Ain’t it just dandy when the time of year comes for the entertainment world’s greatest luvvies to scrounge the zingiest frocks and blag the glitziest bling from fashion designers and jewellers to the international kleptocracy for a series of self-congratulatory evenings.
I’m talking about awards ceremonies. Those annual kneesups where hordes of has-beens and wannabes from the dreamworlds of blockbuster flicks and chartbuster toons generate enough sincerity to power a bike lamp. And where row upon row of the best dazzling white ivories the science of chemical dentistry can devise, spend so much time smiling they suffer jaw lock for the following fortnight.
With top media pundits and lickspittles fawning and grovelling before them, we’re treated to some the most, nauseatingly false, backslapping glibfests of the year. Yet it must be glaringly obvious to even the most mentally challenged, however polished and painted they may seem, the claws and fangs can barely be retracted for the entire length of even one of the farces. I don’t know about you, but I always keep a fairly healthy supply of sick bags handy, just for the newsclips repeated endlessly on TV. If I tried to watch one of the things from beginning to end, I think I’d end up spewing my intestines all over the telly. There’s less hamming in a Chicago pork processing plant, and fewer crocodile tears at a crocodile funeral after a crocodile massacre than can be seen in Hollywood on Oscar night. It must be Kleenex’s best day of the year round Beverly Hills way.
Of course, these days, it’s possible to have smiles sewn onto your face, which some stars appear to have done. Plastic surgery – or should one say cosmetic, or even aesthetic, surgery – has become an art in its own right. I use the term ‘art’ loosely, of course, as the results of the scalpel are usually far from artistic.
The practitioners of this…this…well, practice seems the appropriate word, as most of its exponents seem rarely to get beyond the stage of practising (on other people’s faces, of course). Their main objective appears to consist of trying to rearrange every client’s features into a style that can be instantly recognised as their own. Once that’s achieved they slap that same face onto the front of as many famous heads as they can. A bit like the way secondhand car dealers get their faces slapped up on as many billboards as possible. You might just as well have your forehead branded with the name of the surgeon along with a phone number.
And there’s plenty doing something like that these days with growing numbers of the style-challenged sporting more tattoos on their mugs than virgin skin. Not satisfied with actual individual faces, they tell you they’re symbols of individuality. Tooth quacks, grafattooists, cosmetic butchers, they’ll do your bum, your lips, your pecs, your tits, your private bits and whatever else God gave you that doesn’t live up to expectations long enough.
But as far as messing about with your face is concerned, thinking of myself as reasonably normal – though the normal section of the population seems to have shrunk so much as to have become the new abnormal – I’d have thought the whole point of facial rearrangement was to be as subtle as possible, so that people wouldn’t notice you’d had your face done. Apart from saying you looked younger, somehow, or how nice you look today, because of a couple of wrinkles less. One thing is certain, a few less gins and a lot less crystal meth can have the same effect.
Yet apparently I’m wrong. People have to know you’ve had your face vandalised. The whole point seems to be to show how much money you’ve got to spend. So much, your cosmetic surgeon lives in a New York penthouse, has a five storey house in London’s Belgravia, a private jet, drives a Ferrari, and owns a string of chateaux in the Dordogne.
Yet it’s bleedin’ obvious not one of these aesthetes has ever bothered to study, or even look at, proper sculptures by real sculptors. If they ever had they might’ve noticed it’s possible to shape materials, even as hard as rock, into very human-looking faces. That being the case, one would assume it’d be even easier using the actual materials human faces are made of, like bone, flesh and skin, the very materials these Frankenstein clones get to work with.
Apparently not, it’s only possible to make them look like an alien species of humanoid incapable expressing real feelings. The advantage to the rest of us is that very quality – when added to the complete removal of any sign of personality the process produces – means they can no longer fool us. Which just goes to show there’s a positive side to everything. You only have to look for it.
Well that’s my bitter grumble of the week done with.
Don’t it make you want to spit!
Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming
Probably the most celebrated flamenco guitarist the world has ever seen, has died near the holiday home he owned at Playa del Carmen south of Cancún in Mexico. He is said to have been playing with his children on the beach when he collapsed from a suspected heart attack on Tuesday, February 25th 2014.
