I arrived bright and early at Nevil Hall Hospital. When I say bright I of course mean the day was bright not me. I was feeling hollow and fantasizing about soup – carrot and coriander. I also had the shakes. My body wasn’t enjoying the effects of no food for twenty hours and it certainly didn’t like the lava waterfall the night before courtesy of ‘klean prep’. Horrific and no more will be said of that.
I reported to the desk of the LLanwenarth day surgery suite, which makes it sound quite glamorous, and waited my turn. A lovely nurse called Judy checked me in and took all my details, my allergies: penicillin, animal saliva and fur, broad beans. I’m guessing they only needed to know about the penicillin allergy. Judy then discovered my blood pressure was a little high – no surprise as I was in the middle a panic attack. I was given wrist bands on each arm (appearing like I’d been to a really good festival) and an extra red one alerting anyone of my penicillin allergy. I was disappointed I didn’t have one alerting people to not feed me broad beans.
Judy then left the room for me to strip off and change into the fashionable hospital gown. I’m being sarcastic, it was anything but fashionable. I know these have to be low budget but surely they could find material suppliers with cheap funky designs. I’d want disco cats on mine. After a quick sit down in a side waiting room, doing some last minute Facebooking and a quick Kindle read, I was whisked into the treatment room.
My veins are cowardly and like to play hide and seek and thought it would be great fun to disappear completely. It took a full ten minutes for the surgeon to get a cannula in a vein. The nurse had looked first and decided she’d leave it to the surgeon as she couldn’t find any at all to even have a stab at. Now ten minutes may not sound long but when you are needle and hospital phobic and already struggling to hold onto happy thoughts to stay in your happy place, (a snowy winter forest with a wolf watching over me), having people tapping all over your arms and hands to find a vein seems like hours. The surgeon kept apologising for my uncooperative veins while he tapped. It reminded me of when seagulls tap the ground to get worms to rise to the surface.
I was given a drug first to make me woozy, it did and I felt nicely fuzzy headed. Then I was given anesthetic to make me sleepy and floating but not go under. I don’t know if I had a little too much but my blood pressure dropped like Mafioso in concrete boots and I went under. That was my highlight. It was heavenly. I felt myself free falling slowly down through water with friendly pink and green spotty octopi and electric blue jellyfish buffeting me like mini trampolines as I sank. I felt so relaxed. So I wasn’t best pleased with the nurse for waking me up and I asked her to leave me with the octopus. She didn’t though and I had pain inside that I can’t even describe. Every time I cried out in pain I apologised straight away for being a baby. I requested ‘give me more’ meaning give me more drugs but it felt like this had been misinterpreted as give me more tubing up my backside!
The nurse was a star though and tried to keep me calm by reminding me how to breathe, always good to be reminded, and telling me that she would like to go and work in Canada but her boyfriend doesn’t want to leave the UK. I normally wouldn’t offer advice without being asked but the power of anesthetic removes the filter of tact. ‘Leave him behind’ was my helpful drugged up advice. She had lovely eyebrows and an unpronounceable Welsh name beginning with I. ‘Ooh that’s exotic! Where are you from?’ ‘Merthyr’.
I was wheeled to the wake up room and had three more lovely nurses looking after me, well, chatting by my bedside monitoring my blood pressure readings. Its great lying back with your eyes closed listening to other peoples conversations. I learnt that a nurse in another room was a boring stickler to the rules with no sense of humour but she had a sporty car with a double exhaust. Yes, a double exhaust – this was quite out of character apparently. One of the nurses around my bed had moved to Abergavenny from Bristol to be near her husband’s family but they were all horrid to her and she wanted to move back, but he didn’t want to move. ‘Leave him behind’ I shouted in my head. That seemed to be my stock advice of the day. Do what you want with your life not what others want you to do.
After sitting in a squeaky green pleather chair with a cup of tea (which tasted like the best tea ever) for half an hour I was discharged home with a report of a normal healthy colon and wind noises in my bowels sounding like a blue whale fighting with Chewbacca. Happy days.
