Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Lulu (Part II)

(Enter Comedy Housemate Jay, with a blunderbuss under his arm.)

LEE: No! Don't! I won't let you shoot Lulu!

JAY: Eh? What are you on about you hirsute fool?

LEE: Put the gun down before I have to call your mother again.

JAY: Oh this isn't for Lulu. We've just have Shirley Bassey trying to crawl in the bathroom window.

LEE: Oh. Oh! Well, that explains it!

JAY: What?

LEE: 'Goooolllldfinnnnn-BLAM!-crumple'

JAY: She wasn't going easily, either. Do be careful when you shower - her false nails are still embedded in the Imperial Leather.

LEE: And to eBay we go!

JAY: I tell you, Beardface, god alone knows where all these d-list divas are coming from. It's like they're being attracted to something.

LEE: I know what you mean. I've had to board up the newly-installed Lulu-Flap in the door. Dame Judi Dench was having a good old try at getting in this morning.

JAY: But she's the size of a washing machine!

LEE: I know. I had to hit her with a frying pan until she retreated into the bushes. You can still see her, beady eyes, waiting...

JAY: Beardface, this is all very sinister.

LEE: Hmm. Oooh, I taught Lulu a new trick while you were upstairs.

JAY: Where is that red-headed rapscallion anyway?

LEE: Just having a rest in her basket. She's been running around all morning, sniffing this and that...

JAY: Aww.

LEE: Was that a flicker of emotion?

JAY: No. If I have to clean up another one of her little 'accidents', she's going for a ride in Mr Blender.

LEE: Don't you dare! Look, see! She's looking at you now... It's almost as if she knows what you're saying...

JAY: I simply would like to point out I object to all these little puddles of Flora Active I keep skidding in. Honestly Maurice Gibb must have spent a fortune on cleaning up after her.

LEE: Oh, look! She's getting up! I don't know why, but she always wags and barks the TV when David Bowie appears.

JAY: Good god, man! Look at the size of her! What have you been feeding her?

LEE: Flora margarine.

JAY: Beardface!

LEE: It's the only thing her contract allows her to eat! It may mean that she'll put on a little weight....

JAY: And that she's very slippy to pick up. It's a good job you weren't here earlier - I gave her a squeeze and she shot upward and hit the light-fitting.

LEE: No!

JAY: Rather like soap in the bath. Now what on earth is that banging?

LEE: Oh for goodness sake. Look. Joan Collins is trying to flap down the chimney.

JAY: Right. Don?t worry. I'll be back in a moment.

(Exeunt Jay, cocking blunderbuss)

LEE: Come here, girl. Let's give you a hug. You ignore the nasty man and his squeezy hugs.

LULU: WWWWwwweEEEeeeellll...

LEE: You don't sound well at all. Let me see... Oh good lord. Lulu's pregnant!

(to be concluded)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Lulu (Part I)

(Enter Comedy Housemate Jay, poised to open the front door)


(Front door slams shut)

JAY: Beardface! Beardface! She's here again.

LEE: Who?

JAY: That bloody Lulu woman.

LEE: What?

JAY: Honestly, ever since we had Cher staying with us, word must have got around we're the drop-in centre for d-list divas.

LEE: Oh yeah. Because the Cher thing went so well.

JAY: It wasn't my fault her head fell off.

LEE: I think you'll find it was.

JAY: Do I have to show you the back of my hand again?

LEE: Oh yes, I'm still finding pieces of her around the place. I found what I think is her larynx under the sink the other day...

JAY: Oh that's what it is. I've been draining my vegetables with it.

LEE: Eww.

JAY: You'll probably want this bit back too. Brought a lovely shine to the coffee table.

LEE: Is that..?

JAY: I neither care nor wish to find out. Here, take it.

LEE: No way. Smells foul. I'm not going near that without a pair of oven gloves. Anyway, what did Lulu want?

JAY: How do I bloody know? I opened the door and she started bellowing 'Weeeell' again.

LEE: Perhaps it's a cry for help.

JAY: Perhaps she's going to get her eyebrows shaved off if she's not careful.

LEE: Ooh! Or she's found a well in our back garden!

