Did you watch Boris Johnson being interviewed by the House of Commons priveliges committee? I was transfixed for three hours. I don't wish to offend anyone, this is purely a personal opinion and I'm not trying to score politcal points, but for me it was absolutely masterclass in telling porkies. I feel that with Boris, he knows hes lying, we know he's lying and he knows we know he's lying, but he also knows that because he's Boris, we don't really care, it's all part of the fun. I genuinely believe that if Jeffrey Archer had written Boris Johnson's autobiography as a work of fiction in 1980, no one would have bought it, because it would seem too ridiculous. When the likes of David Mellor lost their cabinet jobs for wearing a Chelsea kit whilst bonking his girlfriend, and Margaret Thatcher was the epitome of Conservative values, the concept of Boris as a PM would seem absurd. But times change. Boris is probably the first and last politician to be made by being a bumbling fool on HIGNFY. None of this is a political point. I think the porkies of Labours Tony Blair were a magnitude worse, as they started a war. With Blair, we were not in on the joke from the outset. We felt a degree of betrayal when we learned. With Boris, we don't. My sister used to work at Hendon Magistrates court. A local chancer was up before the beak for embezzelment. He had a record as long as your arm and had set up a dodgy get rich quick scheme. The only person who got rich was himself. His defence was that everyone knew he was a crook and they deserved to get robbed as they only invested because they were greedy. The Magistrate found him guilty but let him walk free, on the grounds that he'd been completely honest about being a complete liar! He agreed that greedy mugs probably deserved to be mugged.
Anyway, it got me thinking about the lies I've told and been told. It seemed to me to warrant a Top Ten Porkies list. I hope you enjoy these, and I hope it won't deter you from investing in this wonderful scheme I am setting up!
1. The Garden pond. I have a wildlife pond in my back garden. When our kids were born, I had a dilemma. Ponds and kids don't mix, but it is an important resource for local wildlife, amphibians etc. I fenced it off and put a steel protector over, which would stop a child falling in. Knowing what I was like as child, I realised that I had to aff extra deterence. So I told the kids that when Grandpa (my Dad) died, I'd buried him under the pond and that if they disturbed him, he'd haunt them. I'd almost forgotten this until lockdown, when my Eldest daughter, who was 24 at the time asked if Grandad was really buried under the pond. I confessed.
Here is my collection of garden ponds!
2. The Nirvana Album. When my daughters were four and five, and my son was a baby, I told them that he was the baby on the cover of the Nirvana album. When the eldest was a teenager, she mentioned this to a friend. Given that Nevermind was released ten years before he was born, I was rather surprised the penny didn't drop before her friends ridiculed her for saying it. In fairness, the baby on the cover is a dead ringer for Matt.
3. Submission by The Sex Pistols. My old bandmate Pete could give Boris a run for his money in the whoppers department. Especially when he was chatting up girls. One of his best was that The False Dots had written the Sex Pistols track Submission and that the Pistols had nicked it. It all started when someone commented that our track "Not All She Seems" has the same chords as Submission. Pete said "Yeah, we wrote it and the Pistols nicked it, so we had to change the words". When Pete realised that this porkie made him even more attractive to girls, he got on a roll. I still occasionally get asked whether we got the royalties we were owed.
4. Ladies of the Jewish faith. On the subject of Pete, his Dad, who was a devout Irish Catholic who was none too keen on people of the Jewish faith, told Pete and myself, when we were about 13 that Jewish girls liked to do disgusting things to young Catholic boys, so they could steal their sperm and make babies to sacrifice to the devil (I kid you not). Whilst he probably thought this would make us wary of such ladies, it is probably the worst thing you can tell a 13 year old boy with his hormones running wild. Of all the porkies I've been told, this was probably the most stupid.
5. Marc Bolan. Another porkie that Pete's Dad told us was that Marc Bolan had fleas, after we'd been watching him playing Get it on on Top of The Pops. He told us that Bolan was a 'dirty individual who never takes a bath and infested with fleas'. When I got home, I asked my sister. She said that Marc Bolan had a very beautiful girlfriend and if he didn't wash and had fleas, she'd not be with him. That made perfect sense to me.
