Motherisms Feat. Memory Lane, Poet Laureates, and The Fiery Pits of Hell …

It’s that time of year again (my birthday), and to my mother’s delight (I’m sure), I imposed myself on her in Devon for a whole week. And we’ve actually even been speaking on the phone before then, which has led to many miscommunications …

 

I am in the last phase of my Master’s — it turns out it’s a lot of work, who knew? But now it is dissertation season …

Mum: Have you finished your dissertation?
Me: No, I haven’t even started it.

 

I’m on the phone to mum before her imminent London arrival ..

Me: We bought a nice organic chicken.
Mum: Oh yes, how is she?

(Apparently mum thought I’d said something about one of my friends. I’m not convinced though..)

 

Mum has now graced London with her presence and is tired of the whole thing by day two.

Me: It’s not just you, London is exhausting.
Mum: No but it’s different. For me it’s that your body is exhausted. You think you’re going somewhere and then another part of you drops off.

 

Mum’s been staying at my godfather’s in London, who has a very sophisticated TV set up by the sounds of it.

Mum: I pressed a button and then it started asking me hundreds of questions: how many hertz did I want, which of the 500 channels … I pressed some of the buttons and nothing seemed to happen, but I’ve probably launched a missile.

 

We’re on the leisurely 6 hour bus down from London to Devon together. We’re going through Chelsea, mum is giving me the guided tour of memory lane and is pointing at the roof garden of a flat my godfather rented …

Mum: The summer of Live Aid we were up there, listening to Cheech and Chong.

 

We’re sort of half-watching ‘Green Mile’ and our attention has drifted back to it momentarily ….

Prisoner (inexplicably) testing the electric chair for someone else and reciting his last wishes (?): Fried chicken dinner with gravy on the tatters and a shit in your hat and have Mae West sit on ma face cus I’m a horny mother fucker.
Police man: Hahahahaha
Tom Hanks: Ahahahaha
Other police man: Hahahaha
Mum: What an extraordinary sense of humour.

 

I’ve had a very big job cancel last minute and need to conjure some financial magic. Mum has a suggestion ..

“If you want to raise money just pretend you’re a dog with a problem.”

 

We’ve been out for a charming day at a stately home like normal people, and even had a cream tea like normal people. Unfortunately we arrived when there were still a lot of other, truly normal, people there. However, we got lost on the guided walk and emerged 3hrs later through the undergrowth, having had to walk around a 10ft high ‘ha ha wall’ (not so funny) and my 73 year-old-mother climb over several fences, and by then everyone else had left …

Mum: That’s why it’s nice to come later in the day not all these people in brightly coloured kagools ruining the view.

 

We’re walking around the lovely stately home, it’s not too big, it’s not too small. Got a lovely garden, some fields, a stable, a pond, some chandeliers, a William Blake (on loan)…

Me [wistfully]: Yeah I could actually live somewhere like this I think.
Mum: Well, you’ll have to marry some chinless twat.

 

A Panty liner advert is on TV…

Advert: Women don’t have to be soft and bla bla …
Me: Oh god yes we know, you’re tough and a right old fucking bruiser. Good for you.
Mum: “Even on my period I’ll kill you.”
Advert: ….you can do anything, even if you are woman bla bla bla …
Mum: Oh god who writes this shit!

 

Mum’s friend has helped her locate a new car, a lovely little (10yr old) VW.

“He’s prouder of this than he his that Mossad wagon of his.”

 

Brexit news is on, we were never going to be able to avoid it entirely …

Mum: Ahhhh… Let’s see who killed who tonight.

 

It’s a couple of months ago. Mum has asked to read a poem of mine, I have duly sent it to her and have, after a week, received no feedback. I’m curious …

Me: Did you read my poem?
Mum: No … yes.
Me: Well you can’t have thought much of it if you forgot.
Mum: No, I think I noted its arrival but didn’t read it. I like everything you write.
Me: Ok.
Mum: Carol Anne Duffy’s coming to the end of her term.
Me: Yes, I think unfortunately I’m still a little obscure to become Poet Laureate
Mum: Obscure is so cool.