After being flown home to Spain, a funeral Mass was held in his hometown of Algeciras on Saturday March 2nd. Despite the rain, hundreds turned out to see him off.
Born on December 21st 1947 in Mediterranean town of Algeciras in the province of Cádiz, he spent his early life as Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes, but became popularly known throughout the world as Paco De Lucía. The stage name was adopted in honour of his Portuguese mother Lucía Gomes.
Paco was the youngest of five children, whose father was also a flamenco guitarist. Antonio Sánchez Pecino is said to have made the young Paco practice guitar for up to twelve hours a day. His brother, Pepe, an accomplished singer, sometimes performed with De Lucía as did another of his brothers, Ramón, accompanying him on guitar.
De Lucía fathered three children with his first wife, Casilda Varela De Lucía, and two with his second, Gabriela Carrasco.
He is probably best remembered for his colaborations with Camarón de la Isla. Between 1968 and 1977, they recorded ten albums together.
De Lucía also began touring Europe with John McLaughlin and Larry Coryel as The Guitar Trio in 1979. Well respected among guitarists from rock and jazz backgrounds, he worked with Chick Corea among many others. In 1984 he provided the soundtrack for a film The Hit with Eric Clapton and Roger Waters.
May he rest in peace.
Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming
Early last year I wrote a piece titled Old Bones Put Leicester on the World Map, where I mentioned as many bands and musicians I’d known around the 1960s in and around Leicester. There was at least one I missed. Though I never saw him play – more’s the pity – I played with him in the school playground. I’ve just tagged this piece onto the end. For the whole article click onto the title.
And talking of Daniel Lambert, as I was a whole lot of paragraphs ago, there was Mick Pini, who I’ve been trying to Google for ages. In about 1962, Mick Pini was sentenced to a couple of years schooling at Mill Hilll in London Road, Leicester. My school. Well, one of them. At more than 13 stone (almost 83kg), he was the fattest boy in class. The fattest boy in the whole school, in fact. That was in the days when British schoolboys linked the name McDonald with Old MacDonald who had that farm with a moo-moo here and a moo-moo there. It was a time of post-war austerity when most of we English were rather thin for lack of hamburger. English hamburgers were actually sold under the brand name ‘Wimpy’, so you can picture how weak and wizened most of us looked from a very early age. Nicknamed Tiny by some, and Titch by others, as you might imagine, I was even weaker and more wizened than the rest of the boys in my year. For some horribly weird, bullying, small boy reason, I used to chase Mick round the playground and punch him as soon as he got too breathless to keep running. Though his weight went against him, my skinny, little legs went against me. But once I’d got them going at full speed, I’d eventually catch up. However, punching him was was like pushing my fist in to a giant balloon filled wobbly jelly wearing big school blazer; very unfulfilling, and not a bit satisfying. Worse still, Mick was incredibly friendly. My efforts for domination only made him giggle and laugh. To my immense annoyance, he treated it as a game.
It wasn’t until a decade later, the early 1970s I recognised him in Camden High Street. Maybe it was in a queue outside the Roundhouse. We didn’t have much to say to one another. Though big, he wasn’t fat anymore. His hair was frizzed out so much it resembled one of those great tumbleweed bushes you see blowing down Main Street in Westerns, after the townfolk have been slaughtered, or the gold at the mine has long run out. He told me he was in a band.
And then I never saw him again until today, when I came across this youtube video of him playing the blues. Excellent! Even if a good deal of that tumbleweed has has whitened, or blown off to another town. If you like guitar playing, you have to listen to every bit of this version of Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe. It made my blood run cold, the spirit of Hendrix runs through it so strong, And I know. I saw Hendrix play live at Spalding in 1967.
The Abergavenny gig was videoed by Ceri Williams when Mick made an impromptu appearance at the Drum and Monkey near Abergavenny in 2010:
To read more about Leicester bands of the sixties click here. And if you have any news or stories to add, contact me through the comments section.
