Second book in the Gift Trilogy

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Thursday, 6 November 2008

Paint it Black

The room was quiet. Candle-flame makes little noise. In the darkness we imagined the sound of itching. The landlady had psoriasis. In the morning we avoided the cornflakes and rarely looked at her legs.

“I got you babe,” whispered Mick.

“Love in vain” I said.

Mick persisted “Honey just allow me one more chance.”

“You can’t always get what you want.”

“Got to get you into my life,” said Mick.

"You never give me your money," I grumbled.

"You got the silver (man)" he added.

I gave him a severe look. Extra words were not allowed.

“Monkey Man” He hissed. “You got the silver…Monkey man”

“I get around,” I said, smugly.

“And your bird can sing,” he said

“For no one.” That earned me an approving look.


“Girl from the North Country,” I sighed.

“Polythene Pam?”

I shook my head. “Suzanne.”

“Good vibrations?” (We were on a roll)

“I want to tell you.”

“Somebody to love.” He nodded - a mixture of regret and approval.

“Satisfaction,” I allowed.

“Something.” He paused. “Tomorrow never knows.”

“Tumbling Dice” I agreed.

The End…? He said hopefully.

“Golden Slumbers.”

The Miners strike of 1972 had reduced us to this. No television, no radio. Blackouts. Drinking bottled beer because beer pumps didn’t work. You sat in darkened pubs given a medieval gloss in candlelight. Girls somehow looked more beautiful and you stumbled home in a pitch black world. Played word games because that was all there was to do.

The rules were simple: maintain a conversation for as long as you could using only song titles. (For the purist the above come from The Beach boys, Beatles, Stones, Dylan, and Jefferson Airplane) In the pub we played using Book titles. The problem with songs titles is that they’re over dependent on sex. You don’t want to be whispering ‘I want to hold your hand’ to your mate unless you want ‘Hard Times’ and go back to a ‘Bleak House’.

At least now, however, I know what to do when the lights got out and Armageddon comes. You'll find me muttering in the dark...'I want to teach the world to sing.'

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