My ordinary life

I know the language of your laugh, tripping over circumstance I know the story of your walk, I taste the sugar in the salt I taste to savour your little ways, the colours that you choose to paint your day

Sunday, July 03, 2011

God I hope it's not a Thai

The results of the Presidential election in Thailand will be known in a few hours. Thank God because the ban on alcohol, in place since yesterday evening, can be lifted. If it's a tie, there could be trouble between the red shirts and yellow shirts. And we're not talking Liverpool FC and Norwich. People (like I have done a survey with my fluent Thai!) seem to want a clear winner by a landslide - whether it be for the sister of Thaksin (Of Man City fame) or the current government. Both sides are offering free credit cards and laptops to woo voters but I cannot get in on the act unfortunately. There are hundreds of other candidates as well.

Wandering around the streets in the tourist area, there are polling stations set up outside where a monitor takes a polling card from a cardboard box, marks a X on the board of contenders and then folds it in half, putting it back in a BUCKET. Are you watching Manchester?? - where we ran out of stationary in the General Election. Democracy is working fine just here. Well, it's actually fragile but they can count and it's fun watching a sort of game of outside bingo, with perhaps more at stake than a shitty teddy bear.

Other than that today, I have meandered through side streets and markets, spotting delighted tourists buying toiletries for less than a pound (I got a cut throat metal razor - I may use it later in the riots). I also bought elasticated pants (jeans feels like wearing concrete) and a sarong and really enjoyed the haggling, although she won. I changed T shirts twice. Never wear gray in this heat. I spoke to two lads from Ipswich during the monsoon hour when we all sheltered in a cafe on the Koh San Road. They, like many, are headed on a long bus trip to the islands for the Full Moon party. If I am going to accomplish what I want to, it's keep on moving. Cambodia Wednesday. Before then, I want another two days in Bangkok.

The monsoon hour was so well anticipated by locals and less so by tourists. The gray clouds got thicker and thicker and then boom. Streets became streams, puddles lakes and tourists ran for their lives under plastic macs, flip flops flying. By this time, I was already under cover. One whole hour of torrential rain after which little Thai grandmothers, carrying small kids in napsacks on their backs, approached me to see if I wanted to buy bracelets and triangular pointy hats. "Who you calling Dunce beeeatch?"I am using my basic Thai to great effect and thus far little laughter.

Life is so stressful right now. My biggest decision is how much am I willing to pay for flip flops and should I pop in my Immodium diarrhea tablets straight after the street food or wait till the morning. Of course, what Bangkok looks like in the morning will depend on what happens tonight. Red or Yellow? I can never bring myself to support the reds so I am behind the Government, it seems. "NO MORE THAKSINS," my motto. Just like being back at Man City.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Miami Vice

"Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light." I am surprised to be able to see at all after being awake for 15 hours, three movies and much of the 4,000 miles between London and Detroit. Still, awaiting me was not so much a star spangled banner but a rainbow coloured one in Miami Beach, my final destination, where I arrived with a dried out plane face and a bag of salty pretzels at midnight, the one day after the Superbowl rocked into town.

I had spent much of the flight concerned by the green shades over Florida on the US weather map whilst the rest of the mainland was merely aqua blue. The tornado, which had battered the northern part, had subsided. What was this development? In addition to hurricanes, I came to Miami to get away from emotional ones, also for my birthday, my 33rd, almost one third of a century (for which I bought some blue gel for my mid-life crisis) and to see my Orlando-born friend Christina, who used to grace these grey shores with her presence before returning to the land of sun, palm trees and old men on skateboards clinging on to their youth, and in South Beach, quite literally. Immigration in Motown did not believe me that "visiting my friend" was my reason for coming. He suspected I wanted to stay. He asked if this friend was female and if I planned to change my marital status whilst in the United States. Was he working undercover for my mother? I did not think a one week visit would be enough for THAT?! Can I get to know them first? I should have told him I was here to be the next American Idol but his protruding eyes deterred me.

