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The Lost Welsh Tradition of Ten Man Tryout


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With our industries switched off, unemployment high and the standard of daytime telly low, there’s nothing much to do but sit around the grit barrel, have a chat about lovely old chimneys and enjoy a game of Ten Man Tryout.

This is the surreal Welsh world created by Chris Morris on the Blue Jam radio show he created for Radio 1; they used to broadcast them from 1am to 2am.  This is from a show in 1998 and it’s referred to either as the Unemployed Welsh Men or Ten Man Tryout. But it doesn’t really matter.

It’s just daft and funny and strangely poignant.

Taffy: Sometimes we go and have a smoke by the old Bovril ad.
Mike: Used to meet, er, Lenny the Goth up there.
Taffy: ‘Til we found out he was just a puppet.
Les: …Look. I’m looking through my nose! I can’t see anything.
Taffy: Sometimes we play Ten Man’s Tryout.
Mike: Yeah, it’s fuckin’ ace.
(ting, ting, ting)
Les: Who’s got the tryout?
Taffy: What?
Les: Who’s got it?
Les: Heh heh. I have! Ha ha ha!
Mike: Have you?
(ting, ting, ting)
Les: Yeah!
Mike: No! Where is it?
Les: Er…
Mike: Which one’s no?
Taffy: Wait a minute… what’s that?
Mike: Where’s the bloody tryout gone?
(ting, ting)
Mike: Played it since we were kids. I still don’t know who’s got the tryout.
Taffy: Have any accolades today, Mikey?
Mike: No.
Les: Yes!
Mike: No you haven’t, Les.
Les: Oh, no. …Yes I have!
Mike: Don’t be daft.
Les: …No. …Oh yes..! Oh, no. Er… which one’s… no?
Mike: Shut up, Les.
Taffy: Don’t get many accolades now. But a few years ago, a big one came down here.
Mike: Big plume of fuzz on the front.
Taffy: And as it trundled off, it got smaller.
Mike: That’s how it got through the door of the pub.
Taffy: Went straight through the bar, and out of the back.
Mike: By that time, it was only the size of a Strepsil.
Les: So Simple Evans ate it.
Mike: He died immediately of a broken kick.
Les: Over by the crisp packet there, that’s where, er, Loud Bob had his garage!
Taffy: You’d send in your car for a service; he’d send your car back the next day with a shirt.
Mike: But that went out of fashion about ten years ago, didn’t it?
Taffy: Everybody had a shirt on their car when the Dallas mob came.
Mike: Oh, whole cast of Dallas, they come here looking for their birthplace.
Les: One of them cut his thumb off with a piece of freight, ha ha ha!
Mike: A short while after, a car with a shirt on wasn’t trendy at all.
Taffy: No. That’s why Loud Bob ended up with a chimney market.
Mike: Loads of chimneys in it. Lovely old chimneys. Wet and dry chimneys.
Taffy: He’d keep the wet ones outside. And the dry ones.
Mike: Loud Bob bought thirty one day.
Les: Why does a hill go up?
Mike: I went up to his yard to have a look, and… Bob was clambering about, and he just stepped off a little one. Only about three foot tall, it was, but it was from the top of a tall factory chimney, and he’d forgot to remove the impact, see.
Taffy: So he jumps down three-foot, and the ground hits him like the front of a train.
Mike: I got a bit of him stuck in my teeth! I was gawping, you know.
Les: Did we forget to build our house again?
Taffy: Who’s coming up to the grit barrel?
Les: Oh, no, there’s bombing in there…
Mike: Les…
Taffy: He’s scared of the grit barrel, ’cause he thinks the Second World War’s still going on in there.
Les: I heard it banging!
Mike: Les!
Les: Can I ask you something, Mikey?
Mike: Yeah…
Les: If a zombie, right… if a zombie has wooden flooring… does they put it down themselves, or pay someone else to do it?
Mike: Les, you are a prime little bollock.
Taffy: …Hey. Who’s got the tryout?
Les: Heh heh heh.
Mike: Who’s got it?
Les: Heh heh.
Mike: Is it…
Taffy: What?
Les: Ha ha!
Taffy: Where’s it gone?
Mike: Where is it?
Taffy: Who’s got it?
Mike: Hear me out now; I don’t know!
Taffy: Have you got it?
Les: I haven’t, I tell you!
Taffy: Where is it, where’s it gone?
Mike: Where is it now, who’s got it?
Taffy: I don’t know, where’s it gone?
Mike: No, you haven’t got it! Les, you’ve got it now!
Les: I haven’t!
Mike: Well, where’s it gone, then?
Taffy: You’ve got it, give it back.
Les: I don’t know where it is!
Taffy: I don’t know, bloody well..!
Mike: Where’s that bloody tryout gone!?
Les: I’ve got it!
Mike: Have you got it?
Mike: Give it back, you’ve got it!
Les: I’m not joking..!
Mike: Well where is it then?
Les: I dunno! I don’t know!
Mike: Well if I haven’t got it, you haven’t got it and he hasn’t got it, where is it!?
Les: I haven’t got it!
Mike: You haven’t…
Les: And if I haven’t got it…
Mike: Where the bloody hell is it? I bet he’s bloody got it all the time…

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