Category Archives: Marriage

Two comedy performers to have fairytale marriage in Disneyland

Laurence Owen & Lindsay Sharman

Laurence Owen and Lindsay Sharman at last night’s party…

Last night, I went to the engagement party for performers Lindsay Sharman and Laurence Owen. They are getting married at Disneyland.

“Yes,” said Laurence. “We’re taking ourselves off to Florida as a… erm… sort of… a…”

“Marriage?” I suggested.

“Yes,” said Laurence. “We’re getting married. That’s the main gist of it. For ten days in May.”

“That,” I said, “is a long marriage by American standards.”

“Well,” he replied, “if we get through ten days, we know it’s going to be alright.”

“Why get married at Disneyland?” I asked. “Have they heard your song?” (Laurence has a wonderful humdinger of a Disney pastiche song.)

“That’s the thing,” he explained. “Disney looms very large in our lives. As a kid, I used to go to Paris Disneyland with my dad. And, about this time last year, Lindsay and I had a week with no gigs in and I was temporarily homeless – between flats – so we went to the Paris Disneyland and we had a really amazing time there. Then we went again in September, immediately after last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

“I had this idea that, in January this year, I would pop the question to Lindsay. Then she sort-of beat me to it. Cos we were chatting by text late on Christmas Eve – Christmas Day early morning – and we just got talking about Disney weddings and decided to go on from there, pretty much. So that was it.”

“Proposal by text?” I asked.

“Proposal by text. We’re thoroughly modern.”

“I didn’t realise,” I told him, “that Disney do marriage packages.”

“Oh yes,” said Laurence. “For your basic package, you get a location for a ceremony. We have a gazebo next to a big lake and there’s a pirate ship by the lake and it’s themed like a 1920s boardwalk-type thing; it’s all very nice.”

“And it’s more expensive to have the castle?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” said Laurence. “And, if you pay $3,000, you can arrive in the Cinderella pumpkin coach and you have two footmen.”

“Frogs?…” I started.

“For that price,” said Laurence, “you would hope so.”

“… or English?” I concluded.

“Maybe,” said Laurence. “And, as well as those guys, you get two buglers who will announce your arrival on long trumpets with flags hanging off them. You have to pay through the nose for that, though. And, if you want to have Mickey Mouse present, you have to pay another $900.”

“Are Mickey, Donald and Goofy all the same price?” I asked.

“Any costume characters,” explained Laurence, “you have to pay $900 each. So, if you want Mickey and Minnie together, that’s $1,800.”

“I wondered if maybe Goofy was relatively cheap.,” I said. “Who wants Goofy officiating at their marriage?”

“Possibly,” said Laurence. “On a sliding scale of Disney characters, maybe if you only want Pluto, you could get him for fifty quid.”

“You’re getting married on May 6th…” I said.

“Yes. We tried to get May the Fourth because that’s Star Wars Day, but they were full up on that day.”

“Of course!” I said. “Disney now own Star Wars. So you could have Stormtroopers in attendance. The ultimate white wedding.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Marriage

Where do comedians get their ideas from? And are they all mad or do their lives thrust madness upon them?

Towards the end of the recent Edinburgh Fringe, Scots comedian Billy Watson did a handful of unbilled gigs in an out-of-the-way pub.

This is what he explained at the very start of his hour-long show.


Billy Watson at last month’s Edinburgh Fringe

Billy Watson at last month’s Edinburgh Fringe

I was married to a Turkish lady and she, basically, had a series of mental breakdowns over the course of twelve years – because she was married to me, basically. Trying to make that shit funny isn’t easy. How do I turn that into a comedy show? It was a challenge.

I gave her acid.

The relationship wasn’t working too well and I gave her some LSD and then, three days later, she just went completely… I came home from work at 7 o’clock in the morning and she was completely out to lunch.

She started speaking in tongues. She’s going Argwahburgh! Speaking in tongues. So I think: What’s the fuck’s going on here? and I go to the policeman and says: Help me! Help me! The policeman told me to piss off.

