Posted in Uncategorized

Almost In

You know that feeling of completeness? The feeling of everything slotting into place and just being, I don’t know, ‘right’?

No?

Neither do I.

People talk about it all the time. How they found something or reached a stage in their life when everything clicked into place. Even if it was just for a short period of time.

I can honestly hand on my heart say that I have never experienced that. And it’s not for want of trying, believe me.

I think I’ve almost, very almost felt shades of it, but then it disappears before I get a chance to grab it. 

People say crap like, ‘Oooh when you know, you know’ and ‘it just, well, all fell into place’.

Oh did it now? Could you just piss off, please. Always say please.

I’m not a miserable person, I’m either the life and soul or I want to run away. I think we all feel like that from time to time, but that doesn’t get as many likes on social media. Pretending the sun coming out cheered you up is something you might say but secretly you couldn’t care less. The sun coming out won’t close the extra 15 tabs I have open in my brain. Only two of them actually matter but the others are there, jabbing away. Will I always be upset about what my art teacher said to me when I was 14? Tax return. Am I giving enough to charity? Is my Mum proud? Should I have achieved more? Tax return. Am I too old to be this clueless? Will that rat I saw in my garden be waiting for me in the morning?

So there you go, I’m a bit scrambled. More than rough round the edges. But so are you, right? 

The thing that usually defines an adult is the company they choose to keep. I spent my teenage years feeling slightly behind the glass, there but not quite. Looking in. But I’d always read and heard that university is where you find your people. That wasn’t the case though within the first few months I’d already become the last to leave every party but also the one to never miss a lecture the next day. This meant wearing several different metaphorical hats. Good student hat and the hat you wear to never miss a social occasion. House party, club night, extra rehearsal, early seminar. I was at every single one of them so this meant different people in my life. People who didn’t cross the paths of the people in my ‘other’ life. All these identities were exhausting.

My friends now are in two very distinct categories. The Tits and Lips, and The Arty Ones.  The T&L girls are opinionated, fashionable and gorgeous. A flurry of constant messages, memes, diet tips and ‘which selfie shall I upload?’ Suggesting ‘the one you look happiest in’ is not taken as good advice. If you take your eyes off your phone for a couple of hours then you’re lost. A scroll for the highlights includes the odd dick pic, an overly edited full body shot in a mirror, and a picture with a fully made up face and the caption ‘I hate my skin without makeup’.

There’s an argument every day in this group but we make friends again just as quickly so it just kind of adds to the drama. I’m more of a watcher than an active participant in the arguing. I sense a storm brewing and that’s my cue to switch to my other beloved group of weirdos.

The Arty Ones have shared interests in theatre and writing, we have similar political views, and  are avocado toast enthusiasts. We all have a reusable coffee cup and wear dungarees. I always feel secretly judged when I say, ‘I haven’t read the book, but I’ve seen the film’ and if they say, ‘love your dress, where’s it from?’ do I say, ‘oh this, it’s vintage’ ,or do I tell the truth and say ‘once again I increased my carbon footprint and got it from a cheap website’? These are the friends with whom I’d watch a play, reminisce about old sitcoms and share chickpea recipes.

I don’t fit into either of these completely comfortably. Each group sees me as more like the other one. Which can leave me feeling like I’m either a weak version of both or a complete freak. A fraud perhaps.

Being a member of The Tits and Lips is fascinating. It’s so much more than friendship, it’s low level detective work. The sassiest member of The Tits and Lips crew was sent a borderline psychotic gift in the post from one of  her many admirers. She had no idea which one had sent the present, and couldn’t outright ask, ‘Was it you that sent me the creepy moon lamp, or one of the others?’ 

She had to keep up the pretence that putting on her lipstick and wearing off-the-shoulder tops in her FaceTime dates to look naked was just for them. The Tits and Lips gang spent days trying to figure out the man behind the moon lamp. It’s been weeks and we still don’t know.

