About Bella Basura

Don't dream it, be it

The Keeper of Confessions

Keeper of Confessions A.I. generated image

I am told I am a good listener, like it’s a compliment. I have been called a calm beacon in a tempestuous verbal sea, a paragon of serenity, a wise woman, a crone, a santuary of silence. They called me the keeper of confessions.

I try never to be dependent on other people. I live alone and I’m happy that way. I actively resist offers of lifts into town, shy away from being obligated to anyone, I am wary of owing a favour and I shirk social expectations repeatedly. It’s not that I am introverted, so much as self-reliant. Not misanthropic, just easily disappointed. I keep myself to myself, and I wish others would do the same. I am a good listener, but I hate manipulative and malicious gossip, bad-mouthing is a cardinal sin.

So I am a good listener, and as a result I have struggled over the years to cope with people who talk too much. People with issues around personal boundaries, issues around anger, all that misdirected energy and wasted time.

People whose mouths run away with them, people who tell me things, people who tell me things I don’t want to know, about people I don’t even know. People who become personally affronted when I tell them I don’t want to hear it, who lash out and tell me things about myself, things that I also I don’t want to hear. In the midst of all this over-sharing shit show I find I am losing my voice.

And they called me the keeper of confessions.

It’s Good to See the Back of a Bully


Three times she became aggressive when I tried to turn her monologues into dialogues.

“I haven’t finished” she would scream down the phone “stop interupting me” she would shout. Abuse was becoming her sole mode of communication.

Then one day, at the begining of January she phoned me, and when I picked up the phone and said “Hello” she screamed “You’re shouting in my ear…” she screamed like this until I ended the call.

The second time she phoned me, screaming down the phone “you’re shouting in my ear…” I’d already decided she was a bullying arsehole. The third time I picked up the phone and said nothing, she still screamed “You’re shouting in my ear”.

After that I just stopped picking up her calls.

I decided I wouldn’t pick up her calls until she appologised for shouting at me.

Her unanswered calls eventually petered out, and then, thankfully stopped altogther and I began to get my life back.

And now I do things I want to do, go places I want to go, see people I want to see.

It’s good to see the back of a bully.


At the beginning I felt sorry for her, I thought she was just a sad lonely middle-aged woman. She was a neighbour, a sad lonely old neighbour, sitting out the lockdowns in solitude. She stopped me in the street and invited me to her home for a cup of tea, but, thankfully, it was lockdown so I refused. She made me feel obliged to invite her to my house for tea, but I resisted.I gave her my mobile number instead.

The calls started within hours of me giving her my number,  and each call lasted at least an hour.

She called me in the morning, as I was trying to start my day, she told me how she’d slept, what she had for breakfast, she told me about her dog’s breakfast. I felt sorry for her, she seemed unable to stop talking.

Within a few hours she would phone again, and stay monologing for at least an hour, she seemed unable to engage in dialogue. She told me about her washing and drying regimen, about her lunch, about her dogs lunch.

Or maybe she would phone in the early afternoon, and talk uninteruptable about her washing up, her hoovering, the details of her cup of tea, she told me about her dog’s dinner and her dog’s diarrhoea.

Sometimes, she’d phone in the evening to tell me about what TV she was watching, what TV programme her dog was watching…

This went on every day, daily, for weeks, that turned to months and eventually all the covid years.

Her pattern of intrusive calling, her long impenetrable monologues, the dull minutae of her dull life continued for years, but then she began to complain too.

She complained about other people, she complained that they didn’t give her good enough christmas presents, that they were drunk when she wanted them to drive her to the shops, that they phoned her all day long, that they spoke to other people more than they spoke to her, that they came round to her house every day and she was such a martyr, so put upon.

It was getting wearing, but she didn’t seem to notice, she kept her persistant intrusive calling, her endless miserable moaning, moaning about everybody she knew, moaning that nobody ever invited her to their house.

I kept firm, I never invited her to my house, I could see that she wouldn’t leave if I let her foot through my door. That’s when she shifted from complaining to abuse.

Three times she became aggressive when I tried to turn her monologues into dialogues.