I will skip daily accounts of what happened as it is merely the freedom, the anonymity and the feel of the sun on my shoulders that I love but there were definitely things I remember.
The Clay Hotel where I stayed found itself buried in the heart of Washington Avenue and Espaniola Way in the Art Deco patch, which stretched far and wide. Even the skyline was dotted with banks, skyscrapers and apartment blocks in the traditional pastel and symetrical style. I shared a room with three others. A terribly dull Canadian from Ottawa, Oliver a young Belgian bartender from Pittsburgh or somewhere with a P and Sylvio, an only-Italian speaking sextagenarian, who had run every country's marathon for 40 years. With a lot of shoulder shrugging, broken Spanish and scribbling, I actually managed to get to know him quite well as did Oliver, who saw his temper first hand when he was thrown from the top bunk at 2am by Sylvio for making too much noise. I tried to sleep through it. After Oliver moved out, Dublin Dave moved in. Gaydar told me he was gay. The number of briefs he had bought, the toiletry products and the Abercrombie shirt were hints. He gave me a two-minute potted history about why the Irish hate the Brits as we stuffed ourselves with pancakes on the lively and expensive Lincoln Road.

My accommodation was not far from there and 2 blocks from Ocean Drive, the scene of many a movie including Birdcage, and just in front of the adjacent South Beach. As rainbow flags flapped in a gay breeze, this was a relaxed place but not for the faint-hearted. It is Pec Valley, Land of the Bicep, Zip Code.. well unnecessary. Everyone there, man and woman, black or write, young and old, is toned and oiled to within an inch of their lives. It took me half an hour to take my jacket off on the beach. I would have gone into the sea with a puffer jacket on if I had had one with me. They do push ups, press ups, sit ups, chin ups, jump ups. I can barely get up. They are bronzed chocolate brown to perfection. I am cherry red and making my mosquito bites bigger. They are sprawled out. I am sat cross legged in my socks, hiding my blisters. They are in long shorts, regular shorts, short shorts and what-is-the-point-of-those-shorts. I am in a track suit. That is a lie... it was a shell suit with air conditioning. It was refreshing to see an older gentleman go by on a skateboard and a well-fed lady perched precariously on what looked like a kids' bike. That gave em two fingers. I sat there listening to my CDs next to a couple of angry African American lesbians and a topless straight couple, the woman was buying a thong from an older lady, who really should not have been wearing one. I stayed off spaghetti the rest of the week.

Though enjoying the sun, I was unable to stand more than one day on such a beach and so made a few local trips. I went on a tour of the city, which included a boat trip around Biscayne Bay, where there were miniature islands housed with real celebrities. "John Travolta owned the 24-bedroom brown mansion with the removeable roof over there (yes, in the 1980s) and Gloria Estefan parked her Miami Sound Machine here". J-Lo had to sell hers when ex P Diddy moved to the same island. B*stard. The Jewish museum, the art deco and the fancy hotels and bars were all impressive, especially for a city in danger of a good beating from the elements between July and November.

At the terribly tourist Gator Park, gateway to the Everglades, I jumped on a boat with a bunch of foreigners and headed into alligator waters. Accustomed to big creatures snapping at me back in Manchester, I was not that afraid here. As it happens, alligators are supposed to have brains the size of a peanut,which is why they have everything they need resting on the water's surface - eyes, nose and ears - because they are basically the animal kingdom's retards. "They won't eat you" came the cry from the tattooed trailer park trash, who drove our boat. "Crocodiles, like Bush, will hunt you down and smoke you out, these guys would just drag you under and drown you," she continued reassuringly. Equally as reassuring was the Steve Irwin character, who put on a wildlife show for all of us in front of the bleachers next door. Whilst lifting up a skunk and explaining the dangers of skunk spray, he squeezed a hidden bottle of water into the crowd of Italian girls, who duly wet themselves. I and this Australian did too, for different reasons.

Struggling to get the Beach Boys' Kokomo out of my head, I set off on my penultimate day, at the crack of dawn, for a five-hour bus ride to the Florida Keys, and in particular Key West, 90 eeny weeny miles from Bush's Cuban nemesis Fidel Castro, who is still sitting up and eating grapes in hospital. Kennedy could not get him, Johnson could not get him, and, it seems, nor has cancer. Still, one does not wish harm on anyone. Except perhaps a fellow beer-guzzling podgy Cuban, who alarmed me at just before 7 in front of my hotel by asking me if I wanted anything sucking or if I wanted to suck something and he was talking a different type of Cuban cigar and these are not banned in Miami Beach. Anyhow, though you may wonder, I politely declined, looked away but remained afraid of tucking into my drizzly ham and cheese empanada in case it gave out the wrong message. This is not really the US. This is Central America. Covered in all its glory.

