends who think
theyíre going to change the world, though why it needs changing Iíve no idea.
Victor: It has to change. Itís a law of the universe.
Nothing stands still.
Spin: Well, let it change of its own accord instead of
fighting in the streets with riot police. Have you finished with that spliff ?
Victor: Fighting in the streets with riot police is the way
the world changes of its own accord. Everything is inevitable before it happens.
Spin: Is it inevitable youíre going to keep dragging on
Spin: It doesnít make any sense. If itís inevitable, why do
you need to do anything.
Victor: Because itís the doing something thatís inevitable.
Spin: I suppose it was inevitable Lux should get her nose
smashed in by a rubber bullet.
Spin: Youíre like Harry. You talk bullshit.
Victor: You like him though.
Spin: Heís horrid to me.
Victor: But you still like him.
Spin: Whatís that to do with you ?
Victor: Have you fucked with him ?
Spin: God ! You canít ask me that ?
Victor: Why not ? This is a revolution. Everything can be
put in question.
Spin: Thatís just d impertinent. I donít like the way you
talk at all. Youíve no manners. Frankly, youíre horrid. Sometimes.
Victor: But you smoke my dope.
Spin: I thought you were a socialist. Arenít you supposed
to believe in sharing everything ?
Spin: Oh god ! Whatís the difference ?
Victor: If you go out putting posters up at night, you have
two things to fear: the police and the communists. The police will beat you,
arrest you, kick you around in the back of a camion blinde and let you go. The
communists will smash your skull and throw you in the Seine.
Spin: They should recruit them for the CRS !
Victor: The CRS is like the Communist Party. They control
people and they control by fear and brutality. Only the anarchists want to give
people their freedom.
Spin: Listening to you could turn me into a communist.
Victor: Yes, communists are very conservative.
Spin: My father says communists want to take over the
Victor: So do conservatives. Everyone who controls the
power of the State wants to take over the world. Itís the logic of State power.
Spin: This is exceptionally good dope. Where díyou get it ?
Victor: From a poor Algerian who sweeps the floors in the
Spin: He should sell more dope and give up the job.
Victor: Life is not so easy for most people. And hardest
for those at the bottom. He gives up his job he becomes a non-person. He loses
everything. He works for small money and sells dope on the quiet. Itís a good
way to beat the system.
Spin: What system ? My father says all the stress is at the
top. Itís just as well there are people like my father prepared to take
responsibility or the working-classes would still be living in caves.
Victor: What does he do, your father ?
Spin: Heís a banker.
Victor: And what does he do ?
Spin: Oh, heís very high up. He makes lots of big
Victor: What is a big decision ?
Spin: Youíre just trying to catch me out. Youíre being
horrid. I donít understand why people are always being horrid to me. Itís not as
if Iím not a nice person. Anyway, my father runs things. Heís an executive.
Victor: Thatís just a word that hides the laziness and
uselessness of the overpaid.
Spin: Fuck off ! My father works very hard. What do you do
Victor: I work very hard avoiding working for people like
your father. I read. I think. I invent graffiti. I write it on walls. I work
very hard trying to undermine capitalism.
Spin: And you say my fatherís lazy. Youíre just a layabout.
Victor: Have you seen the graffiti metro boulot dodo
Spin: As a matter of fact I have. I saw it in the
metro. I suppose you expected me to say no didnít you ?
Victor: As a matter of fact, I did.
Spin: Youíre just like Harry. You think youíre so fucking
clever and Iím a dizzy, empty-headed fool. Well I can read you know. I
can read fucking graffiti just like anyone else.
Victor: Donít you think itís clever ?
Spin: Not particularly. Donít tell me itís by Jean-Paul
Sartre or someone and full of hidden meaning. Iím sick of all that stuff. Why do
meanings always have to be hidden and whatís the use of a meaning no-one can
see anyway ? I think itís all a big fraud to make people look clever. I mean,
what the hell has Jean-Paul Sartre ever done ?
Victor: He writes. Thatís his raison díetre. Itís
Spin: Well itís not as important as being a banker, in my
Victor: Bankers are here, there, all over the place. Put on
a suit, wear a tie, learn the jargon, youíre a banker. Sartre is unique. Like
Aristotle, Descartes, Voltaire, Flaubert. Itís the uniqueness that matters. We
all must try to find our own uniqueness.
Spin: I bet heís rich.
Victor: Maybe, but he didnít try to be. It just happened to
Spin: I wish it would just happen to me. I wish I could
marry some gorgeous man with money coming out of his ears and go and live on the
Cote díAzur have a big d yacht and do nothing but smoke dope for the rest of my
Victor: Wouldnít you rather marry Harry ?
Spin: Heís spoken for. At the moment.
Victor: It must be very frustrating knowing heís fucking
her all the time.
Spin: I donít care. I donít give a fuck. Actually. I donít
even think about it. Anyway, she doesnít have orgasms. She told me. So serve him
Victor: Maybe he likes it anyway.
Spin: I donít give a shit as a matter of fact. Iíd rather
have a nice bit of Afghan Black.
Victor: We could fuck if you like.
Spin: I beg your pardon !
Victor: Whatís the matter ?
Spin: Youíre the matter. Itís sick. You canít speak to me
Victor: Why not ? Iím honest.
Spin: Is that what you call it ?
Victor: The revolution sets us free. We can say what we
Spin: I donít want to know what you think !
Victor: You want me to get some more dope ?
Spin: Yes. Thatís a nice idea.
Victor: Well, Iíll get the dope you do me a favour. Thatís
Spin: Thatís not fair itís fucking prostitution !
Victor: Thatís a bourgeois idea. Once capitalism has
passed, people will be freer in their attitudes to their bodies.
Spin: Forget any free attitudes towards my body ! Iím not
Victor: No, youíre a very middle-class English girl.
Spin: Whatís class got to do with it ?
Victor: Class has to do with everything. Class has made
Spin: And whatís made yours ? Reading Jean-Paul fucking
Sartre and god knows who. Well, if all that philosophy makes you act like a shit
my fatherís right.
Victor: I only asked. I asked politely.
Spin: Your idea of good manners and mine arenít the same.
Victor: Come in !
Sophie: Victor, what are you doing here ? Youíre
supposed to be working for the revolution !
Victor: I am working. Iím thinking.
Spin: Yeah, and you should know what heís thinking ?
Sophie: Whoís this ?
Victor: An English revolutionary.
Spin: Iím Spin. Mandy actually, but everyone calls me Spin
because Iím dizzy. At least thatís what Harry says. He is an English
revolutionary. Iím just here for the spliffs.
Sophie: This is very irresponsible of you, Victor.
Victor: Sophie, in revolutionary times everyone contributes
selon son gout.
Sophie: Et ton gout cíest quoi ? Cette salope díAnglaise ?
Spin: I do understand French, if you donít mind, putain !
Sophie: Ta gueule !
Spin: Et ta soeur ?
Victor: Iím just having a rest, Sophie. Revolutions can
take a long time. Think of 1789. We must reflect on what we are doing. No need
to come here and start a fight with our English comrades.
Spin: Iím not a fucking comrade, Iím a conservative !
Sophie: Youíre just trying to fuck her, arenít you Victor ?
Victor: Mais non !
Spin: Mais oui !
Sophie: Is this the way you show solidarity with the
working-class, fucking with an English conservative while we risk our lives
fighting the CRS ?
Victor: Are you fighting with the CRS now ?
Sophie: Weíre planning tonightís campaign, Victor. Weíre
talking to the young workers. Weíre distributing leaflets. Weíre writing
Victor: Voila !
Sophie: What do you mean, voila !
Victor: Voila !
Sophie: What are you talking about, Victor ?
Spin: Voila !
Sophie: Why do you have to interfere ?
Spin: Voila ! Voila ! Voila !
Sophie: Mais elle est completement malade !
Spin: Iím not as mad as you, mademoiselle ! You think
hurling cobblestones at policemen is going to change the world. Havenít you
noticed theyíve got water cannon and prisons ? Do you think theyíre frightened
of a few students ? I think itís all silly. Itís just impossibly fucking silly
and I wish I wasnít here. The only thing worth doing is getting stoned.
Victor: Tonight Iíll be in the streets. For the moment, Iím
reposing. You canít turn revolution into a kind of work, Sophie. Then how will
we change anything ? The old attitudes. The same conneries. The old dead time of
the factory and the office. We have to change our own minds, Sophie. We change
the objective conditions of life so that our minds can be different.
Spin: Oh god, not objective again ! I object to
objective. I want wallow in subjectivity. Let the objective go fuck itself.
Whatís that supposed to mean anyway, the objective conditions of life ?
Sophie: So youíve found yourself an intellectual to fuck,
Spin: He isnít going to fuck me and thatís
objective. And anyway, whatís so good about being an intellectual ? Itís all you
go on about, you revolutionaries. Jean-Paul fucking Sartre and Karl Marx and
Rosa shitty Luxemburg. Do you think the whole world should be full of
intellectuals ? Shit, what a mess weíd be in then,like my father says. All you
do is argue with one another over details no-one else cares about. And then you
end up throwing stones at riot police ! Is that intellectual ! Itís just
vandalism in my opinion.
Victor: You have a very English mind. You think revolution
is vandalism. You think revolution is a crime ! Itís very charming but
itís no good. Capitalists are not friendly. They use workers to get rich and
they donít care. They donít care about anything but their money. How can you
expect such people to be democratic ? They only give enough freedom to keep
themselves rich. The freedom that will bring equality, they donít allow. So we
have to take it and it can only be taken on the streets, in the factories.
Spin: Who wants equality ? I donít want to live in a
country where everyone is the same.
Sophie: Victor, are you going to leave this silly girl to
her dope and come and do some real work ?
Victor: Sophie, Iím having a little pause dejeuner. Why
donít you do the same ?
Sophie: Do you think Iím stupid,Victor ? You know what he
likes, soixante-neuf. Thatís what he wants you to do with him.
