In another moving piece today, Nobby Dee examines the serial mediocrity of his life before Coronavirus, and the influence of performing grandparents, the Egremont Crab Fair and the Japanese L versus R confusion on his development.
During these fucked up times where many are now bereft of hope – and continue to diligently recycle their rubbish because there’s fuck all else to get exited about – I’ve been reflecting on the past days of my life and trying to piece together the influence others from my family have had on me – why it is I hit rock bottom and remained there throughout an entire life unblemished by any measurable achievements.
My Grandfather and Grandmother on my father’s side, were a huge influence on me. They met long before the Germans decided to bring terror and bombing to Liverpool. They met at The Egremont Crab Fair up in the Lake District.
He, my Grandad, was quite famous back then and used to be a performing Artiste. He had a strong arm act. Before a throng of amazed viewers, he’d pop on stage, drop his pants, quickly develop a penile erection and then bend an iron bar across the erect penis. In later years, when the act lost its interest from the Egremont audience, he tried to develop it by tethering two mating raptor Common buzzards to the horizontal iron bar that would mate when the bending process had been completed and the birds were in closer proximity than they had been before the bending of the iron bar began.
My Granny was a formidable gurner. Determined to become British Female Champion Gurner, and long before she fell in love with my Grandfather who she’d been introduced to after one of his bending performances, she’d bravely recruited the girls from the Bootle Darning Socks Club to tie her to a bar chair at the local ale house and kick her head in and knock out all her teeth.
It was this, her having no teeth, being naturally pig ugly and under the influence of copious amounts of Heroin injected into her left groin that enabled her face to contort, thus convincing her that nobody could beat her at gurning. And she was right. Nobody ever came close to taking her title.
Like my Grandfather, her heady days at the Egremont Crab Fair ended when World War Two arrived. He went off to fight in Burma and ended up in a Japanese Prisoner Of War facility.
On his return he was never the same man again. The bending ended as did his ability to simply free himself from his inner demons. The family thing was, “never ask Grandfather about his experiences of captivity”. For example, at family gatherings, where everyone got blasted around the piano, there would always be some twat who’d sing a Beatles song and provoke him to attack anyone with a four pound wooden mallet. The wonderful Lennon McCartney composition, Love Me Do would turn into Ruv, Ruv, Me Do, You Know I Ruv You. Prease. Ruv Me Do that caused Granddad to experience a terrifying flashback to that dreadful Japanese Camp.
As I grew older and became interested in history, I decided to ask my Grandfather to tell me about his terrible experiences in the Japanese Prison Camps. He was sat on the steps polishing his shoes and I said, “Grandad. Please tell me about the Japanese Prison Camp. What was it like?”
His eyes welled up with tears, he looked directly at me and said, ‘La’, it was terrible. It pissed down the first two weeks’.
After he died, my Grandmother was ninety two years of age and so, keen to live out her years in the company of her beloved family she left her little Bootle Council home for the last time and moved in with her Mam and Dad and cared for them until they both dropped down dead after an infestation of head lice.
(To be continued at some point)