Belinda Carlisle is wearing a scuffed lobster costume and singing ‘Rock lobster’ to herself in the corner of the amusement arcade. She grumbles to the coin attendant that she should have been in the B-52’s. The coin attendant just ignores her and carries on eating her fish paste sandwich. Crumbs fall silently to the floor.
Fish from Marillion is singing ‘Broken Wings’. He doesn’t realise its Mr Mister’s song and not his. He is sat on the end of the pier wearing a giant rubber fish outfit. It’s a cod. When he sings ‘take these broken wings and make them fly again’ he flaps his little fins. He thinks they are wings. It’s all very pitiful.
Terence Trent D’Arby is hiding in an arcade claw machine wearing a squeaky puffer fish outfit as a disguise. He hums ‘Never gonna give you up’ as he tampers with the claw. He really is never going to give up those prizes.
Axl Rose is hanging around the candyfloss stall, again. He’s dressed as a mermaid and combs his long locks coyly. His outfit has five scales missing and doesn’t quite fit so you can see his trainers poking out from under his tail. He is annoying the candyfloss man as he sings ‘Pour some sugar on me’ every time a candyfloss is made.
Andrew Ridgeley is shuffling slowly around the deckchair hire singing ‘Don’t you forget about me’. He tries to get a conga going but no one will join in. This makes him very sad and gentle tears roll down his eel costume, glistening in the last sunlight of the day.
Midge Ure is crabbing in a crab pool. He’s dressed in a crab outfit as he thinks this will attract crabs to him like a crab magnet. The crab outfit is too new and shiny though so the crabs aren’t fooled. He quietly sings ‘I think we’re alone now’ to coax them out. They are not having it.
Morten Harket is fishing. His starfish costume is hampering his cast out with his rod though as his pointy bits keep catching the line. This doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm though. He hums ‘Fade to grey’ as he repeatedly casts out. If only he had put some bait on the line. Oh Morten, you are a silly starfish.
Bono is hiding behind the doughnut stand. He’s getting a complex when people shout ‘doughnut’. He thinks they are shouting at him. His rusty orange anchor outfit is the identical colour to the doughnut stand so people can’t see him but can hear his voice singing ‘Alone’ as he blends in chameleon like.
KC and the Sunshine Band have taken over the carousel. KC is flamboyantly riding a resin horse while the Sunshine Band are all squished into a fire engine carriage. It’s not helping that they are all dressed as rabbits as the extra inches of fluffy tails have wedged everyone in too tight. They are singing ‘People are strange’, aimed loudly at KC as they want to be The Bunnymen but KC doesn’t want to be Echo.
The faint sound of Elvis Costello singing ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’ wafts across the beach as he scans his metal detector over the brown sand. He doesn’t know what he’s looking for though so he might be a while. His shell costume is slightly too big and it’s chaffing him in unmentionable places. This is not the shell suit he had in mind.
Nik Kershaw is dressed as an octopus. Some of his suckers are missing. They are still stuck to the window of Starbucks from when he threw himself at it in protest for their tax avoidance. He’s racing alongside the donkey rides while singing ‘Nothing’s gonna stop us now’. The donkeys are not impressed. Neither is the owner who is disturbed by Nik’s tentacles.
The Thompson Twins have hi-jacked the Punch and Judy tent. They have tied up the puppets and have dressed as Punch and Judy themselves. They are arguing over the string of sausages and are both humming ‘Never ending story’ through gritted teeth as they know subconsciously that neither will give in. That’s not the way to do it.
Salt n Pepa are in witness protection. They have changed their names to Mayo and Mustard and run a mobile chip van by the beach. They dress as seagulls to scare away real seagulls swooping in for their chips. It works. They sing ‘Jump’. They think this is more exciting than pushing it.
Dave Lee Roth wanders aimlessly around the beach car park singing ‘Drive’. His whale outfit has a cardboard fin, made out of a cereal box, attached to it as he thinks he’s more of a shark than a whale. The sellotape attaching it is losing its stickiness though and flaps in the wind. Dave sings louder to cover the noise of this.
Carol Decker is disguised as a chip. She is bird-watching and believes this will attract the birds to her. It’s only attracting pesky seagulls though so she is annoyed with herself. She sings ‘Manic Monday’. She always wanted to be in The Bangles. She desperately wants to see a lesser spotted tit.
