Archive for November, 2012

More of Tabby’s Faces

Tuesday:  It’s a very odd experience this nanowrimo thing.  50,000 words is beyond me, that’s for sure.  Am on 20,000.   Managed to get down 6000 words yesterday.  Don’t really know how, but the truth is, now that I’ve got them down, ideas are burgeoning, flocking. To my utmost surprise I appear to be writing a religious allegory.  How on earth?  Maybe some force is working through me.  It is refreshing though just to write and write hardly going back to correct even typos.

Maybe I will give you some more pictures of Tabby’s faces today as we all need cheering up because the weather is bloody awful.  I found them on her wall.  Ben of postcard fame –  (only one though come to think of it.  Come on Ben surely you can manage another?)  took them.  He he, they were too good to languish on a lonely wall.

He he, here they are:  Enjoy.  This one is:  ‘Smiling at a Passer-by.’  (These are all named by Ben.)

This one is:  ‘Just chillin in the car.’

This one is  ‘Making an effort for a day out’:

This one is:  ‘Appreciating an artist’s work’:

I am writing some comic sketches which I am hoping Tabby will do for me in the holidays.  Will have to bribe her obv.  She is not one to give of her more revolting talents for free.

I met Janet for lunch at a Mexican near Trafalgar Square. They mash the avocados up with the chilli and coriander at your table.  Janet had a couple of lovely friends with her from her MA in Book Art.  Book Art is a huge thing now apparently.  You make art out of old books, take inspiration from them, explore the concept of them.  It’s all about connecting with people and connecting with the past and future, or something!  We wandered up Charing Cross Road and browsed in a second-hand bookshop.  I could have stayed in there for hours, just for the crackly smell of ideas.

We were talking about writing. One of Janet’s friends says that when they are seeking a narrator for their novel, they audition different narrators in their mind.  I have been doing this ever since with various characters.  I have decided to rewrite the tits book from the point of view of one of the crusty factory workers, because she absolutely beasted her audition.  And omnipresent third-person narration does seem more artificial than first person which is so simple, direct, richer in tone.  Only thing is, first person crucially limits the point of view so that, in the case of the tits book for example, my readers will not see inside the baddie’s head, which is why authors then turn to multi-first-person, a chapter-each-type-thing, which I don’t really like because just as you are getting into one narrator you then have to get used to another.

Something NOT GOOD: on the way back, going up a tube escalator, I saw a poster that said, ‘He fathered 533 kids!’ with a picture of a surprised-looking dad.  It’s a film called ‘Starbuck’  that was made in Canada.  Bollox.  Of course, my sperm book has been done.  Still, everyone is saying to me ‘there are many ways to skin a cat.’  Hate that expression but you can see what it means.  And it’s all in the delivery, the setting, the tone,  I know, I know.  Of course it would be arrogant to think that you can own an original idea these days wot with all the peeps in the world.  And of course all those blokes going into the sperm banks and wanking into their little pots, they must have given plenty of thought over the years to the zillions of varying plots based upon the whole weird business.

Another problem with my sperm book was, (and this is what many authors find after a few weeks of struggle) the bloody characters have started rebelling and doing their own thing.  The leader of the Heavenly Throng Sperm Gang, Holy Sebastian, only went and got himself shot!  Silly boy.  It’s really messed up the plot now.  He was crucial to its development.  However, tussling with a novel is really to be recommended if you don’t mind your head being done in.

All this week it has been the Hockerill Festival of World Literature.  I went to see Andy Mulligan talk about his books.  He went to work in Manila in the Philippines.  He told us the islands were most beautiful place and that you should definitely go there if you ever go on your honeymoon.  But he said Manila itself has the hugest, stinkiest rubbish dump he had ever seen.  You look into it and think you can spot rats moving about.  Then you think maybe it’s pigs.  Then, with a dawning awareness, you see it’s children, squirming about in the rubbish trying to find tiny pieces of useful things they can sell.  This was the inspiration for his children’s thriller ‘Trash’, which has been translated into 25 languages and is being made into a film.  He showed us photos of the dumps and sad cement coffins piled high in the streets.   ‘If dead Pablo’s family can’t find the 100 dollars to keep his remains in there, they will just be scraped out and dumped in the puddles,’ he told us.

