Rabbitte Guts 8
Jimmy Rabbitte is knackered. He’s living the lives of two men. But he only seems to have the energy of the older one.
And that’s the problem. The younger Jimmy is running him ragged. He’s up on a stage all day, in a theatre in London called the Palace. He’s in a musical, for fuck sake, and it’s opening in a few weeks. He’s the Jimmy Jimmy used to be when he was a kid. It’s kind of nice to see him again, even to be him again. But it’s killing him.
How did he manage back in the ’80s without a mobile phone? He had to go places, actually meet people, wait ages for people and buses, find a pay phone – find a pay phone that fuckin’ worked. It was a full time job, just communicating. How did he cope?
These days, if he can’t find the remote control, he wouldn’t bother his hole standing up to turn on the telly. The telly’ll stay off and he’ll flick through whatever poxy magazine is lying on the couch. There’s always something. Full of pictures of thick looking royals and skinny sexless film stars.
Anyway. He tries to think young. He tries to feel the youth in his step, in his back. He tries not to sigh – not to weep – when the director asks him to do something all over again. And he succeeds, most of the time – he copes.
But sometimes he goes out the stage door, leans against a London wall and tries not to cry. All these Londoners passing by, gorgeous and confident and young – the fuckers.
He doesn’t want to be young. He served his time. He really doesn’t want to go back and relive it. But Doyle is the boss, Doyle is God, Jimmy’s fuckin’ creator. The man who gave Jimmy bowel cancer – the bastard. The man who gave Jimmy Imelda Quirke – nice one; even a fictional ride beats nothing. By a good bit.
Youth. It can fuck off as far as Jimmy is concerned. He hasn’t the energy for it.
But a gig’s a gig. So he has to find the energy. He has to knock himself out, suffer a daily bout of amnesia. He has to forget he’s an oul’ lad, that he knows what backache is, and what ‘long in the tooth’ means. That his past is his young self’s future.
Still but, no complaints. He’s starring in a West End musical. Or, one of him is. It’s brilliant. And he doesn’t even have to sing or dance. Thank fuck. He just has to yap while all around him sing. And he’s good at that, the yapping. Always has been. He’ll die talking.
But. This two Jimmys business. Is he the younger version’s older brother, or his Da? Or what? Is there a real version of him, or a realer version? Is the man in The Guts the real Jimmy because he’s alive, fictionally, today? Or, at least he was last year, at the end of The Guts. Or is the young lad the real lad, because he was there before the old lad? Or is this all a load of shite?
Both Jimmys think it probably is.