Friday, April 5, 2013

Afghanistan Comes To Us

The following was found in a disused broom closet of the Empress Hotel in Victoria. I post it as a public service.

The Great Game: Play Resumed After Darkness
Main Characters

Ned Seagoon ...Harry Seacombe
Willium Cobblers... Peter Sellers
Hercules Grytpypte-Thynne... Peter Sellers
Moriarty... Spike Milligan
Major Denis Bloodknok... Peter Sellers
Eccles ...Spike Milligan
Henry Crun ...Peter Sellers
Minnie Bannister ...Spike Milligan
Lord Robertson ...Peter Sellers
Justin Eidelburger ...Peter Sellers
Bluebottle ...Peter Sellers

Announcer: Wallace Greenslade
Orchestra: Conducted by Wally Stott
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer: Harmonica
Kofi Annan and the Middle East Quartet

"I said repeatedly when NATO took over the International Stabilisation and Assistance force (ISAF), and others have underlined it since, that the choice is simple; either we go to Afghanistan or Afghanistan comes to us."

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen on the 60th anniversary of NATO

Greenslade: This is the BBC.

Willium Cobblers: What is, mate?

F.X: Sounds of horrendous crash, followed by rolling hubcap.

Greenslade: That is, after a nasty collision with Lord Hutton…

Willium: I knew it would end badly!

Greenslade: Not as badly as this episode of… the highly esteemed Goon Show!

F.X. rapturous applause

Greenslade: Entitled…The Great Game or,

ORCHESTRA: Ominous chords…

Greenslade: .... Play resumed after darkness……

ORCHESTRA: Eerie intro…

Greenslade: We take you now to an ornate bathroom in Brussels. The time: A crucial moment in 2011.

F.X.: Splashing of bath.

Seagoon: It is I dear listeners, Neddie Seagoon, now Lord Seagoon of Port Sunlight. I was sitting in my official bath at Headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It was the first anniversary of my appointment as Secretary General. Yes, I, Neddie Seagoon, had arrived at the pinnacle of my career and had been given responsibility for a very large body of water.

F.X.: Knock at door.

Seagoon: Yes, what is it, Bubbles?

Willium : It’s a knock at the door, mate.

Seagoon: Pity, mate.

F.X. Door opening

Willium: It’s the British Ambassador, mate. He says it’s urgent.

Seagoon: Very good. Show him the Gents’ off the Conservatory.

Willium: I already done that, mate. It’s you he wants to see.

Seagoon: Ah, show him in.

F.X. Ship’s siren, followed by horrendous splintering noise of ship ramming pier…

Grytpype-Thynne: Sorry to barge in, Your Lordship….

Seagoon: Not at all. Care for a rubber duck?

GT: Thank-you, no. I’m trying to give them up.

Seagoon: I don’t think you’ll succeed, I’ve tried and failed.

GT: Never mind all that, Neddie, we’ve had a spot of bother with Afghanistan.

Seagoon: Afghanistan? Why, that’s impossible, we dealt with that years ago! And anyway, I’m in charge of the North Atlantic, it’s nothing to do with me.

GT: Not so fast, Ned! You will recall the last Secretary General but one?

Seagoon: Chap from Islay, (Macgoonagle pipes under) Lord Robertson of Port Ellen?

GT: Precisely. You will remember what he said about Afghanistan?

Seagoon: No.

GT: What a memory you have! Luckily, I have His Lordship recorded on this cardboard gramophone.

Robertson: (Macgoonagle pipes plus scratchy Macgoonagle voice) “either we go to Afghanistan, or Afghanistan comes to us”.

Seagoon: Well, we went to Afghanistan didn’t we?

GT: Well yes, but apparently not enough of us. I have good information……

ORCHESTRA: dramatic chords

GT: …that Afghanistan has now, in fact, come to us.

Seagoon: What what what what what what what????!!!!

GT: Please, don’t do that. Yes, Neddie, Afghanistan was sighted this morning in the Western Approaches, and is currently moored off Cornwall. British Customs won’t allow her to dock, and it’s rather interfering with shipping I’m afraid, completely blocking the Channel. You’ll have to do something.

Seagoon: Curse the Great Game! I thought we’d won!

GT: Extra innings, Neddie. But you needn’t take my word for it; I have my steam-driven zeppelin parked outside, and a French pilot of renown, Comte Toulouse-Moriarty of the House of Roland is standing by to show you for yourself.

FX: Sounds of steam engine, wind, and creaking in the rigging. Fade up and down under ...

Seagoon: This machine is a marvel of modern technology.