“I haven’t finished”. she would scream down the phone “stop interupting me” she would shout. Abuse was becoming her sole mode of communication.


Then one day, at the begining of January she phoned me, and when I picked up the phone and said “Hello” she screamed “You’re shouting in my ear…” she screamed like this until I ended the call.

The second time she phoned me, screaming down the phone “you’re shouting in my ear” I’d already decided she was a bullying arsehole. The third time I picked up the phone and said nothing, she still screamed “You’re shouting in my ear”.

After that I just stopped picking up her calls.

I decided I wouldn’t pick up her calls until she appologised for shouting at me.

Her unanswered calls eventually petered out, and then, thankfully stopped altogther and I began to get my life back.

And now I do things I want to do, go places I want to go, see people I want to see.

It’s good to see the back of a bully.

King of Potato

Emblazoned gold on unfurling crimson swags, the cracked old bone china cup read:  “King Edward VIII Coronation 1936”.

They paid cash, crisp twenty pound notes. The assistant slid the tissue wrapped  commemorative cup  across the counter. “Dad, why did he abdicate?” The youngster asked as they left the shop.

Later, they sat on a park bench. The son handed his father a small hammer. The older man placed the King Edward parcel on the ground and smacked it smartly, a single cracking strike.

“Because, Son” he explained as he dropped the smashed memorial in the bin. “He was a Nazi”.

Yesterdays Gowns of Rags and Silks

It was well past midnight, too late for me. I was struggling to keep my eyes open, but I couldn’t let it go, I couldn’t close the laptop and just go to bed, not without knowing for sure.

Of course, in my mind I did know for sure. I knew perfectly well. It had always been one of my strongest memories  of my early twenties. The story was my party piece when conversation lagged, my go-to name-drop when people were boring me. Except now, with there being no evidence on the internet, I was begining to doubt it even happened.

It was in 1985, was it? or maybe 1986…

The posters advertising the gig had been plain and photocopied, black words on a white A4 sheet. “Nico” they read, then in brackets “(of the Velvet Underground)”. There was the day, the time, the venue and the price – a straight flat fiver in cash. No promoters name, no funding acknowledgement.  As I push deep into the memory it seems to become implausible, unsteadily unreal. The posters had been scattered around town, stuck to lamp-posts, like a flyer about a stolen bike, or an ad for knocked off garden furniture, a scam or a hoax. A world before social media. Who can say now what’s real and what was not.

It was summer, all the other students had gone home, but I stayed on in my bedsit. Living alone, on the dole, I guess I liked the solitude. So, I went to the gig by myself, which of course means there’s no one to check with, nobody to confirm that Nico had played the little rundown provincial town in that wet and lonely summer. The internet will not confirm my memory, I search and search, but I find no reference to it among Nico’s online setlist and gig archives. My reality is turning to fiction.

At the door I paid my cash fiver, there was no receipt, no ticket, no souvenirs, just an inky stamp on the back of my left hand. I followed a dark corridor down to a tiny windowless rehearsal studio, tucked away beneath a theatre.

Working lights, dim, the stage area filled half the space  of the room, an Harmonium pretty much in the middle of the room, behind it to the left a piano,  and a collection of percussion, gongs and a variety of drums crowded to the right.

The audience, of maybe 30 people, sat on the uncarpeted floor, buzzing for an Exploding Plastic Inevitable. I felt them double take as the three piece shuffled on stage. A question rippled through the watchers “Which one is Lou Reed?” None of them I remember thinking out loud.  I felt the punters groan collectively as the band rolled into Janitor of Lunacy. A catatonic harmomium drone, scattered striken percussion, sparse percussive piano. And then her voice. Her voice, gravelly deep and funereal, without hope, perfected. I wallowed deep in thick sonic delirium, it was all quite special to me.

Some people left, head shaking bitterly. Nico had waited too long before placating them with All Tomorow’s Parties. The journalists had already left, heading for a bar, by the time Nico gave them a single Velvet’s number. The song wasn’t instantly recognisable except for her plangent growlling voice. I thought it was beautiful, like the best sort of cover version. Different, better than before.