JAY: I blame you for this. Two-foot Scottish gnomes singing about plumbing on our doorstep.

LEE: Wait. Listen, can you hear that?

JAY: What?

LEE: That tinkling. I think she's got a tambourine with her...

JAY: Oh no, she hasn't found God has she?

LEE: Do what?

JAY: She's only gone and joined the Salvation Army. They've given her a tambourine and told to recruit those heathen Gays!

LEE: How devilishly clever! We must listen to what she has to say!

JAY: Don't open the door! The purity will come in!

LEE: I have to! The power of Gay Icons compels us!

JAY: Noooo!!!

LEE: Oh look!

JAY: No! If I cast mein eyes on her godly visage, I will go blind when I think about lovely cushions!

LEE: No, see. It's not a tambourine.

JAY: What?

LEE: They're just miniatures. Little gin bottles tinkling together.

JAY: Well, why didn't you say! Thank you, Lulu. Been stealing things from airplanes again?

LEE: She's a little tinker, isn't she?

JAY: Yes she is.

LEE: I think she wants to come inside.

JAY: What makes you say that?

LEE: She's humping my leg. Aww, bless. Can we keep her, Jay? Can we? Huh? Huh?

JAY: I'm not so sure... remember the last time. With Cher. Kaboom and all that.

LEE: I'll take her for walks and everything. I'll even try and resurrect her dead career!

JAY: But-

LEE: Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease!

JAY: Oh OK then. But you've got to look after her.

LEE: I will!

JAY: Sigh. This has error written all over it.

LEE: This has 'Emma' written all over it?

JAY: 'Error'.

LEE: Oh. Right. I could never read your writing...

(to be continued)

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Well. We're never one to shirk off high-brow, erudite topics here at Glitter for Brains, as we're sure you're aware. So onward and upward! - in every sense of the world - as we stick our head into the mucky subject of anal sex.

The reason being is I do get an awful lot of sport-playing heteromosexuals fixing me with a glassy stare after several pints and asking why on earth Gentlemen Who Moisturise are willing to have anything Up There. Usually followed by several hilarious tipsy admissions that they've tried to force all sorts of things up their hoop to see why we Gay People are always so happy. It's simple really; that's where the male g-spot is. And if that's not the Lord's jolly old way of saying 'Ah go on! Give it a go!" I don't know what is!

(Although the reason we're always so happy is usually thanks to the smug inner knowledge that we can run up a set of fabulous clothes out of a pair of curtains at the drop of a nun's habit.)

Of course, using something for not which it was really intended can lead to certain troubles, and that certainly 'follows through' with a gentleman's rear. Which is why getting jacked up and your undercarriage examined at the local Clap Clinic is wholly encouraged. Although, ladies, we sympathise with you on the trips to the gynaecologist. There's a rather charmless examination where they lie you on your side, lift your leg up and stick a plastic funnel up there to get a result. Now, most of us Gentlemen Who Have Bite Marks In Their Pillows have had experience of this sort at over our lives, but usually dinner and dancing has preceded it. The indignation! Although that's mostly because, when the hospital functionary is bracing themselves to force the funnel upward, the conversation proceeds thus:

"Now brace yourself. Most people have real difficulty ge-"
"Goodness," he'll exclaim. "I almost lost my watch."

Because that's what happens! You use a muscle often, it becomes stronger. In fact, a rather coquettish gentleman of my comedy housemate's acquaintance suggested that they may see whether they could have a go at getting two or three plastic things up there as he wasn't busy that afternoon. We often refer to him as having a 'face like an angel, an arse like a cement mixer'. And there's more than a passing rumour to an incident in a pub where he removed all the bottle tops while crouched over a crate of Budweiser.

Which, oddly, no-one accepted when he passed them around later.

Of course, there are disadvantages to being the one with an arse like a bill-poster's bucket at the end of a sesh. Like the hilarious incident of your sphincter remembering it's an exit not an entrance some time later, oft at the most inopportune moment. But on the hole (ho-ho) gentlemen, if you are thinking of taking a ride up the chocolate whizz-way, we widely recommend you plough ahead.

There. And with alienating my whole readership, I thoroughly expect a whole zero comments on this post.