Later the same day I went to ‘Creating life-long learners,’ by Marilyn Brocklehurst, a librarian who is, to put it mildly, doolally about children’s books.  She showed us some of the comically dreadful books that people send to her, and read us some of the wonderful ones.  She said that when she was doing a postgrad in ‘Library’, she discovered, in the corner, a selection of the best ever children’s books.  She had a look and realised she had read hardly any of them.  Her mum had never read her a single book.  Her dad had read her two books, Kidnapped when she was seven and  Treasure Island when she was eight and that only because she was ill.  So she set to and read all of the selection.  She was so fascinated by them that she changed all her modules to focus entirely on children’s literature.    Now people flock to her library in Norfolk asking for advice in how to get children to read.  Of course, it’s about letting them choose, letting them be led by enjoyment, by the excitement in the story.  She also said that if you see a little boy who is reading the Financial Times when he is four, don’t ever believe the parents who say, ‘Oh, we don’t know how he became such a reader,  he just seemed to pick it up.’  No, she said, readers like that are created from being read to, from an interested adult bringing the books alive for them, bringing the story off the page.

OMG it was just so interesting.  I’m going to another talk now: an evening of poetry and drama with Daljit Nagra.  Whoop whoop.  Gotta go, byeee!

Well that was also fascinating.  Poems about identity.  A really funny one about being embarrassed about your mum looking different from all the other mums.  And poems written by the Creative Writing Club at Hockerill.  I was astounded at the confidence they showed in their work.  Three dancers interpreted the writing with swift, curving explorations of space.

Wed:  Fred is off being Principal for the day!  I know, it’s so quiet round here.  Bizarre.  Normally he is mooching around making tea. However, a good opportunity to keep at the parrots with my ‘Get a Job, Fred!’   Ha ha I bet it’s a laugh being a headmaster.  Lucky Fred.  He went off with a purple tie and a suit, looking incredibly smart and shaven.

Have just made bread.  Three loaves.  One for Meg over the road who has been ill, one for Karen at the ponies who has just moved house and one for us.  Have also hand-washed the three lovely agnes b beanies that my cousin Kate sent.  I am sending them back to her.  It’s funny thinking that I don’t need them any more.  When I had the cancer somehow I thought it was permanent.  My friend Sam (Alfie’s friend Brandon’s mum) kept saying ‘You’ll get through this, soon it will all be over and you’ll be through it.’  She kept repeating it like a mantra and it was as if I couldn’t hear it.  It’s like when you have lots of little children you can’t see how they will ever grow up.  Eventually they do of course and then they’re suddenly gone.

A headhunter phoned Fred about a job in Abu-dabi.  Mmm.  Don’t know if can do.  Twenty percent tax though.  Could maybe pay off the house?  But at what cost?  Could wait for Chloe and Tabby to get back for the holidays and scarper to visit Fred.  Or could hit the ponies over the head with a hammer, leave Alfie in boarding (as he’s halfway through his GCSEs), rent out the house and scarper with the dogs and cats and Bashi.   But we love our school.  We love our fwends.  We love the ponies.

Don’t be silly:  I wouldn’t really hit them with a hammer.  I would get the vet to do the dirty.

It’s horrible having a pony put down.  We had to do it with little Rocky.  The knacker people were there with their van hovering like vultures.  They kept offering to shoot him in the head.  We said ‘No, the vet’s coming.’  They sat there silent, full of deadly purpose.  Ugh.  Amy, Rocky’s little pony friend came in to the stable and massaged Rocky on the neck with her teeth.  Karen-at-the-ponies and I burst into tears and chucked back the Rescue Remedy.  We gave Rocky Rescue Remedy too and massaged him til the vet came.  ‘Lucky he’s already down,’ said Karen.  ‘It’s worse if they have to fall.  That horrible thud.’  (She had been through it before.)

When my little flute pupils heard that Rocky had died they were incredibly, disproportionately upset.  They wept and wailed and gnashed their teeth.  Inez’s sister wrote a blotchy tear-stained letter to Rocky.  It said, ‘You were the best pony ever.  I loved you so much.  I loved riding you and brushing you.  You were so sweet.’  The letter rather hilariously ended, ‘Gotta go now!  Byeeee!’  The farmer and his wife buried the letter with Rocky’s ashes.

I am reluctant to put Princey down before the time is right.  He still seems quite chuffed with his life of escapism and mutual scratchy time with Siffo.  Have to go out now in lashing rain to meet the vet for his third anti-lice injection.

