Frivolous Monsters

Crazy, Sexy – Part 01

You’ve never been on a plane? Someone said. The closest I ever came was last year when some crazy, sexy, girl asked me if I wanted to go to a wedding in Ireland as a plus-one and – despite my default setting being to think thrice before even peering out from under my duvet of a morning – I know that if a crazy, sexy, girl asks you to do something: You Say Yes. Ready to spring into action it soon became apparent that I was lacking one or two little things.  Carr Hitler Picture 4

I used to live in Wales near the port of Holyhead, christened by a resident as the arsehole of Britain because everything there passes through it, and so I knew the way to Dublin from Manchester: Two trains, a ferry, then another train with a journey time of seven to eight hours. Out of interest I looked up planes and had my head turned when I saw that flying would take me only one!

I soon gave up trying to book a plane when, at every turn, some low-budget airline seemed to add something to the price and my head was spinning with hidden costs and extra charges if you didn’t turn up early enough to check in your own baggage. Whatever that means. All I wanted to know was how much it would cost and when I had to turn up. This was when a friend helpfully pointed out that the cheapest way to travel was by coach and it would even drop you right in the centre of Dublin… and would only take thirteen hours. Immediately I booked a place and found out that you would be denied coach-entry if you didn’t have a little thing called a passport.

Something else I was lacking, for a posh Irish wedding, was a proper pair of shoes. The ones I had were fine… Just fine… Except if it ever rained as they’d split underneath and during bad weather took on water like a Butlins’ rowboat. My boots had also gone the same way with my wear-to-destruction austerity lifestyle: What did it say about me that I couldn’t even claim to be all-weather, all-terrain, at this age?

I have been to Dublin a few years ago, without a passport I should add, and so I was a little perturbed about some change in European law. I therefore set on the path to getting myself a one and went to the main Post Office in Bury to pick up the bundle that was the application form.

I hate official forms, photos too as I never come out well but off I went to a bus station booth to try and fit the criteria of eyes level, no smiling, no frowning, and no hats. I only needed two, but was fleeced by the machine into paying for five, and I was reasonably happy with the result until my friends helpfully pointed out that I resembled the bastard son of the comedian Jimmy Carr and the famous watercolorist Adolph Hitler.

A problem much easier solvable was the shoe issue so I went to Manchester and, off the rack of size elevens, I ended up buying the most expensive shoes I’ve ever owned as they were marked up at a hundred and thirty five pounds, reduced to something much, much more manageable. Even though they fitted in the shop I soon worked out the catch, and why they were reduced so, as with slate leather souls there was no give in them at all and I was lumbered stomping around like Frankenstein’s monster in hobnail boots.

After scouring the list of official people who could authenticate my passport photos, with a written declaration on the back of them, I worked out I did know someone and got him to sign the two I required. Then, on a dry day, with the completed application form, a birth certificate, and a pair of old shoes I set off walking the fifty minutes to the Post Office where they could check my completed application before it was sent off…

Nothing is ever so simple. This cued the labours of Hercules when they immediately rejected my photos (the writing had gone over the line, it was nothing to do with my Hitler face) and they pointed out that I had the wrong birth certificate… I never knew I had two. It was five hours later when I arrived back home after having hunted my photo countersigner on the streets, conjuring up another birth certificate from my parents, and finally got the Post Office to accept the application form and all of my money.

And then as the deadline fast approached to the coach departure for the crazy, sexy girl in Dublin I started making assumptions.

I assumed that the passport would be straight forward, that they’d just rubberstamp my application, and that it would arrive in the minimum recommended time.

I also assumed that with my very expensive smart shoes being so stiff and inflexible that rich people must just stand around and live on a sustenance of canapés that were waitered in.

And I assumed that as I’m British-born, my mother has a verified passport, and I even had a child passport, that all the passport office had to do was join the dots. And I needed it pronto even though with the shoes I was trying to wear in I could hardly get to the end of the road let alone all the way to Ireland.

It seems I was wrong, in one respect, because instead of being sent a passport in the post I received an official summons from the Home Office.


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27 thoughts on “Crazy, Sexy – Part 01

  1. Crazy, Sexy, FUNNY! Even funnier than Jimmy Carr, who I only know from certain episodes of QI I’ve seen on YouTube, but who I do find funny. And certainly funnier than that watercolorist guy!

