February 4, 2014 7:09pm Published by Jules Smith in The Art Philosopher 49 Comments

Today is February the 4th 2014 and as I put on my FB status this morning, that means….absolutely nothing.  Just another day except I was somewhat disappointed as I believed it was pancake day and I was wrong.   As it turned out, the day ended up being a tad more exciting than I thought it was going to be.

At lunchtime I drove off to a nearby town to look for some obscure magazines that I wanted.  I chose W H Smith as it has an array of reading material and one off quirky rags for one’s whimsical reading pleasure.  The shop had gone through a refurbishment and that meant that the endless magazine shelving had been changed around and things were not as they once were. I hate that.

I walked up and down looking for the periodicals I required and got momentarily distracted by odd magazines like ‘Crocheting for Pets’ ?  Really?  And ‘Do you want bigger breasts?’  I faltered for a moment but didn’t think the the pages of said magazine stuffed down my bra were going to get me to the double D status I would expect at £3.99.  On and on it went and I wondered how some of these magazines stayed in business and more importantly, how many weirdo’s lived in England. It didn’t take long for me to be reminded.

Unable to locate the title I wanted, I decided to go in search of an assistant to get it for me as I muttered,“This is bloody ridiculous,” under my breath in that great British way. 
I approached the till where the only available store person in the whole shop was serving two girls in their twenties.  I waited patiently behind them as one does, whilst they bought their sweets, Take a break, a packet of chewing gum .. Or was it chewing tobacco? I’m not sure, a lottery ticket and 79 scratch cards.  All of a sudden a big security guard walked in off the street from ANOTHER SHOP and said in a mean and gruff voice:

“Hello girls, I’ve just followed you from Boots The Chemist and this isn’t the first time is it?” 

“ YA WOT?” Said the ringleader, flicking her tightly bound, scraped off her head in that oh-so-flattering way, jet black almost blue it’s been dyed so many times, ponytail behind her.

“ You have been using counterfeit notes in most stores in this town for weeks now as well as stealing goods from many others.  NOW LOCK THE DOORS!” He turned his attention quickly to the frightened assistant who did nothing about the doors but got straight on the internal phone in search of her elusive co-workers.

“I..I… don’t have the keys.” She said timidly as she hung on the ever ringing phone.

The security guard blocked the door by standing with outstretched limbs in front of it. 

“ The police are on their way girls and you are under arrest!” 

Don’t mind me, I thought as I stood there wondering why I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

The first girl made a run for the door shouting at the security guard to “Get out of her effing way.”  He grabbed hold of her arms and pushed her back into her friend which I thought was very brave of him as I wouldn’t have wanted to touch her.  Not even with latex gloves on.
DON’T ****kin’ touch me!!!”  She yelled viciously.

“NOR ME”  Her friend piped up (sporting the very same hairstyle – brownie points for individuality and style.) “I’M PREGNANT!”  

The girls contorted faces, spewing the most imaginative expletives, looked around for alternative exits.  I dropped initial eye contact with the ringleader as I didn’t want to be shanked next to the current display of red Valentine cards.  

The doors were locked and I became hostage number one of the local WH Smith. 

I decided that I would try and bring some normality to the current situation, you know, like if someone’s following you and you turn round to ask them the time it brings them back down to earth and they dont rape and kill you.  Allegedly.

“ Excuse me.”  I said to the shaking assistant, “ I’m unable to find The Writing magazine, The Poetry Society and Wallpaper magazine for global contemporary design. Could you tell me which section they are in?” 

She looked at me blankly.  Clearly this was far from her level of normality and my psychological skills were falling flat.

The girls broke free of their space and began to run amok around the shop discarding their contraband. 


Ooh.. I hope they drop a few fifty pound notes in the magazines I want, I thought.   Because technically that wouldn’t be my fault. 

They ran all around the shop trying to get out and away from Mr. Security.  Up and downstairs they trundled, practising full volume cursing like modern day harridans.   I decided that this would be a good time to say goodbye to friends and family via text in case I got brutally wrapped up in a free for all brawl and met my impending doom.

“Caught in a newsagent lockdown. Serious hostage situation.  Am likely to get beaten up by ringleaders bottle of Lucozade or possible stolen manicure set.  If I die, remember I love you all and be sure to move far, far away from this shit hole.” 

Then the police arrived.  All fluorescent yellow and sirens. 

The doors were opened and I breathed in the sweet, fresh air of freedom and survival. 

The girls didn’t go easily.  For one, their leggings were too tight which didn’t offer ballerina style fluidity. They fought and spat and screamed their effing innocence with every step of their plastic wedges,  kicking the books and magazines from the shelves as they were led by their shiny cuffs and ponytails to the flashing cop car. 

And would you bloody credit it, as I looked to the floor at the scattered merchandise on my way out,  I spotted the very magazine I wanted kicked conveniently in my path.  


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I laughed and smiled all the way through. Thanks.
You are so talented.

Thank you Ian, that’s nice to hear from someone also so very talented! I’m fortunate enough to live day to day in unpredictable and mental circumstances. I could write forever on my shenanigans!

