We’ve journeyed down to short-sleeved Chertsey
for my sister-in-law’s 60th birthday.
Get there early, 7.30, suitably thirsty,
knowing few of these middle-class, middle-aged bodies,
I’m wondering how I shall get my jollies,
take a leap of faith, and I’m exchanging volleys
with this bald-headed guy, big scar on his forehead.
We’ve talked of favourite bands and beers,
now we’re recalling past careers –
I was a mental health nurse, he was in the police,
worked for the U.S. Embassy and The Met
and the centre that assesses fixated threats.
FTAC, a unit of which I’ve never heard,
where the police and psychiatry converge
to spot those rare, exotic birds,
your not-so-average Joes and plebs
who pose danger to dignitaries and celebs,
like the Queen and the Swedish Prime Minister,
Jill Dando and Gary Lineker.
Seemingly normal members of the public,
who fantasise, who harbour grudges,
who imagine that - but then I interrupted -
Is it like when Benny of Crossroads fame
came in The Dingle Bar one Saturday
and was handing out cockles, mussels, whelks,
telling everybody to help themselves.
His birthday treat, it was a kindly gesture,
but I had to go and play the barroom jester –
Benny, is it true you’ve become a Prawn Star?
Is your woolly hat big enough for Miss Diane’s arse?
I shut my mouth, I wish I’d shut it sooner.
Benny hadn’t got much sense of humour.
He dropped the vinegar over the carpet,
they all stared at me, as if I’d farted.
Benny left in silence, a face like beetroot
and nobody had the stomach for seafood.
That’s not really fixated, nor even a threat,
Benny wasn’t - but I’d not finished yet -
Is it like in the late seventies,
when I went with a mate to a Camden gig.
He played drums in a band called The Doom,
I met him after in “the dressing room”
where they’re all washing off flecks of spit
and I end up next to this American chick
who, bold as brass, removes her top
and uses it to wipe sweat and spittle off..
She says, Kid, could you spare me a cigarette?
I’d never seen a pair of American breasts.
I felt a lump in my throat, another in my pocket,
I’d been meaning for ages to start up smoking,
but I hadn’t got round to it yet, God dammit!
A few weeks later on Top of the Pops,
I spot the girl who’d took her top off.
Her name’s Chrissie Hynd and her band’s The Pretenders.
For 30 consecutive nights I remembered
how I’d seen Chrissie Hynd half-naked,
the shape of her breasts, while I masturbated,
thus breaking what was a personal record
and 30 on the trot has never been bettered.
Well, yes, that’s certainly a fixation,
but - but I was becoming impatient -
Is it like when I worked in the Channel Isles
and I’m cleaning windows in a posh hotel
when these long-haired hippy types start heckling,
“You’ve missed a bit, mate” It was Led fuckin’ Zeppelin!
Only mid-morning and they’re already steaming,
taking the piss out of my window cleaning.
Pointing out imaginary streaks and smudges,
so I told them Stairway to Heaven is rubbish.
Bonham stood up and hurled a cocktail sausage,
so I threw back the water that was in my bucket.
Page turned over his wine and spirits, a battle ensued
for several minutes, I left dazed and confused,
went in through the out door, wiser, sadder,
and picked up the pieces of my broken ladder.
Well, that’s just a communication breakdown,
it isn’t - I said, no, hold on, stick around -
Is it like when I came up with the theory
that my worst enemy might be me
and in order to test if the thought was legit,
I compiled my own Worst Enemy list
of all the people that I’d ever hated,
studied their faults and gave them a rating.
Alas, I only finished a distant third:
Clarkson and Johnson dead-heated for first.
So I hated them more because I didn’t win it!
How I’d love to stop Jeremy and Boris grinning.
I waste away my days wondering whether
those clowns will ever grace the stage together
on Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire –
I’d phone a friend and we’d murder the pair.