Victor: Sheís a nice English girl. She doesnít want
soixante-neuf with an intellectual French revolutionary in a hotel in the
Sophie: Iím talking about what you want, Victor. You think
you can just fuck me and then disappear ?
Victor: I havenít disappeared ! Here I am ! Was it hard to
find me ? No !
Sophie: You exploit me sexually, Victor ! Youíre a sexual
Spin: You should start a revolution ! Throw a few
cobblestones at him, thatíll change his ways.
Victor: I exploit you ?
Sophie: You come to fuck with this stupid English girl ?
Why ? Sheís probably never done soixante-neuf in her life.
Spin: Do you think Iím a fucking virgin or something ?
Sophie: I donít care what you are. Why donít you go back to
Hampstead Common or wherever you come from ?
Spin: Hampstead Common ! Ha ! And you say Iím
Victor: I didnít come to fuck with her. Iíve never met her
before. I came to see Lux and Harry. She was here. Iím just being friendly. Iím
making her welcome in Paris.
Sophie: She isnít welcome here. Weíre trying to overthrow
people like her.
Spin: Iím not for overthrowing. You make me sound like
something you spread on a sofa.
Victor: Youíre attitude to revolution is bourgeois, Sophie
Sophie: My attitude to revolution is serious, Victor
! La revolution sera totale ou ne sera pas.
Spin: If you two are anything to go by, itíll be the
Victor: You treat it like work ! You want to control
everything, just like a capitalist. You donít choose revolution, youíre a
compulsive revolutionary. Itís your neurosis and if you couldnít make revolution
youíd do something else to be in control.
Sophie: You talk shit, Victor, to make an excuse for
yourself because youíre trying to fuck an English counter-revolutionary.
Spin: Why are you always sticking labels on me ? God, you
people have to put everything in a neat pigeon-hole. Iím not a
counter-revolutionary. I donít give a shit for silly revolution and I think
youíll all be sorry when the tables turn. Youíll find someone in power who makes
Stalin look liberal, and serve you right.
Victor: You think I want to go to bed with every woman I
Sophie: Every woman whoíll let you. Every woman whoís
Spin: Speak for yourself.
Sophie: Youíre just an opportunist, Victor. You know how
reactionary that is ?
Victor: You confuse opportunism and openness, Sophie. You
want to be a revolutionary but you think like a middle-class Catholic because
thatís how your mind was formed.
Sophie: And how was your mind formed? Lycee Louis le Grand
is hardly a breeding ground for socialists.
Victor: The difference is that I know how my mind
was formed. Iím not trying to be something Iím not.
Sophie: You are a complete charlatan, Victor. There is
nothing real about you. Youíre no kind of revolutionary. Youíre a cheap
seducteur and you donít even have good taste in women. Any more.
Footsteps. Enter Harry.
Harry: Guess who we saw in the Deux Magots ?
Spin: Karl Marx.
Victor: Whereís Lux ?
Sophie: Another one !
Harry: Another one what ?
Spin: Middle-class English revolutionary he wants to screw.
Harry: Who wants to screw ?
Spin: Your revolutionary friend here. He asked me to go to
bed with him. Sixty-nine is his favourite.
Harry: Did you do it in front of her !
Spin: I didnít do it at all !
Sophie: Who are you ?
Spin: Harry Roberts, the famous English train robber.
Sophie: So you spend your time with criminals, Victor ?
Harry: Iím not a criminal. Itís a joke. A typically
English joke. But listen. We saw Sartre ! As large as life. De Beauvoir was
with him. Isnít that amazing ? If only Iíd had the camera !
Spin: Is he handsome ?
Harry: No, heís an ugly little man.
Spin: Why would you want a photo of an ugly little man ?
Harry: Heís famous, Spin ! Imagine youíd seen Flaubert in
cafť, wouldnít you have wanted a photo ?
Spin: What did Flaubert look like ?
Victor: Whereís Lux anyway ?
Harry: Sheís gone to buy some clothes in Galeries
Lafayette. To cheer herself up. Sheís feeling bad because of her broken
nose. She thinks her looks are ruined.
Spin: Sheís no need to worry about that.
Sophie: She needs new clothes for the revolution ? Victor,
these English people are idiots.
Harry: Excuse me ! Youíre a guest in our hotel room.
Sophie: Youíre a guest in our city. You may have noticed
things are not quite normal.
Harry: We came to join the revolution. Weíre socialists.
Spin: Iím a conservative !
Harry: Myself and Lux. We came to do our bit to change the
Sophie: And what have you done ?
Harry: My girlfriend has a broken nose. She was hit by a
plastic bullet on the Boulevard St Germain.
Sophie: Too bad. But itís no great contribution. The CRS
are salauds. They break your nose. So ? It was a waste of time to come here just
to get her nose broken. She could have gone to an English football match.
Victor: Oh mais ! Thereís no need to insult our English
Sophie: They arenít my friends, Victor. My friends are
working for the revolution. They donít go the Deux Magots to take
pictures of Sartre.
Harry: I didnít go to take a picture of Sartre. I went
because itís a radical intellectual lieu. I went for the atmosphere or to
experience something you just canít experience in England. Oh, Iíve seen Francis
Bacon drinking in the Coach and Horses, but itís not the same as here.
And Sartre just happened to be there. And that moment comes and goes. Whatís
wrong with a souvenir ? Itís human. What are the paintings at Lascaux but an
attempt to freeze experience ? To have something to refer to when the momentís
gone ? Something for posterity ? Whatís wrong with that ?
Sophie: Taking pictures of celebrities isnít art, thatís
whatís wrong with it. Itís just pretension. It makes me sick.
Spin: Here, here ! Pictures of ugly old communists. You
could at least photograph somebody handsome.
Harry: Youíre obsessed with appearances, Spin.
Spin: Of course I am. Appearances matter. Donít try to tell
me youíre not impressed by beautiful women, Harry.
Harry: Impressed is the wrong word.
Spin: Aroused any better ?
Harry: Thatís what this revolution is for, to do away with
a society of appearances !
Spin: Are you going to make everybody blind ?
Sophie: You arenít going to do anything ! You are
all fainťants. Youíre little schoolchildren playing truant from the revolution
because its lessons are too difficult.
Victor: Iím going to buy a few things to eat.
Spin: Iíll come with you. You can introduce me to your
Algerian metro friend.
Sophie: A few things to eat ? This is no time for a picnic,
Victor: Food first, morals after. Remember Sophie ?
Victor followed by Spin.
Sophie: Mais cíest degueulasse ! She is a stupid girl. A
stupid, stupid girl. What have you English people come here for ? To play at
making revolution. Itís not a game. We are trying to change the direction of
history. You English donít understand revolution. When something goes wrong, you
fix it in a sort of way, and then pretend it wasnít wrong at all. We French
celebrate our great moments of transformation.
Harry: Yeah, and your mate has certainly transformed this
hotel room. Who does he thinkís going to tidy up after him, the fairies ?
Sophie: How can you think of such trivial things at such a
Harry: The devil is always in the detail, as we English
like to say. Itís the little things that matter. I think we should have a
revolution for courtesy. Politeness is the basis of justice ! Thereís a bold
declaration for you. Call it Robertsí Law. Itís just damn bad manners of
capitalists to treat their employees shabbily. Itís bloody bad manners to be
rich when others are scrimping by. No-one with a sense of shame could do it.
What makes you feel ashamed ?
Sophie: What makes you think I have something to be ashamed
Harry: Everyone has something to be ashamed of. Have you
ever wondered why we have a sense of shame ? The answer should be obvious but
the more you stare at the question the harder it gets. Do you believe in god ?
Sophie: Merde ! Iím a Marxist.
Harry: So you do believe in god. Sorry ! But we must have
evolved with a sense of shame for some reason. You know what I think it is ? I
think shame is a mirror but it shows us only one side of our image. The ugly
side. The vicious. The callous. The selfish. The cheap. Thatís what shameís for.
To make us turn away from the image of our ugliness and find whatís beautiful in
Sophie: Youíre not impressing me with your attempts to
Harry: What makes you imagine Iím trying to impress you ?
Sophie: Oh, youíre that kind of boy. You come to Paris to
show off, to pretend to be a revolutionary. You like to sit in the Deux
Magots as if youíre a bohemian intellectual. You want to take a picture of
Sartre. And all to impress the girls.
Harry: You donít know much about English girls. Most of
them have never heard of Jean-Paul Sartre, and the English are genetically
predisposed to hate philosophy. They prefer to box ideas in. They extend the
franchise to prevent revolt and then say: ď There we are, thatís democracy old
chap. Let the plebs vote, so long as theyíre voting for their betters.Ē But
democracy as an idea ! Thatís dangerous.
Sophie: But your university girls with a picture of Che
Guevara on their wall, they are the ones you want to seduce.
Harry: I donít know any girls with pictures of Che Guevara
on their walls, not even Lux. She has a picture of Rosa Luxemburg, hence the
nickname. Most of them have Paul Newman or Status Quo. They prefer the
warm bath of sex symbols and entertainment to the bracing waters of serious
ideas and struggle for social change.
Sophie: So perhaps you came to Paris hoping to seduce
French girls. The excitement of the revolution. Old ideas are breaking down. You
can take advantage and, what is it you say, ďget your end inĒ ?
Harry: Away. Get your end away. No. I came here with Lux. I
came to fight for social change. I believed Paris could show the world again how
to get beyond old forms. Like 1789. I wanted to be part of that because
Englandís in the grip of the middle-classes and theyíre as hopeless as a
failed soufflť. Once they were energetic and radical. They looked down their
noses at the working-class but they were driving things forward. They built
towns and cities. They sat in non-conformist pews and they stuck two fingers up
at the aristocratic, Anglican snobs. Then they retreated to the suburbs and the
golf course and public life imploded like a dead star.
Sophie: But you donít want to be part of it any more. Quel
dommage ! Progress is not so easy as you thought.
Harry: Sure ! Yes. Iíll be out tonight with the best. Iíll
be chanting CRS SS ! Iíll link arms and march in solidarity.. Itís just that
itís not what I expected.
