In the mood

2009-10-03 00:00

THE Glenwood Spar is a benevolent sort of place, I mean they have there one of those large-size trolleys at the exit with a picture of a wee cuddly Beagle puppy and a sign inviting one to donate pet food to the SPCA. Good idea, thought I, because according to noseweek if you give money straight to the SPCA, the staff nick 60% of it to buy shiny motor cars and call them admin costs and the poor lil pusscats and budgies and things get but a small tspnfl of minced pilchards or a single birdseed and I think that is shocking. Anyway there stands this great big trolley and since the last whenever it’s had in it a tin of cat food and a plastic bag of cats’ wee-wee litter and I think that is shocking too, where went the public love of animals, hey?

Then too they invite mature musicians of yesteryear to come along of a nice Saturday morning and give us a merry tune with their creaky Moong synthesisers and electrical guitars that look like old cricket bats and saxophones full of spit and sing us sweet old Country and Western songs from nineteen oh sixty five. Also Dean Martin type love music. You know, If our Lips should Meet, Inamorata, stuff like that, known as lyrics because in Pythagoras’s day poets would play them on their lyres. There’s quite a fairground buzz, I tell you, on a Sat a.m. Why, at one time they even had a nice big table with a clean cloth and plenty of cakes and yummies and tea and comfy benches marked SENIORBURGERS which kids thought were also something to eat, and all this was free to any tired old toppie and v. generous and civilised. Tea-time started at eleven. But after a bit tired old toppies who arrived at half past would complain that there weren’t enough cakes to go round and the manager would put out more and more each week until it became clear no toppie in the world could consume so much pastry and the manager took to checking quietly from the corner of his eye and there noticed the toppies who arrived first having a quick tuck-in and sticking the remaining cakes in their bags and that, as they say, was that. Maybe the toppies nicked the cat food too.

But the benches are still there, and there I espy Peggy who has come to look like a smallish snowball with bright blue eyes. I used to write lurid love letters to Peggy when I was eighteen in the Air Force and she was bouncy as a tennis ball with bright blue eyes. With her is another ancient auntie who is a bit narrower and longer but also snowy white, I remember her as if from yesterday but damme if I can remember anybody’s name any more. Never to worry, I’ll politely ask her in genteel conversation. If conversation is possible. The din round here is appalling, you see, there’s a decrepit old hairless dude in faded youth-raiment blasting away on a bass sax with the sonic frequencies of a lavatory bowl, and he’s right next to my left ear. He’s got his jersey stuffed into the bloody thing to no avail, people talking at the tills are yelling their heads off, the intercom lady announcing this week’s bargains has her volume turned up 100% and she’s yelling too. But I’ll try. The old bugger’s into a ghastly 1925 piece called In the Mood which seems it will be with us unto the grave, f’chrissakes. The Moong goes kachoonkachoonkachoonk then the saxophone goes PARP! Again and again. Then again.

After some time the musician stops momentarily and mops his mouth and blows his nose and looks on his hanky to see what he’s blown out and puts it in his pocket. Ullo Pegs, I say quickly. Hullo, says she, you remember my friend...PARP! goes the lavatory bowl. Sorry, I missed the name, say I. Friend opens her lips to speak...PARP! it goes. I have quietened down with age, I shall be patient and polite. I shall wait my time. Saxophonist stops to see what’s in the other nostril and I open my lips but Friend beats me to it...she speaks... she says she excels both of us youngsters in the age business, she’s 91. Mazal tov, say I to Friend, quickly, you don’t look a year over 90. Friend giggles. You look much better than you did last time we met, says she. Better than what? say I. She looks sideways, upwards, thinks, smiles. You mean I looked worse than I do now? say I.

PARP! goes the lavatory bowl. Kachoonkachoonkachoonk goes the Moong. Mister wotchacallit wotcha doin tonight? Hope you’re in the mood because I’m feelin jus right. I wave ta-ta. It is all too much. I could have written things on a piece of paper. I don’t even know ol’ Peg’s name since 1944. Maybe she’ll write to the Witneus. Maybe she even has an address.

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