Friday, October 29, 2004

A Galaxy of Ghouls, a colostomy of soiled underwear……

All Souls Eve is rapidly approaching. Duck apple night, Halloween, "Give us a treat, or we’ll burn your house down" night …. call it what you want – it’s supposed to be the night when spirits get mischievous and the dead rise to have a laugh. Anyway, it got me thinking – my Mum and Dad’s old house, an unremarkable bog standard post war semi was stuffed to the brim with poltergeists, bogglin’ men, boggarts, and horrible creepy things lurking in dark corners of long forgotten cupboards.

The worst and most mischievous of all was the bony old hag that used to lie in wait for me on the upstairs landing. She wasn’t just there on Halloween night – she was there every night … Especially on dark, inky black winter ones. There she’d sit – waiting, on her bony haunches for the opportunity to shove her horrible bony wizened, warty old hand through the gaps between the banister spindles and ruffle your hair or grab your nuts as you’re walking upstairs. ‘Haggy Baggy Jabby Hob’ was a real evil bitch all right.

The only way to combat her? Stand at the bottom of the stairs, take a deep, deep breath. Focus. Get in the zone. 3-2-1-go, go, go!!!….Just got to get from bottom to top in three gigantic bounds, four steps at a time – and of course, keep your head real low, so even if ’Haggy Baggy Bitch’ did manage to get her arm out in time, she’d miss your tousled locks – and your jangly nuts.

She couldn’t touch you once you’d got to the top of the landing, obviously. She was absolutely helpless – and anyway, I was safely in the bog by then.

The return journey was no less traumatic – except that the downward journey was achieved in only 2 monster bounds…. With the occasional broken ankle at the bottom – courtesy of the unforgiving newel post.

But hey, at least it worked… she never did get me.

But wait, did I say she was by far the most evil? I got that wrong….
By far the most evil entity in our old house was the guy that looked like a cross between an ‘Archie Andrews’ ventriloquist dummy – and a 1950’s shop window mannequin – all slicked down hair, rouged cheeks, red shiny lips and gleaming white teeth. He hid in my built-in bedroom cupboard… in my bedroom ….the room that I slept in … at night …all on my own.

When I was very, very small, I had this God-awful dream. There I was just nodding off to sleep. All of a sudden, the door of the cupboard in the wall burst open and Waxy, Plastic Smiley, Smirking, Brylcream Mannequin Monster-Man stood there in all his moody, brooding malevolence. Slowly, he raised his waxy head and fixed me with his glassy eyes. Slowly, he raised his wooden hands and started to totter towards me. In the nick of time, I woke up, jumped up and slammed the cupboard door shut.

The big mistake….. The big mistake I made was to leave the cupboard door slightly ajar. As long as I made sure every night that the door was shut, Mannequin-Monster-Man couldn’t get out and do his worst….

But hey, at least it worked… he never did get me.

But wait, did I say he was by far the most evil? I got that wrong….

By far the most evil… by far the most evil were the terrifying pair of ‘Harpy-Hagged-Haggy-Hags’ that would occasionally be found chewing on my legs whilst I slumbered away in my bed.

I don’t know where they came from, or where they hid during the day. But now and again, I’d wake up to see 2 little dark shapes with little flappy wings gouging at my legs. Two little imps with their vicious little talons stabbing away for all they’re worth. Now that was scary.

Fortunately, I had a strategy to hand to outsmart those little devils ….. Head under the bed sheets obviously.

So why where there so many evil dudes in our post war semi? Much too much ‘white powder’ hitting the base of my brain generating obscene, hell hound images I reckon.

Sherbet Dabs have a lot to answer for.

Coming soon – my real and really strange meetings with ‘the other side’ (well, the ones I’ve met when I’ve have been sober).

Monday, October 25, 2004

The special relationship takes a battering….

Is it an equal partnership of 50-50 between Blighty and BurgerWorld?
More like 98-2 in their favour, I think.
We kid ourselves don’t we that ‘they’ are as aware of ‘us’ as we are aware of ‘them’?…. But they’re most definitely not – I think most of them have never heard of us.

And if they have, don’t we all come from ‘London, England’?….
"Glasgow, London, England"…
"Great Britain, London, England"…
"God knows where, London, England"…..

I once introduced myself to a guy from Chicago, Illinois as coming from "Liverpool, Edinburgh, Lancashire, London, England"… He didn’t get the irony – just the bizarre address.

The special relationship is a somewhat one sided state of affairs, imagined by British politicians in the virtual world of self-delusion and self-importance. Unknown to U.S. Presidents – until they want something from us.

This was brought home to us last Friday night as we tried to order stuff over the virtual super highway. Virtually super impossible. My nephew is engaged to ‘April’ - a Southern Belle from Dallas, Texas. He’s over there teaching kids ‘n’ Moms how to play ‘Saacca’ – I think he actually does his keepy uppy on the grassy knoll…. but that’s another story. They are getting married over there in mid December – then coming over here with ‘Randy and Tammy’ (the in-laws) for a right good pissup just after Christmas.

Their wedding list is with Macy’s, the biggest retail store in the world – and the idea is, you log onto the site, access the wedding list, select the prezzy you want to buy – and pay for it be card. The gift is then wrapped was sparkly stuff and delivered to the apartment near the grassy knoll, Dallas, Texas. ….. Nimps.

Unfortunately, all the cheap prezzies had gone. No fondue sets, no toasters, no towels. We did, however notice that they had a ‘Playstation 2’ plus an assortment of games still up for grabs….. Some chance.

We settled on a mundane (and cheapish) set of pans. Simple and elegant, in a Soviet-Stalinist sort of way, form and function fused to provide the discerning pan user with years of happy panning…….. apparently.

We set about the ‘simple’ procedure to buy them via plastic.
Once, twice, three times we tried. Each time knocked back by the auto refuse message that sprung up every time we pressed ‘send’. Frustrated, we decided to ring Macy’s HQ, Noo Yawk.

I mean, how bloody hard can it be to order ‘The Breznev Range’ of pans - and send them to an apartment just by the grassy knoll in Dallas, Texas?

We rang. Someone called ‘Hubert’ answered the ‘phone.
Hubert in telesales gave us the spiel, how we were today, how he could help us, were we having a nice day, if we should find anything wrong or discourteous ……..

We interrupt the diatribe.

"We just want to buy some bloody panza!"

Hubert has our undivided attention. We have his virtual balls in our rapidly tightening virtual hand – and he knowses it alright.

We order – no problemo. Just the card details then.

Hubert asks which State we are calling from.

"Oh, we’re not calling from America. We’re calling from ‘Britain’…….. B-R-I-T-A-I-N ….. You know, the Country?"

Hubert didn’t know. He’d never heard of us. He’d barely heard of Europe.

Hubert’s entire orbit of consciousness started at Alabama and finished at Wyoming. Everywhere else was No-where’s-ville….
Frustrated and insulted, we, the entire OK nation broke off diplomatic relations with the U.S.A.- there and then.
We told Hubert where to stick his pan-handle. He confirmed it was in Texas.

The OK household are now buying the happy couple a nuptial edition of a Playstation 2 - plus games, bought from Blighty’s own Argos catalogue. Well - it’ll give Randy and Tammy something to do when they visit the apartment near the grassy knoll…..

And as for cooking food via ‘The Breznev Range of pans’? They’ll just have to buy TV meals instead…..