Sophie: Did you think weíd have a guillotine in front of
Notre Dame ? Did you expect to see De Gaulle mounting the scaffold ? Perhaps our
revolution isnít melodramatic and bloodthirsty enough for you ?
Harry: Iím too squeamish for all that stuff. In any case,
Iím a pacifist. Itís just thereís something not right. Something in the
Sophie: Oh, you wanted a carnival ! A party ! Youíre
disappointed because itís serious. The CRS have real batons and real tear gas
and they are real State thugs and the students and the young workers really want
to fight. What a shame ! Paris in revolution is not a fun fair !
Harry: The opposite, as a matter of fact. Itís not serious
enough. I donít know, thereís some kind of cheating going on . Like shirt
pulling in football. It ruins everything. Whatís the point of playing a game
with strict rules and then breaking the rules ? Itís a game because
of the rules. If you break them, you break the spell. Itís the same kind of
feeling here. A kind of irresponsibility towards the noble desire to ratchet up
the level of fairness and justice in society. Something seems to be pulling
downwards. The point is, I really am a socialist !
Sophie: Donít think that makes you special ! We all are. Or
anarchists. Or anarcho-syndicalists. Or Maoists. Or anarcho-maoists. Or
communists. Or Situationists. Weíre all fighting for the big change but we are
like children over the details.
Harry: No, so many people here arenít socialists at all.
You know what I think ? I think when this all dies down most of them will go
back to their homes, their universities and start worrying about how to build
their careers. Theyíll become professors and newspaper editors and lawyers and
politicians and bankers and theyíll earn big money and live in all the fancy
places and forty years from now theyíll tell stories of the barricades over
canapťs and Bollinger on a Saturday evening to entertain their friends. And
their children will be spoilt rotten and think itís their right to have a
BMW and three holidays a year. It suddenly struck me that this isnít going to
last. We arenít going to make it. Like the anarchists saying, ask for something
they canít take away from you. Free public transport for all in Paris. That at
least would be a gain. But Iíve just suddenly been overcome with the bleak
feeling we wonít win a thing. Too many people are too comfortable and those who
arenít are too disaffected, or defeated or cowardly or just plain stupid to rise
up. I thought it would be much more disciplined than this. There just isnít
enough momentum. Weíre pissing in the wind. Theyíre going to defeat us by
selling the masses a commercialised fantasy. Marx was right. Itís the extension
of the domain of the struggle. You know what I think ? I think the struggle is
going to be about identity and none of the old ways of fighting will be any
good. You can go on strike for more money or shorter hours, but how do you fight
a consumerist identity you donít even recognize? My country was once the
workshop of the world but itíll become the hairdressing salon of the world.
There wonít be any miners to lead a working-class avant-garde. Weíll have to
start again and build a new radicalism but in much more confusing conditions.
Sophie: You English have no sense of revolution. Thatís why
you came to Paris. A romantic idea. We French know that every revolution brings
a counter-revolution. Cut off the heads of the aristocrats and before you know
it thereís a restoration. You have to keep going. You have to take to the
streets over and over. After this, things will never be the same in France. 68
will be the number that makes the capitalists nervous. Thatís what weíll win.
Harry: It doesnít seem much, does it ? And anyway, when
capitalists get nervous they just build bigger weapons or train more riot
Sophie: Typical English defeatism !
Harry: Typical French arrogance !
Sophie: Anyway, why not make the best of things ? What do
you say ? Chin out ?
Harry: Chin up.
Sophie: Voila ! The revolution may let you down but there
are other things to enjoy. Perhaps you can go back to England feeling like
youíve won. You know, thereís something I like about youíre silly pessimism.
Harry: Iím not a pessimist, Iím just realistic.
Sophie: Of course. Be realistic, demand the impossible. But
why not enjoy whatís in front of you at the same time ?
Harry: Victor and Spin may be back any minute.
Sophie: Well, weíll lock the door. Voila ! If they knock,
weíll keep quiet and theyíll think weíve gone out.
Harry: Why would you be interested in an English defeatist
Sophie: Oh, we are much more passionate than you. French
women admire a man who knows how to love. I have a feeling you would be a good
lover. Soixante-huit, soixante-neuf.
Harry: Iím here with my girl-friend.
Sophie: And you think she hasnít noticed Victor ? Heís
handsome as a god isnít he ?
Harry: Is he ?
Sophie: You havenít noticed ? He has the kind of face that
makes women, what do you say, folle díamour.
Harry: Just his face ?
Sophie: A face like that is enough. You walk the streets of
Paris or any big city, you see thousands and thousands of men, ugly, ordinary,
boring, obscene and then out of the crowd comes Victorís face. You know what
that does to a womanís brain ? Il est adorable ! Itís terrible but itís true.
Your girl-friend is in love with him.
Harry: You havenít seen them together.
Sophie: I donít need to. Iíve seen the way women fall for
Victor. Heís one of those men who doesnít have to do anything to attract
attention. He simply walks into a room. Thatís why heís so relaxed. And your
girl-friend has come to Paris for the revolution. What better than a beautiful
revolutionary ? Victor knows exactly what heís doing. Have you noticed how he
moves ? Have you seen the sleepiness in him ? Do you think she can resist that
? It wouldnít surprise me if at this very momentÖ..
Harry: Lux is shopping, Victor is with Spin. I suppose
sheís fallen for him too.
Sophie: Oh, she will, when she wakes up. Sheís not really a
woman is she ? But even a little girl like her will find herself looking into
his eyes and wondering whatís happening to her. Victor will seduce her if heís
nothing better to do. Your Lux is more of a challenge. Sheís with you. Is she
very beautiful ?
Harry: Sheís too preoccupied with the revolution to get
into bed with Victor.
Sophie: I thought sheíd gone shopping ?
Harry: Just to lift her spirits. Sheís suffered a blow to
her dignity. Her face has been smashed in. Anyone would want to comfort
themselves after that.
Sophie: And shopping is so much easier than changing the
world. Thatís what the capitalists know. Theyíll turn the world into one big
centre commercial. Theyíll give us all cheap credit and make us fanatics of
the department stores. Weíll go shopping for our identity and weíll be the
saddest spectacle in the universe. Thatís the revolution your girl-friend is
helping bring about. The real one means giving up too much.
Harry: You make it sound like Lent. What are you giving up
? Chocolate biscuits or pain au chocolat ?
Sophie: Iíd give up everything to see capitalism swept
away. Sometimes I think Iíd even give my life. Like you, I really am a
socialist. Wouldnít you rather die for a cause than live without one ? What kind
of life is it ? Metro boulot dodo. We donít live, we are lived. Weíve made a
monster. Our society is a Frankenstein and it controls us. We go to work. We
make money. We worry if we have enough. And what is enough ? We never have
enough. Even the richest people want to make more. They need another yatch or
another private jet. No-one can have enough when money is a proof of your worth
because your worth is something you canít prove. Donít you agree ? Arenít we,
what do you say, soulmates ?
Harry: Yes, soul mates. And youíre right. Our society is a
mess so our minds are a mess. How the hell did we get here ?
Sophie: Soulmates. Or bedfellows.
Harry: Shoulder to shoulder on the barricades is where we
belong. That way we might stop the capitalists from turning us all into
Sophie: Such hard work, revolution. We need some relief.
Maybe Victor is right. Maybe I treat revolution like work. I just need to take
off my clothes and relax. Your bed looks so comfortable.
She gets under the sheets so they
cover her completely and holds them up like a tent as she undresses.
Sophie: Thatís better ! Donít you love to be without
Harry: When Iím in the bath.
Sophie: Come under the sheets with me. Please. What have
you got to lose ?
Harry: A lot if Lux found out.
Sophie: Whoís going to tell her ?
Harry: These things have a way of making themselves known.
Anyway, Iím no good at dissembling. My nature is too straightforward. Iíd give
Sophie (Popping her head out): Are you going to insult me !
Harry: Itís not an insult.
Sophie: Donít you find me attractive ?
Harry: Of course. Youíre a very beautiful girl.
Sophie: Iím a very beautiful woman.
Harry: Woman. Fine. But Iím spoken for.
Sophie: Are you an old married man ? Anyway, I thought you
were a revolutionary. Donít you know our attitudes to sex are like everything
else? Theyíre cultural. Why canít we sweep away the old ways ? Iím offering you
my body, my tenderness without any demands. Isnít it cruel of you to turn me
Harry: Iím not turning you down. I mean, in different
Sophie: Oh, mais non ! Letís make our own circumstances.
What are we doing in the streets ? Arenít we trying to make new circumstances
for ourselves because new circumstances mean a new humanity ? Well, have a
little pity for me. Iím naked. Iím waiting. If you donít make love to me Iíll be
Harry: But I didnít ask you to take your clothes off
Sophie: It was the way you looked at me.
Harry: What ?
Sophie: A woman has an instinct for these things. You gave
yourself away by the look in your eyes. I know youíre unhappy because your
girlfriend has fallen in love with a handsome French icon of the revolutionÖ
Harry: We donít know that !
Sophie: I know it.
Harry: Neither of us knows that. Lux is a very friendly and
Sophie: So am I. Iím offering you my body. Just like she
offers hers to Victor.
Harry: You donít know that !
Sophie: Men are always in denial when they find a woman has
been unfaithful. A man thinks itís his privilege to betray a woman. Itís in his
genes, all that rubbish. Men know nothing about women. We love sex much more
than you do. We love the simple pleasure of it. Itís true. Thatís why we try to
hide it behind sentimentality. As for men, they think sex is a big, important
matter. They canít accept the physical pleasure for what it is. Thatís why they
try to pretend to be so unsentimental about it. Your girlfriend has just met a
man who has made her feel sexier than any man sheís ever known. She canít
believe it. She knows sheíll have an orgasm in five minutes if she goes to bed
with him. Whatís going to stop her ?
Harry: Me !
Sophie: Youíre very sweet.
Harry: Donít patronise me.
Sophie: Donít keep me waiting.
Harry: Put your clothes on. Letís go and have a coffee. We
can talk things over.
