Monday, January 31, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
“Your mother is dead Barry,” he said with stony faced callousness. “The British consulate has organised for you to attend the funeral on compassionate grounds. It is unprecedented. Frankly, I am amazed. Cocaine smuggling carries the death penalty in Thailand. It seems your wife's family is very well connected. You will serve out the rest of your sentence at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. ”
Talk about bitter sweet readers, I’d just secured a one way ticket back home and out of the very jaws of death. But at what cost? She was gone. Probably the only woman that I have ever truly loved.
I’m not sure what I would have chosen if it were presented to me as a choice like in that thriller The Box starring Cameron Diaz. Push the button and you can go home, but your Mum’s life will be cut short on the streets of Lincoln.
I say short, it wouldn’t be cut short would it? She’s already had her life. A full and frankly wasted life, the latest folly of which was marrying away my inheritance to Roger bloody Leache. I would have pressed the button readers, I would. At least I am man enough to admit it. It’s only the same as those people who take their Mum to Switzerland and have them put down isn’t it? Only my life isn’t a badly made Cameron Diaz movie based on an episode of the Twighlight Zone. Even if it looks like it might be a bit.
It turns out Mum was hit by moped while she was crossing the road coming back from Aquagrans (it’s a swimming pool-based aerobics class for geriatrics), coincidentally Steve’s dad, Steve, was the only witness. She was killed instantly apparently. Although quite how Steve’s dad knows, I’ don’t know. Now I’ll never see her smiling face again. Or drink her tea. Or hear her laugh. Or taste her Cinnamon Sponge.
Oh Mum, how could you? I know we all need to go in the end, but not this way. Not a hit and run victim caught under the wheels of 125cc Cobra Scooter of all things. Not Mum. Nooooooooo!
I was oblivious to all of this walking up to the check-in desk with Tia. We’d be travelling back as man and wife. Barrington Enoch Newsdesk and Tia Maria Yodsowen Newsdesk. I realised that I might have to put up with a few jibes back home, but I knew that underneath it all Tia was twice the man than most of those idiots in the pub.
Only we didn’t get back home. We got through check in and I was fingered by security the moment I passed through the metal detector. Just like Gary suggested I’d been to see some of his friends and I had packed about a dozen Apple iPads into my suitcase. Only I didn't realise the iPads were packed with grade A toot.
I was whisked off to some shit sodden prison cell, where they stripped me naked, then poked me and prodded me. They were looking for more gear up my bum readers. Up my bloody bum. Nature's pocket. I honestly don't know how much they expected to find up there. It seems illogical, why would I go to the trouble of packing a dozen iPads shells full of charlie, then stick some up my anus for good measure.
The amount they poked me you'd think they thought I might have some sort of secret compartment. Maybe they thought I had a plastic arse like Joanna Lumley. Dave the roofer said that he knew Lumley back in the 60s when she did an awful lot of cocaine (maybe that's why she like the gurkhas so much?). As a model and actress, Jo was wary of the damage the coke would do to her nose. She therefore started doing it up the bum, like Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac is rumoured to have ordered her PA to help her do. However, Ms Lumley did so much that she corroded her bottom and so has a plastic anus. Allegedly. A lesson to us all, I think you’ll agree.
I looked back over the bare table at the man in the grey suit with dead eyes. He was looking for a smile. Judging me. He was unblinking. He was reading me. Or trying to at least. When I was at uni I went to see a stage hypnotist. He couldn’t put me under. I was too strong then and I’m too strong now.
“Tell me what you know about Gary and Roger Leache,” he said offering me a cigarette.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I went in for my shift last Saturday and saw what I thought was a familiar face. He was working on the toast machine, which was quite coincidental since when I was introduced to him by Gary his name was Tony 'Toastman' Linoleum.
Gary told me at the time that his nickname was Toastman due to his propensity for getting drunk and insisting on making long-winded speeches while standing on pub tables. This was a habit that invariably did not go down well with publicans, something the Toastman knew really, since it led inevitably to Tony's other favourite pastime of brawling in pubs.