GT: (in quick) Quite so, it was designed by a technical sub-committee of the European Union, manufactured in 12 NATO countries, assembled in a carpark in Brussels, and the Comte here says it flies like a dream.

Moriarty: Yes, o yes, mmmmooooaaaawwww (fades to mumbles)

GT: Fortunately, the Comte’s dreams are NATO secrets.

Moriarty: Ohhhh, I like my dreams, aaooowwwww (mumbles)

Greenslade: At that point dear listeners, NATO’s flagship emerged from its cloud of suspicion to a sunlit spectacle of the western English Channel, with Afghanistan bobbing gently on the waves, its majestic mountains extending down the French coast, the Hindu Kush visible in the Bay of Biscay.

Seagoon: Egad! It’s, ah, rather large, isn’t it?

GT: You see the problem, Neddie. We can’t have Afghanistan next to Cornwall forever, can we?

Seagoon: But, how did it get here?

GT: You’ll have to speak to its driver. I’ll have the Comte descend at once to Kabul!

F.X. Accelerating steam engine

Greenslade: Meanwhile, the famous Jaap de Hoop Scheffer performs Arabian Nights in Amsterdam..


Seagoon: The Comte descended with deceptive ease to the Arg-e-Shahi (Citadel of the King), where I disembarked and at once demanded an audience with the Head of State.


Eccles: Helloooo?

Seagoon: And who are you?

Eccles: I’m the famous Eccles. Who are you, then?

Seagoon: I am Lord Seagoon of Port Sunlight, 12th Secretary-General of NATO. I demand an audience with your leader.

Eccles: One moment, my good man.

FX: Door closes. Footsteps receding. Endlessly. Silence. Returning footsteps. Door opens.

Eccles: Whom shall I say is calling?

Seagoon: Jim Crint.

Eccles: In that case, follow me!

Seagoon: I was led by this decrepit retainer deep in to the labyrinths of the citadel. We came finally to a throne room at the far end of which was a throne, upon which was seated…

ORCHESTRA: Bloodknok theme

F.X.: explosions

Bloodknok: Aeeeiouuuugh! Fan me dudgers, this Cornish heat is oppressive. Who are you, sir, and what do you want?

Seagoon: I am Lord Seagoon of Port Sunlight, 12th Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Order of the Bath and Bar. I demand to know what business you have bringing Afghanistan to the North Atlantic.

Bloodknok: Oohhh! Aeeoiugh! It’s nothing to do with me. I’m merely the man who would be king! Afghanistan has risen up and wants to spend the holiday season in Cornwall. Is that too much to ask?

Seagoon: It’s blocking the English Channel!

Bloodknok: So much the better. None of these nasty offshore winds.

Seagoon: I insist you remove Afghanistan at once!

Bloodknok: Neddie! Be reasonable! If it was up to me I would move at once. But… (intimate)…Neddie, there is more to this than meets the eye! Certain of my… agriculturalists…are demanding to join the European Union. They’re tired of paying the customs and excise, not to mention protection money. All we ask is a land bridge to Mousehole for our goods and services. If we had that, we could tow Afghanistan out of the way into the Irish Sea!

Seagoon: It seemed reasonable. I decided to take the matter up with British Customs in Cornwall.

F.X. Furious dialing. Phone off hook.

Minnie Bannister: Hello? British Customs?

Seagoon: Hello? I must speak to the person in charge of British Customs.

Minnie: Devilish Man! We don’t speak about British customs in public!

Crun: Mnk… Min?

Minnie: (off) What is it Henry?

Seagoon: Hello?

Minnie: Just a moment. We’re rushed off our feet here.

Crun: Min! There’s another camel train here. It’s the fifth one we’ve had today, and they’re filling the camel park.

Minnie: They can’t come in! They’ve been told. You can’t have a camel in England, buddy.

Crun: But I don’t smoke, Min.

Minnie: Well you’ll have to take it up, Henry!

Crun: Mnk…take what up Min?

Minnie: Camels.

Crun: But we’ve just had them put down!

Minnie: Never mind that, buddy.


Seagoon: (in person) Good afternoon, little harried customs people.

Crun: Ohhhh! Who are you and what do you want?

Seagoon: I am the 12th Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization…

Crun: …eleven camel drivers….

Min: …ten tons of hashish….

Crun: …nine Russian mafia….

Min: …eight Afghan warlords…

Crun: …seven billion dollars….

Min: …six useless treaties…

Min and Henry: FIVE AFGHAN WARS!!!!