Sophie: I donít want to talk. How can you expect me to put
my clothes on ? Iíve decided to act. Itís just like the revolution. We canít
turn back. If we left the streets now we would look stupid. Do you want to make
me look stupid ?
Harry: This is impossible !
Sophie: You mean you canít Ö.
Harry: Of course I can. I mean morally. Iím
committed to Lux. Sheís my future.
Sophie: And Iím your present. Weíre in the middle of a
revolution. No-one knows how things will work out but itís exciting. Life
usually goes on without any chance of change. One day after another. Year after
year. People live out their whole lives and nothing essential changes. One
generation after another and things change so slowly no-one notices. No-one
feels theyíve helped change to happen. Itís happened in spite of them. People
feel their lives have happened in spite of them. Then once in a while there
comes a chance to be part of real change, to feel youíre making change happen.
Everything is melting. For a brief moment, a moment which must be rare in the
modern world, itís as if the world was new. As if we were the first people on
the planet. The whole future belongs to us and what we do will decide it. This
is a moment when you can feel youíre escaping the weight of history. A moment of
unbelievable freedom. Just take that freedom. For a brief hour. Just take it for
what it is before the weight of history falls on your shoulders once again. Take
that freedom and make me blissfully happy for one hour in my life.
Harry: You really believe it would make you happy ?
Sophie: I know it would.
Harry: But itís just physical sensation. Once itís over
itís over. And what do we do with ourselves ? I hardly know you. Weíve no past.
No future. Thereís nothing shared beyond this brief ÖÖ.thing. What makes you
happy has to have more continuity about it than that doesnít it ?
Sophie: How do you know this wonít be the beginning of
something that will last ? What do we do, wait and wait before we find out how
it feels to make love to one another ?
Harry: Iím committed to Lux.
Sophie: Then you are a stupid, stupid boy ! She isnít
committed to you.
Harry: You donít know her.
Sophie: But I know Victor and I know his instinct for
women. He wouldnít have made friends with you if he hadnít known your girlfriend
was falling for him. Thatís how he works. He doesnít waste his time. He knows
how a woman feels because so many women have been in love with him. If he meets
one who wonít be seduced, he runs away. The moment he meets a woman he starts to
ask himself whether she will go to bed with him. Heís a cynic. Heís a capitalist
of the bedroom. All that matters to him is quantity. He accumulates women like a
capitalist accumulates money. And just as a capitalist counts his worth in
property, so Victor counts his worth in sexual conquest. Unfortunately, women
are stupid enough to fall for him just like the workers are stupid enough to
make the capitalists rich. I tell you, he knows he can seduce your girlfriend or
he wouldnít be here. He has the power. The power of his beauty has corrupted his
soul. Just like the power of money corrupts the souls of the rich.
Harry: So you want me to go to bed with you as an act of
revenge on Lux ! Wouldnít that corrupt my soul ?
Sophie: Mais non, mais non, mais non ! Donít misunderstand
me. Not for revenge. For sweetness. Oh, make love to me. Make me feel like a
woman. Forget Victor and Lux. Revolution is a new beginning. Brief but powerful.
Thatís all I ask. Give me that brief powerful moment that can let me start
again. Create a revolution in my womanís heart. Itís so much more difficult than
overthrowing capitalism. Do it if you have the least feeling for me. Make me
feel alive !
Harry: Youíre putting me in an impossible situation !
Sophie: History has put us in an impossible situation. What
can we do ? Weíre always making choices in contexts other people have left to
us. We are the inheritors of the stupidity of generations. Do you think you can
find some pure context in which to act ? It doesnít exist. We act in the mess we
find ourselves part of, whether we like it or not.
Harry: Sure, but we can still act to make things better or
worse. Thereís no excuse in blaming the past. Whatís done is done. All the
tragedies of the past will have to stay there. But there is a tomorrow and I can
make tomorrow better or at least no worse. If I canít improve, then let me do no
Sophie: Thatís right. Do no harm. What harm will it do to
satisfy my womanís longing ? But to leave me here, naked, exposed. Ah, the
humiliation. Would you inflict that humiliation on a young woman ? How would I
rise from it ? How would I pull myself back up to dignity ?
Harry: But I havenít put you in a humiliating situation !
Sophie: Of course you have !
Harry: How !
Sophie: By letting me know you wanted me. Look what youíve
awakened in me ? And youíre a handsome man,do you know that ? Iím a vulnerable
woman and when a womanís vulnerable itís wrong to exploit her.
Harry: Donít you think youíre being unfair ?
Sophie: Why shouldnít I be ? Sometimes we have to be unfair
to get what we want but when what we wantís the right thing, what else can we do
Harry: If you have to be unfair to get what you want, it
isnít the right thing.
Sophie: There you go again, thinking thereís a pure context
in which we can act. What if Iím a little bit unfair in pursuit of a greater
fairness ? Itís unfair that Victor is so handsome. Nature is unfair. It gives
him the looks which mean he can go to bed with a different woman every day.
Think of all the shy, ugly men in the world. Whatís fair about that ? He breaks
my heart every time he meets another womanís eyes in a cafť, in the street. Two
seconds, and already sheís in bed with him. Isnít it fair that I have a little
love ? Youíre so sweet. And your girlfriend is betraying you because sheís met
an exceptionally handsome man who believes in revolution. Be fair to yourself.
Be fair to me. Come on.
He stands looking at
her. She lies down, her knees bent under the sheet.
The hotel room. Harry alone on the
bed reading LíEtre et le Neant. Enter Lux, breathless, with shopping
Lux: Phew ! What a trek ! Whereís Spin ?
Harry: She went out with Victor. Didnít they find you ?
Lux: Find me ? Did they go looking for me ?
Harry: I assumed they would.
Lux: Why ?
Harry: I told them youíd gone to Galeries Lafayette. I
guessed theyíd want to track you down.
Lux: You make me sound like some kind of prey.
Harry: All women are prey to Victor.
Lux: Want to see what Iíve bought ?
Harry: Revolutionary fatigues ?
Lux: I got them in the sale. Isnít this lovely ?
Harry: Youíre going to look perfect on the barricades !
Lux: But the sequins ! I love sparkly things. Do you want
to see it on ?
Harry: Maybe you should wait till Victor gets back. Iím
sure heíd appreciate it.
Lux: What are you being such a shit about, Harry ?
Harry: A shit ?
Lux: What the fuckís the matter !
Harry: Nothingís the matter !
Lux: Whatís the two-year-old act for, Harry ? God ! Canít
you make an effort ? Iíve bought myself some nice things. Is it too much to be
pleasant about them ?
Harry: I thought we came here to overthrow capitalism.
Lux: You canít be overthrowing capitalism twenty-four hours
Harry: I thought thatís what revolution was about ? I
didnít think it stopped for a fucking tea-break at eleven or paused while the
ladies go to the fashion sales.
Lux: Iím not a lady, Harry, Iím a woman.
Harry: No, youíre a lady, Lux. A middle-class lady who
likes to go round the sales and buy sparkly tops. I donít think thatís quite
what Marx had in mind when he envisaged the rising of the working-class. Thatís
why weíve made a big mistake coming to Paris, Lux. This isnít a revolution, itís
a bunch of middle-class kids indulging themselves. Itís a carnival of
egocentricism, the political equivalent of a shopping spree. They arenít serious
about change. Theyíd run a mile from what equality really means. But they can
show off their radical pretensions by throwing a few paves at policemen, knowing
full well the police will win,and they can go back to mummy and daddyís
apartment on the Avenue de la Grande Armee.
Lux: Why are you such a cynic, Harry.
Harry: Because I see the world as it is, Lux.
Lux: Who do you think built the barricades ? Who ripped up
all those cobbles ? Middle-class students donít have the muscle or the skill.
The young workers did that. Theyíre going on strike. Theyíre going to occupy
their factories and kick the capitalists out on their arses. Then theyíll
control what they make andÖ.
Harry: Things like that sparkly top.
Lux: Why not, Harry ?
Harry: Because while youíre buying your sparkly top, Lux,
people are going hungry. Thatís how capitalism works. It makes even people like
you, who think theyíre fucking radicals, put their own fripperies before
justice. Do you know how hard a thing justice is, Lux ? It means if the
starving need food, weíll do without sparkly tops and cars and holidays and
colour fucking televisions and the next fucking Beatles L.P. Do you see
any sign of that ? What I see is a consumerist nightmare. What I see is a future
in which the poor of the world will perish for want of a bowl of rice or a bit
of clean water while people like us run two fucking cars and worry if we canít
change them every three years.
Lux: Not if this revolution succeeds, Harry ! Then weíll
have a new world in which everything is shared equally. People are greedy
because the system makes them greedy, change the system, change the people.
Youíve been telling me that for ages. How many times have I heard you explain it
? How many times have I heard you carefully spell out to some arse-licking Tory
that medieval conditions produce medieval minds. People would die to defend the
Divine Right of Kings, but no-one believes in it now. Isnít that what you always
say, Harry ? Context is what makes us what we are because weíre material
creatures and our minds make reality from the reality we make. Well, this is a
new reality being made, Harry. Just like 1789. This is the future being born and
we are the midwives.
Harry: This is a messy fucking abortion, Lux. The new world
isnít being born, itís being destroyed.
Lux: You never miss the chance for a clever-clever comment
do you, Harry ?
Harry: Itís not clever-clever. I can explain it.
Lux: Yeah, if Iíve got three hours to spare and can stay
Harry: It takes courage to face down your own immediate
Lux: What the fuckís that supposed to mean !
Harry: 1789 wasnít like this.
Lux: Well, thank you A.J.P. Taylor ! And thereís me
thinking 1789 was a student uprising and the streets full of riot police !
Harry: You know what Marx said ? ďIf the slogan of 1789 was
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, that of 1848 was Cavalry, Artillery, Infantry.Ē
And you say Iím a cynic.
Lux: Maybe Marx was a cynic too.
Harry: But he was right wasnít he? Danton and Robespierre
werenít fighting for justice for others, they were fighting for their own
advantage. This time weíre asking people to put their own advantage after the
well-being of others. They wonít do it.