The Arty Ones leave you feeling intellectually stimulated with five books added to my ‘will read this year’ list. This group has been the reason I embrace my bohemian upbringing and ditched the fake tan. The most vintage clad member of the group suggested we all try laughter yoga. We booked our place on the workshop and all met up outside the venue wondering what on earth we were letting ourselves into. After ten minutes it became very apparent it was some sort of sexual cult thingy, the touching, the breathing in time, all that swaying. I half expected Sting to walk in part way through and say ‘right, take your clothes off’. The ticket price included a buffet so I wrapped up some of the flapjacks and hid them in my rucksack. I couldn’t look any of The Arty Ones in the eye for a few weeks. That’s maybe where having another group is handy.

I love both groups equally, but the two cannot be mixed. It would go from the best of both worlds to the worst of both worlds in one evening.

They both have laughter and lots of substance but I’m made up of something different and I haven’t found that mixture in anyone yet.

The closest I’ve ever had to almost being ‘In’ was a few years ago when I went to a creative residential course in a beautiful village outside of Barcelona. The course was called ‘The art of comedy’ and it was brilliant. We stayed in a big farmhouse in the country, where people from all over the world come to live, create and just be together. It’s a gorgeous experience. No one fits in because everyone is such an odd bod. One night we were all chatting after dinner, the table was cleared and most of us were onto our second glass of wine. I felt it coming…almost…almost and then gone. Was that it? Had I almost found my home? Or was I just getting tipsy?

I spent the rest of the week trying to recapture that feeling. It showed its face, but mistily, and disappeared before it came into focus. I was sad to leave and as I packed my suitcase I hoped I was taking back a teeny tiny bit of that feeling. When I got back to Manchester I unzipped the case slowly, hoping against hope. But no – I couldn’t see it, couldn’t feel it and couldn’t smell it. Maybe It doesn’t last well in a suitcase, or maybe it’s always a moment rather than a permanent feeling.

The Tits and Lips girls wanted to know if the men were hot.  The Arty crowd wanted to discuss the theory behind the practice. I was definitely home.

 

AE19A6296 (c) Andy Hollingworth Archive

Photo credit: (c) Andy Hollingworth Archive

Posted in childhood, comedy, Uncategorized

The Kids With Matches

It was a cold and rainy day. I held onto my little sister’s hand. We were both in a bad mood, and my brother was annoyed he’d not been able to watch the end of The Bill. He had a thing about watching the end credits of tv programmes. The Bill was his favourite, he liked the legs in tights walking along the concrete. We all have our quirks. 

We were waiting for our errant father to arrive. The Italian was always late. Lateness wasn’t his worst quality though. He was only allowed to see us once a week and the courts said it had to be in a public place. He was- and there’s no other way of putting this- dodgy.  My Mum softened us up for our weekly ordeal by taking us for a coke float at a cafe in town. We really didn’t want to see him. He made us feel nervous. I watched the ice cream make the Coca Cola cloudy knowing that once this delicious treat was over it was time to see the Italian, so I made sure I took forever to drink it. My mum is a woman of the world and she couldn’t be fooled. ‘I know what you’re doing you wee monster.’ There was no escape.

He was even later than usual. I looked up at my curly haired Mummy, clad head to toe in tie dye and said  ‘He’s not coming, let’s just get the bus home.’ My brother and sister nodded excitedly. They didn’t like him either.

‘Sorry kids, you have to wait’ she said. Shattering my plan.

All of a sudden a dark shadow appeared and my heart sank. 

Here he was. 

Not Daddy, not Papa.

The Italian.

He looked hungover and pissed off. He was holding a gift bag. My brother and sisters faces lit up when they saw the bag. ‘Presents!’ They said with their eyes. 

I had a feeling my gift wouldn’t be something to get excited over. I’d recently started to see through him. One day I looked at him and it all become clear. The man was an arse and I made sure he knew. The older I got the more I realised what a bad egg he was, the worst egg. Imagine that egg being a bit of a psychopath. The more my dislike for him became apparent the crapper my gifts were and the nicer my siblings gifts were.

