Marigold just been reminiscing about a woman she used to work with whose husband came up with one of the most memorable adverts of the television age.
No, not saying which one.
Despite this the Advertising Agency ‘let him go’ six months later after his creativity dried up.
Marigold asked why and was told, ‘because he’s a tosser that nobody else can work with. They should try living with him.’
There’s loyalty for you.
In fairness, he was a seriously weird bloke. We went round to their huge house one evening for drinks. Eight bedrooms, but they hadn’t a hope of keeping it up to scratch so lived on the ground floor with the two upper storeys being virtually derelict.
When we’d chatted for five minutes he toddled off into the kitchen to fetch some what he called ‘nibbles’ and his wife called ‘bits.’ Whether they resembled nibbles or bits we never discovered as we didn’t see him again for two hours.
His wife said ‘oh, he does that, forgets what he goes for and walks around for a bit until he remembers.’
When he turned up again, two hours later, he ignored the three of us and put a record on, very loudly, in the next room. It was ‘I’m a wanker’ by Ivor Biggun and the Red Nosed Burglars.
Isn’t it odd how some things stick in your memory?
As we left Marigold muttered to me, ‘No wonder they gave him the push,’ but I thought they must be a pretty stuffy lot in those top advertising agencies. Never a dull moment working with that bloke.
If you’re not familiar with the work of Ivor Biggun, it’s the stage name of Robert Cox, a former sound engineer at the BBC who adopted the prefix ‘Doc’ when spending ten years performing on That’s Life.
It’s pretty clear Esther Rantzen has distinctly low-brow musical tastes!
He’s about the same age as me, but there the similarity ends. I do admire the names of his various bands, notably Nurk Wildebeest and the Mutations and he still performs occasionally, apparently, in a Suffolk based band The Trembling Wheelbarrows.
Without the guiding musical talents of Ivor Biggun the world may never have even heard of Screaming Lord Sutch.
Somebody just being interviewed on the BBC complaining that they’ve driven nearly 200 miles to go to the beach and when they got there everything was closed. ‘Even Poundland!’
Leaving aside the rationale of people who drive 200 miles for a day trip to Cornwall – in the midst of a pandemic - passing numerous beaches along the way, the closed and shuttered Poundland was enough to sustain a rant for several minutes.
As the, frankly useless, interviewer finally butted in to say ‘back to the studio’ the woman who’d been rabbiting on for ages decided she needed yet more air time. Jabbing a finger at the reporter she bellowed, ‘where are the toilets? What am I supposed to do when…’ Just in time the video feed died and we were safely ‘back to the studio.’
I’m a Poundland fan myself, tat appeals to me and the spirit level I lavished my hard earned pound on about five years ago has recently confirmed to Marigold that the picture I could clearly see was out of alignment was indeed ‘skew-wiff’ after she’d insisted it was level.
A bitter row that could have rumbled on for days averted because I invested £1 five years ago. Bargain.
No, of course we don’t have rows. Ever. Even our very occasional disagreements are swiftly rectified by me apologising for whatever it was I was alleged to have done wrongly.
As for the absence of lavatory facilities I’m nobody’s idea of a public lavatory maven, but can fully understand the reasons for their closure at this time. Even so, as it’s pretty obvious there’s been no drastic change in human physiology, what went in must at some stage come out.
The World Health Organisation has spent decades trying to solve the ‘sewage’ problems of the Third World yet we’ve managed to inflict on the UK the same sanitation conditions that are common amongst those living in an Amazonian rain forest.
I even suspect this temporary deprivation could cause greater stress to most people than an inability to buy four rolls of fruit pastilles for a pound.
I made a list yesterday. I don’t write lists. Ever. But, I did. It was a list of various ‘jobs’ that needed doing. Quite a long list. House maintenance, organisational tasks, clerical matters, personal grooming.
No, not that last one.
There are so many jobs I have been putting off until I had some ‘spare time.’ Such as now. There are even jobs that have been on the back burner for what seems like forever.
Like writing another book. Or even just getting the last book project into print. I need to decide on a cover and the layout, organise and set out the formatting for both Kindle and paperback platforms and a myriad other tasks.
Six novels under my belt means I’ve done all this six times already now and that’s my problem. I know how laborious and soul sapping it is to do all the tidying up bits necessary to prepare a novel for publication.