Lux: Theyíre doing it, Harry. Night after night out there
we are doing it !
Harry: You think people know what theyíre doing ?
Human beings are just fucking clever monkeys. Thatís all we are. Weíve got these
huge fucking brains full of hundreds of millions of neurons and thatís why we
can send rockets into space or do differential calculus. But you know what we
canít do,Lux ? We canít understand ourselves. You donít even know why youíve
bought that sparkly top. As a matter of fact, youíve got no fucking idea.
Lux: As a matter of fact I have. I bought it because I like
it. Wow ! Howís that Dr Freud ?
Harry: Balls to Freud. We canít see into our own minds.
Just glimpses. We evolved to survive, not write psychological text-books.
Lux: Well, why donít you start learning how to survive
instead of spouting theory like a philosophy professor on speed ?
Harry: You and me have come to Paris to ask clever monkeys
with money to give it away so the poor can be fed, so the breaking hearts of the
excluded and neglected can be eased. They wonít do it, Lux, because they want to
buy sparkly tops and flash cars and drugs and champagne. Weíre doomed.
Lux: Does that make you feel better ? There you are. The
last degree of cycnicism. Does that make you feel superior ?
Harry: Iím just trying to tell you how I see things.
Lux: And maybe I donít like your picture.
Harry: Maybe you donít. Because the poor will fight back.
Theyíve no choice. But theyíll fight dirty.
Lux: Good for them. The rich have always known how to fight
Harry: Weíre doomed.
Lux: Speak for yourself, Harry.
Harry: You know what your children will say when you tell
them you came to Paris in í68 to overthrow capitalism ? Theyíll say: ďWhatís
Lux: You mean weíll have destroyed it ! I like the idea my
kids wonít know what capitalism is.
Harry: You know what youíll do when youíve got kids ?
Youíll buy them more expensive toys than the kids next door, youíll try to get
them into the best school, youíll push them to do well, youíll want them to get
the best jobs. And in the meantime, mothers in Africa will watch their children
die. Weíre doomed, Lux. Why donít you put on your sparkly top, I want to see it.
Lux: Fuck you, Harry !
Harry: So what are you going to do ? Take it back ?
Lux: Iím going to do just what I was doing before. You
depress me, do you know that ? Everything about you depresses me.
Harry: Youíll get over it. Youíve had your nose broken in a
failed revolution. Itís not exactly the middle-class idea of success.
Lux: I had my nose broken because of you !
Harry: Come off it, Lux. You had your nose broken because
this is serious stuff. You start threatening the power of the State, it fights
back. A few kids get their faces smashed, what the hell do they care about
that ? Donít lose yourself in a silly middle-class, pseudo-radical fantasy
that power and wealth will give in to a bunch of protesting philosophy students.
Especially philosophy students in sparkly tops.
Lux: I knew you shouldnítíve come. From the start you were
nervous. Youíre just worried about the CRS smashing your head. Thatís the truth.
Youíre a coward and you try to hide your cowardice behind your cynicism.
Harry: Whatís wrong with worrying about the CRS smashing
your head ? Youíve got to know what youíre up against. You canít beat the armed
State at violence. You know why there are boulevards right through the middle of
this city, Lux ?
Lux: You know how many times youíve told me ? Youíre always
showing off your ignorance by repeating the bits of crap you know.
Harry: Itís not crap, Lux. Itís history. Theyíve learned.
They know how to defeat street protests. Itís a science. You can get a million
people on the streets of Paris and they can disperse them with half a dozen
water cannon and a few thousands canisters of tear gas. When are we getting
water cannon and tear gas ? Or hadnít you noticed, only the State is allowed to
use violence now. Itís a great step forward, Lux, but it doesnít half fuck up
the chances of revolution.
Lux: Itís nothing new, Harry.
Harry: No, but democracy is. In 1789 the forces of order
had no legitimacy, now theyíve got the electorate on their side. Weíre fucked.
Lux; This has got nothing to do with politics has it ?
Harry: Shopping at Galeries Lafayetteís got nothing to do
Lux: Whatís eating you, Harry ?
Lux: No, something that bites harder isnít it, Harry ?
Spin: Oh, thatís nice ! Whereíd you get it ?
Lux: Galeries Lafayette.
Spin: Lovely ! Where shall we go ?
Lux: On the streets.
Spin: Wearing that youíll have no shortage of
Lux: Weíve got a revolution to finish.
Harry: Youíve only got one nose. Stay indoors.
Lux: Iíll be with Victor. Heís got a bit of street
Spin: Oh, he wonít be going out tonight, weíve had an
Lux: Really ? Howís that ?
Spin: Oh, you know. Heís so energetic and passionate. The
passion itself wears you out. An English temperament just canít keep up .
Lux: So what were you doing ?
Spin: Enjoying ourselves. When in Paris and all that.
Lux: We didnít come here to enjoy ourselves.
Spin: Speak for yourself. Anyway, Victor enjoys
taking to the streets. They donít see it all that seriously. Thatís what Iíve
realised. Itís just a kind of celebration. Letting off steam. Victor thinks
theyíll be back at work in a few weeks.
Lux: He said that ?
Spin: Donít sound so surprised, Lux. Did you think you were
going to change the world ?
Lux: We are going to change the world.
Spin: Why change a world where you can buy lovely things
like that in Galeries Lafayette. How much was it ?
Harry: She got it in the sales. Cut-price capitalism.
Everyone can dress like a millionaire for a few quid. Gramsci saw it coming,
thatís why he cleaned his shoes with his hat.
Spin: Paris is a wonderful city ! Donít you think ? Iíd
like to live here, once this fuss is over. Victor took me to his fatherís flat
in the sixieme. You should see it ! Itís huge ! And so close to everything. I
think itís amazing. To live in the very heart of the city in a lovely place like
that. It has this fantastic living-room with a view right over the city. And the
bathroom ! The taps are gold-plated ! And you walk out of the door and the city
is at your feet. Oh, to have money and live in a city like this. Donít you think
that would just be bliss !
Lux: Why the hell did you go to his fatherís flat ?
Harry: Why the hell do you think ?
Lux: Keep your fucking mouth shut, Harry !
Spin: Where else could we go ? He just wanted to show me
round. Heís really a charming boy. I like him enormously now Iíve got to know
him better. His politics are just silly, but when you get under that, heís
really very nice.
Lux: You donít understand anything about politics,
Spin: What do I care ? I understand men and I understand
how to have a good time. What else matters in life ?
Lux: Justice matters, for Godís sake ! We canít live like
hedonists, we canít all be wrapped up in our own silly desires like
little children. You should fuck off back to England, Spin, because youíre out
of your depth. Youíve got yourself caught up in something you just donít
understand. You should leave it to the people who do.
Spin: No, youíve got yourself caught up in something
you donít understand. Iím enjoying myself, at last. Iíve had a lovely afternoon.
Iím so glad I came ! I suppose I should be thankful thereís an uprising. I
wouldnít have come to Paris otherwise. Isnít it funny how all the things you
plan go wrong and out of nowhere, completely without any planning at all,
something happens which changes your life for the better ?
Harry: Donít be too sure itís for the better, Spin.
Spin: Cynic ! You always know how to spoil the fun, Harry.
Harry: I always know that after the party someoneís got to
clear up. I have a little voice in the back of my head saying: ďNo matter how
good things are, something can always go wrong. And because it can, it probably
will. So expect the worst and be glad if you avoid it.Ē
Spin: Youíve got that in your head ! You should see
Lux: Whereís Victor now ?
Spin: Heís gone to meet some friends to talk about
revolution. I suppose it passes the time.
Lux: Why didnít you come and find me ?
Spin: I didnít know you were lost.
Lux: Harry told you where Iíd gone. He thought you were
going to come and find me.
Spin: Did Harry tell us ? I donít remember. Anyway, you
were on a shopping spree to compensate for the destruction of your looks. You
didnít want a man hanging around. They just turn shopping into a trial.
Lux: Thatís not the point, Spin. Youíre my friend. I was on
my own in Paris. Donít you think the right thing to do was to keep me company ?
And my looks arenít destroyed. Once the swelling and bruising have gone youíll
Spin: Of course you wonít. I wasnít meaning to insult you.
You can always tell people youíve done a bit of amateur boxing ! But no, I
didnít think youíd want me trailing after you like a lap-dog.
Lux: Well you trailed after us all the way to fucking Paris
Spin: I just came to join in the fun. Is there any dope in
this room ?
Lux: For Christís sake, havenít you had enough pleasure for
one day !
Spin: What am I supposed to do while you two are out on the
Harry: Youíll have me for company. Iím packing my tatty
rucksack and heading back tomorrow.
Lux: Oh come off it ! Things are heading for a climax. You
canít pull out now !
Harry: I can pull out whenever I like.
Lux: And leave me on my own !
Harry: Youíll be with Victor.
Lux: And who am I going to travel home with ?
Spin: I didnít say I was going.
Lux: Whatís the point of staying ?
Spin: Oh, Iím sure I can find something to occupy me while
you fight your way through the ranks of riot police.
Lux: No, we signed up for this together, Harry. This is
part of our fucking relationship.
Harry: You said youíd come on your own.
Lux: I was calling your bluff.
Harry: No you werenít ,Lux. You were expecting excitement
and victory. You werenít expecting to get your nose broken.
Lux: But you were expecting to get your head broken !
Harry: Too right. From the very start I was nervous. Weíre
civilized monkeys but were monkeys. Just let civilization slip a little and the
beast takes over. And out on those streets, Lux, are men who are trained to
inflict violence to keep order. Itís what they do. Itís what theyíre itching to
do. And theyíve got riot shields and helmets and batons and armoured vehicles
and tear gas and water cannon and guns. And if that isnít enough theyíve got
judges and courts and prisons. When are we going to learn that violence is
Lux: Okay, so letís fight fire with fire !