 

Mum is a firm believer in watching some good old fashioned mindless television, and then talking over all of it. ‘Bake Off’ is on..

Man making bread: I like a pert bun. *wink wink, nudge nudge*
Me: It always amazes me the amount of innuendo people manage to get into any sentence involving food
Mum: Oh yes it’s probably scripted innuendo now, sort of mandatory.

 

Mum hasn’t quite worked out how to work her touch screen phone with complete success.

Mum: When you call it says ‘sweep up’, so I sweep, and nothing happens!
Me: I think that’s swipe up mum, just touch it and move your finger up.
Mum: No, it’s sweep!
Me:….ok…..

 

There is such a thing as ‘Archers Anonymous’, and Mum’s on it …

“Let’s stir the buggers up! My daddy would have loved the internet.”

 

We’re watching a programme about 1992 as it’s the year mum started building our beloved house that is no longer ours. There’s a segment on ‘Wayne’s World’:

Mum: What’s this?
Me: Wayne’s World
Mum: Hmmm…not sure about this.
Me: No, I think this is right up your street — you liked ‘Dude Where’s My Car’.
Mum: … Yes I did.

 

The 1992 programme is now talking about Achy Breaky Heart (a song I’ve decided I very much like).

Someone with an angular haircut who thinks they’re very cool and probably into moaning at parties: Line dancing is the spawn of Satan.
Mum: There’s worse things than line dancing
Me: I’d do it.
Mum: I think I would too.
Someone else with angular haircut: It’s all hideous diamanté and frilled skirts.
Cutaway to exactly that.
Me: Looks great, I’m into it.

I leave the room momentarily, then return.

Mum: Oh no, it’s getting a little hitler youth now.
Me: Oh, shame.

 

All the houses down mum’s road seem to be being re-painted (very slowly)…

Mum: I like the colours they’re painting these.
Me: Yes maybe they’ll eventually reach that penis.
Mum: What penis?
Me: The penis that’s been spray painted on someone’s doorway for about fifteen years.
Mum: Oh that penis! Yes, it’ll take a while to get rid of that.

 

Somehow — how exactly I do not know — mum has signed up to a cat website, she has no particular affection towards cats …

Mum: You’ve got to get me off this cat website.
Me: What cat website?
Mum [genuinely distressed]: I don’t know but they send me hundreds of cats a day, and I don’t know how to stop them!
I’m laughing.
Mum: They keep talking about their “babies”, “this baby”, “my baby”, “your baby” … it’s dangerous: it’s a cat.
Me: Ok. We’ll just unsubscribe you.
Mum, back-tracking: Well, one or two a day, that’s cool, I like animals ..

 

We’re watching the end of ‘Celebrity Masterchef’. I only recognise Zandra Rhodes, mum is helping me identify one of the other contenders …

Mum: He’s Joey Essex.
Me: Is he.
Mum: Yes he seems rather sweet actually, he just needs watering twice a week and that’s it.

 

We’re sitting down and ready to get competitive watching ‘University Challenge’….

Me: Jeremy Paxman hasn’t aged at all.
Mum: I was just thinking how much he had.

 

The students on ‘University Challenge’ are doing their “Hey, I’m James, you might remember me from …” intros and it’s making me cringe.

Mum: I do wish they wouldn’t do this “first name only” thing.
Me: It’s almost like they’re auditioning to be a presenter, it’s horrible.
Mum: It’s because it’s got to be caj. Everything’s got to be caj …. I’m surprised they’re even allowed to compete anymore.

 

A programme about WWII is on as I’m flicking through the channels…

Mum: Oh no! It’s handsome chaps doing serious stuff — amazing guys.

 

We have continued flicking, mum now has the remote and has hovered on the ‘Mash Report’…

Me: No.
Mum: Give it a chance, give it five minutes.
Me: No that’s far too long.

4 seconds later …

Mum: Yeup it is.

 

I’m on the phone to mum with a lovely paper bag full of ingredients for supper …

Me: I’m just walking back through the park from getting mushrooms.
Mum: Be careful foraging.
Me: I haven’t been foraging, I went to the shop!

