BRIAN takes off his grey raincoat. He wears a dinner jacket. BRIAN
(To audience) I got back from my duties, playing my
bassoon for the Carlisle Amateur Symphony Orchestra.
We were accompanying the local amateurs in "Pirates
of Penzance," while Mother and Ruth were mesmerized
by television. (To "M") Did you watch anything?
No. TV's so puerile. It just highlights the despicable
characteristics of humans. And it's always about
ordinary people. Ugh.
Yes. Ordinary people are of no interest to me whatsoever. Mother!
(Waking up). Oh, you're back. How did it go, dear?
Oh no. (Gleefully anticipating one of Brian's funny disaster stories) What on earth happened?
It began well enough. (To Nina) Every now and then there's a
"hoodoo night" when everything seems to go wrong. Well this
evening a chum of mine, the second clarinettist, Alistair Goldie,
came up to a rather energetic section…(Brian chuckles helplessly) His huge black bow tie which is automated and clips
to the wings of his collar…Well it's rather weak with age! And
during one of these typical Sullivan two-two's in fast sixth
eighths time when we in "The Wind" are producing bar after bar
of staccato quavers…(He chuckles again) His Adam's apple
worked so violently…
RUTH shrieks and is nearly on the floor. NINA starts to laugh and choke at the same time. BRIAN
…the spring snapped and the bow tie took off … like a
malevolent black butterfly it flew right over the startled
heads of the second violinists… causing them to take swipes at it with their instruments!
They finish laughing.
You can be such fun Brian. I don't know why you don't
get a job on television as a comedian, you'd be much
better than the ones they have on. You could earn
some money for a change.
Thank you mother. I'll drop the BBC a line in the
Our family had such fun in the old days, Ruth, before
Puggy and Jack disappeared. As an outsider you can't
imagine how close knit we were. I was thinking and
laughing this morning over that ludicrous incident in
Stoke Canon and the piano chords. Do you remember,
It was on a bleak winter's night wasn't it?
Brian was still a schoolboy. We were all in the dining
room, round the pressure lamp which was our only
illumination, when we heard … several chords struck on
the piano in the drawing room.
Oh, my God.
Well, we all looked at each other with a wild surmise.
Daddy formed an investigatory procession…
…With himself in the lead, distinctly nervous.
Jack behind him . Then Brian, second. Then me with
little Joan clinging to me in terror. We all crept down
the dark corridor…Your father in the lead with a
…in great trepidation…
Nothing could we see or hear of course.
Gosh. I don't find that funny. It's sounds terrifying.
BRIAN sighs and tut-tuts. "M" leaves with a mischievous look.
Would you like a cup of Horlicks, Nina?
Nina? You're supposed to call me Rulor. You always
used to call me Rulor.
I don't remember…
Why don't you any more?
Oh, that ridiculous astrological name. Really, Mother!
My friends still call me Rulor!
(To RUTH) I should explain, darling, that when the
three were on their way to Amazonia, aboard the liner
to Rio, they shared a dinner table with an American
poseur called Zarh Pritchard. He explained that
vibrations of names had a lifelong effect. And he
convinced Daddy that the names "Percy Harrison
Fawcett" had been a serious obstacle to him all his life.
Well Daddy, who hated his names, immediately agreed
and fell for it all hook line and sinker. After
calculations, this parlour occultist worked out that if
Daddy changed his name to "Zahaz" his future success
was assured. Jack was also asking for trouble if he
persisted keeping his present name and only by
replacing it with "Sajas" would he have an easy path.
As for Raleigh Rimell…Well he could really expect the
worst with a name like that. But change it to "Roxor"
and all would be well. The three credulous explorers
seriously adopted these new names. It was a foolish
mistake. For a long tiring walk in rough country, one
sensibly wears shoes that have shaped themselves
comfortably to the feet - not new ones. I and Joan
were posted new names which we rejected absolutely
…but mother of course…
What a shame you didn't have more respect for your
father. Or your elder brother for that matter. You could
have gone on that final expedition. They would have
taken you, had you shown an iota of interest. You were
obsessed with steam trains. It's astonishing how little
intellect or creative ability you've acquired despite all
the schooling we've given you.