TOMORROW: Penal Reform. Do we really need their shapes to change?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pussycat Dolls

Fabulous news via the gossipy ananova: Girls Aloud, this site's mascot band, are launching their own brand of dolls.

How bloody brilliant? And these toys are apparently aimed at six to seven-year-old girls. And as we all know, absolutely anything aimed at six to seven-year-old girls also means that Gentlemen Who Wanted to be Princesses When They Were Little will crossing their fingers come Christmas morning, hoping that their respective partners have braved the toyshops to get them their very own Cheryl Tweedy (with 'real punching action!')

It's a measure of love, you know.

No news as yet as to whether the sets will be expanded to include a white limo, single mother pram, or club toilet play set.

This news, of course, puts paid to us playing with our new Billie Piper Doctor Who doll that we were looking forward to getting. Poor Rose Tyler will be tossed to the back of the room with nary a second thought as we try and back-comb that awful fringe off Nadine.

Hang on. Waaaaait a second. How about if we start playing with them together?

I see a whole raft of adventures coming up! Oh, oh! Perhaps one of Girls Aloud turns out to be an alien! Rose Tyler could join the band in the hope of discovering which member has the tell-tale signs of being unable to dance, piercing their victims with their lifeless glassy stare.

Whoever could it be?!

Who Could It Be..?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Of Nipples and Mattresses

We lay in bed together, staring at the ceiling.
"I'm hungry," I announced, kicking my feet.
"But it's so comfy..." he said, sounding far too content. I knew that he wasn't going to move unless I physically pushed him.
I sighed and looked around a bit more. The room was too bright and there were tiny little pink flowers on the duvet cover. I casually started picking at them; not exactly masculine.
"Come on," I implored after a few minutes. "Food... Hunger!"
He turned, burying his head into the enormous pillow. "Five more minutes."
"Look, we'd better get off. The sales assistant is looking at us funny."
He groaned and sat up. "Oh, let her. I'm sure she's seen a couple of fags shopping for beds before. Besides, if she comes over, I can tell her that her blouse is too small and her nipples aren't level."
"Be nice. You want this bed."
"I want this bed," he stated, hugging the pillow.
"I know you do." The Wife covets beds in the same way women covet shoes. Unfortunately his taste and his bank balance rarely tally.
He swung his legs over the side and stood up reluctantly, his hand trailed behind, refusing to let go of the sheets. He looked at the pricetag once more, as if the numbers would suddenly rotate, or if he'd made a mistake and the decimal place was in the wrong spot. Bless him.
"Well. We could... you know..." I said, raising an eyebrow.
"You know. Do the business. Soiled goods. Get you a discount..."
He seriously considered it for a full five seconds before bursting out into the most enormous grin.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Parka Club

Back in the time of space hoppers and Brut aftershave, everyone had a parka coat. They were blue, had multiple pockets and - most excitingly - a fur hood that could be zipped up leaving a tiny circle of pelt that was just big enough to eat a Curly-Whirly through. You looked like a curious blue periscope, lending it an adventurous air. And so everyone had one. And it was probably the reason why child abduction was so high in the Seventies; mothers would just grab the nearest blue parka and drag it home, regardless of what was in it.

I had a parka coat about the same time as having mittens on strings. We all used to feed the string through the coats arms, which could be dangerous if you scratched your nose as someone could yank your other arm and you would punch yourself in the face.

* * *

Several days ago, one of the clever, clever people in that links section mentioned a parka on their blog. I blithely waddled up and related this horror-filled tale about how dangerous parkas were.

Little did I realise someone was listening. The email arrived a few hours later.

* * *

When you were eight and your imagination wasn't wholly spent trying to undress the nice boy in Sales, parkas were also great for pretending to be Superman. You put your head in the hood and, leaving the arms free, could run around with your coat billowing behind you just like a cape.

Unfortunately, Superman was shown on TV about the time of some very nasty black ice in our playground. Someone dislocated their knee trying to escape from the exploding Krypton, and we all spent the rest of the week indoors colouring in pictures of Jesus.

* * *

"You've got a parcel," said Diana, our statuesque receptionist. She presented it with a look of casual curiosity.