 

I don’t know what mum is watching in the other room but I have a feeling it’s ‘Beverly Hills Housewives’ or some variation of because I hear her shouting at the television …

“Kick him to the curb honey!”

Two minutes later….

“He’s a twat get rid of him.”

 

I am a blessed angel and have cooked and washed up for the sixth night in row and just want to check it’s been recognised …

Me [impersonating mum]: Oh Jade, thank you so much for washing up again, you are a saint. When is your canonisation, please can I attend?
Mum: Yes I’m sure it will be very soon and I’ll be in the fiery pits of hell.
Me: Probably.
Mum: With all my mates.

 

 

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Motherisms feat: Sinatra’s Secret, Corruption, Moomin Butts and Lizzie Borden

It’s Christmas Eve. I’ve just returned to the room after wrapping mum’s presents. It seems mum is worried that I didn’t take long enough …

Mum: The thing is: to give and be giving

Me: Yes mum, don’t worry, I’m giving well this year.

 

As usual, mum has told me all about at least three of my presents within an hour of my arrival …

Mum: It will look great in the flat …

Me: Mum! Don’t tell me, it’s supposed to be a surprise – that’s half the point of presents!

Mum: I’ve been collecting this shit for months.

Apropos of nothing, and almost to herself, mum says ….

“Danny Dyer’s very funny.”

 

We’re watching University Challenge, there is a segment on Shakespeare quotes, which mum is usually very hot on …

Jeremy Paxman: “A calm and still conscience …”

Me: That’s unusual.

Mum: Exactly what I was thinking.

 

 

I am laughing and being young and happy, and evidently quite annoying because mum says …

“I think all young people should be made to wear fat suits so they understand what it’s like getting about when you’re old.”

 

There is a medieval style gold leaf painting of a monk-ish man on the table. I am observing his presence.

Me: Who is he?

Mum: St Nicholas … Do you like him?

Me: Yes he’s like that other dude over there (A minatutre medieval-esque illumination of St Jude rests on the windowsill)

Mum: Yeah, I’ve got dudes everywhere.

 

 

It’s Christmas Eve and the sparkling drinks have begun ..

Me: I’m feeling quite flushed after that!

Mum: Lightweight.

 

Mum left a chocolate walnut for me to eat, I didn’t get round to eating it. It’s later in the evening and she is studying the jar of them now.

Mum: We should do something with the chocolate walnuts.

I’m reminded to turn around and eat mine.

Me: Oh … someone’s eaten mine.

Mum: Yes well, they look like dog poos just lying about.

 

 

‘Would I Lie To You’ comes on , mum is not best pleased …

“Oh no, it’s just a load of people showing off.”

 

Monopoly North Devon edition began on Christmas eve. Mum, having been mightily bankrupted last year in a round of repairs to her many houses and hotels, is just playing the game to accrue as much cash as possible. There is a large, colourful pile of money on her side of the tablecloth.

“Millions! I’ve got millions! I’m the Philip Green of Barnstaple!”

 

I am being a normal girl, just walking around …

Mum: You look like Lizzie Borden.

Me: Who’s she?

Mum: A murderess.

Me: Thanks.

 

Mum is now complimenting me and wants due credit …

Mum: And me, for gestating this thing!

Me: Yes mum, thank you very much for giving birth to me.

Mum: You’re welcome.

 

We’re watching Guys and Dolls, or half-watching while lunch is being prepared saintily by me …

Me: I don’t get the Frank Sinatra thing

Mum: Big dick

Me: Jesus Christ mother.

I quickly cross myself in the hope it will prevent mum from saying anything like that ever again.

Mum: He did! Ava Gardner said it very plainly. Also charm, musical talent and wealth, of course …

 

 

We’re watching Kings College choir, one boy has done a maginificently high-pitch solo number for a while, and now the rest of the choir is joining in …

Me: All the out-of-tuners can come in now

Mum (horrified): Out of tuners, tut tut.

 

 

Mum has bought a decent-sized chicken for us to eat, currently raw she suggests we …

“Instagram it to my followers.”

