Category Archives: Conchordia

Gods of the Ring: Part One, Scenes 8-11

Scene 8 : Outside Marvis’ school

Joe Frazier is waiting in his car / Marvis gets in looking dejected

Frazier
Hey son, whats up, you don’t look too special

Marvis
I don’t wanna talk about it, daddy

Frazier
Hey son, if there’s one person in the world
You can talk to, that’ll be your daddy

Marvis
I’m getting into all kind a-trouble
At school

Frazier
Yeah, go on

Marvis
It’s the other kids
They’re like, ‘Ali is gonna whip your dad
Your dad cant fight’ I say why you say that
They say you is a Tom

Frazier
I aint no Tom
Don’t listen to them words, them words are harsh
Spew’d falsely from a liar’s portmanteau

Marvis
So whaddowha do daddy?

Frazier
Just be true
There’s no wrong way to do right, no right way
To do wrong, you aint better than no-one
They aint better than you, only your deeds
May be accounted by those divine eyes
Which watches all we people do on Earth,
Such eyes as those watch’d me work extra hard
& grant our family extra blessings

Marvis
So what shall I say when they call you Tom

Frazier
Just tell them that your poppa make him pay
For purveying untruths, to them relay
Your daddy gonna beat Cassius Clay
& you know, son, that fool got it coming
Spitting razorblades with febrile rash,
I gave my heart & soul to help him out
But the brother came back with a dagger
Plung’d it right in my back, I’m no Yes Man
No White Man’s champion, I represent
The People, believe me I’m one of them,
At six o clock, back at the slaughterhouse
I started my shift, but two hours before
I was in there, training, pounding slabs of meat

Marvis
You’re gonna pound him

Frazier
Sure am, cos I’m a…

Frazier & Marvis
Small piece of leather well put together!

Frazier
I’ll fight him all night long, tear off his wings,
Grind down his stinger

Marvis
I wanna see that

Frazier
You will, son, you will, now lets get ice cream
You want ice cream

Marvis
Pistachio?

Frazier
You got it

Scene 9: America

Enter the Spirit of America

***

ACROSS THE USA

I was born in Arizona
Moved to Tallahassee way
Now I live in California
Where I always want to stay
But if I wanna see America
I got to leave LA
Cos the open road is calling me
Acr.ooss the USA

I caught a bit of Woodstock
But the Hippies smelt too strange
At Altemont I dug the rock
But then I sensed the change
& now its ninety-seventy one
Saigon’s a firing range
A new spirit moves thro’ everyone
With the sixties all estranged

Cos there shines a new America
As bright as the new day
When a boxing bout thrills all of us
Across the USA


***

Before important actions pass to thought
& build a pleasure dome from the project
Those thoughts ensure a Xanadu remain
Of esoteric sensitivities
On foundations of vivid ideas
When imagination’s endless powers
Protagony combines & modifies
With feelings & affections made ideal,
Admire these two prizefighters in their prime
Pois’d in the cyclone’s eye with one purpose,
America is torn & polarised
Between bad guy, good guy, good black, bad black,
There is no middle land, fanatical
Cabins of moonshine, old men with rifles
Bicker cross valleys, this civil war,
Profusing with spiritual foison
Exploding one nation divisible,
Meanwhile, all aspects of our planet’s moon
Reflect the coming bursts of stars & light,
The streets of Buenos Aires are empty,
From Borneo up to the soft-strewn snow
The world stands by, bistros & beerkellers
The retinas of every Human drawn
To one small square of canvas, brightly lit,
& watching on with eager, hungry eyes
See young George Foreman, set to step within
The ropes himself, to fight whomever wins
The Fight of the Century… & begin!

Scene 10: Madison Square Gardens

Muhammad Ali is at his weigh-in

Ali
Who is the champion of the world?
Who is the champion of the world?
If I’m not the champion of the world
Then who is – don’t think about Joe Frazier
Y’all musta come down with amnesia
Forgotten how good I was or something
Let me refresh your memory tonight
I’ll show you what a real champion is
I’ve fixed up the round Joe Frazier goes down
I’m sick & tired of all of this y’see
They took away my title & then talk’d
All this phoney stuff about Joe Frazier
But after tonight there’ll ne no more Joe
This game is real, this aint no phoney game
I’ll fight them all regardless of the risk
I am Heracles struggling thro’ his labours
I am D’Artagnan, Cyrano, El Cid,
When I smile women swoon, grown men shudder
When I scowl, some might say I’m dangerous
Because I’m fighter born & fighter breathe
All those chumps are just commercializing
In a few hours you will all bow to me
{laughter}
I aint laughing, you will all bow to me
{to referee}
I want the exact weight, so take your time

Referee
Its two-eighteen

Ali
Thats dancing weight, lets dance
I’m ten pounds heavier than Joe Frazier
But still I’m looking better than the fool,
Remember I am Muhammad Ali
& evermore the greatest shall I be!

Ding! Ali comes out to meet Frazier but Frazier starts to retreat
If Frazier goes back an inch farther he’ll wind up in a ringside seat
Ali swings to the left, Ali swings to the right. Look at the kid carry the fight.
Frazier keeps backing but thereís not enough room.
Itís a matter of time Ali lowers the boom.
Now Ali lands to the right. What a beautiful swing. And the punch lifts Frazier clean out of the ring.
Frazier’s still rising but the referee wears a frown
For he can’t start counting til Frazier comes down.
Now Frazier disappears from view
The crowd is getting frantic.
But our radar station picks him up
He’s somewhere over the Atlantic.
Who would have thought when they come to the fight
That weíd see the launching of a coloured satellite.

Scene 11:  Madison Square Gardens / Joe Frazier’s dressing room

Joe is praying – the room is very quiet  enter Eddie Futch

Futch
Joe, watcha doin, it is almost time

Frazier
I’m praying

Futch
Sorry

Frazier
That’s OK, I’m done

Futch
I’m glad to say I lived to see this night
& serv’d its better part beside your dreams,
So tell me the substance of your prayers

Frazier
I ask’d the lord to help me kill this man
For lacking righteousness – I’ll kill this man
& even if I have to die myself

Futch
Don’t say that

Frazier
I mean it, this is blood feud
For what he’s done & said God strike him down

Enter Van Colbert

Van Colbert
That vast arena shines electric blue
With every star bright striving to be seen
As if the Milky Way trails unobscur’d
& radiant to the crystal degree

Futch
Tonight the sight of God suspsends his scales
& finds one to be light

Van Colbert
They stand in line
As if the crown jewels of old England
On loan in New York, so many diamonds
There’s Diane Keaton & Ted Kennedy
Gene Kelly, Bill Crosby, Woody Allen
Diana Ross in black, velvet hot pants
Outrageously, glamourously, stylish
Sinatra’s on an assignment for Life
The only way his fame could entrance make
So scarce are the tickets for this catwalk
Of butterblond gals with cadillac souls
All feather’d & furry with laces & boots
& butterfly hair by mink-coated pimps
More the coronation than the fist-fight
Bejewell’d entourages where the men
For once outclass the women in their dress

Futch
So champ, tell me, the moment that you hear
The mad, hollow rumble of the Gardens
& that first leaping heartbeat of the bell
What you gonna do to Cassius Clay

Frazier
I’ll close off the ring, connect with power

Futch
Ya gonna weave, weave,

Frazier
Go in on the weave
I’ll never stop my locomotive steps

Futch
Thats why they call you Smokin’ Joe

Van Colbert
Damn straight

Frazier
I’ll remonstrate his turpitude all night
Keep hooking & ducking, exhaust his force
Then canvas the chump with a clean, straight punch

Futch
Go get him, Joe

Frazier
I’m ready boys, lets go

Futch
This your destiny, boy, don’t forget it

 


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

Gods of the Ring: Act 1, Scenes 2-4

SCENE 2: MIAMI

5th Street Gym – Foreman is training with his trainer, Dick Sadler – Enter Ali carrying a suitcase

Ali
George Foreman! George Foreman! How ya diddling

Foreman drops his mitts with joy

Foreman
Cassius Clay!

Ali
That aint my name no more
That my slave name

Foreman
Sorry man

Dick
Stop the press!
Muhammad Ali is in Miami
For what do we owe this cockal honour

Ali
I was down in sunny Florida boys
& boxers are the only ones who dig
Truly what its like to be a boxer –
I must admit I miss the test of mein
The sweat of competition, & the ring
Times joyful lie in graves of memories
& I must live vicariously life
So George, I hear y’ave three fights coming up
As quick as my swift left-right-left, yeah?

Foreman
You hear right – on the sixth I’ve Hazelton
Then fight Levi Forte on the sixteenth
With Gary Hobo Wiler two days aft

Ali
Busy boy

Dick
He needs to be kept busy
He get nerve-edged & spleenful if he aint
All that agression & testosterone
Needs to be legally releas’d, ya dig?

Ali
You aiming for Frazier

Foreman
If he’s champ, yeah

Ali
He aint that good, I’ve seen the way he fights
When coming in – he’s weak on uppercuts
True quality don’t melt down from his blood
But listen George, let me show you something
{Foreman sits down, Ali begins to open the suitcase}
Just wait until to lay your gaze on this
If ever you world champion became
Status demands you’re reach’d by one of these

Ali reveals a portable phone – Forman laughs

Ali
What’s so funny?

Foreman
Thought I was gonna see
All the money in the world

Ali
You want it

Foreman
Say what?

Ali
It’s yours for twelve hundred dollars

Foreman
Brother, I aint got that kinda money

Dick
He will have one day, tho’

Ali
I’m sure he will
Just look at those arms gladitorial
I’m hearing good things ’bout that swing of yours
So speak me of yourself, George, where ya from
For we might have to range at blows one day

Foreman
Well – I’m a Texan by birth & by girth
From the infamous, impov’rish’d Fifth Ward
The rotten, scabbing face of Houston’s filth
Got tangl’d up, too many scrapes a child
King of the Fights, Lord of all Bullies
To cheap read wine I turn’d the stolen change
Thro deviant, delinquent alchemie
My only aspiration was to win
The respect of killers by killing too
Until a flash of godly vision fair
Told me to do something, try out this life,
& when I pull’d the gloves on that first dawn
I knew ‘d won salvation in the ring

Ali
Salvation? S’that what they call a whuppin
In Houston?

Dick
My boy don’t take no whuppins
He blest with a catalogue of endowments

Ali
I see just that – to win Olympic gold
No mean feat – it was mine back in Sixty
Joe Frazier won the same in Sixty-four
& both of us went on to rule the world
Well – Joe Frazier’s only the fake champ –
But you dig my meaning, brother

Foreman
I do
To be a classic in one’s own short age
Is tantamount to cosmic excellence

Dick
Your famous gift for scrying things to pass
As acccurate as when you’ve pluck’d the rounds
From living aether’s dream – my man should leap
Like you & Frazier from the rostrum’s edge
Unto the pinnacle of punch & pain,
His power grows uncanny & too much
For the very best veteran fighters
His left returns like recurring pistons
Bigger, stronger, faster Sonny Liston,
With these fists he’s dismissing everyone
Atavic to Numidian giants
Who fought off Rome upon the desert’s fringe
He like a jivehound hiving with the drones
The unearthly scourge of his division
That is the richest it has ever been
Quarry, Ellis, Oscar Bonavena,
Macfoster, Shavers & george Chavala
All steamroll’d by the Houston Tornado

Ali
He don’t scare me – you aint no monster, George
But good luck anyway in all you box –
So, do you want the phone

Foreman
The what

Ali
The phone
You can have it for nine hundred dollars

Foreman
I gone told you I don’t have no money

Dick
He don’t be needing no portable phone

Ali
No sweat, I’m sorry to disturb you boys
& see you both some time along the line

Foreman
Goodbye Muhammad

Dick
That cat’s coming back
I can feel it & I do not like it
That alley cat Ali drives me crazy

Foreman
Maybe so, but the division needs him
& if I’m ever gonna be the champ
Outright & undisputed to the world
I’ll have to fight that madman in the ring

Dick
You’ll have to down Joe Frazier first, so back
To work, come on son, let me see your jabs

George Foreman returns to training


SCENE 3: Philadelphia

The street outside Joe Frazier’s gym, 2917 N. Broad Street / Enter Ali with a rowdy crowd including photographers & a film cameraman

Ali
I want Frazier, I want Frazier, I want
Frazier, I want Frazier, I want Frazier
Come out here Joe, come out here & fight me

Crowd
We want Frazier, we want Frazier, we want
Frazier, we want –

Joe Frazier & Eddie Futch appear at the door

Frazier
What’s all this commotion

Ali
Man, you aint no champion of the world
We end those signal farcicals today
Swerving your curveballs back to real truth

Eddie
What are you doing in Philly, Ali
This aint your town, these cats aint your people

Ali
These cats are sick & tired of hearing lies,
Seeing false visages of victory
They want to see the proper champion
Forgo the inglorious arts of peace
& beat up on an ugly pretender

Frazier
You what!