When the last song came round, she said “This is for my friend, Jim Morrison” and slipped into The End. Stripped bare of The Doors cocky swagger Nico’s trembling trio of finality dirged me out into the cool dark night. It was an experience to remember, and I remembered it, I relished it. But the cyber world does not.

And today there is no evidence that it ever happened, google can’t look that far back, there is no indellible facebook page about it, no twitter memory that old, no instagram to prove it real. But it did happen, I was there and I know it happened.

I found one photograph in an image search that tugged my memory, that reminded me of a part of the story I had forgotten. The photo of Nico dressed entirely in black, a pudgy middle-aged woman, hunched forward, staring down at her feet, her motorcycle boots wilting unbuckled, stilled in time. Exactly how I seen her before the show, in a tiny scrubby playground behind the venue, where I stopped to smoke a cigarette. As I sat she caught my eye with her pacing, boots flapping, she circled the seesaw, stopped short of the swings, then slumped herself onto the bench opposite me, just like the internet photo. I don’t think she even registered me there. I wanted, I wanted to run over to her, embrace her, fawn over her, beg her to bless me, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. She’d have despised me, I am sure, she’d have sneered at my fangirl superficiality. I don’t know, it’s hard being young and desperate to be cool. In anycase, she was obviously waiting for the man, the moment had passed. I finished my cigarette just as a shoddy dead-eyed street junkie sloped into view, he circled the seesaw and sidled to  her bench.

And I left, Eulogy For Lenny Bruce singing in my head: “And why after every last shot was there always another”

The Bibliophile’s Day Out

This story was inspired by one strange facebook conversation I had with Simone Chalkley long ago, we were discussing the tactile/sensual aspects of “old-skool” books. At the time we were both regulars at Fay Roberts Allographic spoken word events, which is where I first performed The Bibliophile’s Day Out. I was delighted that Simone was in the audience that Sunday evening.

So, I have been performing this story for a good few years now, but I realised today that I have never posted it on the website. Here goes…

The Bibliophile’s Day Out

The curtain closed with a swish, making the cramped changing room cubicle even more claustrophobic. I hung the random clothes on the hook, plonked my rucksack on the chair in the corner and turned my back against the mirror. It was bad enough doing this, I didn’t want to watch myself doing it. Greedily, I delved into the dark depths of the rucksack. The mixed odours rising from the bag were heady with promise, I’d been looking for the privacy to do this all day. I felt light headed as I drew out a thick Victorian binding, it’s leather-bound case positively encrusted with ornate blocking.  I quivered slightly as the unmistakeable smell of academics smoke-filled study clagged in my nostrils – the definite fruity tang of pungent nicotinicity. I smiled, though I wasn’t yet sated. I allowed my sensual ecstasy to mingle with my unerring booksellers instinct and I knew the smell of  erudite  content. Probably the  unloved cast-off of some Cambridge Librarian Lothario.

I heard a vague harrumphing the other side of the curtain. I could sense the waiting woman’s presence without even registering it.  I was onto my second book. A slim pocket book sized Ayurvedic sex manual. The aroma of incense-laden temple, with notes of satanic doom played through my cavities. Invariably, the smell of cloistered hermitage denotes books that are long out of print. Highly collectible, in my Dealers Hat.  The woman waiting outside clattered her plastic dress hangers together and tutted. I could hear her looking at her watch. But it was water off a duck’s back to me. A boutique changing room was pure luxury for your average booksniffer, I’ve made do with a cubicle in a public lavatory – not an olfactory nirvana, you know. The bleach played havoc with my nasal consciousness. In any case, I was about to do number three, a large format hardback, desperately signed by the author, never even opened. The sickening musty whiff of the remaindered warehouse, a foul but vividly unforgettable reek. The stench of the over-priced. Known in the book trade as “a dog”. Suddenly “Are you going to be in there long?” Jolted back to reality my breath solidified in my lungs. Fighting the shame of discovery, my “Sorry!” burst through my paralysis with a rush of out breath. Snarking, waiting woman said “You’ve been twenty minutes already” Then wheedling “Only I’ve got to be some where at two”. I had to get out of here. In a panicked flurry I grasped at my books, stuffing them hurriedly into the rucksack. “What the hell are you doing in there?” the alarm in her voice peaking with my own. And then I touched the last book in the hoard.