This week he handed me a very creepy clown doll, so scary looking that even our friend’s boxer dog wouldn’t go near it. He gave my sister a beautiful fluffy teddy bear and my brother a hand painted train set. I wasn’t really that bothered but to be honest a decent gift would’ve slightly softened having to see him. Especially because me and my siblings had seen him take the money out of my mum’s purse the week before. She’d nipped of for a wee and he very smoothly slipped a £20 note out of her purse and then  put his finger to his lips saying ‘shhhh, our secret’. He could’ve at least spend it on something good.

Us three kids gave my Mum a cuddle and waved goodbye to her as we followed the Italian into Rascals. Rascals was an indoor play centre. We were feral kids but the brilliant thing about Rascals was that we were never the naughtiest. 

We got to the front desk and a bored looking girl with an orange face said ‘Three quid each.’ The Italian tried to charm her to get in for free. He attempted this every time. It never worked. He had plenty of money, stood there in his designer shirt and leather slip on shoes. You know the type, with the little chain on the front. I apologised to the girl and rolled my eyes, I thought I was so grown up. My little sister put her hands on her hips and said ‘That’s it, I’m getting mummy!’ 

The three of us marched outside, my teeny sister leading the way. My mum was still there, holding her purse. She knew this was going to happen. She handed us a £10 note and some extra pound coins for orange squash. This day was getting expensive for my mum. Bus tickets, coke floats, Rascals entry. His kids were not even worth £9 in his eyes. We said bye to our Mum again and went back inside. The Italian had left the counter and was already sat inside on a white plastic chair. He was chatting to a young woman who was breast feeding her baby, handing her a pen and a napkin to get her phone number. We’d only been gone a couple of minutes and he was already pulling. Fast work indeed. He spotted us and loudly said ‘My children, I missed you!’ He made sure to look at his new girlfriend as he said it. She fluttered her eyelashes at him and gave us a smile. I look back now and find it typical that out of all the women in there he chose to speak to the one with her tits out.

My sister, brother and I dived into the ball pool. We thought we were VIP’s with our Rascals wristbands. We climbed up a ladder and crawled through a glow-in-the-dark tunnel. The tunnel made everything sound you were under water and it smelt of warm socks. Normally it was empty and was our secret hiding place. Not today though, today the tunnel had visitors. 

We could see four shaved heads and tracksuits. At first we thought they were grown ups but once we got closer we saw that they were about our age. We were very intrigued by them. They were not like the children in the village we lived in. They were town kids, which was a different breed altogether. I bet they got the bus on their own and had televisions in their bedrooms. I wanted to know more about them but was too nervous. 

My brother and sister pushed past me and crawled towards them. My siblings asked if they had tried the Rascals orange squash. That’s probably the equivalent of adults talking about the weather. I’d been warned about the naughty kids at Rascals, I thought this might be them. I had a feeling they were bad news. I crawled further into the tunnel to join my brother and sister. 

One of the shaved head kids introduced himself as ‘Bad Baz’ and pulled out a box of matches. My siblings and I gasped. In genuine  shock I said ‘You’re too little for those and you’re not allowed things like that in Rascals. There’s rules.’ 

A great way to make friends, remind them of ‘The Rules’. 

Bad Baz replied with ‘Yeah? So what? We do what we want’. The other matchstick kids nodded in agreement with Bad Baz. Baz was definitely the leader, he did most the talking whilst the other three  nodded. I thought carefully and in my most annoying voice said ‘Yeah well, I’ll tell the people who work here.’ My little sister, four years younger but much more street wise elbowed me in my tin ribs and whispered ‘Shut up, they have matches’. 

She was right, they had to be in charge. I backtracked and said ‘Only joking, I love matches’.