I boarded the late coach and ended up talking with a 35 year-old Chinese IT guy from DC, who had never been out of the US. This became clear when he asked me if "we get Youtube in Britain". I felt for someone in IT, this was probably one of those candid camera moments you regret forever. Common language. Different people. He was not the only one. After 160 miles down US Highway 1 (which stretches to Canada) we reached Key West, the southern most point on the US mainland, and I seemed to talk to people whose brains had gone in the same direction. I bought three T-shirts off this local girl, who seemed to struggle with the conversation when it continued beyond, well, "Hello", if truth be told. Even though I was there in the moment, I felt like it was a satellite link with a ten second delay before a response could be proffered. The guide to the impressive and interesting Ernest Hemingway house was, I am convinced, on some acid trip as he whistled through stories about the renowned American writer at a verbal pace akin to Concorde. If Ernest had been on his own tour, he would have still blown his brains out. And sooner. The flight home saw me sat next to a South Dakota nurse, who warned me of the dangers of organic lettuces and asked me if we not only paid income tax in England but whether we voted, "you know, what with the Queen being in charge of everything." There is only one queen in charge of my life. And he is typing this. As always, though, there are some Americans who do get what you say. The younger, educated and travelled ones are often in a different league altogether. My newly-wed friend Christina, who owns the Marimekko store in Miami, and her Washington Post husband Michael are but two. There were also two Jeremies, who did.get me. Or was it the mojitos. One was an attractive, entertaining, gay and Jewish lawyer residing among the neatly manicured lawns of flash suburb Coral Gables, which should be a soap opera, who proved entertaining and interesting in equal measure. We sat at a bar and told a fellow drinker that he was Golan in Lord of the Rings. Needless to say she believed him and gave him his business card. The other guy from Massachussetts was met in a bar and was in the US Army 82nd Airborne division and about to spend 6 months in Colombia. Something to do with drugs. Or his boyfriend. Perhaps both. We discussed all manner of things and agreed that since the war had cost America $30 billion that Bush should sell Texas for $45 billion, make a profit and use it to buy Cuba. Most of Havana is already there. There are apparently more than 1 million Cubans in Miami (2.5 million Hispanics in all), the biggest population centre outside of the country,.and they live in the ingeniously-named "Little Havana". We all passed through Coconut Grove and Coral Gables, places which belong in a Jackie Collins novel.

After a slow and tranquil start, my evenings there, surprisingly, took on the content of a Jackie Collins adventure. The black drag queen with big hair tucking into a plate of fries was one sight at the Palace, one of Miami's friendly sea-front bars. Another was Jeremy, the Massachusetts guy, and his friend Richard with whom I drank, ate and wandered into some of the fanciest lobbies, restaurant and pool areas at the Delgano, Sagamore and National. We walked in like we owned it. How they did not believe I was trash with my "I have been to South Beach" T Shirt, is a mystery. They must have thought I was part of Hugh Grant's entourage. I played the bumbling Englishman well, years of practice, it seemed to work its magic. Particularly at Twist, probably the busiest bar in the area. Seven bars on four floors and teeming with gay-for-pay strippers/"dancers" and others. One evening, a Puerto Rican barber proved intersting company whilst a few nights later, I got a tap on the shoulder. I really must sue that plumber. Two guys from Toronto, Steve (24) and Andrew (32) started talking to me. Not long after, boy do guys make it clear what they want, Steve asked me back to his hotel room, which he was sharing with his friend. I asked what about his friend. A wink and a cab ride later. and we were back at the hotel. I got back to mine to see the promise of dawn rising early. I could see clearly then. I hope to stay as clear-sighted now..

Thursday, January 04, 2007

He ain't heavy, it's my brother's telly

Merry Xmas

After buying a 28 inch TV and DVD player for him and his flatmates from a shop in Manchester, my 27 year-old brother asked me for help to lift it out of the car and into the house when we got home. However, he did so in such a patronising, shouting, arrogant, stubborn, rude way like I was a five year-old on a bike. I therefore refused. He tried alone and dropped it. Scratches down the side and damaged. He stormed into the house claiming I owed him £80, it was my fault for not helping. I assured him that the TV would have made a safe journey into the living room had he apologised for talking to me like a toddler.

