Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Biscuits With Blanche


Chapter One; Seats For Take Off

Blanche is not my real name you understand but a moniker thrust upon me by former colleagues, it’s one that I have grown to be accustomed and one I now adore. Fortunately my life is one of peace, happiness, gin and luxury. I came to this conclusion as I sunbathed around a lagoon inspired pool in the ‘Dead Heart of Africa,’ formally known as T’Chad. As the tonic fizzed and the gin quenched my thirst I knew then that I was perfectly safe and care-free; I’m almost positive my armed guard watching over me with his AK47 was placed two feet away from me purely to admire my elegance.

It hadn’t always been this way, hard to believe I guarantee for my face is not scared with lines of distress or burdened with the appearance of a hard life unlike that poor soul VictoriaBeckham. It must be so frustrating to have millions in off-sure accounts out of your possession, leaving you unable to buy food and having to survive on the scraps of a singing career; I realize that using the word career is generous but one must not kick a size zero horse when it’s down, well not unless it is thoroughly deserved.

It is true that I once too suffered from inner turmoil and been the victim of a foolish heart on more than one occasion. The last time I was the receiver of such fate I even left the gloriously fabulous northern city of Manchester to cohabit with my suitor in the den of iniquity and all round miserableness in what is the capital of our ailing country. It was clear from the start that our families were not compatible for companionship for they were lovers of the forbidden cloth, Primark. Eighteen turbulent months passed by before I found myself climbing through my Romeo’s sash-window following an underwhelming brawl in a Soho bar. Apparently removing the batteries out of his hearing aids was the straw that broke the Scotsman’s back.

My upbringing too was one of poverty and neglect. I was often the object of taunts from neighboring children when they discovered we only had TVs in the downstairs rooms and none available for myself to watch in the solace of my own neutrally painted chamber. I've never quite got over missing the final episode of London's Burning.

In result of this I comfort ate myself through 5 stone of vol-o-vants and canap├ęs every evening until one realized a change had to be made. No more was I prepared to be laughed at or allow myself to feast upon my own misery, instead I choose to dance. I tapped my sling backs repeatedly through the entire catalogue of Steps singles, skipping Tragedy every time it came on in respect for the Bee Gees, until there was smoke coming off my perfectly pedicured soles.

Like a caterpillar I cocooned myself until I was ready to fly away beautiful and elegant, as it
turned out I hadn’t grown wings but had developed an awful lot of mince and a fondness for the same sex. Luckily this realization helped when applying for a position as cabin crew, I didn't realize it at the time but it was a requirement of the job. I’d like to tell you which airline I worked for but for legal reasons I think it’s safer not to. All I’ll say on the matter is that they ruled the Airways and they were British.

On one particular flight, to Toronto, I escaped to the washroom; it always provided me with a little alone time to enjoy a mid-Atlantic gin and tonic whilst reading the latest highlife in-flight brochure. Always positively filled with exaggerated remarks on the excellence of the cabin crew. Whoever wrote it had obviously never flown on board or they would have known the passengers were the last inconvenience the crew cared about, all more focused on throwing an overcooked rump steak at them that had been frozen and defrosted more times than Jackie Stallone’s face, all in a desperate bid to be the first to get to the toilet and place a condom over the smoke detector and enjoy a mile high nicotine rush.

It was then, whilst delicately enjoying my G’n’T that the spirit of Lady Blanche Crawford inhibited my conscious for the first time; I have to say I positively enjoyed the experience. Back in 1977 when the glorious giant of the sky, b747-200, made it’s maiden voyage home from New York, Lady Blanche was siting elegantly in first class, a posture she’d had to learnt since she was once a lady of the night, when she choked on a custard cream, lost consciousness and died somewhere over the Bermuda triangle. I have since learnt from her Spirit that the cabin attendant onboard half-heartedly performed the Heimlich maneuver, not using full force for fear of breaking a nail. As a result Lady Blanche’s Spirit had been travelling around on this metal tube for 24 years haunting any stewardess that had dared to spill coffee in what had now become her aluminum tomb.

Fearing the retirement of this now old bird and facing an eternity baking in the heat of the Arizona aircraft graveyard, Blanche thought her only escape would be to inhabit a body of another. Through later subconscious conversations with her I discovered she chose me as she recognized a desire in my eyes to self invest and improve ones self, a trait she possessed herself.

Over many cups of tea and variety of biscuits, although never a custard cream, I learnt more about Lady B as she lurked shallowly under my skin, ever ready to take complete ownership of my body, using it as a vessel to communicate with the natural world. This most commonly occurs during episodes of Jeremy Kyle or whenever Denise Robsertson’s advice is offered to the public on This Morning. I’d often awake to find the lounge turned furiously upside down from Blanche’s frustration of not being able to grab hold of Jeremy’s guests and give them a good slap whilst telling them to ‘get a grip.’

