The unthinkable has occurred. In response to H’s complaint, the TV tax people sent us a letter – actually signed by a real person, with a real pen – apologising for sending us threatening letters. They did still say they would come around and verify that we didn’t have our TV tuned to the telly, but in a much nicer way than previously. I told H we should frame it and put it on our wall.
Then British Gas came to look at the boiler. The man who came around had a name – David – embroidered in dark blue on his shirt. He was polite, and he even rang H to let us know when he was coming around, rather than leaving us waiting (on tenterhooks, of course) from 6 till 12, or 12 till 6. Furthermore, British Gas sent us a questionnaire for the previous visit to see how the service had been, and it was with much satisfaction that I was able to report that the man had made the problem worse rather than fixing it. However, I was very impressed that they were bothering to ask at all.
A few weekends back, H, H-, A, P, F and I went out on the town to a gay club. Prior to this, H and H- saw The History Boys (stage version), and I met them outside the theatre. Prior to this again, H had suggested that, in case we couldn’t get past the bouncers into the club, I should wear something that showed a lot of cleavage. Since there was no immediate response on my part to this proposal, H amended it to, ‘Just in case you were, you know, trying to decide on one outfit over another.’
‘But they’ll be gay, it won’t make any difference.’
‘Well, all men in general like cleavage.’
So I pulled out my dark pink Sarah-jane top (which, naturally, is one of my favourites) but I couldn’t locate the excellent cleavage-enhancing bra which I’d worn at my launch. I fear it is lost among the debris of L’s room, from whence, no doubt, it shall never return. I found one that did the job almost as well and then, looking like a prostitute, went into town to wait for the H’s.
As it happened, the club didn’t open until 10.30, so we met APF and had a drink in a gay bar, where we were exposed to the somewhat awkward sight of a compact gay man dancing on a stainless steel cube in front of us. Now, while I didn’t mind the sight of his arse (which was attractive), I’m not normally exposed to small, dancing gay men, so it was difficult to ascertain the appropriate response. Should one stare openly? Should one avert one’s eyes? Should one laugh? As it was, we engaged in a smattering of the latter, then downed our drinks and made an exit.
The person at the door was swathed in some kind of Egyptian headdress, with a black wig, 3-inch false eyelashes and a moue. H engaged him (for it was a he) in conversation, and managed to get a friendlier look out of him than the moue. As we walked away to the cloakroom H whispered to me, ‘I don’t think your tits would have worked on him somehow, Jess,’ and I got the giggles.
What followed was very interesting. We saw a three metre tall transvestite, with hair like a yellow bird’s nest, a man as large and as round as a beach ball with a tiny hat perched on his head, a female pole dancer with enviably pert breasts, an albino male pole dancer, and then some bizarre cabaret act involving a plump young woman in a skimpy outfit with an enormous, oval, green papier mache mask (for want of a better word) who did a striptease. However, none of that bothered me as much as the slimy man who tried to take my hand. I immediately shook him off and he left in a hurry.
Speaking of sliminess, a few weeks ago I got a packet of flour from the cupboard, only to find it had a very large hole in the bottom of it. Summoning all my knowledge of entomology and vermin (acquired from life on a farm in the back of beyond), I decided that it couldn’t have been weevils, as there were no little black bodies in the flour, and there was a strange sheen like dried saliva around the hole. So, expecting a mouse or some other wet-mouthed mammal, I gingerly pushed aside the packets and there, at the back of the cupboard, was the second-biggest slug I had ever seen – it was enormous and hideous. The biggest was a leopard slug from mum’s garden (see here for an image of one of these enchanting creatures). Now, when it comes to things that might potentially kill you (redbacks, brown snakes, funnel webs), I can keep my head and remain calm, but with things that are slimy (yes, male forms included), I feel like a pack of teenage punks are jumping on my grave. However, as H wasn’t around to be all manly and remove the offending item, I had to take a breath, shove a magazine into the cupboard, squish the slug and wrap it up and put it in the bin, all the while keeping it at arm's length - just in case it suddenly developed primeval strength and leapt out from the pages of The Week and attacked me, à la Dune or Dr Who.
So, aside from prostituting myself and encountering megafauna, there was one other thing of note I needed to mention, which I forgot to put in my previous post. Setting out for Hampstead Heath last weekend, H and I discovered that the Northern Line wasn’t running, so we had to bus it. All well and good, and while waiting for buses we stared at the street and dreamed of owning a car. But then we got as far as Angel and lo and behold, the road was congested (by Clancy Docwra doing the drains – they will no doubt go down in history for drilling their name into the mind of every frustrated Londoner who was made late for work by their cordoning off of the roads) and the traffic way too slow for our liking. ‘Fuck I hate this city,’ I muttered for the nth time, and H suggested catching a cab. So we bundled out and H flagged down a cab on Upper Street.
‘We need to go to Hampstead Heath,’ H said to the driver.
‘Hampstead Heath? Where’s that?
H paused. ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’
‘Dunno where it is.’
‘Umm … it’s a really big park … in the north of London.’
‘You’ll have to tell me how to get there.’
‘O….kaay,’ H said dubiously, and we got in. I was oblivious of this transaction until we finally got out at Parliament Hill, and when he told me I was staggered. Here was a man who ought to have failed The Knowledge! The only conclusions I could come to were that his cousin was ill and he stepped in for the day, or he had bumped off the driver and taken his car. As mum likes to say, wonders will never cease.