That's Shaun Chambers as Sir Henry Baskerville. Shaun's lovely dad, John, came over to see the show a few days ago. John's a carpenter and musician, he toured Ireland back in the seventies and eighties and the night before the election we sat in the Four Corners at the intersection of Seilerstrasse and Zeil 10 while Shaun and he shared anecdotes about the Irish amateur dramatics groups they used to play with. Maybe "memories" is a better word than anecdotes: a man onstage rummaging around endlessly in a bag of bottle tops to find the single florin, that kind of thing. It might have held up the show, I said, but I thought it added verisimilitude because I'm always rummaging around in my leather pouch for euros in the Aldi.Sir Henry: "Do you have a torch?"Watson: "No. I've got a gun."Sir Henry: "Is it also a torch?"Watson: "No. It's just a gun."
"Have you been to Ireland?" John asked me.
I told him about the one time I'd been to Belfast touring "Ring", and how weirdly like a boarding school I'd found it.
"Oh it's better than it was," he said and went on to describe being in a Catholic band touring Protestant clubs north of the border: You didn't stay for drink. You didn't so much as look at the women. You were shepherded to the stage and then you were out, and when you were out there was no light because the street lamps round the clubs were all dark. I asked him why. John said the club owners had put them out. I asked him how. He said "You know," and mimed a gun. Oh yeah.
It was terrifying back then, John said. Once, he found a bullet on the floor of his car after giving a friend a lift. "If I'd been stopped, and that bullet had been found...
"And the man I was telling you about, the man with the the bottle tops..." The actor searching for the florin, yes. He was killed, John said. He'd come home one evening to be shot in the head. "And he had no links with any paramilitaries. None. They were just killing Catholics... And these were soldiers doing this. British soldiers. Listen... The Glenanne Gang... Google it when you get back. Glenanne Gang."
I did. He's not wrong. Still it was worth it, I guess, to have the DUP now sitting in the House of Commons. DERP!
Oh, John loved the show by the way.