Minnie: …four rigged elections…

Crun: …three million junkies…

Min: …endless uncut heroin

Min and Henry: …and a Seagoon in a pear tree!

Seagoon: I’ve seen quite enough! Driver, take me to Brussels to the accompaniment of Kofi Annan and the Middle East Quartet (It Had To Be You)


Greenslade: The Great Game, Part 3. The scene: NATO headquarters, Brussels

OMNES: rhubarb, rhubarb…etc. under…

Seagooon: Order, please! Order! Order! (raps gavel). Order!

Seagoon: Now then!

Lord Robertson: (Macgoonagle theme of wheezy bagpipes) Now then!

Seagoon: Now then!

Robertson: (pipes under) Now then, I told ye Afghanistan would come to us!

Seagoon: And who are you?

Robertson: (pipes under) I am Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, 10th Secretary General of NATO, and the Scottish ambassador to NATO, sir, and I told ye Afghanistan would come to us, I told ye! (rants on) But would ye listen? No! I told ye…

FX: Shot

Greenslade: I hated to see him suffer.

GRAMS: Resurgence of bagpipes

Seagoon: The pipes are only wounded.

FX: Barrage of heavy machine guns.

GRAMS: slightly weaker pipes

FX: Heavy bombing

Seagoon: I didn’t know Scotland had its own ambassador to NATO.

GT: And now it doesn’t, Neddie, we can get on with the discussion.

Seagoon: Ladies and gentlemen of NATO, Afghanistan is moored off Cornwall without a permit, and is blocking the channel. We need act decisively to rid ourselves of this threat to our common interests.

Justin Eidelburger: (outrageous German accent) What does it want, zis Afghanistan?

Seagoon: It wants to join the European Union and sell its agricultural products directly to consumers without duty!

Eidelburger: And where is it selling these products now?

Seagoon: …to the European Union without duty!

FX: sensation

Eidelburger: Zis is outrageous!

Seagoon: I have a solution. I present to you the head of the Drugs Sub-Directorate, from …INTERPOL!

Bluebottle: It is I, Bluebottle fans! He he he. Pauses for audience applause. Not a sausinge.

Seagoon: Tell us, little cardboard policeman, how can we deal with Afghanistan, to make it go away?!

Bluebottle: I will tell you my capitain! I have a secret plan! Thinks, once I show them the plan, it won’t be secret, but oh well. I will now show you a modern-type powerpoint presentation, complete with pictures!

FX: Wild applause.

Bluebottle: Thank-you. I bask in your adulation.

The first slide shows a photograph of ME AND MY SECRETARY, Sabrina...

F.X. wolf whistles

…censored to protect the delicate ears of BBC listeners! He he.

The second slide shows that the number of people using the naughty opium in North America and Europe is 0.5%, one half person in every hundred!

Eccles: Ooooo, which half are you Bottle?

Bluebottle: Shut up, Eccles!

Eccles: Shut up Eccles!

Bluebottle: The third slide shows the INTERPOL estimate of opium grown in Afghanistan, and you will see listeners, that is over 90 percent of the world’s supply.

OMNES: disapproving noises

Bluebottle: The fourth slide shows a clever INTERPOL-type “BIG BANG” drugs disposal unit on Dartmoor.

Seagoon: Any questions?

GT: It’s very impressive Neddie, but can you show us how it works?

Seagoon: Certainly. Inspector Bluebottle, press this plunger.

Bluebottle: Yes, I shall!

FX: Huge explosion.

Bluebottle: You dirty rotten swine, you have deaded me!

GT: Well done Moriarty, you get the camels into Devon, I’ll take Afghanistan back for another load.

Moriarty: Argggggghhhh!

Seagoon: But, but, but, but……

GT: Please Neddie, don’t do that. Just get back in your bath, and all will be well.

Seagoon: But if we just bought the opium ourselves, Afghanistan would go away, and we wouldn’t have a problem, would we?! (laughs nervously)

GT: (pause) Brilliant, Neddie. Allow me to present you with this stick of dynamite laced with plutonium.

Seagoon: Why, thank-you.

GT: Don’t mention it. Here, let me light it for you.

FX: match striking. Fuse burning.

GT: (Far off) And it’s perfectly safe to inhale….

Seagoon: You silly, twisted boy!

FX: Nuclear explosion.

Signature tune up and down for:

Greenslade: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Seacombe, and Spike Milligan. With the Ray Ellington Quartet and Max Geldray. Orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan. Announcer: Wallace Greenslade. Produced by Peter Eton in our dreams.

PLAYOUT: Crazy Rhythm.