I unpack a cardboard box.

“It’s a Cliff Richard record!!!” I cry gleefully.

As we moved into the Cottage eight or nine years ago, it seems about time to unpack all our cardboard boxes. I am opening the last box, which is the LTLP’s. I wave my discovery around in the air.

“That’s not mine,” she replies.

“What do you mean ‘that’s not mine,'” I retort. “Of course it is yours. It’s not mine.”

“But it’s not mine!” she insists.

I brandish the sleeve, which features Cliff Richard holding a posed pose with a white Fender Stratocaster. “It is in your box. These are all your things. Admit it. This is yours.”

Thrice she denies the Cliff Richard record.

“Are these not,” I demand, “all your old textbooks? ‘An Introduction to Animal Parisitology?’ ‘Chemistry in Action?’ ‘A Colour Atlas of AIDS?'”

“Of course they’re mine. But it’s not my record. It must be yours.”

I scoff at the unlikeliness of this. I may have my faults, but I wouldn’t own a Cliff Richard record and yet deny it. I have a bit more dignity than that, I consider, slipping into the LTLP’s bra and pants in order to put ‘Michael Winner’s Dining Stars’ on the television.

“It is probably from when you were a student,” I muse.

“It is not my fucking record! It is your record! It must be!”

I pause. She does appear to be sincere. If she is telling the truth then this is a real mystery. The same sort of thing happened to us years ago, when we were living in a newly-rented house. We tried a TDK video tape that neither of us recognised, to see if it was okay to record over. It showed the news for a minute or so, before cutting to a German transsexual fellating a man on a motorbike, followed by a collection of lewd scenes in a butcher’s shop, followed by the second half of a speech by Dr David Owen about the deteriorating situation in the Balkans. There were some subsequent awkward conversations, as we both tried to establish our ignorance of the tape’s origins.

But the Cliff Richard thing is even more of a mystery. I let the matter rest temporarily. If she wants to own Cliff Richard records then she should not be ashamed, as ‘Wired for Sound’ and ‘It’s So Funny That We Don’t Talk Any More’ were perfectly good songs and contained some profound sentiments.

She should not deny her habit though, as that is the behaviour of an addict.

26 Comments

  1. So, like Jesus, you were thrice denied? Leave it to you to reference the only famous chicken-related passage in the Bible.

  2. You just don’t have enough to do with your time. I’m proud to say that we’ve lived here nearly 24 years and we still have a whole garage full of stuff that hasn’t been unpacked.

    Though I quite miss my Kenwood mixer and the chest of drawers containing all my underwear, I must say.

  3. I moved in with my missus in 1985 and there are still boxes and boxes of stuff still unopened in the loft…

  4. I suppose it might be Cliff Richard’s record. It certainly sounds like it was Cliff Richard’s video tape. I reckon he’s been following you around for years, emerging only at night to hurl your chickens out of the pen and onto the LTLP’s plants. Have you checked the drywall and the attic? He could be up there right now, watching and plotting…

    Best check the crawl-space for Sue Barker, while you’re at it. She’ll short out all your electrics, chewing on the cables.

  5. Is that where he lives? Jeez, I’ll padlock the loft hatch immediately…I couldn’t bear him singing through the skylight every time it rained…

  6. Bloody hell.

    Some weeks go by with a brief mention of chickens, or bowls, or your love for Short Tony but I spend 5 days at the Bologna Bookfair and come back to find out you’ve got a secret Cliff Richard collection.

    Oh and that you’re not called Jonny and you’re publishing a book – which wasn’t mentioned once at the fair let me tell you (ok – it’s a children’s bookfair but still, we gossip about EVERYTHING).

    PS And a baby – although, despite your attempt to keep this under wraps, I somehow managed to guess this one. Congratulations to you and the LTLP.

  7. ♬I like small speakers – I like tall speakers♫

    ..could be you and Short Tony having a mutual appreciation moment after a late night in the local

  8. I think it’s yours.

  9. You have a Cliff Richard album in your house? I shall never visit. I won’t anyway as I hate you – unless you have large cupboards to hide in….