Thursday:  Today it was Barney’s mum’s funeral.  The small church in Barton is unbelievable. My granny Emmeline and her mother Eleanor are buried there.  14th Century painted pictures on the stone walls.  A beautiful carved and worn pulpit. Barney’s brother Alexander, who is a conductor in Brussels, had flown over a soprano from the opera.  She sang Pie Jesu.  Everyone cried it was just so moving.  We went outside to see the coffin lowered into the ground beneath a pretty tree where Ann’s husband Patrick is buried.  As the vicar said ‘Dust to dust, Ashes to ashes,’ I kid you not, there came a biblical mighty rushing wind.  Gale force.  The vicar had to shout to be heard.  Golden leaves fled past and the sun broke through the clouds.  Since reading Dennis’ book and talking lots to Dennis I have become much more likely to recognise the work of spirits.  And even Barney, who is a stiff-upper lip sort of chap, realised that it was all coordinated by the mighty firmament.  Fred just said, ‘Yes, it was very windy,’ but he never gets things like that.

You know, once, years ago, Barney came in for a drink at my mum’s house.  My mum served nuts in a bowl with soft blue-grey swirls on it.  Barney said, ‘My mum made that bowl.’  He looked under to check and there were her initials.  Coincidences can be so odd.  My friend Sue-over-the-fence told me years ago that she was going to St Albans for the day to visit a friend.  I said I had a friend in St Albans too.  Blow me if her friend was not the mother of my friend!

Anyway, so on Thursday evening, I went to see Diego Morani, this charismatic Italian, do a talk on Europe and Language.  It was music to my ears, the whole thing.  He is an interpreter for the European Commission and writes speeches for the commissioners.  He said: ‘I am not a politician. I am not a historian. I am just a very creative explorer who is obsessed with language.’  Speaking in a heavy Italian accent but in exquisite English, he talked about how language is on the move.  This phrase always reminds me of the beavers in Narnia saying that Aslan is on the move, and before you even know who Aslan is you get the shivers.  Diego said that, in his view, there is no point in trying to resurrect old languages forcibly.  You would have to do things with them to reimbue them with meaning, you’d have to work in them, do business and science in them.  He said Latin is still alive in its evolved forms in no less than six European languages.  He reminded us that a language goes on before us and after us.  He talked about being defined by the languages we use, how we put on masks to switch languages.  He said even our faces are shaped by our language.  He said ‘Look, I have a very Italian face.’  He told us that at his work, they speak so many languages that every person in the group can speak their own language yet understand everyone else.  Being a bit of a joker, he has created a new language called Europanto.  It is like Franglais but with all the European languages, or at least all the ones you happen to know, all muddled in.  The only rule, he said, is that it should be understood.  If the person you are speaking to does not understand, you have got it wrong.  He spoke to us in it.  It was amazingly easy to understand.  The effect was to do with the boundaries of different languages becoming smudged.  About a rejection of purity maybe.  A celebration of being part of a confusing, disparate whole.  About Europe becoming one?  I guess we’ll have to read his books to understand more.  The blurring of boundaries reminded me of Janet’s current work where she is engaged in merging letters from the Arabic alphabet with letters from our alphabet.

Back on my Pure Synergy, I feel that everything is fitting together.  I felt like he spoke only to me.  This is being high.  Ferg used to try to explain what being on a high was like.  He almost could not bear the beauty of the lights of the fairground on the Downs.  When we used to get stoned we felt like that.  Still, party tonight to drink the barrel of beer won at auction!  Seventy two pints of ale, here we come.

Ps. this is a picture of how Fred found the kitchen the morning after the last gin club!  (Tidying up does not seem to be one of the ladies’ strengths during or after gin.)  Oops.  Don’t show Gwanny.


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I am going to hurry up and do a little blog so I can get on for the rest of the weekend and add to my word-count on this Nanowrimo Super-Spunk Project.  (So far, don’t tell anyone, I have a pathetic number of words and only twenty days left.  Eek.)  I Have The Web-Badge after all, so I must Do The Work.

Barney went for a rare visit to the boat the other day.  He has been looking after his mum who is in hospital, so has not been able to go to the boat often.  He found that a mouse had eaten everything, shat everywhere, shat on his bed, died and decomposed.  Barney’s nephew commented ‘well, that’s life really, in a nutshell.’