Harry: Theyíve beaten you. All it took was a stray rubber
bullet. You know what those strikers should do ? They shouldnít go on the
streets or the picket . Thatís putting themselves in the firing line. They
should strike and go fishing or dancing or do the gardening or take off on a
hike or a bike ride or meet their mates in the cafť for a chat and a game of
cards . Whatís the State going to do then ? Send the CRS to the riverbank to
smash peopleís heads for casting out ? Round them up in the cafes for having a
pastis and an afternoon of pontoon ?
Lux: They donít want a holiday ! They want to take on the
Harry: You know whatíll happen to those strikers ? Theyíll
be beaten or starved back to work. It takes more imagination than youíll find on
a barricade to defeat a State thatís set up to look after the rich and powerful
first. Itís not violence we should use to overthrow capitalism, Lux, itís
humour, subtlety, gentleness in the face of all provocation, friendliness, ease.
Thatís how we make all the paraphernalia of oppression redundant.
Lux: Nice little speech, Harry, but this isnít the student
union. And Iím not beaten.
A knock. Enter Sophie.
Sophie: Salut !
She goes straight to Harry and
kisses him on the mouth.
Spin: Arenít French habits charming ! Have you seen Victor
Sophie: I was hoping to find him here.
Lux: Donít I get an introduction ?
Spin: This is Sophie. Sheís a passing acquaintance of
Sophie: And you must be Lux.
Lux: Pleased to meet you.
Sophie: How was your shopping trip ? Or did Victor find you
and interrupt it with something more interesting ?
Spin: No, he was busy showing me the sights of the city.
You donít realise just how big the Eiffel Tower is until youíre under it, do you
Sophie: Victor is very charming isnít he ? You couldnít
have had a better guide. What else did he show you ?
Spin: Oh, heís full of little surprises ! I was beside
myself for the whole afternoon. What about you ?
Sophie: I kept Harry company, as everyone else had
Lux: He likes being on his own. Donít you , Harry ?
Harry: Donít speak on my behalf, Lux.
Sophie: I think he appreciated my company more. We French
are very welcoming. Weíre famous for it. Stay with the French and you get your
Lux: Speaking of food, I need to eat. Come on, Harry ,
letís go and find something.
Spin: Why donít we all eat together ? You can wear your new
Sophie: Letís wait for Victor.
Harry: Iím not hungry.
Lux: You must be famished, Harry. You havenít eaten
Harry: How do you know ?
Lux: I know ! I know you, Harry. We havenít
got long. Thingsíll start heating up on the streets soon.
Harry: And Iím staying where itís cool.
Lux: Take me for something to eat at least ! You canít
expect me to go out alone !
Harry: You went to Galeries Lafayette on your own.
Lux: Things are quieter during the day, Harry. You know
Spin: Not always.
Sophie: Weíll all go together when Victor arrives. A good
meal then on to the streets.
Lux: I donít want to go trooping off in a gang. Come on,
Harry. Iím getting claustrophobic in this room.
Harry: Iím getting claustrophobic in this city.
Spin: How do you know Victorís coming, anyway ?
Sophie: I always know when heís coming. Heís very
predictable. Heís enjoying himself. There are certain things he canít resist.
Above all, he likes to keep people guessing. Itís his little power game. He
plays one person off against another because he has to. Itís the only way he can
feel real. But he does it so consistently it becomes absolutely transparent.
Believe me, heíll walk through that door any minute.
Spin: Victor !
She goes straight to him and kisses
him on the mouth.
Sophie: Voila ! Victor, weíre all waiting for you ! We want
go out to eat, donít we Harry ?
She puts her arm around Harryís
Harry: My appetite has disappeared completely.
Lux: Spin says you spent the afternoon showing her your
fatherís luxury flat. Some fucking revolutionary !
Victor: The flat doesnít belong to my father. He can just
use it. Anyway, she wanted to go there for a bath. She said she was grubby and
uncomfortable. Whatís wrong with that ?
Sophie: Nothing Victor. Nothing at all. As for me, I got to
know Harry a little better. Weíve all had a nice afternoon doing exactly as we
liked ! Thatís revolutionary in itself, wouldnít you say, Victor ? The defeat of
dead time. But now thereís serious work to do. Things are moving fast. Workers
are on strike all over France. Factories are occupied. What happens in the next
few days will determine the future of Europe for a century. If the workers hold
out, if they replace capitalist production with workers co-operatives, if
distribution is simplified, if power is spread widely through society, then we
can call for elections and whoever wins theyíll have to govern a new economy, a
new society. But if the workers are bought off with a pay rise or shorter hours
and go back under the old relations, then whoever wins the election thereís
sure to be a turn to the right. The opportunity will have been lost, the right
will seize their chance and Europe will swing into a period of reaction.
Spin: Boring, boring, boring ! Why donít we just go and
have a lovely meal, some wine and some dope and let Europe take care of itself ?
Lux: Spin, youíre such a fucking idiot !
Spin: You want to change the world, Lux, but you canít even
control your own life ! Youíre lifeís a fucking mess and thatís the truth!
Sophie: Calm your lover down, Victor ! This is getting too
Victor: She isnít my lover !
Sophie: Thereís no need for bourgeois hypocrisy here,
Victor. This is revolution. You spent the afternoon fucking her and I spent the
afternoon fucking HarryÖ
Lux: You bastard !
Harry: I didnít go to bed with her ! As a matter of fact,
she gives me the creeps !
Spin: If you went to bed with her sheíd probably
give you the clap.
Sophie: Oh, Harry, youíre behaving like a pere de
famille whose mistress is the au pair ! You can deny it, but in the
end the truth will be known .No-one ever manages to hide an affair from everyone
Lux: Iíve got a fucking broken nose and what do you do, you
jump into bed with that tart behind me back. Youíre a shit, Harry ! Youíre a
lying little shit !
Harry: And you wouldnít have got into bed with him if youíd
had the chance !
Lux: Donít try to excuse yourself by accusing me. Your
guilt is yours. You canít make me responsible for it.
Harry: I donít have any guilt, Lux.
Lux: Then youíre some kind of moral moron, Harry.
Victor: Good work, Sophie. As usual.
Sophie: I donít know what you mean, Victor.
Victor: Youíll never be anything but a jealous, resentful
little middle-class girl, Sophie . Going out on the streets is easy. Any
pauvre type can throw a Molotov cocktail. But changing your self is
hard. Itís too hard, isnít it Sophie ? Either you get your own way or you
destroy everything. Just like every dictator the world has ever known.
Sophie: You think just because youíre beautiful you can
break all the rules. But I watch you, Victor, and I learn. Every time you meet a
womanís eyes in public I experience what you experience. I know how to break
you, Victor. Thatís what troubles you. And I have to live in the world as it is.
Iím a woman in a society dominated by men who behave like little boys. Thatís
why I go out on the streets, Victor, because another world is possible.
But just like you, this one has to be broken. Now, Harry, shall we go and make
Harry: There is no fucking revolution.
Spin: Hurray ! Thatís the best thing Iíve heard since I
came here. Letís all go and get stoned. Thatís the way to change the world.
Everything is much better the other side of an ounce of dope.
Harry: Thatís not changing the world, Spin, itís denying
it. Thatís monkey brains . When realityís too hard, we flip into confabulating
mode. Then we build barricades and throw milk bottles full of petrol at riot
police and hope the big, bad oppressive capitalist State will wither and die.
Spin: I hope the big, bad capitalist State will last
forever. Or at least for my lifetime. After that, I donít really give a shit.
Harry: Because youíre doing okay ?
Spin: Iím not doing half as okay as Iíd like ! But
Iíll be rich one day.
Harry: Thatís what half the world thinks. It defies
Spin: Fuck arithmetic. Anyway, why shouldnít I be rich if I
want to be ?
Lux: Because weíll stop you, Spin.
Harry: No we wonít. Because weíre doing okay, arenít we?
The big, bad State has educated us. You can get a grant to spend three years
reading Marx and Sartre. Some oppression, eh ? And the people who are oppressed
donít want barricades and Molotov cocktails. They want a few more quid a week, a
nursery for their kids, a decent school, a house where the roof doesnít leak.
Take your eyes off the overarching shape of history and look at the details. The
details are peopleís lives. Real people. Donít ask them to risk the little
theyíve got for a dream that might turn to ashes. We arenít going to change the
world this way. Weíll only change it by long, slow, determined, principled work.
Not very glamorous is it ?
Victor: Youíre English. You donít understand revolution.
Sophie: Youíre French and you donít understand it.
Lux: Shut up for fuckís sake ! All of you ! Iím pissed off
with this ! All of it ! Look at me ! Look at my fucking nose ! Look at my face !
Why the fuck did I come here ?
collapses into sobs.
Harry: You came as a revolutionary tourist, Lux. Come and
see the uprising ! A once in a lifetime experience ! Next time, we should go to
the Grand Canyon.
Sophie: Well, Victor, our comrades are waiting. Your
English friends seem to have found revolution is not to their taste.
Victor (To Lux): Iím sorry.
Lux (Her face in her hands) : Fuck you !
Sophie: Look for our pictures in the paper. Iíll be the one
kicking a flic in the teeth ! A bas les bourgeois !
The student room in Lancaster.
Harry is on the bed reading Loot. On the wall is an enlarged newspaper
photograph of a foot about to make contact with a riot policemanís face.
Enter Lux. She is dressed in
knee-high boots, a short, red, leather skirt, fishnet tights. Her face is
garishly made up and her hair is short and peroxide blonde. She inspects
and adjusts herself in a mirror.
Harry: For fuckís sake, Lux !
Lux: Donít lecture me, Harry.
Harry: Why canít you just sing ?
Lux: Because thatís not how it works, Harry. You know that.
Itís image. Itís a package. You have to be able to sell it. No-one will buy good
singing just because itís good singing.
Harry: My granddad used to buy Kathleen Ferrier.
Lux: Who ?
Harry She was born down the road from here. Sheís thought
of as a great voice, in certain circles.
Lux: Yeah, among the dead mostly.
Harry: Among a few of the living with the right kind of ear
too, I guess.
Lux: Did she make money ?
Harry: Oh masses. Probably as much as five hundred quid.
