Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Two instances of shop-lifting and a slap round the chops.

It was all go today, I can tell you.  First off, I was walking past the Santeria newsagents and I saw a long, thin, pigtailed braid laying on the pavement.  It had been cut off near the root and it was curled up, like a pig’s tail.  The first thing went through my mind was: ‘Hullo! Ancient Chinese punishment scene.’

Then, I heard some yelling coming from inside the old Santeria.  I could hear the bloke who owns it, the weirdy high priestess lady and some kid’s voice, saying: ‘I never took nothing.’  Then I hear someone calling my name and Miss Gladiola comes running acrosss the road.  I tell you, since she’s had her veins done she’s like a greyhound and she’s got to be sixty odd.

Miss Gladiola said: ‘What’s going here?  I heard the commotion.’

I pointed to the braid on the pavement and Miss Gladi said: ‘My life, don’t touch it, it’s a totem!’  I took a few steps backwards, well sharpish.  And I said: ‘I think they’ve caught some kid shop-lifting.’

And Miss Gladiola said: ‘Oh!  I’m going in, you stay here!’ (Like I needed telling!  As Miss G. has told me time and again: ‘You don’t have the spiritual stamina.’)

So she goes in there like the Duke de Richlieu, and there’s a load more shouting and suddenly some little lad comes running out, crying his eyes out and legs it across the road.  Then Miss G. comes out and she’s shook up, and she starts manhandling me along the road, saying: ‘We have to get well away from the influences, dear.’ 

Turns out that Miss Gladiola went rushing in, convinced that they were kidnapping the child (‘for their dark purposes, don’t ask me what they are’) but it so happened that the child had pinched a Mars Bar.  AND, poor little devil, Miss Gladiola knew his grandmother – which is why he came running out at such a lick, in floods of.

However, as Miss G. said: ‘It was better to be safe than sorry.  They entice the children with their chocolate, you know.’

I said: ‘Well, they do run a newsagent.’  And she laughed  and laughed and said: ‘What better way to entice children.’

She left me half-way to the shops cos she was on her way home after work, when she saved me from the totem and effected child rescue.

Sometimes, I think the whole sketch is madness, but other times I really do wonder.  I mean, where did that braid come from?

Next, I’m in Morrisons buying dog biscuits and such when an almight row broke out between (I think) a mother, a grandmother and a grandson (aged about 5).  It was one of them families where there only seems to be 10yrs between the generations.  Anyhow, the grandmother is yelling at the grandson about: ‘put that back or I’ll have you, don’t think I won’t.’  Then the kid comes running up the aisle with a multi-pack of crisps that’s bigger than he is and he’s shouting back: ‘You won’t hit me in the supermarket.’  Then the grandmother yells at him: ‘No, I’ll kick you up the arse.’

By now, everyone is standing stock still and silent – face it, it was exciting.

Next thing is the mother comes running, pushing the trolley in front of her and she’s shouting at the grandmother (her mother, presumably): ‘Don’t you lay a bloody hand on him!’  and then, argh, the grandmother rounds on her and says: ‘This is all your fault he’s like this, you’re the cause of all this, you’re the one that needs the slap!’  And then there was a face-off and the mother character’s going: ‘Go on, I dare you.’  And the grandmother character’s going: ‘Don’t think I won’t.’  And then the Morrison’s security guard (poor, poor sod) came bowling up and somehow managed to herd them towards the front door.

So, just as me and the lady in front of me in the queue were saying: ‘What are people like…’, I look over to the far end of the shop, just past the check-outs and there’s about four Morrison’s staff surrounding some old lady with her trolley and all I heard was: ‘Are you sure you bought all these items?’  And the old lady isn’t all shocked (like I’d be) or really upset (like Man Friday would be, say) but she’s all: ‘Oh my goodness, well I just don’t know, my heavens,’ etc etc.  I couldn’t decide whether she was the best actress in the world or truly a bit barmy.  Dunno how it ended cos it was it was my turn thru the check-out and I couldn’t keep standing there staring – I might have looked like an accomplice.

Told you it was all go today.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

My Book (ha!) and Henry gets Alopecia.

