Sunday, 24 February 2008

Whatever Happened to Ruby Kipper?

Quite excited to be invited to this project and hope to offer some useful contributions. My contribution is a monologue and I gladly welcome any feedback on this piece. Apologies for the length, but when read out loud it flies by.

Whatever Happened to Ruby Kipper?



Ruby's refrain:
“I held my heart within my hand
to give to my true love, but
he declined 'neath April skies
for fear of staining his cream shirt"

“Ere I'm arf kippered I am, I won't tell you why, but I will introduce me self; Ruby Kipper (pause) and Angelica, pet lamb side kick and conductor extraordinaire. Used to tread the old boards did me and her, sing and zing for our suppers - which usually turned out to be sprats on bread. Gawd, awful little devils, they'd lie on the bread looking like tin-soldiers in a grave and the smell didn't arf stick to Angelica's fur – lucky for me she liked them, would proper wolf them down. But, times being 'ard and all that, we had to take what we was given.

Now, I'll tell you about me and Angelica and the uvver acts we became acquainted wif. We was the electric act, see. I'd get on stage, do a little tap dance; but it was bleedin' 'ard sometimes to hear anyfing never mind me taps what wif all the hullabaloo going on. So anyway, I'd be tapping away, singing me song, sweet as a nut and then Angelica would trot on...and then...

Oh, listen - never mind that, I've just remembered sumfing, sumfing that's going round the 'alls at the moment that I want to tell you about and that I fink would tickle your fancy, that's if I'm not being too previous. It seems Dora the Dummy isn't the only one missing her partner in the world of entertainment. Dora's uvver 'arf Elsie, did a runner, leaving Dora to carry on the act just as a dummy on the stage; quite 'eart wrenching really to see her propped up on a chair donated from the local Sunday school; they took pity on her see, fort of 'er as like an orphan. Apparently what had happened was Dora had nipped to the ladies after a show only to come back and find a powder puff squew-whiff on Elsie's seat and the message: You can handle yourself without me – I'm sorry poppet! Written in lipstick on the dresser mirror! Rumour has it that she did off with Charlie, Mr Shandy's dummy. Charlie, the little teaser, was spotted the night of the trouble hanging round the stage door, fort he was hidden behind all the leavin's from the restaurant opposite on the other side of the alley. As a consequence, Mr Shandy has had to change his act now: Handy Mr Shandy. He makes his hand talk to the audience, makes 'im look like a proper little gentlemen wif his Tux on and drawn on face and little toupee, I fink it was made from Griselda's fur after she passed away (Quietly: She was Mr Shandy's 'amster). Mind you, I fink Mr Shandy takes a bit of lip from 'im, started getting above his station the uvver night. The gent started to back chat Mr Shandy, saying he'd be nuffing without him and that he was a better class act than him. Well the punters didn't like the gent givin' Shandy the old what for, they started getting rowdy and challenged him to a Paper,Scissors, Stone contest – the loser being frown out with the dregs from the barrels. Don't fink it's gonna last, Mr Shandy and his gentleman, could be anuvver split for poor Mr Shandy. But I don't fink the gent will have a leg to stand on, if you get me meaning.

But anyway, I was telling you about me and Angelica. There I'd be on the stage, I would tap and sing, as you do in this business, just to get the audience in the mood for a bit of light enter-tain-ment. You'll see what I mean. So, Angelica would trot on to the stage, being careful not to get her little 'ooves caught between the boards or slip on sumfing that had been chucked on earlier, and then I would sing:

Ruby had a little lamb its fleece was soft as ash;
And everywhere that Ruby went, the lamb went like a flash.
It followed her to work one day, which was a stroke of luck;
It made the punters laugh and play, to see a lamb of pluck.
And so did Ruby do a dance, and still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about till Ruby said “Cum'ere”.
"Why does the lamb love Ruby so?" the eager punters cry;
"Why, Ruby loves her lamb, you know cos she lights up the sky”.

So, at this point I would stroke Angelica quite vigorous like, showing my happiness at seeing 'er and then the sparks would start flying the more I stroked her. The crowd would go all of an-hush as Angelica lit up the atmosphere, looking like one of those accumulator fings I'd read about that would crackle and spark and make your hair stand on end.

Well, we made quite a name for our selves, bright lights of the big smoke. Nowhere to go but up in lights, living the high life for a time. But, of course, you soon learn that you can't keep going on up, because how would you know you were going up if you didn't go down? But we knew we were going up because how could you go down from where we was? And we knew we was going down when we didn't go up any more because we went up from being where we was which was down from the up we went to and then the coming down except it was quite a different sort of down...more like a stop than a down, so perhaps you could say we didn't go down but stayed up, but then how could we say we went up if we never came down? But it doesn't really matter now.

The last show we did was a real cracker. I came on, did all me lah-di-dah stuff, got to the point of stroking and cooing over Angelica which I did, when POOF! We went up in flames, quick as you like, a crackle and a bang before smouldering on stage rather like those fire-crackers that maime first before paffetically fizzling out, and all before a stunned audience. I knew I shouldn't have had that cheap gin off of Miss Parkin of Miss Parkin and her Perks, before the performance. The rest as they say is history, a story, herstory...erm, well, after that final curtain, we became post-humourously known as Kippered and Chops.

A voice interrupts: Excuse me...'scuse me...You've dropped your Coco Pops.

I beg your pardon? I'm recounting my contribution to the cultural life of London, and don't take too kindly to insolence and ...

The voice again: But you're in Tesco's.

I think you're quite misguided in your observation and should kindly refrain from interrupting Ruby Kipper, that's...who I am, who am I? Don't cha know, now look hear, see, chappie, (Ruby's voice fades out) have a banana, maybe it's because I'm a Londoner...


Vicki Carlin said...

love it! can imagine a right little scroty vaudevillian on a rickety stage...

Viv W said...

Welcome Ruby Kipper! Great to see a resurrection. Love the monologue but what happened to the classic line:- 'I didn't mind 'em frowing tomaters....just wish they hadn't left 'em in the tins!. A classic. Go girl!