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Thursday, September 22, 2005


It is eight o’ clock at 52, Donnay Road, Preston, the sun’s streaming in through the crevice in the wall that has never quite been repaired. The radio is softly playing the closing bars of a popular 60’s number. A scene of simple domestic bliss unfolds.

Enter The Fred ( Ed—A nodding salutation to the exploits of That Man from Basel ).Freshly showered, shaved and laundered

The Fred :Here, Rachel, where’s ma cardigan, pet ? Gotcha a terribly important meetin’ today, wid me aye-gent, tha knows. Hey, Holly, (smiles to his daughetr in her cradle)
how’s the morning treating you, my precious ?
Rachel: Andy, where do ya have to go today ? I had planned summat’ , tha know. We need ta move into a bigger home-this can get cawd in the winter, there’s no room to swing a cat in here,and……

The Fred : Be reight, lass . Thissen always frettin’—the childer come, nowt’s the matter, we take care. Anyway, the little ‘un isn’t xpected till March.

The telephone rings. The Fred, prudently has no mobile-his fingers are too large to hit the buttons.

(Voice on the other side ) Hi, Fred. It’s me, Jamie. When are you coming over ? A small matter has come up.

The Fred : Hi, Jamie. Tha allus’ saying that. What’s up now ?

James Ashgarn: The biography is fine, Fred—except that it lacks a little something. We need to spruce it up pronto. Need your help. Come in soon.

The Fred bids goodbye to R & H, drives up in his Porsche and pulls up near his lit agent Ashgarn’s office. Waddles in, they greet each other and are seated .

James Ashgarn: As I was saying, the stories have come out well—artistic capturing of your, ahem, beverage-friendly days, those meaningful pub proms and more than enough of your recent successes. Trouble is, the part between your overweight fat stooge avatar and your current God-like status is rather thin.

The Fred: Aye, that’s true. Trouble is, Ah cannot missen remember much of those, They called me pudgy then. ( stares vacantly into space ). Ah cannot even r’ber what ‘appen’d the last week, we chugged a fair bit , tha know ( smiles modestly)

James Ashgarn: I know, I know. Maybe what we could do is run through the negatives, pictures and photographs we have of the past series and then… shall we ?
( The Fred nods assent, and they crawl in on bended knee to the dark room in the basement)

( Now the Gentle Reader will know that this mise-en-scene is eerily similar to a similar scrape in a film called Leave it alone now, Partner )

The Fred: Oof, what bit me ? Dark in here—let’s get outcha here quick ( like most giants, is scared of furry rodents )
James Ashgarn: Okay, what do we have here. These are photos of the South Africa series—anything that you can throw light on ?

The Fred : Tha is right, we need more light in this friggin’ place. Oh, that series, nowt much—a few bars, an’ dancin’, tha know—that sorta thing.

James Ashgarn: I guess we’ll have to get material on your overseas tours then. What about New Zealand ? ( The Fred shakes his ample head—Too damn cawd, by golly.). India ?

The Fred: Could av’ summat there—land of snakes, Taj Mahal, elephants ( James is getting impatient—never let this chump begin on his General Knowledge expositions ). (Reaches for the photos) Lemme av’ a look—nowt Chandigarh, Calcutta, Bangalore—nice pubs,!), Nah ! What’s this ? Me picking up summat’ from the ground in Delhi.

James Ashgarn : Nowt much, I mean, nothing much—can you think of anything ? A-n-y thing ?

( The Fred squirms—Thinking’s always a rum task, an’ this bloke not back'ard at comin' for'ard. ) What about… ? Nah, cannot say that.

James Ashgarn : ( quick as a Geraint Jones missed chance ) It’s fine, tell me . Go on.

(The Fred is now noticeably uncomfortable—shifts his girth):What me was thinkin’ was –can we say that pellet me pickin’ up and lookin’ at the mob behind is a bullet. Ah mean, like, a real bullet ? Like guns, rifles an’ stuff ? ( looks away )

James Ashgarn: Why didn’t you say anything then ?
The Fred: Ow, it was nowt—didn’t hurt much !

James Ashgarn: Hey, we hit it –WE HIT IT ! What a story ! Gentle giant shot at by enemy crowd, picks up bullet, rubs arm and continues. A real hero ! That’d be summat’ –I mean, something !

The Fred: Tha thinks so ? Great ! Ah’ll take your leave then—the missus’ xpectin’ me.. Ah know tha will take care of this. Ta, Gaffer !
( leaves a relieved man)


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