Policemen are supposed to help society. He just ignored me.

After two days of this crazy woman – completely out to lunch – I got her to the doctor’s and the doctor was saying: Right, we’d better get an ambulance here – and she jumped out of the doctor’s window. Fortunately, it was on the first floor. But I grabbed her and she was that strong she dragged me out the window too, pulling my trousers down to my ankles.

I fall on the other side of this window. She starts to run. I start chasing after her and the doctor starts chasing. It was like a scene from Benny Hill. He grabs her; I pull her down to the ground. The medical staff turn up and they get this syringe of something, inject it in her leg and it makes her totally zonked. I was trying to get the name of it from the bottles. I thought: I could do with some of that myself.

They put her in a mental ward in Falkirk. She got sectioned for two weeks. That was the first one. Then, every eight months, something would trigger it off and I’d have police at the door.

Basically, we had all these break-ups, right? Because being married to me isn’t easy, right? And we had temporary break-ups. One time she went to Turkey and I thought that was the relationship finished, but she came back and said: I really love ya. God knows why. She wanted us to have a baby to try to save the marriage.

I should have known having a child with a psychotic patient was not the wisest idea.

So, when the baby started to grow inside her, I had to say I thought it would be a good idea to go and be a hotel entertainer in Majorca. I left her and went to Majorca to train as a dancer in Grease – I was 34. For six weeks, I performed in Grease. I was John Travolta at one point. It was awesome.

But she came out there after six weeks. She packed up the house to rent it out to have the baby in Spain but, after a week, she had another mental breakdown.

So I didn’t go in to work that night because I had something to deal with – I got her to hospital.

This is funny, isn’t it? This mental shit was good.

Billy at The Grouchy Club last month

Billy Watson at The Grouchy Club last month

I got her to hospital and then, the next day, when I went in for work, the woman – the boss of the hotel – says: Why didn’t you come in to work last night?

Well, my wife had a mental breakdown. I had something to deal with.

The boss, she says to me: Oh, I think you are finished.

I got a major red eye; tears were pouring down my face. My bottom lip was trembling: My wife’s in hospital.

She said: I’ve got a hotel to run here.

I said: Well thanks for your boundless compassion.

She’s just sacked me. I’ve got red eye. Then she says to me: By the way, for the rest of today, can you take the Killer Darts? This game. The fucking Killer Darts.

I said: Aye. I’ll take the Killer Darts. Here, you hold the fucking board. We’ll start with the eyes closing. Whoever throws the killer dart wins.

Basically, I didn’t go to work for the next six months. I had to hang around Majorca while my wife had the baby there. Then, six weeks after having the child, she had another breakdown, right? I grabbed the baby off her. There’s this guy at the door saying: What’s going on there? I say: Phone an ambulance! Phone an ambulance!

This ambulance comes, takes her to hospital again and I’m left with a six-week old baby in Spain and I know nothing about babies. I’ve got to try and look after that child for a week while she was in mental hospital.

This woman who rented me the apartment got some of her friends and came to see me and I just cried and said Why did I bring my schizophrenic wife to have a baby in Spain?

(At this point, a member of the audience interrupted Billy and asked: “Did you know she was schizophrenic when you dropped her some Acid?”)

No, but…

(“Well, it was the acid,” said the man in the audience.)

That… You would… Maybe, you see…

(“The kind of causation ends with you,” said the man in the audience.)

That’s why I probably stuck with the marriage for fourteen years, to be honest with you. I felt guilty.

Billy Watson at The Grouchy Club last month

Billy Watson at The Grouchy Club last month

But, after that, right, listen to this… She has had the baby. She has had a caesarean. And now I’m looking after the child. Then, after that, she was having a check-up for the caesarean. The pediatrician – or whatever the doctor’s called that deals with that part – he tests her and discovers she has cancer.