Copyright © Bryan Hemming 2014
That you can put disagreements down to differences in personality is something I can’t disagree with. But that assumes both parties involved have some degree of personality to start with. Despite my eternal hope for the opposite, too often it isn’t the case, as I rediscovered only just the other month.
An old fool once told me: “You’re never too old to learn.” Like many old fools, for the life of me, I can’t imagine he was including himself. Nevertheless, in an ideal world, he should be right. Now why do I mention all that? Probably to show what a grump I can be. So anyone who doesn’t like a good old grumble, should stop right here.
Anji and I had been looking forward to a visit from an old friend of mine, and the woman he lives in sin with, for almost a year. I dislike the word partner as it makes a couple sound like a legal practice. Living in sin sounds so much more exciting. We planned to use the opportunity for a desperately-needed and long-awaited holiday. Carefully putting money aside, I’d worked out an itinerary taking in interesting sites of Andalucia, which would fit our slender budget, as well as giving them a chance to explore places off the tourist trail they’d be unlikely to find left to their own devices.
Though I’d only met the woman he was living with sin with once before, I’d known my friend since our old hippy days in the Notting Hill area of London. Back then it was still a shabby and rundown slum inhabited by the poor, the black, squatters and hippies. Happy days; an age away from the cold, affluent and fashionable place it has since become. We’d shared a lot of times I like to remember, and a lot of other times I’d rather forget. Anji got to know them both for the first time after they’d been living in sin for almost a decade, when they visited us for a few days at the end of a grand tour of southern Europe. They were fed-up of travelling by the time they reached us, and said it was the best part of the trip.
Though I noticed a few things I didn’t really take to about the woman my friend was-living-in-sin-with, first time round, they were basically inconsequentional. It would’ve been churlish to let them get in the way of us all having a good time. At our parting everything was as hunkydory as butterflies on toast in paradise. We should’ve left it at that. But no, they promised to return, and like the idiots we are, we begged them to do it. Unlike most people, who promise to come back, in the certain knowledge they never will, they actually meant it.
It’s a sad reality but, despite what we like to think about ourselves, we all change. Nevertheless, as with the first reunion, on the second visit, my old friend actually hadn’t changed much at all, but the woman he-was-living-in-sin-with appeared to have transformed drastically over the intervening couple of years. Either she’d been hiding her true character for the first visit, or she’d morphed into a self-possessed ogre. It’s strange what living in sin can do to some people.
I was aware she talked a lot from our first encounter. Then so do I. But it was the constant vying for attention by any means possible that I began to find disturbing, and the occasional sign of passive aggressive behaviour in the little digs and slap-downs she slipped in here and there, as if she thought nobody noticed. The interminable interruptions, veering completely away from the subject, didn’t help, nor did the feigned helplessness she exhibited from time to time. Worst of all, she appeared to think you have to win conversations.
And then there was the continual laughing at her own stories, while the rest of us couldn’t wait for them to end. They weren’t funny in the slightest to anyone else. Something she seemed conspicuously unaware of.
She opened her tales with sentences that seemed more like challenges, such as: “This’ll make you laugh, it’s a real story, not an invented one, like yours.” The put-down blatantly obvious, we’d be shocked into silence. That provided the gap she wanted. Immediately grabbing the opportunity created she’d launch into yet another of her dreadfully long stories about a problem she’d had with a rucksack, or something or other, insisting everybody listen to every tiny detail, no matter how trivial and uninteresting, repeating herself over and over again. Eating away at our precious time on Earth, she’d instruct us to “listen to this bit, it’s hilarious”. Generally, it wasn’t even vaguely amusing. Yet she’d still carry on, laughing and giggling to herself as she went along. And should our attentions start to flag she’d prompt us with little, almost admonishing, touches to our wrists. The anticipation of yet another to come, began to get extremley stressful. The woman I live in sin with, and I, were becoming nervous wrecks.
No matter how subdued our reaction, she remained completely oblivious, even though everyone else assembled stayed straight-faced throughout. Unable even to feign a titter, we were flabbergasted, as we died for the endless torture of having to listen to come to its end. There were times I wanted to crawl beneath the nearest table and curl into a tiny ball hoping everything would go away. Everything about the visit was centring more and more on her.
