The next phase of Operation Sword of Truth (OST) kicked into gear last night when I met up with Mum and Roger, before they went to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof featuring Darth Vader's James Earl Jones. Roger had got us a theatre meal deal at Cafe des Amis in Hanover Square.
I tell you what readers, they might not wash much and have a penchant for inter-marital liasons, but they can't half cook. My mouth was running faster than Usain Bolt on a promise. The smells and the sounds of Cuisine du Francais c'est magnifique.
Ha! I bet you didn't know I could speak French did you? I've got an O'level. Of course when I was at school we did O'levels, not like these GCSEs, where apparently you just need to turn up and tie your own shoe laces to get an A star. An A star, I mean, seriously whatever next? Kids today have got it so easy. There were no Pro Evo back in Lincoln when I was growing up. I used to have to use my imagination! I'd pretend that I was Luke Skywalker flying his X-Wing, running around Mum's garden re-enacting Star Wars, while Steve spoke into an empty pint glass imitating James Earl Jones! "I have you now!" he'd say, then he'd shoot at me with a spud gun. If I made it twice around the rotary clothes line without getting a piece of spud in my face or falling over I won and we'd swap over.
We didn't have A stars readers, we had Death Stars!
That's the power of imagination. I guess that's why I'm such an amazing writer. It's not as though I went to Citizen Journalism school. Back in my day there was no such thing, I went to the School of Hard Knocks and graduated from the University of Life. And Trent Poly. When it was a bloody Poly too and not some jumped up pretend University.
I took Gill to France back in the early days. I'm an old romantic like that. Curiously I also went through a period of being a New Romantic too. I had a proper Flock of Seagulls fringe and a big frilly fronted shirt. It was one of Mum's old blouses. I didn't really have the money to buy a proper one.
I remember the first time Gill let me take her up the Eiffal Tower. Happy days. She didn't know I had the French O'level either, until I showed her my French letters, I could tell she was impressed with my cunning linguistics, she let me lick her front bum. I'm many things readers, but I'm no braggart. I think language just comes naturally, much like Gill did, in the end.
Back in the Cafe des Amis, I ordered chicken and chips. I said chips too, not frites. "Don't slaver them in garlic either monsieur," I told the waiter nice and loud. I was trying like mad to maintain my right wing facade. When the food came, I looked on in envy as bloody Roger was tucking into his moules mariniers.
Apologies for this Mess, but I had to keep our relationship a secret. I really want Mum to be proud of me, if she knew that I wrote this blog and had made friends from all around the world, and Reading, I reckon she might lend me the money to get it published as a book for her at Christmas. But I have to keep it from her. It's for her own good.
We didn't really have much time to talk to be honest, they needed to get to the theatre, so we just mumbled through the usual pleasantries and platitudes. Did they have a nice trip down? Yes. Was I still enjoying my new job? Yes (I lied, it's fucking shit readers, and I can't tell Mum about the take-over - she'd only worry herself sick, chalk up another white lie to Barry!). Was I seeing anyone new? (Fucking Roger asked this the spiteful bastard.) I told him that I was playing the field, I'm a young buck who needs to sow his wild oats - the cheeky twat actually laughed "you're not so young any more my lad" he said "MY fucking LAD" - I told him that I wasn't "his lad" and that I was "Mum's lad and always would be," then Mum said she wished I'd been able to patch it up with Gill, then Roger said she was probably better of in Canada anyway!!!
A weaker man might have crumbled or lashed out, but I saw this as an opening, I said, "well Canada's all right, they've got Her Majesty's face on the money. If they kicked out the frogs, it'd been even better!" Roger then informed me and the surrounding tables that he had a great deal of sympathy for the Québécois. I said they were no better than the bloody IRA. Then I pulled up my jumper's sleeves and revealed my trump card.
Mum's face was aghast. "Barry, what have you done?" she implored. "I'm just patriotic Mum, there's nothing wrong with being patriotic if you're from Quebec or Ireland, and there's nothing wrong with being proud to be English! - isn't that right Roger?" I asked. I had him, he couldn't back out of that one. "Actually Barry, I was born in Edinburgh, my mother was from County Tyrone and my father was Bargoed in the Valleys of South Wales. He was minor and contracted bronchitis so had moved to Scotland for the cleaner air. Technically, I'm a Celt. You're right though, there's nothing wrong with patriotism, I'm just not so sure about the way you're choosing to demonstrate it."
"Celt?" I said "I think you're a couple of letters out." It was a moment of weakness readers, I couldn't help myself. Luckily for me, I don't think he heard it.
I looked down at my new tattoo, it's three lions in a crest, with the date October 25th 1514 inscribed below. "Lest we forget," I said patting my arm, "Agincourt." I had to fight back a tear, I think it looked like I was welling up with patriotic pride, actually it was the tattoo, which stung like absolute fuck.
Mum was shaking her head and Roger had started to smile. 'I've got him,' I thought 'hook, line and stinker.' Roger and I split the bill down the middle, which I thought was a bit bloody rich, but I figured the gold digging old Nazi was in the palm of my hand, I was about to quibble of a few quid.
Before we went our separate ways, Roger took me to one side, 'here we go, Baz you fucking genius,' I flicked on the recording switch of my trusty dictaphone, "I think you might need to do a bit more research," he said. And that was it. How cryptic?
It's a start though isn't it? I went home and got stuck into a few celebratory cans of Cobra. Which, granted, was a bit of a mistake, 'cos I overslept and missed the chance to meet up with Mum and Roger this afternoon. They're off to see Othello tonight. I thought I'd get some culture in myself, rather than veging in front of the X-Factor, I've downloaded a copy of Kenneth Branagh's Henry V - thought I'd get doing that research that Roger was on about!
It takes a thief to catch a thief! (Although, surely if that were the case, we should start hiring ex-cons into the Force?)
Use the force!!!!!!!!!!!