Late Thoughts on a Slow Wednesday #3

ITEM: Thank you HMV for, in your infinite wisdom, shelving Big Tits Zombie in the World Cinema section of your store and allowing my beloved Horror genre to retain its one last shred of dignity.

ITEM: I didn’t buy any DVDs in HMV though. Today’s bargain bucket goodies came from The Works, who were having a 2 for £5 clear out, and in their racks I found a four DVD box set consisting of Funny Girl, Philadelphia, The Way We Were and Born Free/Living Free. The set was compiled under the auspices of Reader’s Digest (but it doesn’t look as if the movies have been condensed), and on the back it reads ‘HER MOVIES This exclusive movie collection from Reader’s Digest brings the best Hollywood has to offer to women of all ages.’ As a woman of a certain age I can be doing with that.

By way of reasserting my masculinity, for my second choice of the 2 for £5 I bought a Baywatch DVD with Pamela Anderson in the iconic red cossie on the cover. I could feel the testosterone pumping through my system as I handed it over to the cashier (or maybe it was heartburn). I used to love watching the adventures of Mitch and the gang back in the day, and then come Monday morning in the office me and the guy I sat next to would discuss the intricacies of the plot while the women at the desks on either side of us would look on and shake their heads in disbelief. They thought we were only interested in the Baywatch Babes. As if.

I was never really into Pamela Anderson though. Too plastic and fiercely mammalian for my liking. My favourite was coltish Alexandra Paul as Lt Stephanie Holden (or ‘the ugly one’ according to Miss P, who has always found my taste in women dubious). I’m looking forward to watching this. It will be fun to wallow in nostalgia and hanker after the beach bum lifestyle.

ITEM: This is my first blog post since the 13th, and each day since then the number of views has risen. If I stop blogging altogether I could eventually catch up with John Scalzi. The whole ‘lucy liu bondage’ thing continues to generate traffic – four searches today, nine yesterday. I’m at a loss to explain it. Obviously a lot of people are having ‘those’ kind of fantasies about my favourite Angel.

ITEM: I expect, indeed I hope, that all of you have smoke alarms. So why the hell is it that every time those things start to bleep to indicate the battery is getting low it’s always in the middle of the night? The stepladder is out in the garage, so there I am in my jimjams at three o’clock in the morning standing on a telephone book and stretching up trying to flip the damned thing open so that I can tear out the battery and get some ruddy sleep. It was not a pretty sight.

ITEM: Today I wandered up Ber Street, a part of Norwich that I haven’t visited in years. Back in the day I worked in an office nearby and the early morning trip to Horrie’s Cafe for salmonella laden bacon butties was an office tradition – once these were so rancid we placed them out on a window ledge and even the pigeons wouldn’t touch them.

Ber Street had a certain reputation as a red light district, though the only evidence I ever saw of this during daylight hours was a telephone kiosk to the inside walls of which were blu-tacked an assortment of cards advertising the services of models and masseuses. Allegedly, after dark ladies of dubious professional accomplishments would parade up and down getting cruised by the passing cars, though as my bus never went that way it isn’t something I can personally testify to the veracity of.

I used to go out drinking with a woman who liked her pints, and at the time I was going through a thing with advocaat, and that eventually tipped over into the consumption of snowballs (do they still make those?). Regardless of how we placed the order or who paid, bar staff would invariably put the pint in front of me and the snowball in front of my companion, which used to annoy her intensely. A gay-centric pub in Ber Street, The Jolly Butchers, was the only place these assumptions weren’t made, and so occasionally we washed up there for liquid lunch, joking about whether the bar staff thought I was a woman in drag (I had then, and still have now, man boobs to make even Pammie feel threatened) or she was a guy in drag.

Today the whole area has been gentrified and no self-respecting streetwalker would be seen dead touting for business. There are furniture boutiques and international hair salons (barbers, to you and me), oriental food wholesalers and antique shops. Horries Cafe has gone, with no trace left of its passing, not even a spurned rasher of Denmark’s finest. The Jolly Butchers is now the Baby Buddha Chinese Tea Rooms. All it needs is one of those beauty ‘cliniques’ where tiny fish feast on dead skin, and the fall into grace and out of favour will be complete.

The really rather splendid chip shop was still there though, and that – mon  frère, ma soeur – was the important thing.

ITEM: It’s a day for coincidences and nostalgia. In a generally ho hum exhibition of textile work titled “Repeat” at the Norwich University College of Art gallery I found two pieces by the artist Louise Richardson, including a rather marvellous flapper style dress that looked as if in part it had been made out of dead matchsticks, though of course it hadn’t. I once bought a bronze reclining nude from Anna Richardson, Louise’s mother. It’s still taking centre stage on the sideboard in the front room, and looks so much more appealing than the bowl of fruit that used to stand there.

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