Tony was sidekick to the mush from Shepherd's Bush. A gentleman I was partly introduced to in an NCP carpark near Hammersmith after spending the best part of a week holed up alone in a Travelodge.
I had made several trips out to Londis to pick up Ginsters pasties and Cobra, but as Gary was quite explicit in his demands for me to stay put, I thought I better had. To tell you the truth, the week wasn't all bad. I had been exchanging text messages with Tia and I think she was most def looking forward to a return visit from old Bazzler. I've still got it readers. I don't care what Mum says.
After almost a week, Gary turned up and seemed to be back to his cheery self. "Meet me out front Barry," he said, "just bring that suitcase that you were carrying through customs". I've gotten used to seeing Gary rock up in different motors, but my eyes just about popped out when he pulled up in a black Porsche!
They're lovely cars and there is nothing you can teach the Germans about automotive engineering, but the suitcase had to go on my lap!
This brings me back to the NCP meet up. It was short and sweet. Well, it was short at least. Gary briefed me to sit tight and when the toastman got in the car to take the holdall, leave the carpark and meet Gary and the mush from Shepherd's Bush downstairs. Gary jumped out of the car and after a few lonely minutes I was joined by a small, wiry, rat-faced man. He had a pointy nose like the child catcher in Chitti-Chitti Bang Bang and a scraggy goatee beard. He sat down and took a photo of me with a Polaroid camera, then handed me a hefty holdall and instructed me to "get the fuck out cunt".
You can well imagine my reaction when I turned up last Saturday to see the same familiar rat-faced charmer working on toast. But I've learned how to think quick and act quicker. I told Paul that I thought I had that winter vomiting bug thing so I was banished immediately from the kitchens until it cleared. I'd buy myself few days to formulate a plan.
As you can tell from the fact that I am back blogging on Paul's laptop, I am now back in the kitchens. Only I'm not cooking any more, I'm on potwash. It is almost a crime to make yours truly work on pots. But we all get paid the same in here and at least this way, I know I'm safe. For now.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I was going to walk straight up to the BA counter and book another flight back to Tia, but Gary said it would have to wait.
In fact, once we got through customs, Gary’s attitude towards me definitely shifted. “Business class flights and fancy holidays to Thailand don’t come cheap Barry. I’m not running a bloody charity. You’re going to have to start earning your keep.”
I started heading off to the long stay car park, but Gary ushered us off towards the Heathrow Express. “Fucking hell Barry, I’m starting to believe you really were born yesterday.” I couldn’t believe it readers, my arms were going to drop off with all those bags! How could he be so stupid as to have the car picked up and moved? After an uncomfortably silent train journey, the next thing I know we’re checking into a Travelodge near Shepherd’s Bush of all places.
I was a little bit dumbstruck to tell you the truth. I think Gary’s mind was elsewhere, he’d had a string of text messages ping into his phone since arriving and his mood had clearly darkened. Once we got to the Travelodge he told me to “stay put” and to “not answer the fucking door to anyfuckingone”.
That’s the thing with the ill educated, they always resort to blue language when they’re under pressure. That’s what sets us apart. That’s what sets me apart from pretty much everyone here. You can tell just by looking at some people. You know what they’ll be like from the moment you clap eyes on them, then they confirm it all by opening their filthy, stinking, mouths.
I sometimes think that the human race is right at one of the points in time that mark a step change in evolution. I’ve studied Darwin and the genus Homo has gone through quite a few changes since our ancestors came down from the tress and made fire. And, at every point, the fittest Homos pull through to become the dominant Homo, eradicating and out performing the previous Homo-incumbents. You never get a situation where the two Homos live in harmony together.
I think we’re at that point readers, homo spapiens is being displaced, evolutionary forces are in place. Fittest is not necessarily ‘best’ per se either. That’s to say, the huge masses of the underclass are growing stronger in number all the time, leaving us respectable upper working and middle classes out numbered. We’re a dying breed and you only have to look around yourself to see it.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I suppose alarm bells should have started ringing even before we left Thailand to come back home. We’d flown out there with nothing and were flying back with very full suitcases.