Blanche knows that she herself, through the struggle in her own life could offer much better straight talking advice. She was determined, through inhabiting my body, to take over Denise’s reign on the This Morning sofa and fix our nation of downbeat souls. Before I had chance to question my actions I had enrolled on an evening course at Bury College in Computing, by the end of the first term I’d set up, unknowingly, DearBlanche.net, a website offering help and advice for all those stupid and desperate enough to ask for it.

As Blanche’s ambition to rule the agony aunt columns grew she possessed my body more and more until............
                                                                             
                                                                              ****


Thank heavens for that, I can’t stand his insistent dribble, he’s much more interesting when he’s drunk not to mention far easier to consume with ones superior Spirit. I think I’ll teach him to be more interesting and stick around for a while longer this time. Hopefully he’ll get a hobby or an addiction, I don’t mind which one as long as it gets him out the house. That’s if I ever let him come back into being. I might give him one more chance to come back and get rid of his man boobs, I'd do it for him but physical exertion does not sit well my daily beauty routine.

I’ve got to give him credit though; his idea to make all these letters into a book, or a catalogue of patheticness as I like to call it, was a marvelous idea. Plus it’s an ideal way to pass the time before I can dive into my first Gin and Tonic of the day, and it certainly is a tonic from your miserableness. One can only assume that you have taken inspiration for your own lives from EastEnders, what a pity that you don’t have the same short life expectancy of most of their ensemble.

When you think about it logically it’s a crime that I was snatched from the world so soon, just as I was enjoying the supreme comfort of the first class cabin and seeping marvelousness over my fellow travellers, whilst you, no doubt rotting from your stale odor of failure in a residence that is no doubt one up from a rats nest are allowed to live. One can only hope that rats don’t gain the ability to read, as they’d surely be offended, not even they would live in the squalor that some of you choose to do so.

To be quite honest I sometimes feel thick with dirt just reading the letters that you send me, I’ve had no option on several occasions but to fill the bath with gin and lay in it for several hours to let the alcohol cleanse my pours of your infectious melancholy peasantness.

You see when I was alive people had more class, even when I was a lady of the night I still had standards. Very high ones in fact, impeccable even. I would never escort a gentleman who was married, not unless he was paying twice the going rate, and I wouldn’t entertain the idea of dinner with a suitor if he were not dressed appropriately. I find it inconceivable what the girls wear these days, many of them squeezed into a size 10 when they’re clearly an 18; you can almost here the fabric screaming from the strain. The phrase mutton dressed as shite springs to mind.

You’d be surprised what one can learn whilst haunting the seat pockets of a business class cabin, in all the 24 years onboard I never once passed the purple curtain cabin divider into economy. It was definitely there though; I could smell it, the odor of working class perspiration only masked by the desperation of Geri Halliwel’s singing career.
I liked to keep up to date with the latest showbiz goings on; the inflight magazine was my monthly bible to the shimmering stars of Hollywood. Gone were the greats like Marilyn Monroe, I met her Spirit onboard once, she was going on vacation to the Seychelles, she told me she still needed frequent holidays even in the afterlife; she was still very much a star. Judy Garland’s Spirit passed through a few times too, she was an awkward one, I had to hold her back from trying to overdose on a passenger’s TicTacs, she thought they were paracetamol, she clearly hadn’t grasped the concept of being dead. Another time she was trying to slit her ghostly transparent wrists with an economy knife, even if she was alive she wouldn’t have caused much damage, a nasty scratch at the most, you see it was plastic; you’d have a job cutting butter with it never mind flesh.

Yes gone are the greats leaving a trail of stars in their wake that have clearly been trained at the local council, I can think of no other reason for their poor onboard behavior. Madonna was one of the worst, I went off her as soon as I saw her wipe her nose on the seat cushion, Julie Roberts wasn’t much better either, the way she opened her bottle of Budweiser with her labia was grotesque.

It’s no wonder Britain is now full of such low life; I blame new Labour and Vanessa Feltz. Well not all is lost; at least I’m here to put you back on the straight and narrow. I promise dear people to answer your questions without prejudgment and together we will aim to fix your sordid pathetic worthless lives. Move over Denise Roberts and Jeremy Kyle for Blanche has arrived....

Sunday, 22 April 2012

"Up The Dilly Dancers....."


I've not wrote for so long, it's been hard to find the inspiration lately. This year has already been one heck of a roller-coaster; I've moved to another country, started a new job and lost two people who I thought would always be there. My Gran and Granddad have both passed away in the last few months leaving me with so many things I'd wish I'd said to them so I thought I'd say it the best way I know how.......

Gran.