Vickie and Dave (quite foolishly, bless 'em) asked about me book.  Well, here's the pitch that I sent out to agents:

When Joe's Nan dies, he realises that - only aged 15 - he will not be allowed to stay in his flat alone. He understands the Social Care system and fears it. Therefore, he is persuaded to kidnap an old lady with dementia from a care home to replace his Nan. Now he will be able to continue at school without interference from the Social. However, events take a sinister turn when the replacement Nan turns out not to be suffering from dementia and is sought after by her criminal son.

It's a comedy thriller type sketch, about 90k words.  And the weird thing is, only the dear old Americans thought it was any cop.  It's now out with American editors and that's why I'm down to my last nerve with the waiting!

I had sent it out to a load of UK agents and none of 'em seemed to like it, so I thought 'bugger it' and sent it to some US agents and blow me down if they didn't like it!  I couldn't have been more surprised, especially considering that they couldn't understand the half of it and had to ask me what loads of the words and phrases meant!  The lovely agent I signed with got me to write footnotes explaining stock words and idiom, such as:
bob's your uncle
I should cocoa
Can't do right for doing wrong
Little gawdelpus
Carked it
The Old Bill
Half crown thrupenny bit etc etc

It was really quite the lark, trying to work out 'exactly' what phrases meant and where they'd originated from (which mostly, I have to admit, involved asking my sister.)  I tried looking things up on the internet but it was all half mental, and the other half I simply didn't believe!  If you are totally desperado for something to read (cos everything else has spontaneously combusted or that) if you look across the top of the block to the pale grey writing that says 'Scrap of my Almost True Memoirs' (or something similar, can't remember!) you can see what I write like.  I warn you tho', there's of a lot of what my old mum called 'language'!

Anyway, enough of that old gubbins!  Remember Henry (the dog who is shaped like an Ottoman)?  Well, I saw him the other day and dear oh dear, it looked like the moths had got at him.  Well, he was out with Esther and I said: 'dear lord, what's happened to Henry?' And she sighed and said: 'The vet says he's got alopecia.'  But she didn't look at all convinced.  So I said: 'I didn't know dogs got alopecia.'  And she said: 'Nor did I, love.  I said to that vet, I said so how'd he get that then, and you'll never guess what he said.'

I couldn't.

She said: 'Vet reckons he's got bad nerves.'  I must have made some sort of sympathetic noise cos Esther got a bit huffy and said: 'That dog hasn't got bad nerves.  He sits on the sofa all day eating biscuits, what's he got to be nervous about?'  I tried to make a joke and said: 'Perhaps he thinks the other dogs are laughing at him,' but I don't think she could see the funny side.  She said: 'He's already got arthritis, a bad heart and now he's got alopecia.'
'And didn't you think he was going demented?' I reminded her.
'Oh yes, that too.  Poor little sod.  And he's only ten years old.'  I said: 'But that's about 70odd in dog years, isn't it?'  And Esther said: 'Well, I'm seventy odd, dear - that's no excuse.'

So anyway, Esther said that she was going to have to buy Henry a lightweight coat to cover up the bald spots, in case someone thought he came from some rank skanky household.  Poor old Henry.  I'd like to see the dog coat that could actually fit him - he's such an oddly shaped animal.  I reckon Esther'd have more luck taking him upholsterers.

Oh yes - and 2 more weeks till D-Day for Melvis - Man Friday and me have totally agreed to lock ourselves in the casa till the dust settles.

p.s. what are you working on, Dave?  And Vickie, don't tell me that you haven't got a book in you!!  p.p.s. Debbie - thank gawd someone saw a dog (even with a cigar!!)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Amaretto and the Bull Mastiff Woman

Last friday I just don't know what came over me and I drank the best part of a bottle of Amaretto and half a bottle of wine.  Well, I was feeling a bit sorry for meself (best person to be sorry for - not me personally but yerself - come on, who else will, really?).  Anyway, there I was, feeling sorry for meself, waiting around for editors to say: 'Dear oh christ, this book is total pants - please go away,' and then I could move on to pastures new and start writing really, really, really bad books (instead of just plain old bad ones!).  So, I drink all this booze, Man Friday goes to bed and when I finally heave meself off the sofa I suddenly realised just how drunk I was.  I got as far as the lavatory, managed to pull me pants down and sit on the seat...and that's when it all went tits up.