A few days had begun to seem like a lifetime. I became as desperate as a man searching out the emergency exit at an amateur production of Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. We only realised what happiness was again once they’d left in a hurry.
Suddenly pretending to feel more hurt and insulted than anyone could possibly be after a small disagreement turned nasty, the woman he-lives-in-sin-with bullied my old friend into cutting their visit short. At last we could breathe the sigh of relief that had been pent up so long.
Though an old and valued pal, there’s someone I’ll never see again, and I can’t say I’m disappointed. Still, however old we get, we all make mistakes. As the old adage has it: “A man who never made a mistake, never made anything at all.”
Anyway, what I really wanted to go on about is this. Going over the experience for the umpteenth time, in my head, got me to thinking of a comment I wrote to a new, and very refreshing blog, I stumbled across only the other day. Just A Small Town Girl is written by a young, recent university graduate in India. Indian blogs are often extremely well-written and interesting, and Sharah’s is no different. In a lovely little article entitled Growing Up, one sentence captured my attention. She was writing about the differences between herself and her friends, now they’re embarking on new lives.
“Whereas when it comes to me, I want to spend my early 20′s exploring and learning, making mistakes and just generally going with the flow and seeing where life takes me.”
Though I agree entirely with the sentiment, I couldn’t help replying, rather cheekily:
“I’ve spent so many decades making mistakes, I’m finally getting the hang of it.”
Think of me as cynical, but the idea visits from old friends will always be wonderful is one of the greatest mistakes in life we can make.
Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming
IT WAS HALF AN HOUR into Sunday afternoon by the time my gooey eyelids managed to wrench themselves apart. The resulting sensation was a bit like having fine sandpaper coated in blear drawn across your eyeballs. An ensuing blitz of excruciating light had my frontal lobes throbbing like they were attempting to break out of my skull, as the unwelcome attack of sudden consciousness made me retch to the point I almost threw up onto the pillow. At least, I could derive some comfort from the fact I was safely at home tucked up in my bed. Only to have that illusion instantly dispelled by the recognition it wasn’t my bed at all. Nor my home. For a disconcerting few minutes the exact location of that bed on Planet Earth, wasn’t very clear. A realisation that filled me with panic and feelings of extreme insecurity. That panic was only amplified when the knowledge of exactly where I was struck like a bolt of lightning. Continue reading
“Look, there’s a letter,” he said, jabbing a bony digit in that direction, and wearing a smile as wide as a sunny, August Bank Holiday afternoon on Bridlington beach.
Mrs Grubbly was plumped down in her comfy chair too busy sipping from a bottle of dark stout and gnawing the crust of a doorstep sandwich, dripping with lashings of lard, to take too much notice.
“It’s not often we get a letter,” Mr Scrubbly proclaimed. “I wonder what that can be all about.” He got off his hard wood chair in a state of bewilderment, and walked over to pick it up. Mrs Grubbly’s name was clearly scrawled on the front of the envelope in large, capital letters.
“Oh,” he went, with a more than hint of severe disappointment, “it’s for you.”
“For me?” Mrs Grubbly exclaimed, rubbing her greasy, podgy, pink, sausage fingers together with glee and heaving herself out of her comfy chair. “What’s it say?” she asked. She could hardly contain her delight, and clapped her lardy hands with joy as she rushed across to the front door.
“It says,” announced Mr Scrubbly, holding the envelope well out of her reach, “Mrs Grubbly, Rosebud Cottage, Number 1, Pump Street, Never Ditchwood.”
“I mean, what’s it say inside?”
“I don’t know that, do I? I’m not Superman, I haven’t got X-ray eyes.”
“Well, open it.”
“I can’t open it. It says it’s for you. I’m not allowed. It’s the height of illegality. It looks like a card.” He looked perplexed and scratched his head. “It isn’t your birthday.” And then he read it again to make sure it was for Mrs Grubbly before handing it over. But then he had second thoughts. “You better wipe your greasy fingers, first,” he said, “it might be from the government.” Mrs Grubbly wiped her greasy fingers on her Taiwanese pinafore with the picture of Engelbert Humperdink printed on it, making sure not to stain the famous crooner’s face too much.