Barney came round to help Fred make a Wellington.  It was phenomenally complicated, involving thin pancakes, smeared with mushroom pate, lining fluffy pastry, all folded over a spinach herby lemon chick-pea mixture.  I don’t know why Fred undertakes these massive missions.  It took three of us about four hours. Problem was, we never read the recipe in advance.  We kept therefore getting caught out by instructions such as:  ‘now chill the mixture for one hour.‘  We would all groan as we were hoping to eat within the next ten minutes.  The kids kept coming in saying, ‘is it ready yet?’  We finally ate at ten thirty.  We all agreed it wasn’t even that good, and would have been better to chuck all the ingredients in a pan and toss them about a bit.

I ran out of Synergy Plus, the disgusting green drink, about ten days ago.  Have not managed to galvanise myself to get more.  And I have to report:  I don’t feel as good as I did.  I am not bouncing around.  I feel anxious and irritable.  (Yoga-Lorna blames the gin.  She has a point.)  Karen-at-the-ponies ordered some Synergy for her and Eddie and they both feel a million dollars.  Also, whereas every other year they have had at least a couple of coughs and colds by November, this year they have had none.  Make what you will of this, but I am going back on it pronto.  If you can’t stand the drink you can get it in pill form but be aware it is expensive. (The website is called Xynergy.)  Fred did go on about it being expensive, but I pointed out that one jar which lasts four months costs the same as filling up the car once.  And how many times have I had to drive to Addenbrooke’s in the past six months?  Being ill is very expensive.  Making every effort to avoid all forms of it makes sense.

Karen-at-the-ponies and I washed Prince, as he had horse-lice.  Luckily the weather was warm and sunny.  We took water butts full of hot water and soaped and scrubbed him.  Then we rubbed him with ten towels which have had to be disposed of.  (Don’t tell Fred, don’t tell Gwanny.)  He now looks very shiny, curly and a bit swanky really for an old guy.

I just submitted the ‘story on the theme of a ghost’ to the Hockerill short story competition.  Thought I might as well put it here for you so you can see I have not been truly idle.  Had fun with it he he lolz.  Of course I was in no way drawing on my own experiences of yoga or anything and all resemblances to people living or dead blah de blah are entirely coincidental!


 Emily ran for the phone.

‘Hi, it’s Ken…from the Football Club. That slot you wanted, yeah? Friday mornings? You can ‘ave it.’

Emily gasped. ‘Really? What…about Saskia? It’s Saskia’s slot, isn’t it?’

There was a pause. ‘Nah, trust me, she don’t need it no more. Twenty five quid. Start tomorrow if you want. Pay at the bar after the class.’

Emily was thrilled. She’d hankered after that slot for years. Crazy Saskia had always nabbed it though. Everyone in town always raved about Saskia’s classes, about how genius they were. Why had she given up the slot, Emily wondered. Oh well, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. She quickly emailed her pupils.

Emily locked her car, squinting at the sky. Purple clouds scudded over the sun, causing bars of shadow to run over the pitches. Ropes holding a marquee down snapped in the wind. Two girls in stripy leg-warmers were leaning against the wall, chatting. One turned away to stub out a cigarette. The other cackled. Emily caught the words ‘…hated anyone using her space though…’

‘You teaching Saskia’s class?’ asked the lanky one, holding one foot in her hand.

‘No,’ said Emily firmly. ‘I’m teaching my own class, but you’re welcome. Ten quid.’

Clutching her mat and blocks, she pushed open the door with her back. The girls followed her in. Emily had a look around. Shiny pale blue lino, faint smell of beer, tall smeary windows looking out on the pitches and marquee. A howling wind in the rafters. One crappy bare bulb. She put her mat down at the front of the room. ‘Hmm…chairs?’ she mused.

The lanky girl pulled open the door to a cupboard. ‘In here,’ she yawned.

Emily pulled at the stack of metal yoga chairs, upsetting a pile of blocks with a yoga book on top. It slid to the floor, front page open. Scrawled at the top was just one word in angry red felt-tip: SASKIA.

As she dragged a couple of chairs out, a rustling in the corner of the room caught her eye. She tried to focus: what was it? She went over to have a look. Just dry leaves and a dust bunny. She made a mental note to ask Ken to clean up better.

The swing doors banged open. Lauren bounded in, black hair pinned into a bun, rosy cheeks. ‘It’s like so windy out there,’ she laughed. She flipped her pink mat onto the floor near the back of the room. Mike bowled in, looking trim and half of his seventy years: ‘Hi there! Morning!’ He unloaded his rucksack near the front.