Who knew my lavatory bowl was really an adrift yacht on a stormy sea?  Not me.  I only bleeding fell overboard, pants round me ankles and then, then, spent a good ten minutes (it felt like it) trying to get back on board.  What a palaver.

So, talk about the Lost Weekend, why don't we.  I remember being a teenager, waking up a bit hung over, going to the greasy spoon, having a fry up and a cup of tea and feeling right as rain.  Now, it's a two day rehab exercise.

Anyhow, the saturday is lost to sleep; but the sunday has a few lucid hours so I went on facebook and saw a picture of my dear friend Allegra, standing next to her lovely friend and (what I thought was) a bull mastiff.  Here below is that picture:

Now, Allegra is on the right and her mate Anne is on the left.  Now, look to the far right of the picture, just next to Allegra's shoulder and please, please tell me you can see a Mastiff (or any dog at all will do).  Its nose is right next to Allegra's ear - see it?

Bet you bloody can't.  Cos Allegra Fbooked me back and said: 'What?  the chick next to me?'  and then (and this is where it all goes so wrong) Allegra's amigo (Anne Koch) Fbooked me back and says: 'That's me!  But don't worry, I love bull mastiffs.'

So, by this time I'm red as a beetroot and beginning to die naked on the floor from embarrasment.  I shout for Man Friday, I say: 'Tell me you can see the mastiff, for god's sake,' and he says: 'What mastiff?' and I'm pointing at the screen saying: 'Look, can't you see its nose and that's its ear, blah blah' and he's like: 'Ho!  Looks like the back of someone's head.  Ha ha, you just said some lady looked like a dog!'

Now, I've got a headache and I've died and I've been stripped of my English passport and I've probably been reported to the polis for sheer rudeness.  So, I Fbook poor Anne Koch and do some severe grovellations and it turns out that she's the blond lady in the photo and the 'mastiff' I saw was some random lady's hair who was standing behind Allegra.

But by this time, what with the lingering hang-over and headache and embarassment and the completely disproportionate imaginings of the whole sketch, I'm on the phone to Allegra.

She's like: 'Don't be such an ass, you're sooo English!'
I'm like: 'I'm so sorry, blether, blether, it's just like the time I saw Lou Ferrigno in the Cornish Puff.'
And she's like: 'Hey!  Where'd you get off calling people 'poufs'?  And Lou who?  What are you on about, Cal?'
I then have a heart attack and say: 'Not 'pouf', 'puff', Cornish butter puffs, you know, those cracker things.'

And she says: 'What?'
And I say: 'They're crackers, you have them with cheese.  Like Matzos.'
And, thank god, she says: 'Oh right, sorry, I'm with you now.  So who did you see in the Matzo?'

I'm never drinking again.  Or if I do, I will not contact anyone for at least 3 days to make sure it's all out of my system.

And, just in case: Lou Ferrigno was the bloke who was the Hulk in the tv series.

I'm going out now...I may be some time.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Chinese Lady, Frank Sinatra and the Cross-Eyed Arsonist

Saw a news headline saying: 'Cross-eyed Arsonist Arrested', so I had quick butchers and...lo and behold:

Apparently, he set fire to a lingerie shop during the riots and the police comment was: 'We were able to easily indentify him as a suspect from CCTV - he had a most distinctive look.'

Honestly, I don't know why I bother writing fiction.  You've got to wonder whether he actually meant to set fire to the lingerie shop; I get the feeling that the council offices must've been next door.  Or the police station.  Or the job centre.

I know, I know - I should be shot.