At the time, I was trying to look busy with an Excel spreadsheet. It appeared impressive, but really I was trying to colour in the cells to make a mosaic of Joan Rivers.

"What is it?" she asked,

Expertly wrapped in a tight cylinder, in a feat of engineering in itself, was a blue parka. It smelled of school.

"I think someone's sent me a parka. A blue one."
"I don't know."
"No, really. Is this some gay thing?"
"No. I just got an email off someone saying that they're going to send me a parka the other day. I thought it was a crackpot."

I checked the label. No post mark, and the label was written in block capitals.

Diana shrugged. "You'd better thank them, then."

* * *

So I did. And I got a reply.

'Welcome to Parka Club' it read. 'Feel free to zip it up and look like a periscope.'

How astonishing. And generous. And odd. I'm part of a club. I haven't been part of a club since I accidentally wandered into the KKK thinking it was Bed, Bath and Beyond. Well, all those sheets in the window were bound to throw a Gentleman Who's Looking Forward To The New Kate Bush A Little Too Much. There was more:

'One thing I would ask is that you post one or more pictures of you wearing your new parka.'

Well. I've posed naked for a magazine before. Well, a magazine and a bag of sweets, but it was a fair swap. A picture of me in a parka was the least I could do.

And twenty years on, I still wanted to run around pretending to be Superman.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Fun With The Queen Part II

Here's something you can all make and do!

Take an ordinary UK bank note. Any one will do, but better do it quick before Liz carks it and we're stuck with Charles' ugly mug on all our beer tokens! Here's one I prepared earlier. Or more correctly, kicked a tramp in the goolies for.

Her Madge

Now, here's a handy guide to what we're going to be doing. Note the Lines A, B and C. Ooh, it's just like an Ikea booklet!


Fold along Line A, like so. The trick is to make sure that the line of the fold goes along the corner of HRH Liz's mouth, right through her eye. Gruesome, but necessary.


Now, Line B. Move to the other eye, very much in the manner of the Yorkshire Ripper! Fold that backwards too.

Genuine pub fun!

Now the hard part, as they'd say on Blue Peter. Pinch the creases of A and B together, pushing down and creating Line C between them.

The hard part!

Flatten out your note a little, and you should see the following! Look! The Queen is smiling at you, and you alone! She, as a benevolent being, is grinning down on all you, the little people, for giving her lots of your moneys so she can wear nice hats abroad.

Grin! Grin like your heritage depends on it!

But! If you tilt your flimsy currency downwards - lo! Her beatific smile vanishes! Perhaps that horsey Camilla woman has been spotted in the driveway again? Or Margaret has run over another corgi? No! No, your majesty! Don't fret so!

She will terminate you now

Quickly, you fool! Tilt the note the other way! Ah, that's better! The Queen will smile at you once again, and all is well with the realm. Huzzah!

Happy Queen!

There. Who said we weren't educational here?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Fun With The Queen Part I

We do love our monarch here at Glitter for Brains. Anyone who has their own currency touched up to look a bit younger than they are is all right in our glittery books. And her email is probably 'liz@uk' too.

Here's something you Johnny Foreigners probably don't know: whenever she or her jug-eared brethren want to use a product, the manufacturers can use a little crest on the package that says 'By Royal Appointment'. It's like a pop-star endorsing something - and probably means that she gets a bucket-load of them free.

Which may be open to abuse. Can you imagine?

"Ere, Phil," she'll cry in her cockney accent down a palace corridor. "Phil! I want one of those new plasma screens!"

"You can't afford it, Liz," he'll shout back from the next room along. " You've just ordered another batch of oddly similar dresses, the ones with the high bust and half-sleeves!"

"Oh get 'em to slap a By Royal Appointment on it," she replies, lighting a fag. "And make sure it gets here before Countdown's on. And they've haven't skimped and left the batteries out of the remote too!"

Oh yes, By Royal Appointment can be found on lots of things now, which means you can more or less see what HRH Liz been shopping for. And we do like a bit of a nosey around other people's shopping baskets, don't we?