The smallest member of the matchstick kids asked us if we’d ever set fire to anything. My brother told him that it was on his list of things that he wanted to do but at the moment he was more into chopping worms in half. All of the matchstick members laughed loudly and said we could be in their gang. My little sister agreed immediately. She loved danger.

Did this make us cool? We were part of a gang, a gang not to be messed with. It had all happened so fast and I was torn. Do I go along with this or do I tell Linda, the lovely lady that makes the drinks? Linda always felt sorry for us having to spend our Saturdays with the Italian. She fancied him at first but then realised he was more like the baddies in the Godfather films than an Italian stallion. He’d always kick off that they didn’t serve good quality espresso and that the food was rubbish. He’d wave his hands around shouting in his thick Italian accent ‘The food a in England is a disgusting!’ Us kids would bury our heads in our hands, apologise to Linda with our eyes and then run and hide in the tunnel.  

I think he saw the indoor play centre as a place to pull women and shout at people. Linda gave us extra chicken nuggets so in our eyes was God. It annoyed us when the Italian was rude to her. Surely extra nuggets meant I had to tell Linda about the naughty boys? 

Before I could give it any more thought the matchstick kids handed my brother, sister and me a match each and taught us a very simple secret hand shake. We slipped the matches into the front pockets of our dungarees. It was official. We were in the gang. I couldn’t wait to tell the kids in the village about this. ‘What now then?’ I said with big eyes, looking at my fellow gang members. Bad Baz said ‘Erm, we just sit here and that’. 

Being in a gang was slightly underwhelming.

All of a sudden there was shouting and banging.  Every gang member’s eyebrows lifted. I crawled back to the tunnel opening and peered through the coloured ropes to see Linda frantically looking through a drawer. I shouted her name, and she beckoned me over. I mouthed ‘we need to go’ to my siblings. We did the secret handshake with the gang and said we’d be back. Then we climbed down the ladder and ran over to Linda. She said that The Italian was locked in the toilet and that she couldn’t find the key. She was trying not to laugh. This was golden. The four of us giggled, all huddled together. 

We could hear The Italian, kicking the door and swearing loudly. He was huffing and puffing, shouting over and over again that ‘The lock is stupid because it is a English’.

Mums held their children closer and sipped their coffees. The wanted to know what would happen.

As funny as this was we had a reputation to uphold, we were part of a gang now. We even had matches. Something like this could effect our newly found street cred. I was sure Bad Baz’s dad had never been stuck in the lavatory, and if he had been then he’d have fought his way out.

I glanced back at our beloved tunnel and saw the gang staring. They looked like a skinhead totem pole. My little sister said ‘Ilaria, let them know to stay there’ I put on a big smile and gave the gang a thumbs up. We’ll meet you in the tunnel next week!’ I shouted. They smiled, waved their matches and went back into the tunnel. Phew, we were still cool. 

Looking back, they were odd kids. 

Linda sent the orange faced girl on the front desk over the road to the mechanics to see if any of the men would come over and sort the toilet door. Linda sat us down and gave us extra strong orange squashes and a Jammy Dodger biscuit each. Everyone was staring and whispering but we didn’t care. This was brilliant. 

Through mouthfuls of Jammy Dodgers, my brother said he’d be up for seeing the gang again. My sister and I agreed. This was great orange squash, we had a gang, and The Italian was making a tit of himself.

Eventually two grubby, smiley mechanics sorted out the lock and released the raging Italian from his toilet hell. They tried to make a joke but The Italian was having none of it and kept shouting how this wouldn’t have happened in Italy. We slurped the last bit of our orange squash and watched him. What was he going to do next we wondered? 

He hungrily put a cigarette to his lips and looked in his pockets for a lighter. He couldn’t find one in his expensive trousers, or one in his designer jacket. Linda shook her head, she didn’t have one either. He looked at the mechanics ‘Sorry fella, you didn’t laugh at our joke. See ya pal’. And they went back to the garage. 