Anyway, was in Morrisons the other day and I was queuing at the fag and lotto counter.  It was an extradinarily long queue and I heard someone behind me say: 'Move along, peoples.  Move, move, ha ha!'  So I turn round and there's this Chinese lady, laughing her head off.  I smiled and said: 'Cor, long queue, eh?'  And she said: 'Better hurry peoples, be Christmas soon, ha ha!'  Then she looked at me all serious and said: 'I hope you not buy cigarettes.'  So I told her that, yes I was.  And she says (all laughy tho'): 'You bloody idiot, just burn money!  Like my husband, he idiot, burn money, burn money.  I tell him stop, stop and you can buy me holiday.  He say I buy you holiday woman, you go by self on holiday.'  I laughed, she laughed, then she said: 'When he bloody dead, holiday ALL day long.'  And then she gave herself a coughing fit from laughing.

I so wish I lived next door to her.  She reminded me of my old mum (who was half Chinese herself); can't say I really liked my mum, but she wasn't half funny.  I reminded myself of the old girl, the other day.  I was giving the kitchen floor a bit of a scrub round the old Mordor sections of the bin and the cooker.  So there I was, on me hands and knees and Man Friday pops his head in the door and says: 'I'll do that for you.  You shouldn't be doing that.'  And suddenly, the 'my old mum' section of me brain pops into gear and I told him: 'If you're too crippled to scrub your own floor, then you can't have a bleeding floor, can you.'  Man Friday goes: 'That doesn't make any sense.'   And I said: 'I know, but that's the sort of thing my old mum used to say.'  She wasn't exactly what you'd call a charmer, but she did make you laugh - except when she give you a good whacking.  Bless her.

And talking of charmers...

I was watching some dead interesting programme on BBC4 called The Baroness of Jazz (or somesuch) and it was about some fab old girl in the 40s who was a billionairess (and Baroness, I spose) who looked after Thelonius Monk (cos he was schizophrenic, a booze hound and a drug addict - poor bugger, he had the lot: surprised if he didn't have a bunion and all).  Anyhow, at the end of the programme I went loo and when I came back, blow me if that bloody Frank Sinatra doesn't appear on me teevers, singing: 'I've got the world on a string.'  But most fortuitously, Man Friday says: 'Yeah, but I've got the remote control, mate,' and turns him off.  Narrow escape.  I don't know what it is about that Frank Sinatra, but I've never trusted him (and nor did my old mum, strange to tell).  When you listen to him singing, don't you feel like someone's picking yer pocket?  Summint about him, can't put me finger on it - probably wouldn't like to either.  Truth be told (and this is an odd one, probably need a psychiatrist to sort this one out) I'm actually quite scared of him.

And talking of teevers...

Am totally crackers for 'Old Jews Telling Jokes', on BBC4 (dunno what night, forgot).  I laughed so hard the other night that I had a coughing fit.  Hope my lovely Chinese lady never watched it, she'd have gone into a paroxysm.

Oh, and Henry (the dog that looks like an Ottoman) has started losing his fur.  Will update later.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Completly forgot to say...

There's this terrific newsletter that I subscribe to, called: 'Worldwide Words'. It comes as a weekly email, and it is fab. It's, basically, about words - their derivation and meaning(s). This wonderful geezer called Michael Quinion writes it and he's a proper etymologist and not just making it up (like me!).

It's totally free, it's mustard stuff and really funny, too. I've popped the link in, below.

And another thing! If anyone wants anything to read I can totally recommend 'The Last Days of the Transitional Objects Institute' by Andrea Levin. It's an unpublished novel and you'll find it up on It is abso fab; simply cannot understand why nobody has published it yet - must be potty.

Oh, and Annie popped up a link to some photos of Iranian ladies practising Ninja stuff. Apparently, this Ninjitsu stuff is really big with the ladies in Iran. They wear Ninja outfits (bit like their normal gear) and use swords and do all that terrific ninja stuff. But it had a touch of the old irony about it, for me. I dunno whether it really WAS ironic, cos I always have trouble with irony, the concept of. See, Annie tweeted to me: 'All these Iranian ladies being Ninjas! How cool is that?' and I wrote back: 'Well, THAT explains why you never see them on the streets - you just can't spot 'em.'

I know I was larking about - but there's something a bit weird going on there. I can't seem to think straightly about the business. Hmmm.

