love

Why I Love Tony Blair

No, not ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, obviously. If I loved him, I wouldn’t have killed him so blatantly and violently.

In a book. Not in real life. You would have heard about that. And, for the record, I wish no harm upon the sneaky, power-crazed war-monger, either. Because I believe that life has a way of quietly going about its own special kind of retribution with no need of the assistance of the likes of you and me. And it would only make a martyr out of the blasted chap and no one wants that.

But anyway.

No. The affection to which I refer is for my own self published novel, Who Shot Tony Blair? It wasn’t that my publisher didn’t want it. In fact, it was to their great chagrin that I published it on a whim one evening via that great tax-avoiding bastard in the sky. (Not God – the other one, much more popular. You know.) And why I did that is still a bit of a surprise, even to myself. It was helpful to know that publishing a novel can be achieved in under half an hour, should the fancy take one. I learned that, certainly. But that was a by-product of the experience.

frame-07-10-2016-10-26-54

You see, I knew that this was the last thing I would be publishing in a while. And I also knew that, as raw and unpolished as it is, I couldn’t leave the writing world without this being out there. There has been little, if any, promotion on my part. A handful of enthusiasts, bless their cotton socks, have made a little song and dance here and there – for that, dear chaps, I salute you. Mind you, I backed out of all promotion and publicity for the much-vaunted and highly celebrated PorterGirl collection, Old College Diaries. Which leads us all to suspect that maybe I’m not overly fond of promotion and marketing.

Well, what’s new? I hear all authors cry. No one likes that! And you would all be right. Everyone hates that. It’s just that I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to do that any more. Why? There are lots of reasons. I am under no obligation to explain. In the words of mighty wordsmiths Run DMC – it’s like that, and that’s the way it is.

But back to Tony Blair. Who Shot Tony Blair? started as a drunken joke in a shed and continued as a huge in-joke as a blog series, featuring a cast almost entirely consisting of online and offline friends and family. It was the only major thing I have written purely for the sheer joy of writing, with a complete disregard for the the rules and norms of storytelling and literature. It is pure, unadulterated fun on a page, conceived and written before the whole Brexit debacle but with that very much at the forefront of proceedings. There is no real rhyme or reason for it at all – although it has proved uncannily prophetic in recent times. I wrote it for me and my readers. It is by no means a perfect or even a competent novel, but that is all of its charm. To place it in the hands of an editor and publisher would erode the sharp edges and jarring imperfections that make the book what it is. Which is joyful bloody nonsense, with no respect for either the authority of the state or the authority of the publishing industry. If this should be my swan song, then I delight in the fact that it is me, unfiltered and unrepentant in concept and prose.

I have written far better books. I have written much more accomplished things for fun – Poirot parodies Never A Cross Word  and Hide And Seek , for example. But part of me will never be more proud of anything than Who Shot Tony Blair? It is, without doubt, the most honest thing I have produced in my writing career. And, really, when you’ve done that, where do you go from there?

TAX AVOIDING BASTARDS UK

TAX AVOIDING BASTARDS US

Regular readers will notice that I have turned off comments on my blog. This is not because I don’t love the interactions and bloody marvellous conversations that have made many of us firm friends – not to mention being more interesting than the posts themselves! My life has changed and no longer affords me the pleasure of your company in the way it did before. Please do not think my lack of interaction on your sites means that you matter any the less to me. Find me on Facebook (Lucy Brazier) Twitter (@Portergirl100) or email lucy@verticalrecordings.com and I will be delighted to stay in touch. 

Veni, Vidi, Portavi

I came, I saw, I portered*

The great Judge Judy once said, “I think that you’re supposed to know when it’s time to say goodbye”. As I prepare for my imminent departure from Cambridge, I like to see it less as a goodbye to the city I have come to love above all others, but more of a ‘hello’ to new adventures.

Coming to the University city changed my life beyond all recognition and, despite not being a scholar or academic of any kind, I was able to realise my dreams and reach a potential I never imagined possible within the strange and wonderful walls of this esoteric world. More than that, I have been lucky enough to have you all alongside me for what has been a most unexpected emprise. And, as far as unexpected emprises go, this is just the beginning, I assure you.

But now it is time to go. There are those I love even more than Cambridge, endeavours even more pertinent than PorterGirl. Without doubt, Cambridge will always be a part of me, but perhaps more importantly, I will always be a part of Cambridge.