Ali
Lets go & fight in Fairbank Park

Frazier
You’re crazy man

Ali
Well you’re a coward
The whole world knows you’re a flat-footed bull
Who moves like plowhorse thro’ rain-sodden mud

Frazier
Hey sissy! You can’t hit, you got nothing

Ali
I want you Joe

Frazier
I want you too

Ali
Well then,
At five o clock meet me up at Fairbank
{to the crowd}
I have a lot of speed
I have a lot of endurance
When I’m done with Joe Frazier
He’ll need more insurance
{Crowd laugh}
Joe Frazier too rebarbative to be
The representative of human might
He’d be better off donating his face
To the National Bureau of Wildlife

Frazier
See what I do to your pretty face, Clay

Ali
Whaddaya call me?

Frazier
Clay… Cassius Clay

Ali
Aint so, Cassius Clay is my slave name
I didn’t choose it, I didn’t want it
I am Muhammad Ali, a free name
It means Beloved of God, you dig God?
Joe, right?

Frazier
Dont go bringin’ religion into this
This all about two men gettin’ it on

Ali
Lets get it on then, Joe, in Fairbank Park
At Five o Clock

Frazier
I aint coming you fool
Your dearth of noblesse falls appalingly
I won’t be fighting no lunatic brawl

Ali
Dont be a coward, Joe, see you at five
{to crowd}
Can one of you lovely locals tell me
Where’s the flavourbest ice creams in Phily

Exit Muhammad Ali & the crowd

Eddie
Gassius Cassius, Louisville Lip
Coming making you look bad in your crib
I thought he was your friend

Frazier
Yeah, so did I

Eddie
Funny way to show it

Frazier
He don’t rile me
He nutting but a shunting stunt monkey
Engladdening the basest strains of men
When lenses land upon him he cries fake
But I guess such zero-adding antics
Won’t hurt a jot when come the paycheques, right?

Eddie
You wanna fight that schmuck

Frazier
He’s outta shape
& outta touch with all reality
For Mister Bigshot Sixties decades change

Eddie
So back to work, focus on Joe Ellis

Frazier
His time will come, I’ve seen it in my dreams

Eddie Futch & Joe Frazier re-enter the gym


SCENE 4: Fairbank Park, Philadelphia

Muhammad Ali is surrounded by a large crowd chanting ‘Ali-Ali-Ali-Ali-Ali’

Ali
I’m Hercules struggling thro’ his labours
I’m D’Artagnan, Cyrano & El Cid
When I smile women swoon, grown men shudder
As I scowl, some would say I’m dangerous
Too dangerous, it seems, for Joe Frazier
& prettier by untold magnitudes
A better boxer obvious to all
Tho’ Uncle Tom got my championship
They refus’d to fight me at five o clock
Its now ten past, shows Frazier was afraid
Of a good whuppin in front of you all
Here I am, aint had a fight in three years
Carrying an extra twenty-five pounds
& Joe don’t show up, what kind of a champ
Is that

Crowd-member 1
Joe’s just a phoney

Ali
He sure is
& now we’ve all seen he just a coward
I’ll have to find another way to scrub
The tainted glaze of someone’s else’s hands
Upon my sacred crown, but I’ll need dough
To pay this Supreme Court date coming up
So off I go to Broadway

Crowd
Broadway

Ali
Yeah
To sing a heap of songs in Uncle Buck

Crowdmember 2
Right on

Crowdmember 3
Give us a song

Ali
You’ll have to wait
But boy, am  Ithe world’s greatest singer

Exit Ali & crowd


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

 

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

Gods of the Ring: Act 1, Prologue-Scene 1

stars_and_stripes_by_divinedesign


The Greatest Play Ever Written


PROLUSION

Enter the Spirit of America & her angels

Angels
The Spirit of America shall speak

America
O for a Muse of air, that would transcend
The lightest season of convincive art,
As here, as erst upon an antique stage,
I rise to thee a proud exordial,
Long sent to steer this vessel of repute
Across a raft of retrospective wits
Adorning this gymnic Conchordia
Uploaded with prologean Chorus,
Such dainty diversions stand antidote
To times of dull labour, outstandingly,
To live thro’ deeds, not years, thro’ thoughts, not breath,
Thro’ intimacies of imitancy
Rare souls yet rouse Humanity to ken
Fair prospers capabilities within
Each all of us to be a living God
Admir’d & worship’d widely ‘cross the world
My golden theme such Giants of the Sun
Melded ankle-deep, brutal gang of three,
Forming a cosmic counterpoint to life
Four years of fabulous entanglements
As much excitement as a night can bear
As much commotion as a land can stand
Exploding beyond borders thro’ the Globe
Pantomimean pandemonium
Of boxing; its burlesque imperative,
Its irreproducable accident
Of history; its outstanding resolve
Thro’ acts of beauty, countrymen come hear
The names of our three principles, Ali
Frazier & Foreman – hear the angels sing

Angels
Welcome, yes welcome, ye Gods of the Ring

***

OVERTURE

America
When Smoking Joe Frazier met Muhammad Ali
It was the Fight (FIGHT) of the Century
When Foreman floor’d Frazier the talk of all Jamaica
Was the height (HEIGHT) of brutality

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Angels
Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

 

America
When Foreman took a tumble the Rumble in the Jungle
Was a night (OF) immortality
& man what a killer the Thrilla in Manilla
Saw the might (MIGHT) of humanity

We don’t believe what we’re seeing
Got no right to call them human beings
As they fight their way thro mortal ceilings
As the angels sing

Angels
Welcome ye Gods of the Ring

***


CC27-Comparo-Eldo-f3qtr-4

SCENE 1: Philadelphia

Joe Frazier is sat in his car singing along to the radio – Muhammad Ali knocks on the window – Frazier gestures to Ali to get in the car – Enter Muhammad Ali carrying a suitcase

Ali
Hey, man, nice wheels

Frazier
Front-drive Eldorado

Ali
The Queen o’ Cadillacs I heard ’em say

Frazier
So where you wanna go

Ali
The bus station

Frazier
Sure, that aint far, I’m happy to oblige

Ali
Look at us, undefeated champions
Of the whole world’s heavyweight division
All in one space & ne’er comin’ to blows

Frazier
There’s a time & a place for that action
Mine was no ignoble supplantation
My honour says we’ll have to fight one day
I’ve even sent the Supreme Court letters
Begging them return your boxing license

Ali
I dig that, brother, your soul is shining
You got good days ahead, too, good money
You got Mac Foster coming up; Foreman –
George Foreman – both million-dollar gates
Rip’ning all the time, beautiful paydays
You got it made if you just play it cool,
But big up the truth, man, if you fought me,
Would you be scared?

Frazier
No, man, honest to God

Ali
You really wouldn’t be

Frazier
No kinda way

Ali
I mean my fast left jab, the way I dance?

Frazier
Noooooo! I’d get close to you, I’ve heard ’em talk
‘Bout how fast you is, moving away, but
You’ll find out how fast I am moving in.

Ali
Remember that time you came to see me
Fight Zora Folley? You wanted to learn
From me

Frazier
We all know a time of learning.

Ali
You believe you learnt enough to fight me?

Frazier
Hell, yeah! Maybe even if I didn’t
Know enough, I would never turn you down –
For any man that turns another down
In his profession deem less than a man

Ali
What if a man is wise & bides his time
As when we watch’d delinquents stab their knives
Stood safely by on sidewalks when us boys

Frazier
I’m ready now to beat you fair & square

Ali
So, do you think you could decision me,
Or could even stop me before fifteen?

Frazier
I’m sure I could stop you before fifteen.

Ali
You really do?

Frazier
I really do. You see,
The kinda stuff on you I’m gonna put
Y’ain’t ever seen before, you understand?

Ali
It’s impossible to dodge my jab

image-51

Frazier
Those other cats let you have it your way
Just like they let me have it my way, dig?
They let you jump around the ring, and dance,
But I’d be getting me right dead on you
Every time you breathe you would be breathing
Right down on my head.

Ali
You never whip me
You be tired after six rounds of scuffling.

Frazier
You be tired, too, trying to get away
Running and jabbing, ducking and dodging
You be tired, too.

Ali
I’m stronger than you think
{long pause}
I really believe you afraid of me

Frazier
{long pause}
No, I sure ain’t – I wanna fight you bad

Ali
After I get myself into good shape,
I’m gonna dance and move like Sugar Ray.
S’impossible to whip me with your style

Frazier
Well, I been up against real race horses
But I’ve whipp’d ’em all down to a slow trot.
Slammin’ sticky quicksand under bruis’d hooves.

Ali
I’ll admit you good, but I’m the fastest
Fist in the history of the whole world.

Frazier
Moving away, maybe, but moving in,
No way, that’s me, I’m fastest moving in

Ali
But you don’t have no jab.

Frazier
{aghast, almost stops car}
I don’t have a jab?

Ali
Keep driving! Watch it! No, you got no jab

Frazier
But man, I’d tear your head off with a jab!
I’ve got a jab like a cool machine gun

Ali
I’ve seen you box, I fought Sonny Liston twice,
When he was at his best – Floyd Patterson
I beat, & all those title defenses
Like Mildenberger & Henry Cooper.

Frazier
What you want me to do?

Ali
And I fought
Zora Folley & Cleveland Williams

Frazier
Which one you want me to fight?

Ali
They all beat – but leaving out me & you
Who you think would be the best two to fight
The all-time title

Frazier
Oh, like Joe Louis
& Jack Johnson

Ali
Damn straight, that’s who I think.

Frazier
Yeah, man, y’know I hope you do get back.
But, man, you ain’t gonna do no whipping.
Not on me. I hope there’ll be no hard feelings
When I whip your ass
{Sees Ali about to cut in}
Brother let me talk!
Got no hard feelings with you anyplace
But when we in the ring, you on your own.

Ali
But you be on your ownsome lonesome, too

Frazier
That’s the only way I know how to be.

Ali
If we can’t get along, let’s get it on.

Frazier
We’ll get it on. Ain’t no doubt about that.
Once that bell rings, I see you psych ’em out
But me, I’m a different cut – I’m the
Greatest psych artist ever put on earth
You’d outpsych Houdini easy than me

Ali
For that smart remark, here’s my prediction
A perfect blueprint of the first five rounds

Frazier
Who say you gonna last that –

Ali
Let me talk!
That night of the fight at the ticket booth,
I want the people to pick up the program,
See written out round-by-round what I’ll do
Like reading menus for an eight-course meal
Now the first round–Dong! See me coming out
But I ain’t gonna do nothing, no need
Just gonna show you off as an amateur,
I won’t throw one punch, I’m just gonna dance
& hold my guard down by my groovin’ hips
Gonna dance and move like I did with Floyd
Patterson, ‘what’s the matter son,’ I’ll say
As you don’t even get in one poor punch
But still, I’m gonna let you win that round.
Then, second round–Dong! I’m coming out fast,
I’ won’t be shooting nothing but left jabs.
Gonna hold my right hand down by my side
I won’t be needing it for no protection,
Nothing but left jabs, nothing but left jabs,
Here comes the jabs . . . then the third round–Dong!
I’m coming out, putting footwork together
Jabs together, right crosses together
& here come the unstoppable left hooks

Frazier
{exploding}
Sounds like you done won the fight already–

Ali
I aint gonna miss a left jab that round
And after that fifth round–

Frazier
{can’t stand it any longer}
Wait, wait–

Ali
You say what you say when I’m through

Frazier
Go & muzzle up that Nostradamus

Ali
Lemme finish, man, don’t be getting scared,

Frazier
Scared?

Ali
Yeah. Now, in the fourth round–

Frazier
{angry}
It’s coming off!
This fight has got to come off!

Ali
The fourth round–
I’l tie you up & in your feetless fifth
I’m gonna right-cross you, talking to you,
Telling you the history of your life
Teaching you & inventing new punches

Frazier
Now where I’m gonna be at all this time
Ya doing all these things, counting fingers?

Ali
You will be trying to throw everything
But none of those knick-knacks are gonna land

Frazier
Hear me Clay, it ain’t gonna be that way.

Ali
{shrugs}
You have a right to say that, as have I

Frazier
The right to say what I would wanna say
& now I’m gonna tell you what I feel
Its gonna go, you gonna run about,
A few rounds, throw a few pansy punches
Then in the sixth I’m gonna knock you down

Ali
No! Listen! Don’t you try my predicting

Frazier
I’m telling you

Ali
Be sure you back it up!
Your behind gonna be mine in round nine!
As soon as you start working the body,
I’m gonna shoot for your head–quick! WHIP! WHIP! WHIP!
You won’t get to my body ‘less you clinch

Ring Magazine Cover - Joe Frazier and Jerry Quarry

Frazier
Outta twenty-six fights I ain’t never
Held on to a man

Ali
But brother listen
We know the truth by reason & by heart
Something tells me you & me got bizness
I hope you’re still the champ when I get back
Effluent with unstocking’d refluence
All this for saying no to killing folk
Pinn’d down by an imperial pastern
I aint no triggerhappy dilettante
I got no quarrel with the Vietcong
No Vietcong ever call’d me nigger
Those Vietcong don’t put no dogs on me
Nor robb’d me of my nationhood, hey look
Its the station, pull over

Frazier
Sure thing, man

Ali
Nice one brother, real nice, & thank-you, hey!