Thing is, she's getting on a bit these days. Not long before Veet upper-lip hair removal and incontinent pants are By Royal Appointment!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Glitter for Brains Interactive!

Push your red button now!

Halloween is a-coming! And the Wife and I have a glittering invite to a fabulous fancy dress party!

Now, with last year, we went as Sigfried and Roy, post-mauling. This year, do you think it's a little too close to the knuckle to go in two blood-stained and ripped saris, covered in brick dust?

Vote now!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Meanwhile, in the Headmistress' Office...

Now. Madonna. Do come in and sit down.

Don't slouch, dear. It's unladylike.

You're probably wondering why you've been sent here, aren't you? Well, I'll get straight to the point. Your teacher has found out you've been copying.

Now, now. Ah-ah-ah! Don't start pointing the finger and saying things like you're a 'social chameleon' and a 'international trend-setter'. The fact remains that your latest essay called - what does it say? 'Hung up'? - contains huge parts of another essay called 'Gimme Gimme Gimme' and it simply will not do. I know two boys in the sixth form called Benny and Bjorn who are most upset about it. I've had their parents on the phone. And my Swedish isn't very good, but their voices were very loud.

I know you've been trying to hang around with that drama group, and I think your work's been suffering, my dear. To put it kindly, we all know you're not really an actress. I mean, your turn in the school panto was just embarrassing. The whole staff room thought 'Swept Away' was going to be a gay little romp about housework, but then we find you're almost, well, taken the wrong way on stage. Poor Mrs Hooper nearly choked on her buns, let me tell you.


No, we do not say 'Good' when things like that happen. It's most unladylike.

Now, I'd like you to take this away and try again. And we're going to be writing a nice letter to Benny and Bjorn's parents, aren't we? And we can only hope it's going to be better worded than this little effort, madam. I mean... let me get my glasses... 'Every little thing that you say or do. I'm hung up. I'm hung up on you.' Really, dear! It sounds like you've been letting that Lordes girl in the nursery class write it for you! Terrible, terrible effort. Did that fall from the horse in Games impair you head in some way?

Excuse me, dear? I know you love the gays. We all do, dear. And I'm sure they all like this too. But they really have no taste at times. I mean, stick a glitter ball in the middle of the gym and tell them we're showing a back-to-back marathon of Grease, and they flock like moths to a flame.

But, you see, you really should be disappointed in yourself more than anyone. And certainly not disappointed in being caught. You used to be so original! Oh, remember when you came to school with those lacy gloves on, and the whole school were wearing them the week after? Oh yes, even Mrs Hooper thought she'd be able to carry a pair off, which was hilarious in itself. But these days, it seems the other way around! I heard that little Alison Goldfrapp had her music notes stolen last week, and all of a sudden, you're offering to hand in work that looks suspiciously like her handwriting?

Now, now. Stop crying. It's not all bad. I know this year can be stressful, but you really must learn to help yourself more. Here, have a hankie and get back to class. Go on.

And send in that Lisa Scott Lee on your way out. I feel an expulsion coming on...

Friday, October 14, 2005


Well. Daniel Craig is the new James Bond.

Lets just be kind and say that he's 'care-worn'.

Or in need of some moisturiser.

Oh to hell with it. His face looks like a crumpled map page, and if you ever had the misfortune of shooting your load over that leathery visage, you'd get to see a scale version of the Egyptian irrigation channels in action.

There. I've said it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Brother Tongue

Oh yes. Having whisked around the world on my mini-world tour the last couple of weeks, I've got quite used to the oral vagaries of strangers. How rough the Spanish tongue is, and how interesting is a New York twang to roll around the mouth.

But none more curious to me than the Welsh language, which I was plunged into last week. It uses all the same inflections, accents and sounds of English, but with the noises in the wrong order. Why, when I was stationed in the very luxurious offices of TV's 'Doctor Who or Whom' the week gone, my tiny window looked down upon the outside set of 'Pobol y Cwm', the Welsh soap opera that appears to be like our perennial favourite EastEnders, but with more mining and TB. The day wasn't complete without the Welshy translated sounds of someone shouting "You slaaaaaag!" drifting up to my steamy portal.