She’s got lymphoma, so we had to go back to Turkey, where she had an operation to take out the cancer, but she wanted to go back to Scotland to see what the doctors there said.

So we took her and her mother – who doesn’t speak English – back to Scotland and she got chemotherapy and all her hair fell out and I was working in a call centre and that was pretty bad.

So we decided to go back to Turkey and after about a year there I got a job as an estate agent and, after two weeks of me working, she had another mental breakdown.

At one point, she decided to jump out a fourth floor window. She was going mental, right? Basically, her dad wouldn’t take her to hospital for three nights. One night she had this purse on round her shoulder and she wouldn’t take it off: a very small purse. But then the next day, when the medical people eventually came… Remember, every time she sees the medical people, she runs away… I realise – Fuck! The window of the kitchen is open! She runs past me, heading straight towards the window. I grabbed the strap of the purse she had refused to take off… I grabbed that, pulled it, pulled her to the ground… another injection in the leg.

Afterwards I thought maybe I could have done something differently because, if she had jumped, about 50 of my problems would have disappeared just like that. Though probably it would have created 100 new ones.

The thing was we got her to hospital that day and this big, new, huge hospital said they didn’t have a bed for her. The ambulance people just dropped her off, then the psychologist people wouldn’t take her in and wouldn’t even explain to me what the situation was because she didn’t speak perfect English. Turkish people are a bit embarrassed if they’re not perfect.

The doctor said to me: Ask your father-in-law.

I said: He doesn’t speak English.

Anyway, they refused to take her and made us go to this other hospital out in the sticks.

Billy Watson (left) & Mr Townkey (right) (Photograph by Kate Copstick, courtesy of Billy Watson)

Billy Watson (left) with me and Mr Townkey (right) (Photograph by Kate Copstick, courtesy of Billy Watson)

We get there. I think: Great. I’ve done my job. She’s saved. She’s gonna be locked up.

I get a call two days later. She had escaped from the hospital, jumped into this big thing, broke her back and busted her leg all up, right? She still walks with a limp.

After that, I said: I don’t think this relationship’s doing either of us any good. Moreso you. So that’s why I ended up getting divorced. It wasn’t going too well.

Is this comedy gold??


Two days after this gig in Edinburgh, Billy Watson returned to Turkey where, as I understand it, he intends to stay.

2 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Marriage, Mental health, Mental illness, Scotland, Spain, Turkey

My father dies on 26th/27th June

In recent weeks, I have been posting extracts from my 2001 diary about the period when my father was dying from cancer.

I previously posted a shorter version of what follows in November 2011, when Apple boss Steve Jobs died. I think this one has a better ending.

Edvard Munch’s Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature)

Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature) painted in 1893 by Edvard Munch

Saturday 23rd June

My father’s mind was on another planet. He did not recognise the nurse when she came in. He could not recognise words said to him. It was not that his ears could not hear them; it was that his brain did not recognise their meaning.

Sunday 24th June

When we visited by father this afternoon, he was unable to communicate, staring blankly into the middle distance.

Monday 25th June 

My father told the nurses he felt pain this morning. So he will now be given an extra daytime tablet with a morphine-element in addition to the one he is given in the evening. His eyes stared, as if at something faraway and long ago. As I left and put the trolley tray by his bed, he looked at me and said: “There’s something not at all right with me.”

Tuesday 26th June

I had a 2-hour medical check-up in a BUPA building near King’s Cross.

London was sweltering in extraordinarily hot weather, but inside the building it was cool and relaxing. Later, I sent an e-mail to my friend Lynn, saying:

They say I’m getting into the start of being dangerously overweight and VERY slightly too cholesterolly. I do wonder if it was really necessary for the short Chinese gent to put his finger up my bottom to test for Prostate Cancer. Surely there must be another way to do this or was he just ‘avin’ a larf?