The next couple of days were hell. I gave him a hug (he just stood there with his arms at his side) and I told him we have to draw a line under this before it turns into the Middle East. He ate when we didn't, we went out when he stayed home, he went out when we stayed home and he drove home on Xmas Day morning, claiming my mum always takes my side, that he feels unwelcome, so we drove to family in Stockport in very high spirits, armed with cheap £1 Xmas crackers with no bang.

There, I was under strict instruction not to talk to relatives we see once in a blue moon on any issues including politics, religion, sexuality, family issues or my "personal" life. So I just bunkered down, ate some turkey, drank wine and prayed for sunset. I am not saying my family are basically simple but Scrabble saw words like "of" "it" "and" and a four letter mega-word "food". By the time we reached the triple word boxes, it was indeed sunset and time to get the hell out of there and go home to watch sitcom repeats on an undamaged television.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The hand of god and we ain't talking Maradona

Last night I met up again with Argie boy, Seb, and still the Belgrano has not sunk. There is hope. There is also a man overboard here. Lost in a sea of things called emotions, I believe, about someone, who seems not only like a good man but a good fit. I want to lose the cynical edge, tone down the sarcasm, get back to basics and my hopes up high but I dont want them shot down by a five foot 11 smiling Juan Peron. Anyway, who does?

So I sit in the black leather armchair of Mastermind: Specialist subject Sebastien Carro. "You have sixty seconds, your time starts now".

Q The youngest of four children who live between Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls, what did Sebastien's parents do?
A Married once before, his mother, 69, owned a newspaper where his father was a journalist. Both Peronistas, the paper, along with their savings, was expropriated by the Government after Juan Peron's party was ousted in 1955 and sent to Spain. The dictatorship, which took over, lasted until 19something or other and then she returned north in the early 70s where Sebastien was born. His father died when Seb was a child.


Q To where did Seb's mother flee to save her family?
A Patagonia


Q Name Sebastien's three ex partners.
A Fernando in Argentina, was a doctor, now a politician. I hate him. Christian and Alex, who was French and split after three years last year (I hate him too) on account of Alex's different views of marriage to Seb's more traditional ones and his looking down on Seb for having given up economics to become a chef. I am Jewish. We like our food. The fact that he can cook will put him on the same level as Moses.


Q What did Lee feel uncomfortable about on the date, which challeneged his bucket load of insecurities and neuroses?
A Firstly, he is very photogenetic. He could drink 15 pints of Guiness and hang upside down in the curtains and look like a soap star. I blink and I look like someone killed Frankenstein with a hot wet flannel. Plus, Lee is not the kind of bloke who wants to be fed tripe with someone else's chopsticks in front of a crowded and possibly watching chinese restaurant, or have his hand taken walking in Knightsbridge or kissed INSIDE Leicester Square tube station near the police officers.


Q Why did Seb get suspended yesterday from BMI?
A Because his manager stabbed him in the back and said he was responsible for violating airline regulations by allowing a child under 14 to sit in the window seat next to the wing exit. The kid moved back there as the plane was taking off. He was suspended. It is as ridiculous as it sounds.


Q How did Seb earn $5000 at the age of 19?
A He got the money after posing in Levi jeans for a magazine article, which went around South America. I think his buttocks have travelled. Apparently they are sublime.

Correct and just in time.. at the end of that round, you have 23 points. I want to get to the final.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Word up Che

Last night, I planned to go to see the Brit romcom/80s nostalgia trip Starter for Ten with a handful of workfriends. What I had not really bargained for was the agreement of new tactile and enthusiastic Argentinian cyberfriend Sebastien to come as well. Like a high profile football transfer, I wanted to keep my cards close to my chest regarding Sebastien, you know keep the papers away to stop other "clubs" expressing interest or out-bidding me at the last minute. Not only that but I hate dates. I just say "yes yes yes" (like the Winston Churchill bulldog in the TV ad) "yes, you are right, oh yes, you are not wrong," drink, look at my watch, drink some more, and slam my mobile on the table in frustration over not getting my emergency phone call to get me out of there. I needed that after the unemployed opera singer from Barnsley. He, however, was happy to come to a group outing, a little too happy when he was there, so much so James thought the never-ending smiles were a result of prozac.Once El Nino swept into town with just three minutes to spare before the film (I considered it rude not to show my frustration with missing the trailers, which I prefer to the films. Mini movies. I can fill in the blanks myself and are often better) Lee's temperature also started wreaking havoc, not helped by 4 layers of clothes in a bitterly cold Islington.

