Monday, 9 May 2011

Wednesday February 9th - You Gotta Have Faith: A Love Story.

It’s crisp and delicious out there this morning, tree, like the first sparkling sip of a still purring G&T. Damn! It’s barely cornflakes-time and I’m already talking myself into a bucket of Mother’s Ruin! Not that I would, of course...but the thought is a yummy one.
It’s funny, sometimes just thinking a little about what you fancy is blissful and then there are occasions when it’s pure torture. I’ve won at least 58 titles at Wimbledon and the French Open once or twice, which is marvellous, but there must be a part of me that knows it’s not really going to happen. More to the point, that part of me must be OK with it.
Whereas, I can no longer endure the fantasy about being the youngest person to swim the channel, read English at Oxford or solve the mysteries of life the universe and everything. It’s just too late to start preparing my sparkling debut as an international bright young thing. Perhaps I am OK with that as well and if not then I ought to be.
It’s the little glimpses of those half-buried embers that are so precious and so protected. Yet for me these are the most dangerous. It’s certainly not OK to me that these can’t or won’t happen and that’s why indulging in these ‘real dreams’ can sometimes be a bit a nightmare. 
My teenage ‘pin-up’, as it were, was Stephen Fry. Smash Hits might have been bursting with glossy one hit wonders, but all I really wanted was a poster that said ‘Damn’ or ‘Bah. I wasn’t trying to be different, I just thought he was perfect.
Every book I read, film I saw, place I visited, meal I ate, flower I sniffed, I’d wonder what Mr Fry might have made of them. Perhaps even pretend that after we’d had lunch we’d spend the afternoon laughing together as we strolled beside the Thames.
As with all teenage dreams it becomes increasingly embarrassing...I’ve picked out 2 acceptable moments:
1 - My friend Evie and I watched Peter’s Friends over and over in a somewhat obsessive loop. We’d act out our favourite scenes, whilst scoffing bags of Maltesers and sipping mugs of herbal tea. Evie would play Roger and Mary and I would be everyone else. It was just less awkward that way and Evie was a little bit in love with Hugh Laurie. Or Hubert-Shoobert-Doobert as Evie called him. (If she ever reads this she might just actually kill me!)
It was then we vowed to become stand-up comedians. We told Evie’s father, who having not known us to move from his sofa for months found great hilarity in responding with ‘more like sit-down comedians!’ It seems we had indirectly provided a good giggle to someone.
2– When I was 22, I worked in a designer fabric shop. I was a lovely place, with beautiful material and a marvellous boss. However, as it was completely lacking in the customer department, it was the most delicious spot for an eight hour day dream. It was also right next door to a wonky, but most excellent book shop.
One Tuesday morning when the rubbish was being put out for collection I noticed a giant cardboard cut-out of Stephen Fry propped up against the bin. I hovered by the door for over 40 minutes, spinning and muttering to myself. I just didn’t have the courage to go out there and nab him. More to the point, I couldn’t face asking the book shop if I might take him off their hands – what if they had asked me why?
I was peeking through my fingers as I watched poor ‘Stephen’ being launched into the back of the crusher. A few years earlier I might have made a last minute dash to rescue him. Luckily I’d escaped my teens and with new maturity I didn’t even cry (much) as they carted him off for landfill.
Anyway, it was all a completely harmless crush. Nobody was left crying by the phone or plagued by unwanted attention. It didn’t stop me from doing anything and let’s face it Stephen Fry is never even going to know about it. It’s one of those dreams that is nice to dream and that’s OK.
OK that was, unless you were Alissen Green. I can’t blame her for the silly spelling of her name, but it sort of sums her up. She was a nice enough girl, but utterly convinced that it was her destiny to be the ‘One and Only’.
In a rare break from her fearless self-promotion, 15 year old Alissen wanted to know if I fancied anyone in our French class.
‘Joel is quite nice’, I lied. Well, everyone liked Joel so it was the easy answer.
‘I suppose,’ said Alissen, but he’s nothing like my future husband.’
Alissen’s bag, folder, note book, pencil case, lunch box and quite possibly knickers were all emblazoned with the smiling face of her one true love.
‘Isn’t he gorgeous?’, she said fondling his fluffy hair on her wallet.
‘He’s not bad,’ I replied truthfully. Silly me...
‘Huh! What would you know? Dubber! He wouldn’t look twice at you anyway, you’ve got evil eyes.’ Alissen ranted.
I let it go and tried to get to my back to work.
‘Oy!’ Alissen poked me with her pop-tastic ruler. ‘So who do you think is so special then?’
‘Well, I really like Stephen Fry’. There is was again, that unnecessary honesty.
‘Stephen Fry?’ screeched Alissen, ‘ But he’s a poof! He’s gay, you can’t marry him. How can you be in love with a queer?’ She blurted
I tried to explain that I didn’t see how it mattered in the slightest. I mean, she’d asked me who I liked and not who liked me. She didn’t get it and we spent the rest of the lesson in silence.
I wonder if she gets it now?
Not that I would want to stamp on anyone’s childish dreams, but a few years back I did have a little chuckle to myself. You see, the big-haired hunk beaming from Alissen’s diary was George Michael.
I suppose it’s got a lot do with knowing the difference between what’s actually happening and what you want to be happening. Dare to dream, of course, but don’t lose sleep over the dreams that are just that; delicious fantasy.
The truth is, I loved Stephan Fry and when you think about it that’s about as commonplace as burnt-bread for breakfast. I mean who doesn’t love Stephen Fry?

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