Frazier
Yeah

Ali
You don’t have any money to spare
I’m short for the ticket

Frazier
Hah! Of course man

Ali
You’ll get it back with int’rest when we fight

Frazier
Here’s a hundred bucks

Ali
You’re a good brother,
Better friend, farewell & be prosperous

Exit Muhammad Ali


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

 

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting The Lockdown

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After the completion of the Leithology quintology – which will soon be on sale on all platforms – & the composition of Viriathus & Malmaison, I felt THE FLIGHT OF THE WHITE EAGLES was going to be a real statement-maker. If I really do wanna emulate Shakespeare, I need definitive works with meaty bodies – a bit like Hamlet innit – & so turned to Napoleon’s infamous retreat from Moscow as the first of my major conchords. There’s a hell of a lot of drama obviously, & when it comes to stagecraft the visual deterioration of the soldiers will be a wonderful story to tell.

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With five acts of seven or so scenes each, all bubbling with blank verse & containing both original songs & songs drawn from the period itself, WHITE EAGLES definitely marks a placement of my muse on a Parnassian plateaux of sorts. No looking back now – ten down, 27 to go!

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LEITHOLOGY – Available in book form soon

I began researching WHITE EAGLES last year after reading the fabulous ‘Memoirs of Sergeant Bourgogne.’ From this first catalyst – I was very verteux at the time – I began to research other memoirs up in the National Library of Scotland, such as those of Caulaincourt, & set to work on the composition period not long after my return from Provence sometime in mid-February. Then the Lock Down happened. I don’t need to rattle on about it, everyone’s experiencing it. I’m lucky tho’ – I walk dogs with my girlfriend which meant I could to & fro between my places in Edinburgh & East Lothian for ‘work that cannot be done from home‘ – the dog numbers had drastically plumetted, but there was enough to make it valid & of course meant I could compose pretty much anyway I liked – from the Lammermuirs to Leith Links. Here’s a Walking East Lothian post I created during the Lock Down.

Musically, WHITE EAGLES has been something of an educational dream, help’d along by my house-mate’s keyboard playing. By February I had a couple of tunes, but then began to write more & add local colour so to speak, translating from the French lyric into the English. Of my new songs THE BALLAD OF BORODINO is really beautiful I think, & THE GREAT NAPOLEON really fun – the Herod moment – my house mate incorporating the Tetrislike theme tune into via some techno rave from the 90s via Hicksy & Sharky. He also fell in love with Plaisir D’Amour & Compere Guillere.

The full list of songs is below, with astersks denoting my own compositions)

The Sable Raven – English version
Marlbrough is Going To war – English version
Plasir D’amour
Parisienne Skies (*)
On Va Leur Percer Le Franc
The Blood of Borodino (*)
Pomme de Terres (*)
Compere Guillere – French Version
Song of the Loricated Legion (*)
My Handsome Husband (*)
Soarin’ Home (*)
Chant du Depart
Crossing the Bridge (*)
The Great Napoleon (*)
Compere Guillere – English version (*)
Au Clair de la Lune
Le Depart Du Bologne
The March from Moscow (*)

Theatrically, there are a lot of parts – three main bodies of 8-10 characters; Napoleon & his entourage, Bourgogne’s company & the Russian partisans. There’s also another 20 or so walk-in parts, plus the crossing of the Berezhina bridge to depict – but whenever WHITE EAGLES does get performed everyone’s gonna JUST love it!

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Artistically, WHITE EAGLES is the bag daddy to Malmaison, but together they form a very good account of Napoleon’s life. Like I said at the start, it also represents the foot-scrambling heave onto the plateaux from where the rest of my conchords will be composed.

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The first of this new bunch is GODS OF THE RING & I’m extremely excited about it. The principle subject is the four fights between Ali, Foreman & Frazier, & all the dramas before, during, after & between the fights. The names of these epic combats have gone down in history – THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY, THE SUNSHINE SHOWDOWN, THE RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE & THE THRILLA IN MANILLA. Like White Eagles I’ve already got two tunes in the bank, a theme tune & the sublime, best song I’ve written in ages, BLACK POWER. I’ve been compiling the notes in the past few days, the bulk of which were studied for in the National Library just before the Lockdown.  I’m gonna print out the first notes today & get composing soon after.

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With White Eagles taking just over three months, & June the 1st on the horizon, I’ve got a feeling that every new conchord is gonna take a season – so Gods of the Ring is the conchord of the summer of 2020 – the weird summer, the one where the theatres were closed. For me, I think I’ll be spending some of it hopefully in Greece, where the next of these windows into my workings will be composed.


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

 

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

Viriathus: Scenes 3-4

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SCENE 3 – The Roman Senate

The trial of Galba

Magistrate
Good morning senators, the day’s order
Begins with Galba & his recent wars
Fought in Iberia, & the murder
Of nigh nine thousand Lusitanians
Beneath the banner of a Roman peace,
The raiser of this matter, take the floor.

Lucius
Members of the Senate, my thanks are due
In advance, when you to listen to my pleas
For justice at this most scandalous trial,
I am Lucius Libro, plebeian
Tribune, elected to speak, most dismay’d
The good name of the Romans sacrosanct
Our honour more important than is fame,
Yet this, this perfidious Praetor
This ‘Galba’ brings shame upon the Senate,
For when abroad a general of Rome
Must represent our statutory claims
Of fairness wrought from order & from law
Cato! Would you be so kind as to speak,
Inform the senators in more detail
Whom, I feel assur’d, with keenest intent
Will listen well & with a deep respect
For you, truly the wisest among us,
Who steer’d our ship of state so many storms,
What are your thoughts upon this dark affair!

Cato
So many things discourag’d me this day
From coming forward to this hoary shrine
Where my old feet have stood five thousand times –
My years, my time of life, my voice, my strength,
I felt, nevertheless, when reflecting
On such crucial matters, I had to act,
Forsooth, the roots of these desperate wars
Lie with ourselves, not thirty years ago
Iberia was a hive of honey,
Our governors bears pawing at its gold,
Extortions, epidemics, proportion’d
Exploitation grating, so to account
Call’d I Publius Furios Philus
Personally, timely castigation
That did not go unnoticed in the West –
The Lex Calpurnia was introduced
& the whole peninsular bath’d in peace,
Until Galba’s pitiless ambition
Breaking treaties slaughter’d signatories
Of what our Senate deem’d a sacred text,
So he could swim in fallible plunder,
This he distributed to his soldiers
Not very much at all I hear them say,
His friends receiv’d a little & the rest
kept for his guts; Senators, sheer murder
Was done in Lusitania, for gold
Not punishing such criminality
Will send out a devastating message
That the Roman concord mere illusion
& massacres the only terms we deal

Magistrate
Praetor Galba, the floor if you please

Galba
Fellow senators, friends & foes alike,
Whether cherishing, opposing, my deeds
Lusitania primitive remains,
Makes strange pictures to a cool spectator,
They way they live their lives like high treason
To the virtues & values of our times,
We cannot simply allow them islands
Of impish liberty, while to the north
& south & east we press Hispania
Into our satin folds, we must never
Allow their independance poet sung
Else rebellions will sprout up like weeds
In an old man’s garden, his limbs too stiff
To root them out with tools & brutal strength –
Are not till’d plots superior to scrub?
Are fruits not improv’d by cultivation?
I plotted there for progress a glory,
Safe in our sturdy shields we stow the seeds,
The ploughshares of our swords have stirr’d the soil,
& we shall grow a province from the dirt!

Magistrate
How do you plead

Galba’s brother, Gaius, brings out two boys & a girl

Galba
I refuse to answer
I’ll make instead appeals elemental
To the good faith of the people, see these
Three Children; the two youngest share my blood,
The taller boy he is the grieving son
Of Sulpcius Galus, whose dying words,
A Lusitanian spear piercing chest,
Did gurgle to me, ‘look after my boy,’
{to Cassis}
Cassius, come to me, I embrace you
As my son,
{they embrace}
If today I am exiled
Or death-condemn’d, I tearfully bestow
Upon my brother, Gaius, both my sires,
Send to his care Cassius, son of Galus,
& beg him to forever oversee
Their fatherless estates, their future tears!

Cato
Wretched Galba! I shame to hear him speak!
By such sick pretences be not disturb’d,
Exciting pity has no place in law,
Even murderers share family homes

The Senate bursts into uproar

Magistrate
Silence, in the Senate, clear, clear the floor
We shall proceed in common to the vote
Balls, if you please, black guilty, white no fault.

The senators vote by placing a ball in a bag, either white or black

Magistrate
What is the count

Magistrate’s Assistant
Galba by twenty-five

Lucius
This is law debauched, maul’d by bribery

Magistrate
Silence, Lucius, else be in contempt
& find yourself on trial at your turn,
The Senate has spoken, Galba acquitted
You are free, Praetor, take your children,
To superpraise their moral upbringing
While raising them good citizens of Rome,
With that the matter closes, let us stray
Into the streets this Feast of Saturn day!

Exit Senators


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SCENE 4 – A Valley in Lusitania

Surviving chieftans & warriors of the Lusitani meet in counsel.
With them is Arco the soothsayer

Arantonio
We cannot stay much longer in this vale

Minurus
Famine gnawing bellies no way to die

Camalo
But sallying from safety must ensure
Murderous encounters with legionairres

Audax
Over our lives hovers the flag of death
Let us send Vetilius messengers
With olive branches, apologizing
For foraging without the seal of law
& plead a dwelling, promise to obey
Rome in all things

Pisiri
It must be done

Arantonio
What else
Can we do

Camalo
We must submit

Enter Viriathus

Viriathus
We must fight,
The bad faith of the Romans never goes
They pride themselves in violating oaths

Arco
Tell us who he is who speaks so boldly

Viriathus
I am Viriathus, some may know me,
Most will not, I survived the massacre
& warrant not your petty, scowling looks
Whatever pass’d by destiny, mischance,
I am come among you, soldiers, recieve
My presence, while intimating futures
Long mused upon, of murdering Romans,
Vibrant plans of action, Vertilius
No Galba is, his soldiers can be beat.

Camalo
Tho’ words up-bubble with inspiring springs,
We are too weak to fight them, all the same

Viriathus
I disagree, I have studied that swamp
Of whinging invaders, poor imposters,
Each thuggish snout I solemnly defy
There is not a veteran among them,
Valour is difficult in a desert,
While we are nourish’d from that single pool
That urgency of liberty becomes,
Fresh spirit of our precious land distill’d,
Sup from it when misfortune approaches,
Taste the universal Lusitani,
For when all focuss’d under common stars,
Mountains amass from bursts of willpower,
Off whose steep slops torrential troubles pour,
Together we are mountains, let me lead
Whomever here would die for liberty!

Minurus
I am with you Viriathus

Audax
& I

The rest cheer

Arantonio
Your patriotic fever may bright burn
But there remains a dagger at our throats
One false step…

Arco
Let the ancestors decide

Ditalco
Bring out the prisoner

A Roman prisoner is brought on stage – Arco chops off his right hand & raises it to the sky

Arco
Holy Cariocecus – take this hand
& guide his entrails, weave them into truth

The prisoner is covered with coarse cloaks, then a knife plunged into his vitals. He drops to the floor. The soothsayer studies the fall of the cloaks

Arco
From fall of cloaks auspicious auguries,
From trailing entrails unsuspicious truth,
From draining veins futurity pulses,
Our sacred Gods choose you, Viriathus

Arantonio, Camalo, Minurus, Audax, Ditalco
Viriathus!

Camalo
What of those plans you spoke?

Viriathus
Come gather close about me, listen well,
For detail is important – every man
Shall have his job to do, some more than one;
The Romans march like an elephant mare,
Slow, clumsy, ponderous – from armour’s weight
From ignorance of our ancyent trackways,
& from horses’ inferiority –
Why fight a tusker risking ivory,
Better pepper spears from safest vantage
& spring our clever ambushes from rocks
Thro’ rows of rushing tridents, incursions
Made in the dead of night, in heat of day,
Deluding with illusions & with snares,
Corner to corner striking, make them cry,
‘There is no haven in Iberia!’
The very mercy of the law screams out,
‘Iberia rejects its conquerors!’
Carpetania, Bastitania
Rome’s allies now, let us ravage them first
Who’ll join us promptly afterwards, the rest
Will follow soon, protecting precious crops,
While in the north the Numantines should rise
When noticing our spirit has revived
With such conviction, they will not abide
The Roman yoke no longer, out of pride.

Ditalco
Hail Viriathius

Arantonio, Camalo, Minurus, Audax
Hail Viriathius

Camalo
In you Cariocecus is reborn

Minurus
Cariocecus

Arantonio, Camalo, Audax, Ditalco
Cariocecus!

