The Pipes, the Pipes!
A Play by
The Pipes, the Pipes! A situation comedy play.
Copyright © Steve Howrie 2003
The right of Steve Howrie to be identified as the Author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed or electronic reviews.
Cover design by Steve Howrie.
The Pipes, the Pipes! was initially written as a ten minute ‘Tartan Short’ for television, and later extended to become a forty minute radio play. In 2006, Bute Players, a local drama group based on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, were looking for a locally written play for their next project and approached Bute Writers’ Group, of which I was an active member at the time. I was naturally very pleased when they liked the play on first reading, and there seemed to be no problem at all to adapt the play to stage. As a writer, it is one of the best feelings in the World to see your creation come alive on stage, and I will never forget the hard work and enthusiasm that Bute Players put into ‘The Pipes’ at the Rothesay Pavilion, Bute, ten years ago. A fantastic performance, and even funnier than I could have imagined!
I hope you enjoy reading this script, and if you are involved in a local drama group, or perhaps radio, and are interested in staging the play, you can contact me through my Shakespir page.
Dan Hunter: Main character, bagpipe addict.
Judith Hunter: Dan’s wife.
Simon: Chairman of the Gardening Club; is in love with Judith.
Jo: Simon’s wife.
Brian: Friend of Dan’s, secret bagpipe player.
Liz: Brian’s wife.
Roger: Old university friend of Dan.
Gill & John: Roger’s flat-mates in London.
Frank, Laura: Former friends of Dan’s.
Sheila: Australian bagpipe addict.
Abbreviations used in this script:
INT = Interior
EXT = Exterior
F/X = Sound and other effects
GRAMS = Music being played.
(D) Denotes the sound of a voice over the telephone .
SCENE 1: INT. DAY – UPSTAIR BEDROOM IN THE HUNTER HOUSEHOLD.
F/X: DAN PLAYING THE BAGPIPES (MULL OF KINTYRE).
JUDITH: (Shouting above noise) Dan! Dan! I can’t hear myself think. (TO HERSELF) Oh, god – this is the final bloody straw.
F/X: JUDITH RUNNING UPSTAIRS. BANGS ON THE DOOR REPEATEDLY UNTIL DAN STOPS.
DAN: Sorry Judith – did you say something?
JUDITH: Don’t you remember what we talked about? You can hear those bloody things halfway down the street. What’s going to happen if we’re reported?
DAN: You know it’s not against the law yet – as long as it’s in my own house, for my own enjoyment.
JUDITH: But what about me? Do you see me enjoying myself? I’m at my wits end, Dan.
DAN: You used to like the sound. When we got married…
JUDITH: Yes, when we got married I thought it was a nice touch to have the bagpipes playing as we walked down the aisle. I didn’t know it was going to continue for the next ten-and-a-half bloody years! Anyway, Simon’s coming over, so you’d better put them away.
DAN: Not green-fingered, moss-eating Simon!
JUDITH: He’s the Chairman of the Gardening Club, Dan… you ought to give him some respect. What’s he ever done to you?
DAN: It’s what he wants to do to you that worries me. I’ve seen that evil look in his beady green eyes – it’s the look of a dirty lecher.
JUDITH: And I suppose you’d know, would you?
DAN: Oh aye, I did plenty of leaching at Uni (PAUSE). You’re not having an affair with Simon are you?
JUDITH: Dan! Don’t be so ridiculous!
DAN: Oh don’t worry – Simon’s the last person I can see you with. Talking about muck and herbaceous borders all the time – I don’t know how you can stand it. (PAUSE). I’ve been thinking about what you said, though… you know, about me having everything the way I want it one week, and you having things the way you’d like the next. It’s only for a couple of weeks, but perhaps it’ll make us appreciate each other more. It might even make us a little more tolerant.
JUDITH: And you won’t say a word… I mean, you won’t suddenly say ‘Oh, I can’t do that’ or try to steer things round to the way you want things – with your usual undermining?
DAN: As I said, everything will be exactly the way you want it, and I won’t interfere, judge, or in any way influence your decisions. And I’d expect the same from you.
JUDITH: All right then. When do we start?
DAN: Well, we can start right now, if you like.
JUDITH: Okay. For the first week, I’d like you to go and live somewhere else.
JUDITH: You heard.
DAN: You can’t be serious!
JUDITH: I am. That’s the only way there can be harmony in this house – and I won’t have to listen to that unbearable noise.
DAN: But that’s ridiculous! That’s not harmony… that’s… that’s madness! And if this is just about the pipes, I’ve told you: I can give them up.
JUDITH: Yes, Dan – you’ve told me many, many times – but you’ve never actually done it.
DAN: I can change, Judith, I know I can.
JUDITH: You agreed Dan – it was your idea. You said I could have everything exactly the way I want it.
DAN: I know – but not like this! Tell me this is a joke.
JUDITH: Do you see me laughing?
DAN: There must be some other way. Surely you don’t want to get rid of me for a whole week?
JUDITH: A month would be better… but you said a week, so fair’s fair.
DAN: I don’t believe it!