Sounds like the start to a perfect day!

Ha! Well it wasn’t. There were no pancakes!

The day was already effing done when she realized it was not “Pancake Day!” 🙂 What a way to go down-hill!

Exactly Dean, exactly! However, that same evening I treated myself to cinnamon pancakes so it got a bit effing better 😉

Hilarious! This story reminds me of the comments my reading students gave me in class today when I asked them the question, “Is it ever okay to lie?” Immediately, their thoughts turned to the po-lice, and before I knew it, I was being assaulted by “been caught speeding” stories. Apparently, “I have to use the bathroom” is not an adequate excuse for breaking the law.

Can’t wait to read more!

Hello Nathaniel 😉 I ended up on a speeding course once and I sat at the back of the class hoping I could sneak off to the loo when they were in full swing and go home. They had guards at the door! GUARDS! There’s just no freedom anymore!

I had heard that the Big Brother one of your countrymen once warned us of was alive and well in your homeland even though my fellow citizens seem to think he had immigrated to these shores for good. From what I hear of London, there are cameras spaced roughly every few feet, and yes, probably in each and every “loo.” Fortunately for us, our country is so vast in size and so deep in debt, I think it will be a while yet before our police state can afford to take similar measures. Keep fighting the good fight, and giving them hell!

I can only wonder what magazines they were buying?

Well Goatman, one of the things they were buying was called ‘Take A Break’ which can loosely be described as a magazine… it’s full of real life stories, all of which are hideous and scary, like – “I never realised my husband of 14 years was a cross dresser until he tried to murder me with his size 12 stiletto” Maybe those 2 will be in it next week!

Life smiled on you — but would smiled more broadly if they’d have just thrown the counterfeit banknotes all over the store and allowed the guard to go crazy as everybody grabbed for the cash.

Back to arranging a microbrew — so let me get this straight, if I bottled beer in the US, naming it Panther Piss, it would be a big hit in the UK? Even if there was no genuine panther piss mixed in with the beer? (You can see that I’ve been brainwashed by the US “truth in advertising” situation where you get sued if you fail to include the stated ingredient.) I wonder what an import license would cost?

Yes they could have dumped their notes in my handbag! I mean, I was RIGHT behind them! Selfish.
I’m telling you straight, whether it has Panther Piss in it or not (honestly don’t think people would care over here as long as it did the trick) the fact it was named so would have it flying off the shelves. I think you should look into it!

I’ll split the profits with you.

I’m in.

You seem to have a talent for observing these gritty social dramas, Jules. You ought to have a column in a local paper called ‘Mean Streets’ or ‘Effing Ya Wot”. Will you be called to testify against these alley cats?

I seem to have a talent for getting involved in them!
I think that’s an excellent idea but I don’t see The Times going for it.. maybe The Star?
No, thank God. I was just an innocent bystander and I think the security guard had enough evidence to have them sharing a bunk at her majesty’s pleasure 😉

Hi Jules. Thanks again for the beautiful recording you sent me a while ago. Jules… the woman with the beautiful voice. Hey, guess what… the world is starting to look familiar again. Has been doing so for the past few weeks, so I thought it’s time to resurrect the blog I firmly believed I’d never be able to see again. There’s always hope. I just didn’t believe in fairy tales, is all. But enough about me.

I think it should always be pancake day. Let’s make it so. Please put in on our agenda.

“Things were not as they once were. I hate that.” So do I. Why do people crave change? If it ain’t broken… Oh pardon me. I know you hate AIN’T too. I mean, what about our looks, or mine I should say. I don’t want to lose more hair or get more wrinkles or lose more braincells in the process. Let’s put it on our agenda: Henceforth no more loss of valuable braincells.

“Get out of her effing way”… You’re not really quoting, are you? The world hasn’t really become so politically correct that people say ‘effing’, right? Put it on our agenda: effing is to be forever replaced by fucking, and fucking should never change. Pardon my Swedish.

Just one more: Shaking assistants should always be able to tell you where you can find the misplaced Writing magazine. Karma.

Holy Cow, it’s the Grumpster!!!!!

It is SO good to see you back around!!!!



BLUE!!! Surely it’s a vision… NO. It really is him! Whoo- Hoo!
I’m so effing pleased, sorry, fucking (Swedish) pleased that you are turning the corner and feeling better! That’s the best news I’ve had this year 🙂
Ok – it’s forever pancake day. In fact because I was upset about it yesterday, Azra made it chocolate cheesecake day 🙂

Good to have you back here my friend 🙂

@Red Shoes – Well what do you know… it’s the YAY!!!!! movement. Whatever happened to good ol’ HAR!!!!!? 😉 Howdy Shoes! Good to SEE you, Sir. You didn’t think your blue friend had kicked the bucket or given up on himself? I’m back and you know it.
@Juliette – Whoo – hoo! What a welcome! And you said fucking (Swedish) pleased! You now sooooo deserve a juicy top-quality five-star pancake! But um… what did Azzie do?