He needed a cigarette desperately after being locked in the toilets and being with his kids for more than five minutes. He was waving his hands around in a way only an angry Italian in need of nicotine can. ‘I need a match’ he said, ‘just one match’. 

We looked up at him sweetly and shrugged our shoulders. What did he expect? We were children, and children aren’t allowed to play with matches. 

As he stormed off to go round the tables in search of a light, I winked at my brother and sister, then tapped the front pocket of my dungarees. We did the handshake. No one messes with the Matchstick gang.

AE19A6087 (c) Andy Hollingworth Archive

Photo Credit: (c) Andy Hollingworth Archive

Posted in comedy, Uncategorized

The Burnley ‘Guest House’

When someone holds a hot glue gun to your crotch and makes an unsavoury joke it usually doesn’t end well. The average person may think ‘how did this happen?’ Not to worry though, it’s just my Mum in the kitchen and we’re making fairy costumes. 

We had been booked for the Burnley Literature festival. We were going to be telling stories to local families. The brief asked for ‘woodland fairies.’ My mum’s immediate response was ‘Do they know I’m short, fat and nearly 60?’ I was surprised she’d said her real age. She went from 46 to 48 and forgot about 47 one birthday. Ever since her late 50’s she’d been trying to reclaim 47. I attempted to explain to her that wasn’t how it worked but she’s Glaswegian and often holding a glue gun. Some things are best left alone.

We got on the train dressed as fairies, our outfits complete with flowers laced through our Doc Martens. The venue was a giant inflatable toadstool, the more we stared at it the more phallic it became. It only stayed inflated for the amount of time it took for 2 kids to get in through the narrow zip up door, which meant as the other people were squeezing in it actually deflated on the kids. Screaming happened. People got annoyed but we’re fairies, who could be angry at fairies? Turns out all of Burnley can. 

We’d had a brilliant day full of laughs but we were shattered. Good job I’d booked a lovely little guest house for my mum and I to stay in. I thought I’d treat her so we could have some proper time together.

The guest house was only a few minutes walk away so off we set on the short journey, still dressed like fairies. We got a few odd looks but we didn’t really care. All we wanted was a lie down and a cup of tea.

We arrived at the Guest house and I got a strange feeling in my tummy. It didn’t look as cute as it did online. Had I made a mistake?

It was 5.30pm when we knocked on the door. An emaciated woman with a strong North East accent answered the door. She asked us how long we wanted a room for. ‘One hour? 2 hours?’ I was a bit confused and looked at my mum. ‘The whole night please’ her eyes widened. ‘We’ve booked a room, the name’s Ilaria’ ‘ahh okay girls. Someone has just left your room’.

She gestured for us to come in. She made us a coffee that worrying tasted of salt and asked us to wait on the stairs. ‘I’ll go up and clean your room now. I’ll just be a minute’ she said. ‘TAKE YOUR TIME’ my mum quickly shouted. 

A young girl with what sounded like she had pleurisy told us how she was in charge of making sure the pillow cases are clean. Lovely. She asked how we knew each other. When I told her we were mother and daughter she said ‘You could make a fortune tonight.’ I was confused and then the penny dropped. My mum clocked my expression and said ‘bloody hell love, have you only just worked it out?’ 

You could book rooms by the hour. Surely this wasn’t a knocking shop. No place for someone dressed as a fairy and her mother. What had I done?

We were put in a room that felt like the inside of an ashtray. We sipped on our salty coffees as parts of our soul shrivelled up and died. Sod this we thought. Let’s go out for dinner. We walked around the streets nearby in the pouring rain, still in our fairy outfits. With rumbling tummies all we could see were 1 star hygiene rated places. We spotted a man so far past the point of drunk he was trying to cook a frozen pizza with a lighter. The odd thing was that it wasn’t actually the first time I’d seen that particular culinary technique. Living in the north is very colourful.