“What a lovely big surprise!” she chuckled as she tore away the flap. Lo and behold, sure enough, inside the envelope was a card.
“It’s a card!” she cried, “and it’s got a great big heart on it. It’s a Valerie time card.”
“Valentine, not Valerie time,” Mr Scrubbly corrected with a strict voice.
“Valerie time, Valentime, bibbly-diddly time,” Mrs Grubbly sang, as gaily as a piglet in a puddle of mud. “It doesn’t matter what time it is, it’s for me.”
“What’s it say inside?” Mr Scrubbly was feeling inexplicably flustered. “Open it!” he demanded.
“It says: ‘Please be my Valentime’” Mrs Grubbly read. “It’s Valerietime’s Day, Mr Scrubbly, and I’ve got a Valentime’s card!”
“Who’s it from?” Mr Scrubbly asked irritably, grabbing at it. It was Mrs Grubbly’s turn to hold it out of his reach, twizzling round and fending him off with her free arm.
“It says,” she pronounced deliberately slowly, “ it’s from an unknown admiral, isn’t it exciting?”
“Admirer, not admiral, Mr Scrubbly said. “It’s plain silly, if you ask me. Silly, silly, silly!” He sounded very, very flustered. “Valentine’s Day and silly cards,” he said. “It’s silly. It’s like a form of stalking sending cards without names. That’s what it is, it’s like stalking. The height of illegality.”
“Stalking, following people about and sending them horrible letters, anonymously.”
“It’s not sending horrible letters enormously, just one enormous card, that’s all.” But Mr Scrubbly wasn’t listening.
“If it wasn’t Valentine’s Day I’d report it to Sergeant Quibbly at the police station. He’d soon sort it out.”
“There isn’t anything to sort out,” Mrs Grubbly bubbled. “It’s just a lovely, lovely Valentime’s card! And it’s for me! The biggest, bestest surprise I ever had in all my whole life!”
“And what if the bloke, who sent it, slinks round here at night time when it’s dark and peeks through the window, eh? That wouldn’t be so lovely, him peeking through the windows in the dark. Would that be your biggest, bestest surprise you ever had in all your whole life? I bet it wouldn’t.”
“Don’t be a silly billy,” Mrs Grubbly said. “He’s not going to peek through the windows. It’s a smashing card, and it’s all for me!” She was so full of glee she did a little dance before dumping herself back down in her comfy chair with its plump cushions to gaze at her lovely card. In her excitement, she dumped herself down so hard the chair creaked and groaned as clouds of dust puffed out.
Mr Scrubbly took down his best, big raincoat, that made him look like a detective, from its hook and opened the front door.
“I’m going down to the Post Office,” he said crossly, “to see if anybody down there knows anything about it. We’ll soon get to the bottom of this,” he reassured Mrs Grubbly. “Mark my words, we’ll soon get to the bottom of it.”
“There’s no need to get all in a tiz and get to the bottom of it,” Mrs Grubbly said. “It’s only a lovely big Valentime’s card all of my very own.” But he was already out of the door, and didn’t hear.
Mr Scrubbly was down at the Post Office getting to the bottom of things when he saw Mr Slivvery, the ratcatcher. Grinning slyly, Mr Slivvery nodded his head, as he sidled over to join Mr Scrubbly.
“Did she get it then?” he hissed. And then he winked, digging Mr Scrubbly in the ribs with a sharp elbow. Mr Scrubbly winced.
“Ouch!” he complained. “That hurt. Did who get what?”
“Mrs Grubbly, did she get the card?” Slivvery asked out of the corner of his mouth.
“What card?” Mr Scrubbly replied, raising his nose in the air, as if Mr Slivvery was trying to shove a stinging nettle up it.
“The Valentine’s card I sent her. It’s a whopper. You couldn’t fail to spot it. Biggest one in the shop.”
