Monday, 20 May 2013

Partners in Crime

A boys’ own adventure, in blank verse.

Another one for Elfish Mover

Whilst walking on the promenade at Hythe –
it’s 6.15 a.m., the middle of
the summer break, and I’m determined
to beat the sunrise every day we’re here –
arrives upon my phone a message from
my dear old friend and former sparring partner
(guitars), who must remain anonymous
for legal reasons soon to be revealed,
proclaiming that he’s crashing for the night
at Johnny Marr’s, and is there anything
that I would like for him to photograph
(in secret) while he’s there. I laugh out loud.
He isn’t being serious (I hope).
“Unlikely as it seems...” his text had started.
“Unlikely as it seems...” I start with my
reply, and then a madness grips my soul.
Without a thought for any consequence,
ignoring all the danger which I’m just
about to put my friend in (wait and see) –
please bear in mind that I’ve bought each record
or compact disc that Johnny Marr has ever
graced with his presence (Girls Aloud excepted);
and thus it is that I convince myself
that I am quite entitled to at least
a teaspoon (a teaspoon? At least a teaspoon) –
I send a text requesting that he take
(in absent-mindedness, of course) a teaspoon.
The text which next he sends informs me that
the custom-built guitar that Johnny has
designed with Fender has arrived. “What  colour?
I hope it’s white like my new strat” I text.
“I wouldn’t know – it’s in its box” he says.
I get on with my walk and wonder what
our teenage selves would think: it’s thirty years
since we first met, and yet we’re still in touch;
we’re both still mad about guitars; and, oddly,
my manic-like obsession when it comes
to Johnny Marr – is still intact! Far out!
(the pseudo-hippy teenage self would say).

A few days later, back at home, a package
arrives. Inside the bubble-wrap, a note
instructs me how to use the thing enclosed
(a teaspoon, property of Johnny Marr):
“First, make a pot of tea, then pour from pot
to cup and stir with this ‘ere magic spoon.
Whilst drinking tea bestirred by magic spoon,
pick up your strat and write some magic tunes,
then put them on a tape and send to me.”
The hand that wrote this note once strummed some chords
to which I added teenage words, and bonds
like that? They never break (I guess, ‘though sometimes
they get mislaid for several years). I laugh
out loud. I dance around the room. I laugh
out loud again. I laugh so hard that tears
start running down my cheeks. I shriek and dance
and shout, “I’ve got a magic teaspoon – look!
A teaspoon, property of Johnny Marr!”
My children start to laugh as well, and I
explain the story. So it is that they
discover that their dad’s great friend is now
a burglar (at their father’s instigation),
and Dad is now apparently quite cool
about receiving stolen goods (as long
as it’s a teaspoon, formerly belonging
to England’s finest songsmith: Johnny Marr).

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