 

Mum’s first boyfriend is in a film on Christmas Day …

Mum: I gambled with him under the stage for many hours during Julius Caesar.

Me: Gambled what? … Playing what?

Mum: Gambled … it’s an expression.

 

 

I hear things, tinkling things and spoon stirring …

Me: Are you having a brandy coffee?

Mum: Yes.

Me: I knew it!

Mum: You can smell it from 50ft. I’m not trying to get anything past you. There’s a pause. Want one?

Me: Yes please.

 

We’re all tiring a little of monopoly and a couple of brandies (sans coffee) have also been drunk. Mum is counting the spaces …

“Six, seven, eight, nine … I’ve got so bored I’ve forgotten what I was doing.”

 

Mum’s on a butt rant …

“These women! It’s just a succession of arses … ‘so and so “flaunts’ … And you think, “Jesus god, not another arse.” … Huge arses like moomins.”

 

 

Mum’s navigating slowly away from women with enormous arse implants towards sex robots, which seem to have inspired her imagination …

“The human race will die out … Soon they’ll sell sex robots in Argos.

Mum then attempts a teenage boy’s voice …

‘What would you like for Christmas dad? I got you a sex robot.’

Mum then attempts a robot voice …

‘Would you like to masturbate?’ ”

 

 

The Monopoly game-saga continues. We’re listening to some neglected Bob Dylan on Spotify, an ad comes on …

Ad woman: Sky Cinema so you ..

Mum: Go away this woman!

Ad woman: With Sky Cinema …

Mum: NO!! ‘Blood on the Tracks’, man!

 

We have a couple of peaceful rounds and now a new advert is on, the voice overs sound similar ..

Ad woman: Google home hub …

Mum (now shouting): WHO IS THIS WOMAN?

 

 

Mum is insisting we watch Kevin and Perry Go Large …

Mum: How old were you when this came out?

Me: I don’t know, about fourteen.

Mum: That must be why it left such a marked impression on me.

Me (in defence): These guys are a bit older.

Mum: Yes, but there’s and age range of between 14 and 40.

 

 

Mum has been raving about a sword scene in the old ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ since we watched the new one. Now the old one is on and so is the sword scene … I watch as a soldier shows off to his love interest by slashing a sword half an inch from her face, proceeding to run around a hilly outcrop screaming and then charging at her with the lethal blade …

Me: I don’t know, for me that’s a warning sign.

Mum: Yes … It’s not quite how I remember it.

 

We’re … you guessed it, playing Monopoly, the same game, on Boxing Day, three days after we started it, and, you guessed it, mum is still cash rich and land poor …

Me, to myself: Advance to go collect £200…

Mum: Won’t do you any good. The country has been corrupted by speculators, now I’m seeing if it will work for me.

 

 

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Pre and Post-Champagne Family Portrait

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voyage D’etudes Scrapbook of America

The result of many hours shouting at a typewriter: Paula Goldstein’s amazing Scrapbook of America — it’s got chat from Buzz Aldrin, boobies, poetry, memories from the Civil Rights movement, skateboarders, New Yorkers, memory from Dolly Parton, a Kennedy …. basically everything that makes up modern America, including an FBI-themed investigation on the Darker Side of Disney from me.
Can buy here x

 

Motherisms: The Great Escape …

 

I know. It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m so sorry. It is now as inevitable as Death, there is no escape from its cellophane-wrapped clutches. BUT, don’t worry if you don’t have someone to say something nice to you, or someone to buy you a fake pearl/bad watch/silk boxers/teddybear. Remember you always have your friends and family, who love you. Why not say something nice to them, as well as your beloved? Why not use today to be really nice and loving to everyone in your life instead of hoping for a bunch of roses and some chocolates rich enough to fill the hole.

These are all the nice things mum and I have been saying to each other over the last few months …..

 

I walk in to mums flat, she’s moving house and boxes are everywhere in preparation for the move. As I come into the kitchen I see her bent over and wrestling with some very thick masking tape in her mouth …

Me: What are you doing …?

Mum: It’s Chinese New Year, you can’t use scissors.

