Archive for January, 2012

Let Me Introduce You To The Family

January 24, 2012

I have always guarded my privacy, especially when I don’t have a book out, so I rarely talk about my family. The barest facts are publicly known; I have been married 4 times – or is it 5? – and I have three children, although my daughter isn’t a proper one as she belonged to my second wife from the man she was married to before me  (who turned out to be a screaming Bertie after he had managed to impregnate his wife once without having the vapours halfway through…)

My ‘daughter’  – NB Cilla, what’s the technical term for a pretend daughter? – is now a nun at a convent somewhere in Norfolk. It’s not a secret location, I just can’t remember where it is. She enlisted after an affair went wrong which I thought a silly reaction, but what do I know about women? Her mother didn’t share the details and, frankly for the sake of my sanity, I didn’t ask. I just phoned my daughter up – now going by the non-de-plume of Sister Harmonica– and told her she was being silly which is really all a father can be expected to do, particularly when I am not even her proper father. So she is in this rural nunnery, doing whatever nuns do – tending lepers, milking goats, scolding whores – and hopefully working her way up the nun ladder. If she isn’t Mother Superior by the time she’s 35 I will want to know why. It’s a shame I didn’t go to school with anyone in the relevant department else I could have word in a  wimpled ear.

Of course, her mother bemoans the lack of grandchildren – which is a blessing as far as I am concerned, wretched things. I found it hard enough to cope with youngsters when I was a younger man and could afford nannies. Nowadays, dealing with my own tantrums and ineffective bladder is quite enough to cope with, thank you very much.

Besides, she was always a… hefty lass, and not much of a catch for the sort of young man we would have wanted in the family. 

My ‘daughter’ and I don’t have much contact. We exchange birthday & Christmas cards, and she sends me Father’s day card which I find rather surprising, mainly because I have usually forgotten about her by the time June comes around. She managed to get a day-release from the convent a couple of years back and we had lunch in town. She looked surprisingly good; she’d lost weight, and the wimple his her hair which was always a bit lank. We had a splendid meal, drank a lot of champagne, she cried, we laughed, drank more champagne, she threw up, then I put her on the train back to Norfolk, despite her clinging to me and saying she didn’t want to go.

I still write to her when I need help with any arcane religious details. If she doesn’t know then she must have a marvellous library to consult, I should think, and it’ll fill up her day, reading up on exorcisms or what not, take her mind off things.

 Hmm, writing all that rather took it out of me. I’ll leave my thoughts on the boys until another day. 

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The Boyfriend

January 23, 2012

Back in the day, Ken Russell took me out to dinner to discuss writing the script for The Boyfriend. I thought he’d want the usual nuns & orgies so, naturally, I included them. In fact, ‘I Could Be Happy With You’ was in my version sung by a nun to a dwarf dressed as a stormtrooper while writhing in big bowl of tomato soup. But no, I’d got the wrong end of the stick (champagne and whiskey don’t mix well, particularly not in the same glass), and Ken became very cross and his face went as crimson as his trousers. Oh, I did get paid though, and I used some of my ideas in my next novel ‘I was Mosley’s Double’

Fab gear!

January 20, 2012

For all those of you who, like myself, wish to lead fashion, not follow it, I have set up a shop where you can buy some ‘groovy threads’ as I believe you youngsters say.

Got to cafepress.com/sirdesmondstirling and gasp at the possibilities!

Blyton Rock part 2

January 13, 2012

So I suggested we work on other characters of hers. My ghoulish touch added to her usual nonsense. One story featured Noddy being seduced to the forces of darkness by Big Ears (a blatantly randy old pederast; I don’t know how she got away with it!). Another featured Hell arriving at the top of the Faraway Tree, and the three children and their queer friends getting enticed into all sort of depravity involving spanking and gluttony. My last suggestion was about Mr Pink-Whistle living up to his name with a goat in order to summon the Creatures of Darkness…

But no, Snid wouldn’t have any of it. Why couldn’t we write a ‘nice’ story which was just a bit scarier than her usual. Frankly, her stories scared the willies out of me. I had to read them to my own children; and those tight-arsed kids, their creepy supernatural friends (what is a Brownie, exactly?) and over-friendly governesses gave me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

But my children loved her books, so I often suggested they clear off for the whole school holidays on their bicycles with a rolled-up tent and good strong torches and stuff their faces all around the West Country. But their mother –whichever wife that was at the time, I can’t recall – wouldn’t have any of it. Personally I think it would have put hair on their respective chests – and got them out from under my feet while I was writing. Maybe my eldest daughter wouldn’t have become a nun if she’d had a few adventures being chased around ruined castles by thick-lipped foreigners or locked in dungeons by smugglers.

