Doghouse Blues 3
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Roger Fraser continues to battle the vexing absurdities of modernism, his aim to stay out of the doghouse by adopting meditation as an antidote to combat his hang-ups. When it comes to neutralising uppity officials and slaying implacable harridans masquerading as mewling princesses, Roger has no equal in the world of high-finance and within his wife Charlotte’s social set.
He survives a no-nonsense outward bound course instructor, boldly engages status quo doyens including an intractable hanging judge and a very persistent spook, avoids being mugged by lazoonland trailer trash, and subdues an autocratic drama teacher.
On a lighter note, Roger dodges the clutches of jailbait schoolgirls, is bedeviled by an overzealous impresario and battles intransigent shrews amongst a plethora of highly contentious and hilarious incidents, but despite his new found remedy, inevitably he winds up in the doghouse, wondering where it all went wrong.
Just before the train pulled out of Euston, a man dressed like a 1950s spiv, replete with snazzy moustache, Signal-white teeth and wearing a wide pinstripe, two-piece suit, two-tone crocodile shoes and a Homburg, took his seat opposite Fraser and Giddins. “Mornin’ gents,” he trilled in a broad cockney accent. “Larry Leggett’s the name. Beautiful day for feedin’ the ducks, innit. Think I’ll get meself somethin’ from the dining car. I ‘aven’t had brekkie yet. Back in a jiffy.” “Yes, good morning, Mister Leggett,” Fraser convivially interchanged, smirking as the verbose traveller made his way along the aisle. “Good grief,” Giddins exclaimed. “What was that?” “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Boycie from Only Fools and Horses will be joining us for the journey north.” “I’ve not seen anything like that out in public since I was a boy,” Giddins brought to mind. “And it was in Dad’s Army.” “Actually, I’ve just remembered another Boycie incarnation juncture.” “Go on.” “Three summers ago, Charlotte and I rented the Villa da Como de Grande with friends at Lake Como while we toured the Italian lakes. We’d hired a Mercedes Benz Viano MPV, not dissimilar to the one we own, from Europcar at Milan Malpensa Airport to ferry us around. I was tasked with returning the vehicle to Europcar on return to Malpensa. I’d finished my transaction when the doors to the Europcar branch burst open and in walked a family of six led by a spit and image replica of Boycie. He wanders up to the customer counter and says to the attendant in a broad South London accent, ‘oi mate, got a mota?’ Wobbling his pate he replies, ‘mi scusi.’ ‘Got a mota, mate?’ Boycie repeats holding an imaginary steering wheel in both hands and manoeuvring it, ‘you, know, brumm, brumm?’ The aide-de-camp dropped into a perplexed condition, so I decided to play the Christian and help him out. I said in my broken Italian, ‘mi scusi signore, il signore vuole noleggiare un’automobile.’ Boysie looks at me all indignant and says, ‘yeah that’s what I said, a mota!”“Jesus, I can just imagine it. Wonderful stuff, Roger.” “Oh, by the way, before I forget,” Fraser pressured, becoming serious, “what’s your opinion of Miranda Payton?” “Our illustrious female dealer? Well, one of them.” “Yes.” “I muster from sources in the know, she’s a sublime shag, but in terms of business savvy, for a trader, she’s a little short of instinct, and—” Derisively, he curled his upper lip. “She gets on my tits!” “Hah! Prove the theory and disclose the evidence.” “Very funny, Roger.” “Come on, why?” “Every time I see her, she’s either faffing about applying cosmetics or quaffing up her hair, when she should be rampaging through the business A to Z looking for new clients.” “Yes, that has not gone unnoticed in other quarters.” “Anyway, why do you ask?” “Henry Jacques has pressed me to recommend someone to take on the Buchanan-Elston account before he goes to Ricky