Rock 'n Roll Vagabond. Part two.
Girl: So are you.
Man: I can take my drink. I was drinking before you were born...before your mother was born, even.
Girl: You can get really angry when you’ve been drinking whisky. I’ve seen you. You can get really mad.
Man: No, I don’t. Unless there’s a good reason.
Girl: Good reason? Do you call a piece of pizza a good reason?
Man: What are you talking about?
Girl: That time someone ate your pizza when you went to the toilet to throw up. They didn’t think you would want it after being sick and everything. You were furious.
Man: It was my pizza.
Girl: I thought you were going to start a fight. Over a bit of pizza. Is that what you means by a good reason?
Man: I was starving. I was looking forward to eating it. I calls that a good enough reason. It was all I had to eat all day and I paid for it so he had no right to take it. He didn’t even say sorry.
Girl: But you were mad. You were shouting and screaming and throwing things. I almost left and I would have done if I’d had somewhere to go. It took you hours to calm down and you were still talking about it the next day.
Man: It was my bloody pizza and he had no right to take it.
Girl: See. You gets angry just thinking about it. That’s the whisky. You becomes a know-it-all and everyone else is wrong.
Man: I don’t want to talk about it.
Girl: Talking about food makes me hungry. Why don’t we ring out for a takeaway?
Man: It’s too late. I’m almost ready for bed. (Pours himself more whisky.)
Girl: Some are open all night.
Man: I’m not hungry. I’m just tired and it’s been a long day.
Girl: Well. I’m wide awake. If I had someone to go with I’d go out clubbing. You sure you don’t want to go?
Man: How many times do I have to tell you that I’m bloody tired and I want to go to bed so leave me alone.
Girl: You never want to do anything except sit around and wait for bedtime. I’m not like that. I’m young and I need a life.
Man: Yeh. You’re twenty-two years old. When I was your age I could go for days without sleeping if I had the right drugs but those days are over.
Girl: I don’t need pills to keep me awake.
Man: I didn’t need pills but they sure helped.
Girl: I wish you had some now.
Man: You didn’t have to come. I told you what it would be like but you insisted on coming. I said that it’s boring most of the time but you said it wouldn’t bother you. Now you’ve changed your mind and want to go out clubbing. You should have thought about that earlier. Why don’t you read a book or something?
Girl: I’m not going to sit around reading. I want to do something.
Man: If you want to do something why not try relaxing. Take it easy. Maybe there’s something on the telly. Have another drink.
(She finishes her whisky and pours more for both of them.)
Girl: I’m really, really bored.
Man: You’re bored? I’m bored. I’m bored most of the time. I wake up bored. Even sleep is boring but you don’t hear me complaining about it. I just get on with it.
Girl: When I’m your age I’ll probably find life boring but I’m still young. Life is supposed to be exciting. It should be the best time of my life and instead I’m stuck with a boring old fart who only wants to sleep.
Man: That was your own choice. You came on to me. I wasn’t really interested. For me you were just a kid who liked hanging out with the band. A groupie. I thought it was weird that you were interested in a man who was old enough to be your grandfather.
Girl: Old enough to be my great-granddad! Where I comes from there’s lots of men in their sixties who are great-granddads. A sixteen year old girl who hasn’t had a baby is called a spinster. They starts young where I come from. I had two abortions before I was twenty and some girls my age has had four but I’m not going to have no more. Last time the doctor said it was dangerous for me. Next time I get pregnant I’m going to keep the baby.
Man: But you got protection don’t you? You said you did. I don’t want any more kids.
Girl: Yeh, I’m on the pill, you don’t have to worry. How many kids you got anyway? You never talks about them.
Man: As far as I know I got five but there could be more I don’t know about. There was a helluva lot of one night stands when I was younger. Once, when I was about your age, there was more than a whole month when I never slept alone and it was a different girl every night. Sometimes I didn’t even know their names. A few times it was more than one girl.
Girl: So you might have children you don’t even know about. Don’t that bother you?
Man: No. Why should it? I don’t have anything to do with the ones I know about so why should I care about the ones I don’t know anything about. Anyway, there might not be any. I don’t worry about it.
Girl: But they might wonder who their dad is. Haven’t you thought about that? Don’t they have a right to know? Maybe they’d like to meet you.
Man: Maybe I don’t want to meet them. Don’t I have any rights?
Girl: I never knew my real dad. My mum was a bit of a slut and it could have been any one of a dozen men. She didn’t know who it was. She married Terry Fox and persuaded him that it was his kid but I don’t think he ever believed it. She told me once that he definitely wasn’t. Terry was happy just to get married and have regular sex.
Man: I’ve never been that desperate and I had more regular sex when I wasn’t married.