With great noise and barbaric clamor, the warriors surround Viriathus dancing, beating drims & singing “Cario-Cario-Cariocecus”- shaking their long hair, waving weapons & breaking out into ritualised mock combat


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Composing Conchordia: Provence

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At the teddy bear shrine of Elizabeth Drummond

Just as Shakespeare toured Italy as a prelude to the writing of his Italian plays, when deciding to compose a conchord on Gaston Dominici, I thought a story-hunting trip to Provence in order to commune with the ghosts of that most famous of 20th century crimes would surely help my craft. The crime in question is the 1952 roadside murder of nutritionist Sir Jack Drummond, his wife & their 10 year old daughter. They had camped for the night near a farmhouse owned by Gaston Dominici, a 75 year old patriarch in whose barn was kept the WW2 carbine which shot Sir Jack & his wife, & then clubbed to death little Elizabeth. A shocking case which brought the world to the Durance Valley & also sucked to the surface old family quarrels & familiar local feuds which in the end saw Gaston sentenced to death. In the clear light of seven decades it seems likely that the perpetrator was Gaston’s grandson, 16 years old & probably drunk at the time, Roger Perrin.

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Last Thursday myself, Spud, Victor Pope & ex-Tinky Disco bandmate Al Roberts all made our bleary-eyed ways to Edinburgh airport for a 9.45 AM flight. Me & Spud always get wound up by Al leaving his house in a slow-shabby fashion, so opted to get to the airport ourselves – I took a tram & he the shuttle bus. Vic & Al shared an Uber without any mess-ups, which surprised us & proved a good omen to our week together on the road. As we stepped onto the tarmac to board our plane, the Scottish chill was fully raging & I was very much looking forward to a respite from the seemingly endless Caledonian winter.

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Gyptis choosing Euxene

A handful of hours later we were in Marseille & checking into our Air B&B right beside the Old Harbour, or Vieux Port. This was the spot where in 600 BC a guy called Euxene arrives from Phocae (an ancient part of Turkey) just in time for the local king’s daughter’s ‘choosing ceremony.’ In short, among a group of gathered suitors, Euxene was the one given a goblet of wine by princess Gyptis, who would later change her name to Aristoxenus. Euxene & Aristoxenus, now that’s already got the hallmarks of a conchord, I thought to myself, in the same way I thought that Gaston Dominici has a Motzartean ring about it. Looking at the Gyptis story at that point, tho, it unfortunately seemed a bit weak to make a conchord out of…

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Marseille with the lads was fun. Kicking back with a smart TV & cheap beer in the hypermodern flat or on the balcony overlooking the harbour, with the pointed cathedral rising on the central Marseille hill beyond. On the smart TV, we watched Netflix, played all our music videos, while Al could send to it our recent recordings – an album called the New Truth. I couldn’t help but notice the technological advancement of the species – the last time I was in Provence was 20 years ago & for fun me & my pal, Bryn, ended up making a chess board out of paper & stones. Here’s an extract from my journal of that time.


May 10th, 2000

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We woke up proper spangled, but a quick dip in the exquisitely cool pool proved enough of a respite from our frail noggins & we were able to pack & head out to Cannes. It was the first day of the festival & full of noisy Yanks, so we soon got out of dodge, striking inland on a bus to Grasse, a lovely town stacked high against the hillside. We had a couple of hours to kill so wandered around a bit & to our delight found it very swell, with lovely narrow streets & great prospects of the Cotes d’Azore in the distance.

After sending off our postcards we hopped on a bus north along La Route Napoleon. The view was spectacular as we climbed & wound thro’ the mountains, each one clad in trees giving a baize effect, & I could imagine Napoleon & his column following the same road. A rapid mist descended, however, followed soon after by heavy rain which showed no intention of letting up as we were unceremoniously dumped in the wee hamlet of Seranon. We dived into the only bar around for shelter & refreshment, obtaining a few funny looks off the funny looking locals.

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In the days before group emails & blogs

Eventually we found out the bus north didn’t leave til the morning, so we were stuck. We didn’t fancy putting the tent up in the rain so opted for a hotel. A friendly couple drove us a half mile down the road to their mate’s hotel, which was closed. Luckily the mustached madame opened it up for us (a whole hotel to ourselves), but we were forced to share a double bed (with pants on obviously). As soon as we paid our 15 francs the sun came out & we heaved a table up to the roof, bought wine, cheese, bread & sausage & had a most pleasant supper among the mountains. It was cool, me musing & Bryn sketchin’ & it felt nice to be doing spot of real travelling, the only sound being the constant chuckle of crickets. Bryn very correctly brought up the point we were stuck in a one horse dive & had less than two days to get to Venice, but I re-assured him all would be reyt. We made a chess-board out of paper & stones & played to the setting of the sun, before all the wine & well-thought-out moves took their toll & sent us both a-slumbering.


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At a monument to Rimbaud, Marseille seafront

Fastforward to 2020, on our first full day in France – Brexit day as it so happened – we enjoyed a daytime riviera stroll, followed by a wicked night out at bohemian La Plaine – a very funky part of Marseille. Drinking & dancing & downing tequilas, we met an English busker called Charlie, & his Slovakian girlfriend. The gods had answered our pleas, & he actually had 3 guitars. ‘Don’t worry, we won’t steal them – it’ll be too expensive to check them into our flights back,’ put him off from coming round for a jam, but he agreed to meet us the next day for a wee busk.

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It was more than a joy the following afternoon to find ourselves all jamming together by Marseille harbour to the infinite delight of the locals. Our immediate audience consisting of an annoying kid who kept banging the guitars, a Czech street lassie & a Parisenne rock-chick who finds Marseille a cheaper place to live. Before then, I’d taken a solo morning mission up to Allauch, a hilltop village right on the edge of the Marseille conurbation. It was at the old castle, even higher still, that I filmed the following Pendragon Poetry post, talking all about Conchordia.

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Allauch

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I was up in the hills as I’d read that a possible Gyptis object had been found in a hillside cave nearby. The curator of the slick local museum begged to differ, but I said I’m a poet & I didn’t want the truth to get in the way of a good story. Yes, a conchord was being born & on the way back to the appartment I googled a few Greek myths & found one, which I felt I could use – Alcyone and Ceyx. Basically, they offended the gods by calling themselves Hera & Zeus, & ended up being drowned & then turned into birds. A little creative furnace-burning later & I’d transmorped the myth into Euxene & Aristoxenus being turned into the the islands of Pomègues and Ratonneau which lie off the mouth of Marseille harbour. Like the Phaecean ship which carried Odysseus to Ithica being turned to stone.

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Alcyone & Ceyx

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Pomègues and Ratonneau

Compositionwise I only managed a few speeches from VIRIATHUS in Marseille – the second Senate scene – in the early morning before the boys woke up, mainly at a cafe by the harbour. I usually compose on my morning East Lothian walks with Daisy, accompanied otherwise only by nature and the essential headspace needed to really zone out. Not so easy in a busy city as ever. There was no way I was going to achieve my goal of finishing Viriathus on this trip & then starting ‘The Flight of the White Eagles, ‘ – my conchord about the retreat from Moscow – the notes for which I worked intensively on before I set off. Still, they are all in the bank & Viriathus should be finished within days. I’ll be recreating the antics & dashing chit-chat of Seargant Bourgogne soon enough!

Capture

We left Marseille the next day, the sunshine heating up, arriving by train at the Durance valley & the station which serves La Brilliane & Oraison. The River Durance patches its way between them on a hugely wide stony river bed, with hills framing the scene on either side, & the snow-capped Alps closing the vista far to the north at Digne. Public transport round these parts is pretty neglible, & with it being Sunday afternoon no shops were open. Of that first of the two matters, we soon hit paydirt. After walking over the bridge to Oraison, beyond the frustratingly closed intermarche, we came to a carpark where I asked a lovely fella could he take us to Dabisse, & he agreed gladly.

IMG_20200202_180849.jpgDabisse is a wee village with a bar & a bus stop kinda thing. The bar was well busy, tho, its car park full of temporary pebbledash for a meeting of the region’s petanque teams. It was a really serendiptous, masonic, monastic moment listening to the clink-clinks & murmours of the play. Getting a carry-out together we went back to our villa & gorged on the food previous Air B&B-ers had left behind – a severe stroke of luck for a hungry bunch on a Sunday. I’d reminded Victor Pope of that time in Calcata, Italy, on another day we couldn’t buy food – the Day of the Dead. Here’s the account from my ‘Marching on Parnassus‘ blog.


NOVEMBER 1ST, 2011

We reach’d Calcata from Rome on a train & a bus (paying a euro each in total) & they both immediately fell in love with the place. There is a certain magic to the wee town & its citizens, & our arrival could not have been timed better. Twenty years ago the town was practically deserted, but suddenly a bunch of hippies & artists moved in, opened galleries & restaurants & the place is now thriving. I’d met an American here last time, the dance teacher of Greta Garbo among other famous Hollywood dignitaries, who I was sad to hear had passed away last year at the age of 88. I’m not surprised, tho’, he was smoking & drinking wine like crazy when I met him. I got the news by popping round to his house to borrow the same guitar that I used to borrow, from another American, Pancho. Being American he’d instigated some Halloween festivities in the town a few years ago, a festival not normally celebrated by the Italians, but one they have taken to like crazy in this wee pocket of the world.

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Pancho told me to see Bruno, the long-haired owner of the only bar in town, where we were intercepted by an English photographer called Stephen, who took charge of the situation & led me off through a world slowly Halloweening up with ghoulish decorations. At Bruno’s the magic of Calcata kicked in, & an hour or so later, being passed around from house-to-house & person to person, we had a fuckin’ gig for Halloween in the piazza! The Saraswati reunion was on! Our main help came from Terril, a thirty-ish New Yorker who’d shacked up with an older Italian guy called Oswaldo.

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She found us guitars & a place to practice in this Dutch ladies theatre-cum-gallery complete with a beautiful grand piano on the stage. Waiting for the gig we spent our days lazing outside the 2,500-year old Etruscan caves we were camped by. I’d even found a bed & moved into one of them, while a much larger affair had been turned into something like a Hobbit-house, where we cooked on an open fire, the smoke billowing from a chimney somebody had hewn from the rock.

It was time for the gig itself. The warm up was cool, watching the kids in fancy dress trick or treating while I consumed copious amounts of red wine: you can get a litre of the stuff – that’s a bottle & a third – for 65p. After blagging guitars off the main band – a cover-chomping rockathon all in the English tongue – we went on stage to about 3000 people, who were all wandering through the narrow streets or bustling in the main piazza.

Somehow we pulled it off, with Victor dancing about like a hippy-Bez, blowing wild notes through his melodica. Up front Paul rattled confidently through a great set which had the piazza jumping, driven on by a drummer – Allessandro – who’d joined us half way through the set. It was there that I felt another of those cycles grow to a close. I guess I began my singing career on the streets of Burnley when I was about 8, plucking up the courage to knock on some old granny’s door to sing a rendition of ‘Halloweens coming.’ Roll on twenty-odd years & I had to do the same again, only this time the crowd was 3,000 rowdy & random Italians.

At the end of the gig a few folk even gave us cash – which as I write today is proving hard to spend. It’s All Souls Day, y’see, & Halloween derives from All Hallows Eve. To the Protestant traveler that means all the shops are shut & the restaurants are charging £30 for a seven course meal. Not expecting this, after we raved it up last night, including a wicked djembe session where I tamborined myself into wine-soaked bliss, we came back to our caves & gorged all the food, except for a bag of pasta & an apple.

Improvising, however, in proper Bear Gryls style, I cooked us some nettle-pasta, beefed up with the apple. Honestly, it was pretty tasty, spiced up with pepper & oregano it went down a treat. It was at this moment that Victor showed his middle-class roots, & had already made his mind up that anything with nettles in just had to be awful. I dont think he realised that up until about 100 years ago, nettles were an important part of the British diet. Anyhow, he sampled one pasta tube, declared the whole thing tasteless & plumped for a ten-pound chicken dish later in the day… which was so meagre & unsatisfying for him I even gave him a quarter of my later-day takeaway pizza to fill him up! He should have had the pasta methinks!

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Ah, the good old days! Roll on a nigh decade & I found myself composing Viriathus, drinking wine by the pool of a plush villa in Provence. We had a look at the pool, but soon covered it up again – early February means a bit of algae & no need for pool-use, I guess.

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The fridge was now full. We’d hitched a lift to Oraison in the morning off the lovely John Christmas (real name Jean-Noel), stocked up at the supermarket, then caught a taxi back to Dabisse for the day. And what a day, far from the Scottish chill and ended by a walk with Al for a sunset view over the Durance valley.

Some of those 21 degree sun-soaked, Senate-based Viriathus lines composed by the pool read like this ;

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Galba
Senators of our majestic city
& many other regions in its stride,
This treaty is, in the highest degree,
Dishonorable to all we stand for,
Staining Servilianus’ career,
Viriathus is a craved barbaric,
Beheading, disembowelling at will,
A bandit on an unsubsistive soil –
To him a border is a line to cross
To empty beaten innocents of blood
& topple pillars, pillaging obscene.