and suggests the candidate.” “Oh I see. What about Lance Brisket? He always strikes me as being astute.” “He ingests too much Columbian marching powder.” “What? “Coc.” “Ah, yes. He does seem hypnotised by white line fever.” “I agree he’s perspicacious and in this contemporary age of less than Einstein-like bullpen inhabitants, even intelligent, but running off to the gents every five minutes and reappearing ersatz he’s had an accident with a tin of talcum powder equates with a no-no for interfacing with the Mister Cleans’ at Buchanan-Elston.” “Alright, how about Austin Franks?” Fraser sucked in breath. “Bit too ponsified. He even makes sisters Beavis and Butthead appear masculine in comparison. I know it’s unintentional, but the odd way he dresses, walks and even talks, could soon incur the indignation of Buchanan-Elston. I’ve mulled over advocating other old-school candidates, but most are maxed-out already, or for various reasons I don’t think the client would be comfortable with them.” “Phew, a Catch-22 then.” “Yes.” He grimaced. “Now I’m thinking, I’ll have to give sincere consideration to the Essex barrow boy fraternity.” “That’s really scraping the barrel. I mean, if Miranda, Lance and Austin don’t fit the bill, what would Buchanan-Elston make of the likes of Lawrence Springs and Brendan Kirkman?” “Good point. Only recently, someone requisitioned me to label the Essex brigade traders. The best I came up with was rough, blurry, fast, dark. Some of them might be capable of delivering on the client’s prerequisites in terms of nous coupled with presentation, but invariably as a subsection of mainstream society, they always feel inclined to live up to their own mythology. It’d scare the client.” “So who are you going to endorse?” “I’ll give it more thought. You see, despite Henry and I being close, I think he’s handed me a poison chalice. Buchanan-Elston is going to be an important account for The Firm, and if whoever I commend as the designated dealer fuck’s it up, it will rebound on me.” “I must say, setting aside Henry’s charm and obvious business talents, he can be a sly old fox, if need be.” After gaping down the carriage aisle, Fraser tapped Giddins arm. “Watch out, Flash Harry’s approaching.” “That’s betta,” Leggett announced, patting his stomach. “I can’t function prop’ly in the mornins’, until I’ve ‘ad an injection of caffeine an’ a bacon roll.” “What’s taking you north, Mister Leggett?” Fraser enquired. “You can call me Larry.” “What’s taking you north, Larry?” “Well, it’s like this. I’m an impresario and a rock band manager. I’m goin’ to Glasgow to bash out a bargain for my band Fanny’s Aunt on the Nedstock roster.” “Nedstock!” Giddins cackled. “What on Earth is that?” “You remember Woodstock?” “Vaguely, I was taking my embryonic steps at the time.” “Well, Nedstock is the Glaswegian equivalent of Woodstock, only with local Ned bands and a few outsiders, like my Fanny’s Aunt.” Confounded by the term, Giddins echoed, “ned?”. “Allow me to enlighten you, Oscar,” Fraser submitted. “A Ned is what older Glaswegians call a young Glaswegian tearaway.” “You mean, yobs?” “Yes, yobs is the nearest facsimile.” “And presumably, Mister Leggett, er Larry,” Giddins qualified, “the people frequenting Nedstock are also Neds.” “Got it in one, guv’nor. Fanny’s Aunt ‘ave done very well in Jockland over many years, ever since their singer, Butch Bollocks—” “Butch Bollocks!” Giddins interceded, goggling at Fraser. “With such an outlandish stage name, he must make Kenny Everett’s Sid Snot come across as highbrow.” “Nice of you to say so, but ‘e’s not that sophisticated, and by the way, it’s his real name. Anyway, as I wos about to say, Butch got done for grand theft auto, so I’m hopin’ to negotiate a very lucrative contract with the Nedstock management.” Glowering with mystification, Fraser prompted, “do I take you to mean, the Neds see car stealing as a feather in the cap of those tangled in the