Friday, April 21, 2000

A Malenky Govoreet about the Molodoy

This dialogue between Alex and an author figure named ‘AB’ was written for newspaper publication shortly before Burgess’ stage version of A Clockwork Orange appeared in book form.
Anthony Burgess, 1987

AB: Alex, if I may call you that — there’s always been some doubt about your surname

ALEX: Never gave it, brother, to no manner of chelloveck. The gloopy shoot that put me in the sinny Lubric or Pubic or some such like naz — he gave me like two — Alex Burgess and Alex Delarge. That’s because of me govoreeting about being Alexander the Big. Then he forgets. Bad like editing. Call me Alex.

AB: In 1962, when the book about you was published, you were still a nadsat, teen that is. Now you must be about forty-two or -three or -four. Settled down, finished with the ultra-violence. Raising a family. Pillar of society. Taxpayer. Father of family. Faithful husband. Running to fat.

ALEX: For you, little bratty, I am what I was. I am in a book and I do not sdacha. Fixed like, ah yes, for ever and never, allmen.

AB: Sdacha?

ALEX: Pick up the old slovar some time, my brother. Shonary, Angleruss.

AB: Shonary?

ALEX: Leaving like the dick out.

AB: Fixed for ever and never, allmen, as you skazz. Etemal type of molodoy aggression.

ALEX: You are learning, verily thou art, O little brother.

AB: And yet there are changes, sdachas as you would put it. The youth or molodoy of the space age is not what it was in 1962.

ALEX: That old kneeg was in the space age, my malenky droog. In it there are chellovecks on the old Luna. It was like pathetic.

AB: Prophetic?

ALEX: And pathetic too. The jeezny of all chellovecks is like pathetic and very pathetic. Because they do not sdach. Because they are always the same. Because they are mekansky apple-sins. That being the Russ like naz of the kneeg written by Burgess or F. Alexander or whatever his naz is or was. What did you say your naz was, bratty?

AB: I skazzed nichevo about a name.

ALEX: Leaming, brother, learning thou art in Bog’s Pravda. And you would know what?

AB: To put it plain, your opinion of the youth of today.

ALEX: My like missal on the molodoy of segodnya. They are not like what I was. No, verily not. Because they have not one veshch in their gullivers. To Ludwig van and his like they give shooms of lip-music prrrrr. It is all with them cal, very gromky. Guitars and these kots and kotchkas with creeching golosses and their luscious glory very long and very grahzny. And their platties. It is all jeans and filthy toofles. And tisshuts.

AB: What are tisshuts?

ALEX: They are like worn on the upper plott and there is writing on them like HARVARD and CALIFORNIA and GIVE IT ME I WANT IT and suchlike cal. Very gloopy. And they do not have one missal in their gullivers.

AB: Meaning not one thought in their heads?

ALEX: That is what I skazzed.

AB: But they have many. They are against war and all for universal peace and banning nuclear missiles. They speak of love and human equality. They have songs about these things.

ALEX: It is all cal and kiss my sharries. A tolchock in the keeshkas for the kots and the old in-out for the koshkas. Devotchkas, that is. What they want they will not get. For there is no sdacha. There will always be voina and no mir, like old Lion Trotsky or it may be Tolstoy was always govoreeting about. It is built in. Chellovecks are all like very aggressive and do not sdach. The Russkies have a slovo for it, two really, and it is prirozhdyonnuiy grekh.

AB: Let me consult my ah Angleruss slovar. Odna minoota — it says here original sin.

ALEX: That I have not slooshied before. Real dobby. Original sin is good and very good.

AB: The young of today pride themselves on their severance from the culture of their elders. Their elders have ruined the world, they say, and when they are not trying to rebuild that ruined world with love and fellowship they withdraw from it with hallucinogens.

ALEX: That is a hard slovo and very hard, O my brother.

AB: I mean that they take drugs and experience hallucinations in which they are transported to heavenly regions of the inner mind.

ALEX: Meaning that they are in touch with Bog And All His Holy Angels and the other veshches?

AB: Not God, in whom most no longer believe. Though some of them follow the one you would call the bearded nagoy chelloveck who died on the cross. Indeed, they grow beards and try to look like him.

ALEX: What I skaz is that these veshches, like drencrom and vellocet and the rest of the cal, are not good for a malchick. To doomat about Bog and to itty off into the land and burble cal about lubbilubbing every chelloveck has to sap all the goodness and strength out of a malchick. This I skaz, ah yes, and it is the pravda and nichevo but the.

AB: Do you consider the youth of today to be more violent than the generation to which you belonged or belong?