JUDITH: Well, go on then – pack your bags. Or do you want me to do it for you?
DAN: No, No – I’ll do it. (OFF) I really can’t believe she’d do this…
F/X: DAN WALKING SLOWLY UPSTAIRS
JUDITH: (CALLING AFTER HIM) And don’t forget the bagpipes…
GRAMS: LONDONDERRY. FIRST TWO BARS OF VERSE 1
SCENE 2: INT – SMALL HOTEL – NIGHT.
DAN PUTS DOWN HIS LUGGAGE AND RINGS BELL
THE LANDLORD IS STANDING BEHIND THE RECEPTION DESK LOOKING AT HIS MOBILE PHONE.
F/X: RADIO PLAYING IN BACKGROUND
LANDLORD: (BORED) Yes?
DAN: I’m looking for a room for a few days.
LANDLORD: A room you say?
DAN: That’s right.
LANDLORD: For a few days?
LANDLORD: You’re not a bagpipe player are you?
DAN: (DEFENSIVELY) Why do you say that?
LANDLORD: It’s that piece of tartan sticking out of your suitcase.
DAN: Oh… that’s my kilt.
LANDLORD: So why does it have a mouthpiece sticking out of it?
DAN: Oh, all right – so they are bagpipes. Your sign says ‘Musicians Welcome’.
LANDLORD: Musicians, yes – but you play the pipes.
DAN: What, is it such a crime?
LANDLORD: No – not yet… if it’s for your own ‘recreation’. But if I had my way…
DAN: So any chance of a…
THE LANDLORD PICKS UP A SIGN SAYING ‘NO VACANCIES’, PLACES IT ON THE DESK AND WALKS AWAY.
DAN USING HIS MOBILE TO CALL FRIENDS.
F/X: DIALING A NUMBER.
DAN: Frank, hi – it’s me, Dan. How are you doing? That’s great. Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Look Frank, I’m in a bit of a fix and I need somewhere to stay for the week. Nothing special – your couch would do. The bagpipes? Yeah, still got them – but I haven’t played them for ages. Why do you ask that? Look, there’s no need for that Frank… you’d stick them where? Oh really?
F/X: DIALING ANOTHER NUMBER
DAN: Hello – is that Laura? Hi it’s me, Dan – do you remember? (PAUSE) Hello, hello…. Laura? Laura? (SHE RINGS OFF). Fuck!
F/X: DIALING ANOTHER NUMBER.
DAN: Brian – long time no see! Music? No, haven’t done any for ages. Why do you ask? You used to like my playing? What, really? You don’t mean the pipes do you? Yes? Well that’s fantastic – good to hear that (PAUSE). Look Brian, Judith and I are having a sort of ‘separation thing’ – you know, trying a week apart (PAUSE). Your place? Really? Well that would be great – only for a week. Brilliant. I’ll be round soon… bye.
SCENE 3: INT. BRIAN’S HOUSE, HALLWAY, EVENING.
F/X: TELEVISION ON IN BACKGROUND
DAN: You don’t know how much this means to me, Brian – I really appreciate it. I didn’t know how much you liked the pipes…
F/X: BRIAN CLOSES LOUNGE DOOR – TV DOWN.
BRIAN: (LOW) Shhh… Liz is next door – she can’t stand the things. You didn’t bring them with you, did you?
DAN: Well yes, I thought you said you liked them…?
BRIAN: I do – yes, but Liz…. Oh god, I should have said on the phone. Look, you’ll have to hide them outside somewhere… she’ll go berserk if she finds them.
BRIAN: Yes. What about the garage – she never goes in there.
DAN: (wounded) Well, okay Brian, no problem…
GRAMS: LONDONDERRY AIR. FIRST TWO BARS OF VERSE 2.
SCENE 4: JUDITH’S HOUSE, INT, EVENING
F/X: JUDITH AND SIMON DRINKING WINE
SIMON: Have another top-up Judith.
JUDITH: Oh I shouldn’t really…
SIMON: Go on, we need to finish the bottle. And you’re not working tomorrow.
JUDITH: Okay – just a drop then.
F/X: POURING TWO GLASSES OF WINE
JUDITH: I’m very impressed that you can make your own wine, Simon. I really didn’t know you could make it from deadly nightshade either… isn’t that poisonous?
SIMON: Oh, to those not in the know – I suppose it is. But I’ve been studying the methods of the Nubara Indian tribe in the Amazon Basin. They’ve been extracting poisons and toxins from plants for hundreds of years. I reckon I could make wine from just about anything. Cheers.
F/X: GLASSES CHINKING – SUPPING WINE
SIMON: You know, from making this wine, I’ve got a bucket-load of poisonous, murky liquid in the garage – if you’ve got any use for it.
JUDITH: Oh, there’s at least one person that springs to mind.
SIMON: What is it with you and Dan, Judith? Seven year itch?
JUDITH: Oh it’s his habit, you know… the pipes. I’ve tried everything I can to help him give them up. It’s ruining his life and he can’t see it. He says he’s got it under control and can stop anytime, but he just gets deeper and deeper into it. The really scary thing is… he’s started pushing them onto young people…
SIMON: You don’t mean he actually…?
