Monday, 21 May 2012


A while back, mrs ishmael was blessed with her first and so far only grandchild.  Bad enough, that, I suppose; who wants to be married to a grandmother? Or, I hasten to add, for fear of being stabbed with a knitting needle, a grandfather.  

Do not age gentle into that good night, fuck no, and being one of those Saga Consumerist Grandthings, wanting the best for their grandchildren is, in my raucous, overactive imagination, the equivalent of starting to take small doses of Paraquat in your organic green tea.  My dear, late friend, Dick, loved being a grandad, it wasn't that which killed him so young, but never mind, I am convinced that over-enthusiastic grandparenting can be lethal. You start off doing  a few days babysitting so's the parents can both go out to work to pay for some mad, illusory  lifestyle mortgage and the next thing you know is you're in a box on that conveyor belt down the crematorium and Frank fucking Sinatra singing My Way, the repulsive little spic arsehole, over your head.  That's where Grandfathering leads you.

The first, briefly mrs ishmael is many grandmothers and that's bad enough, too, even  having a former wife who resembles an old woman who lived in a shoe, Gosh, it does make a bloke feel his age. But there are worse things to be borne than births, such as the burdensome and vexatious  problem of  what, when you are saddled with him, for the rest of your days, does the little bugger call you? And, just as tricky, how do you stop the new parent or parents naming their poor unfortnate Beckam or Chardonnay.

I am perhaps unduly harsh on the subject of grandparenthood because though I had some -  obviously, as many as anyone else -  my own conception was a brief re-flowering of a younger passion, either that or an unaccustomed  and thus unprotected drunken tumble - Oh, to think of one's parents in lust,  the horror -  and they were long dead before I was born,  the grandparents, the parents lasted a bit longer. But not much. 

There were photographs on my childhood wall of stern-looking Edwardian gentlemen with white moustaches, dressed in waistcoats  with fobwatches, but they had disappeared from the wall long before I was old enough to identify them.  My paternal grandfather was a professional classical musician, a clarinettist and the other one, the Jock one, was a shoemaker.  That's all I know.  And probably more than I want to.  I mean, where do you stop, with that stuff, how far back do you go?

The lasting mrs ishmael's grandfolks were Belgian diplomats to the Chinese Court,  and we have some bits of porcelain, some pots, vases - some visiting Chines students looked at the mark underneath one of them and said Waaahhhh, fock me, in Beijing can buy focking Bentley for this poh, Chinee person cannoh even focking own this poh, is fohbidden to Chinee fella to own this poh, can buy focking RollRoyce with this poh;  and this jug, can buy focking JumbohJeh, seven-foh-seven - and that's probably something worth researching, but it's also something that, aside from the money,  is utterly irrelevant. So they were diplomats, so what, they might have been mass murderers, cannibals, don't make no never mind.

  If I could see a photo of my own personal ancestor, M'Ishmael, in Africa, or wherever we kicked off, from a hundred thousand years ago, scribbling satire on a  cliff face,  perhaps pictograming the legend Up against the cavewall motherfuckers, I might get excited but otherwise the reality is that whatever-it- is thing, six degrees of separation, nearly  every bastard on Earth is my cousin. What's the point of singling-out a few, for special reverence  So, emotionally and rationally I don't give a fuck about grandparents or great grandparents or any other bastard who fought at Waterloo or with the Roundheads or came over from France with the Norman Frogs, themselves descendants of the Norsemen, from whom I know, on irrefutable medical evidence, I am descended. I saw a neurologist in Aberdeen a few years back about a twisting nerve in my hand, a De Putrens Contracture.  Only people of Norse extraction have this condition, he said, you are descended from the Vikings. Oh, and Mrs Thatcher has this problem, too.  Enraptured, I dwelt for a while on the idea of changing my name to Sven.  Or Erik.  But only for a while, To Hell, anyway, with ancestors and grandparents, probably a right shower of bastards. Coming over here and raping the Venerable Bede and his brothers. I don't care about grandparents, having them or being one of them.  That's not to say though that someone can  just come along and call me their grandfather. Not  when I'm fucking well not..