Yes blue, you made me dirty this sweet little mouth of mine. Oh I’m so easily led!
Azra made the day into chocolate cheesecake day and I have no reason to argue with such beautiful logic!

I love her, she’s the best, so if she wants chocolate cheesecakes, I’ll send her all the cheesecakes she so obviously desires. It all makes sense. You’re sharp!

She’s the bestest, best.


I was sure you were going to say that you got all Dirty Harry on those gals!!

You rock!!!!


Shoes 🙂 had I have been clad in my finely knitted poncho and had a hangover then it’s highly likely I would have got all proper nasty and slipped into my crazed bitch, jujitsu Jules moves and had that place clear in seconds. However, I wasn’t in the mood…;)

I love that you began the story with pancake day. It was cute and set my mind to thinking this was going to be a pleasant little story. I laughed about the bra stuffing. Then slowly you began reeling me in…getting me ever more excited. It is funny and kind of touching in a way. Intelligently structured and beautifully told. Thank you for a really good read.

I like to lead people down a nice little, floral lined path of cuteness and then show them the dark and wretched hell of my reality!
Thank you David, that’s rather lovely of you and If you find a magazine that is capable of getting me to double D status please send it over 🙂

You made me laugh again!

Haha! I’m glad of that 🙂

You live a charmed life! If this had occurred in Memphis they would have pulled knives and started swinging wildly at nearby white people, cutting bitches and kicking the living crap out of the security guard. And then he would have stomped them into putty. Because Memphis cops are nothing if not MEAN. Just the fact that he didn’t strangle either of them in a military choke hold or shoot anyone in the groin with a Taser is a testament to the remaining civility of English society. I know this probably seems like a strange thing to take away from this post, but I’ve witnessed a few criminal showdowns during my years in Memphis and they are nowhere near as controlled and bloodless as that. We are a city of wild animals and lunatics. And our criminals are pretty rough, too. I’m glad you found the publications you were looking for. What luck!

Charmed? I live in perpetual black comedy!
However, it’s not quite as nasty as you’ve explained up there, though someone did get shot some years back on the same street. I didn’t dare go there for months. I have no problem with mean cops and think ours should be armed with better quality weapons rather than a big black truncheon and biting sarcasm. Maybe we do have enough civility remaining that we can go back to Downton Abbey days of yore and I can wander around stately homes in hats and gloves and get offended by the little things like ‘theres not enough Begonias in the garden’… It’s all getting far too skanky.

That’s a clever enough pic up top but if you’re of a certain age and there’s a lot of weed in your misspent youth, ELP means Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Do you know who they are?

Why do you hate a remodeling? It causes you to re-look at things. You never know what you’ll discover!

This is like a particularly awful episode of Law and Order. I smell residuals.

Never bloody heard of them. Are they a group or a firm of solicitors?
I hate it in this particular instance because I couldn’t find my stuff and those wasted minutes led to me being in lockdown – ergo, no good can come from remodelling.
I smell skank.

Way to turn a miserable day for you into an entertaining day for the rest of us.

Indeed, Bathwater. The lengths I go to for my ether friends.

WHELP! mmmmmmm, pancakes. i’m always fascinated with people who say the word “nor.” many write the word “nor”, but few actually say it in casual hostage conversation…

Mmmmmmm pancakes….
I always say nor and so did they! Don’t Americans use this lovely little word? Bring it back Phoenix! Use it everywhere!

After a day like that you deserved some effing pancakes for real. On the upside, you can’t say that you had a boring day. Those girls sound like real charmers. Too bad they got arrested…otherwise you could have had them over for a few drinks eh. 😉

I did, didn’t I!
Gosh, they were utterly delightful. I missed an opportunity there. They’d have been a treat to have for high tea….:)

Very funny and well told. My trips to the shops are extremely dull, I shall make a point of going to W H Smith more often now.

Oh, by the way, my dog subscribes to Crocheting for Pets

I think you should and be sure to take your dog. The coppers didn’t have one. Shocking. And your dog sounds like he knows a good knit when e see’s one.

worthy of a titter if not a belly laugh for real J – am glad to hear WH Smiths still exists. I worked there as a student and the staff were so inept that they would have just this reaction – God this has also made me realize these kinds of girls are a kind of British institution – reminds me of my icky school days.

Oh it still exists and still with the same sharp staff and your so do the skanky icky bints you remember so well. Help me.

Gosh Julietta, so much excitement and all in a book store! And England is the Capital of Weirdos hahaha! But we love it. Hope you didn’t require any PTSD therapy afterwards… y’know I reckon we could claim some health benefits for you – stress and all that – and I know the perfect therapist in Bora Bora 😉

It’s the capital of weirdo’s alright.
I think I absolutely DO need that Az. Can we get it on prescription? 🙂

She didn’t just say she knows the perfect therapist in Bora Bora. Jules, how come she knows the perfect therapist in Bora Bora? Did she go there without hiding us in her baggage um… luggage um… super Bora Bora trunks?

An interesting post that I enjoyed reading. Glad you got out ‘alive’! Ha.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Why thank you Andrew 🙂 I still live and breathe.

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