Thursday 5 January 2012

Having a conversation on an escalator

Barry said, ‘Talking to N. is like having a conversation on an escalator.’

 I said, ‘Do you mean it’s uphill work?’

‘No, I just get the impression that N. thinks the conversation has gone on long enough.’

Some people are constantly in transmit mode, unable or unwilling to receive. It is almost impossible to have a dialogue with such people as they are only interested in their view of the world and their experiences in it. A monologue is acceptable if it is delivered wittily from a stage or is a talk from an expert in a lecture hall; otherwise it kills conversation stone dead.

A monologue like the following is priceless.

My word, you do look queer (Bob Weston/Bert Lee) Monologue delivered by Stanley Holloway

I’ve been very poorly but now I feel prime,
I’ve been out today for the very first time.
I felt like a lad as I walked down the road,
Then I met Old Jones and he said, ‘Well, I’m blowed!
My word, you do look queer!
 My word, you do look queer!
Oh, dear! You look dreadful: you’ve had a near shave,
You look like a man with one foot in the grave.’
I said, ‘Bosh! I’m better: it’s true I’ve been ill.’
He said, ‘I’m delighted you’re better, but still,
I wish you’d a thousand for me in your will.
My word, you do look queer!’

That didn’t improve me, it quite put me back,
Still, I walked farther on, and I met Cousin Jack.
He looked at me hard and he murmured, ‘Gee whiz!
It’s like him! It can’t be! It isn’t! It is!
By gosh! Who’d have thought it? Well, well, I declare!
I’d never have known you except for your hair.
My word, you do look queer!
My word, you do look queer!
Your cheeks are all sunk and your colour’s all gone,
Your neck’s very scraggy, still, you’re getting on.
How old are you now? About fifty, that’s true.
Your father died that age, your mother did too.
Well, the black clothes I wore then’ll come in for you.
My word, you do look queer!

That really upset me; I felt quite cast down,
But I tried to buck up, and then up came old Brown.
He stared at me hard, then he solemnly said,
‘You shouldn’t be out, you should be home in bed.
I heard you were bad, well, I heard you were gone.
You look like a corpse with an overcoat on.
My word, you do look queer!
My word, you do look queer!
You’d best have a brandy before you drop dead.’
So, pale as a sheet, I crawled in the ‘King’s Head,’
The barmaid sobbed, ‘Oh, you poor fellow,’ and then
She said, ‘On the slate you owe just one pound ten,
You’d better pay up, we shan’t see you again.
My word, you do look queer!

My knees started knocking, I did feel so sad,
Then Brown said, ‘Don’t die in a pub, it looks bad.’
He said, ‘Come with me, I’ll show you what to do,
Now I’ve got a friend who’ll be useful to you.’
He led me to Black’s Undertaking Depot,
And Black, with some crepe round his hat said, ‘Hello.
My word, you do look queer!
My word, you do look queer!
Now we’ll fix you up for a trifling amount,
Now what do you say to a bit on account?’
I said, ‘I’m not dying!’ He said, ‘Don’t say that!
My business of late has been terribly flat,
But I’m telling my wife she can have that new hat!
My word, you do look queer!

I crawled in the street and I murmured, ‘I’m done.’
Then up came Old Jenkins and shouted, ‘Oh, son!’
My word, you do look well!
My word, you do look well!
You’re looking fine and in the pink!’
I shouted, ‘Am I? Come and have a drink!
You’ve put new life in me, I’m sounder than a bell.
By gad! There’s life in the old dog yet.
My word, I do feel well.’


  1. What a wonderful piece. I thoroughly enjoyed Stanley Holloway's delivery.

  2. That's an old one! Love it! Didn't Holloway do the monologue on "Our Albert"? I've got that somewhere on a tape. Don't think I have a tape player to play it on any more.

  3. That was a great monologue, I've always liked Stanley Holloway. It reminded me of when I had been depressed for awhile I met an old friend at the store. She kept saying, "You look so tired." lol

    I met a man at the casino who gave me a monologue on how global warming isn't happening. He really didn't listen to my point of view.

  4. So funny, Janice. Thanks! Perked me right up, then I remembered I didn't need perking because it's bed time.
    O well. Fun anyway.


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