Saturday, 24 January 2015

I never forget a face


For some reason, soon-to-be superstar John Gray always casts John Hurt in the role of me, and I always think that Frank Kelly (above) would be so much more suitable. I think that I am pretty much in touch with my feminine side, but not as much as the wand salesman.

All I would need to do to play Father Jack would be to put on a few pounds and wear a white contact lens - everything else is up, running and ready to shoot, including the dark stain on the sofa.

I occasionally give myself a nasty shock by accidentally hitting the Photo Booth button on this machine, and am instantly faced with a non mirror-image of myself in full, unforgiving daylight.

When I was young and handsome, I was walking down a street when I turned a corner and came into view of what I thought was another person, but was - in fact - me, reflected in a large shop window.

I don't know about you, but I have always been one for making instant, snap judgements about people based on their physical appearance, and because these judgements are made inside my head (at the moment) I do not hold back for fear of hurting the feelings of others.

In the split second I saw the reflection of myself in that window, I thought, 'what a twat' before realising it was me a second later. That was a very sobering experience. Heaven knows what I would think of myself now if I could conjure up that sort of detachment.

They (I think it was an ancient Greek philosopher) say you have the face you deserve by the time you are 40, and I think they are right.

I would probably be a lot better looking without all those fags and booze, but I'm not sure I would be any richer without being the sort of tight-arsed, handsome man of the sort I secretly - and sometimes openly - despise. I like spending money when I have it. It's always burned a hole in my pocket and I am of a generous disposition.

John cast Juliette Stephenson (no relation) as Rachel, and this produced mixed emotions in me.

I used to really fancy Juliette Stephenson about 30 years ago, but somehow she has morphed into an illustration of The Duchess in Alice in Wonderland - her features have grown disproportionately to her age, in the reverse of a puppy's paws.

I watched Maureen Lipman in the re-run of 'Smiley's People' the other night, and remembered how I was - and still am - attracted to dark-haired, very Jewish women. It is a shame that us men are not gifted with the ability to find white-haired, Jewish grandmothers just as attractive when we reach a similar age. It's worse than a shame, it's a curse - a punishment for past deeds, probably.

I am not bragging when I say that over the last 40 years or so, I have shagged a hell of a lot of women, but all that seems to be in the distant past now. Bath - being an overgrown village - means that I occasionally run into some of them, and many of them are still not talking to me.

I was once sitting in the pub when a good-looking woman of about 35 came over and asked me how I was. I replied politely and then made the mistake of saying that although her face was familiar, I couldn't quite place where we had met. She stepped up a little closer, told me that we had slept together six weeks ago, then slapped me hard, full in the face before leaving. I haven't seen her since.

I sometimes am out walking with H.I. when I see one of these old flames, and I helpfully tell H.I. that - in 1976, say - I had my wicked way with the rotund, elderly woman as she walks past, ignoring me.

"That?!" H.I. will comment with a subtle hint of jealousy in her voice.

"Well she didn't look like that in 1976," I say in my own defence, "and I was drunk at the time."

Maybe they ignore me because they don't recognise me?

42 comments:

  1. Darling Tom,

    Never mind John Hurt or Frank Kelly playing you, you are clearly a superstar in your own right. We would wager that we could simply ask anyone on the streets of Bath of your whereabouts to be instantly told chapter and verse....and, quite possibly, your address and telephone number.

    Sex and the City could be consigned into the backwaters of dismal viewing figures when Tom Stephenson, man of action, woman slayer, stone chipper, story teller, creative writer and all round good egg hits the silver screen. Bath City Council should be looking upon this as an investment opportunity. It can, at last, throw off its Austenesque prudishness. Yes, we can see it all........may we have parts as shadowy Eastern Europeans......they are always included?!

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    1. Sadly, I think it is true about stopping anyone on the streets here and asking after me to get my full contact details. People have done just that in the past. They are usually met with the response, "That bloke with the hair?"

      It is very difficult to keep a low profile when you are six foot three and wearing a white wig, which has probably saved me from a life of crime.

      You could play the inept, Eastern European debt-collectors, but it would be a very short series, depending on just how inept you are.

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  2. Sorry Tom but an elderly man I worked with many years ago had some saying along the lines of not looking on the mantelpiece while you were poking the fire. Hope this is not too 'rude' for an eighty something to tell you - but you have no doubt heard it all before.

