You may well (indeed almost certainly) have noticed that the titles of these blogs often coincide with the titles of some well known songs. On occasion there is some diversion into music discussion within the blog with an often at best tenuous link to that song. Yes, I freely admit to being one of those terrible I-think-Iknow-it-all people like Mark Ellen or David Hepworth. Thats why we have magazines like The Word and Mojo and television programmes like Later with Jools Holland. Its for people like me who publicly scoff at people like them but are much more like them than we would care to admit. I am so bad that Ani insisted on one of our wedding vows being that I could only bore her with little known but useless facts about the wonderful world of popular music once a day, a vow that I now publicly confess to breaking, yes, youve guessed, on a daily basis.
So, to Red Headed Stranger, the title of this latest blog (though I do think that blag, or even blah is probably a more accurate description of these rants). A Willie Nelson tune. So, are we headed for a digression into country music once more? Are we going to off on a tangent to discuss the outlaws of country music, those maverick souls who bent the boundaries of the rollin redneck prairies? No. Will we wander into the fabulous world of those red-headed strangers who have brought beauty and mystery into our lives, the Rita Hayworths, the Dylan Thomass, the Ben Sheridan’s…?
Well, sort of.
Close your eyes tightly, click your heels together three times and repeat over and over in a very loud voice theres no place like Phnom Penh, theres no place like Phnom Penh and we will travel back in time to last Saturday in Phnom Penh, when the little O and I were in the house together whilst mummy Ani was out visiting her Thai friends in street 240 who give her a glamorous Hollywood starlet of the 1950s wash and blow dry on a regular basis (and give me an 0h God what can we do with this but pretend to snip a little and push those wispy bits around to cover the wide open spaces haircut on a slightly less regular basis). We were getting ready to go out and I had showered as Otis played in the bedroom, making contented little broom-broom noises and seemingly quite absorbed in whatever new skill he had developed in the last few moments. As previously mentioned I am now severely follicly challenged, but that did not prevent me from picking up mummy As hairbrush and running it jauntily through the few remaining strands whilst slipping into a nostalgic reverie for the days when I would have given Rick Wakeman a run for the money in the that man is wearing Harmony hairspray no he isnt. Yes, he is! beautiful blonde tresses stakes. Snapping out of that bit of foolish reminiscence (but pausing to remind you that one of the truly great organ solos of all time can be heard on Roundabout by Yes, played by that very same blonde bombshell. Rick Wakeman, that is. Not me. Obviously. I cant play organ, but boy can I bore with useless information ) I scooped the O up, tucked him under one arm and carried him down the stairs. He giggled as we went, looking up at me with a naughty boy grin spread across his cherubic features. At the foot of the stairs we paused, ostensibly to play peek- a boo with his reflection in the large mirror at the bottom of the staircase, but really so I could have one last check of my rapidly fading grandeur before heading out into the unforgiving blazing sunshine.
Jebus! I nearly dropped the by now hysterically chortling O as I gazed at the red headed stranger who faced me in the mirror. No not even red. What little of my former tonsorial glory that remained was now crimson. Crimson and erect, like a pathetic middle aged attempt at a mangy Mohican, a Kings Road original gone to seed that not even a hopelessly myopic Japanese tourist would bother to photograph I am so sorry God, please forgive me for criticising the UK Subs in that last blog, I didnt mean it, I take it back, please restore what little dignity I have, please please
Thankfully it was not a punishment for excessive sarcasm handed down by God. It was a punishment for not paying attention, handed down by little O assisted by Max Factor. As I was trilling tuneless versions of various 70s hits from KC and the Sunshine Band through the Sex Pistols and even some Fox (remember them?) and swallowing mouthfuls of soapy water in the process, little O had been smearing mummys lipstick liberally over the hairbrush in preparation for the grand humiliation of daddy that would surely result. I had to wash my remaining hair a total of 6 times to remove all trace of the caked on crimson, although my scalp remained tinged with red for several days after
I am writing this in the cool (ha ha) of a winters evening in England, as we have flown back to the Yoo-Kay for the festive season. Our flight was a little fraught, as the young master decided that if he was to be put out by overnight travel on a jumbo jet, then everyone else in economy class should suffer also. That meant incessant high pitched screaming coupled with frequent attempts to crawl over under sideways down into every nook and cranny on the plane. Nappy changing during turbulence is also not recommended, although he seemed to enjoy the many push that-pull this-turn that-press this delights of an aircraft toilet cubicle more than most of the toys we have bought him in these last few months. Efforts to calm him by feeding proved mostly ineffectual. One cabin staff member, a very smiley Thai woman, seemed to completely fail to understand my accent as on each occasion that I asked for some baby milk, please or some breakfast cereal, please, or a sandwich, please she shook her head affirmatively then offered me some Singha beer. Maybe she just expects every middle-aged man who wanders up to the galley at three in the morning to be looking for beer anyway, the flight was hell but we are here now and girding our loins for the coming Christmas extravaganza. We went into Basingstoke briefly this afternoon, but everywhere was monumentally busy with incredible queues, and everyone just looked so wholeheartedly miserable that the experience was probably marginally worse than being tied into ones seat for every date of the Black Lace reunion tour then made to buy the T-shirt afterwards. And wear it.
Still, mustnt grumble. ‘Strictly Come Dancing – the Final!’ is on telly tomorrow. Its so good to be back in a country whose cultural heritage has inspired the world
As this is probably the last blog I will write before Christmas strikes (Im not sure if that is really the appropriate terminology to use, but what is appropriate about Christmas anyway? Baby Jebus hardly gets a look in on his birthday these days ), may this eternal Ebenezer Scrooge wish all his readers a big bah, humbug! and truly a very Merry Christmas and if I dont blog before then, a very Happy New Year 2008 to you all.
I mean it, ma-a-a-n!