Light from the sun breaking through clouds suddenly bathed the room, fading just as fast. The shadow lurking amongst the dry leaves scurried across and hid in the folds of Lauren’s blanket.

The doors crashed open. A gust of wind rippled the blinds. Daisy and Yvonne staggered in, giggling, dropping belts and blocks. ‘Sorry, Emily! Got a bit held up.’ Daisy threw her mat on the floor in front of Lauren and got straight into dog pose head down, her red curls brushing the floor. The shadow scuttled from Lauren’s blanket to nestle in Daisy’s locks.

Emily sat on two blocks, palms together, head bowed. Karen crept in, dwarfed by her massive holdall. She put a finger to her lips, widened her eyes at the others. She yanked off her shoes, pulled off her socks, unrolled her mat.

Daisy lifted her head and came out of dog pose to sit on her blocks. The dark shape scurried into her abandoned jumper. Daisy rubbed her upper arms briskly and looked behind her, pursing her lips.

‘OMMMM,’ chanted Emily quietly.

‘OMMMM,’ echoed the class.

Emily stood up. The class followed suit. Their teacher stood very still and upright, shoulders back, belly button back to spine.

The shadow shivered across the room from Daisy’s jumper into Karen’s balled socks. Karen shuddered at goose bumps rising around her neck. Emily said ‘Arms out to the sides, stretch into the fingertips, shoulders down.’ She stepped neatly out of her pose, turning her back to adjust the thermostat on the wall. The shadow shot forward, lingered in the creases of Mike’s rucksack and from there caused a little flurry in the pages of Emily’s notebook.

‘Chilly, isn’t it?’ The teacher smiled a broad, mellow smile. ‘Ok, feet three feet apart, turn your right leg out. Trikanasana. Reach out, rest your hand on your block…left hand on waist…. turn the waist.’

Her sideways head smiled brightly at the class. ‘Standing poses today, ladies….and gentleman,’ she said, winking at Mike. ‘For strength and stamina.’

A metal bucket went clattering across the car park. Shafts of sunlight again moved quickly over the floor. The shadow left the notebook, seeped along a crack in the lino, slipped along the edge of Emily’s mat and ran up her arm.

The teacher stretched into her perfect triangle. Her body was tingling. Her eyes opened wider, forming shiny black pools. The single bare bulb swung above her, casting shadows through the beams. ‘Turn the waist, the waist,’ she spat with sudden scary intensity. ‘Left hand up to the ceiling, stretch it, stretch, more, Lauren, MORE!

Daisy wheezed. Yvonne groaned. Lauren’s bun came undone, tumbling black tresses to the floor. Mike’s limbs were shaking. Karen felt a great weakness wash over her.

‘Block in your right hand. Right hand, Mike! Stretch it forward….place it one foot away from your big toe, now…hop forward with your left foot, lean on your block, left leg up, lift it, lift it, now look up!’ Emily was shrieking, the cords in her neck standing out with the strain.

She propelled them through Adhamukavirasana, Virabadrasana 1, Virabadrasana 2, Salutation to the Sun, with ever-mounting intensity. ‘Knee BACK, don’t forget to BREATHE, and RELAX! RELAX! This is YOGA!‘ she screamed, her eyes popping with fury.

Only the stripy-leg-warmer girls, recognising deep in their souls the psychotic tones of their old teacher, exchanged petrified glances. The rest of the class were transfixed. ‘Now, Savasana,’ breathed Emily at last, with reverence. ‘The Corpse Pose.’ Her eyes shone a glassy silver. ‘Lie down on your mats. Lay yourselves out. Really get into the pose.

Although seized by a strange terror, they obeyed. Emily padded about. Lethal threads of dark smoke streamed from her cold fingers into each empty forehead. Her hand stroked their eyes shut.

Emily sat back down. She placed her palms together. A low ‘OMMMM’ reverberated from her throat. There was no echo, just a deathly silence. She slowly raised her head and surveyed the seven bodies lying so still. She gathered up her things and batted her way through the doors, out towards her car.

‘Oy,’ shouted Ken from the side door. ‘You gotta pay up! And you can’t leave ’em all lyin’ there! Them bloody yoga freaks gotta be outta here by eleven!’

Emily pushed some notes into his hand. ‘What happened to Saskia?’ she asked.

