Thursday, January 30, 2003

"An evening with Colin and Geoff"

I thought it was high time I tantalised you with another extract from my great unpublished classic "Colin and the Dog". I have carefully selected chapter twenty-six, which adds exactly nothing to the plot, and involves two drunk idiots talking complete rubbish in front of the television. Your comments, positive or negative, would be greatly appreciated.

To fill you in, Colin Mann has recently fallen off a roof whilst escaping from a nymphomaniac office cleaner and a truck-driving midget. There was also a priest involved. Geoff has been having loads of sex with Colin's ex-girlfriend of five minutes. This is, in fact, the first chapter in the entire book not to involve public nudity.


“That’s me.”

“What music do you want played at your funeral?”

The bar-room question, meat and drink to the semi-inebriated. Geoff had prepared for this one in advance.

“Colin, my man,” said Geoff, pointing at nothing in particular, “I’m glad you asked me that, because I was thinking the very same thing just the other evening. Probably, an’ don’t get me wrong, at the self-same moment you were plummeting to your doom from that roof.”

“Yeah, get on with it.”

“I want you to arrange a medley of my favourite stuff.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I’ve been to one of these things, see, when old Tommy got run over by that truck, remember?”

How could Colin forget one of the school hard cases ending up a broken mess outside the school gates that wet spring lunchtime? It had put him right off his mushy peas.

“They never play your songs all the way through. There’s no time at these crematorium jobbies, y’see, it’s all done on a tight schedule. If someone wants Bohemian Rhapsody and something by Marillion, there’d be a queue of stiffs all the way down the road into Caversham.”

Colin admitted he never knew that, it was a point he’d never taken into account when thinking about his funeral dirge. He kept quiet, though. Geoff was off on one.

“That’s why I’m gonna keep it short an’ sweet. Tommy had Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy. I thought that was class. Especially as they had to let his big brother out of borstal so he could go. Nice touch, that.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, folded square of paper. He flattened it out on his knee and squinted at his own, spidery handwriting.

“Ah yes. Here we go. You’re allowed two songs, one at the beginning and one at the end, so I’ve got two medleys. If I’m lucky, I’ll try and get a DJ to mix it up on my coffin lid. Shock the clergy.”

Oh yes, Geoff was off on one, and for added effect he’d switched to his EL Wisty voice, a drone that could bore for England, guaranteed to have Colin smirking like an idiot.

“Medley the first. The slow miserable stuff. I want to sort the men from the boys here. Get the blubbin’ over an’ done with quick before the vicar says what a great guy I was. You should have heard the made up shit he said about Tommy. Shocking.

“Right. Number one. Joy Division - Atmosphere. And make sure they don’t get the Russ Abbott version. This Mortal Coil - Song to the Siren, that’ll have ‘em slashing their wrists, rounded off by The Lady in Red, just in case there’s any old’uns in the house. Gotta cater for the Radio Two audience you know.”

“You’re one sick bastard, Geoff.”

Geoff held up his hand for silence.

“There’s more. Medley the second. I want to start with that shouty bit from the sixties. Y’know ‘I am the God of Hell Fire!’, that one.”

“Arthur Brown?”

“That’s the fella. Then Going Underground by The Jam, cos let’s face it, that’s where I’m going. Throw in a few bars of Teenage Kicks, the ‘Ashes to Ashes, Funk to Funky’ bit from Bowie, and then head for the big finish.”

“That being...?”

“Sailing by Rod Stewart.”

Colin spat beer across the room in a brown sticky shower that would glue their socks to the carpet for months to come, and make any future Geoff-and-Susan Living Room Shaggery a deeply unpleasant experience.

“You what?”

“Sailing. And I’m going to stick to my guns on this one. It was a toss-up between that and Agadoo, I can tell ya. I was going to insist on all the hand-jiving mularkey too. But Sailing, with fag lighters waving in the air as I slide down the runway into the furnace, yup, that’s what I want.”

“And that’s going in your will?”

“Already done and dusted mate. I’ve made you my executor. There’s a cassette already done in my sock drawer. It’ll save you the grief of digging out all the records. Oh, and hold it at the Hammersmith Palais, I don’t want none of that graveyard shit. Dead people, they’re depressing.”

“Jesus, Geoff, you think of everything.”

“That I do. And make sure it’s done to the letter, or I’ll come back an’ haunt you all.”

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