Yesterday my wife finally got around to sorting her bag out. At least two coins in there are no longer in circulation.
We recently had a Dutch student stay with us, and a conversation about famous Dutch people provoked two inevitables:
1. My son contributing every single footballer from the Netherlands that he could think of,
and 2. the namedrop of Vincent Van Gogh.
“Van Gogh!” exclaimed my daughter, “wasn’t that him that bit off his own ear?”
What followed were some incredible attempts by my children to fit their ears into their mouths, a feat surely impossible unless they were elephants.
Later that evening I finished a biography I was reading of The Mamas and the Papas. If ever there was a group that was destined not to stay together it was these guys. Remember that great 90’s film The Commitments, about an Irish group that imploded just as they were about to hit the big time?
Then, just as they were about to sign a recording contract with a record company, Michelle and Denny had an affair. John was angry with Denny. Denny felt guilty about cheating on his friend and upsetting Cass. Cass was angry with Denny and Michelle. Michelle was angry because John blamed her and not Denny. And on and on ad nauseum.
Now it was time to make music. Somehow they managed to last two years.
John, much in the way of songwriters both before and after, used the turmoil in his life to create art. Just like Abba, where the recently divorced Björn came up with the lyrics of The Winner Takes It All and gave it thoughtfully to his ex-wife to sing,
From this I began to think of the recently deceased Dolores O’Riordan. Although the cause of death in that London hotel has yet to be disclosed, and it would be wrong to speculate, there are tales of depression and breakdowns, bipolar and a suicide attempt, all in the wake of her terrible experience as a young girl when she was sexually abused between the age of eight and twelve by a man known to her family.
A man who, though she never publically named, approached her at her father’s funeral, as she had long dreaded, tearfully apologising for what he had done.
I thought once again about how artists turn pain into art; about creative tension, struggle and catharsis. How some need to somehow get it out in their work.
And, with Dolores’ personal disclosures, witnessed the heartbreak of this Cranberries song, Fee Fi Fo, shared below complete with lyrics.
Stood in the playground a few years ago, waiting for my young son at hometime. The doors opened and out he trundled.
“Dad-I did it in my pants.”
“What?! You did what in your pants?!!!”
Have a great weekend everybody.
See you on the flip side.
After this conversation I still don’t know what medication my Mum is on.
Mum: “You know those tablets I’m taking? They’re called polly . . . ”
Mum: “No. Polly . . . “
Mum: “Polly . . . “
Me: “Put the kettle on?”
Mum: “No! Polystyrene.” (!)
Have a great weekend.
Always read what it says on the label.
See you on the flip side.
“My nuclear button is bigger than yours.”
Full of optimism for 2018.
It was just a typically random conversation, walking into Manchester from where we’d parked the car.
“So, after the Dutch student leaves we’ve then got a Korean one?” asked my wife.
“Isn’t their leader a bit of a bugger?”
“That’s North Korea. This girl is from South Korea.”
She thought on it a little. “Do you know any Korean words?”
“How about Japanese?”
I’m not sure how she thought that would be of help, but answered “I know they greet each other with ‘Konnichiwa’.”
She looked at me in amazement. “How can you possibly know that?!”
I like her to think that I’m multi-lingual, so instead of explaining that I used to watch Shogun back in 1980, I tried to give an enigmatic shrug: “I pick things up.”
After traipsing around the shops for an hour or so we called into Chiquito for something to eat. We’d timed it right-early enough to avoid it being packed out, but not too late to miss a convivial, Christmas buzz about the place.
I nodded sagely. “Arriba arriba, andale andale.”
She dropped her fork. “And what does that mean?!”
“See how quick I am, watch me go!”
(I’ve just discovered it actually means something like ‘get up get up, let’s go let’s go’. Close enough.)
I didn’t mention Speedy Gonzales, just a casual “I just picked it up.”
After basking in her admiration for a while, I nipped to the toilet to secretly Google translate something romantic, a painting on the stairs caught my eye.
This could be the Tardis, the nerd in me thought. Maybe a little battered from the explosive power of Capaldi’s (soon to be) witnessed regeneration.
Then, next to it: This could be the Tardis, given some TLC from the (soon to be) new Who incumbent Jodie Whittaker. Is that sexist of me? Thinking that the first female Doctor in the show’s history might start off with a bit of a spring clean?
I’ve tried not to go on too much about the impending Christmas special, knowing how trying I can be on my wife’s saintly patience, although with just four days left my excitement was building. I’d been trying my best not to ruin her Christmas though.
Remembering the mission that had brought me to this stairwell, I did a sneaky Google translate and returned to the table. I took Jen’s hands in mine, gazed into her eyes and whispered softly:
“El nuevo Doctor, ella viene!”
“I know,” she smiled, lovingly. “You picked it up.”
I’ve just been watching a magpie hiding a biscuit beneath a leaf. I’ve got kids like that.