ALEX: Not more. Those that want deng or cutter to koopat their teeny malenky sniffs and snorts and jabs in the rooker must use the old ultra-violence to take and like grab. But such are not seelny, strong that is. All the strength and goodness has been like sapped out of them. The ultra-violence is less now of the molodoy than of the ITA and ZBD and the Cronks and the Pally Steinians who are not pals of the Steins, ah no, nor of the Cohens and the rest of the yahoodies. It is all with the KPS and the TYF and the QED and the other gruppas. Terror by air and land, O my brother. Bombs in public mestos. Very cowardly and very like unkind. Bombs and guns, they were not ever my own veshch.

AB: You never handled a gun?

ALEX: Very cowardly, for it is ultra-violence from a long long long like way off. Dratsing is not what it was. It was better in what they called like the Dark Ages before they put on the like lights. The old britva and the nozh. Rooker to rooker. Your own red red krovvy as well as the krovvy of the chelloveck you are dratsing. And then there was another veshch I do not pomnit the slovo of all that good.

AB: Style, you mean style?

ALEX: That slovo will do as dobby as any slovo I know whereof, O my brother. Style and again style. Style we had. And the red red krovvy did not get on to your platties if you had style. For it was style of the nogas and the rookers and the plott, as it might be tansivatting.

AB: Dancing?

ALEX: That is the slovo that would not like come into my gulliver. The yahzick of the kvadrats I could never get my yahzick round.

AB: Kvadrat means quadratic, doesn't it‘? And that means square. By using such terminology you give away your age.

ALEX: Yarbles. Bolshy great yarblockos.

AB: Yarblockos means apples, does it not?

ALEX: It means yarbles, O my brother.

AB: Let us retum to this business of the music preferred by the young.

ALEX: It is not music. It is cal and grahzny cal. It is gromky and bezoomny and like for little children. For malenky malchicks it to me like appears to be. There is no music like Ludwig van and Benjy Britt and Felix M. And Wolfgang Amadeus that they made the cally lying lay it on about.

AB: Lay it on?

ALEX: Lay it on thick. Flick. Sinny film, that is. He was not seen off by Salieri. He snuffed because he was too good for this filthy world.

AB: You speak plain.

ALEX: I always govoreet plain, my brother. And this I skaz now, that music is the way in. That music is the door to the big bolshy pravda. That it is like heaven. And whbat the molodoy of now like slooshy is not music. And the slovos are like pathetic. What I say to those molody chellovecks is they must like grow up. They must dig into their gullivers more. They must not smeck at what has gone behind. Because that is all to have. There is no to come and the now is no more than like a sneeze. It is all there behind, built up by the bolshy chellovecks who are like dead. But they are not dead. They live on in our jeezny. 

AB: You seem to be ah gavoreeting about the preservation of the past. You seem to me also to be ah skazzing that artistic creation is a great good. And yet your ah jeezny was dedicated to destruction.

ALEX: All these bolshy slovos. It was the bolshy great force of the jeezny that was in myself. I was molody, and none had taught me to make. So break was the veshch I had to do. But I get over it.

AB: You get over it? Meaning you grew up?

ALEX: There is no kneeg about me growing up. That is not writ by no manner of writing chelloveck. They viddy me as a very ultra-violent malchick and not more, ah no. To be young is to be nothing. It is best as in your slovos to be like growing up. That is why I skaz to the molodoy of now that they must not be as they are. They have this long voloss and these tisshuts and blue tight genovas on their nogas and they think they are all. But they are nothing. Grow up is what they must do, ah yes. What they have to do is to like grow up.

AB: Can you now transport yourself to the future, or rather your part in the future which has not been written about and, I speak with some authority, never will be, and deliver a final message to the world of today?

ALEX: In the yahzick of the mir at like large?

AB: Yesli bi mozhno.

ALEX: Your Russian is deplorable, but I take it you mean ‘if possible’. Very well. I speak as a tax-paying adult. And I say that the only thing that counts is the human capacity for moral choice. No, I will not speak. I will sing. I will take Ludwig van Beethoven's setting of Schiller‘s Ode to Joy in the final movement of the glorious Ninth, and I will put my own slovos, I mean words, to it. And the words are these. If you would care to join in, thou art most welcome. Slooshy, listen that is. 

Being young's a sort of sickness,

Measles, mumps or chicken pox.

Gather all your toys together,

Lock them in a wooden box.

That means tolchocks, crasting and dratsing,

All of the things that suit a boy.

When you build instead of busting,

You can start your Ode to Joy.

AB: Thank you, Mr ah —

ALEX: Bog blast you, I haven't finished.

Do not be a clockwork orange,

Freedom has a lovely voice.

Here is good and there is badness,

Look on both, then take your choice.

Sweet in juice and hue and aroma,

Let’s not be changed to fruit machines.

Choice is free but seldom easy —        

That’s what human freedom means.

ALEX: Gloopy sort of slovos, really. Grazhny sort of a world. May I now, O my brother, return to the pages of my book?

AB: You never left them.