JUDITH: Aye – he’s started teaching the pipes at a youth club. And you know how it is at that age – they all want to try something new, always wanting to rebel. And once they get hooked, it’s a vicious circle. The next thing you know they’re buying their own pipes and playing Mull of Kintyre.
SIMON: Oh that’s sad, Judith, really sad. I didn’t know Dan was in so deep.
JUDITH: The worst thing is… he doesn’t realise it. I’ve told him it can’t go on. If the police find out, we’ll both be in serious trouble – and I’m not going to prison just because of his habit.
SIMON: You’re right, Judith. It’s amazing you’ve stood it for so long.
JUDITH: Anyway, he’s got a week to think things over. If he can’t give them up after that, then that’s it.
SIMON: Here, last drop in the bottle.
F/X: WINE BEING POURED
SIMON: You know, I’ve got some fantastic rose-petal wine just about ready to decant – I’ll drop some round to you, if you like.
JUDITH: Mmm.. that sounds good – thanks.
SIMON: Have you ever thought of having a rose named after you, Judith?
JUDITH: A rose? No – I didn’t think you could do that.
SIMON: Oh you can – if you know the right people. And I do know the right people. It would have to be a very special rose, though. A hybrid. A dark, sexy rose, with a slender stem and beautiful scent… an attraction that no man can resist. A rose that overpowers the senses and drives men wild…
JUDITH: Oh Simon, you’re making me blush!
SIMON: You know, I’ve always fancied you, Judith – ever since that first committee meeting. And now I think… I think…
JUDITH: Don’t stop, Simon…
SIMON: I think I’m in love with you. And my love is like…
JUDITH: A red, red rose?
SIMON: … A garden. A garden that started as a barren wasteland; then you arrived, and overnight it came to life – borders shooting up, flowers bursting forth, roses blooming…
JUDITH: Blooming roses…
SIMON: Oh Judith…
JUDITH: Oh Simon…
F/X: THEY EMBRACE PASSIONATELY
SCENE 5: INT. BRIAN’S HOUSE – DAY
f/x: DAN & BRIAN FINISHING DINNER
DAN: Well, that was a fantastic dinner, Brian. And my last here for a while, I guess.
BRIAN: Dan, I…
DAN: I can’t believe this week has gone so quickly, can you?
BRIAN: No, but…
DAN: Oh, just remembered – I said I’d call Judith. Okay to use your phone?
BRIAN: Yes, fine – go ahead. But Dan…
F/X: PICKS UP THE TELEPHONE RECEIVER AND DIALS. TELEPHONE RINGS IN JUDITH’S HOUSE.
JUDITH: (D) Dan! The week’s not up already, is it?
DAN: Yep, that’s us. So I’ll be back tomorrow…
JUDITH: (D) What about the pipes – have you still got them?
DAN: Well, I haven’t totally given them up – if that’s what you mean. It’s hard you know.
JUDITH: (D) The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders seemed to have managed it…
DAN: What, all of them? Totally cured?
JUDITH: (D) Yes – at one of those new clinics.
DAN: Well, it must work then. But it must be easier in a group – mutual support and all that.
JUDITH: (D) Look, Dan – something’s come up: I need another week.
DAN: But you can’t – it’s my week – we agreed…
JUDITH: (D) I’m sorry, Dan – but I really need this. I’ll explain later… I’ve got to go now.
F/X: TELEPHONE DISCONNECTS
DAN: Judith, Judith! Shit.
DAN: Would you believe it – she wants to hang on for another week. Is that all right, Brian?
BRIAN: I’m sorry, Dan, but it’s not. I’ve been trying to tell you… (PAUSE). She’s found them.
DAN: What, the pipes? Liz?
DAN: Oh, sod it. What’s she done with them?
BRIAN: Oh, there’s nothing much left, I’m afraid – smashed them to bits. But worse than that, she’s chucked me out.
DAN: But she can’t – it’s not your fault…
BRIAN: ‘Harbouring a criminal’ – that’s how she sees it.
DAN: Oh god, Brian – I’m really sorry. What are you going to do? Where are you going to go?
BRIAN: I dunno – haven’t thought about it yet. Perhaps I’ll call Hamish – he’s a sympathizer. He used to play for the Rothesay Pipe Band a few years ago. What about you?
DAN: I suppose I’ll try a hotel – I’ve heard there’s one that takes in people like us. I’ve got no real friends left now – except you, mate.
BRIAN: What about your friend Roger? You were quite pally with him at University, weren’t you?
DAN: He’s moved down to London, so I hear. But it’s a thought though. I’ve got half-term coming up soon – I could give him a call.
BRIAN: Well, take care, Dan – and keep in touch.
DAN: Cheers, Brian (PAUSE). Er, I don’t suppose you’ve still got the pipes, have you?
BRIAN: Oh, I’ll look in the bin.
F/X: RUMMAGING IN DUSTBIN
BRIAN: Here they are – what’s left of them.
