Reflections on Modern Motherhood.

In the theatre there is a tiny room tiled from floor to ceiling in (aquamarine blue) Egyptian faience. It is shaped like an egg so that if you are talking on one side of the room, the noise will carry up, round the curve of the ceiling and down to the other side to be heard with perfect clarity by the people there, as though you are standing right next to them, while the people in the middle of the room won’t hear a damned thing. The hexagonal tiles in this room were imported from Hollywood, where they were dug up out of the floor of a ballroom where Rudolph Valentino used to dance (when he was a gigolo), and so this little room is an especial point of interest for very, very old ladies who are the only ones who actually remember who Valentino was. All you need to know is that he was a bit sexy. Now, there are signs all around inside and outside this room indicating that food and drink are NOT permitted in here, and the reason for this is threefold: we are too lazy to clean, excessive cleaning will deteriorate the essence of Valentino, and the usual inhabitants of the room are ladies so old that the breeze of a butterfly flittering past can render them unconscious; they are also the people most likely to manage to slip on a single drop of moisture and break a dusty femur inside this beautifully tiled room.

Now I have taken to hiding in the alcoves under the Juliet box of the theatre and springing out at patrons in a Bela Lugosi fashion whenever they take their mobile phones out. Seriously people who use their phones in theatres are cunts, simply cunts. Well yesterday I was summoned from my usual position in the darkness by a loud banging, and ran into the foyer and into the blue tiled room to behold: an old mackintosh of a woman had reeled her fortified pram into the Valentino tiles; aqua-marine Egyptian faience and plaster were flaking from a crack in the wall. She was also cradling a hairless albino monkey in her arms and ramming a bottle of formula into his face, and the stuff was already dribbling in a thick cum-like stream from one corner of his mouth. This woman, I must add, was about forty five and had a conical beehive about five foot tall. I immediately reminded her that food and drink were not allowed in this room and she had only to step two metres out of the doorway and into the foyer where she could feed her spawn with absolution. Immediately the hag started shrieking, “I am allowed to feed my child,” she said.

“Well in here you can feed him whatever you like, except for food and drink,” said I.

“You couldn’t kick me out if I was breastfeeding,” she said.

“Well a breast is less likely to detach and spill shit on the floor,” said I. “But that is irrelevent since you are not breastfeeding, and vampires cannot produce breast milk in any case.”

“Blah blah blah blah,” said Vampira, becoming entitled and self-righteous like most new mothers, and trying to make a political issue out of a simple request. She went on like this for a while, during which time I took in the circumference of the curious beehive and the face of that hideous and giant child, who was probably old enough to go to kindergarten in any case. At the end I had to say, “My dear woman, the fact remains that food and drink are not allowed in this room, and milk qualifies as both a food and a drink, and so you are twice the felon. I should like to add that getting knocked up does not make you a better person than I. Childbirthing is neither a necessary or patriotic duty; you are doing nobody but yourself a favour by breeding in an already over-populated world; just because your life stopped and your tiny world began to revolve around your morbid cherub when you split a cervix does not mean the rest of the world stopped also and began to revolve around you. While we do make exceptions to the rules in the case of medical conditions, ‘stupidity’ is not a medical condition, tho it is something unfortunate you have to live with.”

Now, I would like to point out that I am not heartless, and not unmoved by the plight of mothers; I do of course have a mother myself, (I did not spring from the ether): that is Mrs Shitsville to you. She is of course only a Shitsville by marriage, but perfectly fits the type of woman the Shitsville men will always go for, courtesans, actressy types, moody frightening giants like the pre-Raphaelite women who are much too big for the frames they’ve been put in. Her stage name is Dame X- Y-, you may have heard of her, she is one of the great doyennes of Theatre, terribly beautiful, like myself, and can cut the balls out of a snot nosed pap with a single glance.  This event with the beehive and the French girl made me think of my own dear mother, and in a sunshiney, rose-tinted bubble of homesickness I jumped in the Rolls after work and pursuing the “Spirit of Freedom” roared over to my mother’s big house in A- Park. I had not seen her for, oh, about five years I think.