Paul Hardcastle sweeps the aisles in the bingo hall. He is not paid to do this, the staff just ignore him as he is harmless enough. He wears a turtle costume. He always wanted to be a mutant ninja turtle so he has tied a pink ribbon around his head to pretend he is. As he sweeps he quietly mumbles the words to ‘The final countdown’ until the bingo caller shouts out 19 and then he bursts into his single of the same title. He wonders why he hasn’t sung it for a while. He doesn’t realise the number nineteen ball has been removed from play.
Marc Almond is now selling ice-creams. He has his own little booth and goes by the name of Mr Pistachio. Not being one to conform he is not dressed as a pistachio but as a lighthouse. He is very proud of his flashing light that rotates around his head. He’s thrilled when customers ‘ooh’ at him. He sings the song ‘Vienna’ but changes it to ‘Viennetta’. This amuses him greatly.
Grace Jones floats on her back in the sea. She has removed the fin from her shark outfit as she wants to soften her image. She could swap with Dave Lee Roth for his whale costume but they are still not speaking following a vol-au-vent incident in 1993. She hums ‘It’s raining men’ while looking up at the sky hopefully and paddling her hands aimlessly.
Yazz is whizzing by on a yellow pedalo, trying not to splash Grace Jones. Her jellyfish costume trails in the water as she sings ‘Together in electric dreams’. She is supposed to be meeting up with the plastic population but is having far too much fun and has lost track of time. Oh Yazz, you are naughty.
Fergal Sharkey scrapes barnacles from the boat hire boats with a soup spoon. He is not paid to do this but does it when the boat owner goes to lunch. He is wearing his seahorse outfit back to front but has made holes for his arms to poke through. He whistles ‘the way it is’ as he chisels away with his spoon.
Robert Smith is annoying the balloon seller by singing ’99 red balloons’ and dancing in a provocative manner in a bright pink dolphin suit. The balloon seller keeps pointing out that he doesn’t have 99 red balloons but Robert just doesn’t care as he’s enjoying himself too much.
Hotdog stand, half time at football match. A hotdog stand is set up on SL, faint football crowd noise can be heard in the background, EDDIE is stood behind the hotdog stand stirring onions in a pan, there is a queue of people to the right of the stand, JAMES is stood at the front of the queue.
EDDIE: Aright mate, what can I do you for?
JAMES: Chicken please.
JAMES: Yes, a chicken pie please.
EDDIE: I do ot dogs. I aint got no chicken pies.
JAMES: A steak and kidney pie then?
EDDIE: You avin a laff?
JAMES: Not at all. So you don’t have any steak and kidney pies either?
EDDIE: No I aint got no bleedin pies, I got ot dogs.
JAMES: Do you have a beef and onion pie then please?
EDDIE: Listen mate, I’m gonna do you some damage if you carry on askin for a bleedin
pie. You can eiver av an ot dog or you can do one.
JAMES: Ah, is there a special nod or handshake I need to partake in to be able to have a
pie? (winks at Eddie)
EDDIE: Special nod or andshake?! I’ll give you a special nod if you don’t clear off you
JAMES: Well, we clearly seem to be on different pages sir, and quite frankly I find you
extremely ill mannered.
EDDIE: Diff’rent pages? You’re on a diff’rent bleedin bookshelf mate! Now clear off
before I shove my boot up your arsenal. (JAMES walks away SR shaking his head in disgust, EDDIE carries on in the background serving the queue, DAVINA enters SR, sees JAMES and walks towards him)
DAVINA: Darling! You’ve been gone such a long time I’ve come on the hunt for you.
JAMES: Sorry sweetie, I’ve had no joy with the food, the man on the stand was so
unhelpful. He protested he had no pies at all.
DAVINA: Well of course he doesn’t silly, he sells hot dogs.
JAMES: But sweetie, you said he had lovely pies.
DAVINA: (laughs) Oh darling you are too funny. Yes I did say that, I was speaking the in
the amusing slang these people use. I said he had nice pies. Eyes silly, eyes. He
has nice eyes!
