Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Long Time Ago...

I had a whole fantasy preamble thing planned about how some stranger/psycho called me up/approached me in a bar to sell me the rights to this previously undiscovered Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. It was going to be filled/padded out with hilarious references to/weak jokes about how he’d sold the Hitler Diaries to The Sunday Times/written the WOMD report for Tony Blair but in the end I couldn’t make it work/be arsed finishing it.

Still, at least I remembered most of the tale as told to me so have your tissues at the ready (no, it’s not THAT type of story Dave/Andy) as we journey through a cloud of dry ice to a magical place for a seasonal saga of loss and redemption.

Once upon a time, in a mystical little galaxy called Falkirk far far away, there lived a boy called Neil. Although he was the oldest of four children, he never abused his position as the golden child of the family and always treated his siblings with much love and respect. It never ever crossed his mind to fight with them or covet the gifts they were given for birthdays and Christmas – even the time when one of his brothers received the complete replica football kit he had dreamt of owning for many a month.

Neil was a happy boy and enjoyed going to school where he would flirt with the girls and skin his knees constantly because he wasn’t allowed to wear long trousers. He also liked to sing in the choir and one day his teacher told him that the school was due to take part in a great festival of music.

And so it came to pass that choirs of children from all across the land assembled in the illustrious Town Hall to compete for the grand first prize. Just before his school were due to sing, Neil approached his teacher sheepishly and said, “Please sir. If we win today, can I go up on stage to collect the trophy?”

His teacher smiled warmly and replied, “Of course Neil. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to see a non-competitive and modest person like yourself represent the school in that manner.”

Neil’s school choir sent their angelic voices soaring to the ceiling of the illustrious Town Hall and when the master of ceremonies made the announcement they were indeed awarded the grand first prize. With a nod from his teacher, Neil scuttled through the crowds of people to the steps leading up to the stage. As he neared the top he could see the gleaming trophy and reached out to grab it. But in his haste, his foot caught on the last step and he fell flat on his face, sprawled across the stage as howls of derision echoed around the hall.

Not even the glow of the trophy nestled in his arms could help dispel the laughter of the crowd as Neil returned to his seat. In an instant his heart turned to ice and he vowed never to return to the illustrious Town Hall and its wicked stage of doom.

Many years passed until one cold Saturday in December when Neil got a call from his friend Donald. “Listen mate. I know this might be difficult but my daughter Mhairi is appearing in the Children’s Theatre production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen at the illustrious Town Hall and, well, I think you might enjoy it.”

“Never!” thought Neil quietly to himself. “I will wear a scarf in a ridiculously stylish manner before I ever set foot inside that place again.” But Donald was known to make the world’s best pizza and he had once bought Neil a Malibu & pineapple so Neil decided to humour him a little and return to the scene of his darkest hour.

As the lights dimmed in the illustrious Town Hall, the wicked stage of doom filled up with what seemed like thousands of enthusiastic children, perfectly choreographed and resplendent in their costumes of many colours. As they performed one astounding original song after another, Neil started to feel a sharp burning sensation in his chest and assumed that either the memories of old had returned to torment him or he had guzzled Donald’s chilli pizza WAY too quickly?

But as he absorbed the remarkable results of hours of selfless dedication, creativity and infinite joy he realised that something much more significant was happening. His heart of ice was beginning to melt. As the wonderful, talented children (of whom Mhairi was the most wonderful and talented) took their final bow he leapt from his seat and screamed “Bella! Bella!” unconcerned that he was the only one doing so. And with his childhood trauma now extinguished, he lived happily ever after. Until the twelfth of never. And that’s a long, long time.

The End.

Can you believe the newspaper prints this stuff?


At 14/12/05 8:54 pm, Blogger DC said...


I just love a happy ending.

Thanks for the pizza/daughter comments - do I get the credit for both?



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