Thursday, 29 April 2010

Chest Freezer

My grandmother loved her garden but was cold to children – her chest freezer was full of babies: gooseberries, raspberries and blackberries, frozen in Sainsbury’s bags, molded into the shape of babies. There was a white tomb in her utility room; when you opened it, it looked like a baby boom: fruit of the tomb, she called it.
Fruit Of The Loom - a clothing company based in Ireland - manufacture bras, and I had a hot-affair in Ireland once: with a fireman’s fiancé - older than me – burned for three nights. I was left with a puffed-out chest an empty bra. No idea I’d hung on to the bra - I’d been home for a week and eventually got around to turning-out my rucksack; must have unknowingly scooped it up with my dirty laundry. It was the smell that hit me – her preserved: more fragrant than Mary Archer, as dirty as Monica Coghlan. Vapour-locked, as Frank Zapper would say. Elvis Costello sang, ‘My Aim Is True’, but it was Costello’s line, “you think your love’s like frozen food, you think it’ll last forever”, that spoke to me - told me to freeze the bra. My grandmother’s chest freezer: it was only right and fitting  - what better place to freeze a bra than in a chest freezer?
OAP inhaling a defrosting bra.
I moved out of teens, moved away from home, moved to my mid-twenties; but the bra remained – a chest holder in a chest freezer - a tiny baby (never filled-out); preserved - like Walt Disney - in a state of suspended animation. Until the morning after the night of the great storms of 1987, when my grandmother phoned: “We’ve had a power-cut, you better get here quick, your bra’s defrosting - along with the fruit of my tomb”. We couldn’t save the fruit but we could saver the bra. We took turns inhaling its dying aroma, out of a baby-bag on my grandmother’s allotment, affectionately known as ‘the bog’.
OFP hanging on to the bra (foetal position aided by chalk, not baby powder).
Re the infamous Jeffery Archer and the prostitute court case (at the time of my Irish affair): The Guardian reported: Monica Coghlan was the greatest victim of Jeffrey Archer’s lies. Her involvement with him left her reputation forever tarnished; like Christine Keeler her name became synonymous with prostitution, but unlike Keeler there was no glamour in her trade, no Snowdon to take her portrait.
According to Mr Justice Caulfield, trial judge at Archer’s infamous 1987 libel action, Coghlan provided “cold, unloving, rubber-insulated sex in a seedy hotel room”.
He called her piteous, and she was portrayed as the apogee of vice, in contrast to Mary Archer, apparently the embodiment of virtue (the Judge went further, he called her ‘fragrant’). The stain stayed with her for the rest of her life: 14 years later in her home town of Rochdale people still whispered behind their hands when she went shopping.
The words, vapour lock, inexplicably punctuate Zappa’s wonderful, ‘Jewish Princess’ (Sheik Yerbouti, 1979).
'Love’s like frozen food’, comes from Costello’s ‘Uncomplicated’ (Blood and Chocolate, 1987). 

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