Lupius
Obscene? Objection! You paint him monster,
Humanity, his high ascendency,
Distributes unifying spiritus
That never in the passage of this war,
In armies of tribal variety,
Was ever spill’d sedition, all obey’d,
All fearless in the presence of danger –
As statesman he was neither humble-knee’d
Nor overbearing in leagues & treaties,
Faithful, exact, aequis, veritable,
Vir Duxque Magnus, ancient ideals
Penetrated atoms of existence,
& as the adsertur of Hispania
Let us assert our honour to his will
Make good his claims to the fame of the world,
Too many lost already in that place
We owe him our respect

Galba
We owe him death
The retributive slew for youth hard lost.

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So to yesterday – the ultimate object of this mission & a trip to La Grand Terre, the farmhouse of the Dominicis. It began in fine fashion with me & Spud arguing about how to get to Lurs – it was a case of his gammy leg versus my abundant energy & in the end the lads got a taxi & I walked the muddy Durance-side fields down to the bridge & back up the other side. I got to Lurs scrambling up its rocky slopes & arrived at its medieval core to see the lads waiting at the entrance. Once reunited we hit the old goat tracks down to the road, & using a little satnav orienteering came out at the very spot where the Drummonds were murdered. The poignant teddy bear shrine is testament to the locals’ indignation at the death of a child.

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Looking back from Lurs Terrace on the way I had walked – Dabisse is the village middle left & I walked by the Durance to the right of the photo

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Oraison is the town in the middle distance – I crossed the bridge there & walked to this point

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Approaching La Grand Terre

After La Grand Terre, I’d got it in my head that we could ford the Durance – Dabisse was more or less facing us on the other bank. The lads humoured me & watched me make tentative efforts on a scouting mission in the shallower bits – but the plan was soon aborted & we caught a taxi back. That night I ruminated in a Pendragon fashion on the Drummond murders & got a pretty plausible idea of what went on that night – which I’ll use in my composition.

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The next day we chilled in the sun til 2PM, caught a taxi to the station, then a train to Saint Antione, conducted a wee walk to our Air B&B off La Pennes Mirabeau, then caught the Rangers-Hibs game over beers. At 6AM we hired a lift off our landlord to the airport & we were finally in Edinburgh by 9.30 AM. On the flight I pretty much worked out the structure of the Dominic conchord – 4 acts with a cliffhanger ending each one – & began sketching it out on the inside cover of an Agatha Christie book I was reading on the holiday- A Pocketful of Rye. Just like Agatha I was going backwards from the ending, & there’s a chance I could have a wee Mousetrap on my hands if I get mi ‘ead down. With bangin’ tunes & Shakespearean blank verse, of course!

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THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

 

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Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Charlie: Scenes 18-23

SCENE 18 – The Maclean’s Village

Morag is working – enter Angus & Eric

Angus
Morag! Morag!

Morag
Angus, thank God

Angus
The boy needs help

Morag
Dinnae worry Eric, ya safe home now

Angus
You should be proud of those wounds lad – as big as medals they are

Morag
Where’s David

Angus
Steady yerself lass – he’s doon amang the deid noo – he was brave – he burst through their lines like a stag, but never came out again – it was a slaughter – I found Eric on my way out a that madness – but this is no turn to grieve lass – your son needs your help

Morag
Come here lad, let me wash & dress you wounds – I’ve a little gibean left, that will help

Angus
Where’s Megan

Morag
She went looking for Fergus, have ya seen him

Angus
He was alive – but I dinnae fancy his chances much – I’ve never seen anything like it – there must have been, what, a thoosand dead clansman on that field – the Flower of the Highlands – & on the way to Inverness, at least three hundred more, cut down by those blasted dragoons doing the black work of the de’il himself – I saw some poor Macgregors herded into a bothy & burnt alive

Eric squeals in pain

Morag
Its good for you lad, if it hurts it means its working

Angus
I’ll leave the lad with you, I’m going back to war

Morag
What, back! To war! Are ya mad or something?

Angus
I’m nae mad, I’m maddened, I’ve got tae carry on fighting, what else – the army, what’s left of ’em, are meeting at Ruthven Barracks – we must keep the struggle up else all shall be lost – they’ll drive us off the land, you know, replace us with sheep and cattle, we must keep on fighting – there must be another 20,000 highland soldiers what wasnae at Culloden – we can still win, Morag

Morag
It disnae bode well Angus

Eric
Aye father – there was many a lowland Scot fighting for the English on the moor – & there’ll be plenty more where those turncoats came from

Angus
To think that the Stewarts are descended from The Bruce himself – what a mess the country’s got itself into, eh? – & that’s why I have tae carry on – Morag, look after the boy, & bide well my love

Exit Angus

Morag
Here laddie, how are you feeling

Eric
F++kin’ sore

Morag
Language, Eric – you’ll be well in no time – wait, what’s that – I hear voices… they’re English – aw – we’ve got ta hide ya lad – come here

Morage drags Eric to a hiding place / Enter Cumberland & soldiers A&B

Cumberland
Come here old hag – yes, you – if you tell me where any rebels are hiding your life will be spared

Morag
Their arent any Jacobites around here m’lord

Cumberland
Don’t take me a fool, we know Duncan was with the Prince – men, seach the village

Soldier
Sir, look, a trail of blood

Cumberland
Follow it then, follow it

Soldier discovers Eric & drags him out

Cumberland
Well, well, what have we here – I warned you hag – kill them both

Morag
But I am a poor woman, & this laddie’s here wounded

Cumberland
That is of no consequence – he is a rebel & you are in league with him – in the name of justice King George you must both be put to death at once

Morag
No, dinnae!

Eric & Morag are shot in the heads

Cumberland
My boots – I have blood on my boots – next time take them into the woods or something

Soldier A
Sorry sir

Cumberland
No matter, good work, carry on the search then burn down the village


SCENE 19 – Ruthven Barracks

 – the surviving highlanders are gathering

Murray
O what a sight, oor brave unbroken clans
Three thousand claymores gathered ever proud
Far more than fought thro Killicrankie’s cloud
Or slaughter’d Johnnie cope at Prestonpans
Enough to battle through the coming days
Up in the hills where England fears to tread
Discovering all their unburied dead
By empty coats & bleached bones on the braes
For while we Highlanders together stand,
No conqueror these mountains can command!

Enter D’Eguiles

D’Eguiles
Attention! You brave soldiers of Scotland
I have a solemn message in my hand
Recently scrivven by the Prince of Wales –
“Alas! Our fate sea-shock’d by fortune’s gales
& I must sail to fight the war from France
& to en end has come this tragic dance
& to each man that here I leave behind
Pray do thy best by thee & thine own kind
God bless my brave, brave warriors, god bless,
Tho bravest bloom’d the heart our fate fared less! “

Maclean
Och – let him go, he was no man of arms
His frilly shirt could not defend oor farms
His pampered breast no match for highland brawn
Men like Angus Maclean the better born
A man that I have kenn’d as my own son
With him alive the war can still be won
Tho’ sixty his claymore again survives
As it has done nigh twenty times before
So let us cry aboot our bonnie land
As one clan let we noble clansmen stand

Lochiel
This is the volley of desperation
For the folly of a generation
Was at Culloden ever put to bed
What use a lethal asp without its head
What use a sword without an arm to draw
Without a cry of charge what use a roar
The catalyst of all oor unity
Returning to his distant Italy
Defending hame & family & clan
Now each must do the best that each man can

Angus
Gan, gan all of ye, gan back to your hames –
I kill’d at Killiecrankie for King James
At Sherrifmuir I slew a dozen men
At Prestonpans a dozen more ye ken
At Falkirk my count was upp’d to twenty
& at Culloden Moor I fell’d plenty
But what good has it done, I lost a son
& lucky here, for I lost only one
& tho I’ll always be a Jacobite,
Now only in my field-songs I shall fight

Exit the Highland army singing On the Sweet Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond

D’Eguiles
Alas that once impassion’d host
Left to the hanging tree
Now I must search the rocky coast
To join the prince’s ailing ghost
In pale solemnity

 


SCENE 20 – South Uist

Flora MacDonald is washing & singing with her Irish maid Betty

IF THIS IS SCOTLAND

Life, life, O what could it mean
Youre born & you die & ya stuffd inbetween
Whether dancing in Sanqaur sailing in Nairn
I’ve been a proud Scots lass since I was a Bairn
But if this is Scotland, then where are the maidens
& the men so proud to be free
If this is Scotland Then where is the freedom Wallace promised too me

Life, life, O what could it mean
Youre born & you die & theres stuff inbetween
Whether doon in Ardrossan or up Ullapool
I’ve been a proud Scots lass since I was at school

But if this is Scotland, then show me Highlands
Not these crmbling city jungles in decline & if this is Scotland
Then where is the kingdom the Bruce told me was rightfully mine

Life, life, o what could it mean Youre born & you die & ya stuffd inbetween
Whether doon in wee Gretna or up Aberdeen
I’ll always be scottish & proud o the gene

Whether courting in Glasgie or married in Fife
I’ll be a proud Scots lass the whole of my
Life, life’s no rehearsal in dress Ya born & ya die & ya live more or less
Whether doon in Port Seton or up Inverness
I’ll be a proud Scots lass, good night & god bless

A knock on the door

Flora
Answer that Betty

Enter Lochiel & Charlie

Lochiel
I would like to see Mrs Macdonald

Betty
You’d better come in lads

Lochiel
Mrs MacDonald

Flora
Hello lads – & who might you be

Lochiel
My name is Lochiel

Flora
& your friend

Charlie
My name is John

Lochiel
We have been travelling many days – we were told you may be… sympathetic… to a couple of weary travellers

Betty
Mrs Macdonald’s good nature is very famous through the Hebrides

Flora
Of course, gentlemen, we are all God’s children – take a seat – I have some porridge on the pot

Lochiel
That would be grand Mrs Macdonald

Flora
Please call me Flora – Betty, some porridge for the gentlemen

Betty
Here you go boys

Lochiel
Thank you

Betty
Your friend doesn’t say much

Charlie
Thank you madame

Betty
Aha, a French man – if you don’t mind me saying we don’t get many foreigners up here at the edge of the universe  – in fact the only Foreigners round here in recent times, & they were French alright, were all caught up at Culloden – were you at Culloden young man

Charlie
I was – but my name is not John – I am Charles Edward Stewart – son of James VIII, the rightful king of Scotland

Flora
My god! The prince! your highness

Betty
Bloody hell!

Flora
I am a proud Jacobite, sire – one day the Stuarts will return to the throne, mark my words

Lochiel
Long before that day we need to get the prince to Skye – a French ship is waiting for him there – can you help –

Betty
The Hebrides are crawling with redcoats – they patrol every inch of the coast

Flora
It’s going to be difficult – but hmmm… let me look at you your highness – quite tall – but I think with a spot of needlework we could make something fit – Betty, get me ome of your clothes – we are to dress the Prince up as you

Betty
You’ll have to stuff him up a little – but very well

Lochiel
The present situation makes me so angry – our rightful king forced to wear women’s clothing

Flora
Aye, theres full fifty folk & more have better claims & truer blood than that swine King George

Betty
You know there’s a £30 000 bounty on your head your highness – I’d never have to work again

Flora
Betty

Betty
I’m only jesting Mrs Macdonald

Charles
I appreciate a little humour – the past few months have been ones of constant nervous tension & & physical extremity

Betty gets a blouse & skirt

Betty
Here you are your highness

Charlie
Thank you Betty

Lochiel
Thank you so much Flora – you are a wee angel in all this darkness

Flora
I’m only doing my duty sir – now your highness, lets take a look at ya – ah you don’t make a bad lass at all

Lochiel
This could well work

Flora
Well, we wont know til we try – Betty, go & tell Rabbie we’ll be taking his boat to Skye – but not a word about our guests

Betty
Right you are Mrs Macdonald

Exit Betty

Charles
Thank you once again Flora – my father will be sure to reward you very handsomely

Flora
Just seeing you face & hearing your pretty voice is all I need, your highness


SCENE 21 – South Uist, a quayside

Rabbie is readying his boat / two British soldiers are observing

Soldier A
How the hell did he we end up here Pete

Soldier B
Its beautiful tho, innit,

Soldier A
Beautiful – since when was freezing yer bollox off beautiful

Soldier B
But look at the mountains & the sea & all that – its much better than back home

Soldier A
At least there’s women in Bradford

Soldier B
Well, of a sort

Soldier A
There’s nothing up here but hags & sheep – wait a minute, I take that back, there’s a couple of fine beauties coming right now – well, actually I don’t like yours much

Enter Flora & Charlie

Soldier A
Alright girls, what you up to

Flora
I am Flora MacDonald & this is my maid Betty, we are travelling to Skye to see relations

Soldiers look them up & down

Soldier
Your maid is one of the ugliest women I’ve ever seen

Flora
Do they not teach you dignity in England

Soldier A
I’m sorry miss – Pete apologise to the ladies

Soldier B
Sorry ma’am

Soldier A
Go on, on you go

Rabbie
This way girls

Flora & the Prince board Rabbie’s boat

Soldier A
We might as well go have a drink, eh – this one’s the only boat in the harbour – there’s nowt coming in

Soldier A
Good idea

Soldiers begin to leave

Soldier A
Wait a minute… ladies, we are on the lookout for the rebel & fugitive, Charles Edward Stewart – if you do so happen to see him we would be very much obliged if you could inform of us of ‘is whereabouts

Flora
Of course – you will be the first know

Soldier A
Good – right, happy sailing

Charlie
Good god, that was close

Flora
Just keep calm

Rabbie
Right, that’s us

The boat slips from the harbour / Enter Betty singing

SKYE BOAT SONG

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye

Loud the wind howls
Loud the waves roar
Thunderclaps rend the air
Baffled our foes
Stand by the shore
Follow they will not dare

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye

Many’s the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore did wield
When the night came
Silently lain
Dead on Colloden field

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet e’er the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.