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    1. Ha ha! I have heard it before, but it is good to be reminded about again, Weave. Even ruder - on every level - is the reference to paper bags.

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  3. John is hoping for his 800th follower, and I lose them every day. It looks as though Jack@ has flounced off in a huff. Must have been something I said.

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    1. You've done it this time and even the afterthought xxxxxxxx's didn't save you.

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    2. Obviously not. When unrequited loves turns into hate, it all turns pretty nasty.

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    3. It's probably not too late though...

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    4. No, to be friends again.

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    5. I think you should keep out of it, but you are more than qualified to comment on personality clashes leading to arguments.

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    6. I know what it's like to be left and you think nobody fucking cares. I care about you Jackie.xxxxxxx

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    7. Are you on the sherry already?

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    8. I had a drink with lunch, yes.

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  4. Ah Tom, how you rock me! I too have "shagged" my share of others, men in my case and not left such a grand trail of care behind me. My face wrinkles, shrivels, pock marks, grey hair long, dry and crazy illustrates my past sins. My lovely husband however has slept with just two women in his life. His first wife (who died) his second wife, me, who refuses to die. HIS face is lovely and although he is 51, he looks still 25 and often folk mistake him for my son. Which is why I insist he keep a beard. I should not be the only one with hair all over my face. And here I thought my punishments would not start until after I died. HA!

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    1. What a brilliant and thorough insight into you private life, Donna, Thank you.

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    2. Now that you have replied, I can too. I enjoyed this too Donna. Great life. I live with a man who I have never asked how many women he has shagged, but I guess I have shagged more men than he has shagged women.

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    3. The whole of Arsenal between 1970 and 2015, including substitutes, trainers and physiotherapists?

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    4. I was once locked in a toilet with Michelle Lineker - and that's the truth.

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  5. If you look like Frank Kelly above I leaving now.

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  6. Yael.....watch out...he's got a think for dark haired Jewish ladies!
    Ok ok I have re cast you and Rachel at your requests!

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    1. I had an Israeli girlfriend once (half Yemeni) who broke three of my ribs when I didn't quite live up to her expectations. Many other American Jewish girlfriends whose mothers thought I didn't live up to their ambitions too, but they didn't break any bones.

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    2. John, I was dark haired. Now I am blond.

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    3. Ah! There is nobody I fancy more than a dark-haired Jewish woman who has dyed (almost said 'died' - oops!) their hair blonde! (Photo preferred before I jump on a plane to Tel Aviv).

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    4. Your wife H.i. is one of the most beautiful woman I saw in blogland's photos here. (before you deleted that post).

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    5. I'll put it up again if everyone wants me to.

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  7. It was actually George Orwell who wrote that by the age of 50 everyone has the face they deserve.

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    1. I found this quote, but I am not convinced by any short interweb memories from experts. I will find out when I can be bothered, but I still maintain it was a pre or post-Socratic philosopher:

      "After 40 you have the face you deserve".
      (Sometimes the age given is 50. Attributed to practically everyone, from Abraham Lincoln to Coco Chanel.)

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    2. It is a frequently cited quote of Orwells from an observation he made in one of his note books towards the end of his life (he died aged 49 but looked much older). It is certainly typical of some of the generalisations he sometimes came out with ("All tobacconists are fascists" is another). Perhaps he had read it previously.

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    3. Whoever said it; they were probably right. Only in my case I certainly DIDN'T deserve what I ended up with.

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    4. I think your blog perfectly explains the cause of your rather handsome face, Cro.

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  8. I have to say Tom that you are unique in the blogging world - I do wonder though if your past misdemeanours are ever so slightly exaggerated for the benefit of your readers. On second thoughts - they are probably spot on.

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    1. Excuse me, but all blogs are unique Elaine, try reading a few others.

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    2. By that I mean all bloggers are unique in case anyone wants to get pedantic.

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    3. Ignore Rachel, Elaine. We are all unique for different reasons, and some are more unique than others. Rachel's is unique for unique reasons.

      I don't normally lie on my posts - what would be the point? It would only make me feel even shabbier than I do already but, having said that, I am not above putting a spin on the facts.

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