TSP interviews'Pottie The Parrot' author
TSP interviews'Pottie The Parrot' author
|TS Eliot interviewed by The Sock Puppet|
The Sock Puppet: Giz a Potted Outline of yr Youth, Petal...
Troy Story Eliot: ...of my younghood, Sugar? The absolute gist? Psh-haw... Oh Yaaah... mine was a DEADLY SUBMARINE of a childhood; a very Cold War Business done with black-and-white cut-outs in tedious Slow-Mo. I was born into a Lower Class household in a leafless suburb of Wroittenborough. My parents went astray when I was still a tot, Ma ran off with the first Peace Convoy that came along; then Pop upped and chased his dream of becoming a Brazilian Mud Wrestler. Godknows what became of them.
|Copyright Double Dutch Mint|
After they disappeared, I was adopted by Dirty Aunt Ernestina. Her dwelling was even further across the tracks, a pebble-dashed packing crate on a soap-opera council estate. Dirty but Daring, Ernestina fed me on Love Hearts and Licorice Allsorts. I contracted chronic toothache and with the help of Welfare was fully braced and re-capped by the age of thirteen. Honest to God, mine was the Smile that topedoed a thousand Liberty Ships. Despite that, I fooled a Gang of Bikers into kidnapping me as a Media Heiress. Over a single weekend, I swopped my sweet Jimmy Savile Innocence for one Jimmy Hendrix Experience after another. By Monday morning, I found myself approaching the Garden Gates of Eton at a hundred and twenty on the clock. Suddenly, there was a hairpin bend in the road, then a great bang, and I was flung from the pillion. When I looked up, I immediately realised what had gone down. An over-rich fuel mix had blown the carburettor gasket. Off my face in panic, I'd gone into a Back Flip and landed on my Toes.
TSP: Did you ring the bell?
TSE: To that posh school? My Governess, no! Even I knew never to do that! I climbed over the ironwork and scurried round to the rear. Hunger led me, by the nose, straight into the Refectory. Breakars was being served, so I slipped through the crowd and sat down with some kids of my own age. It was the first time I tasted porridge in my life.
TSP: Incredible! Does porridge have a taste?
TSE: Crème brûlée to my poor, uneducated tongue. Until that day, I thought Breakfast was a type of Dog Food.
TSP: Then you enrolled?
TSE: Not officially. By a stroke of fate, my arrival had coincided with day one of the new term. There were hundreds of newbies and nobody noticed that my plimsolls hadn't stepped out of a Rolls. So in vogue was my Street Style Rap they never thought the Lower Class Gauche was anything but a Spectacular Pose. I was perceived as Eton's answer to Stephen Fry, who was requisitioned by Top Hatted Geezers long before their Mothers were Invented. When anyone asked who my Pop was, I would frown and whisper my real name – Jeanne-Paula Satyre - and that I was a Deep Cover Operative from Poverty International. Then they'd laugh themselves hoarse. Never could understand why. In fact, in my fourth year the School Sec began to wonder why too. There were Great Arrears in my fees, see.
TSP: That sounds rather far-fetched! Hadn't the Bursar spotted the slip up?
TSE: Not at all! So fond of the sauce was he, the Accounts Book was all wine-stains and ink-blots. It was only when a snooping reporter got on the case that my txt msgs to Jim'll Fix It came to light.
TSP: Uh-Oh! That must have been embarrassing! How did you get out of that one?
TSE: Top of the form, woznai? Teacher's pet. Captain of Girls' Rugger and Meanest Hooker on and off the Cricket grounds. To them, the Ice Cream Spoon stuck in the corner of me mouth was the heighth of Chic. They unearthed a chest of scholars' ship-money from somewhere and finally I was able to go home for the holidays.
TSP: And where WAS Home during that traumatic period?
TSE: Same as ever, Sugar. Dirty Aunt Ernestina's five-bedroomed council 'arse in Wroittenborough. D'you know, she hadn't even reported me missing, the dear old fraud? As my Grauniad, she'd been living it up on Free School Meals with smokes and drinks on Child Benefit.
TSP: That was Dead Bad of her. What about yr education? Hadn't the sagging-off snoopers bin round the auld homestead?
TSE: That's the best part! Aunt Ernestina had never been educated, see, so, disguised as me, there she was filing her nails on my desk at the local state-assisted, woznit?
TSP: A GRAMMAR School, by Jeeves?
TSE: Very forward-looking place was Wroittenborough in those days! Mind you, Esnestina finally learnt her three Rs and was serving up Claims left, right and centre court. Of course, when I showed my mug, she had to pack the racket in.
|Guest Artist Slot|
TSP: (very slowly) Woz yer ant pleased t'see yuz after all them years?
TSE: Oh, I should say! She was enchanted! Positively poisoned me with Municipal Kindness! Nicked my Old Spoon, for spite. The Dratted Thing thought it was silver plate and took it down the pawnshop for a quote.
TSP: How much did they spot her for the heirloom?