Me: Oh …

Mum: Yes. Bit of shame we’re moving today but there we go …

 

I want an animal. I have wanted one for 10 years. The quest continues …

Me: We have to get a dog. Or any sort of pet, but really, specifically a dog. They lower heart disease by 78%.

Mum: Yes I know they do darling but I can’t have one now anyway.

Me: I’ve started stroking them on the street now, just to get a fix.

Mum: No, I do Hatha yoga. Much cleaner.

 

Mum’s playing a CD in the car, I haven’t heard it since our first house. Turns out niether’s mum …

Me: Who is this? We used to play this all the time. I love him

Mum: You know, I can’t remember …

Mum ejects the CD so we can look (we’re stationary, don’t worry beackseaters) …

Mum: Bruce Coben

I’ve read it, that’s not what it said. Mum must have terrible eyesight, poor old woman, she can’t read anymore …

Me: Bruce COCKBURN

Mum: COBURN, it’s pronounced CO-BURN. Cockburn …. Jesus.

 

Mum’s moved in to a new place that has, shall we say, the ‘capacity’ for an older person. This means a lovely walk-in power-shower and a strange array cords dangling from the ceiling, neither of us are sure of their purpose. I am bored, so I reach for one to see what will happen …

Mum: Don’t pull that! God knows what it does.

I don’t. But examine it suspiciously.

Mum: We’ll spray them all silver …

Me: No, gold remember, for warmth.

Mum: Yes good. I’ll just say my daughter is a very famous artist and got carried away. Do apologise.

 

Mum’s talking about something I’ve written. She is getting carried away …

Mum: You could channel the spirit of the late Brian Sewell … very underestimated.

Me: I feel I’ve done underestimated.

 

Mum is putting on some makeup, she looks infinitely more presentable than I do, but is not happy with the results …

“Oh god. This is it. What Shakespeare said: sans teeth, sans eyes … sans bloody everything.”

 

Mum is on the phone to her friend. They’re talking about the recent engagement between Jerry Hall and babe-magnet Rupert Murdoch. Mum appears to have some interesting theories on the union …

Mum: I think he’s a reptile. I think she’ll come into their room on their wedding night and he’ll be there, sitting in a big chair, a huge reptile with his lizard claws, waiting …

There’s a pause …

Mum: Yeah I’d do it for £10 billion.

 

We’re discussing our new-found saintliness ….

Mum: I’ve lost my capacity to drink large amounts of wine

Me: I’ve lost the desire to.

Mum: Yes the desire to. Like port though …

Me: Me too. Lots.

Mum: Got to keep away from that, too much and it’ll make you fat … and give you gout.

Me: Noted.

 

It’s a few months ago now and Mum’s on the phone to my godfather. They’re talking about the presidentatial election (not in depth). Mum is struggling to remember who the “cool, old guy” is. I can’t help but offer some assistance …

Me: Bernie Sanders.

Mum: Jade’s telling me it’s Bernie Sanders. Apparently she keeps a note of my political preferences.

Me: No, I’m not keeping note. I just know who he is.

Mum starts making a variety of childish faces at me in response.

 

It’s Christmas and we’re all watching Downton Abbey – mum and I are used to chatting through TV shows like this. Today, we’re not allowed, because it turns out we aren’t as enteratining. Mum is struggling, and just can’t keep her mouth shut. The butler has come down to give the well-to-doers some news …

American Lady: Where’s Lady Edith?

Mum: Tripwire me lady.

 

Mum has a love-hate relationship with The Archers. I just have mild distain (but affection for the theme tune). It is on, as it is at 7pm every night of our lives …

Mum: Come on!!!

Archers: I think I need a cup of tea …

Mum: Well go and have one!!!

Archers: Just cleaning up the workshop …

Mum: Oh for crying out loud. I hoped Rachel would stay in New Zealand.

Archers: These cows, when I look at them …

Me: … I get aroused.

Archers: They’re like family.

Mum: Yes. Great. Another bloody homily of cows! Get on with it. Let’s have a murder for once!