 And that was the rub when mrs ishmael the everlasting's grandchild was born. What's he gonna call me?  He's obvioulsy gonna call his grandma grandma or nana or nanny or granny, one of those,  and since his maternal grandfather is long, determinedly  dead from embraced cirhossis the easy choice would be for him to call me grandad.  Bur since I'm not his grandfather I didn't want to fuck his head up any more than it's going to be fucked up by Michael Gove and company by pretending, for the sake of  convenience, that I was.  I had his best interest at heart.  

You know that stepladder axiom, you're not my real ladder, you're only my stepladder?  Well I didn't want him, in years to come, maybe researching his own ancestry online - which will probably be compulsory by then - and finding that the old bloke he called granddad wasn't really his granddad but just allowed himself to be called granddad for the sake of an easy life, I didn't want him to discover that the bloke he called granddad was, in fact,  just a luvmykidstobits,me fuckwit, because I'm not, I'm not   fearful of the truth about relationships.

(It is a big, big heartache to me, this Ruinous phoniness at which people clutch,  this emotional contraband, passing between witless generations, adults blinding childen to the truth, for the sake of some counterfeit, unquiet status.  My one daughter visited one Christmas  with her son,  to whom I was a real grandfather, and her new,  three-months vintage bloke.  Christmas morning and 'neath the tree was an ostentatious  and clearly extravagant pile of presents for the boy from Granma Hazel and Grandad Tony.  What the fuck is this, I flashed silently at my daughter;  who are these people who,  on three months acquaintanceship, adopt themselves as grandparents.  Who is this Tony, who assumes the same relationship as you have with me, me, from whom your life sprung?  And what of your loving mother, and what of your  generous and supportive stepmother of twenty years, what dreadful cheap bogus parity  do you here deploy,  is this your world?  Do not let me detain you, here,  with arcane notions of blood and family;  go, invent your own.)

But at the same time, although I am happy for visitors to CallMeIshmael to  call me ishmael, I didn't want a two year old calling me ishmael, or a ten year old, for that matter.  And Uncle is just too horrid;  long before Mr Peter Nose of the 'oo wrote what he grandly called his rockopera, Tommy, about some child-molesting uncle, the word Uncle already had connotations of noncehood about it, an uncle was any drunken bum to whom you would present your infant for kisses and cuddles, thus legitimising if not encouraging the idea of inappropriate physical contact beteen stranger adults and children. Uncle  makes one think of Uncle Kelvin McKenzie orchestrating the national countdown to Charlotte Church losing her virginity,  a foul, repulsive, shit-eatung bastard.  So I wasn't prepared to be called uncle and probably go on the sex offenders register for life.  I don't mind being called Uncle when I am Uncle;  in fact I am at least nine Uncles but being a pretend Uncle wasn't acceptable.

Can't be Sir, said baby's mum, can it ? Well, I don't think so, Sir's OK but I think it needs to be voluntary. I just don't want him talking to me on first name terms, like I was his mate, when what I am is his significant  Male Elder,  the Dude of Last resort.  Not his Dad, not his Granddad and definitely not his mate.  What's it to be then?  How about Nana and Mister.  Mister? Yeah, Nana and Mister,  that'll do, he doesn't have to stand up when I come in the room or anything, or salute me,  just as long as he knows that older people are different people.  I hope to live long enough to teach him how to make Molotov Cocktails and other tools of liberation.

It has worked out well, the boy calls me Mr quite happily, sometimes My Mr, and he knows that here, silently, is some differentiation, some status thing, which may yet be to his advantage.

On the other hand, this was all about four years ago, this mister-naming and what's happened is that what few friends I have, here,  now also call me mr, even those who are older than me.  Best laid plans of mice and misters, gang aft aglay.



Verge said...

"But they were fucked up in their turn
By old-style fools in hats and coats
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats."

amen to that shit...

Genealogy - catnip for cunts

a young Anglo-Irish catholic said...

V V interesting.

I think that the lovedemtobits quotient is inversely proportional to the amount of proper parenting.