*Relying on schoolgirl Latin as opposed to being a Classical scholar, I struggled to find a direct translation for ‘porter’ as either a noun or verb. So, seeing as our English word porter is derived from the Latin portātor, from past participle of portāre (to carry) I decided to go with that, as it’s a nice first conjugation word and easily popped into the singular perfect tense. I am sure far better educated chaps than my good self will have plenty to say about this pitiful translation but, quite frankly, bollocks to them.

PORTERGIRL OCD 11.99 DRAFT MASTER COVER LB

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

Ode To Mumsie

Sunday 11th March is Mothers’ Day in the UK, originally a celebration falling on the fourth Sunday of Lent when Catholics and Protestants would visit their ‘mother’ church but now hijacked for commercial purposes of selling greetings cards and charging over the odds for a pub lunch. Nonetheless, it is a nice opportunity to celebrate mothers and motherhood and be thankful for the tireless patience of those special women who brought us into the world.

All mums are special and I am no different from anyone in thinking that mine is the best. She is the actual best. Regular readers will know of Mumsie; not only is she the butler-seducing star of Who Shot Tony Blair? but she pops up in many of my adventures and even has a lecture hall named after her in The Vanishing Lord. Being a mother isn’t a walk in the park for anyone, but Mumsie has had a particularly trying time of it.

received_10155187049348455.jpeg

My entrance into this world almost killed her. After an endless labour, she ended up in intensive care and I was nipped out through the emergency hatch in the nick of time. Being the stubborn little tiger that she is, this episode did not put her off and she kindly popped out a little brother for me eighteen months later. For many years, I didn’t see this as much of a favour, quite frankly, but I’ve got used to him over time and, if pressed, will confess to loving him very much. Our father left not long after and from then on it was just the three of us, with Mumsie taking on the additional role of dad with typical aplomb.

IMG_20171217_162139_266.jpg

Families come in all shapes and sizes these days, but in the early 80s, attitudes were different. Being a single mother was met with an unpalatable mix of consolation and revulsion and even as a child I was all too aware of the pitying looks bestowed upon us with underlying judgement. There was never much money about and sometimes we were cold, but love, fun and laughter were abundant. With quiet dignity, a stiff upper lip and mindless optimism, Mumsie showed us and the world that there was no cause for shame and nothing to fear.

IMG_20171217_162139_262.jpg

Mumsie is fearless. With only herself to depend upon, she turned her hand to anything and everything. Fixing cars, cutting down hedges, putting up fences – she just got on and did it. She taught us, through her own example, the importance of being able to stand on our own two feet and not have to rely on anyone for anything. Of course, knowing that she is there waiting in the wings plays a huge part in having unshakable confidence in my own independence. And she is still the first person I turn to in times of crisis, achievement or just plain oddity. She has never been much of a cook, sadly, but luckily I had my Nan to instruct me in the revered kitchen arts.

IMG_20180121_141553_511.jpg

Bringing up teenagers is not for the faint of heart – a teenaged Lucy was certainly a handful. I ran away from school, cut off all my hair, had unsuitable boyfriends, dressed like Tank Girl for a couple of years and got my nose pierced whilst waiting at the bar in The Racehorse after being expressly forbidden from pursuing this course of body modification. I was horrendous for a time and Mumsie must have gone through Hell, but she artfully managed to navigate the lines of guidance and interference – always giving me space to make my own mistakes whilst being close enough to rush in and pick up the inevitable shattered pieces of my numerous poor life choices. She told me that she never worried too much about me, however, as she says ‘the Devil looks after his own’. I like to think that instead it is her influence in my upbringing keeping me from deviating too far from the straight and narrow. Throughout these fractious years she never let me feel that she wasn’t proud of who I was and supported my boisterous explorations of finding my place in the world. Now, I try to live my life in a way that will make her proud and show my true and deep appreciation for her exceptional fortitude during this time.

IMG_20180121_141553_510.jpg

Mumsie is sort of a mythical creature. I have only seen her cry once, only heard her fart once. This latter occurrence filled me with such delight and surprise that I immediately rang my brother, and told everyone at work about it the next day. I hope the times I see her cry are few and far between, but I await further outbreaks of flatulence with gleeful anticipation.

So here’s to all the mums! The women who gave us life, show us the way, never let us down. To the mums near and far, to the mums watching over us in the everafter. My mum is tiny in stature but her heart and spirit are enormous and I am proud to share her with you all. If I can become even half the woman she is, I’ll be doing alright.