TSE: Let's just say it was in shillings and pence. Anyroads, soon afterwards, there was I, passing the very shop and I seeing it in the winder! “Me Plastic Spoon!”, I walked in and cried. No dice. I had to sneak home and filch the chit from her purse. The purse was empty besides, she having spent all the ill-gained on Love Hearts and Licorice Allsorts. I had to redeem the jolly old mouthpiece from my own stash of bobs and tanners.
TSP: Didn't you confront her over the theft?
TSE: Confront Ernestina? Like, ask a Bookie for your Stake Back when your Horse comes in Last? Do me a Por Favoree! I had to play it straight-faced, eleven vols on the QT. I started putting out like the regular toffee-nosed-twerp. Boasted of me Pushbike Pass into Downing Street and pied-à-terre on Throgmorton Street.
TSP: Would you say you conformed to any stereotypes in your choice of occupations?
TSE: Quite right. And with the proceeds, bought me Aunt a Traffic Warden's Outfit for her thirty-third birthday.
TSP: Yer made a Meter Maid of her? That woz... imaginative. Did the Trick, as such?
TSE: Capital, dear boy, Capital! To this day she struts the streets of Wroittenborough in black uniform, fishnet tights, notebook and pen in hand, dishing out fines and dreaming of pinching Sir Paul McCartney. Made an honest woman of her!
TSP: And, as everyone knows, when you came up from Eton, you returned to your old home town to become the first Blasted Toff to live there since 1922.
TSE: Aye-aye, together, Ernestina and I have stood this old place back on its knees. A few years ago, it was a paradise of benefit cheats, dope pedlars and thoughtless parkers. Nowadays, if anyone so much as dreams of making a bogus claim or overstaying their welcome outside Lidl, down we swoop and pester them with Family Circle Wheel Clamps and Snooty Insinuations. (Plummy voice:) “See here, you Plebs you, these are all Private Recreation Grounds, aintchya got stately homes to go to?”
TSP: It must be sheer hell for the petty grafters of Wroittenborough!
|Copyright Banks of Inngland, Enngland, Angland & Glond|
TSE: Well, they do keep crawling from the woodwork. Then there are all the pensioners camped out in the Municipal Gardens. I'm up to my eyeballs confiscating their Residents' Vehicle Permits.
TSP: But what of your dreams? Do you not hope one day to give up the provincial life and bring your brand of Squalor-Busting Snobbery to the streets of London or New York? Don't you think the Rest of the World needs an Avenging Twerp like you?
TSE: You're reckoning without the great enemy I made at Eton. You see, soon after my reconciliation with Dirty Aunt Ernestina, I was tracked down by the Rotter Spiro de Mountebank. He invoked the Curse of The Three Snitches and impregnated me - while all I could do was simply to Look On in Horror. As a result, I became the Single Ma of dear little Beastie Braddocksnicker, who binds me to this Manor. Whenever I try to cross its Borders, I hear those Tiny Tot Cries, impelling me to run home and Prostrate myself before Her Noble Pottyness. Motherhood has turned me into the Prisoner of the Parish Boundaries.
TSP: Life must be Dead Tedious for you all the way up here!
TSE: Never say die! There is always some little hole I can crawl into on my four-days-off-a-week. Moreover, Wroittenborough has become almost Metropolitan since I came to Power. As well as the Old Town, we have incorporated the seaside resort of Wroittenmouth, Enclosed the great common of Wroittendale and Compulsory Purchased the Twin Plateaus of Wroittencraig - where the oiks go cross-country skating in winter and cheese rolling in summer. And life has its ups and downs, especially with that Rotter Spiro de Mountebank yelping at my heels. By day, he dwells in the alehouses of Wroitten-under-the-Burgh. After nightfall, out he comes wreaking squalor on the poor constituents and stirring me from my Single Parent's Bed. Wearing his Faux Claimant's Cloak & Coronet, he musters hordes of self-employed tree surgeons and their Privet Husbands; they throng the led-lit streets, tweaking Mayhem from the rubber hydrants and popping the windscreens of clapped out Bubble Cars. Little by little, I am learning how and when to circumcise their lewd displays of Insubordination. Meantime, there remain simply vols and vols of adventures for me to hack through. And with little Beastie to bring up on the Strange and Callow, there's seldom a straight moment in the life of this Community Cheat-Busting Bitch!
|Copyright Little Brown Jug, 2012|
TSP: I see yer plugged yr vols back then. How goes the old pen-pushing these days?
TSE: What, I? Make Mention of my Printed Books? The very Cheek of it!
TSP: Come, come, Madame, with twenty-eight best-sellers to your name, shifts of your latest book have taken an unexpected downpan. How do you explain this sudden loosening in the bowels of yr popular following?
TSE: I'm sorry, my Agent's making signs through the window. That's enough questions.
TSP: Surely you'll take this opportunity to explain the Great Plot Void between Vols 9 and 14 of 'Hottie The Carrot'?
TSE: That's not a very nice thing to say, Young Man! Well, never mind, time's up. I mean, little Beastie's crying for her changey-wangey!
TSP: Well, thanks for all yr troubles.
TSE: 'Twas nix! BTW, Sugar, no cash payment. Hand Ernestina your card to swipe on the way out.
|Sock it To 'Em|