Didn't have kids, couldn't trust 'er no-longer-indoors. Then the quack told me the mega-stress of living with her had made me sterile - honest not invent. Ancient caveman reaction to constant threat or famine - subconscious turning off of testosterone production, prevent creation of new mouth to feed.

Did I mention I represented myself against the Mrs's Clarence House -accredited lawyer? Did a dead brilliant job, sarccy letters and lots of snearing about her credit card debts run up during course of adultery.

Won the day and made the lawyer so mad, she got hold of my personal mail and opened it. Currently under investigation by SRA. Ha fucking Ha.

call me ishmael said...

Good for you. My own view has always been that if you can string a sentence together you can beat any fucking lawyer, that is why they so much hate the litigant in person, why they mutter, sagely, that the man representing himself has a fool for a client.

a young Anglo-Irish catholic said...

Well, every letter I got from her ended with a demand that I take legal advice.

Why? I have I been arrested? Two lawyers fighting over hundreds of grand of equity (every penny hard won by me and 12 years of building) will just charge 15 percent off the top.

True story. Went to see a fat arse lawyer in an affluent London 'burb. Right I says, here's £270, I want a hour's guide to what to do. He folded his arms and stared out the window.

So I told him the amount of cash and pensions on the table and quick as flash he said, you need a financial agreement - it will take two lawyers six weeks.

Bit what if we agree on day one?

'It will take six weeks'

Spread the word. All litigation is based on a pre-determined percentage take. Never, ever, ever, hire a lawyer.

I told the feminist axe-grinder from the off that we should cut to the chase - off to court, me, her and two court type judges. No messing, over in 45mins.

Fuck me was she desperate to not to do that. Oh no, no, no, takes time, more hassle that it's worth. yeah and cuts your bill down to an afternoon's work.

Told the old trout, listen mate, she's already lined up a £10k bill for you. From the beginning. Old Trout says 'are you going to charge me £10K?

Lawyer fucked, caught and bowled, no where to turn. Can't admit that she is, so she can't create enough 'work' to get the bill run up.

Fuck me, does her for £8.5k, a meagre percentage of carve up.

Still, with so many people getting divorced why has no one twigged the essential fact. Only when both sides hire lawyers can the bills escalate.

Lawyer writes to me - honest not invent - well, this isn;t fair on adulterous old trout, she's been landed with big legal bill (like it fell out the sky, act of god) you haven't paid anything.

You don't say. Jesus christ, we've had MPs expenses and Levenson for the hacks. When the fuck will the lawyers be collared?

a young Anglo-Irish catholic said...

Incidentally, lawyer under investigation for trying to hide wife's monster pension and pension contributions.

Massive, clunking, Brownian levels of ineptness. Can barely believe utter comedy of her blusterings.

Tricky area - lawyers can lie to each with no risk of brother lawyer reporting them. Fuck me, she dropped the ball with me.

Perhaps they are all so puffed up with self-importance they regard punters as plankton....

call me ishmael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
call me ishmael said...

Sounds like good sport, mr dtp. They will never be collared, though. The only remedy is Up against the wall, motherfuckers.

call me ishmael said...

The entire poem, below, from which mr verge quoted:

Philip Larkin - This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

Agatha said...

Now that you have revealed the possession of regiments of relatives: progenitors, wives, children, stepchildren, grand- and step-grandchildren, not to mention nephews and nieces, the possession of which argues that somewhere or when there are siblings - you do realise, Mister Ishmael, that you have completely blown the public perception of you as a solitary obsessive scribbler, defiantly waving his dick, like the Mad Chink, at those who reign over us.

call me ishmael said...

Although mr verge or others aming our literati may correct me, the mad Chink, waving his dick, was, if memory serves, a minor character in Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, a 70s confection of Zen, psychotherapy, soft porn and cosmic shit, written by Tom somebody, that and his other books were great stuff. My cock-wavers, Prescott, Blunkett and the like, are from a darker kettle of serpents.

All I said, ms agatha, was that, obviously, I have as many ancestors as anyone else and that, actually, all men are, if not my brothers, at least my cousins, send not to ask for whom the human geneome programme runs, it runs for thee.