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A little of what you know

See you, youze, you know fuck all—you know less than that chair over there. You see? You see that chair over there, thatís what you know.

Okay, Little John, give it a break will you, leave the poor guy alone.

I? I-ye, Iím not the foockin one saying everyone should move, am I? Did you hear me say that everyone should move? Itís your man here, who come in here and was standing there looking like Orson Welles inÖ no, whatís that film, not foockin Orson Welles, your man up the river in the barge with the crocodile, where your woman, Vivienne Leigh, no not fuckin Vivienne Leigh—Joe, who was it starred in that film with the man up the river in the barge?

Ingrid Bergman.

Thatís the one, Ingmar Bergman, no not that film, thatís not the one Iím thinking of, godÖ Okay, Iím fuckin pissed but I know what Iím saying, you know what I say? Donít get me wrong, my friend, itís not a criticism of you, come on, have a drink, Iíll buy you a drink, tell the barmaid, what is it? come on, Iíll get ye one. No, thatís a girlís drink, you donít want that piss, have a whisky, come on, Iíll stand you one. Oh fuck, I spent all my money, jesus, you know Iím so pissed, I admit, we had a party last night, you see that bloke at the end of the bar—MURPHY!—I was telling your man here, we had a party last night. You should have been there, four crates of fuckin beer, three bottles of whisky, a bit of the old wacky baccy, his sisterÖ do you know his sister? Rachel, she works at the hospital too. I knew her, she was the first person I met when I came here, I got a job where they were putting up the old Slaggit building and she was the barmaid in the Butt. Iíd just come back from Morocco with four pounds of hash and I cut it up in her flat—oooh we had some parties there. You know Rachel? lovely girl, she works for that big fuckin bloke now, whatís his name, your man with the cars—Slovo, thatís the one, big fuckin shit he is, and all. NO—no, straight up, that cunt could see you lying in the gutter and heíd fuckin spit on you, straight up, the guyís a wanker. You ask Murphy over there—MURPHY!—I was just telling him about Slovo, the manís a wanker, he wouldnít piss on you if you were on fire in the gutter, wouldnít want to waste his water. Itís true, I wouldnít give him the skin off my shit, that man, heíd stab you in the back as soon as look at you. And Iím not foockin jealous of him, all his money, he can keep it, look at me, Iíll die with nothing but Iíve had good times. You have to enjoy life donít you—you canít take it with you, I say, you might as well spend it while youíve got it.

Iíve earned good money, when they were putting up that new terminal at Gatwick, you know, the big one with all the fuckin glass, they brought it in from Italy, you know, all that glass came from Italy, and we were working nights, double time, then during the day weíd be down here on the beach, youíd get pissed out your brains, smoke some hash, sleep on the beach all day and then at night Tony-G would drive us all back, first thing, in the hut, everyone brought some food, Tony-G would cook it up, big spread, had a fuckin oven in there, he could cook anything, Tony-G, he couldíve been a cordon blue chef if heíd wanted, then youíd do a few hours work, as soon as the site manager had fucked off to see his woman, all the boys would get their heads down, get a few hours kip, a couple more hoursÖ what was I saying? O Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are callinÖ I like a hubbly-bubbly—you know, fill a hubbly-bubbly with red wine, fill the bowl with the some black hash, none of that Moroccan shit, good Lebanese or Afghani black, send you to heaven.

Can I steal a cigarette off you? Aye, youíre a gentleman and a scholarÖ You working around here? Youíre educated arenít you, got that look about you, read a lot of books. Murphy over there is a big reader of books, got a fucking library in his house, he has—MURPHY!—I was telling your man here about your library. How many books have you got? Thousands. Thousands. Heís a very deep man, Murphy. You should go and talk to him. He couldíve gone to Oxford or Cambridge, his dad was anÖ what do you call it, with the spine, the bloke who fixes your bonesÖ ortho-, no Iím pissed, I canít remember.

Little John, weíre going round to the Arden, are you coming?