Gary tipped me the wink earlier that the trip would be self-funding. He’d had a bunch of fake Armani suits knocked up as well as a batch of the latest pirated movies (and I’m not talking about Mutiny on the Bounty LOL!) as well as about two dozen Apple iPads that had fallen off the back of tuk-tuk.
I’ll admit that I was a bit worried going through check-in, especially when they asked whether I was carrying anything for anyone and whether I had packed the bags myself. But Gary said business class passengers are never really searched. I was smuggling readers, that much is true, but as Gary pointed out this represented a victimless crime. Armani, Hollywood and Steve Jobs are all more than rich enough, and they’ve been charging the man on the street too much for too long. When we got back we’d flog the gear and that’d more than pay for our trip and probably leave us a fair bit more besides!
Mind, I had no idea how we would shift the product, I certainly didn’t fancy walking from pub to pub with a box of hooky gear like you see those Chinamen doing. But Gary said he knew a mush in Shepherd’s Bush, he thought that this was hilarious. But I’ve spent time in Shepherd’s Bush and there are some unsavoury types knocking about. I worry about Gary, he seemed to know a lot people in London, but I’ve lived in the ghetto. I was going to have to stay close. I mean, thanks to my judo, I’m never really in any kind of peril.
I’d practically forgotten about the wedding ring, assuming that it was probably one of Gary’s hilarious jokes. But when we landed at Heathrow I had a text message from an unknown source: “Bazman. Where u at sexgod husband. Tia.x”
My first reaction was to delete the message. Natch. But, as regular old skool readers will know, I am a hopeless romantic and, besides, those Thai girls are AMAZING. Also, from very recent personal experience, they will pretty much do whatever you ask them to do. I think this is due to two things; first it is well documented that Thai men have tiny penises and second, it is also well documented that British men are polite and chivalrous. Also, I am a sexgod. I’m no spring chicken though and, frankly, why shouldn’t old Newsdesk have a bit of fun?
Thanks to Gary and Tia, I figured I'd be going back to Thailand sooner than I expected.
I sent her a short note explaining that I'd be away for a few days "on business" and requested a photo (for my wallet!). I'm no mug!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Phew, I’ve managed to steal a few moments alone to log on. Wow, it’s taken me ten minutes to read and re-read Mr C’s ace comment on my previous post. I’m not afraid to admit it, but I cried like a baby. And not just because I’ve just been cutting up the onions for tomorrow’s spag bol.
I’m onto quite a cushy number in the kitchens. Like I said before, my unit supervisor lends me his laptop and turns a blind eye, and I lend him a hand every so often. He’s a funny feller. His name is Paul, although his real name is Gurjit. He is actually a Sikh. Lol. Way back when I conducted my study on religions I never did Sikhism. From what I can gather, it is basically like being the opposite of Hindu.
Hindus are vegetarians. Sikh’s are carnivores. Hindu’s believe in elephant-headed gods, Sikhs train elephants. It’s no surprise then that the British army trained Sikhs to be the main fighting force against the Hindus during our occupation. Hindus are basically hippies you see, and while the Sikhs have long hair and beards, they also carry knives and like nothing more than a few drinks and scrap. They’re like India’s Hell’s Angels.
Paul breaks the mould a bit as a Sikh, and not just because he has adopted a European name. He’s a practising homosexual you see, which if he were a Hindu would be perfectly fine – remember, those were the guys who wrote the Karma Sutra. Sadly, for Gurjit, being gay is strictly prohibited amongst the Sikhs. Like a lot of Indians he was training to be a doctor, but when he changed his name to Paul and went full on gay, he turned his back on that life. Apart from the bit about carrying a knife.
His life literally crumbled following a moment of madness. He placed an advert in his local newspaper’s lonely hearts column. This in itself would not have been a major problem, but for the fact that the gay Sikh community is quite tight knit and he was already friends with five other practising homosexual Sikhs in town and so when he placed the ad reading: “Six sick Sikhs seek six sick Sikhs for sick sex.” He was drummed out of the community. Which is not quite what he was after. From that moment on he has roamed the earth. Like David Cain in Kung Fu. Only a Sikh version in the East Midlands.
