Fear and Loving in Heaton Park 13 - Philpot phantasmagoria

Mr Mounfield is one of the world’s coolest men, but could he inspire others to follow his example. Would toby jugs be bigger than deely-boppers? Possibly.

Drifting off to sleep, thoroughly sated and content, my mind fixated on the most incredible event of the weekend. Not that, like Gloria Gaynor, we’d survived a weekend in Gunchester. It was that Mani’s amp had been decorated with toby jugs.

Heart-warmingly, according to the Internet, they’re his mums, or is this just an excuse? (It was a defence I used when Jus the Lawyer discovered my extensive collection of Tom of Finland prints.) But Mani is getting on, perhaps he’s grown tired of rock and roll excesses and fancies pursuing a quieter, more edifying pastime. Or maybe he’s always been a fan, which explains why the second album took so long. When he should have been laying down bong-rattling bass lines in the studio, was he scouring the flea markets of Staffordshire searching for rare philpots? It’d explain why they chose to record the Second Coming in Monmouth?

Mr Mounfield is one of the world’s coolest men, but could he inspire others to follow his example. Would toby jugs be bigger than deely-boppers? Possibly. If calling knitting circles stitch and bitch nights can make otherwise normal young women emulate bitter old pensioners killing time before they die anything is possible…

T-Jug magazine had dispatched me post haste to Manchester, where we were about to get an unprecedented view of the Mounfield Collection.

Effervescent, I’d arrived early, setting up my picnic table in front of the stage. Inevitably time would pass slowly, but I’d waited over twenty years, what were nine hours more? Anyway, I’d brought along the latest Philpot Review. I’d have preferred Jug Watch as it’s less academic, less conservative and the ‘Reader’s Jugs’ page is most stimulating. However, as you’re no doubt aware, it was closed down after an embarrassing and unfortunate misunderstanding involving the editor, some binoculars, a buxom young lady and the boys in blue.

An inveterate briar smoker (it was my passion for clay pipes that led me to jugs, via chamber pots which I rejected after realising they were full of shit) I noticed many youths were enjoying an unknown, sweet aromatic shag. Unfortunately, whenever I enquired where they’d purchased it I was dismissed as a ‘narc’. Disappointing, but as nanny said, ‘a boy’s never alone with a pipe’.

The hours dragged, but all things must end, even a thirteen-part review, and finally the collection was revealed in all its glory, displayed atop a jet-black plinth. I stood transfixed, mesmerised, overwhelmed by porcelain perfection.

‘They are stunning. Such exquisite workmanship. Such delicate lines. Such powerful juxtaposition of light and dark. Being in the presence of such beauty refreshes the soul. Transcends time and space. Enables us to escape the banality of the here and now,’ said the large white rabbit standing next to me, ears proudly protruding through his bucket hat. ‘Unfortunately you’re late.’

‘Late for what?’, I replied bemused.

‘For work,’ replied my better half, silhouetted by the light streaming through the window, blistering skin, frying eyes and searing my shrivelled brain. God’s judgement blazing down on me for designating his Holy Day ‘No Solids Sinday’.

Consciousness had returned once more… with a vengeance. Hell’s teeth and buckets of blood, I felt like I'd been assaulted by the seven dwarves and treated by Shipman. Even my hair hurt. How would I make it through today? I couldn’t make it to the en suite to throw up, let alone work. I desperately needed help just to survive the next few minutes.

‘Aspirin. I need aspirin. No, water. Water, then Aspirin’ I croaked, shielding my eyes.

‘Get it yourself,’ she snapped. ‘Next time you roll home paralytic, if you really want to make sure you wake me up bring a brass band home it'll be quieter. And thanks for leaving your phone on. It went off at six. You’re cooking tea.’

And with that she was gone.

Who on earth would be contacting me at an ungodly hour like that? Fishing the phone from my trouser pocket, I struggled to focus on the text… and, after much rubbing of eyes, finally ascertained it was from Naked Ruby drummer T Tom Thomas simply stating ‘Happy Monday’.

You were wrong mother people don’t hate me. Okay, only one person out of a hundred bothered to reply the text I’d sent Saturday, and he obviously relished my distress, delighted in tormenting me during my darkest hour, but a friend is a friend. This year my birthday party won’t be such an unmitigated disaster. I’ll cancel the telephone box and book a larger venue.

And, as if one revelation wasn’t enough, I also suspected that hell-raising hedonist Mr Shaun William Ryder was being mischievous when he named his band.

Now where are those painkillers?

With thanks to Dom and Dave.