SCENE 22 – Loch-nan-Uamh

20th September 1946 / The Bonnie Prince is ready to be picked up by a French ship / he waits by a loch with some locals & his followers – a boat comes into sight

Murray
Sir! look, a frigate – look, tis the L’Heureux
The flag o’ France there flapping mid the sail
By heaven’s grace the time has come tae go
Frae rock tae rock traversed the tangled trail
Ushering us to safety on these waves –
Nae more camping in the open weather
Nae more forest huts & nae more caves,
Nae more hiding in the purple heather,
Nae more eating cold oatmeal with sea-shell
Sir, did ye hear the splash, an anchor fell!

Charlie
My friends, this is the end I do suppose
The end of all our dreams & this the end
Of those brave days, the end of all our woes
& all the glory that we did intend
I beg thee to be free from misery
Tho I more hardship willing to endure
If it would help you & my poor contree
I swear in Paris I shall find the cure
Forever in my heart are those that fell
Good luck my friends I bid thee all fare well…

Duncan
Gid luck tae us! aye! that man has a nerve
The gaols are full of aw oor fighting men
They hae robbed us of aw oor native verve
Sae many butchers ride fae glen to glen
Scouring the contree wi’ bitter thunder
4Razing oor homes, raping oor ain lasses
& chorin cattle… laden wi’ plunder
They harry us frae peaks tae the passes
Oor pipes outlawed, weapons seized or hidden
& e’en the tartan whit’s bin forbidden!

Lochiel
Calm yersell man, we aw gave fer the cause
& ne’er pretty when men gan to the wars
A’ saw yer laughing back at Prestonpans
A’ saw yer dancing wi’ the other clans
Och! many chiefs have sacrificed their wealth
For yon young man, but still we toast his health
His white rose on oor hearts fore’er displayed
He jeopardis’d his life, through blood did wade,
To fight oor battles, aye! that man was brave!
I gan tae watch his boat frae Cluny’s cave…

Flora McDonald
Aye! there he goes, & well I hope he flies
His sleekit boat a lucky wind to win
Us common folk bless’d tae ha’ seen his eyes
Thir are few in this world that are akin
Altho he left the land worse than he found
& half oor lot be rotting on the Thames
The rest a petty word from bein’ bound
Only a bitter few his name condemns
For while the thistle grows upon the glen
He is a Bonnie Prince among all men

D’Eguiles
The Prince exchanges British life
For one of exiled royal
& tho’ his coming caused much strife
Both highland chief & farmer’s wife
Forever shall be loyal


SCENE 23 – A Highland Coastline

Enter Angus – he recites a poem

Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn
Thy banish’d peace, thy laurels torn!
Thy sons, for valour long renown’d,
Lie slaughter’d on their native ground;

Thy hospitable roofs no more
Invite the stranger to the door:—
In smoky ruins sunk they lie,
The monuments of cruelty.

Thy swains are famish’d on the rocks
Where once they fed their wanton flocks:
Thy ravish’d virgins shriek in vain;
Thy infants perish on the plain.

Thy towering spirit now is broke,
Thy neck is bended to the yoke:—
What foreign arms could never quell
By civil rage and rancour fell.

The rural pipe and merry lay
No more shall cheer the happy day;
No social scenes of gay delight
Beguile the dreary winter night;

No strains but those of sorrow flow,
And nought be heard but sounds of woe,—
While the pale phantoms of the slain
Glide nightly o’er the silent plain.

Yet, when the rage of battle ceased,
The victor’s soul was not appeased;—
The naked and forlorn must feel
Devouring flames and murdering steel!

The pious mother, doom’d to death,
Forsaken wanders o’er the heath:
The bleak wind whistles round her head,
Her helpless orphans cry for bread:

Bereft of shelter, food, and friend,
She views the shades of night descend;
And, stretch’d beneath the inclement skies,
Weeps o’er her tender babes, and dies.

And, spite of her insulting foe,
My sympathising verse shall flow.
Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn
Thy banish’d peace, thy laurels torn!

One by one the Highlanders, dead & alive, step out onto the stage

OVER THE WATER TO CHARLIE

Come boat me over, come ferry me o’er
Come boat me over tae Charlie
Hear the call once but never again
To carry me over tae Charlie

We’ll over the water, We’ll over the sea,
We’ll over the water to Charlie!
Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go,
And live or die wi’ Charlie!

I swear by moon and stars sae bright
Sun that shines sae dearly
If I had twenty thousand lives
I’d lose them all for Charlie

We’ll over the water, We’ll over the sea,
We’ll over the water to Charlie!
Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go,
And live or die wi’ Charlie!

It’s well I lo’e me Charlie’s name
Tho some there be abhor him
But O tae see Auld Nick gaun hame
And Charlie’s face afore him

We’ll over the water, We’ll over the sea,
We’ll over the water to Charlie!
Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go,
And live or die wi’ Charlie!

We’ll over the water, We’ll over the sea,
We’ll over the water to Charlie!
Come weal, come woe, we’ll gather and go,
And live or die wi’ Charlie!

Fin.


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

35062508_10156430365647520_5136386788406853632_n.jpg

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

 

Charlie: Scenes: 14-17

SCENE 14 – Culloden House

Charlie is discussing tactics with Lochiel – enter Murray & Duncan Maclean

Lochiel
Mah prince, ah have some grave & grievous news
The English are amassing cross the moor
& in two hours shall full assembled be
It seems the wily Duke of Cumberland
Ten times the measure of old Johnnie Cope
& drove his army hard upon our heels
We have but little time to make amends
Past choices have brought great disaster near
But thinking fast & thinking on our heels
Still may fat English confidence be slain

Charlie
The matter, then, must this day reach its head
& let our LORD this nation’s fate define
With all ye mighty, loyal men of mine
How we have marched, & fought, & how we bled
All for this single martial consequence
When I can feel the triumph in our bones
For princes have a right to sit on thrones
Ordain’d by Heaven’s prime omnipresence
How such hot things engage my appetite
How are the men who must this morning fight?

Maclean
Och! Nae so braw, mah prince, these men are tired
Murray’s night march has worn away their feet
But still to fight yer cause are full inspired
& tho they’ve barely had an oat to eat
Since Inverness, that’s twa days & a night,
They stand in yonder field like golden wheat
That when bent over swiftly stands aright
Still five thousand grand lads shall for ye stand
& none of them would shirk the coming fight
As long as ye still vocal in command

Murray
But sire, pray listen, let us prudence take
On boggy heath oor highland charge must break
We will be bees buzzing about the bears
& oor small cannon not a match for theirs
Let us remove oor army to the peaks
& wear the foe down oer the coming weeks
Upon the ground found in oor very blood
Where Wallace, Bruce & even Rob Roy stood
For if we fight this vital battle here
The price must be your father’s crown I fear

Charlie
Nonsense – nonsense – nonsense – nonsense – nonsense
I have listened to such ‘prudence’ before
By now I could be sat on England’s throne
But I was down at Derby led afool
I shall not quaff that same vile draught again
Alert the men & ready them for war
& tell them God is with their prince today
If they be with him too, now let us pray
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et
Spiritus Sancti – let faith fuel the fray

D’Eguiles
Crow clouds have gather’d oer the moor
Rain bleaches faces white
Both Hell & Heaven set in store
The fated victims of a war
Brought to its final fight


SCENE 15 – Drummossie Moor

The Highland Lines – the rain & wind drives into the faces of the Macleans

Eric
Look at that da, the English have never been so well ordered before

David
Never mind, they wont be in any kind of order once we’ve git in & at em – just look at whose gathered here today – many a braw clan & hardy warrior – chieftans, taxmen, tenants, subtenants all joined together as one beating heart – Frasers, Farquharsons, Macdonells, Grants, Mackenzies, Ogilvys, Gordons, Appins & Atholls – ah – it’s a stirring sight for a true-born highlander

The sound of Scottish cannon

Fergus
That’s our guns

Angus
The battles started lads – ready your pistols

The sound of English cannon

David
It sounds like they’ve got muckle more guns than us

Angus
Aye, look at the Macphearsons, theyre dropping like flies

David
Dinna worry lads – hold ya nerve – the Prince knows what he’s doing

Cannonball whizzes past them

Eric
Oor guns have gone silent – they dinna seem t o be working, ken

Fergus
They’re doin bloody murder to us – why don’t we charge

Angus
Chief – let us at the English bastards

Maclean
Have courage lads, for oor cause is righteous

Eric
It wont be long before those guns destroy every clansman on this field – – if we dally any longer what chance will we have

David
Aye, the boys right, lets charge em Duncan

Maclean
The Prince has not given the order yet – we stand

Cannonball rips into lines

Maclean
Come on boys, lets sing – show them we’ve still got fire in our bellies –

SCOTLAND THE BRAVE

Hark! When the night is falling
Hark! Hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling, down through the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits of the old Highland men.
Towering in gallant fame
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever, Scotland the brave.

Fergus is wounded by a cannoball

High in the misty Highlands,
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines from fair maidens’ eyes.
Far off in sunlit places,
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming for the homeland again.

Maclean
Look, the Appins are off – Mackintoshes are cgarging like wildcats – come on lads – I’ve had enough of this – its time to put an end to this sorry affair -with me Macleans – CHARGE!!!!


SCENE 16 – Drummossie Moor

The British Lines

Cumberland
Come see the Pretender in the distance,
His rascally & ragged rebel bands,
The Irish… & there look! the flag of France
At last those fools are fed into our hands!
From Lancaster, Carlisle & Falkirk Moor
He slipped my net, I thought him rather shrewd,
But this, a broken field of boggy moor,
All credence lacks, his choice seems rather crude,
& should, methinks, have shut up in the town…
Now ve princes contest the British crown!

Lord Bury
Most noble Duke, as I surveyed the moor
Close to those blasted pipes of shrieking skirl
Above me passed the first shots of the war…
& as you hear our answer is aswirl
Their lines harangued by wind & hail & sleet
With cannonballs theirs is a sorry lot
& hastening th’onset of their defeat
We rain upon them thick shards of grape shot
But wait! what is that roar? at last they charge!
Our guns shall seek the measure of their targe!

Wolfe
Sir, now your men in mortal combat meet,
All is confusion, noise, concern & heat
On the left the thickest of the fighting
Barrel’s brave boys on their broadswords biting
But of this day the king will never fret
Those heathen fall beneath infernal fire
Or spitted on an English bayonet
& on the right their charge shows no desire
Strict discipline & guts rip thro that shield
This godless place becomes their killing field

Cumberland
Orpheus to my ears! the fleeing shout
& come to a decision the matter
Tis strange to see the nation’s bravest rout
Those boasted broadswords not as they flatter
Not since Lord Noll had they such a thrashing
Let Lord Ancram pursue them with the horse
Hold no quarter, slaughter, sabres slashing
& extirpate that race as fighting force
Destroy clannism, burn their homes & grain
So these wretches shall never rise again!

Wolfe
Great tidings sir, when London hears the news
The oldest wines shall happily be drunk
The Bonnie Prince & all his bonnet blues
Into the freezing Moray Firth hath sunk
The flower of the highlander lies strewn
Upon this ghastly field & down the roads
Shall ride many a merciless dragoon
All to the weeping streets of Inverness
So far we have counted a thousand swords
Now raise a cry for Britain & God bless

D’Eguile
The crucial battle has been fought
The tartan torn & strewn
The fleeing rats so easy caught
& VENGEANCE shall cut Celtic throat
Beneath a weeping moon


SCENE 17 – Drummossie Moor

The Highland army is routing / Angus supports a wounded Eric across the field near to a wounded Fergus / the Bonnie Prince urging men to fight / Lochiel & Murray by him

Lochiel
The battle is lost sire

Charlie
Nonsense – where is everybody going, the battle may still be won, do your dare desert your Prince

Fergus
Angus, Angus, help me

Angus
Sorry, lad, my hands are full here wi mi grandson – you’re on your own boy

Fergus
Tell Rosie that I love her, will ya, & look after oor bairn

Charlie
Old man, put that fellow down, turn round & get back to the battle

Angus
Sod ya battle

Angus & Eric leave the field

Lochiel
You see, all is going to pot, you can be of no great succour, before so general a route which shall soon be – seize upon this opportunity, sire, & carry yourself away

Charlie
Very well – I shall see you all at Ruthven

Exit Charlie

Murray
Aye, run, ye cowardly Italian

Lochiel
I think we’d better go too, Lochiel, The Irish & the French are still holding their ground – they will buy us time to escape this place of death

Murray
Aye – it is an end to a bad affair – we must regroup at Ruthven – go swiftly & safely brother

Lochiel
Aye – & you, good luck, Ruthven is 40 miles, take the back roads by Cawdor Castle – I will see you at the barracks

Exit Lochiel & Murray / enter Rosie – she sees Fergus

Rosie
Fergus – och my boy, my love
{Fergus tries to speak, but coughs up blood}
No – don’t speak darling – let me see your wound

Rosie opens his shirt, the wound is massive / she turns away in disgust, then begins to sing

YE JACOBITES

Rosie
Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear, lend an ear,
Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear,
Ye Jacobites by name,
Your faults I will proclaim,
Your doctrines I must blame, you shall hear.