‘You ‘avin a larf? Doncha know? She died….last week. Ha, you don’t think there’s any other way you’d’ve have got her slot! Or didn’t you know her?!’ He turned away, honking with laughter.

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A few weeks back I was clearing out an old box of photos and found a lovely one of my old friend Lucy’s mum, Ros, holding Chloe who was a few weeks old.  Now don’t get confused:  this Lucy is not Mad Lucy of PIP implant fame, but Juicy Lucy, who I knew when I was ‘litrally’ one.  Age three, four, five we would play gypsies in her bedroom, with a wagon made from her bed, pulled by dearly-loved motheaten furry Hassan, a camel that Lucy’s dad Ken had brought back from the Far East.  Age six, seven, eight we kept about fifteen imaginary horses under her willow tree.  Age nine and ten we would make cakes and wash up which I found fearfully novel as at my house we were not allowed to wash up. (I don’t know, ask Gwanny.)  Age fifteen and sixteen we would crash college parties.  I would get thrown out but she wouldn’t as she like ‘litrally’ was grown-up, having five older sisters to lend her clothes and make-up, lucky thing.

I don’t know how, but I got it together to put this lovely pic of Ros in the post to Lucy as I thought she might like to see a photo of her mum looking so happy, sitting in a deck-chair in the garden.  So anyway this led to Lucy saying why don’t we meet up for a drink at the Old Spring?  I said, Oh what fun and shall we ask Hermione?  Now, Hermione I ‘litrally’ also knew when I was one as I have a picture of us playing on the floor –  age one.  We have fun later memories of skiving off school to cycle home for cheese on toast.

So I got to the Old Spring first and shotgunned the table by the fire.  I had been planning to have one gin and then coke in order to be able to pick up Bash at ten from a dress rehearsal.  However, Lucy and Hermes turned up and ordered a whole bottle of red and a double rum and coke respectively.  What was one to do?  Party-pooper, moi?  Mais non!  I phoned Fred and he agreed to pick up Bash.  Whoop whoop.  I got a couple of double gins down my neck and we started making up for lost time.  We have four kids apiece so that kept us busy for a while.  The far and distant past did too, and our misspent youth!  Our friends from school!  Oh, my lord, did that ever get us yakking.  Lucy’s sister Jo turned up.  Her son Barney was playing with his band at the Portland Arms over the road.  Were we up for it?  Were we ever!   Bitches be giggin!  Decided we were going to meet every month and we would be called the Old Springs.  Then we decided Rusty Old Springs said it all.  Then we realised Rusty Old Springs spelt Ros, which was just wonderful.

We staggered over the road, arm in arm.  I think at this point I started to show people my new boob but can’t be sure, maybe that was later.  I know Hermes was displaying her rather extensive tattoo to all and sundry.  We went in and were the oldest people there, no matter!  We bopped about enthusiastically none the less and shouted and drank and appreciated the ‘car-crash cabaret’ wot was the band.  They are called Binewski Murder. Boomtown 2013 says they are ‘an anarchic musical rabble who spin tales of doom and debauchery to a soundtrack of waltzes, marches, ballads and car-crashes.’  Yes they were that!   I am the most massive fan already.

The stunning, impossibly lanky front man, Barney, is on guitar while a girl called Keri oozes stage presence as she harmonises cross-eyed under her fringe and halloween horns, along to a trombone, bass and drums. Timeless or at least ancient, and vaudeville in a manic, modern sort of way.  Bits reminded me of the theatrical Bonzo Dog Doodah Band CD that my sweet college friend Keith who died sent me. I think the truth is you probably can’t be a proper fan of the Bonzo Dog DooDah Band and live.   Anyway the Binewski Murder sound is kind of infectious, crunching, bouncy and mental. I kept writing things down for the blog as I didn’t want to forget them.  Only trouble is, can’t read them now, the handwriting is just appalling!  (Even without being drunk my handwriting has gone down the pan.  Who writes with a pen any more?  Sad truth, like almost nobody.)  ( I keep saying ‘like’ to annoy Bashi who like says it all the time.)

So we eventually came out onto the street and shouted away wildly at some strangers about life the universe and everything.  I think they wrote down some things on my pad but I can’t read what they wrote either.  Poor lost words.