They're very proud that the whole thing is in their native language; a klaxon went off one afternoon while they were filming and we were all evacuated from the BBC into the car park. Half the people thought it was a fire alarm, the rest thought it was because someone had accidentally said something in English.

I'd like to learn more dialects, though it's something I show no natural affinity for. As I'm sure you know, dear reader, my grasp of the English language is more of a tortuous stranglehold, so trying to get by in France, the next country along, is sheer hilarity in itself. For some reason, all my words come out as feminine. So I'm in constant awe of people from the backwater of the world who manage to find themselves in good old Blighty with a nice grip of the lingo. Although slightly suspicious too; certainly after being followed around a discothèque by an Iranian who didn't know the English for 'I have a boyfriend', yet could happily announce 'You have a nice cock' when he suddenly appeared at the next urinal along.

Although you can explain that; I have, in my time, managed to pick up a little Hungarian thanks to some of the Gentleman's Recreational Videos I have acquired over the years. Though it's hardly conversational, it will get you some ice from a hotel porter, and I do know how to get my plumbing looked at.

Both with hilarious misunderstandings.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fire In The Disco!

Two terrible bits of 'arson around' this very week! Firstly Southend pier goes up in flames and slides into the Thames. Our concern, of course, for all those Gentlemen Who Peruse Kitchenware Catalogues A Little Too Carefully as they'll have nowhere to shelter after the clubs close! Why yes, they are a friendly bunch under that pier - forever hugging each other to keep warm, as far as we can tell. And providing support behind when their new friend bends over to retrieve a lost contact lens, seemingly.

And the other shocker was the warehouse where Aardman Animation stores all its props also went up like Liza Minnelli near an open flame. They're the marvellous plasticine animators behind Chicken Run and the new Wallace and Gromit film. No! The horror, the horror!

For it now compels the question what is Farrah Fawcett going to do for spare faces now?!


Q. What happens if a group of Gentlemen Who Bowl From The Pavilion End decide to make Hello! Magazine even gayer?

A. Coo-Ee!


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Christmas Came Early!

Oh! More another fax from the House of Dubious Sexuality - Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are having a baby!

Is anyone else fooled? I thought not. So unless this is the coming of the new messiah via an immaculate conception due to there being no way Mz Cruise is actually going to plough his self-custard up her immaculate mimsy, one can only assume that the turkey baster came out for a bit of a show a few weeks back.

Well, my advice for you is not to visit chez Cruise for Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Adventures in Time and Spain Part III

And on the third day it all went horribly wrong. A HUGE row. And I mean a stand-up in the street, histrionics, accusations and tears. A big EastEnders style ding-dong on the largest street in Salou. We even attracted an audience.

As a family, we never argued. My now-absent father would bellow and beat us; my mother would be the peacemaker, trying to moderate everything doled out, leaving my sister and myself to become pass-masters at being passive/aggressive, winding the situation around ourselves and showing our displeasure by then picking at food and sighing sullenly and dramatically. For weeks, if need be.

And as per all arguments, it started by the smallest thing. My sister was refusing to talk to me because I'd shouted at her a few days back for carelessly throwing the towels in the bidet. I'm not blameless in all this, but I did believe I had a point.

"I have not been miserable! Besides, if I had, you deserved it," she declared.

"Oh, you've been following us around like a bitch under a bad cloud for the whole week. What, are you pre-menstrual or something? Why do we have to suffer your blob-strop?"

I was aware my hands were on my hips. And that I sounded a little too close to a drag queen at closing time. There was an intake of breath from the assembled audience.

"This holiday's just gone from bad to worse!" cried my mother and turned to find a taxi. Well, that answered where I got my melodrama from.

"It's not my fault!" protested my sister. "You started all this! If you hadn't shouted at me, I wouldn't be angry!"


And then it clicked.

My sister was so used to getting her own way that this just didn't make any sense to her. She was oblivious as to why we were pissed at her, but only to why she felt bad. She was unconsciously trying all the tricks in her usual armoury to make it all better for her, from trying to transfer the guilt to bursting into tears at the drop of a hat. A little bit of my heart went out to her - she really didn't know what she'd been doing wrong. She'd go into any argument with a whole series of breadcrumbs laid out, right back until it was your fault.