My fingers slipped wantonly over the tomes Yapp binding in naked vellum, curving  pale flaps around thick sections of handmade deckle-edge paper. The Kelmscott colophon laid across it, a Morris font  entwined around with curling, twirling botanic forms of erotic intensity. Probing the books flexible spine with my nose I breathed in a perfume of pure unadulterated First Edition, a tabla rasa of a book. The abandoned scent of forgotten storage in a dry secure garage. A book dealers dream. The most expensive book smell of all. The cubicle curtain was suddenly wrenched aside “A Booksniffer!” screamed the waiting woman. “No” I pleaded “I’m a Bookseller, a binder, no really” I stumbled. Crashing into clothes racks, running for the door. “A Booksniffer!” she fainted. A Security Guard, as thick as a bear,  ambled behind me. His pungent aftershave , like a disinfectant smudge stick, cleansed and sterilised the book-heavy air.

Bella Basura 2022

Tentative Radio Script

Zine Cover by Emit Snake 1991

Praxis your Earworms

by Bella Basura 

(Soundtrack: an inobstrusive background Music Concrete:

a gentle breeze of windchimes, trills of birdsong, soft footfalls, tinkling water, whale music etc.)

Soothing Voice:

This recording will teach you how to overcome your intrusive earworms.

This is your personal journey into the conchlea of your psyche,

Take you to the very eardrum of your mind.

Praxis your Earworms.

Get comfortable.

Lie down on your yoga mat,

Pull up your comfort blanket.

Close your eyes.

Imagine yourself in a boat on the river,

In a boat on the river,

In a boat on the river.

You’re in a boat,

On a tranquil still lake.

Relax, relax, relax,

I want you to relax.

Give into the peace.

Let yourself into the calm.

Give in to the peace.

What do you hear?

What can you hear?

What is calling you?

(suddenly loud) Praxis your earworms.

Lean into that sound,

Don’t recoil don’t pull back.

Fall into a spiral of renewal.

Embrace it,

Embrace it.

(suddenly loud) Praxis your earworms.

Don’t recoil don’t pull back.

Lean in,

Lean in,

Lean in,

And through,

In and through.

In and through.

(Soundtrack: background Music Concrete begins to fade)

(suddenly loud) Praxis your earworms.

I want you to acknowledge your earworms,

I want you to own them.

I want you to own them,

And let them go.

You are not your earworms,

You are not your earworms.

Your earworms are not the voice of god.

You are not your earworms.

Your earworms are not the voice of god.

Your earworms are passing distractions.

(suddenly loud) Praxis your earworms.

Push in through the clear light.

(loud) Praxis your earworms.

Push through into the pure sound.

(loud) Praxis your earworms.

(Soundtrack: silenced)

Push in and through,

Through and out,

And into,

Deafening silence.

Praxis your earworms.

(Soundtrack: 13 seconds of pure silence

Then an alarm goes off)

Back to Homepage

Running over the same old ground

I login in an effort to drag my head out of this bad-B-movie-sci-fi-horror we are living through at the moment, here’s something I wrote earlier…even a collage I did in Europe last century.

What Time? Collage by Bella Basura 1994
What Time? Collage by Bella Basura 1994

Time Warp In The ‘dam

“Sooooo” She drew the word out with undisguised relish “What are we going to do with our last night in Amsterdam, eh?” She laughed, poked him in the ribs and stretched out languorously  across the counterpane, sprawled like a self-satisfied cat. “Our last night as twisted British rock-star and unofficial girlfriend, cut adrift in the city of sin?”
“Just give it a rest” He mumbled. “I’m going to sleep”
“No no no” She laughed “Lets live a while before we go back to our boring lonely adulterous reality.”
He turned away and She could see he was already half way back there, miserable and contemplating meeting his wife again after eight days half-explained absence.
“Look! what do you want from me?” She wheedled

He said “I don’t want nothing”

“Fine, nothing. I’m going to get something to eat then” she was rummaging in the supermarket carrier bag on her bedside table, smacking her lips. “a crisp buttie in a cheap hotel room, hahaha” she laughed.”Rawk ‘n’ Roll!”
“that’s pathetic” he sneered “you’re not really very rock’n’roll at all are you, with your carrier bag of crisp butties”
“yeah, well you’re not really a rock star are you” she countered

He sat up on the bed “I’ve got my following” He was irked.