    I’m still laughing at ‘Then, on a dry day’. Wonderful writing!

    • Thanks for the comments, I do like Jimmy Carr although this is from his TV appearances on the likes of QI as I’ve not seen his stand-up. The thing that made me take notice of him is that on QI he laughs really loudly at other people’s jokes, which sort of breaks the spell how you imagine all people of the ilk being jaded and just churning out routines, as opposed to enjoying comedy. He also co-presents 10 O’clock Live which is supposed to be similar to one of your shows.

      And that watercolorist guy probably got a bum rap. I wonder whatever happened to him… Actually it’s only now on reading your comment that I remembered that I needed to look him up to check he did paint with watercolours, as apposed to oils. Fortunately, for accuracy’s sake, he did!

      • According to another of your brilliant comedians he, the watercolorist guy, ended up ‘in a ditch, covered in petrol’.

        I’m very much looking forward to part 2! (There will be a part 2, yes?!)

    • That’s probably close to the truth. Our family story goes that my Dad’s (American) Uncle was at Hitler’s bunker at the end of the war. He belonged to some sort of mopping up group of officials (I don’t know I’ve never got to the bottom of it – I also hear he was the mayor of Coney Island, but I don’t know) and basically they took what they could carry. Smuggled out from Germany somehow, and been to New York and back, through inheritance we now have – what is known as – Hitler’s teapot!

      Now I’m older I would love to be able to talk to that generation of family, but unfortunately it’s not possible.

      And there will be (a final) second part which I shall post at the weekend. I’m glad I have some readers of these long posts (I struggle to read too much off computer screens myself) and so doubling the length of this was just too much… Also, oddly, the introduction for the next bit (which amuses me) I had done before I realised it was no good in the middle of one post as it’s sort-of a re-cap. Therefore the idea of splitting it in two was a bonus.

  2. eleanorjanebirdy on said:

    Then what? You received a summonds then… don’t leave us hanging!

    (Great post, by the way. I just found this quote on another blog – seems relevant. Get on a damn plane!).

    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain

    • Thanks, although I did imagine the longer journey would have been more of an experience. It was getting to the point with the plane times, and the increasing time I had to be at the airport before it left, that it was looking dubious whether public transport could have got me there at all! For all you plane travellers I imagine these are simple things once you know what you’re doing.

      As for the cliff-hanger ending… It’ll be resolved soon. As I probably didn’t need to tell anyone: Nothing, it seems, is easy in this world these days!

      And I have been about a bit, but then I do also vegetate in my one little corner too!

  3. Hilarious post. …but you leave us in suspense. There must be a part two. Love Denise .

    • Thanks, and yes a cliff-hanger ending. Not sure if I’ve done one of those before. There is a second, and final, part coming soon. I have had a very hectic and tiring week with long hours exiled away to the library and Costa. I think the first thing I did was hammer these two parts out and then over the week kept dipping back in to edit them and re-edit them.

      I won’t keep people waiting too long, but it was way too long for one post as the second part is of equal length!

  4. When is the next instalment? 😦

  5. Haha! Quite a ride, this one. Waiting to read what happened next 🙂

  6. Loved this post and am now waiting with bated breath for Part 2. Still laughing at “You Say Yes!” Saying No is absolutely not an option in that situation.

    I sympathise with your passport dilemma, the Man was invited to an all expenses paid bloke holiday with his stepfather to NZ, he was excited about it all the way to the getting of the passport… After reams of paperwork and fees and being messed about he just decided not to go. Fortunately for the shopping-shy Man he didn’t need nice shoes for the event otherwise the holiday plans would have stalled right there!

    Attracting the attention of the authorities is never a good thing, I am hoping that the next chapter doesn’t include your mug shot!

    • You say saying yes is the obvious thing, but I fear women at the best of times and to keep myself out of trouble I try not to get myself into situations that could get such questions asked! This is self-defeating, of course, and for some reason I’ve been single for a looong time.

      I didn’t think I’d get much sympathy here, so I guess it’s a common man problem. Thank you for your support for man-kind. Did the Man not get one in the end? And as for the shoes and clothes I do imagine that having you in his life would have raised him up to some standard! Girls do bring out the better side in you.

