- The Importance of Being Fabulous: In conversation with Gerry Potter - 25 November, 2014
- John Waters – Interview - 14 October, 2014
- When there’s nothing left to burn - 13 September, 2014
Monday 27 January 2014
Hospital appointment for this throat infection which resolutely refuses to budge. Medical problems, no matter how trivial or severe, are as boring as sin. Though, for writers with an ear finely tuned for a Northern soundbite it can be a sterilised Aladdin’s Cave.
Arrive fifteen minutes early for my appointment at 10am. Another waiting room and another bead-maze-table-toy I must resist playing with. Two elderly ladies do a crab-like shuffle to the seats facing and scan the announcement board on the faded shade-of-dull wall behind me.
One of the felt-hatted dears taps her companion on the arm. ‘D’ you know what I thought that said? I thought it said: “Are you tired of Domestos’ abuse?” I thought, “Funny thing to have a helpline for.”‘
Alan Bennett would kick off his court shoes, peel the cellophane from his sarnies and prepare for a long stay but I’m called in by the nurse.
Older Nurse: Hello luv. Come in and take a seat.
Me: Thank you.
Older Nurse: Goodness, your throat is very hoarse, isn’t it?
Me: I know I sound like Deidre Barlow now but it’s better than a fortnight ago … I sounded like an asthmatic Phyllis Pierce.
(Nurses laugh but the younger nurse is clearly baffled by the latter name.)
Older Nurse: She won’t know who that is. How do you know who she is? That’s way before your time.
Me: I was dragged up in the dressing rooms at Granada so I can natter, from arsehole to breakfast time, about Coronation Street from decades before I was born. Especially Pat Phoenix, who has the greatest opening line to a memoir ever – ‘I am a bastard.’
Older Nurse: Coronation Street would have to be my specialised subject on Mastermind. I still love it but it was much better in my day, before everyone was killing everyone over having some affair.
Me: Definitely. The women in it are so poorly written now. No high hair. No ambition beyond a deep-fat fryer. They’re just constantly weeping over some man who resembles a tin of spam with a beard. I mean, who’d want to drag up as any of the women in it now?
(The older nurse and I exchange stories about favourite Corrie characters and storylines.)
Younger Nurse: Ooh, I’ve got a claim to fame with Coronation Street! You remember the guy who played Jack Duckworth?
Me & Older Nurse: Yes.
Younger Nurse: Well … he’s buried next to my granddad.
I’m issued with a follow-up appointment for next week, when a camera will explore the throat properly. Until then I’m to speak as little as possible. I feel a popular week ahead.
Watching the news with Nana and Granddad. There’s a segment about Bill Roache’s trial. The actors who play Deirdre and Peter Barlow have been giving character references. If Blanche were still with us Preston Crown Court would have been sold out for months.
Granddad: ‘Fat lot of good they are for a character reference. He’s an alcoholic and she’s cheated on him god knows how many times.’
Nan rolls her eyes.
Tuesday 28 January 2014
Feeling mortified, just like a good lapsed Catholic should.
Earlier today Nan let the golden skinned window cleaner, Daz, in to use the loo. He’s a tracksuited Triga Porn dream. Gold chains, bad tattoos, Lynx knockoff and Adidas sportswear, which make him look like a sexy living barcode. He’s all anyone could ever want to fill the lonely hours between Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women. Moston’s own George Formby with an ASBO, who treats his love to 3-for-£5 Blue WKDs after his window cleaning round.
I’m unaware Daz is in the house, as I’m bundled in the shower. The windows were cleaned hours ago so I’ve no reason to lock myself in a coffin to avoid drooling over a scally with a shammy. Daz uses the toilet and strides over to the bathroom. I’ve just wrapped a towel around my waist. The door opens (dodgy council-fitted lock) and in pops the Adonis in Adidas, not in the least bit embarrassed.
‘Ah sorry mate. Just need to wash me hands. Good job ya got a towel on, eh?’ He laughed, which thankfully muffled the sound of my ovaries sighing. Then, in a somewhat dazed state I said, ‘I would’ve trimmed if I knew I was going to have company.’
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.