Even so, I surely will not have so much free time again. Have I done it yet? No. Have I even started? Well, I have given it some thought. I’m not just sitting here doing nothing, you know? This is valuable thinking and planning time.
As for the other jobs on my list, I just need to find someone to do them now as it’s clearly not going to be me.
Maybe next week. When I have a bit more free time.
I’m beginning to hate the Internet. Everywhere I look there are virtue signalling people boasting about their newly acquired beach bodies and new skills. I watched some irksome young woman yesterday whose latest accomplishment, allegedly one of many, was playing her own composition on the violin.
I thought she was, quite frankly rubbish, both as a composer and also as a violinist and I speak as someone who would struggle to make an acceptable sound from a tambourine.
I haven’t used my free time profitably. Not at all. Does the Internet now only offer up people whose days are spent in making a scale model of the Taj Mahal out of All Bran in their front room or becoming fluent in Mandarin in three days?
Are there none out there like me? The undisciplined/bone idle silent majority?
I find this all pervading aura of presumed worthy activity quite exhausting. I shall go and relax by tuning in to my yoga class on YouTube. No, of course I don’t actually do any of the poses. I wouldn’t even if I could persuade my limbs to even attempt such ludicrous contortions, but it all takes place on a very nice beach and I like watching the waves rolling in with the sound turned off. It’s very soothing.
We’ve been chatting a lot lately to one of our lovely friends, by which I mean she’s actually lovely and not just one of our friends who are all lovely. Some of our friends are neither lovely nor lovable, but we keep them around anyway.
The lovely friend in question, just picking a name at random here let’s call her Sheila, is sporting a trim almost as drastic as my own ‘haircut.’ The difference is, her hair looks great. The skill of the stylist can only be appreciated by knowing she managed the whole performance from the house next door, peeping through a knot hole in the fence and snipping away with long handled garden shears to preserve social distancing.
Afterwards she trimmed the privet hedge into a representation of Windsor Castle viewed from the school cricket pavilion at Eton. Knowing Sheila as I do I doubt she got much of a tip!
Interestingly, having more closely examined my head following Marigold setting about it with hair clippers I tentatively mentioned, ‘it still looks as if there’s a couple of grey patches.’
‘Oh, don’t worry, it’s not hair,’ Marigold explained. ‘That’s where the clippers dug in a bit. I think what you can see are bits of brain.’*
*I hope nobody thinks much of what I ramble on about in here has any basis in reality.
With my skull having barely any skin left on which a hair follicle could thrive at last the rest of me remains untouched by the resident barber. I can at least retain ownership of the unkempt jungle I laughably refer to as my beard.
Facial hair. What’s going on in the real world so far removed from us now and only glimpsed on television screens? It’s gone way beyond the tokenism of ‘Movember.’ It’s no longer a fad, it’s here to stay.
The lockdown/isolation beard as we're calling it because its devotees obviously all stopped shaving on day one of the lockdown. Even tv weathermen look less pristine lately. Verging on scruffy.
Celebrities, well obviously they’re never going to miss out. Madonna would be sporting a full set of whiskers if she could.
These days beards I see on tv all look the same, which is to say pretty rough. They are always patchy, uneven, unkempt and usually have grey bits included. But, they’re not so much just beards grown in isolation, as evidence of what happens when men stop shaving.
They stop caring what they look like, or maybe it’s as simple as just not caring when there’s nobody else to see or sit in judgement. The avoidance of grooming, in spite of having the same access to shaving materials they’ve always had, not to mention more leisure for shaving than ever before. It’s a gesture promoted by this pandemic.
Rules? What rules? We’re all survivalists now, or trying to be. Not Fancy Dans with designer haircuts and precisely calibrated facial adornment any longer.
No, we’re hunters, we’re warriors, we’re MEN. Real men don’t waste time primping and preening, we’ve gone back to basics now.
Nature in the raw.
Even so, after much reasoned debate I recently removed what was referred to in my inner circle - ie Marigold - as my ‘hideous’ beard. The clean shaven look was deemed even worse. I have compromised by cultivating a half way point between naked flesh and an actual beard; a sort of benign neglect appearance stopping just short of vagrancy. It'll do. It will have to.