I phoned my mother around 6.00pm and she told me that, when she had visited my father in the afternoon, there had been no response to anything she or my aunt (his sister) said. His eyes were open but staring ahead. “I think he was drugged up to the eyeballs,” she told me. “I don’t think he’s in any pain.” (Later, the matron told me the medication he was on was not that strong and that they had not given him a daytime tablet to avoid making him zombie-like.)

At around 8.30pm, I was mowing the grass on my front garden. The matron phoned me on my mobile phone to tell me my father had deteriorated very badly and I arranged to leave at 10.00pm, to get to the nursing home around 11.30pm, telling my mother I was getting to her home in Clacton at 1.00am and not to wait up for me. I was going to see how he was as 11.30pm and decide what to do.

The matron rang back at 9.30pm to tell me the doctor had just been and said my father only had four to five hours left before he died, so I went immediately, told my mother I had been phoned by the matron and asked if she want to go to the home to see my father.

She said (quite rightly) No, with a sad, tired, tone to her voice, and I phoned her just after 11.05pm when I had gone in and seen my father briefly. I suggested my mother take her two nightly sleeping tablets and go to bed and I would stay with my father all night and phone her at 7.00pm when she got up. She knew it was terminal because she had told me where the undertaker was. There was some surprise in her voice when I phoned her:

“Is he still here?” she asked.

When I arrived, the nursing home’s night sister warned me he had deteriorated a lot since my mother had seen him this afternoon and warned me “his eyes are open”.

The first thing that shocked me when the door was opened, though, was the sound. I had never realised the phrase “death rattle” was anything more than a colourful phrase. It is an exact description. I had also thought it was a brief final sound rather than an ongoing sound.

It was a rhythmic, rasping sound.

His face was side-lit in the darkened room by a yellow-cream glow from a bedside table lamp sitting not on a table but on the floor of the room with old-fashioned floral wallpaper. It was bit like a Hammer horror movie of the late 1950s in slightly faded Technicolor.

His bed was behind the door and when I saw him lying there on his back in bed I was shocked again because his face was like Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream.

His false teeth were out, so his mouth was abnormally small considering it was open to its fullest extent, the skin between his upper lip and nose seemed wider than normal; and there was an indented line on his nose between his nostrils which, in profile, made him look like he had two noses.

He was lying on his back staring straight up at the ceiling with wide open, unblinking eyes as if he was shocked by something he saw on the ceiling. His head was tilted back slightly from his torso as if his head had been dropped into the soft pillow from a great height.

This tilted-back head, the shocked eyes, the open mouth all combined to make it look like he was frozen in a silent scream yet the sound coming out was a death rattle from his throat, as the air mattress beneath him made discreet little isolated cracking sounds presumably caused by the slight movements as his body made the rattling rasping breathing and his distended stomach rose and fell under the bedclothes.

The rattle was like a machine breathing through a very slightly echoey plastic tube partially blocked by air bubbles in water. I wondered if he was dead already, inside. It was as if his brain or heart must be telling his throat and chest to desperately gasp for air even though they knew it was pointless.

Towards the end, the rattle became less pronounced as the sound of the breaths within the rattle became slightly more human.

Towards the very end, the rattle slowly died out and human light breathing returned, getting gentler and gentler as his life ebbed away. When the breathing ended, I pressed the buzzer for the night sister.

When she arrived, there was some slight breathing again, but only for 40 or 60 seconds. For perhaps the last 15 seconds of his life, his mouth – until now rigidly open – partially closed then reopened three times, then his eyes slowly closed, his mouth partially closed and reopened twice more and he was dead, his eyes closed and mouth open. It was 00.35am and 22 seconds on Wednesday morning. I had arrived at about 11.03pm.

After he died, I went downstairs to the nursing home office with the night sister, whose father-in-law had died in the same room – Room 11 – of the same disease. I then went back up to the room where my father lay for 15 or 20 seconds during which time there were a couple of tiny surreal flashes through the window from the outside world.