Gran, I have no idea where to start so I thought I’d begin with thank you. Thank you simply for being my gran. It’s so bitter sweet to be here, knowing that we’ve lost you but at the same time we know you’ll be back at my granddads side which is where I’ve always known you to be and where you undoubtedly belong. I can imagine your first words to my granddad now you’re back with him, ‘Bernard where the bleeding hell have you been?’
  
Everyone will agree that we are some of the luckiest people alive, we all knew you, we all got to love you, cherish you and no doubt some if not all aspire to be just like you. A person whose heart was made of pure gold, your door was always open to anyone, never judging, just loving and always with a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits – you were always ready to accept into the family anyone we introduced you to and you’d love them as your own.  

I’ve got so many memories of you from growing up, all our holidays from the infamous Cala Gran in Fleetwood to being sat at the Bar 3 Corners in Ibiza and what I’ll always look back on and giggle is your bottle of sherry neatly tucked away in your handbag always on standby to top up your empty glass. I’ll remember your stories you’d tell me on a Saturday night, the drinks I’d make you and auntie Jack and the 25p you use to give me, Mike and Kellie – it would by us a treasure of sweets from Sharon’s. I’ll remember every Christmas as a child and how magical you made it by just being there, the little red ladder that used to sit on the side of your tree and the buffet you’d put out at night for when the men would come home from the legion.

I’ll remember your infections giggle and the way you’d slap your thighs, the way your eyes would light up whenever your grandchildren and great grandchildren walked into the room. I’ll remember your gifts for the children, you’d never call round without a bag of sweets or a little toy you’d picked up whilst you were out. Most of all gran what I’ll remember is you being there, every school play, every Christmas, every birthday, every weekend, every time we needed something and even now gran I know you’ll be there because there’s a little bit of your magic is in all of us. If in my life I can be loved just fractionally of the way we all loved you I’ll be a very happy man.

I’ll always remember my granddads sunflowers in the back garden; they’re called that because they follow the sun, just like you gran, following happiness and light. You were the life, light and soul of our family; you were and always will be our irreplaceable Queen.  

I love you gran and I miss you so much. Sleep well. x



Granddad,

Dear Grandad,

I’m so angry because you didn’t give me a chance to say goodbye to you. I thought I had you forever, I thought that I could travel to the ends of the earth and come back and you’d still be there, and you can’t blame me because I did it once and you were.

I flew home all the way from the Falkands to be at your 80th Birthday granddad, but if I were honest I would have travelled so much further to be there for you. I remember you use to take me to the airport viewing park with Michael Barnes all the time as a child, you’d buy us 20p cardboard planes and we’d put them together and spend the day flying them. So really it’s your fault granddad that I’ve ended up doing what I do. And I’m so lucky; I’ve seen some amazing places because of that and had extraordinary experiences. Because of you granddad I’ve been to Ascention Island, Falkands, Toronto, Cape Town and so many more places.

Here is a secret granddad, your 80th birthday I travelled home from the Falklands, my friend Hayley gave me a lift back to Manchester from Oxford after landing. I worked from the Falklands to Ascension then got changed and travelled as a passenger the rest of the way. When I got back to Manchester I raced home, ironed my uniform and put it on again. I walked round to Auntie Jacks in that uniform because I wanted you to see me in it; I wanted you to see that I was now one of those people who we use to watch jet off as a child. You demanded your photo taken with me instantly and I knew then I’d made you proud.

But gran and granddad it wasn’t as proud as I was of you. You’ve been there for me so much, I only ever had to pick up the phone and you’d be there, willing to give me a lift to where ever I wanted to go.

I want to say I’m so sorry for not spending as much time with you as I should have done in the last few years, and if I could turn the clock back, which with a heavy heart I know I can’t, I’d make sure I saw you a whole lot more.

When two people touch your life such as you have to mine and then are gone so instantly it’s hard to find words to describe the numbness and the aching. Granddad whenever I smell greasy chips I’ll remember you coming home at midnight from the legion with a feast for me, Mike and Kellie. Granddad I’ll forever remember how every new year you would walk out the back door and walk in the front to symbolize taking out the old and bringing in the new.

I wont deny that I’m struggling out here on my own in Dubai, I can’t begin to tell you how much I want to be there for my mum but, at the same time your inspiration has brought me out here, with that in mind I know you’ll be watching over my mum and making sure she’s not on her own as she’s not as strong as she likes us to believe she is, and there is nothing more than I want to be with my mum at this time.

So gran and granddad, I just want to say I miss you so very much and even though I am over four thousands miles away from my family, please let them know that I love them very much. And please let my mum know I’m thinking of her ever minute of every day.

Wishing you so many sweet dreams as you both go up the dilly dancers.

Miss you both so much and love you more than words can ever express.

Michael Lawson x


So what I'd like to say to you readers is if you're lucky enough to have your grandparents still around go and see them. Don't put it off till next week as eventually it will be to late. Just drop in, you'll make their day.