“Why don’t you ask her?” Mr Scrubbly asked fractiously. “It’s a very silly thing to do, Mr Slivvery, and you’ll be lucky if she doesn’t give you a poke you in the eye with the sharp end of a stick.” With that he stomped across to the other side of the Post Office in a huff, and was standing near a very colourful display of greeting cards, when something caught his eye. Right in the middle of the display was a colossal Valentine card, much bigger than the one Mr Slivvery had sent to Mrs Grubbly, with a heart the size of a lovesick elephant’s. Waiting till after he saw Mr Slivvery slither out of the door, Mr Scrubbly looked round suspiciously. As soon as he saw nobody was looking, he plucked the card from the display, and hid it beneath his best, big raincoat. Clutching it against the flap, he lurched across to the counter where Mrs Dumply, the postmistress, was knitting a large polka dot jumper for Mr Dumply. Opening his best, big raincoat, Mr Scrubbly pointed down beneath it.
“I want this,” he whispered.
“What?” enquired Mrs Dumply, glancing up from her knitting. Mr Scrubbly pointed down again.
“This,” he whispered.
“What?” Mrs Dumply enquired again. Mr Scrubbly pointed frantically under his raincoat a third time. Mrs Dumply put her knitting down. Raising herself from her chair, she stood on the very tips of her toes and bent over the counter to peer into the shadows within Mr Scrubbly’s open flap. “My, my, that’s a whopper!” Mrs Dumply reeled. All eyes in the Post Office turned to look. All they could see was Mr Scrubbly’s back. He was holding the flap of his raincoat wide open, and pointing down at something inside. “The biggest one in the whole of Never Ditchwood!” Mrs Dumply was saying, “Who’s the lucky girl?” Everybody sucked in their breaths, and there was a nervous rustling of stationery.
Mrs Dumply winked. Such muttering and whispering, like you’ve never heard, broke out. Mr Scrubbly swivelled his head to glance over his shoulder. They were all looking at him. He went bright red like a tomato, and smiled crookedly. As he turned slowly round to face them, the gathering recoiled as one, covering their eyes with their hands. Unable to stand the suspense, one by one they peeked through their fingers. Mr Scrubbly was drawing his hand from under his raincoat. And there it was: the most ginormous Valentine’s card anybody had ever seen.
“What a whopper!” they all chorused. Mr Scrubbly glowed with pride.
“Who’s it for?” Mrs Dumply asked the question that was on everybody’s lips.
“It’s private,” Mr Scrubbly snapped, “and none of your business. That’s the whole point of Saint Valentine’s Day, that nobody knows your business. And it’s up to Post Office employees to keep it that way, and not to let on to anybody.” Mrs Dumply couldn’t help but dimple with suppressed delight at such romance. For the rest of the day, she told everybody who came into the Post Office that Mr Scrubbly had bought Mrs Grubbly the biggest Valentine’s card ever seen in Never Ditchwood.
Mr Scrubbly slipped back into Rosebud Cottage, number 1, Pump Street very quietly, and went upstairs to attend to an important matter.
“Did you find out who sent that card?” he asked later, pretending that he was reading The Never Ditchwood Evening Bugle.
“It was Mr Slivvery,” Mrs Grubbly announced excitedly. “How nice of him. What a lovely, lovely man he is.”
“Lovely? With all those rat droppings on his fingers?” Mr Scrubbly said. “Ah, look,” he cried all of a sudden, “there’s a much bigger card on the mat. It’s colossal. It’s for you.”
“How do you know it’s for me?” Mrs Grubbly asked, all suspicious and excited at the same time.
“It’s a card,” Mr Scrubbly said, getting all flustered again. “It wouldn’t be for me, would it? I wouldn’t send a card to myself…” and put a hand over his mouth as soon as he realised he might’ve given the secret away. “I mean, I wouldn’t send a card to anybody. It’s silly.” But, by the puzzled expression on Mrs Grubbly’s big round face, he’d gotten away with his slip of the tongue.
“But how do you know it’s a card?” she asked curiously.
“Of course, it’s a card,” Mr Scrubbly explained. “What else could it be? Everybody knows that. It’s Valentine’s Day.” Mrs Grubbly stooped down to pick it up.
