On the Camel’s Hump

IMG_3701MARY: I do like the pictures. We used to go a lot when we were courting.

CHARLIE: Aye, all sorts. We’d cycle in and go to Cassoni’s next door for a lovely fish supper…

MINNIE: And the dancehalls, the Fiesta, the Borderland, the Pallidrome…

MARY: Oh I remember the lights dimming and the girls with cartons of cigarettes and ice creams…

CHARLIE: Or if it was just us lads we’d head to the bar and have a bottle of stout or two…

MINNIE: Sometimes it’d be the fellahs on one side and the girls on the other, all staring at the floor and shuffling…

JOHNNY: (As Jimmie Stewart) What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.

MARY: Jimmie Stewart, he was my favourite out of the men but I always wanted to be Doris Day…

CHARLIE: I remember this one time up in Inishowen, this fellah asking all the boys…

MOVILLE MAN: Have you ever been to Buncrana?

MINNIE: And all the showbands, The Capitol, the Clipper Carlton, The Mighty Avons…

MARY: And then the beam of light would cut through the smoke of Sweet Aftons, Carroll’s and Gold Flake…

CHARLIE: And he went round the fellahs one by one…

MOVILLE MAN: Have you ever been to Buncrana?

MINNIE: And you get a dance from some young one and the clergyman would be there making sure there was a gap between you…

MARY: And the titles would roll and we’d sit back and let the stories take us elsewhere…

CHARLIE: And the boys were shaking their heads and drinking the stout…

MINNIE: And if you were lucky you’d find a fellah who didn’t have two left feet and didn’t ladder your nylons…

MARY: You’d be in the South Pacific or the Prairies of America or the deserts of Arabia…

CHARLIE: See them fellahs had been to Melbourne and Yokohama and Baton Rouge on the boats…

MINNIE: For the nylons were hard to come by and you could spend an hour trying to draw a straight line up the back with a pencil…

MARY: And by the end of the film you’d be in floods of tears and he’d offer you a handkerchief as the lights came up…

CHARLIE: But they’d never been to Buncrana, no more than ten miles…

MINNIE: But holy God when the lights came up at the end of the night you’d see he had a squint and no teeth…

ALL: Those were the days.

CHARLIE: It wasn’t every night, just the weekends.

MARY: That’s right, we didn’t have the money for more than that.

MINNIE: There was some who didn’t have that. Mind Gandhi? He must be from your part of the world.

JOHNNY: Gandhi?

CHARLIE: Aye, Gandhi lives in a hut by the railway tracks. The fellahs send a shovel or two of coal into him when they pass.

MARY: He’s no legs, sits himself on a wee cart and this goat pulls him around. He can fair fly in that cart. Injured in the war or an accident.

MINNIE: He sticks his hand out for a few pennies and most people give him something. There’s a couple of others he’s friendly with, but they’re from the wrong side of the tracks

JOHNNY: How do you mean?

CHARLIE: Smugglers.

JOHNNY: Smugglers? What were they smuggling?