entertainment industry?” “Oh yeah, theft and Neds go ‘and in glove, specially when it comes to half-inchin’ a tasty set of wheels.” “And can we surmise,” Giddins propositioned, “the female variety of the species is a Nedette?” “Quite right, guv’nor. ‘ere—” Leggett leered, his moustache stretching to form a coyote-like kisser. “Why doesn’t a Nedette use a vibrator?” Bemused, The Firm’s men negatively quivered their heads. “Because it’d chip her teeth. Hah…hah, ha, ha…hah.” Appalled, The Firm’s men exchanged disgusted mannerisms. “‘ere’s another. How do you confuse a Ned?” Flustered, Giddins and Fraser exchanged bewildered visages. “Put ‘im in a round room and tell ‘im to piss in the corner. Hah…hah, ha, ha. I got hundreds of them.” “That’s quite enough. Mister Leggett, er Larry,” Fraser entreated. “We get the picture.” “Nedstock will be full of Neds and Nedettes, all wantin’ to get their clammy, nicotine stained mitts on my Butch Bollocks.” Gloating gleefully, he predicted, “it means Fanny’s Aunt are gonna sell a lot of copies of their new album, Pussy Squirt Death Mask. It comes out just before Nedstock.” Simpering, Fraser then mis-quoted, “by the time we got to Nedstock, we were half a million strong.” “Wot?” Leggett bawled, mouth agape, tongue flopping out and evidently mystified. “It’s an adaptation of a Joni Mitchell lyric.” “Oh, yeah.” “Forgive my unambiguous ignorance, Larry,” Fraser begged, “but I’ve never heard of Fanny’s Aunt.” “You must ‘ave done, guv’nor,” Leggett refuted as if his act were a national treasure. “Their name wos splashed all over the front and centre pages of the Sun, the Mirror and the Daily Sport, summer 2011, when the band wos arrested with a bunch of groupies having it away in the Trafalgar Square fountains.” Pausing, he developed a smug expression. “I put ‘em up to the ruse, as a publicity stunt.” “Sorry to disappoint you, Larry, but the occurrence never infiltrated the culture section of the Telegraph.” Leaning frontwards, Fraser puckishly snooped, “tell me, do you see yourself as a latter-day Malcolm Maclaren?” “I used to know Malcolm in the 1970s, but he went all up-market, so I lost contact with him. Shame.” “What type of music does this act of yours play?” Giddins supplicated, already shuddering at the prospective answer. “It’s a little bit of D-beat, mixed in with rap-metal, an’ a smidgen of Ghettotech.” “I’m not going to investigate what those terms mean, because I know I won’t understand, or like the clarification.” His vocal chords ringing with pride and neglecting the obvious put-down, Leggett furnished, “I can get you gents a couple of Nedstock complimentary tickets. Then you’d get to see Fanny’s Aunt. They were ‘eadliners on their 2010 US tour. Played every venue between New York and Los Angeles, and for top dollar too. If I play my cards right with the Nedstock promoter, my band will be ‘eadlining alongside Kojock, a local bunch of right nutters from Gorbals.” “Appealing though it sounds, Larry,” Fraser restrained, “I think we will pass on your kind offer. By the way, are Kojock a kind of Celtic take on Kojak?” “Dang, well…” Consumed in concentration, he scratched his hooter. “They’re follicle challenged like the Telly Savalas character, but it’s because they’ve ‘ad their ‘eads shaved and tattooed with erect muff marauder images.” “Dickheads then?” Giddins concluded, his latest slight sailing over the impresario’s “ead’. “‘ere, I’ll give you gents some free advice. If ever you do end up in Glasgow, mind your jam jar. I caught a couple of urchins in the Gorbals with their paws all over my vintage ‘59 caddie. Had to give them a seeing-to. I mean, touching a man’s mota is as bad as touching his dick! It’s written in The Bible, one of the commandments; ‘Thou shalt not touch another man’s mota, on pain of excruciating death.’” “Irrefutably,” Fraser capriciously backed whilst gurning at Giddins.
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