Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Substance in a Cushion

How my nice middle class life began, I cannot say. Or will not say. One thing, however, is for sure: I do, oh boy, enjoy my nice middle class life. I would have to be a mooncalf not to.

My nice middle class life is an entail of first thing in the morning to last thing at night. I begin with a light breakfast of fancies and canapés and end the day on a grouse or a pheasant or something that is, you know, quite particular. I did, of course, say middle class. Which is why I would like to revise my menu to, first of all, something organic and healthy like orange juice and natural yoghurt plus cereal and, lastly, with a slice of something also organic, like pate and maybe a dark chocolate of some kind, additionally a red wine. It begins and ends that way with many nibbled diversions that are both tasty and wholesome and leave me under no illusions as to who I am and what I, as they say, stand for. And yesterday, while lunching at that vegan café, The Greenhouse (where they also sell books and a whole raft of hilarious anti-American postcards), I sat, quite by accident, next to the delightful Mr Adrian Ramsay of local Green Party fame and fortune. Hence my foregrounding of food and the mention of the organic treats that I have mentioned here today.

In time as my existence is all about, I also, naturally, harbour children and bring them up the best I can and how to behave as best as they can and, mostly, how not to, as I tell them, give myself and them also a bad name. There are two of them: Freddie and Freya, we liked the alliteration. They are both young enough still that we can put off yet the struggle we are sure to have on whether they should go to public (that is, private) school or whether we should send them around the corner to the local school that is, of course – given who we are and where we live – perfectly adequate. But, you know. They, my children, have all of the books and oh God, are we truly as awfully ill-drawn here to state our preferences vis a vis the Harry Potter books not being quite good enough now that they’re so popular, we prefer Phillip Pullman, plus choice entries such as Where The Wild Things Are and that gorgeous book about the sisters, what was it called? The Three Incestuous Sisters, with its wonderful illustrations although, you know, we wouldn’t really approve of comics, this book really is quite something else. We also like, myself and the children, those fridge magnets that are words, that enable us to form sentences that, in our minds at least, are a kind of poetry. We also send them to and demand: piano and dance lessons, plus pottery, horse-riding and to book clubs: children’s’ book clubs. I would love to tell you all about it, as I’m sure that they would too one day, when they’re grown.

Anyway, my politics are as you might imagine. I won’t dwell on it too much here except to say that I never miss an episode of Robert Fisk and regard that angel of light Mr Noam Chomsky as a kind of easier to swallow antidote (is antidote right?) to the vulgar buffoonery of Michael Moore, as correct as he may be in many, many things, especially about American foreign policy and all things, you know, arrogantly western. I read a letter in today’s local newspaper that said that after hanging Saddam perhaps we shouldn’t be too hasty in our judgments especially when we have in our midst a man who, along with his puppet or poodle Tony, is not only a kind of monkey but is also the world’s greatest living terrorist and the world’s greatest threat to world peace, the American president of course, I cannot even bear to say his name. I shed tears I do. Real tears. For all the children.

We have here in our little pad, as we like to call it, a range of scented cushions and pillows that have, at one time or other, held soft the tight backsides of the floppy fringed cabaret marks who make up the latest current crop of bright hopes in the firmament world of acting, in drama and big on the screen. They are young, perfect complexioned and nattily jumpered, with sleeves and cuff links and an air of cool that you just can’t learn on the stage although that is, of course, precisely where they learned it. My husband, you see, is a director or photographer or media beat who, in good fortune through his father, landed this job – through his own talent and skills, of course – whereby he meets and entertains all kinds of new marks, actors like I say, who, on occasion, are here with us here in our town pad, as we like to call it, where I feed them organic and dote on them in a kind of motherly fashion although Justin, my husband, of course, is always telling me off and telling me to leave them alone, stop fussing you silly old thing. But if you’ve seen them in the style pages or in the end of year profiles you will see that they all look somehow the same and smell the same, where do they come from? We know where they come from. In their jumpers and rolled-up sleeves, wrapped in their scarves and teetering atop those perfect pointy shoes.

Our travels take us abroadish mostly where we indulge through happenings: wine picking and grape stamping, carolling and big cavorting, watersports and ski lodges, nesting, barrow boys, curling and drag. Where the sun travels we travel too, except when we pack deep into the snow. Brrr. Luckily the winter warmers and the fireside glow. At Christmas, in particular, we rise.

In cinemas we are last to arrive, impatient for the starts. As we claw, that’s the word, through the hushing throng we are at least comforted by our superiority in matters of this. That is, we would not dream of shushing and sighing were the boot, so to speak, on the other foot. Time means little to us. Or, rather, on time means little to us. We can’t always be there when we have to be here. If you know what I mean. So that the waiters and hoteliers who, in converse, treat us with that respect lacking towards others who, for instance, keep clock or make much of the fact of being waited on. Waiters, in particular, can smell this, can seek out those for whom being waited on is something of a treat and therefore a rarity and therefore then something that is not, if you like, within them, part of them. They are, it has to be said, little that is much worth attending to. No wonder their bitterness, their shouldered chips.

When to visit the library, when to smoke the cheese, when to curl up to the rabbits, when to tend to the graves, when to cobble the stones? These are, and we know this to be true, the questions that hold us fast here in our nice middle class life that has so much more to give and so much more to say for itself than you would find here with the easy mocking tone and the easy kicks. As Justin said, on first proofs: any fool could do that. Before he jet-skied into the horizon and rose, some days later, a whirligig of Martinis and dolly-birds. What about the children? I asked. What about them, darling? he replied.


Blogger Shannon Forbush said...

Oh dear! It's new year with a (bitter) bang! And after such Christmas cheer - tut tut.

Only kidding! I like the detail here, and the unrelenting revealing sneer.

5:04 PM  

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