Half a Lemon and the Dead Alcoholic Lady

Completely forgot about dead Christine (just wrote the former and realised I'd given it away).  Well, she was the poor alcoholic lady who lived at the back of the flats.  V. sad story, really.  Talks tells that she drank 30 cans of beer per day, no wonder she carked it poor beggar.  But I can't believe she drank 30 cans per day, I mean, you'd be peeing like mad wouldn't you?  You'd need, like, so much loo roll, for starters.  And I'm not mocking the afflicted,honest - it just doesn't seem feasible, to me.

Anyway, however much gallonage she put away per diem is by the by cos (however much) she died, sitting up in her armchair in the front room - no-one found her for days.  Apparently, she'd gotten worse cos the social took away the last of her children and it tipped her over the edge and she had a huge binge and died of alcoholic poisoning.  Worst of it is: I thought she was about forty odd and turned out (unbelievably) that she was only 26!

So, they had the funeral last week and you know when you see the hearse go past with the coffin on board, and there's sometimes flowers (or what the florists like to call 'a floral tribute' - bless 'em) made up into a word that says 'MUM' or 'DAUGHTER' or the person's name or something.  Well, poor Christine had the word 'NUTTER' done out in chrysanths along the side of coffin!  I dread to think what was on the other side poss. 'BOOZE HOUND'.  Poor cow.

The nice lady with the labradoodle told me that poor Christine's mum was an alcoholic as well; it sort of ran in the family.  I mean, the poor cow never had a chance.  I don't think she should've been left on her own.  Perhaps she should've been in a home or something, with other people to help her.  After all, her life merely consisted of having three kids who all got taken away from her and dying of booze at 26.

You can tell I don't have much truck with this Care in the Community malarky.  All that happened with poor Christine is that she drove the Community so bonkers with all her comings and goings and vomiting over their hedges that they stopped Caring about her and, basically, waited for her to die.  A right shame.

Oh, the other day I had to tell Man Friday who Helen Keller was - he'd never heard of her.  After I explained it (as best as I could remember) he said: 'Nah.  How did everyone know that the translator was telling the truth?  They could've been saying anything.  Suppose Helen Keller hated the translator, she could've said: 'I bloody hate you, you tosser,' and they'd translate it as, 'Helen says she's very happy, thanks very much.'  He has a point; I don't hold with it, but he has a point.

And talking about hard of hearing, I was in office/cupboard the other nacht and teevers was on in the background.  I hear the continuity bloke saying: 'And tomorrow night Josh Hartnett battles vampires with half a lemon.'

So there's me sitting there thinking: 'What, vampires who HAVE half a lemon, or he battles vampires with half a lemon as a weapon?'  Then I suddenly realise that the bloke said: '...battles vampires at half eleven.'  Can't believe I sat there (for even a minute) and thought about it seriously.

On a serious note, I've been watching that CSI for over a year now and STILL haven't seen a repeated episode.  And it's on everyday on several channels at once and I got to thinking: 'Christ, how many of these are there?'  I'm not complaining, I really like it, but I feel a bit sorry for the actors; they must be at work 7 days a week.  It must be like that indentured labour or something - bet they wished they never signed up for it.  Probably a bit like poor Christine: the actors who look about 40 are prob. only in their twenties - they're worn out what with all that staring at bits of lint.  And buttons.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Santeria Newsagents, Evil Kids and Smelly Bloke

Well...hard to know where to start.  Firstly, poor old Melvis has been given the old heave ho by the council and has to sling his hook by 13th March.  He says he's going to demand squatters' rights; I reckon I don't fancy his chances.  After all, if you throw a bucket of excrement over their offices they will never look kindly upon you again.

Santeria newsagent bloke is jumping up and down with joy over the news, and his Obiah man said: 'The spell worked.'  I didn't like to tell him that it was more the eviction notice that worked.

Next, I was standing in the queue at Morrisons and there was some poor old shambles of a stinky bloke ahead of me and this little old girl.  The little old girl turned to me and wrinkled up her nose.  She said something along the lines of: 'dear god, what a ponk.'  But I felt a bit (just a bit) sorry for old stinky and said: 'well, you and me can have a bath every week, but maybe he hasn't even got a bath.'  AND THEN, she looks all ME all funny and says, all pointy: 'Hmm.  I have a shower every day.'  So I said: 'Do you do manual work?'.  Then, talk about if looks were bullets, she says: 'How dare you!' and she stomps off to other check-out at the other end of the shop.  Cheeky cow.

