Welcome to Dick's Blog

Sticking up for the little guys...

Thursday, 9 June 2011

14. Dick and the Dancer

Hi, I'm Richard Everyman but people call me Dick
As the bus made its way into the heart of the city I was struck by the dilapidation of the buildings along the way. There were closed shops with sad facades, relics of a more prosperous past. I recognised the spot where the West End Bazaar had once stood, where Billy and his sister bought their catapults and pea shooters on their way to the park. Now, in its place was a boarded up café and above it a sign which read 'Beryl Bites'. The apostrophe 's' on Beryl had long been removed.

Some of the empty buildings had been cleverly disguised with bright posters depicting happy traders. There was a fat butcher brandishing a joint of meat, a greengrocer holding a cucumber and a bunch of bananas and a barber grinning menacingly like Sweeny Todd behind his next client. "Why" I thought, "would people come here to shop if the shops weren't selling anything except a vision of what they could be selling if they were open?"
The bus stopped and I stood up. I let the young lady go before me, to demonstrate to the driver that he had not cornered the market on chivalry. She smiled in thanks and as we stepped off the bus I asked her if she could tell me where the job centre was.
"It's just across the road mate," she said pointing a long red talon in the direction of an ugly sixties edifice "what are you then, an army boy?"
The fact that I was wearing a blue uniform obviously escaped her so, not wanting to go into a long explanation I said I'd signed out of the forces and was now hoping to sign up to the Big Society.
"Well, bloody good luck mate. My last fella was in the Paras, he did Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, came back, got kicked out by his missus, couldn't find a job, started doing crack, then he found God and now he's a youth leader in Peckham."
"Wow, that's quite a CV." I said. "What about you? What do you do for a living?"
She leaned her head forward then swung it back to let her black hair sweep over her shoulders. "I'm a pole dancer mainly but I do a bit of lap dancing as well." She took a long drag on her cigarette.
I had not detected a Scandinavian accent but I was impressed all the same that an old English tradition had found its way north of the Arctic Circle. It brought back memories of our village fairs. The Maypole festooned with silken ribbons as dancers and musicians celebrated the blossoming Spring and of Billy tying his sister so tightly to the pole that she passed out.
As her fag end fell at my feet I asked, "Is there much of a call for dancing around poles? I'd have thought it was a very seasonal occupation."
"No mate. It's all year round. Here, take one of my cards, you'll have to come along." She rooted about in her clutch bag and gave me a small piece of card. "Good luck with the job hunting"
She turned on her stilettos and skipped across the pavement into the Pound Shop. I looked at her card. It was glossy and black with a photograph of a shiny piece of scaffolding pole from which was hanging a gravity defying and half naked old slapper. It read 'The Black Mamba Club'.
As I placed the card in my pocket I couldn't help feeling a tinge of sadness. I suppose that traditions have to evolve over time but I'm not sure that my grandmother would have been dancing for joy around that pole, at least not before a stiff gin and tonic and with a team of paramedics on hand.
This is Dick Everyman signing out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Talk to Dick but no profanity please...