For once, he actually looked like his picture, was full of beans (not literally) and could talk and smile simultaneously. Something I have not managed. Ever. In fact, if I had a nickel for every word he said, I would have a lot of useless coins in the UK. After the film, which has a tremendous soundtrack including Teenage Kicks by the Undertones, not to be confused with Wheatus, which I did, and even the Argentinian didn't. Sorry even Seb didn't. I must personalise him with a name. My poor memory and eyesight must be rectified soon before I become a vegetable. That is a very serious problem. Anyhow, we all proceeded to a local pub called the Crown, where I was, ironically, just weeks before with the Scouser Paul, whom I thought was also pleasant and friendly when I met him there at his local. No panic attack ensued and despite the pressure of a group format and ten beady hetero eyes scrolling over his inches, he performed magnificently, like an enthused and almost extinct seal.

Despite my polite protests, he started a tab on his card, bought a round of drinks, two plates of chips and had the audacity to ask for cigarettes from James. He could only do this once he recovered his wallet, which he left at the cinema and proceeded to dart back at 100 mph to retrieve it. I mean, at that point, I thought "I have heard some excuses in my time, even from the guy, who said he had left his oven on, but this was extremely dramatic". A few pints and plates of chips later, we left the others for an Italian meal (which I now bought) at La Porchetta where I pulled out his printed website profile and read it aloud. Scouring through the pages of information about what he was like, looking for, hoping for, dreaming of, his checkered career and equally checkered love life, like I was checking the Trade Description Act. Since he was a chef, I thought it wise to ask the differences between a head chef, a sous chef, a chef de partie and a commis chef, which is apparently not a communist nutter in the kitchen yelling "no soup for you." Working for BMI long haul, Seb spends a lot of time with his head in the clouds, feet on the ground and with greateful elite business passengers, different from his days as an economist, banker, freelance journalist, all of which were a "lie" as he wanted to be good with his hands. Carpentry or cooking. His heros were Jesus and Jamie Oliver. That leaves me limited options for fun role play so its either the Mary and Joseph film next or a cook book. That's if his mouth is not drowning out air traffic.

If you are still awake and care and are trying to work out if I like him. I do.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bang Bang Oy Veh

When I googled "Jewish and Gay" several months ago, I expected to see something depressing about Stephen Fry or websites about who is running Hollywood. It was with some surprise that up popped the JGLG website in all its multi-colour glory and I was just in time to express interest in the curiously-named Jewish Gay and Lesbian firework display. Ooooh, I thought as images popped into my head of little rockets wearing kippot racing through the sky with the larger ones going "Oy, look how far my son has gone, I'm over the moon". "Royston, you think your boy is doing well, look at my spinning Catherine, she now wears a sheitel". "You must be thrilled, Sacha".Apprehension aside, I persuaded my sparky friend Alison to cancel her typical Saturday night, which we won't go into here, and attend the packed soiree chez Julian in the brisk West Finchley air.

Greeted by the effervescent president Peggy, who will have edited this and inserted her own adjective, the dutiful fellow-Manc Eric on the door and our hospitable host and pyromaniac, Julian, we were invited to digest so much food, wine and chicken soup for the soul that if there was an early Father Chanukah, he'd have never fitted into his 32 inch pants. Apparently every Jew is 32 inches. I am not sure where we count from. But it's true.

We all ooohed and ahhhed as Julian lit the touchpaper to the fireworks, handed out sparklers and ordered guests off his well-manicured lawn. The scene was a Jewish Battle of the Somme with few drink-related casualties, the most visible to me was the ever-youthful Sheldon spinning Alison around, near the now-anxious and charming Leanne. Look out for them on Strictly Come Dancing. More important than the fireworks was the friendly spirit, which, in my experience of the Jewish scene around the Manchester bars, transcended age, background, experience and the almost unbridgeable North-South divide. Even Stephen Fry might have found something to smile about here.

Monday, September 25, 2006

"Oy you a terrorist mate?"

Bedecked in a denim jacket, a Che Guevara T Shirt, with a rucksack and my brother's laundry, I was stopped and bag-searched at 0945 this morning under the 2000 Anti Terrorism Act by three uniformed police and a search dog at Kings Cross, just yards from the barrier.