6. I'm gay! Times have changed. These days, whatever your sexuality, you are accepted. When I was at school, especially Finchley Catholic 74-78, things were different. There was an oppresively homophobic environment. Anyone who was gay would be well advised to keep it quiet or suffer extreme physical violence. It is a matter of public record that I did not get on with my headmaster. When I go into punk rock, I arrived at school with a pair of dayglo pink socks. There was no rule in the school dress code about sock colour, so I knew I didn't face any sanction. The head saw me and went mental. I told him that there was no rule about sock colour, and they were the only clean ones. Realising I was right, a new version of the dress code was almost immediately issued, and he told me that if I wore them again, I'd be suspended. I felt good, as I'd got one over on him. About four weeks later, he tried to get his revenge. He told my mum at the parents evening that I was gay. She asked why he'd said this. The answer? "He wears pink socks". My mum laughed and said "So does Elvis Presley and he's not gay". God bless you mum, I hate to think what some kids would have faced from their parents back in those less enlightened days. I think people in positions of power who tell porkies really are despicable. Maybe that is why.
7. Toilet roll. Now this is one lie that I am only 99% certain it is a lie. When we were at St Vincents primary school, they loo roll was the hard, medicated Izal paper. It was horrible. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Nuns told us that if we used more than two sheets of it when we wiped our bum, we'd go to hell. They also said that the caretaker would be keeping an eye on us and counting the sheets. I guess I was 7 or 8. I really didn't want to go to hell, but on occasion I needed a third sheet. I was terrified that Jesus would not forgive me. I've come to the conclusion that he probably will. If I'm wrong, I suspect heaven is not the place I hoped for.
8. The secret Clash gig. I've mentioned my mate Pete and his Dad a couple of times. As I said, he loved to tell whoppers. I decided to exact a terrible revenge after one henious porkie caused me much embarrassment. I saw a band with a ridiculous name was playing at a club on the other side of London. I told him that it was The Clash playing under an assumed name. I told him I'd meet him at the gig and I'd got us on the guest list. Of course, I had no intention of going. Pete spread the word, and when he turned up there was a crowd of a couple of hundred people, all hoping to see The Clash. As they'd all gone there, they went in anyway. The band were rather good and got a deal. Years later, I met one of the band at the studio. I don't think he believed me when I told him the story. He did admit they were surprised at the huge turnout and said that it was the key moment in their career. I sort of wish I'd gone along now.
9. The pretend boyfriend. There was a girl I used to see at gigs, who I rather fancied, when I was about sixteen. I bumped into her on the way to see The Fall at The Marquee club. We got chatting and she asked if I could pretend to be her boyfriend, as her ex was going to the gig and he'd been bothering her. Seeing this as a wonderful opportunity to ingratiate myself with her, I happily agreed. We were at the bar in the gig, when sure enough, the chap turned up and started hassling her. I stepped in, as the white knight and told him to leave her alone. As I was bigger than him, he moved away. I was feeling rather pleased with myself, when I got a tap on the shoulder and punch in the face. It was his big brother and his mates, who were all about 21 and built like brick outhouses. I realised I was in a bit of trouble. Fortunately, a couple of bouncers came and threw them all out. They were screaming "We'll have you outside". At the end, I got the bouncers to let me out of the back door and avoided them. Sadly for me, by the end of the night, the young lady in question had attached herself to someone else. The only real solace was that The Fall were brilliant.
10. Frankie Vaughns car. Perhaps my favourite family porkie mishap was my brother Laurie's. My Dad ran a crash repair business called MacMetals in Mill Hill. In the 1960's, he repaired Frankie Vaughns limosine. It was an amazing car, which had a jukebox and a drinks cabinet in the back. Just before it was ready to be returned, Laurie took it up to The Orange Tree pub, as he knew it would impress the young ladies. Sure enough, he managed to invite one to join him on the back seat for drimk from the cabinet and a listen to the Jukebox. What could possibly go wrong. He poured her a drink and asked her to select a tune. She had a look and said "Are you some sort of Frankie Vaughn superfan?" or words to that effect. Every record was a Frankie Vaughn single. Given that The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Who were the bands in the chart, it went down like a lead baloon.
Have a great weekend!