So Little Time

 

by Muir and Norden, from the 1959 LP "Songs for Swinging Sellers". The parts were all played by Peter Sellers. "Nancy Lisbon" is, obviously, a reference to the journalist Nancy Spain, who was popular at the time the album was made.

Nancy Lisbon:
I wasn't keen on the assignment when my editor first handed it to me. "Do a feature on Major Rafe Ralph." There've been so many stories about Major Ralph, the colourful horse-dealer who's gone into the business of managing Rock and Roll stars. I mean, he personally discovered such disk names as Lennie Bronze, Clint Thigh, Matt Lust and such vocal groups as The Fleshpots, The Muckrakers. There were always five or six such up-and-coming rock stars living with him in his luxury flat in Mount Street, so it was, naturally, there I went to get my interview.

Rock and roll record is heard in background, fades under dialogue, but continues throughout interview

Major Ralph:
These rock and roll boys are big business now.
Nancy:
But it must be so very different, going from horse-trading to rock and roll singers.
Major:
Well of course it is - I mean, horses have got a better ear for music! Ha ha ha ha! Have you ever seen a rock and roll singer, Miss Lisbon? I mean - er - have you ever seen one up close?
Nancy:
Well no, I'm mostly on book-reviewing...
Major:
Well, er, a good specimen, he's about seventeen or eighteen years old, about five foot ten fully extended, sagging to about five foot four in the singing position. Points to look for are: forehead - well, there shouldn't be more than about half an inch of that. Plenty of mouth, the lower lip permanently slack, and 'ware of possible fallen arches. They save a lot of trouble in mid-career, you know.
Nancy:
I suppose a nice musical singing voice is what you look out for. Is that right?
Major:
(chuckles) By Jove yes! First sign of that and out he goes, what! (laughs)
Nancy:
To me, the most fascinating part is that you always have five or six of these rock and roll stars in your own home.
Major:
Well, it's not all that eccentric - I mean, some of them can be house-trained with a little patience! (laughs) Would you - would you like to see one? Get one for you...

Door opens, and we hear the sound of thick crepe soles crossing the floor. This is Twit Conway, a moron who sounds like Bluebottle's teen-age brother...

Twit:
Yeah - er - Major - some rotten hound's pinched the strings off my guitar! Look! (pats the guitar)
Major:
You've got the guitar on back-to-front! How many times must I tell you, the hole points away from you!
Twit:
Cuh! So much to learn - so little time!
Major:
And you should know better than to enter this part of the flat. It's in yer contract - where the carpet begins, you halt! Now, which one are you, anyway?
Twit:
Er - Cyril Rumble.
Major:
Not your real name, the name I gave you. For heaven's sake, I've embroidered it on yer T-shirt for you, look there, man. Look there! There! Between the sunset and the coconut palms.
Twit:
Oh yeah - er... I'm - Twit Conway.
Major:
Try and remember it in future. Come over here now, come over here and meet Miss...come on! Faster, faster, faster!
Twit:
(over sound of crepe soles) I can't walk any faster! S'these crepe soles - I'm so 'igh off the ground!
Major:
Keep yourself against the wall... What have you done to your blue jeans?
Twit:
I 'ad to cut the knees out, Major, I - I 'ad to cut 'em out - they were so tight my kneecaps wen' all green!
Major:
Well you're not going on television looking like that. You just borrow my fountain pen and ink in where the flesh shows. Now I want you to meet this lady sitting in the armchair - she's from a newspaper.
Nancy:
Hello! I'm a journalist - my name is Nancy Lisbon. I should so much like to do a story on you - I mean, you as a person. What does it - tell me, what does it feel like to suddenly find yourself a teenage idol?
Twit:
Well - uh - it don't make much diff'rence reely, I mean - I was idle before I was a teenager.
Major:
(quickly) Heh! - no, no, what - er - the lad is trying to say - er - Miss Lisbon, is that success has not spoiled him. He is still the same Twit he always was. Right lad?
Twit:
Er - yeah - er that's... what I shoulda said, yeah.
Major:
Of course it's what you should have said! Now don't be nervous, lad! Just remember our lessons on how to answer press questions. Just bear in mind what you've been told to say.
Nancy:
Well, Twit, do you want to stay a rock and roll singer all your life? I mean - what is your ultimate ambition?
Twit:
(a two-beat pause) Er - we are just good friends.
Major:
That is the answer to another question! Remember? The answer to this one is: I want to become an all-round...
Twit:
Oh yeah! Er - I wanter become an all round.
Major:
(sotto voce)Entertainer!
Twit:
Er - entertainer, yeah. Um, my dream is one day to play Old Vic in Shakespeare.
Nancy:
Oh - how sweet! You are fond of Shakespeare?
Twit:
Eh?
Nancy:
Are you fond of Shakespeare?
Twit:
Er - we are just good friends.
Major:
Unh! He's rather shy still...just a sweet, lovable lad, natural, fun-loving and a good son to his old mother and father. Uh - tell Miss Lisbon how you look after your parents, Conway.
Twit:
'oo?
Major:
Your parents - your mother and father.
Twit:
Oh - yeah - um - now that I've got some money I've been able to move my old mum and dad into a small 'ouse.
Nancy:
I bet they're delighted.
Twit:
No they ain't; they was in a big 'ouse. It was the Major's idea, y'see, he said "You evict 'em an' I'll flog the le...

Sound of a slap

Major:
Eh - I think Miss Lisbon's probably had enough of that - uh - well Conway, best you go to your quarters. Tell Vince and Donny I'll be along very soon for some hip-twitching practice.
Twit:
Alright sir - well - uh - goodbye Miss Lisbon.
Nancy:
Goodbye, Twit, and if you think of anything further, here's my card. Hmm - I think I'd better be getting along too, Major.
Major:
Right, well I'll see you to the front door. I trust, Miss Lisbon, you won't go writing any of those nasty, lurid stories about my kids, I mean, you saw Conway for yourself. He's just as normal and well-balanced as any other seventeen-year-old ex-plasterer's-mate suddenly earning a thousand quid a week. (Laughs)
Nancy:
Yes, it has made me think.
Major:
And don't you go making me out to be a sort of profiteering Svengali, will you? I mean, these boys stay here willingly, because to them I'm a - well I'm almost a second father. We enjoy a very beautiful relationship. Beautiful, Miss Lisbon, because it is - it is based on trust, mutual trust.
Nancy:
It's a very rare quality in this modern world, Major.
Major:
It is indeed, yes. Er - don't touch the doorknob - it's got two thousand volts running through it. Ahem. Well, Goodnight, Miss Lisbon.
Nancy:
Goodnight, Major.

The door closes