Monday, January 10, 2011
I just wanted to say a quick “thanks blood” to my main hommie boy Mr London Street. Yo comments is well appreciated. Also, a passing thanks and hello to Shopgirl, Maccoall and The Jules. And a massive big up to Mr C – natch – for inspiring me to get the fuck back into blogland. BOOM! I think that I should warn you all though, that by the simple act of befriending me and adding your sublime commentary, you have put your lives into severe danger.
In a way, I do feel a bit guilty about coming back online and thus endangering all your lives. I knew that my reappearance would send shockwaves across certain elements of the Internet. I’m under very strict orders to keep my profile on the low-down, my location is a closely guarded secret. I can say no more at this stage. Other than, if you’re getting home late and it’s dark, be on your guard. I can’t be there to help sadly. If you can, I suggest joining a judo club. The streets aren’t safe man. It’s just you against the world.
I never, for once, thought things would wind up this way. It all seems a million lifetimes from marching into BA’s business lounge to the beat of Columbia’s finest with Gary, just a passport apiece, a credit card and return tickets to Bangkok. It felt like we were Noel and Liam. Definitely maybe. I think if we were, I would have been Noel. Sure, Gary had something, a certain charismatic elemental charm, but essentially I was the artistic powerhouse of the partnership.
I thought I was a man of the world. I was until I visited Bangkok. My eyes were opened. I don’t think I’ll be able to play table tennis again. Not to any level of proficiency at least. I have no idea how long we stayed up partying. Days merged into weeks. The faces blurred. The genders were immaterial. Nothing mattered. I woke up one day with a tattoo of a monkey on my back and wedding ring on the third finger of my left hand.
It was time to come home. But things would never be the same.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
I’ve got to be honest readers, I have no idea how I ended up in this predicament. I knew that Leache was trouble. I knew it. Like I had a sixth sense for trouble. A trouble radar. “BEEP, BEEP, WARNING!” It was going. I bloody knew it. She wouldn’t listen though. They never do.
Gary seemed different. Granted I had him marked down as bit a rough diamond. But I could tell he was generous hearted. We were living in that old Nazi Greta’s place and when Gary suggested we go down to his pal’s in London for a party to watch the World Cup final, it seemed like the ideal getaway.
A weird thing happened before we went down to London. I had a visit from my old friend Steve. He warned me about Gary. Said his dad had said a few choice things when Steve had mentioned that me and Gary had become housemates. Steve’s dad was always paranoid though, that’s coppers for you. He bloody hated me anyway. Ever since that time with the wing mirrors on the high street. Honestly, you’d think in Steve’s dad’s world that no one ever got drunk and had a bit of harmless fun.
Gary certainly had a lot of fun and a lot of friends. He seemed to know everyone in London! You can’t be all bad with that many friends. He knew a lot of girls and he was introducing me as his brother which was bloody brilliant. And considering Roger and Mum got hitched, I suppose in a way we were brothers.
Being an only child I had always wondered what it would be like to have a brother. It was a great feeling if I’m being honest. Just me and Garry. The Barry & Gary show. I couldn’t help thinking that Mum’s selfishness, depriving me of a brother, was probably behind my lack of success in life. Brothers compete and strive on, I mean, you’ve only got to look at the Nevilles.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Life may be pointless, but it's still good to be back blogging and nothing says "I'm back" like a dead octopus...
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I’ve been away for seven months readers and that is a long time in anyone’s book. A lifetime in many respects. Well, in the respects of certain octopuses it is at least. I feel sorry for Paul the octopus. Surely Planet Earth’s most famous octopus? Paul managed to successfully predict a string of World Cup match winners and is now dead. If he went to the trouble of having an accumulator bet at Ladbrokes on his predictions he would have been a very wealthy octopus indeed. Still, that wouldn’t have helped in end. Nothing helps us in the end.