When I went outside to my car, the black sky was flashing white with lightning. Every few seconds, the whole night-time sky was silently flashing white with increasing – but still silent – violence. On the drive back to my parents’ bungalow in Great Clacton, the flashes became whiter and more frequent and the thunder sound arrived. On the drive beside their front garden, small surreal white specks were being blown across the tarmac. When I got out of the car at my parents’ – now my mother’s – house, there was a neon-like flash of vertical lightning and a sound of rustling which continued for 60 or 90 seconds.

I took my bags inside the bungalow and then the rain started. Torrential rain thundering on the streets and windows and roof. Violent and angry rain.

It all struck me as unfathomably dramatic. My father’s death… then immediately the heavens in turmoil… then strong winds… then thunder crashes and angry, violent rain… As if the heavens, in turmoil, were protesting.

It reminded me of the death of Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play.

I looked up the quote later:

There is one within,
Besides the things that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights seen by the watch.
A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn’d, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

My father was a very ordinary man. Yet it was like the heavens were protesting.

Wednesday 27th June

In the morning, my father’s dead body lay on an occasionally cracking air bed in Room 11 of the nursing home.

People were talking about the dramatic overnight storm. The telephone lines had been cut at Weeley Crematorium but the fax line was working, so the funeral director could only talk to the crematorium by fax.

Thursday 28th June

The curate who will lead the service at my father’s funeral came round to chat to my mother.

“What was Harry like as a person?” he asked my mother.

“He was very placid,” she told him. “But if he was riled he would go through a brick wall. It would take an awful lot to get him riled, though.”

My mother partially broke down later in the day saying of the funeral: “It’s only his family that’s going to be there – only his family not my family.”

Almost immediately – within 15 seconds – the phone rang. It was her cousin Sybil ringing from Edinburgh to say she and husband Osmond (who is dying of cancer) would be coming down to the funeral.

Friday 29th June – Clacton

My mother partially broke down again in the evening.

“I’ve been worrying about this all day,” she cried to me. “When I said yesterday I had no family……. I’ve got you……. That was a terrible thing to say!”

Of course, when she had said there would be no members of her family at my father’s funeral, I had taken it the way she had meant it.

Her parents were dead. She was an only child. Almost.

She had had a brother. He died when (I think) he was aged 16 and she was 11.

Her parents had adored her brother. He was the perfect son.

My parents after their wedding

My parents married in the 1940s. My mother died in 2007, aged 86

My mother was born with no left hand – only a rounded stump. When she was a small girl, her mother told her: “Keep your left hand in your pocket. Don’t let anyone see.” She always hid her left hand from strangers.

Once, in the 1930s, she saw a man in a Glasgow street – she still remembers him clearly – leaning on the wall by an office doorway and she saw he “had exactly the same as me”. But he didn’t care if people saw it; he just behaved as if it was natural. “I wanted to talk to him but I didn’t,” she told me. “I wish I had.”

Before my mother married my father, my aunt (my father’s sister) told her: “I wish Henry could marry a whole woman.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Death, Marriage

Is comedian Lewis Schaffer’s comedy life-changing? For two people, yes it is.

Lewis Schaffer performs at the Source Below last night

Lewis Schaffer being intimate at the Source Below last night

This week, after his return to London from the Edinburgh Fringe, American comic Lewis Schaffer re-started his twice-a-week Free Until Famous shows at the Source Below in Soho.

About halfway through last night’s show, I started to realise I no longer have any idea what is funny or not for ordinary people watching his show. I really dread to think how many times I have seen Lewis Schaffer perform and all the shows tend to blend into one.

He probably has about 15 hours of material and every show is mostly drawn from the same well but each is totally different, totally shaped round each audience and full of good off-the-cuff gags which, in the past, he used to forget. Now one of his entourage writes them down and there is a chance he will remember them and add them to future shows.

“I don’t have an entourage,” Lewis Schaffer told me last night. “It’s a crew. I think it sounds better. Do you think it sounds better?”

“It sounds suitably street talk and American,” I said.