What is Right, and What is Wrang, by the law, by the law?
What is Right and what is Wrang by the law?
What is Right, and what is Wrang?
A short sword, and a lang,
A weak arm and a strang, for to draw.

What makes heroic strife, famed afar, famed afar?
What makes heroic strife famed afar?
What makes heroic strife?
To whet th’ assassin’s knife,
Or haunt a Parent’s life, wi’ bluidy war?

Then let your schemes alone, in the state, in the state,
Then let your schemes alone in the state.
Then let your schemes alone,
Adore the rising sun,
And leave a man alone, to his fate.

Enter British soldiers

Soldier One
Stop your damned singing woman

Soldier Two pushes her to one side & bayonets Fergus

Soldier Two
So you are pregnant are you, well, we certainly don’t want any babies with a claymore crying revenge now, do we

Soldier Two bayonets Rosie slowly in her belly – exit soldiers


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

35062508_10156430365647520_5136386788406853632_n.jpg

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Charlie: Scenes 9-13

SCENE 9 – London – King George II is sat on his throne reading the newspapers with his chancellor / enter Thomas Arne with three singers; Mrs. Cibber, Beard and Reinhold

Thomas
Your majesty

George
Mr Arne, a pleasure to see you once more

Thomas
The pleasure is all mine your majesty – I have finished the song & wish it to be sung in your presence

George II
Hmm, the ditty about me? Very well, sing it

Thomas
Your highness, may I present Mrs. Beard, Reinhold & mny sister Mrs Cibber

Cibber, Beard and Reinhold
Your highness

Thomas
Ladies… on the count of three.. one, two…

Cibber, Beard and Reinhold
God bless our Noble King,
God Save great George our King
God save the King:
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the king.

O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter thine enemies
And make them fall
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

From every latent foe
From the assassins blow
God save the King
O’er her thine arm extend
For Britain’s sake defend
Our mother, prince, and friend
God save the King

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring
May he sedition hush
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the King

George
Yes, very good, excellent even

Thomas
I am delighted his majesty likes it.

George
It sounds familiar somewhat

Thomas
It is an old tune, your highness, my mother says she heard it sung in the street when the Prince of Orange was hovering over the coast. There is a received opinion that it was written and composed for the Catholic Chapel of James II. I have merely adapted it for a better, more deserving, more godsent king.

Chancellor
Since the descent of the demon Stuart wolfchild on our islands, demonstrations of loyalty to the reigning house are in especial demand.

Thomas
Yes sire, all of London are in total abhorrence to the arbitrary schemes of our invidious enemies. I have written this song to coalesce their passions with an anthemic chorus. The song shall be having its debut tonight, sire. The entire male cast of the Drury Lane theatre announced shall be announcing their intention of forming a special unit of the Volunteer Defence Force. They will be giving a performance of Jonson’s The Alchemist, at which conclusion Mrs Cibber, Beard and Reinhold will be singing my new song.

Chancellor
The stage is the most loyal place in the three kingdoms, your majesty

Enter the Duke of Cumberland

Cumberland
The soldiers of your army would dispute that very much – what is more loyal than to die for your king

George II
William Augustus, how are you my boy

Cumberland
In excellent health & spirits father, & you

George
I have read the dispatches – the news is dire – that dreadful band of savages – freely allowed to roam across our sovereign soil – unchallenged! They have already taken Carlisle, & are now on their way into Lancashire – There has been a run on the Bank of England, both man & merchant fleeing to France – I am in half a mind to join them

Chancellor
Thanks to the rebellion, your majesties, all trade & business in the country are at quite a standstill

cumber2.png

The Duke of Cumberland

Cumberland
These disturbers of his majesty’s reign will not be in England long. The Highland race dwells within a nest of fickle constraint. Obstinate & proud its army shall boast its way to London, then at the first push of bayonet slink back to the mists from whence they came

George II
Son, you are too confident – those howling barbarians the terrify the troops – look what happened at Prestonpans

Cumberland
Father, my king, if I am allowed to marshal your armies then I shall bring a speedy & resolute end to this bloody affair

George II
Perhaps I shall marshal them myself

Cumberland
With all due respect father, this is not Flanders, nor is it Dettingen; these are not the cowardly French – these are Highlanders, merciless murderers & the devil’s own – if you are caught you shall be flayed alive & hung from every mercat cross in Scotland – let me fight this war for you father, for after all, if Charles Edward represents his own father on the field of battle – it is up to I to represent your sacred self

George II
Very well – the commission is yours – I shall pay you an extra 5,000 pounds a year – but tell me, how do you intend to challenge that terrifying Highland charge of theirs

Cumberland
I have given the matter my best – let me demonstrate – stand here father, now, you there, slowly charge at us with your right arm held high

Thomas
Me?

George II
Yes, you Mr Arne, do as my son says

Thomas
Like this?

Cumberland
That’s right, now charge the king, slowly

Thomas
The king?

George
Mr Arne!

Thomas
Sorry your majesty, of course…

Thomas slowly charges the king

Cumberland
The bayonet is no match for a claymore – but they have a weakness – here…
{Cumberland stabs underarm of Arne}
This is their Achilles heel, well Achilles armpit, a fleshy weak spot – If the army is well drilled enough to attack the man, not facing, but to his right, then we can nullify the highlanders

George
Brilliant – have the army instructed at once

Cumberland
It is already being drilled

George
My boy, we cannot show that damned snivelling species any mercy – none whatsoever. If Britain is ever to become great they must be extirpated from this island – we must succeed where the Romans & Longshanks failed – there wont be peace unless this entire island is subjugated – let commence the crusade for civilisation

Cumberland
God willing, it will be, I shall attend to it at once

Exit Cumberland

George II
Ah, Mr Arne, do your ladies know your other patriotic number, the one about not become slaves, or something

Arne
We have prepeared it, your majesty, just in case

George II
Yes do sing it, I like it very much

Thomas
Ladies… on the count of three.. one, two…

Cibber, Beard and Reinhold
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.


Scene 10 – Exeter House, Derby / the Prince has gathered his commanders for a council of war

Charlie
My cabinet, this is the vital hour
Carlisle has fallen, Lancashire is won
The bridge at Shakestone firmly in our power
The road lies open for to seize London
When English Jacobites shall surely rise
& with them all the gallantry of France
& crowns shall be reclaim’d, let’s grasp the prize
If we continue with our bold advance
We could be in Whitehall within the week
Come gentlemen, gather thy thoughts & speak

Lochiel
Ah would say march, your presence in this land
Has sparked a widespread panic rarely seen
If hardy Northern folk wo’ make a stand
The chances of the South standing seem lean
Friends o’ the King were the first dugs to flee
Spreading terror tae London’s grave concern
Whose banks are being emptied o’ money
Then whit will buy the bread their soldiers earn
While royal armies in their meagre league
Outmaneuvered & saddled wi’ fatigue.

Murray
My sacred liege, ye are the cavalier
& with advancing I cannot agree
At any point the redcoats may appear
We court romance or court reality
Cumberland is at Stone, not long delayed
Bradstreet says nine thousand at Northampton
Between us & the North their tarries Wade
& thirty thousand clog Finchley Common,
With winter coming in, the future blurr’d
Of yer promised Frenchmen there is no word…

Maclean
My liege, a’ speak for all the loyal clans
Warriors ready to gi ye their lives
It has been many moons since Prestonpans
They’d rather pass the winter wi’ their wives
No wi’ the English & their crude weather
Gi’ us the crystal lochs & thistle wylde
The meadows, the moorlands & the heather
Oor hearts are wi’ the glens, there let us war
Wi’ all those royal clansmen brutes reviled
Settle auld scores & Scotland overawe

Charlie
These words you bare are arrows to my heart
Why would ye want to waive the victory
If things shall not be finished, then why start
There seems some base betrayal close to me
But very well, tell my heroic men
Being unsure when Louis will invade
Let us retreat upon the sad morrow
When I hope this ardour shall never fade
For we may never come this way again
& this day be our eternal sorrow

D’Eguiles
Upon the march to London town
The Prince beset by spies
His Highlanders have let him down
He turns back north with weary frown
Hiding his teary eyes


Scene 10 – Northern England

The Highland army is marching back to Scotland

THE BONNY BANKS OF LOCH LOMOND

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonny braes
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond

For ye’ll take the high road
And I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye
For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond

Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen
On the steep, steep side o’ Ben Lomon’
Where in purple hue the Hieland hills we view
An’ the moon comin’ out in the gloaming

The wee birdies sing and the wild flow’rs spring
And in sunshine the waters are sleepin’;
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring
Tho’ the waefu’ may cease frae their greetin’

For ye’ll take the high road
And I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye
For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond

For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond


Scene 11 – The Maclean village

Morag & a pregnant Rosie are at work waulking & fulling cloth

Rosie
I tell you ma, the boys have it right easy, while they’re off seeing the world, getting up to god knows what, we’re left here doing twice the work – & me in my state

Morag
Get used to it lassie – you know, I’ve come to think that the reason the boys have their little feuds & rush off to war at the drop off a kilt, is just to get out of doing an honest days work on the crofts

Rosie
As if they do anyway

Enter Fergus

Fergus
That’s a little harsh don’t you think

Rosie
Fergus – my love – what are you doing here

Fergus
I thought I’d slip away to see ma wee sweetheart – I’m sick of war now anyway, all I want to do is hold you in my arms

Rosie
Ah Fergus, come here, I missed ya

They embrace

Morag
Its grand to see you, lad, how ya keeping

Fergus
Och I’m fine, a bit worn oot from trekking up & down the whole island, but I’m in good fettle

Rosie
Have you not noticed anything different about me Fergus

Fergus
Well, I didna wanna say, but you have filled out a wee bit like

Rosie
A wee bit!! I’m six months pregnant lad

Fergus
You are – am I –

Rosie
We’re gonna have a bairn

Fergus
My dear Rosie -you’ve made me the happiest man alive

Morag
& I the happiest woman – my first grandchild – so Fergus how are my boys

Fergus
Fine, fine, not a scratch – the last time I was with the army they were besieging Stirling- but its no way to wage a war that – Falkirk was fine – an open field & an open foe – but attacking castles – its not the Highland way – believe me, I’m not the only one to leave the lines in the middle of the night

Rosie
We’ve been worried – the rebellion seems to be slowing down, tae be coming back north day-by-day

Fergus
Aye – there’s gonna be a bloody reckoning & soon – the Prince is determined on it – his dynasty died at Derby I reckon – the lads have already started calling that damned day black Friday – I wasnae that bothered myself, I dinna wanna die for some perfumed French prince – especially when the most beautiful girl in the world was waiting for me back hame

Morag
That beautiful girl’s father wouldn’t appreciate that kind of talk Fergus – he’d think you were a coward

Fergus
Ah, bollox to princes & kings, Morag – I just want to do what’s right – Rosemary will ya marry me my darlin

Rosie
Of course I will Fergus Maclean

Morag
Aw you two love birds… let me go & cook you up a feast lad, you must be awfa hungry after that hike

Fergus
Aye that I am, I’ve only had a couple of biscuits in the past few days

Morag
Well it looks like I’ll have to kill us a chicken

Exit Morag

Rosie
I’m so glad to have you back darlin, its been too quiet without the lads around

Fergus
Ah you too Rosie – I saw no lass fairer than you in the whole of Scotland, & England to for that matter – you were always in my thoughts, morning noon & night – I’ve written a song on the way hame

Rosie
Have you

Fergus
Aye, well I worked oot that its 500 miles to derby – & 500 miles back – that’s a thoosand miles by ma reckoning – & every step of the way I was singing for you

500 MILES

When I wake up yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you
When I go out yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you
If I get drunk yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you
And if I haver yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door

When I’m working yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s working hard for you
And when the money comes in for the work I’ll do
I’ll pass almost every penny on to you

When I come home yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who comes back home to you
And if I grow old well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s growing old with you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door

When I’m lonely yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man whose lonely without you
When I’m dreaming yes I know I’m gonna dream
Dream about the time when I’m with you.