F/X: DYING WHINE FROM PIPES
DAN: Thanks, Brian.
GRAMS: LONDONDERRY AIR. LAST TWO BARS OF VERSE 1
SCENE 6: ROGER’S FLAT – INT – NIGHT
ROGER AT HOME WITH FLATMATES GILL & JOHN
F/X: TELEPHONE RINGS
ROGER: (OFF) Hello? (PAUSE) Yes – this is Roger Smith. (ENTHUSIASTICALLY) Is that Dan … Dan Hunter? (PAUSE) Well, well – it’s good to hear your voice! God, it must be fifteen years at least! How are things? Really! Well, I never thought I’d hear that… (FADE)
GILL: Who’s Dan Hunter?
JOHN: Dunno. But he sounds like one of Roger’s old buddies.
ROGER: (ELATED) You’ll never guess who that was!
GILL: Dan Hunter?
ROGER: How did you know?
GILL: I should think everyone in Finchley knows by now.
ROGER: Well, guess what he’s looking for?
ROGER: Apart from that.
GILL: Well, it must be a room then.
JOHN: For how long?
ROGER: A week.
GILL: Roger, you’re a real moron at times. A week’s no good.
ROGER: He’ll pay his way.
JOHN: Well, that might buy us a packet of crisps each.
GILL: John, be fair. He might want to stay longer when he sees our fantastic flat and grows to appreciate the finer points of our company.
JOHN: You mean like Roger’s snoring.
ROGER: Look, he’s an old mate… and I haven’t seen him for fifteen years!
GILL: Is he all right though – I mean, being a friend of yours? Does he have any strange habits?
ROGER: You’re so ungrateful. We badly need someone to share the rent, and here is someone.
JOHN: For a week.
ROGER: Yeah. But like Gill says, he might end up wanting to stay for good. He told me he’s having a trial separation from his partner.
GILL: To get back to my question… strange habits? If she wants him out, there must be something.
ROGER: No, of course not. (PAUSE). He did used to play the bagpipes though.
JOHN: I knew it! That’s it, I’m going down the pub.
ROGER: I said ‘used to’… he’s given them up, he’s reformed. He told me.
ROGER: It’s true – honestly. And anyway, it’s only a week.
GILL: Well, okay. I don’t mind helping him out – provided he shares with you, pays part of the rent, takes his turn at the housework and cooks at least twice.
JOHN: As long as it’s not haggis.
GILL: Yes, as long as it’s not haggis, black pudding or anything else disgusting.
ROGER: No problem…
GILL & JOHN: (IN UNISON) And he doesn’t play the pipes!
SCENE 7: A BUSY PUB – EVENING.
DAN: There you go – cider for Gill and three pints for the boys.
JOHN: Excellent! I’m beginning to like you already, Dan.
GILL: (INNOCENTLY) Oh, I thought you’d given up the booze, Dan.
ROGER: The pipes, Gill – I said he’d given up the pipes, not the pints.
GILL: Oh, right – sorry. Was it difficult, Dan?
DAN: No, not really. Once you’ve been kicked out your house by your wife and lost 99% of your friends, you find a good reason to give up.
GILL: Oh, I’m so sorry, Dan – I didn’t realise…
JOHN: Well don’t worry, mate – you’ve got friends here – and a place to stay.
DAN: Thanks – I appreciate that – but hopefully, it’s just for a week. The flat’s great though… Roger showed me round. But he said the landlady’s a bit of a cow.
GILL: Oh, well, that’s Roger for you – subtle as a brick. It’s just that she never sees to any of the repairs. We have to wait for months to get anything done – or we do it ourselves. But we don’t have the time or the money at the moment.
DAN: You must have talked to her about it.
GILL: Oh yes, many times. She says (IMITATING ITALIAN ACCENT) “You wanna-a better service, you pay-a more rent. Thatza way it iz.”
DAN: Look, I’ve got a book at home about writing letters that get results – you know the sort of thing: you can’t get satisfaction when your computer blows up, or you’re getting grief over your gas bill – so here’s the letter to write. I’ve tried some of them out, and they’re brilliant – they really do get results. So what about if I write a letter to Mrs ‘I-can’t-give-a-toss’ on your behalf – as if I’m you’re legal representative. I’m sure I could get something out of her. You might even get the rent reduced for not providing adequate repairs.
JOHN: Hey, this man’s talking!
GILL: I’m not so sure… she’s a hard-nosed businesswoman – I can’t see her giving in so easily.
ROGER: Worth a try, though? The worst she can do is say no.
JOHN: Yeah, I say go for it.
DAN: Okay, I’ll get scribbling tomorrow. Anyone fancy another pint?
SCENE 8: JUDITH’S HOUSE, EDINBURGH, INT, DAY.
F/X: BACKGROUND TRAFFIC NOISE
DOORBELL RINGS & FRONT DOOR OPENS
JUDITH: Simon! It’s not the gardening club today is it?
SIMON: Er no, but Jo’s away for the weekend with the kids, and I was feeling a bit ‘earthy’.