“I don’t want to be part of a crew,” Rose, one of his entourage, told me later.

I was laughing out loud throughout Lewis Schaffer’s show at the Source Below last night. So was Rose. So were comedians Matt Roper and Prince Abdi and comedian Pippa Evans’ dad, who were in the audience. People who had seen a lot of comedy were certainly enjoying the show. And I think the audience was mostly enjoying it. But I realised I had lost the ability to know. I watched two couples in the audience. In each couple, one was laughing throughout and the other was straight-faced. I have no idea if the straight-faced ones were enjoying the show or not. I think they were. Who knows? I don’t.

Rikki Fulton was not in the audience as he is dead

Rikki Fulton: comic with footsteps

Lewis had decided to zero-in on two Scots girls in the front row whose faces I could not see but one of whom should consider a career following in Rikki Fulton’s footsteps. And, in lieu of a ‘real’ black man in the audience, Lewis Schaffer decided that Somalian-born Prince Abdi would stand-in as “the black man in the audience”.

Lewis Schaffer’s comedy shows can be difficult to describe.

This one ended on time and he made a faster-than-normal exit, as he had to get to the Bloomsbury Theatre for a fundraising show in aid of Resonance FM Radio which comedian Stewart Lee had organised.

Each week, Lewis Schaffer performs two Free Until Famous shows at the Source Below, one American in London show at the Leicester Square Theatre and his Nunhead American Radio show on Resonance FM. You have to admire the fact he has avoided becoming famous.

So Lewis Schaffer and two of his entourage/crew and I got a taxi to the Bloomsbury Theatre.

He had been scheduled to be top of the bill at the gig solely because he could only arrive  just before the end of the show.

The watching Bloomsbury Theatre technician was laughing

The watching Bloomsbury Theatre technician was laughing

I think he went down well. The audience certainly laughed in all the right places. As did Stewart Lee and the sound technician in the wings – usually a very good sign. If the sound technician laughs, it’s good.

Stewart Lee called him back on stage for an encore.

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. Lewis Schaffer has a very good story about it.

“Tell the story,” Rose and I said to him as he went back on stage. The perfect story to round-off the show that night.

Of course, he did not. He told a story about a blind man. It seemed to go down well with the audience.

After the show, in the foyer, I saw two people having their photo taken with Lewis Schaffer.

This is a big advance, I thought. People must be starting to think Lewis Schaffer is actually famous.

“Listen to this,” Lewis Schaffer told me. “This is Alex and Alicia. They went to see my show at the Source Below three-and-a-half years ago.”

Lewis Schaffer (centre) with Alicia and Alex

Matchmaking Lewis Schaffer (centre) with Alicia and Alex

“We had our very first date by going to see Lewis’ show,” Alex explained to me. “We’d read about this interesting comedy gig, but we didn’t know what to expect.

“When we arrived, we thought This is a very small place to have a comedy gig and we quickly realised we were two of five people in the entire audience. We sat at the back, but Lewis asked us to move to the front to fill out the crowd and, when he discovered that Alicia was half-Welsh and half-Indian, that became the focus of the next hour’s set.

“So this first date became a kind of trial by fire for Alicia to defend her heritage as an Indian and a Welsh person and, three-and-a-half years later, we’ve stayed together and we’re now engaged.”

“When are you getting married?” I asked.

“In a couple of year’s time,” said a broadly-smiling Alicia who then added the Lewis Schaffer like proviso. “Enough time for me to back out.”

Lewis Schaffer was beaming.

He had had an impact on two people’s lives.

(There is now a YouTube clip of the first section of Lewis Schaffer’s appearance at the Bloomsbury Theatre HERE)

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy, Marriage

The untold story of comedian Malcolm Hardee’s extraordinarily odd wedding

Jacki Cook and Jon Hale remember in Whitstable yesterday

Jacki Cook and Jon Hale run the Emporium, a vintage clothing shop in Greenwich which also supplies costumes to the movie industry – they supplied jackets for Tom Cruise in his first two Mission Impossible films.