 

We’re settling down to some well-deserved television:

Mum: Ah now this is Bear Grylls who’s fallen in love with a lunatic …

I laugh, knowingly …

Me: It’s Ben Fogle and Rich Hall ….

I realize 45 minutes later that, it is indeed Ben Fogle, but it’s not Rich Hall, it is a mad man who lives in a swamp.

 

Mum is looking through the Style magazine in the papers, which I now loath.  It’s turned into Mizz. But anyway …

Mum: I do wish these girls would learn to cover up one day.

Me: They will soon, I told you, Dolce and Gabanna have started making hijabs.

Mum: Oh, dear …

Me: I might get one, a hijab. As an act of rebellion …

Mum: Mmm … I won’t discourage this, you’ve always looked great in a veil.

 

Mum’s complaining about the youth of today, as usual. I agree with her but like to pick holes, for picking holes sake …

Mum: Smart phone, dumb people.

Me: And there’s you begging me for my smart phone.

Mum: Well you can fuck your fucking smart phone.

 

Mum is talking about the cold draft that comes into flat. Apparently this has something to do with squirrels …

“Now you see, squirrels have an extra layer of fat to get them through the winter …  the little bastards.”

 

We are reconvening mid-week and discussing anything interesting we have come across. Mum is first …

Mum: There’s an article in The Times about teenage feminist boys …

Me: I’ve seen it. I’ve never seen so much bullshit in all my life. The title and pull quotes were enough.

Mum: One must be aware of the bullshit.

Me: Yeah, I’m aware of it, I’m just not willing to engage in 6 pages of it .

Mum: Yes no, fair enough ….I wasn’t either.

 

It’s the Archers again ….

Archers: Can I share something with you?

Archers: What?

Me: Pull my finger  …

Mum: Oh don’t be so ridiculous jade. Shush now.

A pause …

Archers: There’s something I want to do …

Mum: Suck your dick.

Me: Mum!!!!!

Mum: You wait …

(She’s a little graphic, but as usual, correct.)

 

 

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Leona

 

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Let’s take a car, I feel a drive coming on. We’ll leave tonight,

I don’t know where I’m going, but they always told me I won’t get far;

to be safe we’ll take the dodgy roads and find it twice as fast.

Get in the car.

There’s no time, it’s all at once. All thrown at us in glittering dust.

Pack a lunch. Take bunch of diazepam and relax. Please, dump the cat.

We leave tonight, there is no space nor time. I have a suicide pact with life,

so we’ll skip the lights; colours are just colours on this drive.

 

You read my mind. I wanted you in the passenger side.

Feels good behind the wheel. Just you; and me, steering this speeding vehicle;

travelling our own reel of film that unwinds with the roads and ends with a blink.

No time to think, we could die in an instant, in all these instances,

Good thing I’m running on instinct.

Hold my leg lose, as lose as your grip on reality. The space to move

is what appealed; shall we have a Spanish tragedy?

 

Let’s dim the headlights a bit, increase our chances with the stars.

We’ll go to a small village, further south, called íllar. Where the men grow tomatoes and

the women sit outside,

where a woman once lay dying and mouthed “hablar, hablar, hablar,”

to the hot sun, to the stray dogs, to the open windows, to the infinite cicadas.

Her conversation with the earth.

But of her they’d say “She doesn’t want it bad enough.” She won’t get too far.

And of them all she heard, was “bla, bla, bla.” Sayonara sweet Leona.

 

Forget her. Here’s the Big Shake Down, that turning on the left.

I hope you brought your guns, I can see you wore your best. Take a sip,

it helps to be under the influence if you’re going to rob a bank.

Now, that would change our status: ‘Wanted’ at last.

Making it big out on the run, just imagine. We’ll probably be famous.

I wonder what they’d name us; you, me, and this speeding vehicle.

What did we want so bad?

 

Do we want it enough to crash? Then we’re agreed.

I’ll turn it too fast, hit a wall like Cameron Diaz

in that blue Buick Skylark.

That’ll make the page, we died just for laugh.

As it all turns out and round and round, I didn’t want nothing at all, all along.

She got further than you think, the lady who lay dying;

all the way to Cassiopeia, leaving only necklaces

 

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