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Saturday, October 01, 2016


i remember the days of stories

my parents were tellers of tall tales. yarn spinners. a generous person would say they were fibbers, a truthful person might call them liars.

they both had their 'party' story of me as a young baby or child. both are probably fictions, but both are part of my childhood - real or imagined.

the first, normally told by mum, concerned the first word i ever said. you have to remember i grew up in an east end pub, while i may have had adoring parents they also dealt with 'characters'. being the baby of two important locals (they decided if you drank in the pub or not, they decided if you were staying for the late night lock-in) meant i got a fair share of attention. most of this would be the usual baby talk followed by a chin tickle and a smile as i cooed and giggled. some of it was encouragement to say my first word. it would nice to say that i was surrounded by political, social or visionaries and so the first word i said was 'liberty' or 'fraternity' something meaningful that point toward a wonderful future.
alas it was not.
the story goes that my first words to my astonished (yet happy) parents, my first words to them was not ma, pa, mama, papa, feed me, hello. no my first word was fuck.
yes gentle reader even before i knew the joy and power of swearing i had uttered my first cuss word.
i was a potty mouth to start and i remain a potty mouth today.

dad's story was of a night i was asleep in my cot.
my parents were in a room below smoking and drinking too much while they watched black and white tele, hey simple pleasures for a simple time. the pub below them locked up for the night. just another simple night where nothing special happened and nothing special was going to happen. (just for some variety there would be tellings of this tale where one or the other of them was doing ironing).
at some point of the night they were visited by the often talked about but rarely seen ghost. (look it was an east end pub in the early sixties - of course it had a ghost). while none of the tellings of this tale have then being much more than surprised - i can imagine that it would have been a little more than that but whatever all i can think of is my old man's mouth hanging wide open in an exaggerated oh my what on earth is going on here, but with the important detail of a senior service cigarette lit and dangling from a quivering lower lip.
the ghost was a friendly and helpful ghost.
he'd popped by to tell them to move the baby.
at which point they both rushed up the stairs to find me standing in the cot waving (i'd like to think in a graceful and regal manner, but probably more a simpleton trying for a high five). they picked me up and took me downstairs.
a few minutes later and almighty crash and the ceiling had fallen in on the cot. ghost getting lots of silent thanks ad my parents had a few more drinks to calm their nerves. me? i went back to sleep.

both parents stood by those stories - so what am i going to do? tell you they are lies? they are made up? fabricated?
of course not.
they are as true as the day is long, and i can still see them telling those stories now.
(cue mancry)

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