Maybe this is the point where I showed everyone my boob.  Don’t know.  I probably scared people.  I think the Beaut is beautiful (and so does Miss Benyon as we know. She is its creator though so mmm a bit biased maybe?), and Fred claims he does, but probably peeps taken unawares recoil somewhat at the sci-fi nature of it all.

I slept on the sofa at my mum’s house.  God, do they ever have weird breakfast at that establishment?  Porridge with no salt, just mashed banana intilt!  Honestly can you imagine?  I borrowed a plastic bowl to take back with me and threw up banana-y porridge and tea into it several times along the motorway.  Oops.  Still, self-induced is OK, much better than chemo.

So, other than having naughty nights aht on the tahn, I have been engaged on new and wondrous creative endeavours.  I have been reading a book that I borrowed from the Cancer Centre, called ‘The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking.’  I only read half a chapter which was about the humungous power of thought waves and I remembered something so fundamental that I can’t believe I had forgotten it.  It is that you have to do everything, even picking up pony poos, with LOVE.  I knew this before, but sometimes you just forget.  You can’t help ligging about, sighing and letting whole days slip by.  But now I have remembered:  just do everything with a deep and calm feeling of love.  Sounds bonkers, I agree, but such a laugh waiting to be had by all, honest.  That same day, I brought down all the piles of clothes that had been stagnating, probably for several years, in the corridor, sorted them out, washed them, dried them, loved them, folded them, hung them up.  It was a JOY.  And no effort.  That same day, I came to my computer and just decided on the spur of the moment that I was going to create ‘TITS:  the Musical.’  Yes, we will take it to Edinburgh in summer 2013, no time like the present, let’s get this show on the road.

Wicked ideas for songs so far.  Far-out instrumentals for the leafy Boob Tube where the women are milked. (I’m thinking Ben Sommers sounds, if he doesn’t mind writing us a few bars.  If you are over 18, check out his song Hillary.)  Slick salsa  (I know Annie and Sexteto Cafe will write me some bars) backed by a frenetic foetal heartbeat for the zumba-crazed anti-mother who induces her baby three weeks early so she can go skiing, contrasting with a chilled spaced vibe backed by a calm da-dum, da-dum heartbeat for the pregnant yoga mums.  (Ooh, the lighting person will have fun playing with panicky reds versus cool bluey greens.)  Folky jamming or Stomp-like percussion on pots and pans from the stoned crusties running the milk factory.  A comedy song when our baddie Tarquin gets it into his head that his girlfriend Francesca is going to have to disguise herself as a lollipop lady in order to spy on the school to find out why the kids are so clever.  You can just imagine her upon her zebra crossing, hating the kids, scowling in her lurid yellow coat.  We also must have a drinking song (maybe Binewski Murder would write one for us?) for the conman and his cronies in the pub as they study the logistics of  them big tits going up the hill and them tiny ones coming down and wonder what the hell is going on.

A comic song of paranoia is required for when Tarquin starts thinking he is being targeted by the Bodily Fluid Terrorists. We need an operatic duet for Booby and Busty when they agree to be poached and go over to the dark side.  We need a choral lament to be sung by the women who have defected to the lab from hell.  Imagine them wailing with their drips, their chemo, their pallor… and all while their milk is being forcibly extracted.  (Such a contrast to our lovely Boob Tube which is productive, expressive, fluid and full of joy.)  Tarquin can be at the head of it, conducting the whole nightmare dance.  The lighting person will need some scary disco lights for that bit.  And then poor betrayed Hetty will burst in on them all and whack out a whole impassioned counter-rhythm throwing it all off-kilter.

The beauty of doing Edinburgh is that it costs so much to hire the theatre for a slot for the week, that people are forced to pare their shows down to an hour.  And I mean, I really have got enough material for one hour.  We will have to pack it in.  And I can’t wait to hand out our leaflets on the Royal Mile.  ‘Hmm, TITS:  the Musical.  What is it about?’

‘Erm, well, it’s about TITS really!’

‘What?  Just tits?’

‘Yeah.  Just tits.’

I’ve also joined something called Nanowrimo where you write a novel in a month.  I thought I might do a full-length version of my new short story which has materialised.  Just to give you a laugh, I will paste it here for you.  You can see it is also going to be black comedy.

Heavenly Father.

Anyone could make that mistake once, but then he did it again.  (That’s the line you have to put in somewhere.)

I weren’t having none of it.  If you got yerself a noo girl, with lovely big boobs, you don’t go phoning yer snooty old one.  He said he deleted her from his phone but he never.

