Monday, 7 May 2012

One act Magpie. Warning: IO rated. (idiots only).

 Scene: Office of Minnie Bannister and Henry Crun, Bridgebuilders.

SFX: Old fashioned phone rings.

Min: (picks up phone, listens) Henry! Henry! There’s a strange man on the modern type electric telephone!
Henry: I know, Min, it’s me!
Min: Um-um-um, what are you doing on the electric telephone, Buddy?
Henry: I am talking to you Min.
Min: Oh you clever Henry! Why are you talking to me on the electric telephone, Buddy?
Henry: I am talking to you on the electric telephone, Min, because I am not there.
Min: Where are you not there, Henry?
Henry: I am not there, Min, I am here.
Min: Um-um-um, but if you are here, Henry, why are you talking to me on the electric telephone?
Henry: No, Min, I am in Barton-Upon-Irwell.
Min: What are you doing in Barton-Upon-Irwell, Henry!?
Henry: Minnie, listen to me carefully. Do you remember where you hid that five pounds your grandma gave you in nineteen twenty-eight?
Min: (giggles) You know where it is, you naughty Henry, I always keep it tucked in my stockings under my knickers.
Henry : My poor Minnie! Take it out at once!
Min: Righto Buddy. I will look for it. I haven’t seen it for years!
SFX: Cupboard doors and drawers opening and closing,
Min: (mumbling) Um-um-um, I know I put it here somewhere. Um-um-um, Ah! Here it is, Buddy!
Henry: Yes, Minnie, now listen carefully. Take that five pounds and give it a bit of an airing, then bring it here at once!
Min: All right, Buddy, at once. Why do you want Grandma’s five pound note, Henry?
Henry: Minnie, we need it to buy cardboard to build a bridge, you see.
Min: Where are we building a bridge, Henry?
 Henry: We are building a bridge over the River Irwell at Barton, Minnie.
Min: I see, and what will be going over the River Irwell on our new bridge in Barton-Upon-Irwell, Buddy?
Henry: We are building a bridge so boats can cross the river, Min.
Min: Oh you clever Henry! A bridge to carry boats across a river! Why has nobody thought of that before?

SFX: Really bad discord from orchestra, which then runs from flying tomatoes and rotten eggs.
Curtain (quick!)


Barton Swing Aqueduct. It really does carry boats across the river Irwell. Look it up. It is worth the effort.

 More plays, poems and stories at Magpie Tales.

PS. This little play will make sense to nobody, but might stir a memory in those old enough and who were so geographically placed, as to have been exposed to Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe, whose zany, lovable characters graced the airwaves in the BBC's Highly Esteemed (all leather) Goon Show! For me, the silly and unexpected is the essence of comedy and anything I write that is funny was at least inspired by a childhood addiction to the Goons, folks!
PPS: On the shores of the Eastern Atlantic and in the Dominions, 'goon' means 'silly person'. In fact what became the Goon Show was originally called Silly People.


  1. I enjoyed this. I was only thinking the other day about things that had changed during my lifetime. We had an old dial phone in the garage and the grandkids wanted to know how it could work!

  2. well i find it all rather humorous...i was afraid it was the knickers she was wearing and glad for the ask of airing...cardboard you say...hmm...smiles.

  3. I've only just seen the IO rating! Should I be offended???? LOL.

  4. Oh teacher ... you make learning such fun!

    1. ... having just finished another play "Rabbit Hole" ... I appreciate the inclusion of all the special effects in your Mag. Props can be mighty tricky business sometimes.

  5. Oh my this was quite fun to read! ..and their story is a first for me!

  6. And a little addendum could only be provided by the illustrious Bluebottle: 'He's fallen in the water....' Gotta watch out for those bridges. Loved this!

  7. I find this quite sad and funny. Good to 'see' you in the blogisphere Stafford.

  8. Oh dear...Laughing off my kni..........

    Hi Stafford! It's lovely to laugh with you again.

  9. Give it a bit of airing...hee...

  10. Keep those modern hip-hop tunes.
    There's lots of us stil love the Goons...

  11. A fond follower of gooniness, I followed this with rabid good humor. Well writ!

  12. Excellent quirky take, Fitcarraldo

  13. Well I'm no idiot - haha - so no comment!

  14. The Goons and their wit, they left generations still holding their bellies, laughing! It's no idiot element here. Great take Stafford!


  15. Welcome back!
    Oh, by the way, I never met a four (metaphor) I didn't like ;-)

  16. And, of course, the Goons begat Monty Python.

    1. and the Monty Python crew made Life of Brian, a must see movie, and of course John Cleese has kept going with more and more and more...

  17. Clever stuff Stafford. I remember the Goon Show and can picture Michael Bentine in my mind. I used to love his minature paper mache sets with the invisible people (with squeaky voices) who left just the impressions of their feet.

    Anna :o]

    1. I think you are thinking of the TV adaptions. The Goon Show was a on BBC Radio in the mid 1950's, and then adapted for TV a decade or so later, but for me, TV didn't work as well as imagining the characters from the voices.

  18. priceless idiocy-laughed my knickers off!
    and who woulda thunk a bridge acually could move bridges.
    I never had heard of the Goon show- but John Cleese is one of my all time favorite laughter fabricators-he just raises an eyebrow and I'm falling over.

    1. Somewhere I have 100 original Goon Shows on a disc in MP3! I had heard most of them when first broadcast here on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) radio but I still chuckle today at the antics and (mainly) Spike Milligan's out of left field concepts! Occasionally I catch episodes on Radio National, still replaying after almost half a century!


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