Euwaaaaa! That was bloody awful. Like a rat crawling up your spine.
Euwaaaaaa! I'm telling you - a National Trauma Thing is bound to follow
this. Yet again. Such a joyful affair too. Four days before the new
millennium, what could be more harmless than a live T.V. gala to
celebrate our most loved family entertainers? Honouring their stalwart
service to our popular culture, bringing a smile to our faces and a
chuckle to our hearts as we accelerate towards an unwelcome future. Hey
do you remember when....? OF COURSE WE DO! AND IT WAS LOVELY!! WASN'T
Fountains. Fireworks. The most incredible balloon animals you've ever
seen. And then, as the finale reached it's climax, panic. A sniper had
got in. Somehow. CHRIST! Brucie took the first bullet. Ronnie Corbett
the next. Straight through his little glasses spurting blood all over
the Krankies. Awful. Bob Monkhouse's smirk frozen solid on his face,
the camera moving in on him just as another bullet RIPPED THROUGH HIS
CHEEKBONE. Screams. Blood. Guts. And there in the corner Bernie Clifton
and the ostrich hanging onto each other for dear life, choking on words
of fear and love, tears streaming from their eyes, as pieces of Jimmy
Tarbuck flew past them. I'll never get that out of my mind. Thank God
they cut transmission.
And I thought I had had a terrible day. Sat, quietly, in a cheap cafe,
trying to avoid looking in the direction of a fermenting row, a
mouthful of aggressive mumbling from a badly toupeed man who obviously
lives in a house full of frightening colour combinations and whose
childhood drawings were probably torn up in front of his very eyes by
his bewildered parents. And as Katie, the permanently gravy flecked
waitress from Heaven, brings him out a tray of soft boiled eggs, he
reaches into his jacket, pulls out a whopping great pistol and says
'Dumb Bitch! I ordered POACHED eggs!', blasting the things, yolk and
shell exploding through the air like napalm and teeth, covering the
walls with gay abandon and slap slap slapping into my tired and once
Mouths are agape, the radio coughs nervously and an unspoken agreement
magically begins to form and float ominously towards me, landing
delicately and unwanted in my lap. You diner. Yes you. You have been
the most put upon in this bizarre occurrence. Why just look at your
face. It's got egg all over it. Surely it must fall upon you to
instigate the beginnings of a reaction to this most unsatisfactory
And so looking towards this toupee tilted maniac I take a deep breath
and in a pleasant enough fashion say 'as you seem to be so unhappy with
your meal, may I have the eggy soldiers?'
This seemed to blow a fuse somewhere deep within the shuddering wig.
Unfortunately I had misjudged the effect such gentle waggishness would
have. Of all the results I anticipated none being quite as brutal as
followed: a vicious assault by a thorough, though rather traditional,
series of condiments.
A tomato sauce bottle was crushed into my face until it's sides split
and a red goo slopped into my every facial orifice, making it look as
though my brain had attempted an emergency exit. Ripping my clothes
with the desperate fury of an itchy Titan he rubbed me all over with
salad cream before standing astride me drizzling - at least I think
that's what they call it - mint sauce onto my midriff whilst kicking me
repeatedly hollering 'Baaaaaa! Baaaaaa!'. Finally he turned me over
like a pig on a spit and started ..... applying .... course grain
mustard to my nether regions - with some relish.
And then off he walked. No word of apology. His toupee glistening with
the splash of HP I had feebly managed to retaliate with.
So here I am. What do you think? Victim. VICTIM! And a well seasoned
too. 'Ladies and Gentlemen we are pleased to present a new model to add
to our ever growing catalogue. Andy Barrett.' How I was the innocent
victim of that most pernicious of modern afflictions. Boiled Eggs and
Tell me how does it feel?
It feels fine! I no longer need to worry about being the odd one out on
my street. I too am living proof of the appalling nature of Humankind.
Ooooohhh it sucks! Of the fact that these days you need insurance just
for waking up in the morning. Yawns. Oh Christ Catherine! I'm awake
again. And I've not renewed my policy! Give us maximum protection! Give
us back our swaddling clothes!!
Tomorrow my name will be amongst the new entrants of the 'Births,
Marriages, Deaths and Victims' pages. Maybe I will win the prize for
the most telling victimhood of the week.