In spite of the policeman being very nice (and even introducing me to the dog, which i wanted to stroke but felt it inappropriate), my stomach rumbled but that could have been hunger. He asked me a few basic question. if i was on my way to work, what work that was and how long I had been there. "For friggin ever" was not appropriate so I said "four years". He said he would give me a receipt, which would show the reason for any lateness. I was tempted to say "oh we must do this again". I was grateful for that, he does not know what my boss Pippa is like. She has heard all manner of excuse from me! He asked me for some id, I had my passport, which must have looked suspicious but I am in the process of renewing, and a credit card. He joked he would not charge me for the search. I mustered a laugh as the rush hour wandered by. He looked through my bag, saw a Nivea for Men oil control moisturizer and probably decided I was no threat. He also asked me to select my ethnic origin. British White was way down the list, which underlines how cosmopolitan London is, I almost ticked West Indian Rastafarian by mistake.

He told me politely if I had any grievances, I could call the following number and they both wished me a pleasant day. I miss the dog already. I am off now to calm that rumbling stomach, think of that poor shot Brazilian and ditch my jacket. Denim is out. And so am I.

Home is where the ... hassle is

After six hours on Megabus, with no leg room, air conditioning and a toilet that I presume, given the odour, was not working, I pulled into an attitude-packed Manchester at the 11th hour.

A bowl of chicken soup later, I was in bed and waking up to the Jewish New Year. My brother and mother had gone to synagogue to bitch about how religious the rabbi was for a traditional congregation and to chat with people in the lobby. I went for a walk with my father, whose conversation skills have deteriorated to 3 words an hour, and those three are not audible. The afternoon was a rollercoaster of emotion as my mother asked us why we were so distant from her? So we told her EVERYTHING about her negativity, depression, attitude. She cried. Mark and I made a pact in front of her that we would not call or visit until they had done one new thing each week. Snakes on a Plane is the first planned activity. If orders are followed until May, they get a weekend in Paris. We will have to go to on account of their stupidity and ability to say "Prolly Vous Francais", which my mother thinks gives her "conversational French". Mark's emotions went up and down as Bury twice surrendered a lead against 10-man Barnet and mine went up and down in the evening, following many a gin and tonic chez 25-year school friend Simon and Lindsay. Sunday pitched me with my cousin Lynda, who has just defeated breast cancer, briefly with her parents - the one and only Uncle Alan (my dad's older brother) and his wife, the toothless, forever-complaining-about-her-bad-back Shirley, who likes to compete on the "keeping in touch with family" stakes. Even though no one keeps in touch with her. How are you Aunty Shirl told me she had a very bad cold, a streaming cold, one of the worst she had ever had.

As evening approached, my grumpy brother Mark drove home at 110 mph, flying down the motorway, only moving from the outside lane for a speeding ambulance, in a successful bid to get his friend on the last evening train from Coventry to Reading. When we pulled into the station in the Midlands, the G Force stopped and his friend flew at the train doors with 12 seconds to spare. When I got home, I mistakenly became glued to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and old leather head, whose penchant for hooks and saws left me unable to sleep and dreaming of National Express. Mission over. Three months till the next.

Where are the normal people?

After watching the rather interesting Al Gore lecture on Global Warming and how all the rivers will recede, all the soil will dry up and the sun's inability to escape (should let my mother near it, those rays will be in outer space before you can say chicken soup), I went to the pub with 12 poofs from here. In the Duke of Wellington , I was chatting to a drunken Geordie, a features editor at Attitude Magazine, when this Clark Kent lookalike turned to me. He was being chatted up by an older gentleman in his 60s and wanted to escape. Instead of saying "I think we are at different stages in life, I am not interested", he asked if I would "go along with his plan".

Reticent, to say the least, I told him that would depend on what it was.

The scenario unfolded that we both pretended to work as lawyers at the same firm (although it emerged I was the inferior one) and I was to urge him to go back and complete a deal at the office as a made up woman called Sandra was expecting him. I was stellar. You would have been amazed. I was almost as Bollywood as you. Only English. I should have been in acting never mind "law", I told Clark after.

Before the old man disappeared and my guilt levels rose, the drunken Geordie decided to wind me up further. "You never told me you were sleeping with someone else, you bastard" he cried as my face contorted into disbelief.

"What are you doing to me honey" I yelled.

The Benny Hill farce evaporated with my self esteem to the offer of drinks and more by both of them. I give up.

Where are the normal people?