And today, I notice a group of likely looking 7 or 8yr olds hanging around the first balcony of our block.  And I thought, eye eye; it appeared that they were 'up' to something - they kept giggling and bobbing up and down out of sight.

So there's me, sitting my the bus stop, getting my scarf out of sholley when 'Bing!' a little stone comes whizzing past my earhole and lands on the ground!  I look up and see about six little heads all bob down out of sight - the little sod pots!

So, I think, oh yeah?  Pick up another stone nearby (somewhat larger, admittedly) and chuck it back.  Then I hear one of them have the nerve to say: 'That lady chucked it, I'm telling my mum.'  Can you believe it?

Tell you mate, they wouldn't like it if I told MY mum: she's been dead 17 years and shouldn't think the experience has cheered her up any.  Kids!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Dracula's Cupboard

As you know, my office is, in fact, a cupboard (too many commas but can't think how to sort it out, sorry). Obvi, it has no heating and has one wall shared with the bloke down the road's garage - so, talk about parky why don't we. I've got that many clothes on, I can't put my arms by my sides. Man Friday suggested putting a duvet over my legs and feet; we tried it, but the cupboard is so small that once I got tucked in, I nearly fell off the bleeding chair trying to get out.

Then, the squeaky cupboard door got so bad it was like Barnabas, Quentin and the Magic Potion. So Man Friday bunged some oil on it and then, bloody typical, it just swings wide open all the time. See, trouble is, I need to keep it slightly ajar cos there is no ventilation and if I shut it, well, I'd be dead in half an hour - what with the lack of air and the gasometer right behind me.

However, if the bloody thing is wide open, it sort of distracts me. So, I come up with a real Heath Robinson: doubled up some string and tied it to door knob, then attached string to pin board with big push pin. Unfortu, Man Friday keeps forgetting, opening the door to talk to me and the sodding push pin comes flying out and pings me in the moosh. Lucky I wear glasses, mate.

Suddenly thought: does everyone know Barnabas and Quentin? Mebbes not. Well, before Anne Rice and Harry Potter there was this writer called Dan Ross and he wrote about a million books about two vampires who lived together (not in that way) and had loads of magicky/vampire/werewolf adventures. Apparently, the books were a spin-off from a tv show (which I never saw but wish I did - mightily). So, although everything is all 'twilighty' at the moment, never to fear. It's sort of a cyclical thing, cos Barnabas and Quentin were really big in the late 60s, 70s and then there was abso nanti till Anne Rice. Thus: give it time! Sorry, having a bit of rant. Do you know, if I never hear about another young boy/girl with unusual powers it'll be too quick for me. I read Barnabas and Quentin when I was mebbes 7 or 8. And don't get me wrong - I love horror films. I love vampires and werewolves and zombies and ghosts. It's rather like Dulce de Leche; I love that too, but I can't eat a whole bleeding pot. It's all too much. I'm supernaturalled-out at the minute. I saw a film the other day (bleeding awful by the way), where one group of vampires described themselves as vegetarians cos they only ate animals and not humans. Give me strength. Vegetarian Vampires? They mights as well be bloody humans. I mean - the whole sodding thing about vampires is that they are not us, and they want to eat us - that's why we're scared of 'em. Come on, what next? Jain zombies?

End of Rant.

Still waiting on book editors. Cor, this waiting malarkey is a killer, I tell you. I look at my emails about 4 times per day! How sad is that. Oh, and what with the waiting stuff, I'm now stuck in the house (still) cos Melvis is after me to be a character witness in his ongoing battle with the council (who are intent on bunging him out on his ear). Thus, as soon as he sees me out of the house (i.e. able to go to his solicitors with him) he'll be like a monkey on me back. Therefore, have come up with the (not very) cunning plan of de-camping to my sister's casa till it all blows over. How do I get meself in these situs.

Oh yes, and it's freezing.

But as me old mum used to say: 'Give over moaning - there's people in the world with no head moan less than you, girl.' Fact.