Reflections of Romance in the modern world

The theatre which employs my exceptional talents also employs actors doing acting, dumpy wailing strumpets whose papa’s may or may not be someone important in Mushroom records,  and converts to a cinema during black weeks, so that I have seen the best and worst of humanity on stage and off. One fine example of theatre-in-the-round occurred yesterday, when a very fine young gent and his awful, boy-thin, bobble-headed, orange-coloured girl chum deposited themselves in Stalls, row AA. We were showing a Greta Garbo double, Grand Hotel (1932) and Ninotschka (1939), while the girl friend practised a particularly charming trick she had, in her boyfriend’s trouser pocket, involving a hooked forefinger and double-jointed thumb. Grand Hotel is the one starring Garbo as a ballerina and Joan Crawford as a loose stenographer and John Barrymore as a gentleman thief and Garbo saying, “I vant to be alo-o-one…” Meanwhile the deco interior of the Grand Hotel is supposed to represent a kind of vortex of madness, tho I cannot see it myself, as half of my life is deco, all spatial interferences and mirrored walls and see-through chairs and horizontal window panes that look like mail slots and porcelain deers and greyhounds entwined and the “Spirit of Freedom” flying woman on the bonnet of my yellow Rolls Royce, but I digress.  Ninotschka is about a communist party leader who comes to Paris and falls in love with a man who represents everything she is supposed to hate, which is true of most relationships I think. Anyway it was definitely true in the case of these two, who must have  a fine time together, pushing each other out of bed on their bad days and smacking each other over the head on their good days.

From an opportune wallstanding position in the cosy darkness I could hear them talking. It turns out the girl was French. Half of what she said was swearwords and the only English words she knew were swearwords. There was so much dust in the air it smelled like chalk. So ‘Caitlin’ got sentimental in the darkness and the silver light, which reminded her of… Then she began to wax lyrical on the existence of her elderly mother. The more she went on the more the mother sounded like a bit she’d once seen in a film, possibly set in Russia. Anyway it had definitely occurred to her that having a mother was a good thing, as though it made her unique. So she would impress this point upon him.

She was sunk very low in her seat leaning with her cheek against the boy’s arm. There was a distinct hum every time she exhaled through her nose. ‘Mama’ was a lace-maker, half blind and entirely arthritic, a paragon of Catholic virtue, and seemed to be much older than it is usual for mothers of girls Caitlin’s age to be. The object of all of this arthritic lace-making was her daughter’s tuition at a posh school in Paris – and an odd expression, “The good in life…” Caitlin couldn’t define it. When the boyfriend expressed such scepticism as was only natural as to the existence of such a saint in the modern world, mama’s suffering increased threefold. Caitlin kept up the tremulous note in her voice. “Dear mama… what would she think… what if she knew…” as though her lifetime of hard work had been erased by his scepticism.

“So your mother bought you that dress, Caitlin?” (Alex Perry-esque; slut taste, new money.)

Oui. Good mama!”

“Your mother bought you that bag, Caitlin?” (interlocked C’s – Chanel… or trying to be.)

Oui. Dear mama! ”

“You have been receiving the tuition?”

Oui. –Yeah, no…” (without explanation): “Poor mama.”

“What’s happened to the money? You’ve lost your mother’s money, Caitlin?!”

“[A curse]! —It’s in the bank!”

“What bank?”

A bank,” she replied craftily, as though he had intended to steal it.

Enfant, you’re clearly upset. We should get some air.”

Then they went into the foyer. That is only marginally less stuffy than the theatre and filled with 1960s monster movie posters and some pretty 50-foot ladies. He bought her popcorn, chocolates, but refused to buy her a postcard. She said nothing. But then in the theatre again they took their seats and she made a sudden sound like “Gi-aack!” It was half of a shriek like when a bird is pipped by a schoolboy with a popgun. It filled the whole theatre. All of a sudden the old mother came into the picture like a banshee, “My mama… my dear mama… my poor mama… my dear old poor mama…” interspersed with cursing. She had the quickest and most virulent undertone and sort of snapped like a dog around the end of her words, while her top notes would crack in the middle of  “Gi-aack!”

“And where is your mother now, enfant?”

“In Yonville, my lad!”

“Why don’t you go back to Yonville, enfant? To see your mother?”


At this point my duty was to intervene and silence them with a look of poisonous death. Up on screen Garbo was being inscrutable Garbo, I have heard she had size twelve feet and became a hermit in later life, and got seriously cut at Cecil Beaton when he wrote about their relationship in his stinking memoirs, “The Unexpurgated Beaton” – yes, fucking Cecil Beaton, who I hate, will haunt us throughout our lovely life, it seems… Anyway I didn’t hear from them again as she put her hand back in his trousers as soon as the feature got romantic, the dear little slut. I have never understood these lovely gents who will put up with a whiney girlfriend just because they have their tits out everyday, even Sundays. The least I can say for her is she had nice posture and a wonderfully fertile glow.