  10. Hm, my Sunday morning brain is a bit fogged up. Can someone please explain this – “I have a bit more dignity than that, I consider, slipping into the LTLP’s bra and pants in order to put ‘Michael Winner’s Dining Stars’ on the television.”

  11. At least you were able to discuss it. I’m told it wouldn’t be so funny if you don’t talk anymore…

  12. Sir Cliff Richard is performing in Japan on the last leg of a successful world tour. The audience go wild as Cliff asks them if there is anything he can sing especially for them.
    ‘Tits and fanny!’ scream the audience.
    ‘I can’t sing that’ says Cliff. I’m a devout Christian.
    ‘Tits and fanny!’ scream the crowd.
    ‘Oh, come on’ says Cliff.
    ‘Tits and fanny!’ scream the crowd.
    ‘ Okay, okay’ says Cliff ‘But I don’t know how it goes’
    ‘Tits and fanny’ …sing the crowd in unison..’… how we don’t talk anymore.’

  13. Maybe the Methodical Builder left it behind. Isn’t Cliff required listening on any building job?

  14. Does The LTLP have some much loved roller skates and a walkman lurking in any of the boxes?
    If so it’s undeniably hers…

  15. Over the weekend there is still no resolution.

    I am a bit worried it is a bit like when somebody plants heroin in your suitcase in order to get it through customs. But with Cliff Richard records.

  16. Well you always wanted a cottage with a period feature!

  17. Haha! *applause*

  18. guyana gyal says:
    March 28th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Hm, my Sunday morning brain is a bit fogged up. Can someone please explain this – “I have a bit more dignity than that, I consider, slipping into the LTLP’s bra and pants in order to put ‘Michael Winner’s Dining Stars’ on the television.”

    I’ll have a go as I’m taking a class in prose styles and I can now not only use the term ‘tropes’ properly in a sentence I can also wink lasciviously and suggest a little boustrophedonic evening…

    ‘I have a bit more dignity than that’ – JB introduces irony or εἰρωνεία (if you like a bit of Greek) in the “character deliberately speaking contrary to the truth,” a classic literary device intended to demonstrate the actual facts through the character’s ignorance of them. Natch this is doubly ironic as JB is also ignorant of his irony what with being the character in question, and I’m sure future critics will expend pages on whether this lifts the Secret Diary from low mimetic to high mimetic mode (raising Jonny from ordinary human to noble human) or, in fact, he’s just a bit thick.

    ‘I consider’ – note the rather essential comma which makes ‘I consider’ a parenthetical phrase. This is important as otherwise Jonny would have written a rather awkward comma splice and would have ten points deducted and a biting little comment in red written in the margin.

    ‘slipping into the LTLP’s bra and pants’ – Could be an absolute phrase but I sort of slept through that bit. My prof assures the class that fame and fortune can be won by mastery of the absolute phrase and now that Jonny has a genuine published book and is rocketing his way to literary glory I realize I should have paid far more attention.

    ‘in order to put ‘Michael Winner’s Dining Stars’ on the television.”’ – Jonny is subtly introducing a new theme to the blog (comp to: chickens, Short Tony, bowls etc) in which he will discuss his latest interest in interior design. Personally I’m fascinated to know what he will put on the television next to coordinate with his new boxed set of DVD’s.

  19. *more applause*

    This is great. I always knew I had a readership of high intellect. I should get you to write the GCSE notes on the book (I imagine it will probably be put on the syllabus)

  20. Yes I was nonplussed by ‘the bra and pants’. Are they the correct dress code for Winner’s Dinners?

  21. Only if you want dessert.

  22. Megan, in other words, he thinks he looks dignified in the LTLP’s undies?

  23. I don’t have a television and I live on my own. If I happen to see Michael Winner’s programme in the pub, do I have to nip into George or any other nearby top fashion retailer to buy the correct viewing apparel?

  24. I like a bit of Greek …

  25. *goes red*

  26. Sod that. What I want to know is if you can “do me” (so to speak) a copy of that TDK tape onto DVD. I’ll send you the money via PayPal if that suits. Sweet.

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