The strange thing about Burnley was that everywhere closes at 6 o’clock. It suddenly turns into a ghost town and the only things available to eat are from the newsagent. The good thing about being a grown up is if you want crisps for tea then no one will stop you. I’d rather it was a choice though. We went into a newsagent and picked up a big bag of Poland’s answer to Wotsits. As a kid a giant bag of crisps would be my absolute dream and would be up there in things to make me ecstatically happy. Right now, stood there with wet hair and fairy wings I thought what a fool I was. Sometimes the things we want are not the things we need. What I need is to not be spending the night in a knocking shop with my mum and a bag of cheese balls. 

We headed back to the guest house. We heard terrible things, we smelt scary things. We walked up creaky steep stairs to our ashtray room. Nothing works from the door handle to the window. A pair of knickers hung from the radiator and a very worn pair of slippers with the words ‘sexy mofo’ embroidered on the front sat at the end of one the beds. These items did not belong to me so they made me feel very uneasy being in the room so casually. This is something I hate. When I stay somewhere or move into a new house I don’t want there to be any trace of the previous occupant. I moved into a flat years ago and found a miniature sand timer and nail scissors in the kitchen drawer. I knew instantly that the previous occupant liked to cut their toenails in a set time frame whilst cooking. I shouldn’t know that. 

Back in the knocking shop there was a canvas on the wall with ‘dance like no one’s watching’ printed on the front with a cat holding a balloon. That cat knows sod all but still somehow seemed to be laughing at us ‘you thought you’d stay in a cosy quaint guest house with your mum? Haha, enjoy your Polish cheese balls, bitch.’ Every where we walked to in the room I could see the cat’s eyes looking back at me. Like one of those spooky Victorian paintings where the eyes follow you. Smug twat. 

Even the bathroom told a story. It smelt of stale cigarette smoke and old spice. It surprised me to see this was an air freshener so the scent was a deliberate choice. 

We got into our pyjamas and decided that the best thing was to put the lights out. The smell would still be there but at least our eyes would be spared. I wriggled around to get comfy but my mattress was covered in plastic. For easier wiping perhaps? I was relieved at the wipe-ability but It sounded like I was sleeping on a giant crisp packet.

I stopped wriggling. Ahh, silence. 

And then the builders started drilling downstairs.

We both laughed loudly.

‘You’ll have to put this in your book of stories ma wee toots’ my mum said.

We giggled ourselves to sleep.

Thank goodness I have my book of stories. Without it I probably would’ve cried. If I’d have stayed there with anyone other than my mum it wouldn’t have made me laugh. Without her I’d never go with the flow. She makes me chase the stories. 

Thank you Mummy.

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I’m doing another show!

Well hello there,

Hope you’re all having a smashing start to the new year.

I’m going to be doing a Manchester show. It’s all been rewritten and reworked. I’m now working with a wonderful producer, Micheal Jacob. We’ve been friends for a long time and have always wanted to work together on something exciting.

The show will be on the 25th and 27th Feb at Gullivers in the Northern Quarter. You can get your tickets here 

Dead pets, rubber chickens and a kids party gone wrong…very wrong.

I’m a grown up but I still don’t have the answers. It’s okay though, I have a sneaky feeling that the other grown ups are also clueless. ,

I’m so excited. This show is in preparation for Camden Fringe.

Come along and grab a drink.

It’s story time.

AE19A6208 (c) Andy Hollingworth Archive

Posted in comedy, Uncategorized

I’m doing a show!

Hello you bloody lovely people!

I have some news…I’m doing my first ever Lady Ilaria storytelling show and I’m very excited. I got some fancy photos done and I’ve sorted a venue. Please come!

The show will be at the very cool Spark in York. It’s the perfect place to have a hair cut, look at some art and have a burger. It’s all independent retailers and it’s brilliant.

