Getting down wit da lingo

Today, while minding my own business in a car park, a man, opening the door for me made a noise that I thought had died out through evolution at some time in the 1970’s. He went: “NUUUUUARGHOOOR”.

I must point out that he didn’t seem drunk, under the influence of drugs, or “special needs” – just a middle aged man, with two others in an anorak/parka type garment. He made the noise as I ducked under his armpit to get into the car park.

I gave him my “consternation” look, which is intended to convey a mixture of disdain, slight confusion and a hint of “You are clearly mad” but like all my complicated “dirty looks” it probably came across as ‘Cross Tweety’ as usual.image

I racked my brains as to why the noise was so familiar and if so, what did it actually signify? As I reached my car, I got it. The last time I heard that noise was in the ‘Carry On’ films, usually uttered by Sid James, Bernard Breslaw or Jim Davis.image

It is, of course, archaic now. The noise was supposed to signify a primitive appreciation of the female form, rather like that other old fashioned sound, the ‘wolf whistle’. I remember the appropriate response to the whistle was to conjour up a fish-wife like voice and scream: “Wasser matter mate? Lost your farkin dog?” And everyone was happy that a tradition had been maintained.

As for the correct response to the guttural “NUUUUUARGHOOOR” I must admit I hadn’t a clue. I assume the origins of the sound reach far back into ancient history and may have been a Neandertal greeting prior to a mating display. Before my time.

On the way down the motorway, I started remembering other lost words and phrases from my childhood, which have disappeared from everyday conversation. Things like:

“You’ll put your eye out”
“Eat your crusts and your hair will curl”
“She’s all fur coat and no knickers”
“She’s only as good as she ought to be”
“Stop gallivanting about”
“Ha’penny for them”

And…the one that gave me a complex about touching my navel (to this day):

“If you unscrew your belly button your bum will drop off”

As children, with wild imaginations, we took all these catch-phrases to be literal truth. There is still some confusion about “She’s only as good as she ought to be” (what does that MEAN?) and “gallivanting” could be anything from being drunk and up all night to going too far on your bike and being late for tea.

It’s a shame that all these evocative and rich phrases are being supplanted by horrible things such as “selfies”, “Twerking” and the truly ghastly “YOLO” and “Awesome” but language has a life of its own.

The blight on my childhood began with the words: “It’s not ladylike to….” which applied to so many restrictions on the things I thought were fun, like whistling, climbing trees, tucking my dress into my knickers to play football, shouting or running about playing British Bulldog with the boys.


Later, those awful words applied to eating in the street, smoking, drinking alcohol, applying makeup in public, being noisy or laughing loudly. Who wants to be a lady, anyway?

But I became an approximation of one. At least to the naked eye. Given the chance, I still like to roll down hills, mess up my clothes, refuse to use an umbrella, skid across ice and slide down banisters. It certainly isn’t lady-like, or mature, for that matter. And I don’t care.

Drowning in the Dark



Last night I went to see my favourite theatre group, Punchdrunk, in their production of The Drowned Man. Their productions are always events, not everyone’s cup of tea and for this one, I would strongly advise not bringing an elderly relative, a first date or anyone who isn’t very open minded and insatiably curious.

I’d also recommend a couple of mellowing drinks beforehand and maybe a light meal, because the three hours ahead will require you to physically and mentally immerse yourself in a very strange place, where nothing is quite what it seems and anything can happen.

At dinner, beforehand, nursing an espresso martini, to perform the delicate task of loosening me up whilst keeping me alert, my friend, the ever delectable and gorgeous Bill and I, witnessed a terribly upper middle class, pinky ringed, quartet of late middle agers braying rather loudly about what their friend “Bettina” had to say about her visit.

I really didn’t want to hear and was on the brink of ever so politely (well, perhaps not that politely) asking them to desist, when Bill, being much more amused by their conversation than I was, suggested I might want to pop outside for a bit instead of putting my fingers in my ears and humming.

I was disappointed that people like them were going to the same performance as we were and had a nightmare vision of confused, imaginatively crippled, posh types wandering around me in confusion and complaining, but luckily, we lost them in the crowd of much more varied and interesting people.

We had premium tickets, so entered with a small party through the studio door. It was dark, set like a 1950’s concierge office and we had to leave bags and coats behind. We were ushered into a boardroom with a large circular table and offered shots of “vodka and LSD” (actually vodka and cordial – I think!) before being invited to sit and receive instructions on the evening ahead and look at some strange books and Rorschach prints in front of us.

