Dammit, readers, I’ve had quite a day. It started with a huge surprise; a letter from Roger! I’ve typed it in below, see what you make of it:
Your behaviour recently has been quite… well, I suppose you’d call it ‘interesting’. I have to admit, though, that I’m a bit confused. From what your dear, dear mother has told me you have always been, what’s the phrase… ‘right on’. Something of a hippy, I suppose. But, after our last few meetings, I’m beginning to wonder if your political views don’t in fact lie a little to the right. A little to the right of Genghis Kahn! (Forgive my little joke.)
Do you know what I say, Barry? I say: each to his own. That’s my motto; each to his own in every way.
But it has become quite clear to me that your behaviour has been upsetting your darling mother, a woman for whom – it must be clear to you – I care a great deal. I simply will not have her upset in this way, Barry, do I make myself clear? She has cosseted you your whole life, Barry. She still feels that she is somehow to blame for your father’s departure, and that is why she continues to coddle you so, despite your age.
Now, I understand that you are coming to visit at Christmas. This is as it should be; after all, Christmas is a time for families. My own dear children, alas, will not be able to join us. But my mother will be, like you, a guest in the house. There we shall be; two fine lads and our dear mothers. I expect you to respect the occasion, Barry, and not to behave in such a way as to give your mother cause for sadness.
She finds your views disturbing, so I ask you to keep them from surfacing in her presence. And I feel duty bound to point out, if you haven’t already noticed, that your tattoo is somewhat inaccurate.
Well, there you go, readers. It’s pretty clear to me that what Roger is saying is that he sympathises with my (pretend) views (ie, he’s a Nazi) but that I should, like him, keep them from Mum. ‘Each to his own’? That can only be Roger coming out in favour of forced repatriation, can’t it? What a monster!
Anyway, I took this as evidence that I’m breaking him down. I’m getting through.
There was one problem, though: The tattoo. I’m not sure how this happened, well I’ve got a good idea, but – anyway – my new tattoo, the one I selflessly burned into my own skin for the sake of exposing a facist bully, like when Donal Macintyre went after the football hooligans, contains a glaring error.
As you’ll remember, the tattoo is a rendering of the three lions of England’s football shirt with a significant historical date underneath. 1514, the Battle of Agincourt. Except, as I just found out through Wikipedia, the Battle of Agincourt was in 1415, not 1514. What a nightmare!
Here’s how I think it happened:
To get my tattoo last week, I went to the local tattooists, which is called Inky Pete’s, and asked him for something a bit racist. We had the following conversation:
IP: What do you mean you want something a ‘bit racist’?
BN: I want something a bit racist, but not a lot racist. Can you do that?
IP: Are you a copper?
BN: No, but I am under cover.
IP: I want a lawyer.
BN: What for?
IP: I’m not saying anything without a lawyer.
BN: I just want a tattoo of something a bit racist.
IP: Listen, pal. You’re not much good at this, are you. You’ve just told me you’re under cover.
BN: Yeah, but not now. Now I’m just me.
IP: So you’re just you and you want a racist tattoo?
BN: Yeah, except I’m not racist, not at all. My mum’s going out with this bloke and he’s racist but he’s pretending that he’s not racist and I’m trying to gain his confidence so that he comes out and admits it and then my mum will dump him. That’s why I need the tattoo.
IP: So you’re a non-racist pretending to be a racist in an attempt to out a racist who’s pretending to be a non-racist, right?
IP: It’s like that bloody Scorsese film. And that’s why you want a tattoo?
BN: Exactly, that’s exactly right. So, what can you do?
IP: Have you escaped from somewhere, pal? ‘Cause you’re too fucking stupid to be a copper, and that’s saying something.
BN: Look, I’ve explained what I want, just give it to me, will you?
At this point Inky Pete looked at me for a long time, before asking me if I had any money on me. I showed him the wad of tenners in my pocket. He stood up, produced the biggest spliff I’ve ever seen and sparked it up.
IP: Right, I’ll get me special book.
Pete went out the back of the shop for five minutes before coming back with a book of tattoo designs. Remarkably, the whole spliff had nearly gone. He sat down on his stool, and opened it up.
IP: Right, before you look at these, I’m just a tattooist, right? That’s all I do. I’m not a political man, I’ll tattoo you whatever colour you are in whatever colour you want. They’re just pictures to me, ok? I take a professional pride in the detail, but I don’t want to know who you are, or what you do, I just want the cash and a quiet life. I don’t need no-one coming round here shoving their nose in, ok? Because I have another little concern, that’s not strictly above board. I’ll tell you because you look like you’re harmless enough: I do shift a few mind altering substances here and there, if you’re ever in the market. I’m not a pusher, though, I’m a dealer. It’s like the song says, mate.
IP: Now, how about this for a start?
BN: How’s a swastika a ‘bit racist’? A swastika’s very racist.
BN: Is that a flaming cross? What’s this, Deep South London?!
IP: This one?
BN: Hmmm, I like the Union Flag. But I’m not sure about the words “I’m all white, Jack”.
IP: Well these are my racist tattoos, mate. I don’t have a lot of designs in this category, to be honest. I’ve got a few nationalist ones, if you’d prefer?
BN: Alright, let’s have a look at those.
IP: How about this one?
BN: Oh now, that’s perfect. The three lions – it’s like football. And what’s this number? 1415? What’s that all about?
IP: That, my friend, is the date of the Battle of Agincourt. We stuffed the French.
BN: Oh, I’ve got a French friend, though. Why were we fighting?
IP: I don’t fucking know, pal, it was nearly 600 years ago. Look, I think this is your best bet. It’s definitely nationalist, because it’s got the three lions, and it’s definitely a little bit racist, because it’s about a war with the French. But it’s not that bad because the war was 600 years ago, and because having a pop at the French is like the acceptable face of racism, isn’t it. It’s very much your entry-level racist tattoo. It’s perfect. And, I’ll tell you what, I’ll let you smoke some of this weed I’ve got to help with the pain. And how’s about a little bit of Mr Daniels’ finest to go along with it?”
The rest of the afternoon’s a complete haze. I remember Inky Pete had to stop quite often because he was laughing so much. I woke up the next day feeling like shite. We must have had an entire bottle of JD. And that weed was fucking nuclear. Clearly Pete lost the plot a bit and got the four and the five round the wrong way! A professional interest in the detail my arse! Never let a drunk man give you a tattoo, that’s my advice.
It gets worse, readers. After I read Roger’s letter I went onto Wikipedia to find out if anything interesting happened in 1514. Oh, the irony! In July 1514, according to the online information source: “Peace is declared between England and France”! I’m not kidding.
I’ve got a tattoo that celebrates the beginning of a phase of cordial relations between the English and the French. So Roger thinks I’m either stupid, or a Gallic sympathiser. I can’t have him thinking the latter so, as if it’s not hard enough pretending to be racist, I’ve now got to pretend to be stupid as well.
This is really going to test my acting skills.
Peace (and I mean it; I’ve got the fucking tattoo!)