I decided now was the time.  I started taking his sperm regular like. Thing is, I needed the money!  What you gonna do?  If you need the money, you need the money.

I’d run downstairs gagging, spit into me jam-jar, trot over the road to number 14 in me dressing gown and hand it to Pat.  Pat would pass over a hundred and fifty quid wivout batting an eye.

Ha, those were the days.  Three hundred quid a day to burn.  First things first, I  booked meself a little ‘holiday’ at the Rivers and came out with an even bigger pair of boobs!  I had mojitos in Baroosh almost every day.  I took me mates Shelley and Chardonnay shoppin in Harlow.  I’d go dancin at the Fountain three times a week.  I was a Lady wot Lunches, me!  The Crown, the Star, the Boars Head.

Then one of Pat’s clients had twins.  OMG, gorjuss or wot.  Blond little cherubs they were.  Soon as I saw them I knew.  They had ‘the lip.’  His lip.  Matt’s top lip is kinda….well, different.  It’s like muscly.  It moves a lot.  Like twitches but in a good way?  Well, these babies had that same lip, honest to God you could see it.  Also, their eyes like gave it away.  A blue that’s just so blue I can’t explain.  Like a deep blue wiv a flash a purple.  Gotta give it to him, he is a lovely man.  I wouldn’t be wiv him if he weren’t now, would I?  I’m a classy bird, I needed myself a good un.

So Pat says to me, she says ‘I need three lots a day, Eileen.’

I stares at her, like wot?  ‘I don’t even know if he can, Pat!’  I say.  ‘He already thinks I’m a nympho.’

‘I’ll give you two hundred a shot,’ she goes, ‘as the posh mums are after it.’

‘Hunh!  Course they are!’  I says to meself.  ‘They want pretty babies and they don’t care how they get them.’

Everyone knew that Matt’s spunk made the best babies.  There was them snooties wot paid through the nose for his sperm like four and five years back.  The little girl is the pride of the pre-prep with her drama prize and the angelic boy got a Waterstone’s poetry award ahh bless im.

Then one of Pat’s ladies, you so will not believe this, only went and had triplets!  I know, three of the little buggers.  Oh my lord though, you shoulda seen them. From another world they was.  Hair so blond it were blinding.  Rosy cheeks.  Twitchy lips.  Flash a purple.  Honest to God, everyone wanted a bit of that.

So I started having it off with Matt in the middle of the day as well.  I’d pop a vajazzle on,  shimmy up to him in my silky dressing gown, take his hands from his computer, run them over my new boobs.  I’d lure him into the bedroom.

He probably found it a bit odd that I never stuck around after our little sessions.  But men, they just don’t question things do they?  Not if they’re getting enough.  They don’t argue.

It did make me laugh though just how many of Matt’s sperm-kids was around in our town.  I could tell em a mile off.  They had a Matt-swagger, that lovely jutting out chin and ready smile.  OMG they was all over the place!  Blond, almost white hair, but thick, so thick.  And always that lip, curlin and strong.  A larf and a half.  And he didn’t have an effing clue!

I was tickled pink every day thinking about my lovely secret.  For a good few years I surfed them profits.

Then, last October the first knock at the door came.  A lanky teenager in a puffy Fat-face gilet.  Curled his top lip.  ‘Does Matthew Lark live here?’ he asked, just like that, cheeky bugger.

I slammed the door in his face.

A month later two girls probably about twelve years old turned up on the doorstep with matching Russian furry hats.  Hair like silver straw. Their upper lips flipped upwards to reveal gleaming teeth.  ‘We’re wondering…if our dad lives here?’

‘Not on your life, Nellie,’ I replied, pushing their fingers off the door-jamb.

Three weeks later,  just before Christmas, I opened up to a whole horde of crazy blondies.  Silent, beseeching eyes fixed on mine, muscly upper lips stretched over them pearly teeth.

‘Darling?’  Ooh bollocks, it was Matt, behind me.  ‘Who are all these people?  Are they carol singers?’

The horde’s mouths dropped open as they feasted their eyes upon my husband.

‘Yeah, they are,’ I lied all firm like.  ‘Carol singers.  Go on!  Sing then!’  I urged them.  (‘You little bastards,’ I added under my breath.)

The horde opened their perfect lips spookily as one:   ‘Lead us, Heavenly Father, lead us…’


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