Soon the room went completely dark and this hunched figure appeared crouched in the middle of the table, which certainly gave me a fright, especially as he/it revealed a Nosferatu like face and his white, bony finger pointed at …you guessed it…me! I forgot to mention that we all had to wear white Venetian masks (a Punchdrunk fixture) and were sworn to silence during the whole of the performance. I let out a little squeak anyway. Couldn’t help myself.

To give you a blow by blow account of the production might ruin it for you and I strongly advise if you like the odd and unusual, you try to get tickets – they close on 31st December. Every person seeing the production can have an entirely different experience as two stories run at the same time and each scene is repeated at some point in the three hours.

It won’t make sense, it’s near impossible to follow (unless you chase after the same actor like an idiot) and you will lose all sense of direction, time, space and feel as if you have been beamed into a weirder than usual David Lynch film, without the strange midget.

We witnessed two murders, passion, seduction, sexual exploitation, lots of bare flesh, muscular torsos, dancers, lounge musicians and evil Hollywood studio bosses. The terrain varied from a misty forest (rather like the one I got lost in on Friday), a derelict beach, a shabby American town, complete with shops crammed with period detail, a saloon bar and a snow and ice scape.

I got spooked by the trailer trash part of town complete with mouldy rotting caravans and some of the very worrying scenes deep in the basement.

The sights, the sounds and the smells serve to disorientate you completely and most of the scenarios have darkness creeping in around the edges with hidden doors and corridors to get lost and panicky in.

Even the well lit studio soundstage at the heart of the building, complete with a wrap party and a lively bar, has an undercurrent of sheer nastiness and menace. Every prop from a glass eye to a red lipstick is in tune with the period and the whole thing is like a very convoluted bad dream. We got to try on some scabs and prosthetic wounds as well, which was…um…novel.

That’s why it won’t suit conservative or closed minded types (like the elderly hoorays) and any first date could be either made or broken by the experience – any love interest is murdered horribly after cynical exploitation and you are encouraged to split up and can’t talk to each other.

As for elderly relatives, they may put your name down for The Priory afterwards or asphyxiate themselves amongst the copious quantities of dry ice. Choose your companions carefully!

I loved it, so did Bill, I was envious that she had her neck softly kissed by an extremely buff attractive cowboy when all I got was the bony finger of Nosferatu (dammit!) but we could see why many wouldn’t enjoy the experience. It’s unsettling and your brain scrambles to make sense of it and never really does; but we’ll certainly remember it for a very long time to come.

Go and see it while you can!

Norks Ahoy!


Sometimes, I have days when I’m longing to ask someone – ‘Does this happen to you, too?’

Sharing this weird phenomenon is the only way I can make sense of it, that, or I am finally going mad.

The guy delivering a parcel this morning, men everywhere I’ve been and, finally, the ugly remedial elf man in the local store, have been blatantly staring at my norks today and smiling at them.

I haven’t got them on show. I can’t cope with doing that. To walk up to a group of people chatting and have them fall ominously silent, makes me feel like crawling under a rock and hiding. (That was my saloon girl outfit at a fancy dress party, that offered ’em up on a shelf like quivering blancmange – never again, well, not in public anyway).

I am wearing a grey cotton dress, midi length, scoop neckline that shows maybe 3mm of décolletage, the top is ruched, so no frozen nips visible and I’m wearing a bra. It’s all very understated. They are NOT ON SHOW.

My hair could do with a wash (day 2 and I ran out of dry shampoo this morning), no makeup, no jewellery, flat boots – perfectly ordinary. If I’m honest, I look tired.

Days like this happen out of the blue for no logical reason. All of a sudden, I appear to be like a bitch on heat. I don’t FEEL like that but there seems to be some invisible signal to any male within my orbit to either stare at my tits with a mad looking grin and/or say something stupid.

It’s not because I’m hatching ova. That would be logical. That, as a female ready to be ‘fertilised,’  I might inadvertently give off pheromones that would attract these creatures towards me. Wrong time in my cycle, by some weeks.

I’m not feeling extra bouncy, confident, thinking about sex (no more than usual) or giving any outward indication of “come and stare at my boobs, if you think you’re man enough‘, at ALL.

They are not particularly enormous either. This bra is a ‘squish them down’, rather than a ‘perk them up’ model.

So WHY is it that today, I’ve had men ogling my norks openly, despite my not showing them off, nor calling attention to myself and not giving off a whiff of imminent fertility?

I’m at a loss to know. It’s bizarre. Please tell me it happens to other women, too?

Or am I paranoid?

I’m at home now. Curtains closed. Under a fur throw. I’m staying here. Polo neck tomorrow, I think.