“It’s silly sending cards,” she giggled, “it’s like stalking and sending horrible letters enormously. ”But she was smiling to herself when she said it. She opened the envelope and took out the card. It was very, very big. She’d seen one just like it at the Post Office, and had secretly wished that somebody would send it to her. And now somebody had. It was a whopper.
Not only that, but it was exactly the very same big one that Mr Scrubbly had spotted in the Post Office after he stomped away from Mr Slivvery.
“Who’s it from?” Mr Scrubbly asked, pretending he didn’t know. “It looks twice as expensive as the one Mr Slivvery sent.” “I don’t know,” Mrs Grubbly said with a strange air of mystery, even though she did know really. “It says: ‘Please be my Valentime instead’, and then it says: ‘From an even bigger unknown admirable.’ And in tiny writing at the bottom it says: ‘The unknown and mysterious Mr S. But not Mr Slivvery’ in brackets. I wonder who that could be?” Mrs Grubbly inquired, even though she knew that it was Mr Scrubbly. Mr Scrubbly beamed behind his newspaper.
Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming
Just read 15 Years Into Marriage, the Romantic Gestures I Most Appreciate from my Husband on Ginger’s Grocery, a brilliant and funny blog, where she writes about the most ordinary things in life and makes them sound both interesting and amusing.
But what she’s done for St Valentine’s Day is an attack on manhood. It’s downright unfair, it’s unjust and it’s wrong! There’s an unbelievable list here that ordinary mortal men just can’t compete with. It’s impossible. Take a look at the first few, and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a whole load of stuff nobody but St Valentine himself could be expected to live up to. According to Ginger, this is what she thanks her husband for doing for her (the bold emphasis is mine):
“Filling the tank of my car without bragging on himself (or even telling me that he has done so).
Eating everything I cook, then thanking me for the meal.
Fixing (and/or writing a check to fix) all the crazy problems that crop up in our century-old home without ever picking on me or accusing me of being on crack for having wanted to buy such an impractical house in the first place.
Folding laundry while watching football!” read more
And that’s just the start. If these things aren’t bad enough, the list goes on and on. It’s unjust to normal men like me who get on with their lives pursuing manly activities, like dumping myself on the sofa before nodding off with my head under a newspaper I’m pretending to read, for instance.
But with this, well I just don’t know what to do. How can anybody compete with perfection? Well, the first thing I can do is what any normal man would do. I can do everything in my power to make sure Angelica doesn’t get to look at the list.
I’ve thought of throwing the computer out the bedroom window, so there’s no possibility of her ever seeing it. Then again, I could switch of all the electricity in the house and pretend there’s been a power cut and the computer won’t work. She’ll believe that. On the other hand I could pretend a burglar broke into the house last night and stole all our electrical stuff, including the computer. I could hide it all in the garage till things blow over. If she rings the police to report it, I might have to find everything suddenly by the time they get here. Then again, I suppose I could cut the phone line, to cause a bit of a delay. And have an accident with her mobile while I’m using it to make a call from the bathroom. It could fall out of my hand and into the toilet bowl.
I did write a reply to Ginger’s post, hoping it might persuade her to remove it as a gesture of kindness to save inadequates like me from having a tough time. But I don’t think I grovelled enough. You can read it here:
“He makes me feel so unworthy. I better not show your post to Angelica.
S’pose I’ll have to spend the next few hours trawling the net seeking out some real, lazy slob, who spends all day in bed guzzling endless cans of beer, watching telly while scratching his belly and picking his nose. Someone even worse than I am. I can show her him, and then tell her that at least I’m not nearly as bad as he is, and she should be thankful for what she’s got.
It’s not fair posting stuff like this on Valentine’s Day! There ought to be a law against it!”
Now, doesn’t that sound eminently reasonable compared with that list?
Maybe, I could convince Ginger there is a law against it and she’ll trash the post before the FBI call round to her house. Or then again, I could post my Valentine story Mrs Grubbly’s Valentime’s Surprise . Angelica likes that. Yep, that’s the answer.