I made one final suggestion to Snid: a completely new book with original characters of our own. Set in a boarding school where the headmaster was a leading Satanist who tried to turn the place into a breeding ground for evil, churning out a new generation of devil-worshippers who could then go out into the world as unChristian adults and create awful things – e.g. a national health service or a union. But the day is saved by a handful of plucky children who, helped only by a handsome young English teacher who writes in his spare time and hasn’t fallen for any fashionable nonsense, defy and brutally kill the infernal teachers.

Snid never replied.

We stayed friends. Her husband, a well-known plastic surgeon, even worked on my then wife’s face (my Xmas gift to her that year was a face-lift. She hadn’t asked for it, I just thought it was about time). But Snid never raised the subject of our collaborating ever again. I was quite relieved to be honest. If we’d spent too much time together, she would inevitably have fallen for me, and that could have caused no end of hoo-hah. If one gallantly says ‘no way!’ they get all upset; but if one succumbs… well, it would have been the Georgette Heyer business all over again

January 13, 2012

Haven’t fogotten about the second part of my Enid Blyton story. I will get around to it

My 15th birthday

January 2, 2012

A favourite uncle of mine, Uncle Bertie, my late father’s late father’s late second son by his late second wife, took me out to lunch on my fifteenth birthday. I caught the early train from school, he picked me up at King’s Cross, and we hopped in a cab to a dark little restaurant off Wigmore Street – sorry, name’s gone – where we had excellent shepherd’s pie and he plied me with wine followed by brandy. Luckily, I had a strong constitution even then – or else I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the rest of the day.

Uncle Bertie then said it was ‘time I got it wet,’ and took me to meet his favourite tart – a 2nd floor flat in Brewer Street if my memory doesn’t fail me – where he paid for me to have thirty minutes with a rather heavy-hipped lady called Maureen. I didn’t want to hurt his feeling by pointing out that my cherry had been well and truly popped at school – but that’s another story!

Maureen was rather a brusque Irish woman, probably only about 30, but she seemed much older to my barely pubescent eyes, with a non-nonsense attitude and the faint hint of a moustache. She insisted I wash my parts in rather chilly water first which luckily at that age didn’t have the detrimental effect it might result in now.

Her dark room smelled of camphor oil and socks, pictures of Ivor Novello and St Francis overlooked the bed, and the sheets were cold, slippery and of indeterminate colour

Anyway, she talked me through the whole process in what I believe was a Cork accent, culminating in rather satisfactory climax – for me at least. The speed at which she unhinged herself from me and hauled her drawers up didn’t suggest a woman floating in post-conjugal bliss.

I still had 26 minutes left of my allotted time, but Maureen didn’t seem keen to indulge me any further, despite the terms of our contract. (Ah, for those heady days when one would be ready for Round 2 before Round I had even been mopped up!).

So I toddled out to find Uncle Bertie, only to discover him hanging upside down from a light fitting, completely starkers, while a young girl of what I later learned to be Belgian origin was beating him soundly on the arse with a rolled-up copy of the latest Tiger Tim Weekly (not sure if Uncle Bertie had brought it with him or if they knew to keep a copy in reserve).

I sat patiently waiting for her to finish him off, (she even asked me to take over the spanking for a while when her arm had got tired) then, sated (well, he was; I was 15 when ‘replete’ isn’t a familiar concept!), we went to the Coach & Horses in Soho for a few snifters. While he lay asleep, head on the bar, I rifled through his pockets for a crown, hailed a cab, and took the train back to school. I conked out somewhat on the train, and I only awoke in time for my stop thanks to the elderly Bishop opposite me in the carriage who stroked my thigh to wake me up.

My tales of that day after lights out made me very popular with the other boys, especially when I ‘acted out’ some of Maureen’s techniques.

I have very happy memories of that day, and I can honestly say that the only way to celebrate one’s birthday is with alcohol and whores.

Eventually, a few years ago, my then wife, taking the hint after hearing me air this very opinion every year, actually presented me with a whore for my birthday!

Well, I should clarify… She had gone out very early on the morning of my birthday, probably before I had awoken (I was sleeping in the spare room at the time) and left a note saying ‘Go and spend your birthday drinking and fornicating with whores! See if I care.’ So I did. And I deducted the cost from her housekeeping.

I paid for it in alimony though. Worth every penny!