JUDITH: Well, come in then… I’d better bed you down.
F/X: DOOR CLOSES
SIMON: I’ve brought you that rose petal wine I promised.
JUDITH: Great. It’s not as strong as the last stuff is it?
SIMON: Oh, no – don’t worry (PAUSE). I had a nice time the other night, really nice.
JUDITH: So did I – thanks.
SIMON: I looked into getting a rose in your name…
JUDITH: Oh, I thought that was just a bit of fun.
SIMON: No, I was serious – we can do it. If you want to…
JUDITH: Well, I don’t know…
SIMON: It’s not as hard as you think – it’s just a matter of cross-pollination…
JUDITH: I’m quite into cross-pollination myself.
SIMON: You take two different roses and make a variety of the two…
JUDITH: Simon, will you move in with me for a while?
SIMON: As long as you choose roses that haven’t be used together before… What did you say?
JUDITH: I’d like you to move in with me for a little while. I need the company. The way things are going, I can’t see Dan changing…
SIMON: I love to – but Jo…
JUDITH: Just tell her you’ve got to go away for a while – on a business trip – or better still, a gardening conference. I really need this Simon – just for a few days at least.
SIMON: Well, okay – I’ll see Jo tonight.
JUDITH: Thanks, Simon. You won’t regret it.
F/X: JUDITH KISSES SIMON
SCENE 9: ROGER’S FLAT – INT – DAY
DAN: (TALKING AS HE WRITES) “.. So if you do not respond to my clients wishes within seven days, I shall have no option but to commence legal proceedings on their behalf. Yours Sincerely, Dan Hunter QC.” There – that should do the trick. No-one messes with Dan Hunter – or his mates. ‘In a fix – call Dan Hunter now! Need fast, effective legal advice, call Dan Hunter – a man with a mission.’ Yeah, definitely missed my vocation in life.
ROGER: How’s it going, mate?
DAN: Fantastic! Just penned my masterpiece – now off to the postie with it.
ROGER: Excellent! Before you go, though Dan – there was just a little something I wanted to mention.
DAN: No bother.
ROGER: You said you’d given up the pipes.
DAN: Of course – I’ll never touch another set ever again.
ROGER: Only I couldn’t help noticing something in one of the draws upstairs that looks distinctly bagpipe-like.
DAN: Ah, right. Well, you see – I have a cousin who does play the pipes – foolish though it is…
DAN: And because he had an accident at the Disabled Highland Games recently, I offered to mend them for him. Just to bring a little joy into his life.
ROGER: Oh Dan, I’m so sorry – I shouldn’t have mentioned it.
DAN: Ock, it’s all right Roger – I know you meant well. I should have told you about it before. I’ll just go and post the letter then.
ROGER: Okay – I’ll come with you.
DAN & ROGER EXIT RIGHT. JOHN & GILL ENTER LEFT
GILL: Do you think I was a bit hard on Dan the other night? He does seem a decent bloke, and I think he’s genuine about giving up.
JOHN: The pipes?
JOHN: Well, he is a mate of Roger’s – we should give him a chance, I suppose.
GILL: That’s what I was thinking. What does he do by way – for a job?
JOHN: Oh, Roger said he’s a teacher, but he’s on half-term this week.
GILL: I hope he teaches English then – not biology or something like that. We don’t want him writing a letter to Ms Scrooge about chromosomes or wood-lice. Have we heard anything from her yet?
JOHN: Dan said he sent his letter a couple of days ago. We should hear anytime now.
F/X: DOORBELL RINGS.
GILL: I’ll get it.
F/X: DOOR OPENS – OUTSIDE TRAFFIC NOISE – DOOR CLOSES
GILL: Recorded delivery – that’s unusual.
F/X: GILLS OPENS LETTER AND READS
GILL: Oh, my god!
JOHN: What is it?
GILL: Dan’s letter certainly had an effect!
JOHN: Oh no, she hasn’t put the rent up has she?
GILL: No – worse than that…she’s thrown us out!
JOHN: She can’t have – she’s no right!
GILL: She’s got every right – she wrote the contract didn’t she? We’ve got seven days to find somewhere else to live.
JOHN: I don’t believe it! Let me see…
GILL: I knew we shouldn’t let him write a letter – but you were all: ‘isn’t Dan wonderful, buying us drinks, and getting us lower rent.’ We don’t even know the guy! And he plays the bagpipes!
JOHN: He did say he’d given them up.
GILL: He’s said a lot of things; but at this moment in time, I don’t believe a single word of them. No wonder his wife threw him out. Now what are we going to do?
JOHN: I’ll call Roger – then I’m going to kill Dan Hunter.
SCENE 10: A PARK IN NORTH LONDON – DAY.
BIRDS SINGING, PEOPLE WALKING
ROGER: (SERIOUSLY) Hello Dan.
DAN: Roger! Hi. This is a wonderful park you’ve got here – so peaceful – and right across the road from the flat. I’ve a good mind to pack in the Edinburgh job and move to London (PAUSE). Everything all right, Roger?
ROGER: I’ve just heard from John. Your little letter did get a result.