Yes, I embrace it! God I do! I was becoming lonely. All my friends had
their problems and their anxieties and their psychoses and their
Counsellors whilst all I could manage was the girlfriend, the kids and
the three dogs. What was I doing with my life? Look they had managed to
find themselves, to define their existence through their helplessness
whilst I still lumbered away with the foolish notion that running
blindly down the dingiest dark alley when the moon was full and the
dogs were howling was vital to one's sanity.
Ha! I was so behind the times.
And these are crazy, crazy times. The new millennium is days away and
it's all going bananas. Our necks are craned skywards as we wait for
some avenging comet to plop out of the darkest depths and crush the
living breath from our lungs. Meanwhile our bodies plot away, (what are
you DOING in there?), formulating new diseases with which to devour us.
Nobody and nothing wants to be our friend anymore. Flowers hiss. The
sun ain't got no hat on. Clouds scowl malevolently. Lightning is always
striking twice. And the thunder sounds like a belly laugh.
Hosan Kabar! Size of a cockroach!
My boss, the inestimable Mr Singh, says 'You bleddy English,
disappearing up your own arseholes and waiting for the aliens to land.
I always thought this place would have some steam coming out of it.
Some true grits and hot heads. Didn't see it coming, didn't read the
bounce at all. It's a bleddy weeny place. Perfect for a Confidence
Oh you should see them, these people on the cusp, grabbing at beliefs
with slavering chops as though they were in some trolley dash. Wailing
as night-time falls and longing for some Godlike creature to pop up on
their TV screens and with the aid of a magic marker and an impressive
panel of well groomed deities give out reasons that can be grasped and
taken to bed, placed under the pillow, offering the sweetest dreams.
But as day breaks all they ever find are thorns and hooks - like
questions - waiting there.
The newspapers bleed as you open them. 'Genetic Experiment Goes
Terribly Wrong!' Beasts with the feet of cattle, the bodies of chicken,
and the heads of pigs roaming through the dusky evening light, smashing
their way through the back doors of quiet countryside cottages in the
middle of 'Antiques Roadshow' and devouring the terrified inhabitants
alive. 'Babies Born With Nasty Tattoos!' A mother in Chester finding
the words, 'What the fuck are you gawping at Twatface' etched in
elaborate script across her newlyborns tummy, whilst another had to put
up with the very upsetting slogan 'Uugh Mummy - you smell'.
Health panics shoot at us from the rooftops. Soap causing heads to
wither and die. Alphabetti Spaghetti making people confuse their tenses
so that nobody quite knows just what the hell is going on. Or has been
going on. Or is maybe about to go on.
READ THE LABELS! The Public Address Systems scream at us. DO NOT EAT
UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. REMEMBER - FOOD CAN KILL!
And viruses. Viruses everywhere. Lethal confetti, floating through the
air, mysterious and deadly. Canny little things. Cleverer than you or
I. The Clairvoyancy Virus which has led to people believing that others
thoughts are in fact their own, resulting in savage and intractable
arguments and the reemergence of the art of duelling. The Limerick
Virus which had such a devastating effect from the pulpit at the
funeral of the Queen Mother. And which led to the rise to national
prominence of a big breasted beauty from Bognor. The List Writer Virus
making people structure their written and spoken material in an
endless, pedantic list form. This seems to particularly turn up in
short, sexy people.
Give us back our fairy tales! cries out the nation. 200,000 people,
marching through the streets of London, all dressed as gawky little
birds, apart from one red faced gentleman who came as Rumpelstiltskin,
shouting in one voice
'Once we were swans
But now we are ducklings
And - look - we're pug ugly too!'
Oh we are becoming a sorry bunch. Really. You would almost want to
Pole vaulters running in, stopping at the last minute, looking up,
shaking their heads and walking away, shoulders slumped, leaving their
poles lying in the dust. Relay times in tatters as batons are passed to
one another with the most delicate care, as though they were carrying
the baby Jesus. Divers jumping in feet first, acrobatic displays being
limited to a few hand waggles on the way down.
Brownies are breaking their promises. Breakfasts refuse to get out of
bed. Even the counsellors are killing each other. And we are stuck in
the headlights of an uncertain future. Frozen rigid, scared to move on
without knowing the consequences, unable to turn the page for fear that
it might say 'BOOOO!'. The trap is sprung. The sword dangles. Let us
pull the duvet over our heads and hope it goes away.
THE REST OF THIS PIECE IS TO BE FOUND UNDER THE TITLE 'ZE FINISH' FROM
'SUMMER COMES AND LIFE CHANGES'