Lux: I donít intend to sing for MU rates for the rest of my
Harry: Shit, Lux !
Lux: What ?
Harry: What about the music ?
Lux: The music is a means to an end.
Harry: Maybe you should have a little more respect for the
Lux: Maybe you should have a little more respect for money.
Harry: Thatís crass ! You know it ! You know thatís
crass, Lux !
Lux: What I know is this. There are people who make
millions from performing this stuff. Enough money to be able to do what they
like with their lives. Enough money to buy a little freedom.
Harry: So what happens to the poor in the department store
of liberty ?
Lux: I want to change the world, Harry. You know
Harry: No, I know that you say you want to change
the world and you think you want to change the world. But just now you
seem to be making pretty much a complete agreement with it.
Lux: Lots of rich people are socialists, Harry.
Harry: Lots of paedophiles are apparently sexually
Lux: Bad analogy. Very bad analogy. Itís not a crime to be
Harry: Itís not a crime to have seventeen wives if you live
in the right culture. Havenít you noticed, Lux, under capitalism itís being
poor thatís the crime !
Lux: Donít exaggerate, Harry. No-one says itís a crime.
Anyway, whatís the fucking Welfare State for if not to give the poor rights?
Harry: And whatís taxing the rich for if not to fund the
Welfare State ?
Lux: Iím in favour ! Tax the rich ! When Iím rich they can
tax me. What will I care ?
Harry: Well, you might care, Lux, because a fleet of
Rolls-Royces is expensive, and then thereís the private jet and the homes in
France, Italy, America. And then this nice little private island comes on the
market for only two million and thereís the school fees for your kids because
you canít let them go to the local comp with the hoi-polloi. A superstar
lifestyle is expensive, Lux, and pretty soon youíre cursing the taxman for
taking that half million you could have used to buy another house or two.
(Sings) ďTaxman,yeah, Iím the taxman and youíre working for no-one but me.Ē
Thatís what rich pop stars sing ,Lux.
Lux: So what ? The State takes the tax anyway.
Harry: That depends on whoís in control of the State.
Lux: What are you saying, Harry ? That I shouldnít try to
make it as a pop singer ?
Harry: What Iím saying, Lux, is that itís kind of shoddy.
Lux: No, Harry. It isnít shoddy at all. Itís slick. In
fact, itís so fucking slick people are falling over themselves to buy it. Thatís
what youíre missing, Harry. This is what people want ! No-one forces them to buy
records. They want to do it. Theyíre crazy for pop songs. Itís democratic,
Harry. Itís choice. People have the choice of what to spend their money on and
they choose to buy pop records. And I can sing, Harry. I can fucking well sing
better than a lot of the millionaires on Top Of The Pops. So Iím just
going to give people what they want, Harry. Lots of people. And each of them
gives me a little bit of their money and I become very rich. And then, if you
play your cards right, so do you.
Harry: I donít want to be very rich, Lux. I donít want to
be even moderately rich. I donít want to be rich at all.
Lux: Well, arenít you the fucking martyr.
Harry: Thatís balls !
Lux: Why ? What do you want to do ? Take some crappy
public sector job, get pushed around for forty years and retire on a pension
that wouldnít keep a hungry cat ?
Harry: So whereís your Welfare `State now, Lux ?
Lux: Iím in favour of it I just donít want to work in it.
Harry: And whoís going to if not people like us ?
A knock. Enter Spin, smoking a joint.
Spin: Wow ! You look fantastic ! Every guy in the audience
is going to want to fuck you !
Harry: Thatís what they said about Kathleen Ferrier.
Spin: Who ?
Lux: Do you think the skirt is short enough ?
Spin: Any shorter and you might as well take it off.
Doesnít she look fantastic, Harry ?
Lux: He thinks I should give it up and become an NHS nurse.
Spin: If thatís the new uniform, meníll be queuing up to go
into hospital. Oh, I wish I could sing !
Harry: You could mime. No-one knows the difference. And
dressed like that, no-one cares. As a matter of fact ,the next move in pop music
must be women singing in their underwear or naked. Pop striptease is sure to be
the next fashion.
Lux: You always undermine your own arguments by
Harry: Itís called hyperbole.
Lux: Donít patronize me, Harry. I know whatís itís called.
Spin: Maybe you should try it, Lux. You could make a
Lux: I could make a fortune anyway. No need to exaggerate.
Spin: Always stay one step ahead of the competition. Maybe
Harryís right. Maybe somebody will do it. Why not be the first ?
Lux: Maybe Harryís wrong. Iím a singer, Spin, not a
Harry: Thatís just what Kathleen Ferrier said.
Spin: Who the fuck is Kathleen Ferrier ?
Harry: A singer, Spin. Rumour has it she contemplated
throwing her knickers to the audience to steal a march on her rivals.
Spin: Did she do it ?
Lux: Harry !
Spin: Fuck you !
Harry: Singing is singing. It should be the singing
that matters. What kind of fucking culture is this ? Not the thing itself but
always the attendant fantasy.
Spin: Itís only pop music ! Youíre not supposed to take it
Harry: Oh, yes you are, Spin. Youíre supposed to take it
very seriously. The music isnít serious, but the activity is as
serious as hell. Itís a matter of life and death because itís a matter of
Spin: God, you always make everything so gloomy. I have to
smoke three more joints to get over the depression every time I talk to you.
Lux: People pay money for Beethoven , Harry. Itís no
different. Youíre just a snob. Youíll pay a fiver to go and listen to the Halle
but you get on your high horse about kids paying for pop music. Whatís the
Harry: Thereís a lot of difference.
Spin: I canít see any difference. Except Beethoven
Harry: Your ears are clogged up with dope, Spin.
Spin: Well, whatís the fucking difference ? Lux is right.
Just ease up and let people have what they want.
Harry: How do people know what they want ?
Lux: They know better than anyone else. They know better
than you. Try going around telling people Beethoven is good for them, Harry.
Kidsíll still prefer The Monkees. If thatís what they choose for
themselves, whoís to say theyíre wrong ? Not you, not anyone.
Harry: People donít choose in a vacuum, Lux. They choose in
a context. Who controls the context ? Thatís the question. You know
thatís the question.
Lux: I know you talk a lot of shit, Harry.
Spin: I sometimes think youíre even prettier with your
broken nose, Lux. Thereís something very..I donít know. Donít you think so,
Harry: The beneficial effects of a rubber bullet in the
face. You could write a thesis on it, Spin.
Spin: Donít be so horrible to me !
Lux: Anyway, this is democracy. Like I said, people choose.
They control the context.
Harry: Now whoís talking shit !
Lux: My father says most people are too stupid to have the
Harry: He should go into politics.
Lux: Youíre beaten Harry and you know it. You think
democracy should make everyone choose what you suppose is good for them. Well,
thatís the point. You canít control what people choose. Youíve got to go
along with it. If you donít, youíre lost.
Harry: No, just the opposite, Lux. Controlling peopleís
choices is exactly what capitalism has learnt to do in response to democracy.
Popular culture is capitalismís revenge on democracy. Itís a way of
saying to people: this is the best you can have, you canít choose any better
because you donít know any better. And whoís behind it ? The men in suits. The
accountants. The managing directors. The big shareholders. Whoís behind The
Beatles ? The execs at EMI. Bright graduates like you, Lux, overseeing
popular culture. Selling tat to the masses at inflated prices for big profits. A
million copies of a Beatles single. How much does each copy cost when
youíre selling that many ? Almost nothing. They could sell the fucking things
for sixpence and still make plenty. But at 7/6d they make tens of millions. So
Lennon has a psychedelic Rolls and the faceless execs and shareholders fill
their bank accounts and pump up their pension funds. Meanwhile, whatís waiting
for the working-class boys and girls of Liverpool who queue to buy the latest 45
? Crappy jobs if theyíre lucky, crappy houses, crappy lives. Itís the old
exploitation in a new package. Physical exploitation has given way to
psychological exploitation. And the worst of it, Lux, is that itís exploitation
of kids ! Donít you think thatís pretty tawdry ? Selling second-rate
pseudo-culture to children in order to make a fortune !
Lux: Children have a right to their own culture, Harry.
They donít want to listen to Mozart or read fucking Chekhov. They enjoy
it. Thatís what you hate isnít it ? Youíre a puritan. You canít stand people
having a good time. So what if people make a bit of money out of it ? It keeps
the wheels of the economy turning. And so long as people choose, thereís no harm
in it. Itís what people want. You just canít argue against that. Youíre a
cultural fascist, Harry. Youíd force everyone to listen to improving music and
read high-minded books from morning to midnight. Why is there no pop music in
the Soviet Union ? Because theyíre Stalinists, Harry. Like you. If you give
people the choice, they go for popular culture. They donít mind paying
for it. You just make an issue of that because you want control.
Harry: Well, why not give it away ?
Lux: What ?
Harry: Make it free. Kids want their own culture. Okay.
Give it them. They can still choose. People want crappy culture thatís their
business. What I despise is making big money out of it.
Spin: Youíre just jealous because sheís more successful. My
father says socialism is the politics of envy.
Lux: Itís not just the music or the film or whatever. Itís
the package. People want stars. They like to identify with them. It gives people
a lift. Maybe people need it, Harry. Maybe they need to identify with the rich
and powerful. Maybe thatís what keeps society going.
Harry: It what keeps this crazy society going. Like fawning
after antediluvian royals. Itís neurosis, Lux. So is pop stardom.
Spin; Then most people must be neurotic, according to you.
Lux: In the end, Harry, I just donít care.
Harry: Well, thatís not true.
Lux: Oh yes it is, sweetheart. Iím brimming over with
donít-give-a-fuck-ism. Itís a sweet feeling,Harry. You should try it.
Harry: But you care about success ?
Lux: Who doesnít ?
Harry: Then you do give a fuck. You want the structure in
place to deliver you success. And to be successful youíve got to agree with it.
Remember what happened to Greta Garbo.
Spin (mimicking): I want to be alone ! God, if I had
that kind of money I wouldnít be alone for a minute. Life would be one long
party and all the invitees would be gorgeous men.