DAN: (EXUBERANTLY PUNCHES THE AIR) Yes! Dan’s the Man!
ROGER: We’ve all been given seven days to quit.
ROGER: Yes. So I’ve packed your bags and left them outside the flat.
DAN: Outside – in the road?
ROGER: Yeah. John said that if he sees you again, he’s going to kill you. And I’m not going to repeat what Gill said, but it involves knives and your… things.
DAN: Right, well – outside’s fine then.
ROGER: You know you should get help, Dan.
DAN: You mean with letter writing.
ROGER: No – I don’t think you should write another letter – ever again. I mean you should get help with your addiction – to the pipes. I know you lied to me about the ones you had – I spoke to your mate Brian today.
DAN: Oh, I see… right.
ROGER: I’m sure I can get a few numbers for you – the Samaritans, BA…
DAN: British Airways?
ROGER: Bagpipes Anonymous.
DAN: Ah. Well thanks, Roger – but I’ll be fine. Sorry I messed up.
ROGER: Goodbye Dan.
F/X: DAN DIALS A NUMBER ON HIS MOBILE PHONE
DAN: Hi, Judith – it’s me, Dan. Dan your husband, remember? The one you kicked out the house. God, it’s only two weeks – you can’t of forgotten!
JUDITH: (D) (SLEEPILY) Oh, Dan – sorry, I was in the middle of something…
DAN: It wasn’t Simon, was it? Don’t tell me he’s got his dirty green fingers all over our new furniture.
JUDITH: (D) Dan – this week apart…
DAN: Two weeks…
JUDITH: (D) These two weeks apart have made me appreciate having my own space again – without the incessant whining…
DAN: I’ve never complained about anything…
JUDITH: (D) The pipes, Dan… the bloody bagpipes.
DAN: I’m working on it, Judith. But it takes time…
JUDITH: (D) I’m tired of giving you time, Dan – I’ve had enough. And Simon’s been a real comfort while you’ve been away…
DAN: You’re not telling me that…
JUDITH: (D) He’s moved in with me for a while, Dan.
DAN: I can change, Judith, I know I can…
JUDITH: (D) It’s too late, Dan. My mind’s made up. I’m sorry – it’s just not working between us.
JUDITH: (D) Goodbye Dan.
F/X: DISCONNECTS PHONE
DAN: Judith Wait! Shit. (PAUSE).
F/X: PICKS UP NEWSPAPER
DAN: What’s this? (READS) “Lonely, young female bagpipe player seeks similar to make music together.” (PAUSE) Well, if she can run off with beetroot face, why not?
GRAMS: LONDONDERRY AIR. LAST TWO BARS OF VERSE 2
SCENE 11: EXT – SHEILA’S FLAT, N. LONDON – DAY
F/X: TRAFFIC NOISE
F/X: DOORBELL RINGS. DOOR OPENS
DAN: Hello – I’m Dan. We spoke on the phone.
SHEILA: Dan! Fantastic! Come on in!
F/X: DOOR CLOSES – TRAFFIC NOISE DOWN
SHEILA: I couldn’t believe it when you called. And you were only staying down the road from me. Did you bring your pipes with you?
DAN: I sure did! They need a little work – but I can fix them.
SHEILA: Oh Dan, I can’t wait to get playing with you. I’ve been dreaming of it ever since you called last night. I’m getting goose bumps already!
DAN: You’re Australian aren’t you? What brings you over here?
SHEILA: Oh you can tell by my accent! Well, I was so persecuted in Australia, I just had to leave.
DAN: What, it’s that bad over there?
SHEILA: Are you kidding? For a bloke to pick up the pipes is bad enough – but for a Sheila, it’s just impossible.
DAN: Is that true for all Sheilas, Sheila?
SHEILA: You bet. (PAUSE). What about you – what are you doing in London? Are you from here?
DAN: No – from Edinburgh. I just had to get away. Oh, it’s a long story. But my partner couldn’t take it anymore – the pipes that is. So I moved down to stay with some mates for a while. Then they found out – that’s when I called you up.
SHEILA: What is wrong with people? It’s not as if we play the banjo or anything. I mean, that’s really sad. But the pipes… god, I’m getting hot thinking about it already! Would you like to come upstairs and see mine?
DAN: See your…?
SHEILA: Pipes, of course. Come on – don’t be shy!
F/X: DAN AND SHEILA RUNNING UPSTAIRS
DAN: Wow! You’ve got hundreds of them!
SHEILA: One hundred and forty-two actually.
DAN: Can I… Can I touch them?
SHEILA: (GIGGLY) Okay.. but be gentle.
F/X: GENTLE WHINE OF BAGPIPES
DAN: Oh, that feels so nice!
SHEILA: (SEXILY) Do it again, Dan.
F/X: LONGER WHINE OF BAGPIPES
SHEILA: (BREATHLESSLY) Oh, Dan – nobody’s held them like that before – do it again! Please?