"Why are you being so horrible?" she screamed.

Goodness, the girl must be teflon-coated.

"We're not," I said quietly. "We've tried to be accommodating, forgiving and as kind as we can. But there are limits to my patience. Yes we shouted at you, but that was because we both believed you'd done something wrong. And that's the centre of the matter - you had done something wrong."

"But... I... Mom," she turned, pleading, "is this true?"

My mother nodded slightly. Almost imperceptibly. After years, the peacemaker had picked a side, if only for a second.

My sister burst into tears.

Real ones, this time.

* * *

We came back to the hotel, barely speaking. My sister had been wiping her eyes with the balls of her palm and has smeared her mascara sideways all the way to her ears. She looked a mess, and rather like a girl from a Robert Palmer video. She seemed to be coming to terms with a lot.

My mother announced she was going to bed as the taxi drove off.

"We can't leave it like this," sniffed my sister. "Come for a drink in the hotel bar."

I still had my arms folded. My mother was looking at her shoes.

"Please," she implored.

We followed her in. We sat, we drank. We started to talk. We drank some more. We started resolving issues. We talked some more. And then in this quiet bar in backwater Spain, the oddly British pastime of bingo was announced. And finally - finally - after all these years, we bonded a little more as a family when my mother won a cheap bottle of rosé for a line of numbers.

Not ideal, but it worked.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Adventures in Time and Spain Part II

On the second day, I sorta broke into a cathedral.

As it stood, the only real sightseeing available in our resort was one gentleman with nice pectorials who'd taken to wandering around topless by the pool at 11.40 each morning. He was a good sight. Until his scraggy wife hoved around the corner that is, scattering cigarette ash over the pram she pushed, barking and whining her general displeasures at him. In my eyes, that little look he gave me each morning as I passed coquettishly was 'Rescue me. Take me away from her, and I'll pleasure you in ways you haven't yet dreamed of' but more likely to be 'If I just keep nodding, she'll wear herself out and I can watch the footie this afternoon' in retrospect.

The other nice sight I saw on holiday was when we braved the bus service and went over to the next town. I'd gained a little knowledge of the local tongue thanks to a little Spanish rubbing off me a few years back; I forget his name. Unfortunately time had eroded what I'd learned so long ago, so I was reduced to pointing in the general direction I wanted to travel, saying 'por favor' and offering cash. Unless I wanted to thrill the bus driver with the completely unforgettable Foreign for 'Duck! I'm about to spill my self-custard!'


My sister was still pissing me off, and had now taken to walking around demanding ice-cream because we'd shouted at her the day before for being demanding (no self-awareness, that girl) so I'd found a cathedral for us to visit. Mostly because even she would have to be quiet inside.

It was shut. And she wasn't going to be quiet.

So we rounded the corner and took a rest in the gardens. While she complained to my mother some more, I kicked about a bit, examining the fountain, picking at the columns and loving the magestic building towering above us. Which is when I noticed the door.

It was old. Naturally. But but like an attendee of a Gentleman's Health Club, face-down on a mattress at 11am on a Sunday, just begged to be forced open and whatever inside enjoyed. So I stuck my hand in an jiggled around a bit. There was a satisfying groan and the passage was opened.

My mother got up with a start. "Lee! Whatever are you doing?" she exclaimed. I put a finger to my lips and grabbed her hand, beckoning her into the cathedral. She wasn't sure, but I gently pulled her through anyway.

It was like another world after the heat outside. The midday sun poured light through the stained glass, embellishing the floor with royal blues and lavish reds. Dust, disturbed my our entrance, floated in the motes of light. As our eyes adjusted, we could start to make out the roof seemingly miles above us. I breathed out an impressed sigh.

"Well, bugger me," whispered my mother as she stepped up beside me. She span on her heels to take it all in.

I grinned at her, and took out my mobile phone and clicked it to camera. Just one picture...


And then all the bells in the world started ringing.

"Run!" I yelled, pelting for the door.

* * *

We got our breath back on a wall half a mile down the road after making sure there were no torch-carrying vicars running after us.