Enter Morag

Morag
Quick, Duncan’s coming

Rosie
O hide Fergus

Fergus
I’m nae gonna hide fae no-one

Enter Duncan

Duncan
So Fergus, you decided to take a wee holiday did ya

Fergus
What if I did – I’ve done my bit – Ive fought at Prestonpans & Falkirk – I’ve walk’d a thoosand miles risking ma life fae your prince

Duncan
Oor Prince

Fergus
Im not interested in princes, me – just my cattle, my soon-to-be wife, & oor new baby

Duncan
Look lad, don’t try ma patience – while I’m ya chief, ye’ll do as ya told – as long as you rent my land, you’re mine boy,

Fergus
No more war, sir, I cannot face it again

Duncan
Look, Fergus, we need every man doon Inverness, – while you are a Maclean you will do as you are told – if you don’t come, I’ll take all your cattle – & set fire to your rooves & wee Rosie’s as well –

Fergus
Ah thats not fair

Duncan
Its the Highland way

Fergus
Alright, I’ll come

Duncan
Good,you can help me round up the rest of deserters, starting with old Archibald & his sons

Fergus
See you when I’m back Rosie… I love you

Exit Duncan & Fergus

Morag
He’ll be fine love – hes a braw lad that one

Rosie
I’m following him mother- I have tae

Morag
You’re in no condition lass

Rosie
I’ve got to – I maight never see him again – I have to stick to him as a limpet clings to a sea-rock

Morag
Alright lass, but be careful, a bloodthirsty enemy pays no heed to sex or age

Rosie
I’ll be as cunning as a fox, mother, don’t you worry

Exit Rosie

Morag
Och, so I’ve just killed a chicken for nothing

————-

Scene 12 – The Macleans are marching through Scotland

MARCHING ON WITH CHARLIE

I’m marching on with Charlie
I’m marching far from home
& when I march wi Charlie
A never march alone
I got my chieftan stood beside me
& in that man I trust
I’ll always be a highlander
Until I’m turned to dust

We’re marching on with Charlie
We’re marching far from home
& when we march wi Charlie
We never march alone
I got my chieftan stood beside me
& in that man we trust
I’ll always be a highlander
Until I’m turned to dust

I am marching on, marching,
Marching on with Charlie Boy

I’m marching on wi Charlie
Im marching fight to fight
& when I march wi Charlie
I’ll always march wi might
Got my brothers stood beside me
As solid as the stones
I’ll always be a highlander
Until Im turned to bones

We’re marching on wi Charlie
We’re marching fight to fight
& when we march wi Charlie
We’ll always march wi might
Got my brothers stood beside me
& in that man we trust
I’ll always be a highlander
Until I’m turned to dust

I’m marching on wi Charlie
Up by the Moray Shore
I’m marchin on wi Charlie
Down to Drumossie Moor
I’ll find an English redcoat
& slice a bloody spray
I’ll always be a highlander
Until my dying day

Marching on, marching on,
Marching on with Charlie Boy


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock
Shakespeare off his feffin’ perch!”

 

35062508_10156430365647520_5136386788406853632_n.jpg

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Charlie: Scenes 5-8

Scene 5 : Edinburgh Cross

A crowd is anticipating the arrival of the Bonnie Prince. Two milkmaids, Jennie & Mary, are among them. Enter Annie, a third milkmaid.

Annie
Girls! The highland army has entered the city gates – their blue bonnets are bobbin up & down the Royal Mile like the waves on the windy Forth

Jenny
We should hide oorsells, I’ve heard tales of what that randy bunch of sex-starved maniacs get up to

Mary
I dinnae ken – I wouldn’t mind a bit of a highland fling, myself

Annie
Never mind the Highlanders, they’re but smelly bullocks the lot of em, but I’ve heard the Prince looks like an angel

Jenny
Good god, you’re right, here he comes now

Mary
He’s absolutely gorgeous

Jenny
Aye, look at his graceful mein & manly locks!

Annie
Hands off girls – I saw him first

Enter the Prince, Murray & Lochiel, with various other elements of the army

Murray
Welcome to Edinburgh, sir

Charlie
A most beautiful city – it reminds me somewhat of Firenze

Jenny
Oh my days – he sounds so sexy with that foreign accent

CHARLIE IS MY DARLIN’

Am Dm Am, Am F E am
E Am E Am, F C Dm Am E

Charlie he’s my darling,
my darling, my darling,
Charlie he’s my darling,
the young Chevalier.

Twas on a Monday mornin
Right early in the year
When Charlie came to our town
The Young Chevalier.

An’ Charlie he’s my darling,
my darling, my darling,
Charlie he’s my darling,
the young Chevalier.

As he cam’ marchin’ up the street
The city for to view
Right there he spied a bonnie lass
As she towards him drew

An’ Charlie he’s my darling,
my darling, my darling,
Charlie he’s my darling,
the young Chevalier.

Jenny sits on his knee

He set his Jenny on his knee,
All in his Highland dress;
For brawlie weel he ken’d the way
To please a bonny lass.

An’ Charlie he’s my darling,
my darling, my darling,
Charlie he’s my darling,
the young Chevalier.

Lochiel
You two girls, the Prince & his army will be needing milk, & lots of it – now get to work, & you will be suitably rewarded

Annie
But Jenny’s a milkmaid too, she should help

Charlie
Im afraid she will be attending to some personal business of mine

Murray
Now off with ya ya trollops, get to work

Mary & Annie
It’s upon yon heathery mountain,
And down yon scroggy glen,
We daur na gang a milking,
For Charlie and his men.

An’ Charlie he’s my darling, my darling, my darling,
Charlie he’s my darling, the young Chevalier.


Scene 6 – It is night, near Tranent

The Macleans are gather’d on the night before the Battle of Prestonpans

David
So son, are ye ready for yer first battle

Eric
Aye da – ah reckon so

David
Dinnae worry lad – Ive fought in five battles – & Ill be alive for five more

Angus
Stick with us & you’ll do no wrong Eric

Fergus
Dae ye have any advice Angus

Angus
All you need to do is shout like the devil & run like the wind

David
Then spill as much English blood as your god allows –

Angus
Aye, & dinnae let the sound of gunfire make your flesh cautious lads

Eric
What should I do when I’m face-to-face with a redcoat

David
Well boy – you look him straight in the eyeball… Then you kick him in the nuts & cut out his guts as he’s dropping – trust me, he wont be getting back up

Angus
Hey lads, have you seen my scars

Eric
Yes granda, aboot a thousand times

Angus
This one here’s the best – hand to hand combat with a seven foot English bastard – if he’d cut me just half an inch to the left he’d have had my heart oot

Fergus
What was your first battle like, Angus?

Angus
I remember it like it was yesterday – when I was barely a wee laddie I found myself marching with the redoubtable Dundee – doon at the pass of Killiecrankie – I fought under Lord George Murray on the very same field as Rob Roy McGregor & his mad rascals

Eric
I’m so excited for my first, I cannae wait

Angus
Ah, but grandson, war’s no pretty thing, I saw a lot of good lads die on those bloody slopes – let me sing you a song

THE BRAES OF KILLIEKRANKIE

An’ ye had been where I hae been
Ye wadna been sae cantie-o
An’ ye had seen what I hae seen
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie-o

I fought at land, I fought at sea
At hame I fought my auntie-o
But I met the Devil and Dundee
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie-o

The bauld pitcur fell in a furr
And Clavers gat a clankie-o
Or I had fed an Athol gled
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie-o

It’s nae shame, it’s nae shame
It’s nae shame to shank ye-o
There’s sour slaes on Athol braes
And the de’ils at Killiecrankie-o

An’ ye had been where I hae been
Ye wadna been sae cantie-o
An’ ye had seen what I hae seen
On the braes o’ Killiecrankie-o

Enter Maclean

Maclean
Boys, listen hear, you can save yer singing til after the battle – Lord Murray says we’ll be off at four in the morning – that’s two hours before dawn – apparently he’s found a track through the marshes so we’ll be coming right behind Jonnie Cope & his boys – they won’t stand a chance, that’s if you boys are up for it

David
You can count on us Duncan

Maclean
Good lads – I’ll see you all at four

David
You heard the chief, wed be better get some sleep boys, we’ll want tae have all us energy for the charge – good night to you all

All
Night

Fergus
Ah bollox! Has anyone got a spare blanket… Eric budge up pal – Let me share yours

Eric
Get off

Fergus
Go on…


Scene 7 – 21st September 1745, fields south of Prestonpans

The Bonnie Prince, Murray, Lochiel, Maclean & other chiefs are in counsel before the Battle of Prestonpans

Murray
Gorgeous morning yer highness, Prince of Wales
A wonderful manoeuvre come to pass
As the English sat at their stakes like snails
Yer army made its way thro the morass
Tracked thro the marshes, measuring their stealth
& now rest hard upon his other flank,
But not for long! the boys did toast yer health
& for this, Grace of God, did duly thank
Those men who eat dry crust & lie on straw
Shall fecht like kings, now watch them charge to war!

Charlie
Good work Lord Murray, now take up the right
A cannonball shall signal the attack
& now sir Jonathan your men must fight
Not slip away as at Corrieyairack
That cuckold marched two thirds of the kingdom
Not one chieftan has proffered him his sword
Let us announce the end of that empire
Ye gentlemen, ye warriors, now come
Join me in solemnity to our lord
‘Gloria Angele Dei!’ now men, fire!

After an exchange of artillery the Highland army embarks on its charge

Maclean
See how they gan! & what a gory sound
The highland roar, as if the Earth did quake
With furious groan, come see their cannons pound
Brave Camerons, line gis an awfa’ shake
But on they run! & wi’ a mighty crack
Oor muskets reap those eves o’ redcoat corn
& now they rush intae the killing ground,
By broadsword & scyth’d pitchfork limbs be torn
Carrying great slaughter to the English
To be in England, aye, their dying wish!

Lochiel
Sweet salutations sire, yer battles won
Peer thro the smoke & see those fleeing shapes
An entire English army on the run
Lord Percy shall see none of them escapes
The ghoul of Hanover must bare defeat
The field is littered with his bastard dead
Back to Berwick flies Jonnie Cope’s retreat
Wi’ not one of ‘is bayonets stain’d red
Tae praise this day there is nae better word
Tis Victory! God bless King James the Third

Charlie
Ours is the day, the field, the glory
Go spread its fame – fly north, south, east & west
Fly to Vienna, London & Paris,
Fly to Ferrol, Ostend, Dunkerque & Brest
& let us war! But ‘fore the march we sound
Carry the wounded to a better bed
At Holyrood let casks of wine be found
To toast our heroes & libate the dead
The motions of destiny are at hand,
Come tomorrow let us invade England

D’Eguiles
The Bonnie Prince has won the fray
Beside the fair Forth sands
The Highland army in his pay
Has never known a better day
Their fates are in his hands


Scene 8 : Tranent

The Macleans are gather’d after the battle

Angus
So Fergus, how did you find your first battle

Fergus
Aye, it was geat – I loved to see the English scattered like sheep

Angus
Aye, bottle-necked feartie-cats the lot of them

Eric
Here comes the chief

David & Duncan arrive with a barrel of Brandy & a bag of cups

David
Lads, the Prince has order’d casks of brandy to be opened to drink the king, his father’s health – each clan gets twa

Angus
Great stuff, I love a drop of the old French nectar

David
{Handing out the glasses}
Here you go lads

Duncan
To the King over the water

All
The King over the water

David
So lads, the chief’s got a few words to say

Duncan
Aye I do – a magnificent effort today lads, but its only the beginning – one battle does not make a war – grand estate or humble cottage, we clansmen of the north, we poet-patriots, have sworn to help the Prince in this enterprise wherever it may go – we will be inexcusable before god & man if we do not do all in their power to assist & support our undertaking, even into England if the Prince wills it – so ,enjoy tonight, you deserve it, & I’m sure there’ll many more nights like these as we march with Charlie

David
Well said, Duncan

Everybody
Aye

Angus
Let us shake hands with ruin & stare death in the eye, for the esteemed cause of King & Country

Fergus
Has somebody got a fiddle, lets get this party started!

HEY JOHNNIE COPE

The drums of war were sounding far,
When Johnnie Cope cam tae Dunbar,
When Johnnie Cope cam tae Dunbar,
Upon a misty Morning

Cope Sent a a Message tae Dunbar
Said; ‘Charlie meet me if you daur,
‘And I’ll learn you the arts of war,
‘If you’ll meet me in the morning’

Chorus:
Hey Johnnie Cope are you wauking yet,
Or are your drums a- beating yet?
If you were wauking I would wait,
Tae gang tae The Coals in the morning

When Charlie looked this letter upon,
He drew his sword the scabbard from,
Come follow me my merry men,
And we’ll meet Johnnie Cope in the morning.

When Johnnie Cope he heard o’ this,
He thought it wouldna be amiss,
To hae a horse in readiness,
To flee awa’ inthe morning.

Fye now Johnnie, get up and run,
The Highland bagpipes mak a din,
It’s better tae sleep in a hale skin.
For ’twill be a bloody morning.

When Johnnie Cope tae Dunbar came,
They spiered at him, ‘where’s a’ your men?’
‘The Deil confound me gin I ken,
For I left them a this morning.’

Now Jonnie troth, ye were na blate,
Tae come wi’ news o’ your ain defeat,
And leave your men in sic a straight
So early in the morning.

‘Faith’, quo Johnnie, ‘I had sic fegs,
Wi’ their claymores and their philabegs,
If I face them again Deil brak ma legs,
So I wish you a’ good morning.’


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

 

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Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen