It was 1 July, 1998. The hotel was due to open its doors to the public for the very first time at 8am; in five minutes. Its manager, Jane Plain, was very nervous. This was obvious as she pretentiously puffed on her expensive, daft-looking cigarettes through one of those ridiculous cigarette holder things that make the smoker look like a first class prick. As opening time drew nearer, she puffed ever quicker as she looked over her newly-assembled staff. In the 'Recruitment' section of the local newspaper, she had advertised the hotel as "a most magnificent place with all the luxuries of a three-and-a-half-star hotel and the tranquillity of the countryside, which will suit the needs of the fussiest of Lancashire's travellers and businessmen as it is also right next to the M66." Anyone would agree it sounded classy.
A number of people applied for work. Seven to be precise. First to apply, and to be given a job, was a small boy called James, fresh from the local sixth form, where he had an after-school job, 'cleaning' his teacher's bottom. This had led nowhere, and Plain Jane felt obliged to give him the job of 'pantry boy' when he turned up three days early for his interview and cleaned all of her 96 pairs of shoes before she arrived at the office.
James, who spoke with a very camp voice and insisted on being called Jimmy (something to do with it sounding more like 'Jesse') was quickly followed through the door by Beth; literally. Beth was a certified nymphomaniac who had chased Jimmy through the door while he was carrying out his first task - burning the piles of cotton wool and tissues Jane used for putting on her make-up in the morning - but had failed to catch the nimble little fellow as he swiftly manoeuvred his cute little backside into the gents, where he was looked upon with curiosity by a man who shouldn't really have been in the hotel in the first place. Incidentally, if James had thought before he went into the gents (for which he would have required some time and a brain), then he might have chosen somewhere more out of bounds to Beth, as she was no stranger to even the darkest corners of a gentleman's toilet.
Beth had got the job by asking Jane if she "needed any girls". She was immediately taken on as a waitress, Jane obviously misinterpreting the question. Also taken on were Liz, a happy and honest waitress; Mick, a musical chef; Faniella, an Italian woman who was given the job when Jane misheard her request for directions; Blue Mel, who was given the job purely on the strength of his name; and Carole, a posh student-type who had a funny dance.
Jane knew that she would have an enormous job in running a hotel properly with this crew as staff, but she cared little. No matter what, she would be able to swan around, calling people 'sweetie' and things like that, smoking her daft cigarettes and telling the odd person off at random. The hotel would survive by overcharging for meals, stealing from customer's coat pockets, and taking a cut from staff tips. It would be bliss.
One minute to go. Liz stood with her arms folded. Jimmy stood with his arms limp. Faniella leaned down and whispered something about Liz in his ear. Carole was dancing in front of the large reception mirror. Blue Mel was waiting at the front desk, just about to start pretending to do some work and making sure only he could answer the telephone if it rang. Mick sat on the stairs and Beth sat on Mick. Mick threw Beth to the ground. He did not want this 'girl' on his lap. What if one of her eyebrows, which were hewn from willow, were to fall on his kneecap and put him in hospital. He had only just come out of plaster after a freak accident involving a lobster and some large drumsticks, and he was in no mood to go back in.
It was time to open the doors. Jane pulled down the lock.
Jane opened the door of the hotel with great trepidation, as if a stream of customers were pushing to get in. They weren't. Jane was disappointed at this and wasted no time in issuing a bollocking to the nearest member of staff, Blue Mel, who was incensed at this treatment. After all, he was doing no harm to anybody by hiding behind the reception desk.
"Hey, don't shout at me you... you... rubbish!" he blasted in a fit of rage. He was clearly incensed. So was Jane. There was no way she was going to put up with being called rubbish by a member of staff, especially on the day she had broken new ground in the quantity of make-up she was wearing.
"Right sweetie, that's enough of you. Get your coat," she said. Blue Mel did precisely this and stormed out, again calling Jane rubbish on his way. Clearly his tongue was as blue as his name, the young hooligan.
"Come on Janey, that's a bit harsh," said Mick, the musical chef, rhythmically.
"Right, you can go too. Go on precious, get lost. Hit the road. Be off with you, get going, adios, ciao, bye bye..." started Jane.
"Yes all right, I think I get the point," sang Mick, as he followed Blue Mel out of the door, chasing him as he fancied a fight and had found a worthy target. Carole, the posh student-type with a funny dance, was startled by this turn of events and looked away from the mirror she was posing into.
"Was there really any need for that?" she asked Jane in the manner of a school mistress telling off a quite-naughty child while appearing like a knob. "I want you to reinstate those two members of staff forthwith and without any future repercussions or by hell and damnation I shall be putting forth my resignation with immediate effect and I sincerely mean that."
"Really luvvie? Goodbye then," replied Jane, somewhat more succinctly than before.
"Hhh. I'm absolutely startled and shocked by that decision and with this whole turn of events. I now blame you for ruining my life forever and I will never forgive you. I wish to make that clear," said Carole.
"Yeah? Clear this," said Jane, as she stubbed her cigarette on Carole's ankle. A weird choice indeed. Carole was obviously upset as she stumbled through the door, dancing more humorously than ever. Curiouser and curiouser said Alice. Don't know what she was doing on the premises. Jane quickly arranged for her to be dispatched. It was not going well: no customers, three staff sacked and now a character from a children's novel turns up at random and with no use to anyone. Jane despaired as she looked upon her paltry staff of four, of which only Liz wasn't gossiping, gossiping camply, or searching frantically for anything male. What a shambles. This despair, however, lasted mere seconds, for, as she looked beyond the front steps, she saw a small coach coming onto the drive. She rushed to the door and confronted the driver. He got his word in first.
"Shaddap you dizzy bitch!" It was Big Man Tayls, the sufficiently-sized star of previous vanceproductions series, The Flatmates. He went on. "Right, now I'm gonna ask you a question and I want a quick answer because I'm fucking hungry okay? We're all in this area to watch the Hermaphrodite Olympic Games, which begin today. I want you to tell me where the games are being held, and if you could squeeze a chip butty in there as well I'd be most grateful. Now come on! Speak!"
"Erm, the start of the games has been postponed until tomorrow due to there being a hermaphrodite lion on the loose," Jane lied. "But if you'd all like to come inside, I can offer you excellentish accommodation at a discount price and if you, sir, are hungry, I'm sure we can find something you'd appreciate."
"That lion would be ideal," replied Tayls, his mouth watering.
"Erm, ha ha," Jane laughed, convincingly. "Okay then, in you all come." She opened the coach door.
What poured out of the coach was certainly unpredictable. First onto the tarmac was Joey Melville, the cheeky cockney type and son of Eastenders star Frank Butcher. He was strutting as he approached the hotel. Just behind him was his good friend Phill Opielercurry, the junk (literally) food addict who was also known as Phillth. With them came a dizzy young girl called Kelly. She looked simple and was. Behind them were two Welshmen, Aled and Ieuian, who seemed to be inspecting the fields rather closely; and last of all came Fierce Tad, a Les Dennis lookalike who was also fierce. Actually he came second last because he had fallen asleep on the coach and was being carried by Olympiakos, the huge human Greek weightlifting machine. As they entered reception, Olympiakos put Tad down on a chair. Beth thought all her birthdays had come at once and immediately pounced on Olympiakos (also known as Jon). He was so muscular that she fainted and dropped to the floor.
"Kheh heh heh heh! This is a funny girl!" he shouted, and kicked her for good measure.
Liz thought it might be a good idea to book everybody in, and started to go to the desk. She was immediately overtaken by Jimmy, who opened the brand new guest book and really wanted to be seen making the effort. Liz sighed. It would be a tedious day.
"Okay," began Jimmy, in a camp way, "I'll book you all in, but first of all, would somebody shut that door? Ooh, I'll catch my death in here." Joey stormed to the front of the queue. He was now more cockney than ever, and clearly revelling in the idea of being related to the Mitchell brothers.
"Shat the fack ap you camp little facker an get me sam food!"
"Ooh, I don't like the tone on you. So handsome too; what a waste. Okay then sailor, whats your name?"
"Fack's sake. Das it mattah? Jast pat Zeus, and thats what everybodys gotta call me. And I am a tits man."
He stormed into the dining room and sat down in a southern way. As the others signed in, Jane looked on with pleasure, grinning like a fiend. She was blissfully unaware that Big Man Tayls was in the kitchen, his feet having not touched the ground. He had almost finished eating the entire contents of the kitchen. The food had gone in seconds. Quickly, she remembered another pertinent problem: the lack of staff.
"Erm, okay, listen sweeties," she said loudly, "if any of you would like to earn a small amount of money, and I must stress the word 'small', come and see me, as I require staff, especially a chef and a simple girl to wash up. Any takers?"
"Oid love to be yer chef loik. Hmmph!" exclaimed Phillth.
"And I appear to fit the bill as a simple washing up girl quite perfectly," said Kelly, uncharacteristically.
"Okay then, gorgeouses," replied Jane ridiculously, come this way.
The pair looked up with glee and followed.
Jane led her two new recruits into the kitchen to explain their job roles. Kelly admired her as she puffed on her daft cigarette and blew her smoke towards the ceiling. She thought this was awesome. Phillth wasn't concerned with her appearance, as he imagined using the discarded ash in his first meal. He was eager to start his job. He'd always wanted to be chef, and couldn't understand why people found the food he made so rancid. He would now prove to the world, or at least to the guests in the hotel, that he could cook like the best of them. Jane was first into the kitchen, quickly followed by Phillth. Kelly walked behind in a dizzy way. Jane was aghast at the sight that greeted her.
"What on earth have you done to my relatively-new kitchen!?" she cried at Big Man Tayls, who was just finishing off the tap fittings.
"Shaddap you posh bitch! I was hungry! I still am!"
"Oh my good God," she went on, "how on earth will we cook for the guests now?"
"Oive got an oidea. Hmmph!" intoned Phillth, and he quickly stole Jane's cigarette, broke it into thousands of pieces and put them into his shoe. Using the powers of his breath, he then stunned Tayls and grated what was left of the sink on Tayls hyper-carnivorous teeth. Finally, he tore up what Tayls had left of the linoleum from the floor, and borrowing a (posh) lighter from Jane, melted it into the mixture, which had now grown so large he'd had to remove his (varying shades of ) cream slacks to house it, all of which had made for a quite disgusting site. Phillth, however, opined that it was a "rerrly good soup loik. Hmmph!" He and Kelly took his recipe into the dining room, which Jane humorously called a restaurant, and set it down before Joey, who was disgusted.
"What the fack is that you brammie tosser?" he asked, relatively politely.
"Am not askin yer to loik it Joe. Hmmph!" shouted Phillth, inaccurately.
"Fackoff back in there and get me sam jellied eels or pie and mash. Im a tits man for facks sake!"
Kelly saw an opening for a joke. "Perhaps you should have jellied tits then, hah hah hah (dizzily)," she laughed. Extraordinary.
"Yeah, diamond fanny you thick growler. Don't you know my dad's Frank Butcher? Get me sam fackin food."
Meanwhile, Jimmy had almost finished booking everybody in (no sexual innuendo intended). He had to get a bit of help from Liz, as he had trouble understanding Olympiakos, Aled and Ieuian, and especially Ieuian, as he was from Llanelli and thus made all of the words he spoke last about a day.
"Well," said Jimmy, camply, "are you all ready to see your bedrooms? I know Im looking forward to it. Oh go on you lot, get up them dolly dancers and stop teasing, you devils."
Nobody really knew what he was on about, but they all thought he meant go upstairs, so they did. Jimmy followed, wiggling his cute bottom as he went. As they did, Cliché Si, a master of clichés and proverbs, who had recently taken a vow of silence, appeared at the reception desk. None of the staff noticed him, as they were all helping to carry luggage upstairs, or walking camply, or spreading rumours, that type of thing. Beth was first to follow Jimmy, and in particular his backside, up the stairs. Si was thinking that this was like a red rag to a bull, but he wouldn't say it. Upstairs, there were several rooms. The first was Jimmy's. He had taken residence in the hotel to be near Jane at all times. He loved his new room and insisted on showing it off to everybody.
"I've got a super idea chums," he said, "why don't you all come and look at my room first? Its lovely."
The guests reluctantly agreed. Liz and Faniella waited outside. They had seen it 34 times already. So had Beth, but she went in anyway as that's where the boys were. Inside the room, Jimmy had created a shrine to his heroes. On his bedside cabinet was a signed photograph of Julian Clary. A painting of Larry Grayson sat on the wall behind it. On the opposite wall was a large poster of Jimmy Somerville, and on the main wall was the daddy of all posters: a life-size replica of that really camp bloke from The Thin Blue Line. The guests were confused by this.
"Kheh heh heh heh! You are a Gaylord!" laughed Olympiakos.
"Do you reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaliiiiiiiiiise that alllllllllllllllll your posters are of men?" asked Ieuian.
"Dear me," said Tad, as he fainted. He was from Hampshire and had never seen anything as un-fierce as this before.
Jimmy was not happy at these comments: "Oooh. Boo hoo. I don't like the tone on you nasty boys. You can all just get out and find your own rooms. Here's the keys!" He sulked as he threw a bunch of keys at Olympiakos' head, causing a fracture to his skull. Not that he noticed. "Now shut that door!"
What Jimmy didn't realise was that he had also thrown the key to his own room at Olympiakos. Aled picked up the keys and found the one for room six, which Jimmy had given him. Whether or not you read anything into this is your choice. He then gave the keys Liz, who showed everybody else to their rooms. Beth was salivating over Olympiakos' muscles and Faniella was busy preparing to tell everybody about it. Olympiakos put Tad on his bed, attempting to regain his fierceness after some rest. The others found their rooms and the staff returned downstairs, although Beth had to be coaxed into it by Faniella, who told her that a good-looking young man was in the dining room. She could tell 'em.
There was a problem though. Aled was most unhappy with the furniture in his room. He had noticed that Jimmy had a nicer bed than him, and he preferred the curtains in Tads room. As quick as a flash, he rushed into Tad's room and swapped the curtains with his own. Tad was beginning to regain consciousness and, hearing Olympiakos coming back from his room 50 yards down the corridor, Aled hit Tad, knocked him out again, and scarpered. He then dismantled his bed and crept, carrying it, to Jimmy's room. Music was playing, loudly. Aled opened the door, unheard under the sound of The Best Of Erasure. Jimmy was dancing and miming in front of his heart-shaped wall mirror, using a girl's hairbrush as a microphone.
Aled swapped the beds without Jimmy noticing, as he was in full flow with Give A Little Respect To Me. Aled now had all the best furniture, which he considered vital. Downstairs, where the smell of Phillth's recipe was lingering foully in the air, Beth stood at the dining room entrance, gazing wildly at Joey. He turned and spotted her. "Show as yer tits then!" he shouted at her. "Im a Landanah!" Beth was thrilled that Joey wanted to see her prized assets, and she walked towards him in a daze.
Beth walked towards Joey, drooling at the prospect of making passionate love to him. Normally, his demanding to see a girl's breasts (a yard's tits in barrow boy parlance) would have resulted in a slap or a stare of derision, but not with Beth. She was relishing the prospect. Even Joey, the self-declared Zeus, was slightly taken aback by her driven nymphomania.
"Fack's sake darlin," he gasped, as she tore open her shirt to reveal her assets (a bra would have wasted valuable time) and held them up to his face, draping them around his dry lips. "I only asked to see yer thrupennies, I don't wanna be fackin raped!"
"Come to me, oh southern one," drooled Beth, as if controlled by something really sinister and perverted. It was becoming quite scary. Suddenly, a man appeared at the door. Joey managed to arch his head around Beth's ample body to see who it was, and to his relief it was his footballing friend, Steve Geordie Brown (the man with the bottle to make a difference). He was nicknamed Geordie because, and it's a good one this, he used to live in Newcastle. The banter amongst those football boys could be crazy at times. He now lived in the backward town of Basingstoke, however (six hot cross buns a shilling, love) and his accent betrayed this.
"Oi!" shouted Geordie. "Get your filthy bits off Shadesy!" In another piece of astoundingly witty cameraderie, Joey had been nicknamed Shadesy because he had worn some shades. Those crazy footballers, whatever next? Incidentally, he had also been nicknamed Beardsley and Mankind, because he looked like footballer Peter Beardsley and wrestler Mankind. However, Shadesy was the favoured nickname among the banter boys as it was feared that some of the younger players might not fully appreciate the connotations of the other, more complicated nicknames.
"Fackin ell," screamed Joey, as he and Geordie wrestled Beth to the ground - no easy task. "I fought [thought] I was in a bit o' trabble then, nearly had to call my old man out. [He meant his father]. Anyway, what the fack are you doin 'ere?"
"Well," answered Geordie, "I went round your house early this morning to wake everybody up by shouting as usual, but no one was at home. All I could find was a note on the door that said 'Sorry, I dont think theres anyone in', so I figured you must have come all the way up here to stay in a hotel."
"Oh, gotcha gotcha," replied Joey, as if it had made sense. As Beth lay dazed and confused on the floor, Cliché Si appeared in the doorway. He said nothing, but pointed to the telephone in reception, and then at Joey. He then stood aside as everybody went past him, starting with Joey, followed by Geordie, then Beth, who crawled through, then Phillth, who went back towards the kitchen upset that nobody wanted his stinking food and saying "Hmmph!", and finally Kelly, who had been watching events and giggling intermittently.
Si watched the procession of people march into reception with circumspect. Like lambs to the slaughter, he thought to himself, but he didn't say it. Joey wondered who could have phoned him at the hotel. He thought that it must be important for someone to have to reach him at a hotel in as remote a place as the north.
"Probably jast sam fit yard wantin it ap er," he suggested aloud. "Fackin nuisance." Everyone believed him. Kelly saw her chance to rejoin proceedings and snapped it up.
"Well," she offered, "whoever it is (giggle), they've certainly got you moving (giggle). Youre like a dog on a roof."
Cliché Si privately despaired of Kelly's disgraceful bumbling of the well-known phrase, but he kept a straight face.
"Oh shat ap you stoopid cow," said Joey, quite a lot like Pete Beale (Joey's uncle) used to in Eastenders. "Jast get me sam fackin food - and none of that tripe or hot-pot or whatever the fack it is that you retards eat." He picked up the receiver of the old dog and bone. "Yeah? Who's this? You what? Yeah? You want sam do ya? Yeah? Oh yeah? You what? Yeah? Who is this?" he said, and things like that, before finally, "Oh alwight bravv!"
Bravv was what cockneys called their brother. Joey's bravv had called to try to get Joey to patch up the relationship between him and his mother ("my old girl/my old Doris"). They'd had a furious argument after Joey refused to be a fully-conventional cockney like his mother wanted him to be ("proud old girl she is"). He didnt mind wearing the Reebok Classics, but he wouldn't get a crew-cut because he didn't want to reveal the Millwall tattoo his friends had done on his head for a joke; he couldn't wear a sleeper because he wouldn't get his ear pierced; and, worst of all as far as his mother was concerned, he had never brought home a peroxide girlfriend called Shirl. "Ok bravv, you try and patch things ap," he said to his brother in the quietest voice he had ever used, which wasn't very quiet. "I'll speak to the old girl when the time's right. Alright, kosha, yeah yeah yeah yeah diamond ok bravv, yeah kosha. Remember bravv, blad's ficker dan water yeah, t-ra."
He put the phone down. "Jimmy White, king o' pots," he said, nonsensically.
"Are you going to tell us who was on the phone then (giggle)?" asked Kelly, even though everyone knew. "Er, yeah," stuttered the Zeus, "er, it was, er, it was sam fit bird wiv massive tits who wanted it ap er. I told er to fackoff." Everyone could see he was lying - even Kelly, who giggled, as if to show it. "No it wasn't, you fibber (giggle). I can read you like the back of my hand," she went on, to a look of dismay from Cliché Si, who nevertheless kept a stiff upper lip.
"It was your dad or someone," she asserted. "You can't pretend with me."
The looks of derision that greeted her were soon averted as Jimmy reached the bottom of the stairs in a camp way, followed by Aled and Ieuian. Ieuian had asked Jimmy where he could find something to eat, such as his favourite salad cream butties, and Aled had wandered where there might be some more furniture he could steel. Jimmy had told them to follow me or something similar.
"Right!" said Jimmy, camply, and he clapped his hands twice. "Can I have everybody's attention please? Ok, now, a very important matter. Has anyone seen my John Inman key fob? If I dont find it soon I'll just die." There was no answer, just looks of contempt. "Well, if anyone does find it, I need it back straight away," he continued, in a camp way, then turned to Aled and Ieuian. "And can you two chaps come with me please? I dont think I booked you in properly," with just the merest hint of a cheeky smile.
He walked towards the reception desk, with Aled and Ieuian just behind him, just as he liked it.
Aled and Ieuian were clearly not best pleased at having to be 'booked in' again by young James; Aled wasting valuable furniture stealing time and Ieuian knowing that enough time was going to be wasted as soon as he started speaking anyway, with his hour-long words. Aled, impatient, went first:
"Right, my name's Aled Jarman Jones," he stated, as sharp as a knife.
"Super," said James, "and where the devil are you from then big boy?"
"Listen Jimmy bach, I'm not that big, and my address is 66, The Valley, Wales. In fact put Cymru because I speak Welsh. A lot."
"Right, that's you done. Ooh pardon! And what about you?" Jimmy looked at Ieuian.
"What about meeeee-uh?" replied the Llanelli boy.
"What's your name handsome?"
"Haven't you got one in the middle? Ooh pardon!"
"Do you mean a middle name-uh? Oh, well, let's see-uh. I've got two actually-uh. Just I can't remember them. Let me call my mate Tehree-uh." 'Tehree-uh' would be called just Terry to anyone else, but Llanelli folk had their own way of doing (and saying) things. Ieuian was quickly through to his best mate. Everyone else in the room listened attentively to his phone conversation: "Hello-uh, is that Tehree-uh? Hiya, listen mate, what's my middle name-uh? Yeah, both of 'em... I know-uh! I just forgot man! Aw, leave it out Tehree-uh - don't go telling everyone man... look, can you just tell me-uh? Right, thanks a lot, love you-uh!" He put the phone down. "Right," he said to Jimmy, my middle names are Berian and Gwyndaf. Ieuian Berian Gwyndaf Jenkins. And my confirmation name is Dilwyn: Ieuian Berian Gwyndaf Dilwyn Jenkins."
"Bugger me," said Jimmy camply, before blushing. "And where do you come from?"
"My mother!" quipped Ieuian. The joke would have been better received at home than it was here, and Ieuian looked around to find that only Kelly was laughing. In fact she was laughing a lot, and this made Ieuian even more embarrassed. "Er, well, my address is 66, The Valley, Llanelli."
"Ooh pardon?" asked Jimmy.
"What do you mean? There's nothing rude about Llanelli."
"No, I just couldn't hear it properly. How do you spell it? I've got as far as 'Cl' but after that I'm just lost you see tiger..."
"No, it's L-uh, L-uh, A-uh, N-uh, E-uh, L-uh, L-uh, I-uh. OK-uh?"
"Er, right well, er, I don't understand foreign alphabets so I'll just put Scotland." It had been a tedious task, but James had loved filling them in.
Aled was getting restless now and couldn't wait to start his new furniture-hunting adventure. He suspected that the hotel may have a secret loft filled with furniture that was better than everyone elses. This excited him no end. He dashed up the stairs and out of site. Meanwhile, Recky had crawled to Ieuian's feet and was starting to touch his legs. He looked down at her and from his position her ample cleavage was clearly visible. Actually her cleavage was clearly visible from any position at any time. She was a top slag. This excited Ieuian: his boyish good looks meant that he could have almost any woman he wanted, but his accent diminished his sexual prowess to the extent that he could only pull girls from Llanelli, or ones that were hard of hearing. Or the elderly.* In any case, no girl had yet been found that could match his sexual stamina. Ieuian was an absolute sexual beast. He could handle any number of women per day and still demand to see pornogorpahy on telelvision as soon as they had gone home. Any sexual psychologist would be shit scared of him.
"Oh my God - you're a hell of a girl aren't you-uh?" he calmly asked Recky with a glint in his eye.
"I want you," she replied slowly, "come to me..."
"Right! Upstairs!" The two of them were up the dolly dancers in less than four sevenths of a second, and the other guests could soon hear the music of Eric Clapton playing loudly from the Llanelli boy's bedroom. They would be gone a while.
Faniella was having a field day with all the goings on inside the hotel. She would have so much to talk about, though as she was about as popular as a smelly hare in a rabbits only warren-warming party, she would probably have only herself to talk to. It was unlikely that this would deter her. She went to her room to learn to write, which she quite rightly considered ideal preparation for being able to write down all of the day's events.
"Orwight lahrds!" came a sudden shout from the front door. It was Sunbed Dettori, the champagne cockney and friend of Joey Zeus. "What's goin' on?" he asked, as if he was back in good old Walford.
"Watcha Sanbed! Lavvly banch o' coconuts, nice!" replied Joey, nonsensically, "What you doin' 'ere then me old mackah?"
"I've driven ap in me new jam jar in-aye. Cor blimey, what the fack are you larfin at darlin'? You're a fackin' mess lav!" he was talking (sic) to Kelly, who, inevitably, was giggling. Unfortunately for the educated world, she felt the need to reply.
"I'm just (giggle) nervous," she said, nervously, "I've never met a proper Spanish before."
"Right Shadesy," said Sunbed, "give her a fackin' slap for 'er trabble, the cheeky cah!"
The Zeus, who believed that the world would be a better place if everyone just did what they were told to by superior people, like they did 'when the Krays ran the gaff', did exactly as he was told, leaving a red mark on poor Kelly's cheeks.
"On 'er face you mappet!" shouted Sunbed, getting impatient with Joey for misinterpreting his intentions, and also because southerners are naturally impatient. This time Joey did slap her face, and Kelly was visibly upset. She stopped giggling.
"Right, you're going to be in trouble you are," she said, "that's Greavsie's bodily harm that is."
The other guests fell about laughing at Kelly's inane statement, with the exception of Cliché Si, who instead saw the opportunity for a joke about alcohol. He decided against sharing the joke with the rest of the room, primarily because he didn't want to, but also because he knew that only football fans would understand it. It would, therefore, be wasted, as Geordie supported Newcastle (but predictably 'couldn't get tickets') and Sunbed supported Chelsea, and it was well known that most supporters of both of these clubs would have difficulty understanding jokes about football that referred to any year before 1993. This would leave only Joey to get the joke, and, apart from the fact that he wouldn't be interested in the joke as it featured a former West Ham player, he was totally focused on Sunbed as the two 'got all cockney' together.
"So, what you doin' ap 'ere then with all these northern mankees then?" he asked.
"I came to see if you was interested in forming that fascist party we always dreamed of," replied Sunbed.
"Oh geezah! You have made my fackin' day. Right, apstairs!" Joey and Sunbed started walking towards the staircase, but were met by Fierce Tad on the bottom step as he walked down, rubbing his head.
"Where are you three going?" he asked, still a bit dazed.
"What the fack's it gotta do wiv you?" asked Joey, "we're starting a new fascist party if you mast know. Me and Sanbed, the English Cockney Apples 'n' Pairs alliance."
"Oh really?" asked Tad, "can I join in? I'm very patriotic. I founded Little Englander Productions, and I love the Queen and the Commonwealth etc, go on please?"
Liz was quite disturbed at the political leanings of these southern types, and asked them why they were so racist.
"Look lav," said Sunbed, "if they ain't white, then they're no friend o' mine, got it?"
"I'm not so sure about that geezah," said Joey, "I mean, you ain't a man 'til you've shagged a tan."
"And anyway," said Tad, "how can I be racist? My uncle's a Paki."
There was an embarrassed silence. Liz thought that the boys were very ignorant, but Kelly was just confused.
"Well, I think that if people want to race they should be able to," she stated, to looks of derision.
Cliché Si looked on with disgust at this motley crew of characters. He hated every single one of them, with a passion, except possible Liz. He had a venomous look on his face which was very out of character. He was clearly thinking of giving the cockney boys a thump. There was an uneasy silence for a short while.
* Joke © 1999 Euryl Rees.