Here’s the blurb for the show…

Lady Ilaria’s Drawers

…tales of a confused life

Lady Ilaria is definitely more ‘Downtown’ than Downton.
She was born with a plastic spoon in her mouth.
There was a posh end of the village and a dodgy end…she grew up firmly in the middle. Her foot in both camps.
Skint but ate hummus.

These days she is a ‘Lady’ in search of her destiny but dead pets, the Mega bus and a Goldfish named Hitler keep getting in the way. 

A storytelling show for grown ups. 

Get comfy,

it’s story time.

Written and performed by Ilaria Passeri.

Pop over the the Bohemian bar in Spark and order their ‘Lady Ilaria’ cocktail.

Tickets can be bought here

This is Spark York’s website

The show will be on Friday 18th October at 7.30

Here’s a photo of me and my drawers taken by the utterly brilliant Andy Hollingworth thumbnail

 

 

 

 

Posted in childhood, comedy, Uncategorized

Hitler the Goldfish

It’s 1999 and the fair is in town. Us Passeri kids can barely contain our excitement. Hot dogs, rides, and personalised hair bands. We’ve got weird names you couldn’t buy an Ilaria hair band in the shops then.

This day ends well. We won a Goldfish and named him Hitler. He had a little dark mark above his lip, hence the imaginative name. We won him on one of those stalls where you win a prize every time. My Mum wasn’t silly, she knew us kids well. We had/have no coordination and we’re deeply sensitive. Anything that required even limited skill was out of the question. 

My Mum guided us over to a stall ran by a bloke who had aged horrifically due to a lifetime of cigarettes and regret. He had a tattooed face, too many piercings to count and an odour that could strip wall paper. 

He handed my brother three darts and said in a gruff voice ‘Throw them at the dart board lad.’ 

‘’You might want to stand well out the way” my Mum said to the fair man in her Scottish accent. It was more of a warning than anything else. She knew what would happen. It’s partly the reason I have crooked teeth, but that’s for another story.

‘It’ll be all right’ he said, naively.

My brother threw the first dart. 

The bloke running the stall lost the last remaining drop of colour in his already grey face. 

The first dart went straight through a teddy bear’s face, the second dart pierced through the man’s discoloured canvas shoes and the third, well, the third one was ripped out of Adriano’s hands and replaced with a goldfish in a bag and the direct instructions to leave and never return. 

After that ordeal we ran over to the Waltzers. My sister and I loved this ride the most. 

My Mum used to say to us that the way the fair worked was that you walked around and looked at the rides and could only go on one thing. She saved a fortune. This particular year we all decided on the Waltzers. My sister and I thought we were extra tough and said the lad working the ride could ‘spin us around as much as he can, we’re well hard’. He really turned that comment into a challenge. Biggest mistake of our lives. About 20 seconds in and we were crying and begging him to stop the ride. I remember at one point shouting ‘Please, I’ll give you my Christmas presents’. It didn’t work…he obviously wasn’t a fan of glitter pens and fluffy slippers. 

My bargaining abilities improved a few years later when I grew boobs. 

We staggered off the ride soaked in tears, nauseous and shouting about taking the man to court. ‘You’re a horrible man’ we said loudly. My mum was in hysterics and had no sympathy for us. She just said ‘Right kids, you’ve spent your pound. Let’s take Hitler home’ . Which must be the weirdest phrase ever.

Adriano spent the whole bus journey swinging the fish around, so poor little Hitler was bouncing off the sides of his plastic bag. He must have been terrified about coming to live with the Passeris 

So that’s how we got Hitler the goldfish. 

He survived a long time considering his background. If you read my blog post Dead Pets, then you’ll know that the Passeris shouldn’t have pets and can probably work out what happened. He died. We woke up and found him in his bowl not having fun. We got over it very quickly not to sound cruel but he was a sodding goldfish. A psychopath’s pet, that’s a fact by the way. I read it in the Metro on the bus so it must be true. 

Years later we were all having a family dinner and my little sister said “It’s a shame Hitler died”

My brother chipped in and said very earnestly “Well he wasn’t a very nice person.”