Girl: I never knew my granddad either. My grandma said that he was a sailor but I got my doubts. She used to live in Southend what is by the sea so it could have been but I don’t think so. From what she said I think it was someone just down from London for the weekend. It could have been anyone.
Man: You haven’t tried to find out who your real father is?
Girl: Why should I?
Man: He might be a big success and be really rich. Or even famous. You’re not interested in knowing?
Girl: No. I can live with it. I don’t need a dad. I’ve done pretty good up to now without one. Terry Fox was like a dad to me for the couple years he stayed around and I don’t need another one.
Man: (Pouring out more whisky.) I played a gig in Southend once. It was brilliant. You don’t expect such a lively crowd in Southend but they were crazy for it. They were really wild. It was the last night of a tour and we were going to get a month off so we really let ‘er rip. We didn’t hold anything back and it was maybe the best gig we ever did.
Girl: Did you sleep with anyone?
Man: Of course I did. A little blond girl wearing a kilt. It was the kilt that attracted me to her. I had the choice of a dozen but I picked her because of the kilt and, if you want to know, she didn’t wear anything underneath.
Girl: What was her name?
Man: How the hell would I know? It was a long time ago. I didn’t see her again. There were lots of them. I didn’t keep a record. It was no big deal.
Girl: When were you in Southend?
Man: I can’t remember. Sometime back in the seventies. Early seventies, maybe. I was playing with a band called Mobius Trip at the time so it must have been ’72 or ’73. We were doing a lot of drugs. Jeez, did we do some drugs. Most of the time I didn’t know what day it was and I didn’t care. Maybe it was 1971? I don’t remember. Does it matter?
Girl: Not really. I just wondered when you were there. You should be able to remember that.
Man: No, I can’t. (pauses) Just a moment. We’d just put out our first record so it must have been 1971. It came out in the July so it must have been October or November. Does that answer your question?
Girl: Sort of. You sure you can’t remember the name of that girl?
Man: It’s too long ago. It’s funny though, I can remember her face. She was pretty with really big eyes and she didn’t have any make-up on what was unusual at that time. Most girls used too much and painted themselves up like tarts but she didn’t have any at all. I liked that. I never liked kissing a girl who wore lipstick. It’s strange I can remember that because I was only with her for a few hours. She left in the morning before I woke up.
Girl: And you can’t remember her name?
Man: No. It might come back to me but I don’t think she even told me what it was. Why are you so interested?
Girl: My gran was about eighteen in 1971 and I know she used to go to concerts. She told me all about the bands she’d been to see and the wild times she had. Her parents were really religious and she had to go to bed by nine o’clock. Nine o’clock? That’s ridiculous. Nowadays nobody even goes out until nine o’clock.
Man: Ten o’clock, even.
Girl: She used to say goodnight and go to bed and then climb out the window and meet her mates. They went to discoteques or something like that. There was no clubs as such back then and most places closed by midnight.. You didn’t get all-night raves when she was young.
Man: And the pubs closed at half past ten. They closed for a few hours in the afternoon as well.
Girl: My gran might have heard you play. She said she saw most of the bands what came to Southend. She bought their records as well. That’s the only music she ever played. It was the same old records all the time. She never moved on. She got stuck in the early seventies.
Man: Some people are like that. I still prefer sixties music over that rubbish they play nowadays.
Girl: When she got pregnant with my mum she stopped going to see bands. Her parents said they would help her out with the baby but she had to change her ways. She couldn’t afford to get a place of her own so she had to live with them and obey their rules.
Man: It’s different now. If a young girl wants to get her own place all she has to do is get pregnant and the council will give her a flat or even a house. They’ll give her a new pram and baby clothes and money to live on. It’s cushy. It didn’t used to be like that and there was no legal abortion back then. That came later.
Girl: My gran was lucky. One of her social workers fell in love with her and married her in spite of the baby so she could leave home but he was worse than her parents so maybe she wasn’t so lucky. He wouldn’t let her have any friends and, as for talking to men...that was a big no-no. Not even the postman who was really old.
Man: He probably didn’t trust her.
Girl: He got really mad once when he saw her talking to the priest in the street and he didn’t talk to her for a few days afterwards. That’s what he did when she done something he didn’t like. He used to stop talking to her.
Man: What a bastard. You didn’t get many divorces in those days. Only the rich people could afford it.
Girl: When my mum started in school my gran got a job in a glove factory but she had to give all her wages to her husband. All of it, and he used to give her back some back for the housekeeping. He gave her own money back to her and she had to give him all the receipts for the stuff she bought. So she started shoplifting.
Man: Good for her.Girl: She sold most of it to a woman at work and so she managed to save up quite a bit of money for those times. More than a hundred quid I think it was.
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