They were also friends of the ‘godfather of British alternative comedy’ Malcolm Hardee and supplied his clothing when he got married to Jane in 1994. I was there that day and – like his funeral in 2005 – it is not an experience anyone present is ever likely to forget. But I did not know the full story until I had a day trip to Whitstable with Jacki and Jonathan yesterday.

The way Malcolm told it in his autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake:

On the morning I was married, Julia was rushing around making sure the wedding suit I got from Jonathan Ross was alright and Annie The German gave me this bottle of German rum. It was about ten times the proof of normal British rum. I only had a couple and then I staggered off to the wedding at 11 o’clock.

After the Registry Office, I went back home and had four hours to recover before the Church Blessing at 5.00pm – or so I thought. But Annie The German gave me another rum and spiked it with some sort of hallucinogenic drug. It’s some liquid stuff they have over in Germany – a mixture of amphetamine, hallucinogenic and some other stuff.

I suppose she thought she was doing me a favour.

Emporium kitted me out with tails and a top hat and all that game, though I didn’t wear the top hat. Didn’t look right on me.

Someone had painted HELP! on the soles of my shoes – which I didn’t know about – so that when I knelt down in church everyone in the congregation could read it. I felt a bit faint halfway through, so I had to go to sit down on one side.

“It was Jon who wrote HELP,” Jacki told me yesterday.

“We supplied him with his outfit for the wedding,” explained Jon. “He came to our house to get the clothes to get dressed for the wedding. But Malcolm had seen a bag of dope at a friend’s house…”

“…and he had smoked it,” said Jacki, “and, what with everything else, that was it. He was finished.”

“I’d done his shoes the night before the wedding,” explained Jon, “with the letters HE written on the sole of his left shoe and LP on the sole of his right shoe. Obviously, I didn’t tell him.”

“He looked nice in his suit,” said Jacki.

“When did he find out about HELP being on the soles of his shoes?” I asked Jon. “Did he ask afterwards why people laughed when he knelt down?”

“Malcolm was totally wiped-out,” Jon explained. “Remember halfway through the ceremony he had to sit down and the vicar had to…”

“Oh!” said Jacki, remembering. “Malcolm keeled over, didn’t he!”

“He had to go to the bench…” Jon continued.

“Didn’t someone else almost get married to Jane?” I said, dimly remembering what I saw. When Malcolm had had to go and sit down, his best man – comedian Martin Soan – stood-in for him at the altar while the vicar warbled on until Malcolm was able to stand again. It had looked, for a time, as if Malcolm was not going to be able to stand again in time for the vows.

“It was close,” agreed Jon. “Malcolm could only just get through the ceremony.”

“He said I do,” Jacki reminded us. “And then he lost it.”

“Malcolm disappeared into one of the Confession booths,” said Jon. “And everybody…”

“He was being sick in there…” said Jacki.

“… everybody was waiting for him to come out and he was being ill in there, wasn’t he…” added Jon.

“…and that mad German woman was there,” Jacki reminded us. “Annie The German. Clare’s (Malcolm’s sister’s) pen friend. But Malcolm used to write her filthy letters, didn’t he, when they were kids. And she was mad for Malcolm. She wanted to marry Malcolm. He said it was such a shock when he saw her.”

“I think I met her at the wedding,” I said.

“She’s crazy,” said Jacki.

“She was a chemist,” said Jon. “She made this stuff and was going round giving us all these little drops from this pipette thing. A thing she’d engineered herself.”

“She was pretty crazy,” said Jacki. “Two hundred Rothmans cigarettes and a bottle of whisky in the handbag. A big 200 pack of Rothmans… ‘kin hell, Malcolm was scared of her, but it was because he’d sent her all these filthy letters. She was Claire’s pen friend… The German!” Jacki laughed. “Annie The German!…”

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Drugs, Marriage, Weddings