Micky Finn, Simon and Sid.

Of course, I knew Micky Finn; Mimsy took him under her wing, and he and Marc were frequent visitors to our flat in Brewer Street. But that’s by-the-bye. The point is, I think I might have been ‘slipped a Mickey’ last week. This is the only possible explanation for my missing 72 hours,  of which I remember nothing before waking up on the floor of a burnt out caravan in Capel Y Ffin (oddly).

And who, you ask, would stand to gain from such a dastardly act? I’m naming no names; let’s just say he’s hairy, American, and once made an improper suggestion to me in a Gent’s lavatory just off the Fulham Palace Road. I know who you are; and I shall be avenged!

On a lighter note, who should I run into this afternoon in the Green Room but dear old Simon Armitage and his family? He reminded me of our last meeting; six years ago now. How time flies; and how little there is left of it for Spume. I dug out my diaries from the occasion of his last visit to Botolph Hall, and I reproduce them in full below. Those were happy days!

Monday, August 09, 2004

Terribly exciting news. Dear old Simon Armitage has just called, and asked if he can come and stay for the week. He arrives tomorrow. I look forward to hearing his views on the new football season. Simon is a Man U fan of course, as he comes from Huddersfield, whereas I’m a lifelong devotee of Fulham. Sir Leslie is a season ticket holder at Shrewsbury, and he takes me to home games sometimes. Perhaps we’ll lure Armitage up there for a mid-week match!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Been sitting up chatting with Simon Armitage, and enjoying some of the fruits of Leslie’s cellar. Armitage has to be up early tomorrow morning, because he’s appearing on ‘Today’, to talk about his dramatisation of ‘The Odyssey’. So he’s gone to bed with ‘Ulysses’. Now I see why he wanted to come and say for a few days; as is well known, my early collection ‘Phtung’ deals with my relationship with my wife Mimsy, and is loosely based on that greatest of myths. He’s more than welcome to pick my brains!
I never met Joyce, but Pound was a good friend to my Father, and I visited him several times in Rome. Like my father, he remained an unrepentant fascist, which was always difficult to square with my own views, of course. In fact, on our last meeting, shortly before his death, he hit me with a stick. Talking of death, and punching, I see old Bernie Levin has gone across; Alzheimer’s, like Iris. Such a loss. Who can forget the edition of TWTWTW when Mimsy got up and punched Bernie on the nose, just because he called her ‘a fat old whore’ in the Colony Club one night. She could be very sensitive about things like that, could Mimsy.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

It has been pouring with rain for days, so much so that I had Mrs. Cutler, the housekeeper, come and light the fire in the library today. As I write, Armitage is curled up in front of the fire, sucking a pencil and working on his radio dramatisation of ‘The Odyssey’, while I have been reclining on the chaise longue, casting my eye over the declared runners and riders for this years Whitbread.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

It has been such a pleasure having dear Simon Armitage to stay; I shall miss him terribly when he heads back for the industrial north tomorrow. Tonight, Mrs Cutler cooked dinner for Simon and my brother Sir Leslie and me, and Leslie cracked open a bottle of the ‘62 afterwards, and he doesn’t do that for everyone, so I know he has enjoyed having Simon about the old place.
A slightly sour was struck at about midnight. Leslie was preparing to take to his bed, and Simon and I were settling down for a chat in the library, (I had been looking forward to sharing my views on the latest crop of Next Generation poets), when fucking old Sid Nolan came hammering on the library windows. He’d been chucked out of the Turks Head again, and knows that he can always get a nightcap at Botolph Hall. I’ve been chucked out of the Turks Head with Sir Sidney on many and many an occasion, and he often comes round to ours if he can’t make it home of an evening, but I wasn’t in the mood for Sid’s abrasive Aussie humour tonight. He was pissed as a bishop, and he told the one about going on the rampage in Balarat with Les Murray, which I’ve heard a hundred times before, and which I could see was not to Simon’s taste. Simon excused himself and went upstairs, leaving me to share a few with Sid, who threw up on the persian rug and passed out on the chaise longue. Really too bad of Sid, who can be a bore when he’s pissed, Australia’s greatest painter and Botolph’s most distinguished citizen or no. Now poor old Mrs Cutler will have to clear up his mess in t
he morning.

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