      And you say about the mug shot, but I almost included it above, but chickened out and pulled in one of those Facebook none-person images. It’s probably for the best.

      • No, the Man never did end up with a passport. By the time it reached the point where I could no longer sort it out for him and he had to get off his own butt it was all over… Hopeless….

        Thank you for the vote of confidence, but as for raising his standard of wardrobe it is a constant battle, there are times when we are on our way out and I just send him back in horror (and my version of acceptable attire is a black t-shirt and jeans). I consider him to be a living cautionary tale for the kids, fortunately the boys have far better taste in clothing than their dad.

        Saying no to the sexy crazy one might not have been an option but I think that most of us would just ummmm and err our way through the invitation, kicking ourselves later when we realise the chance we let slip through our fingers!

    • It looks like there’s hassle getting a passport all around the world then. And I may, or I may not, have ended up with one…

      I do live my life like how you say, preferring to do things and then (possibly) regret them afterwards instead of not regretting for not doing them when I had the chance. I think I’ve blogged about that somewhere how I’ve always had a voice in my head getting me to volunteer myself for stuff when, as a quiet introvert loner, I’d much rather not at all! Oddly my “fear of women” seems to circumvent this by not getting me into that sort of situation. I confuse myself.

      • I think authorities the world ’round have invented tangled webs of red tape to increase the difficulty level of pretty much everything purely for their own amusement…
        My hand is up for the quiet introvert loner too. When I was younger I did too much of the not doing things and then regretting missing out on them later, I wish I had spent more time taking risks!

    • Honestly I really got the impression that I wasn’t the usual customer called in for interview, for various reasons… but we’ll get to that.

      And you too? Have to say you seem to have turned out better than me. I used to get school reports where I was outed as a “loner” which amuses me. I’m not saying they were wrong, mind, but I do find it perturbing how every time there’s some gun massacre somewhere it’s usually blamed on the loners…

      • I doubt I have turned out better than you, I am still a loner and the unavoidable socialising that I get every morning when I walk the boys up to school is just about all I can stand! I admit that I never park my car in the school car park at the end of the day just so I won’t get dragged into conversation with the other mums.

        Funny though, the only people I never get sick of is the kids, even during the holidays when we are 24/7. I guess I am responsible for the way they are so if I don’t like being with them I need to take a long hard look at myself.

        The more people I meet online who profess to being that lonely kid who loved books has led me to believe that we are the majority! If only we’d known that when we were miserable at school….. (It is just well we didn’t all have homicidal tendencies)

    • I wouldn’t have thought that about you, but it is interesting, although I would say we manifest if differently as I’m desperately single but yet seem to enjoy putting myself into positions which generate interactions… partly because it’s these sort of things that I then go home and write down and turn into amusing stories… then sometimes expand them into amusing blog posts. I do agree that being a little bit “different” at school does have its pluses, despite everything, about the person I’ve turned out to be.

  7. This just proves that the Home Office, being slightly behind events, are still looking out for Jimmy Carr and the famous watercolorist. I await the next installment with interest.

    • Thanks. I think Jimmy Carr has already got it in the neck from the government when David Cameron spoke out about his tax arrangements. Not quite sure why he picked on him and no others. As for the watercolorist I bet there are people around the world still looking as there are some dedicated to tracking old Nazis to hiding places in South America, and the like. Like us Doctor Who fans, and our missing episodes from the sixties, you refuse to believe that they’re gone and that they might still be out there somewhere waiting to be discovered!

  8. Can’t wait for part 2, I think you are much funnier that Jimmy Carr ( who I think is a pillock).

    • Thanks, although I do like Jimmy Carr. Compared to all the trouble that all our other celebrities are getting caught for at the moment he does seem to have overcome his tax troubles by taking all the criticism on the chin.

      Honestly, though, I am surprised how many people have said they can’t wait for part 2. I won’t keep people waiting too long.

  9. All got a little complicated this one, didn’t it?!

    • Yes, that’s just my life, it seems, making a mountain out of any molehill. Nothing seems simple and then recalling all of this through the medium of shoes. I’m sure it’s not normal.

      • Normal’s boring – your life seems anything but, and it makes for great reading. I’m just sorry for your sake that things must all take longer than expected!

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