(Outside a shop. A sign reads 'Tudor Job Agency -Jobs a
Specialty '. A man enters the shop. Inside it is decorated in Tudor
style. The assistant is in Tudor dress.)
Assistant: Morning, sir, can I help you?
Customer: Yes, yes... I wondered if you have any part-time
vacancies on your books..
Assistant: Part-time, I'll have a look, sir. (he gets
out a book and looks through it) Let me look now. We've got, ah
yes, Sir Walter Raleigh is equipping another expedition to Virginia;
he needs traders and sailors. Vittlers needed at the Court of Philip
of Spain, oh, yes, and they want master joiners and craftsmen for
the building of the Globe Theatre.
Customer: I see. Have you anything a bit more modern, you
know, like a job on the buses, or digging the underground?
Assistant: Oh no, we only have Tudor jobs.
Customer: That can't be very profitable, can it?
Assistant: Well, you'd be surprised, actually sir. The
Tudor economy's booming, ever since Sir Humphrey Gilbert opened up
the North- west passage to Cathay, and the Cabots' expansion in
Canada, there's been a tremendous surge in exports, and trade with
the Holy Roman Empire is going... no, quite right, it's no good at
Assistant: It's a dead loss. We haven't put anyone in a
job since 1625.
Customer: I see.
Assistant: That's all?
Assistant: That's all you say?
Assistant: No, no, we were the tops then. Drake got all
his sailors here. Elizabeth, we supplied the archbishops for her
coronation. Shakespeare started off from here as a temp. Then came
James the First and the bottom fell out of the Tudor jobs. 1603 -
800 vacancies filled, 1604 - 40, 1605 - none, 1606 - none. The rest
of the Stuart period nothing. Hanoverions nothing. Victorians
nothing. Saxe-Coburgs nothing. Windsors... what did you want?
Customer: Dirty books, please.
Assistant: Right. (produces selection of mags from
under counter) Sorry about the Tudor bit, but you can't be too
careful, you know. Have a look through these.
Customer: Have you got anything a bit... er...
Assistant: A bit stronger?
Assistant: Hold on ... a... My Lord of Warwick!
Second Assistant: (off) 'Allo!
Assistant: Raise high the drawbridge. Gloucester's troops
Second Assistant: (off) Right.
Assistant: Can't be too careful you know, sir.
(The wall of the Tudor shop slides back to reveal the interior
of a Soho dirty bookshop in the back room... continued)