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SOIXANTE HUIT - SOIXANTE NEUF

Alex Crick

SCENE  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9


 

SCENE ONE 

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 our heads.

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 obtuse.

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 my own.

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 ?

Lux: Almost.

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 two anyway.

Lux:  Not verbose, just not very succinct. Your fatherís a fascist, Spin.

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 the economy.

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, 1848, 1870Ö...

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 difference ?

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 Lancaster.

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 the working-class.

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 account ?

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 about it.

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.

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 Billy Bunter.

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 card.

                                                                        They go.

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 !

                                                                        Blackout.

 

SCENE TWO

            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 Ricoeur.

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.

Lux: Okay.

                                                She locks 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 !

                                                Lux opens 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 ?

                                                                        Harry pushes the window wide open.

Lux: Donít be so bourgeois, Harry. Heís free to smoke if he likes.

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 rattle.

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 skull.

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 insulting !

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 objective arguments.

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 not around.

Harry: Well if you have orgasms, you keep them pretty secret !

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.

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 my behalf.

Lux: I really canít believe this, Harry.

Harry: What canít you believe, Lux ?

Lux: That you can be just so fucking immature !                         

 

 

SCENE THREE

                        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 shoulders.

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 on stage.

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 back.

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.

Blackout

 

SCENE FOUR

 

                        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.

                        A`knock.

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 ?

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 t-shirt ?

Harry: Thatís Che Guevara. What would your father say about him ?

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 Revolution ?

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 ?

Harry: Middle-class.

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 sense.

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.

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.

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 of principle.

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 snooty.

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 you.

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 like.

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 bottle.

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 pathetic.

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 ?

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 phonies.

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 robber.

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 are horrid.

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 father, Spin?

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 headache.

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 disagree about.

Spin: Anyway, I bet you agree with your parents about lots of things.

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 CRS.

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 hedgehog.

 

                                                                        Lux violently pushes him away. He falls over. Blackout.

  

SCENE FIVE

 

                        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 with him.

Lux: You canít tell from the back.

Harry: Well, it looks like her and who else would he be with ?

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 he ?

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 that ?

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 good husband.

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 change.

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 ? Eighteen ?

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 sulking.

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 the point.

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 not eagerness.

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 inadequacies.

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 here !

Lux: Yeah, and history has broken my fucking nose !

 

Blackout.

 

 

SCENE SIX

 

                        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 that ?

Victor: Here.

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.

Victor: Absolutely.

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 ?

Victor: Anarchist.

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 world.

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 metro.

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 decisions.

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 important work.

Spin: Well itís not as important as being a banker, in my opinion.

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 him.

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 life.

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 fucking right.

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 like that.

Victor: Why not ? Iím honest.

Spin: Is that what you call it ?

Victor: The revolution sets us free. We can say what we think.

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 fair.

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 an anarchist.

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 your mind.

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.

                        Footsteps. Knocking.

Victor: Come in !

                        Enter Sophie.

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 grafitti.

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, Victor.

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 Quartier Latin.

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 capitalist !

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 stupid.

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 latter.

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 meet !

Sophie: Every woman whoíll let you. Every woman whoís stupid enough.

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 world.

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 friends.

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 !

Victor: Food first, morals after. Remember Sophie ?

                                                                        Exit 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 time ?

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 of ?

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 us.

Sophie: Youíre not impressing me with your attempts to appear intellectual.

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 atmosphere.

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 police.

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 compulsive shoppers.

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 clothes ?

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 myself away.

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 down ?

Harry: Iím not turning you down. I mean, in different circumstancesÖ.

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 so humiliated.

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 generous girlÖ

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 harm.

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.

 

Blackout.

 

 

SCENE SEVEN

                        The hotel room. Harry alone on the bed reading LíEtre et le Neant. Enter Lux, breathless, with shopping bags.

 

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 a day.

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 awake.

Harry: It takes courage to face down your own immediate advantage, Lux.

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 dirty.

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 capitalism ?Ē

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 with politics.

Lux: Whatís eating you, Harry ?

Harry: Boredom.

Lux: No, something that bites harder  isnít it, Harry ?

 

            Enter Spin.

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 customers.

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 nouse.

Spin: Oh, he wonít be going out tonight, weíve had an exhausting afternoon.

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.

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 a psychiatrist.

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 hardly notice.

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 barricades ?

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 their weapon?

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 system, Harry.

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 Victor.

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 abandoned him.

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 appetite satisfied.

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 top.

Sophie: Letís wait for Victor.

Harry: Iím not hungry.

Lux: You must be famished, Harry. You havenít eaten all day.

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 that.

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. 

                        Enter Victor.

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 shoulder.

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 personal.

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 for ever.

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 revolution ?

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 arithmetic.

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 ? 

                                                She 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 !

                                    Exit Victor.

Sophie: Look for our pictures in the paper. Iíll be the one kicking a flic in the teeth ! A bas les bourgeois !

                                    Exit Sophie.

Blackout.

 

 

SCENE 8

                        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 life, Harry.

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 means.

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 that.

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 abstinent priests.

Lux: Bad analogy. Very bad analogy. Itís not a crime to be rich.

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 exaggeration.

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 fortune !

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 stripper.

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 seriously, Harry.

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 money.

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 difference ?

Harry: Thereís a lot of difference.

Spin: I canít see any difference. Except Beethoven is boring.

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 ?

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 vote.

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 poor-little-rich-girlís ego.

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 !

                        Exit

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 !

Blackout.

 

SCENE 9

                                    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 fucking morons.

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 lookÖÖwellÖ.

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.

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 that !

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 gown.

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 !

                                    Exit

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.

Spin: Christ, youíre so humiliating !

Harry:  Donít humiliate yourself, Spin. You make yourself vulnerable.

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 rhino.

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 to you.

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 money.

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 you !

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 ?

                                                Hammering.

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 tomorrow.

Malc: Youíre okay, Harry.

Harry: Youíre okay too, Malc.

Malc: Sweet dreams, Lux. Sweet dreams of singing in the bath.

Lux: Fuck you !

Malc: I already did.

                                    Retreating footsteps.

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.

 

Blackout.