Lux: Some people piss on their chips,Harry. All kinds of
people: accountants, teachers, doctors, film stars. Thatís human nature.
Harry: She didnít piss on her chips. Hollywood shat on her.
Still beautiful, still talented but rejected. It destroyed her flimsy
Lux: Got to go. Van leaves at seven. Wish me luck.
Spin: You wonít need it in that get-up ! Just wiggle your
tits and your arse !
Lux: Wait up for me. (She kisses Harry).
Harry: Canít you squeeze me in ?
Lux: Malc says no. You know what heís like. Packs every
inch with equipment.
Harry: Good luck. Enjoy it.
Lux: Byeee !
Spin (collapsing in a chair): Oh, sheís so lucky. Pretty,
intelligent, talented. What are you going to do with the evening ?
Harry: I was thinking of reading for a bit.
Spin: Boring ! You could take me out for a drink if you
like. Iím already stoned I might as well get pissed into the bargain.
Harry: I think I prefer you sober, Spin.
Spin: Why are you always so horrible to me !
Same as previous.
Subdued lighting. Lux is on the bed, still in the red skirt but with bare legs
and feet. Her hair is messed. Her make-up smudged. She is sobbing.
Harry: Donít take it so hard.
Lux: Fuck you, Harry ! You should try it. Those people are
Harry: Well, yeah. But you know, one bad gig.
Lux: It wasnít bad, Harry, it was a fucking disaster ! And
they booed me ! How could they fucking do that ! Theyíve got no fucking
taste and no fucking sensitivity.
Harry: Just kids, I guess. You canít expect a mature
response from immature people.
Lux: They were our age, Harry ! Most of them ! They just
came for that. They just wanted to take the piss. I was singing up there.
Iím a fucking artist ! Donít they understand that ? Whatís the matter with this
fucking country ? People donít deserve artists. And they called me a whore
! The little shits. You know what they were shouting ! ďShow us your monkey you
slag !Ē Donít they have any fucking education ?
Harry: A back-street pub in East Lancs, Lux. A bunch of
lads out on the piss and looking for trouble. Theyíve probably been working in a
factory all week. Theyíre just showing off to their mates. And you know, you
Lux: I look what ?
Harry: You look middle-class.
Lux: Dressed like this !
Harry: Yeah. Even dressed like that. You move like a
middle-class girl. You have a very middle-class demeanour.
Lux: Youíre talking shit, Harry. Thereís no such thing as a
middle-class demeanour. It was just pearl before swine. They didnít even listen
to the fucking music !
Harry: They were probably too pissed, Lux.
Lux: What kind of shitbag comes to a concert pissed ?
Harry: Most of them.
Lux: Donít start getting snobbish, Harry. Thatís the last
thing I need. A lecture on the fucking superiority of Beethoven.
Harry: Okay. Okay. But audiences are fickle. Even the
best audiences. You donít have to think itís your fault they heckled
and booed. Theyíd heckle and boo Charlie Parker.
Lux: So would I. His music is shit.
Harry: Or Joni Mitchell or whoever.
Lux: They would not boo and heckle Joni Mitchell,
Harry: What makes you so sure ?
Lux: They would never be at a Joni Mitchell concert.
They donít have the fucking taste or intelligence.
Harry: Okay. So you need to play the right venues. You need
to be in front of the right people.
Lux: Thatís Malc. Heís got no fucking idea. Heíll take any
gig. He thinks we should play anywhere people want us. I said: ďMalc, what kind
of fucking place is this ? Iím a singer for godís sake !Ē What does he say:
ďThey pay us. They pay, we play.Ē Heís a moron. And he says to me: ďWhat key are
you going to sing this one in ?Ē What key ? How the fuck do I know ? Theyíre the
band. I just sing, theyíve got to worry about the fucking key.
Harry: Well, I guess they can expect you to know what
key youíre singing in, Lux.
Lux: Fuck off, Harry ! Just fuck off with comments like
Harry: Maybe learning a bit of musical theory would make
you a better singer, Lux.
Lux: Maybe itíd just give me a headache. Remember when I
went for singing lessons and she had me doing scales ? I donít want to sing
scales, I want to sing fucking songs ! Do you think Joni Mitchell sits
around for hours practising sodding scales ? Iím not a child.
Harry: Sure, sure. The thing isÖ
Lux: The thing is Iím pissed off ! I donít know what Iím
doing singing with those crapheads. Theyíre no good. I need another band.
A knock. Enter Spin in her dressing
Spin: Whatís going on ? The noise woke me up. Do you know
itís five in the morning?
Lux: What do I care about the time ?
Spin: Shit, you look like youíve been raped by a gorilla.
What happened ?
Harry: She was raped by a gang of gorillas from the other
side of the East Lancs Road.
Spin: Have you called the police ?
Lux: They didnít like my singing ! (She sobs)
Spin: They canít rape you just because they donít like your
singing. God, imagine what would happen to Lulu !
Lux: They booed me, Spin ! The little shits ! And they
called me a whore ! Those people donít deserve culture.
Spin: Thatís what my father says. The working classes just
donít appreciate the better things in life. Got any dope ?
Lux: Iíve got to find myself a decent band. In fact, Iím
going to see Malc right now and tell him heís sacked. I canít sing with those
amateurs. I need a professional outfit to back me, then we can start playing
bigger gigs. The bigger you think the bigger you get. Malc thinks small. Thatís
his deficit. Heíll play any little venue for a few quid.
Harry: You canít go knocking on his door now, itís five in
the morning !
Lux: I canít wait, Harry. Timeís moving on. Iím already
twenty. Iím going to be an old woman before I hit success if I donít make
things move. Iíve got to act to pull myself out of this.
Harry: Yeah, yeah. But act, donít act out.
Lux: Whatís that supposed to mean ?
Harry: I mean, you know, in this emotional state. MaybeÖ.a
little calmÖ.get things in perspective.
Lux: Iíve got things in perspective, Harry. Iíve got to
push for what I want or Iím going to be left out.
Harry: But thereís no need to go and wind Malc up. You know
how he gets.
Lux: I donít give a fuck how he gets ! Heís sacked !
Spin: Sheís screwed up about this !
Harry: Sheís screwed up.
Lux: Thatís not a nice thing to say about your girlfriend.
Harry: Itís five in the morning. Sheís gone picking a fight
with a Hellís Angel. Shit.
Spin: Why donít you come to my room ? We can put earplugs
in so we wonít hear the row.
Harry: I think thatís one of your less subtle attempts,
Spin: Christ, youíre so humiliating !
Harry: Donít humiliate yourself, Spin. You make yourself
Spin: I am vulnerable, Harry. You know that. Iím vulnerable
and youíre horrible to me.
Harry: Iíll be nice to you, Spin. Right now Iíve got to
calm Lux down.
Spin: The truth of the matter is, she canít sing.
Harry: She can sing.
Spin: I can sing in the shower, Harry. Would you like to
come and hear me ?
Harry: Iíve heard you.
Spin: My voice is much sweeter close up.
Harry: Thatís really nice. But whatever you do, donít tell
Lux she canít sing.
Spin: She wouldnít take any notice. Sheís got a hide like a
Harry: Let her find out for herself.
Spin: She just has.
Harry: You know Lux, everyone else is to blame.
Spin: Why do you stay with her ! Sheís such a bitch
Harry: Sheís my girlfriend.
Spin: Havenít you heard of finishing with someone,
Harry ? It happens every day. Then youíd be free.
Harry: Not free, just unattached.
Spin: Then you can attach yourself elsewhere.
Harry: Then I wouldnít be free.
Spin: But at least you wouldnít be unattached.
Harry: Iím not unattached now.
Spin: But what are you attached to ? I know sheís my
friend. But she treats you badly.
Harry: Not badly.
Spin: Badly, Harry. She just takes you for granted.
Harry: Sheíll grow out of it. Sheís young.
Spin: Oh, listen to grandad ! Have you got any dope ?
Lux rushes in, breathless. Slams
and locks the door.
Lux: The bastard !
Harry: Oh Christ !
Spin: I think Iíll go back to bed.
Lux: Donít open that fucking door !
Harry: Shit !
Spin: Havenít I time to sneak out ?
Heavy footsteps and
immediate hammering on the door.
Malc: Open the fucking door, Lux !
Lux: Piss off, Malc ! Youíre sacked. End of story. You
canít play. Iím finished with your shitty tin-eared band.
Malc: Youíre not finished with anything till I get my
Harry: What money ?
Lux: Youíll get your money. Now fuck off back to bed and
dream of being a guitarist.
Malc: At least I wonít have nightmares about playing with
Lux: Youíre nothing without my voice. You know who those
shits were booing tonight, Malc ? You ! And I have to stand out front while you
pretend to play that bass guitar in the shadows. Not any more, Malc. Iím solo !
I always shouldíve been.
Malc: The only way you got in my band was by letting me
fuck you. Thatís the truth. Your voice is crap. You donít know E minor from your
arsehole. You wonít get a solo gig from here to Tierra del Fuego. And when do I
get my money ?
Lux and Harry stare at
one another. Spin looks from one to the other.
Lux: Once, Harry !
Harry: Quantity isnít the issue, is it ?
Lux: Isnít it ?
Malc: You wake me up at five in the morning to call me a
hairy-arsed, pea-brain who couldnít play the tambourine in the school band, I
want my money.
Harry: Go back to bed, Malc.
Malc: I feel sorry for you, mate.
Harry: Thanks for the sympathy. Iíll bring you your money
Malc: Youíre okay, Harry.
Harry: Youíre okay too, Malc.
Malc: Sweet dreams, Lux. Sweet dreams of singing in the
Lux: Fuck you !
Malc: I already did.
Spin: Malc, what a gentleman !
Lux: Well, if youíre going to finish with me just do it and
fuck off !
Harry signals with his
head to Spin. She gets up and leaves quietly.
Harry: Iím not going to finish with you, Lux.
Lux: Well, arenít you the fucking martyr !
Silence. She has her
back to him. Slowly her head drops and she begins to sob.