"Well I hope you've learned your lesson, young man," scolded my mother.

"Of course I have," I said, still slightly breathless.

"Never break into anywhere," she said, folding her arms.

"No. Never take photographs as the cathedral clock is striking three. It's bloody loud inside."

Her face fell. Then she checked her watch and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Adventures in Time and Spain Part I

On the first day, I was already planning to kill my sister.

Two hours into our Spanish holiday and she'd completely take over the apartment, idly throwing all the towels in the bidet without a thought so she could hang out her washing. And that more-or-less summed up her one major character flaw: she doesn't care one jot about anyone else but herself.

It's difficult to describe in full, so I'll tell you about the time when some Evangelical Christians came a-knocking once. This should help you understand.

(Scooby-Doo style flashback effect)

Christian #1: Good morning, madam. Have you ever thought how glorious the world is in a morning?

Nicola: Yer what?

Christian #1: Isn't the sun rising and the magnificence of each day just proof of an almighty being?

Nicola: Mate, I woke up yesterday and found I'd been sick in my make-up drawer. Now what you talking about?

Christian #1: We'd just like a few moments to talk about the Divine with you...

Nicola: Are you even speaking English?

Christian #2: Do you believe in The Lord?

Nicola: Oh! You're God-Botherers?

Christian #2 (slightly taken aback at the bluntness): Er, yes.

Nicola: Right. Got ya. You here to sell it to me?

Christian #1: Well, not really sell, madam. We'd just like you to have a read of this little pamphlet and we'll pop back and you can tell us what you think. How's that?

Nicola: Mate, I hate reading.

Christian #2: Oh.

Christian #1: But it's just a little thin pamphlet. Barely a page.

Nicola: I can just about do the pizza menu without zoning out.

Christian #1: And this side is mostly pictures...

Nicola: ...and even then, I got my housemate to ring what I normally order. Haven't you got it on DVD?

(a beat)

Christian #1: Sorry?

Nicola: So, I don't really do reading. So I'm thinking you Just give me the DVD and I'll take a look.

Christian #2: We haven't...

Christian #1: We couldn't...

Christian #2: We just didn't think that...

Nicola: Well, that's rubbish, innit?

Christian #1: Er...

Nicola: Isn't it?

Christian #1: I suppose...

Nicola: Anyway, so how do you know God exists?

Christian #1 (on firmer footing) Ah. Well. Imagine the best feeling inside When we think of Him, we get the happiest feeling.

Nicola: Ah, got ya!

Christian #1: You have?

Nicola: Oh yeah. I know exactly what you're on about.

(The Christians look at each other; has progress been made?)

Nicola: I get that feeling when I buy new shoes.

Christian #2: I don't think that's really the sa-

Nicola: So you don't believe in new shoes?

Christian #2: No, we're saying-

Nicola: But here they are. I can see new shoes. Can you see new shoes?

(she bangs her heels together like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz)

Christian #2: But we're talking about the Almighty Being, not some Clarkes!

Nicola: These are from Aldo! They are not Clarkes. That's like mixing up Jesus and Buddha!

Christian #1 (completely apologetic): I'm so sorry.

Nicola (fiddles with hair): So can I become a preacher?

Christian #1: (even more confused) You'd want to spread the word of God?

Nicola: Not really. But I bet the pay's good. I bet it is, isn't it?

Christian #1: We do the Lord's work for free.

Nicola: How mad are you?! What about the wine?

Christian #2: The what?

Nicola: The free wine.

Christian #1 (cottoning on): Communion? That's not us.

Nicola: Ha! Bet you're gutted.

Christian #2: We merely believe in a path of honesty and belief.

Nicola: So does that mean you have to be truthful about everything?

Christian #1: Yes.

Nicola: Good. Here's a fiver - nip over the paper shop and get me some fags, would you? See, being honest, you won't nick the change, will ya?

Christian #1: Er...

Nicola: Silk Cut, if they've got them. See you in five.

(door slams on them)

Christian #2: What are we going to do?

Christian #1 (looks down at money in hand): I suppose we'd better get the cigarettes...

And they did.

Oh yes. I was going to be stuck with my sister for a week.