F/X: SEVERAL WHINES OF BAGPIPES
SHEILA: (MOANING WITH PLEASURE) Oh Dan, Dan..,
DAN: (MOANING WITH PLEASURE) Sheila, Sheila…
F/X: WHINE OF PIPES IN UNISON WITH THEIR CRIES
F/X: LIGHTS DOWN, PAUSE, THEN UP.
F/X: ALARM CLOCK
DAN: (SLEEPILY) Mmm.. What time is it?
DAN: Eight-thirty! God – we must have been going at it all night. How many did we get through?
SHEILA: Seventy-three. (SEXILY) We can do the other sixty-nine tonight, if you like.
DAN: (KISSING HER) Mmm… you devil!
SHEILA: I’ve got to go to work now – but you can stay here till I get back. I’ve left my books for you.
SHEILA: On the pipes. I’ve got the life-story of just about every type of bagpipe ever made. See you at six!
F/X: SHEILA RUNS DOWNSTAIRS
F/X: FRONT DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES
DAN GET UP AND LOOKS AROUND THE APARTMENT
DAN: God – bagpipe wallpaper… never seen that before. Must use the bathroom. (PAUSE) Oh my god! Loo-paper and loo-seat cover as well. She’s obsessed! And I thought I was bad.
F/X: MOBILE PHONE RINGS
DAN: Hi Brian.
BRIAN: (D) Hi Dan – how are you doing? I was worried about you. I got a phone call from Roger yesterday. He seems pretty cut up about something – the something being you.
DAN: Yes, well – that’s the story of my life at present. I’ve landed on my feet now though, Brian. You just would not believe who I’ve met!
BRIAN: (D) Sean Connery?
DAN: No – a woman who is completely obsessed with the pipes – she lives and breathes bagpipes. We were up all last night playing with seventy-three sets – and that’s only half her collection.
BRIAN: (D) Amazing! And did you have sex?
DAN: Brian, this is not about sex – it’s about the holy grail of bagpipe playing. Finding a young, attractive woman who has a passion for the pipes is way above the smutty depths of sex or carnal love. I’m on a higher plane now Brian.
BRIAN: (D) Yeah, well just make sure your plane isn’t shot down in flames this time. You’re running out of places to stay.
SCENE 12: JUDITH’S HOUSE, EXT – DAY.
F/X: TRAFFIC NOISE. DOORBELL RINGS
JUDITH: Simon! I thought you said you couldn’t come over for a while – too risky and all that.
SIMON: I know – but we need to talk.
JUDITH: About herbaceous borders?
SIMON: No – about us. Jo’s found out.
JUDITH: You’d better come in.
F/X: DOOR CLOSES. TRAFFIC NOISE DOWN
SIMON: No, thanks. I can’t stop long.
JUDITH: What’s happened?
SIMON: (GUILTILY) It was your underwear.
JUDITH: (INDIGNANTLY) What – you took some of my underwear! What for – a trophy?
SIMON: No, no – it’s not like that. After, you know – last weekend – I put on yours instead of mine. Well, it was dark and we were drunk… well, I was. Anyway, Jo found them under the bed – and knew they weren’t hers. Then it all came out – the truth I mean. You’ve probably got some of mine.
JUDITH: Well, I’m not wearing them.
SIMON: No, you probably thought they were Dan’s. They’ve got ‘Big is Beautiful’ on the front.
JUDITH: Then I definitely wouldn’t have thought they were Dan’s.
SIMON: Oh, I’m sorry Judith.
JUDITH: It’s all right, Simon, I think it’s for the best. I’ve been thinking about things recently – about us and about Dan. I still love him, and I do want him back… even with his bagpipes.
SCENE 13: INT – SHEILA’S FLAT – DAY
F/X: FRONT DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES.
SHEILA RUNS UPSTAIRS.
DAN: You’re back early – I thought you said six?
SHEILA: Dan, I just couldn’t wait!
DAN: Wait for what?
SHEILA: We’ve just got to do the other sixty-nine! And I’ve got some special Highland DVDs we can watch at the same time.
DAN: Sounds great, but I’m still out of puff from last night.
SHEILA: Oh Dan, don’t resist me! I’ve never met anyone who fancied it as much as I do.
DAN: ‘It’ being…?
SHEILA: Making music, Dan, the music of the pipes…
DAN: Well, I like it too, Sheila… but there are limits.
SHEILA: (SEDUCTIVELY) There’s no limit to what I can do with the pipes, Dan. Come on, I’ve got an antique Northumbrian pair here – put your lips to these.
DAN: (IRRITATED) Honestly Sheila – I’m really not in the mood – I haven’t got the energy. And I’ve got a lousy headache.
SHEILA: (IN FRUSTRATION) Oh you Men are all the same! Call yourself a Scotsman! Get out of here then if you don’t want to play with me. And take your manky pair of pipes with you.
SCENE 14: DAN IN LONDON PHONEBOX – EXT – NIGHT.
F/X: RINGING OF PHONE
BRIAN: (D) Hello…
DAN: Brian – it’s Dan.
BRIAN: (D) Dan! How’s the pipe-dream going?