Bit of an understatement.

I then went on to say that “I don’t care how much he was bullied, how little pocket money he recieved or how crap his hair was, nothing is a good enough excuse to be that much of a twat.” –

My sister interrupted a little too late and said she meant the goldfish.  

Explaining this to the people we had over for dinner took longer than anticipated. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday Crisps

Today wasn’t an ordinary day. Today was Sunday and that meant ‘Sunday Crisps’

I didn’t realise until a couple of years ago that ‘Sunday Crisps’ was something my stingy Glaswegian Mum (or Mummy in our family. We’re not posh, we’re just pathetic) had invented. I honestly thought every family did it.

With all the fat kids running around (well, not running around) it would do the trick.
I’m not a politician but if Lady Ilaria ever becomes Prime Minister then the first thing I’ll do is introduce ‘Sunday Crisps.’

The sugar tax hasn’t really worked, if you want chocolate you’ll pay any amount for it but ‘Sunday Crisps’ could really take off. One fat kid at a time.

I’ll set the scene for you. Candles lit, we’re in our pyjamas and wrapped up in our crotched blankets. The telly is on, Xena Warrior Princess (I still don’t know if that was a man in a dress. Send answers). Followed by Hulk Hogan starring in the nineties classic ‘Thunder in Paradise.’

My mum must have adored us because having caught glimpses of these programmes as a grown up I have to admit that they are truly awful. That’s probably why she sent us to bed so early.

‘But Mummy, it’s daytime’

‘Go to sleep my wee cabbage flowers’

‘But the light is in our eyes’

‘Not listening. Sleep!’

‘But Mummy, don’t you love us?’

‘Not enough to fall for this rubbish. Now go to sleep, I’m watching Sharpe’

It’s okay though, we got our own back.

We asked our errant Father (or ‘The Italian’ as he’s still referred to, only by us. ) for a drum kit. We knew what we were doing. He wouldn’t buy us school shoes or vegetables but was perfectly happy to pay for something that would drive my Mum mad.

We’d found what we considered to be a loop hole ‘Go to sleep kids’ doesn’t mean DON’T play the drums; And by play, I mean bang the hell out of them with our fists until we got bored. We weren’t stupid, we wouldn’t dare pull this move on a Saturday night out of sheer fear that ‘Sunday Crisps’ may not materialise the following day. It’s a wonder we made it past the age of 10 with such smart arse ways, we were cute as a button though. Even I can see that! Everyone but my mum was sucked in my our chubby cheeks, big brown eyes and muddy knees. These 3 things mean you can get away with murder…almost. DISCLAIMER: This will not stand up in court though, sadly

We couldn’t let Mrs E down, she ran the village shop across the road. She was adorable and scary in equal measures. She’d pretend she was all tough but when we moved house she ran over the road late at night and ‘sold’ us a carpet for a fiver because she knew we were a bit skint. She knew about the Passeri tradition of ‘Sunday Crisps’. Mrs E was so patient as she waited for us to make our choice. It would take us forever to choose and seconds to eat. As a grown up I’m desperately trying to turn that into a metaphor for something deep but I’m struggling. A Wotsit is a Wotsit.

Watching my little brother eat the fluorescent coloured, chemical coated snack highlighted exactly why crisps were not a more regular feature in our house. They would send him wappy for half an hour. He’d have what we used to call a ‘mad 5 minutes’ where he’d turn into the cutest possible version of the Tasmanian Devil.

‘Sunday Crisps’ were definitely worth the mad 5 minutes, they bonded us all. I’d like to say we all shared our crisps but we weren’t very good at that.

When I have a baby I’m going to resurrect ‘Sunday Crisps’ and make Sundays special again and a real treat.

Roll on Sunday. I know you’ll all be doing it.

And incase you’re wondering…Walkers cheese and onion were my crisps of choice, Eleonora went for Skips and Adriano went for Monster Munch. Classics