Small Plays About My Day

… tiny true dramas in a Charing Cross Road bookshop

Syria

SCENE 1: THE TILL DESK. NEIL IS READING A BOOK ON WAR. EMILY IS STARING INTO SPACE. ENTER TANNED MAN. Tanned man: Excuse me, do you you have any books on Syria? Neil: Possibly, there’s a section on the Middle East downstairs. Curtain. SCENE 2: SOME TIME LATER. THE TOILET DOWNSTAIRS. EMILY IS ENGAGED. FX: [...]

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Kempt

Cadaverous regular customer: Got any ideas about ambulances? Emily: Ambulances? Cadaverous regular customer: Where’s that one from then? Emily: I’m not sure. Cadaverous regular customer: Ambulare. Latin.  To walk. Because they used to walk to hospital. Emily: Ah, of course. Cadaverous regular customer: And what about kempt? Emily: Kent? Cadaverous regular customer: Kempt. It’s from [...]

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Trousers

Emily: That’s forty five pounds, please. Croaky-voiced man: Do you mind if I lift my shirt up? Emily: Well… Croaky-voiced man: I’ve got a money belt on. I wear it for security these days. Emily: It’s a good idea. Croaky-voiced man:I was trying a coat on once, and I walked off to see how it [...]

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Cough

Girl with ponytail: Do you have books on Africa? (Coughs) Excuse me. Emily: Yes, we have… Girl with ponytail: (Coughs) Sorry. Emily: …a section … Girl with ponytail: It’s the dust. (Coughs) Emily: A section here. Girl with ponytail: No, I mean books on (coughs) teak tables. Emily: Pardon? Girl with ponytail: (Coughs) Tea table [...]

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Transylvanian Ephemera

Man with wild beard enters shop. Man with wild beard: There was a book in the window yesterday on Transylvanian Ephemera. Has it sold? Emily: If it’s not in the window now, I’m afraid it probably has. Man with wild beard: (Frantically) It’s not in the window? Emily: I thought you couldn’t see it in [...]

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Books to Gold

Small Italian girl: Excuse me, a friend tell me one time there is a shop on this street where you can change books to gold. Emily: Um ….you mean swap books? For money? Small Italian girl: Yes, swap books. Zoë: There’s a place in Soho where you can swap books for other books. Small Italian [...]

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Shut Up, Peggy

American man in sun visor: Help, help, help, help, help. Emily: Hi. American man in sun visor: I’m looking for a book. Zoë: OK, which one? American man in sun visor: The Memoirs of Field Marshall Kesselring Zoë: I’ll just have a look on the catalogue for you. How do you spell that? American man [...]

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You can learn something

Weighty man: Can I see that book in the window called Male Oral Love? Walter: Sure. (Gets out book.) Weighty man: I’m not a homosexual. Emily: No? Weighty man: It just looks fascinating. Walter: Yes. Weighty man: You can learn something from anything, can’t you? Emily: You can.

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Gay Sadist

Man in shorts: If you want to buy a book, this is the place to come. Wide blonde woman: I do want a book. Where’s H? Man in shorts: Bloody hell. In between G and I. Wide blonde woman: I want Georgette Heyer. Man in shorts: Well she’s here. Wide blonde woman: Got that one. Got [...]

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Jersey

Emily: Have you seen a hardback called ‘Old Jersey Houses’. Jan: Yes, it’s here. Emily: Wasn’t Jersey … what’s the word? Jan: Bergerac? Emily: Occupied.

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  • "In a town like London there are always plenty of not quite certifiable lunatics walking the streets, and they tend to gravitate towards bookshops, because a bookshop is one of the few places where you can hang about for a long time without spending any money."
    George Orwell

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