“Yeah, but not in Britain, eh? Only in Holland and places where they can’t understand what you’re singing about. Are you big in Japan?”
“I’ve got my following”
“What does your wife think?” she knew she was probing to be provocative “Does she think? Your wife?”

“No, she doesn’t think, she looks after the kids and stuff like that, she doesn’t need to think. Will you just get off my case” He switched the light off, plunging the hotel room into the vague neon gloom that passes for night in the city.

She took off her rings, her jewellery and watch, she lay back fully clothed on top the bed. It was one of those sinking moments, she began to wonder why she’d come along at all. It had sounded great when he’d first mentioned the tour, – his first solo tour,  a week in the Low Countries, hotels and food all in, she only had to find the money for the fares. The fares, that was her fare, and – “Could you lend me the money, just until they pay me at the gigs” – his fare too. Funny how his pay had diminished, then disappeared after the first few venues, they’d been living off her savings all week. She closed her eyes in disgust, she hadn’t known about the wife either.

Drifting in half-sleep she ruminated in growing disappointment, she dreamt of their first meeting in the pub all those weeks ago. Dipping in and out of hypnogogic sleep-states, she saw him as a giant tape-worm , all mouth and arsehole, perched on a barstool downing pints, glass and all, gurgling about the losers in the band he’d just dumped, “Losers every one of them, even if they are famous now, deep down they’re born losers” he kept repeating. Was she really so gullible? Had she really been that stupidly smitten with him?

Suddenly, she was wide awake, she peered at her watch in the gloom, the hands on the retro-style dial read 1.35. Amsterdam would still be kicking she decided, plenty of time to still have fun before the flight back at 9am tomorrow. She tucked her handbag into the suitcase – she intended to do the rockstar’s girlfriend debauchery bit to the hilt, no point in carrying valuables around, in this sort of mood chances were she’d lose her handbag in the first bar, best leave her passport, plane tickets and bits in the suitcase. She grabbed her leather jacket, stuffed the last of her dope and cash into the zippered pocket and headed for the door. “I’m off out, looking for some dirty fun. You coming?”

“I’m asleep” the rock star grumbled.

The street seemed uncannily quiet as she stepped from the hotel lobby, she began walking, seeing nobody. In fact, the usually bustling lanes around the hotel seemed totally empty,  every where seemed to be closed, even the trams had shut down. Some City of Sin this is, she thought heading for the nearest coffeeshop.

But even the coffeeshop was dark and so she plonked herself down on a bench, spun herself up a mini-spliff and gazed forlornly into the grimy green of the canal. She wondered when Amsterdam had become so conservative, since when had Europe’s most alive city become a post-midnight deadspot. In the preternaturally tranquil streets she thought she sensed a weird glowing, growing light, as if night were turning to morning. An unusual sensual response, she thought, I must be very stoned, Good Sense, Amelia she said to herself. Spliff done she headed on towards the city’s main drag, the stoned light was definitely intensifying, in fact there really did seem to be a streak of sunrise smearing the east horizon. She crossed the canal into Oudeshans to the charming chiming of the Montelbaanstoren clock tower. One two three chimes, then four five six seven eight.  eight?  Looking up to the big clock face on the tower her heart did a strange faltering flip, she unstrapped her wristwatch and as she turned it through 180 degrees she turned 2.30am to 8am. She laughed momentarily, realising she’d put the wrist watch on upside down in the darkness of the hotel room, she’d had a time warp, she laughed at herself, at the idea of Amsterdam gone moderate, she laughed, even though she’d just lost  five and half hours of her life, and she hadn’t even been drunk. She laughed.

