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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Story of V

Smoke curled around his teeth, before being expelled with a sharp blast out of the side of his mouth.
"Now," he said. "Your blog." Another drag on his cigarette. "How come I've never got a mention?"
"I'm sure I -" I started, before trailing off. I was genuinely surprised to have never mentioned the immortal Paul Vyse over the years. He was, after all, the man who taught me to drink - and drink well, at that. He'd also taught me several rope tricks, and how to scam old ladies in a Cromer guest house with little more than a wire coat-hanger and a piece of tin foil. Oh, we never had to pay for a meal that whole weekend.
I thought on as the Bar-Functionary returned with our change, presented on a little silver tray to invite you to leave a tip. Paul pointedly picked up each coin separately, right under the nose of the Functionary. "Oh look. He's brought us a free tray too," he declared loudly as the coins emptied. The Functionary grunted, swivelling away on his too-gay heels, off to serve someone else. I had a feeling we'd be having difficulty getting drinks later.
The name 'Paul' always seemed such a small tag to fit his whole personality in. Most people had taken to calling him 'The Very Lady Vyse'. And his reaction to the Bar Functionary was pretty standard: I was there when he's ordered a Four Seasons pizza and practically shouted the restaurant down when some limp bit of dough with a smattering of vegetables was placed before him.
"What on earth is this?" he'd said, jabbing at it with a fork.
"Four Seasons, sir," uttered the disinterested waiter.
"Four Seasons? Four Seasons?!" he spluttered. "Its barely Spring!"

I looked down at my glass, which had somehow refilled by itself. There's a rumour that the very air around Lady Vyse is 90% proof, hence why you tended to come away from any meeting with him literally too drunk to breathe. His lunches were legendary: some times he'd get so carried away that he'd simply forget to go back to work for the afternoon. His liver was last seen cowering under a bed in Ibiza, refusing to come home.
"Are you sure I've never mentioned you? I mean, we've known each other a very long time..."
And that was true. We'd met ten years before, completely by chance. I'd been, well - let's just call it 'back-packing' through Turkey, and I'd crawled into a coffee house to escape the midday sun. I could hear a laugh like a machine gun coming from behind a beaded curtain, and this drink-addled voice screeching "...and that Elisabeth Sladen? Completely wooden teeth, I tell you. No, completely. She re-does them with bath enamel before every convention. No, no! It's true!"
I pushed the curtain aside to find a gentleman reclining among several young Turks, hookah in one hand, glass of wine in the other that seemed mostly for gesticulating with. His eyes narrowed at me as I clung to the doorway.
"Ooh, 'ello," he said, suspiciously.
"Er, hi. Mind if I pull up a teenager?" I said, motioning to the pile of boys. "I'm fair parched."
"Don't pad your part," he said.
And we were firm friends since.

"I am utterly sure," he said. Same gesture: glass waved, encompassing an audience that he didn't care was there or not. "Utterly sure you haven't mentioned me. At all."
Odd. Hadn't I talked about the time we'd hi-jacked a piano bar just so the Lady V could sit there, tinkering the incidental music to the Doctor Who episode City of Death to the amassed and bemused crowd? Or, after six bottles of wine, stealing the huge wrought iron plant stand because we thought it would look much better in our hotel room than the bar? Or when we put a likeness of Angela Lansbury on the top of the Christmas tree one year? Or the time we invented the Vodka Pistol?

"Perhaps there are no stories to tell," I said.
His eyes narrowed. Points of ice in a suddenly hard face.
"Well. Clearly," he said with an air of finality, and blew a smoke ring my way.
 

15 comments:

Skip said...

You left out the time you invented a Vodka and Red Wine cocktail while dressed as schoolgirls.

Lee said...

Shh!

tornwordo said...

You two sound dangerous together. And the bit about the liver, lol.

kyknoord said...

"How come I've never got a mention?"
"But you have - many times. Many, many times. All in the archives, of course". (hastily makes mental note to add a few back-dated anecdotes).

Concrete X said...

Dear The GlitterForBrains,

On an entirely separate vodka-soaked issue, is there any chance of changing the pic of that there lush Kate Mulgrew now that you have Seen The Light about the abomination that is Star Trek Voyager?

Snooze said...

I'm not surprised that one of your close friends is named Vyse. Now, tell us more about the vodka pistol

Owen Blacker said...

You are to bring him to my thirtieth birthday parties. Whilst there'll be vice aplenty, I think Paul sounds as fabulous as you are, m'dear!

Owen Blacker said...

PS: I insist you move Chris Evans up above Matthew Fox and Jamie Bamber at once. ;o)

SL&V said...

Is this where you get it from Lee or was it just a calamitous meeting of like minds?
Either way I demand that you warn me if you're both ever in the same room as me so I can put up my (fairly pathetic) cloaking device and scurry away like the filthy Romulan spy I am.

I can barely handle one of you dismissing me at every sentence, let alone an armada.

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