Thursday, 26 July 2012

Monday, 14 May 2012

Turn Around, Bright Eyes

Now then.  I’ve been neglecting you.  I can see you there, in your electronic eyries, peeping and cheeping with your gobs agape, just itchin’ for me to hawk up a great glob of regurgitated words into your little trembling beaks.  Of course I won’t desert you again.  I’m a good mother.  Just look how well Baby Mumps turned out. 

After the initial period of mourning (oh those long nights of Blue Nun through a bendy straw and weepy wanks to Fanny Cradock) I am over the monkey.  I’ve done everything the magazines tell you to do – I’ve given myself a snazzy new look (‘Disco Prospector’), had a ceremonial burning of love letters and sentimental trinkets (I chucked on a few final demands while I was at it, and all those letters from the council about the Garum pit – never waste a good bonfire) and I’ve even signed up for something called Zumba.  I am a new woman.  

So my life has become a giddy whirl of Glamorous Stances and Executive Business.  My Filofax is full of cocktail parties and conference calls and at any given point in the day, I have literally just stepped out of a salon.  I’m pretty much Huddersfield’s Fanciest Lady. 

There comes a time when one must put away childish things and move on in life.  Obsession is the finest hobby you can have, but you must never let it get to the point where you are slumped in a cold bath slugging warm gin crooning Total Eclipse of the Heart to the memory of an imaginary monkey. 

Unless, of course, that’s all part of the fun.

P.S. Perhaps Zumba was not quite such a good idea.  Apparently they expect you to be on time AND appropriately dressed AND relatively sober AND they don’t take kindly to smoking AND they don’t want to see your Hornpipe, thank you very much. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Huddersfield Factfile #2 - A Town of Discoveries

One day in 2009, a chap walking his doggy in Crosland Moor found the head of a crocodile. It wasn’t a big one, but it really shouldn’t have been in Crosland Moor, no matter how insalubrious that part of town may be (although I here it’s got a lot better since we moved).

Huddersfield is a place where things are found. Small boys discover globs of glittering blue jelly after unseasonable showers. Redoubtable citizens awake to find their shrubbery cauled in caterpillar silk. There is Arabic in the tomatoes and oversized pawprints in the woods. Last time they had to dredge the canal they found over a hundred human teeth, but no bodies at all.

Not everything that’s found is reported, of course. There aren’t many people who know about the horn that turned up in Honley, or the skink tongues of Scapegoat Hill. A lot of people know about the Appleyards, but they never found anything there, just the little holes in the trees and a sort of achy dread.

(I find things too, from time to time, as eagle-eyed readers will attest. Why, only last night I found a letter from Butterface, tucked underneath my Matey bubbles. She’s using my handwriting again and she left a hair in the soap. Without the monkey around I feel defenceless against these encroachments).

In Huddersfield you will find exactly what you’re looking for, unless something is looking for you. So if you’re planning a visit, as I’m sure you are, just make sure you bring a camera, a sack and your shrimping net. I’ll be there to keep you safe. You will know me by my skink tongue crown.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Power and The Glory

Happy New Year, etherkin. It’s going to be a strange one. Ructions are afoot - I have read the auguries in my laundry. 2012 is seals in the eelgrass. Something cold and bobbing.

Seals will be big this year, and sisters, and doggish things dancing on their hind legs through the trees. We’re on the edge of the strange times. On the plus side, the matador look will be in, and I look adorable in those trousers. Swings and roundabouts.

Anyway, here I sit, baht ape, watching out of the window as the headlights climb the hill opposite to the unreasonable black of the moors, picking my teeth with a wishbone and pondering what’s to come.

When looking forwards, it’s always best to start with a quick glance behind you. Last year was one of yearning, for penpals and monsters and muses and gods. Yearning makes me bilious. Perhaps it’s time I turned to Christ. Or to Christopher at least, patron saint of my dog-head daydreams, hot-breathed, slobbering force of faith. St Christopher was a definite sort.

In the meantime, there is work to be done. The Olympics are coming and I am Team GB’s only hope.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Apres le Singe

So now I’m in the market for a brand new muse. Butterface won’t do, of course – I wouldn’t trust her references – and that bastard Baby Mumps is out. It won’t be Michael, who came to stay on Mischief Night and hasn’t left his chair, Michael with his face like a sagging balaclava and his crinkling woolly hands, his hair slipping off at the back of his head and oh my god those thighs. And it can’t be any of my sundry cats – nobody wants a muse that’s always licking its arse and can’t kill anything bigger than a vole.

Nope, it’s an employers’ market out there. I’ve put a card in the Post Office window and am waiting for the phone to ring. I could be my own muse, I suppose, but I’d be an unreliable worker. I’d be tardy and churlish and smuggle stationery out in my hair, I’d clock-watch and time-waste and gob in the guvnor’s tea. I’d end up giving me the sack, for sure, and I’m pretty litigious when riled.

Essential attributes in a potential candidate will include a 2:1 or above in Applied Monstrousness, the ability to mix a perfect Benylin Sunrise, an unapproachable demeanour and unprofessional appearance, advanced skills in burglary, Beggar My Neighbour and Microsoft Excel, experience in dealing with difficult customers and at least five years in the position of muse, familiar or personal demi-god. An HGV license is desirable, as are a shotgun license and an elementary swimming certificate. Unsettlingly suggestive tails an advantage. I will be accepting bribes.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

There’s something I haven’t been telling you. Something is different, something has changed. Something dreadful has happened.

It’s the monkey. It’s got lost.

It somehow didn’t make it in the move. I kept telling myself that it would turn up, that it would come swaggering in through the catflap or surprise me in the shower, that I would see a stirring in my sock drawer and a stiffly rising tail, but no, it is gone. It is gone.

How I managed to pack a Yellow Pages from 2006, the reeking duvet of a former housemate, a tin of pease pudding and a small pouch of hair and yet not the monkey, I will never know. The only conclusion I can draw is that it did not want to come and remains in the cellar of my former slum, gibbering softly to itself and making little sooty thumbprints on the walls. My prayers go out to the new tenants.

It was my muse, my god, my disciple and my lover, with its maleficent tail and its jaunty old fez. We had weathered so much together, skipping through my hinterlands paw in paw, prancing through the places it’s unsafe to go alone. Without my monkey, I am bereft. Who will mix my sild martinis and pinch me gently to sleep? Who will chase the Children from my door? Whose little leather fingers will sneak into mine when it’s 3am in my heart and all my glee is gone?

What am I going to do?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Further Information Concerning the Bus

I’m always seeing important people on the bus. I see the Sleazy Cavalier with his slicked-back hair and oxblood boots, the hint of a twizzle to his ‘tache. Now there’s a man with something afoot in his cellar. The Virgin Mare gets on at the Co-op, pushing Little Baby Bluebird in his Silver Cross pram and cooing all the way to town. Poor Sad Satchel, getting the bus to school with her mum, the two of them sitting at the front like a pair of pepperpots with matching choppy bobs. The one I call Rosie, all bulging pink Kappa and ginger-grey roots, who I like to think of naked on her leather-look sofa, watching CBeebies and binging on fudge.

Do they think of me? Do they notice me every day and wonder? Do they say to themselves, there she goes again – why doesn’t she do something about that hair? What is she hiding under her coat? Why does she only have one eye open? And what is that smell? Maybe they have little daydreams like I do, imaginary cataclysms that leave The People of The 302 clamouring for survival in a post-apocalyptic Paddock. I can spend the whole twenty minutes debating which one I’d eat first.