It was full daylight by the time she got back to the hotel. The room was empty, the suitcases gone, he’d already left. There was a note for her on the dirty rumpled bedsheets. “I’ve gone home. Where’s the money? I couldn’t even get breakfast! Where are you?”

Bella Basura
August 2019 edit

Reposted december 2020
999 words

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A Gathering of Dead Stories

Continuing on from the series I started last year – offering number three of pickings from my Slush Pile Bonanza.

This particular story has been knocking around, getting re-written and mucked about with for nearly three years. I have entered it for numerous flash fiction competitions and it doesn’t even get shortlisted. So, now I am reduced to offering it up as part of my Slush Pile Bonanza – Bella Basura stories that never got published…

Gray Road, April 2015, found artefacts on the slabs on the foundations of the ruined shed. Various pieces of ironwork, including 200 rusted three inch nails and model railway track.

Gray Road, April 2015, found artefacts on the slabs on the foundations of the ruined shed. Various pieces of ironwork, including 200 rusted three inch nails and model railway track.

Play Time in the Sunken Nature Garden

My favourite friend one year at Junior school was a boy called Lindsay. Lindsay’s mum must have been young and groovy, because Lindsay always had the latest paisley-print corduroy waistcoat or fruit-of-the-loom scoop-neck tee or jumbo-cord loon-pants. He had long bright orange hair and I remember we became friends over his extensive collection of used ink-pen cartridges, which he had sellotaped in rows to the inside of his desk. He showed them to me and Riz one rainy lunchtime when we weren’t allowed out on the playground.
This was the 1970s, and just like any normal eight year olds we listened to pop-music all the time, we knew all David Bowie’s songs by heart and watched Top of The Pops religiously. One favourite that wasn’t David Bowie was The Monster Mash – “It was a graveyard smash”. We liked it because it reminded us of our favourite film Carry on Screaming, which had been screened on TV last christmas holiday. We’d spent the rest of the holiday playing The Carry On Screaming Game, which revolved around running around the disused carpark by the river being vampires, or zombies, or frankenstein, or Kenneth Williams, or Fenella Fielding, and screaming a lot out loud. In fact most of the game involved a lot of screaming out loud, after all it was called The Carry On Screaming Game. We also loved Alice Cooper and sang “School’s out for summer, school’s out for ever, school’s been blown to pieces…” every day at home time for the whole of the week before half term.
Also, Lindsay wore black nail varnish, his mum let him because Alice Cooper did. Nobody else ever wore black nail varnish, only Lindsay, Alice Cooper and Lindsay’s mum.

