Friday, 2 July 2010

In with Flynn

I had a tremedously traumatic Tuesday. I'd finally got around to getting a man in. No, no. Calm down please. The man was to tackle my rampant and neglected bush, which, according to the police, was becoming a matter of national security. My house was no longer visible from the street. The garden gate was completely obscured by the unruly greenery. My postman had started to wear khaki shorts and would hack his way through the privet jungle with a machete, just to deliver my QVC parcels.

Tuesday was a hot and sultry day. The temperature in my classroom exceeded 35 degrees all day. I came home, stripped off to my underwear and melted languidly on the chaise, like a faded but genteel Tenessee Williams heroine. That was my first mistake. A BIG MISTAKE. I had forgotten that without the 'Privet as Big as the Ritz' every fucking rag tag and passing bobtail could leer straight in. Not only that, as I glanced round my living room, which was basking in blinding sunlight for the first time in 3 years, I couldn't help but notice one thing. . . DUST! EVERYWHERE! Christ. Bring back the darkness.

Later, after a breath of cool, evening air with the hounds, I returned to find my neighbour loitering by my door. Apparently, whilst I was out, a suede-headed, shell-suited vagabond tried to break into my house. Thankfully, he was chased away. You know, I have lost count of the attempted break-ins at Chez Underscore. Sometimes I feel I should re-locate somewhere safer. Like Afghanistan. Or Strangeways.

But, exposing my moist and Bravissimoed self to local riff-raff AND coping with yet another sinister burglarisation was not the end of my Tuesday night drama, things were about to get even more Brookside-esque. I returned to two emails from the Swarthy Rogue himself. . . Rochester. You may recall, last week the devil declared, with random and infuriating opacity.

'I can't make you happy. I'm sorry. I can't.'

So, my weary head was truly fucked to receive an invitation to drinks, that very night, from the swami of stubble. Now, it is fair to say that I HATE surprises. In my opinion all surprises, good or bad, should come with a compulsory 3 month notice period. I was so jittery I even called Madam Noir, to try to figure out what to do (I haven't phoned anyone since 1987). I did quite a bit of agonised fretting. Interspersed with some tortuous brooding. I switched the I-pod on for some answers. That was no piggin' help, the first song on was Ooops, I did it Again by Britney Spears. Even Britney was mocking me. 'Whatever decision you make, it is bound to end in disaster,' she seemed to be saying.

I retreated to bed to hide under the covers and contemplate my response to the rogue. Finally, I decided that a meeting was just too stressful. Plus, I couldn't really figure out his motivation. Then another mail came though.

"I could come over, but it would be late about 11.30? If that works let me know."

Scream! What was going on? I was utterly torn. Then, suddenly, the phone rang. Oh my god! It was Rochester.

It took me quite some time to atune my ears to his very unique, South Shields mumble. I found myself saying 'eh?' constantly (a bit like Forrest from my class, when I ask him a maths question). Rochester's voice is so dry and low-pitched it is only clearly heard by dogs and dolphins.

"Aye petal. I came up because my granny was dying, but I'm going back tomorrow empty handed. She's still fucking alive."

That sounds awful, I know. But I know what he meant. His 93-year old granny has been desperately ill for some time. He does love her to bits.

We spoke for an hour. I am still no clearer as to what he was after. Well, of course, I know what he was after. But the implications of all of it all are still ambiguous. But, I did make some very intriguing discoveries.

1. He is NOT selling pegs door to door, or Tupperware, or feminine hygiene products (Shake 'n' Vac for the fanny, as he described them). That was a shock. I felt sure the flaky fanny rat was tapping into the female market somehow. I pictured him servicing middled-aged, neglige-wearing Pat Pheonix-esque housewives. He is actually selling advertising. And claims to be loaded. Rochester used to work with big-issue selling, falafel eating lesbians on community outreach projects for transgender otters. I always wondered how his crusty, Guardian reading colleagues tolerated such a blunderingly offensive oaf. He is now working in an entirely Birkenstock-free environment. In an entirely male environment. And he is loving it.

2. He is performing poetry, under the alias of the
'60 Second Poet'.

"Aye pet. It's stand up/ poetry at a club every Sunday night".

"What is it, poetry or stand up?"

"Well, it's poetry petal." (pause). "But I do it standing up"

3. As part of his new 'thrusting young exec' image, he has to wear a suit every day. The Rochester I knew and loved was the epitome of disheveled. One of his more notorious items of clothing was his infamous 'dog blanket' jumper. He seemed so proud of it. He wore it constantly. (It is not dissimilar to the raggy sweater worn by Walter Matthau in The Odd Couple.)

Rochester emailed me a picture of his new look. It was him at a posing at a wedding (inexplicably he was snapped with the Z-list ham who plays Dev Alahan in Coronation Street and Poet Laureate Carol Anne Duffy). I was mortified. The swarthy rogue was sporting:

  • a jaunty rose in his lapel
  • a pastel coloured tie
  • a suit
  • shaved skin. (shudder)
I couldn't take it all in. Sionara Walter Matthau, Hello Errol Flynn. He looked sleazy. And not in a good way. He looked like some buttoned down Tory MP destined to be found asphyxiated in a wardrobe with an orange in his mouth. It was a shock. His response was full of humility and modesty.

"I am a little sleazy. I look fucking great."

So, the title of this particular blog is a tribute to legendary womaniser Errol Flynn. 'In with Flynn' became a euphemism for shagging in the 30s and 40s, inspired by the swashbuckler's legendary fanny ratting. I have an adoration for ramshackle, tatty lurchers. I don't want Rochester to go all poodle on me.

So that was my Tuesday. After months of pining, like a heartbroken waif, for the oaf, I turned him down. I turned down the chance of getting 'in with Flynn.' Sigh. What does it all mean?

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