A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Gordon and Stuart Eat Greek

Stephen (Gordon) and Hugh (Stuart) are sitting at a table in a Greek restaurant. Music plays in the background.

Hugh Yeah, I like to eat Greek at least once in a time, Gordon. It's a plain cuisine, simply prepared.

Stephen Yeah, well I'm not averse myself, Stuart.

Hugh No?

Stephen Substantially partial to a plate of Greek, as it happens. Substantially partial.

Hugh Good. (Indicating menu) We won't worry about this. I'll chat to the top over-waiter personally. This is just for the walk-in punters.

Stephen Right you be.

Hugh Listen to that bazooka music, Gordon. East meets West.

Stephen Love it.

Hugh There's a lot to be learned from the Greeks, you know. After all, they gave us the word "civilization".

Stephen I thought that was the Romans.

Hugh Ethnically the same peoples, Gordon. Also the word "economics". Sharp folk, your Greeks, Very sharp.

Stephen And the word "genoymeen".

Hugh What.

Stephen They gave us that as well. I suppose we must have just given it back, almost immediately.

Hugh Tough folk, your Hellenics. Hard as the crags and boulders that shape the islands and hills of their landscape.

Stephen Tssch. Do you know I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lesson in there somewhere?

Hugh Certainly there is. I've often thought of putting out a paper on the correlation between landscape and business acumen.

Stephen Great subject, Stu. You could set fire to some arses with a paper like that. The Institute of Executive Salesmen would go ape crazy on all fours for a theory of that sort.

Hugh I think so, Gordon, I think so. Take my own case. Myself, way back when, my folks hailed from Yorkshire. You see? Limestone uplands, unforgiving moors and scarred dales. An uncompromising, beautiful, hard and wide nurse of men.

Stephen But you were born in Surrey.

Hugh The limestone's in my blood. You can see it in the way I do business. Where you from first off, Gordon?

Stephen Lincolnshire.

Hugh Huh. You see? Flat, sodden, yielding, chalky, cautious, indecisive, always late for meetings ...

Stephen Well Lincolnshire's flat, Stu, yes. But I wouldn't say it was always late for meetings ...

Hugh (Ignoring him) Yeah, maybe I'll put that paper out after all. Maybe I'll do that.

Stephen Service is a bit slow.

Hugh You see, that's the typical lowlander's reaction. That's got Lincolnshire written all over it. You've got to understand that the Greek does things at his own tempo, Gordon. Natural rhythms and cycles, deep within them. The Yorkshireman in me respects that.

Stephen Well we don't want to be late for the basketball game, Stuart.

Hugh (Shouting) Service here! Let's get some action at this table!

Waiter arrives. A cheery Greek figure.

Waiter Good afternoon, my lovely friends.

Hugh OK, kalli spera.

Waiter Ah. Is lunchtime. You mean kalli mera.

Hugh Well yes, in some dialects, obviously. Now ...

Waiter To piato tees meras chtopothi.

Hugh Good, good. So ...

Stephen The dish of the day is octopus.

Hugh I know that, Gordon. Well aware. Where was the octopus caught?

Waiter Where was it caught? What a question. In the sea.

Hugh Right. It should be OK then Gordon, if you want to have that.

Waiter So ... ?

Stephen Well thelo parakalo dolmades kai filetto souvlaki kai nero pagomeno kai ena boulaki retsina.

Waiter Entaxi. Kai ya sas, kyrie?

Hugh What?

Stephen What would you like, Stuart?

Hugh The same. Definitely. The er ... parakalo.

Stephen Auo.

Waiter Certainly, gentlemen.

Waiter exits.

Hugh And we'd better order up some wine while we're at it.

Stephen I did that, Stuart.

Hugh Oh, of course you did, yeah. I was miles away.

Stephen He's a bit forward isn't he? All that "lovely friends" stuff.

Hugh Well what he's done, Gordon, is recognise a kindred spirit. He's spotted the craggy moorlander in me and he knows that he and I have been nourished by essentially the same granite. Ergo, we're clients to be treated with respect, not your usual walk-in, quick turnover merchants.

Waiter enters, with plates.

Waiter Dolmades for my two beautiful English gentlemen, I think.

Hugh Great.

Stephen Looks good.

Waiter Is very good, my special friends.

Waiter exits.

Stephen (Tucking in) Ha.

Hugh What is this?

Stephen Well it's dolmades.

Hugh Dolmades?

Stephen Stuffed vine leaves.

Hugh Stuffed vine leaves? Is he trying to take us for a ride?

Stephen It's a classic Greek dish.

Hugh Classic Greek ... What am I, a peasant or a busy executive?

Waiter enters.

Waiter Everything alright, my absolute darlings?

Hugh Fine thank you.

Stephen My colleague doesn't like dolmades.

Waiter But you ask for dolmades.

Stephen He didn't know what it was.

Hugh I knew what ... hahahaha. Everything's just fine, thank you. Waiter exits. Let's get out of here, Gordon. This is just a tourist trap.

Stephen In Stevenage?

Hugh Why not?

Stephen But this is good, Stuart.

Hugh Wake up, Gordon, wake up! Jesus, they must have seen you coming a mile off.

Stephen Don't you want your dolmades?

Hugh Do I want to push a stuffed vine leaf through my face? No, incredibly, I don't.

Stephen Well I'm starving, so if it's all the same with you ...

Hugh (He drinks some wine) Oh that's it. This wine is corked.

Stephen It can't be. It's got a metal top.

Hugh Don't get clever. Just taste it. (Banging table) Waiter!

Stephen Delicious.

Hugh Delicious? It's got something in it.

Waiter enters.

Waiter Yes, my excellent friends?

Stephen (To Hugh) It's resinated.

Hugh Exactly. Waiter, this wine has resinated in the bottle.

Waiter Yes. Is retsina.

Stephen It's supposed to be like that, Stu. They add pine needle resin to it ...

Hugh Yea, thanks very much for your input Gordon, but I hope I know my wines. I didn't fork out on an encyclopaedia of world wines for nothing.

Waiter Retsina. Is very good.

Stephen It's delicious, Stu.

Hugh (Pause) Well I hope you're going to invite me to the wedding.

Stephen What?

Waiter Give me a pardon?

Hugh You two are getting married, presumably?

Stephen Stuart ...

Hugh No, obviously a six-year friendship goes out the window if you're going to start siding with some Greeko against me.

Waiter I think maybe everything is not so good for my two lovers.

Hugh (To waiter) You can cut that out right now.

Stephen Listen Stu ...

Hugh No you listen, mush. While you were marking time with linguaphone courses of the ancient world, I was pounding the streets of Tiverton learning the selling trade.

Stephen Stu ...

Hugh While you tanned your hairy arse on the nude beaches of Crete or wherever it was, stuffing vine leaves with a bunch of perverts, I was getting my masters degree in the university of hard knocks and tough surprises. Well mister - I make no apology. To you or your fancy lover boy. (He makes for the exit)

Stephen Stu! Where are you going?

Waiter I can bring you an omelette, if you like, sir.

Hugh Forget it. I've had enough, Gordon. I'm going out for an honest British kebab.

Vox Pop

Stephen What I always say to myself is, "what would Lester Piggott have done in this situation?"

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