Am I fuck. Iím staying here. They water their beer, down there, itís like piss, I told that miserable cunt Sonny, the landlord, and he told me I could drink somewhere else—cheeky bastid. Here, luv, get me another pint of the best stuff would you, thanks, darling. Howís your brother? Still in hospital? Her brother, Micky, mucky Micky the Mucker, forgot his key and was trying to climb into his flat and he fell right down into the basement yard. Broke both his ankles, his shoulder, one arm, cracked his head open. They said if he hadnít been pissed out his brains he wouldíve killed himself, poor bastid. Youíre not from around here then? Come on, shake my hand, forget about what I said before, thatís just the booze talking. See, Iíll talk to anyone, I donít care how posh they say they are, how many books theyíve read, how rich or poor, I donít give a fuck. Everyoneís the same to me—we all come from the same place and we all go to the same place. I know youíre not from Glasgow, you cunt, I meant your motherís fuckin fanny, didnít I—excuse my language—sorry, Rose, ah, ah, Iíll be good. I was just saying to your man here, weíre all the same, arenít we. You see, you can walk in here off the street, and Iíll talk to you. Iíll talk to anyone. Iíve always been like that, since I was this high. I take people the way I find Ďem and if they donít like it, fuck the bastids. Thatís the Celtic blood in me. I can go anywhere, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and that place in France, Brittany, and within five minutes Iíll be talking to someone, having a drink. Thatís the difference between the Celts and the English. The English are too used to ruling the world and having it their own way, theyíre too hoity-toity, shafting everyone. I donít mean you, I mean the race in general. Where are you from then? Well, itís just the same, you might as well be English—you speak English, donít you. You speak Scots? Kinnle a caunle at baith ends an itíll suin be duin—you know what that means? Fuck you do. What do you mean itís not Celtic? MURHPY! Your man here says that Scots is not CelticÖ Itís wah? Itís foockin Anglo-Saxon, no way, the Scottish came from Ireland, thatís why the music is the same, and the red hair and the white skin. I know my hair is black but my sister has got red hair and her skin is as white as that fridge there and you see her little bairns, both red-heads, but she married an Englishman, Tommy Mannick, you know him? Strong bastid, could pick you up with one hand, like thatÖ No, no, no, I saw him do it with my own eyes, one night in here, someone bet him, Hey, Tommy, I bet you canít pick Mikey up with one hand, and he did it right there, put his hand under the stool and lifted him up like youíd do a tray of drinks. Straight up, no joking. Are you taking the piss? Interbreeding? DNA? Iíll give you DNA, my father was Scottish, and my grandfather was Scottish, all the way back. Before the Saxons came, the whole of Britain was Celtic. They came in and pushed the Celts out to the edges. Even your Cornwall people, what do you call them, theyíre Celts, same blood. See, if you took blood from an Irishman, a Scotsman, and a Welshman, itís all the same, but itís different from an Englishman. I blame you people, if it wasnít for the English, thereíd still be one people, the same music, the same language, and you see their ironwork, the way they used to paint everything, was beautiful. Poetry, stories, music, the Celts were your people for stories. All the best English writers are Celts—Robbie Burns, Walter Scot, Bernard Shaw, even your man Oscar Wilde was Irish—thatís why they locked him up. Theyíd never have done that if heíd been English. Yeats. Who else? James Joyce, the most famous Irish writer. You go anywhere in Europe, youíll find a pub called the ĎJames Joyceí. Who else? That bloke who wrote Trainspotting, whatís his name? Youíve got it—Welsh, you see. You what? No way. MURPHY! Arenít the Celts one people? Your man here says they were about thirty-four tribes spread out all over Europe and interbred. Doesnít know what the fuck heís talking about. No-oo, come on, letís change the subject. You see this, drink it up, this is what makes all men the same.

So what do you do? Youíre a writer? Oh, fuck me, why didnít you say before? Put it there. Are you famous? Fuck me! MURPHY! Your man here is a writer. He wrote that book you told me about, the one where the man swaps places with the dog and runs away to Spain. What was it called? No, donít tell me—I never read it butÖ Thatís it. I was joking before, about the English, but youíre not English anyway, so you make this pub your local, youíll find me in here. If Iím not here, ask Rose, the barmaid, for Little John—everyone knows where I am.

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