DAN: It was exactly that, Brian – a pipe-dream. Sheila has just thrown me out – all because I wasn’t keen enough on the pipes – can you believe it?
BRIAN: (D) I’m sorry Dan.
DAN: Don’t be, Brian. This is the best thing that could’ve happened. I was addicted, and I’ve now seen what happens what you take it to the limits. It’s not a pretty sight. Do you know, she even had bagpipe loo-paper! (PAUSE) My only regret is that I’ve lost Judith – the only person I really ever loved.
BRIAN: (D) Dan, I probably shouldn’t say this, but I have it on good authority that Judith wants you back.
DAN: What about Simon?
BRIAN: (D) Oh, he’s out of the picture now. She really misses you, Dan. Why don’t you come back?
DAN: How do you know this?
BRIAN: (D) Well, from Liz. But don’t let her know – it’s taken me a week to get back in the house after last time.
SCENE 15: EXT. JUDITH’S HOUSE – DAY.
F/X: TRAFFIC NOISE. DOORBELL RINGS. DOOR OPENS
DAN: Hello Judith. Sorry to just turn up like this, but I didn’t want to talk on the phone.
JUDITH: That’s okay, come in.
F/X: DOOR CLOSES. TRAFFIC NOISE DOWN
JUDITH: Coffee – or something stronger?
DAN: The second one sounds good.
F/X: CORK OUT OF BOTTLE, THEN POURS 2 DRINKS
JUDITH: There you go.
JUDITH: Dan, I…. (IN UNISON)
DAN: Judith I.. (IN UNISON)
DAN: You go first.
JUDITH: I was thinking about our arrangement – you know, the one where I had everything the way I wanted it one week… (PAUSE). You never did get your turn.
DAN: Oh, that doesn’t matter now..
JUDITH: (FIRMLY) Yes, it does. I want you to have it Dan – it’s important to me.
DAN: What about the pipes – how would you feel if I wanted to play them in the house ?
JUDITH: (RESIGNEDLY) Well, it’s your week – you can do whatever you want. As long as it’s only for personal recreation, and it’s just one week.
DAN: Oh don’t worry. I’ve given them up – really. I realised what they were doing to my life – to us. And when I lost you, I was just left with… a void. And no amount of bagpipes could fill that.
F/X: EMBRACING, JUDITH KISSING DAN
JUDITH: Oh, Dan – I’m so lucky to have you!
DAN: I’m the lucky one – now that I’ve got you back.
F/X: EMBRACE AND KISS AGAIN
GRAMS: FADE IN ‘DANNY BOY’. VERSE TWO
“[But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow,
Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow
‘tis I’ll be there in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh Danny boy,] [oh Danny boy I love you so.”
JUDITH: By the way, Dan – what’s that bit of tartan sticking out of your suitcase?
DAN: Oh that? It’s just my kilt.
OTHER BOOKS by Steve Howrie
A very funny, light–hearted fictional diary, seen through the eyes of misfit twenty–something Simon Broom. After starting a microbiology course, Simon lands an English teaching job in Shanghai, China, and heads off on a life–changing adventure with quirky girlfriend Julie Bucket. The story covers eight months in the young couple’s lives, as they interact with other expat teachers and strive to find themselves in an alien culture.
This is absolutely and utterly hilarious! I am very picky about my humor; most of what passes for it is witless and dumb. Yours is of the smart observational kind, and wickedly funny. (Andi Brown, ‘Animal Cracker’).
What madness! Is getting a job in China really that easy? Wonderfully escapist stuff with plenty of smile–raising moments. On my watchlist as we speak. (Simon Marks, ‘That English Weirdo’).
I like it! An easy read for when you need cheering up or when relaxing by a pool. (Claire Lyman, ‘Inevitable’).
A la Adrian Mole – a really humorous foray into teaching. (Sarah Churchill, UK).
This is the continuing story of misfit Simon Broom and his side–kick girlfriend Julie Bucket as they experience life in China, as told through Simon’s eyes, ears and everything else! In ‘Bucket & Broom Tie the Knot’, the couple have finally found their feet in Shanghai – and Simon finds that Julie really is pregnant. But who is the father? Simon is driven from pillar to post whilst he strives to answer this question – stumbling across American journalist Sam James on the way. Falling in love with Sam, Simon is more confused than ever about his life and turns, as usual, to his friend and mentor Anton for guidance. Meanwhile, we meet the Bucket family for the first time, and catch up with Simon’s father, who makes a surprising announcement. A cocktail of entertaining and interesting questions about life are humorously mixed with Bucket & Broom’s unique blend of comic rapport to produce the Bucket & Broom philosophy on life.
This is the story of Scottish bagpipe player Dan Hunter and his obsession with the bagpipes. In a world where playing the pipes equates with drug addition, he is shunned by his wife and friends and eventually travels to London, desperately looking for an outlet for his craving. He finds this in Sheila, a young Australian with a bagpipe obsession greater than his own. Meanwhile, Dan’s wife Judith finds herself the amorous objective of a colleagues’ obsession - Gardening Club Chairman Simon. But is this what both Dan and Judith really want?