Gray Road, April 2015 nails and model railway track

Due to some sort of building work on the main school that year, our classroom was out in one of the temporary missen huts, out beyond the playing field. There had once been two missen huts , but one had been taken away over the summer. The brick foundations had been left intact and our class had been given the project of turning it into a sunken Italian garden. One of the teachers must have been an avid Blue Peter viewer.
In the winter, the Huts (they were still plural even though they’d taken one of them away) was freezing, and we’d have to huddle around a huge oil burner in the corner of the room for heat, sometimes kids took their wet socks off to dry them on it. It was a strange place to have your classroom, separated off from the rest of the school by the playing field. I felt I lived in some idealised rural nineteenth century village school where the teachers looked like hippies, except it was slap-bang in the middle of grid-pattern pre-fabricated London-overspill dormitory new-town.
As the year rolled on into summer, we spent more and more time out of the classroom, we spent our time in the sunken garden, which was now called The Sunken Nature Garden on account of it being so overgrown and neglected, or we lounged on the playing field, out of sight from the rest of the school. We had lessons outdoors, sitting cross legged making daisy-chains in the long grass, listening to the teacher telling stories. Lindsay drew Draculas in my story book, he preferred to call them Alucards, so that the teacher didn’t understand.
In the summer term we did a class project on the founding of our town. First of all we got the history, long tracts about this were pinned around the walls. They told how thirty years ago Lord Dashingforth, a dead local landowner, had personally given permission for his ancient sacred ancestral lands to be used to build our town on, he was almost an uncle to us all. He gave personal permission for the inventor of breakfast cereals to build his first UK factory in our town, likewise a pharmaceutical birth pill manufacturer and the controversial war plane foundry by the river, and he gave permission for our Junior school to be built. HOORAY (sarcasm). This was very boring. Until one day our class was visited by a very old woman, with a walking stick and skin like old leprosy. We were told that this very old lady was the mortal remains of the sister of Lord Dashingforth, the very founder of our town. “Alucard!” whispered Lindsay to me while the old, old lady rambled on. And immediately I could see what he meant, my eyes had been opened, I now knew that the so-called generous Lord Dashingforth that they were talking about so reverently was none other than a seething vampire in reality.
At break-time, me, Lindsay, and Riz sat in the Sunken Nature Garden deciding what our contribution to the class project on the founding of our town would be. We already knew that it was going to be a play, because at half term we did the play Riz had written and directed about a favourite fluffy rabbit, which was loosely based on last term’s class project about Beatrix Potter. And, I can tell you, it went down a storm, especially at the end when we sang School’s Out and all the rest of the class, who were the audience, jumped up and down and joined in till home-time. We knew that the performance would have to be in the Sunken Nature Garden. And we also knew that our play had to expose the terrible information we had discovered that afternoon. We owed it to our public to tell them that kindly Uncle Lord Dashingforth was in fact a filthy writhing Alucard, the very founder of our town was none other than a vile vampire, with no more morals than Kenneth Williams in Carry on Screaming when he says “frying tonight”. Then Lindsay introduced a new element into the play that added all the sophistication we could dream of. “We need to dress up for it” said Lindsay, pulling a sheer lilac negligee and black nail varnish from his duffle bag. “I’ll be Lord Dashingforth, and wear this when I’m dying”. I was Lord Dashingforth’s sister, and Riz directed and played a ghost.
From that day on we rehearsed mercilessly, we painted a poster to advertise the play to our class. We attempted making costumes when the teacher taught us tie-dying, but in the end we used them as flags. Washing lines of damp psychedelic rags, strung between the Rowan and Wild Cherry saplings, fluttering colour in the summer blanched meadow of the Sunken Almost-Wild Garden.

Herne in the tree stumps

And very soon it was the end of term and the big afternoon arrived. The play, as we performed it, went like this:

Uncle Lord Dashingforth and his sister are having dinner. Lord Dashingforth is not wearing his negligee. The sister says “There is a letter from some poor people asking you to find their town, please to let them have some of your ancient ancestral sacred land so that they don’t have to live in stinking London slums anymore and can build a bloody decent school instead”. Uncle Lord Dashingforth is not listening, he says “There is a full moon, I must go and drink someone’s blood”. The sister says “No, no, no, you mustn’t keep drinking people’s blood, you must help the poor people to fund their town. One night you’ll encounter a ghost and that’ll change your miserly ways”. But Uncle is off “Cavorting in the Sunken Nature Garden under a bloody full moon” I wail, and we play The Carry On Screaming Game until Riz, the Ghost, rises up from behind some poppies, hiding under Lindsay’s see-thru lilac negligee, whoooo-ing like a howling hurricane. Uncle Lord Dash tries to drink blood, but Riz is a ghost and doesn’t have any. Instead the ghost says “I am a ghost of your ancestors, you must give your land to the poor people. You mustn’t drink any more blood. You are going to die”. Then Riz throws the lilac negligee over Uncle Lord Dashingforth, like a net. He falls to the floor, he is dying. Me, the sister, talks to Lord Dash, who mumbles, then gives his permission to founder our town. Lindsay then jumps up from the ground and we all do School’s Out and then 17 choruses of Starman until our mums came to take us home. “There’s a Starman waiting in the sky, he’d like to come and meet us but he think he’d blow our minds. There’s a Starman waiting in the sky, he’d like to come and meet us but he think he’d blow our minds…”

(Bella Basura
Revised December 2019
January 2017)


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Edgewords 3 is here!

Join us for our launch event tomorrow at The Edge Cafe at 7pm (doors open 6:30pm), where the contributors will be sharing their wild encounters. Entry is free. Copies of Edgewords £5 (all proceeds to The Edge Cafe, for its work supporting people in recovery from addiction).