JAMES: Oh! I’m such a silly billy! (JAMES and DAVINA laugh together, hold hands and exit SR)
Some alternative TV show pitches achieved by just changing one letter of existing UK crime shows. Agatha Christie’s Marple = Agatha Christie’s Marble. Documentary looking at Agatha’s hidden Italian statue collection in secret vault in Torquay. Hosted by Angelos Epithemiou. The Body Farm = The Body Fart. Spin off show from Embarrassing Bodies. Dr Christian travels the UK with Joe Pasquale trying to capture the perfect specimen of wind. Case Histories = Vase Histories. Open University feature showcasing vases of the world and their histories. Presented by Danny Dyer. Cold Blood = Cold Bloom Reality TV show about the early morning flower markets in Amsterdam, Voiceover by Alan Carr. Cracker = Fracker. Drama starring Neil Stuke about a man sent into a hostile North East community to carry out fracking for the government. Crime Traveller = Prime Traveller. Travel show presented by Joan Collins and Johnny Vegas showing only the most luxurious destinations, hotels and travel options. Death in Paradise = Heath in Paradise. Drama sequel to Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff stops mooning over Cathy and sets sail to Barbados for fun and frolics. Noel Fielding to be Heath. Foyle’s War = Foyle’s Bar. Cheers style comedy set in the 1950’s when Foyle retires from military life and opens a bar. Good Cop = Good Cod. Foodie show travelling the UK to find Britain’s best fish and chip shop, hosted by Keith Chegwin. Law and Order = Jaw and Order. Sitcom starring Jon Richardson about a dentist with chronic OCD. Line of Duty = Wine of Duty. Period drama about a wine making dynasty and their vineyard. Starring Frazer Hines, Martine McCutcheon and Stephanie Cole. New Tricks = New Trucks. Top Gear lifestyle show for HGV drivers, presented by Su Pollard and Mickey Flanagan. Prime Suspect = Price Suspect. Reality TV show following a Trading Standards task force. Voiceover by Bobby Ball. Ripper Street = Hipper Street. Makeover show where two neighbouring streets compete to be the ‘hipper’ street. Presented by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, team captains for each street. The Sweeney = The Tweeney. Reality documentary following CBBC ‘star’ Milo as he leaves The Tweenies and tries his hand at stand-up comedy in working men’s clubs up north. Commentary by Sean Lock. Silk = Sulk. Supernanny Jo Frost and Vinny Jones take on Britain’s most troublesome teenagers in a boot camp in West Wales. Vera = Verb. Do you know your verbs from your adjectives? A grammar quiz show hosted by Jimmy Nail. Waking the Dead = Waking the Head. Comedy about a narcoleptic teacher. Starring David Morrissey and Coleen Nolan. Waking the Dead = Baking the Dead. Cooking for cannibals. Hosted by Anne Diamond. Wire in the Blood = Fire in the Blood. Drama about a family of fire fighters. Starring Martin Kemp, Emmett J Scanlan and Danny Young.
The hiss of the steamer spits like a snake
As the café and staff start to awake.
Grinding of beans and coffee aromas,
Shuffling shoppers emerge from their comas.
The scraping chairs of coming and going,
Satisfied customers ever flowing.
The chef in the kitchen in a flurry
Cooking up soup, a toastie and curry.
It’s all out action at pot-wash station,
Sauce smeared plates and dehydration.
A cry of ‘spoons’ as they vanish out front,
A quick foot assistant goes on a hunt.
Chatter of people enjoying their food
Drinking Earl Grey tea, freshly brewed.
Wonderful staff remaining so cheerful
Even when queues are so long and fearful.
When crowds have gone and the day is complete
Body parts ache like an Olympic athlete.
When I am old I shall have candyfloss hair,
Dyed pink and permed looking fresh from the fair.
I shall ride in a chair as I won’t want to walk
And take out my teeth when I don’t want to talk.
I’ll pretend to be deaf when people are boring,
Fall asleep at parties with very loud snoring.
I shall wear bright red lipstick on my lips
And for breakfast eat three walnut whips.
I shall have cocktails on Saturday nights
Wearing pink and purple stripy tights.
I shall have six or eight cats for company
And enjoy a paddle in the winter sea.
When I am old I shall sleep ‘til noon
And embrace my body that looks like a prune.