Don’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story
My Lockdown pen-pal Stuart likes to invent colourful stories about my past as a young man in Liverpool. I stupidly told him once that on Sundays our family day out to places such as West Kirby or even as far as Prestatyn would include a picnic lunch of hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and thinly sliced Spam.
Stuart found this hilarious, but not as hilarious as the confession that in my late teens I would patrol Liverpool night spots using the name Sebastian Dangerfield.
I think I stole it from a literary classic by JP Donleavy. Stuart was so amused by my alias lifestyle that he penned his own work of fiction, picturing me as a ‘new man’ Sebastian Dangerfield gadding about Liverpool in search of female company…
Dangerfield slid effortlessly across the still warm leatherette front bench-seat of his 2CV, reached inside the glove box for his trusty companion – not a gun but his Gold Spot breath freshener spray – had a quick blast and put the pedal to the metal, careering down Bold Street not so much like a bat out of hell but a rather nervy bluebottle escaping from its sanctuary behind a radiator. Did this woman truly know what she’d let herself in for? Dangerfield allowed himself a quick glance down at his clothing – suede boots, yep, chamois-leather jacket, oh yes, and beneath it his ‘pièce de resistance’, a signed Port Vale football club 1978 FA Cup runners-up T-shirt. Nothing could stop him now, he thought, as the river loomed ever closer.
I would have been happy for Stuart’s story to end with the river Mersey looming ever closer, its muddy depths symbolic of what Dangerfield (ie, me, a nervy bluebottle stuck behind a radiator) was about to embark upon.
But the story won’t end there, because in trying to verify if there was anyone outside of a literary classic with the name Sebastian Dangerfield, I discovered The Sound Of Old Machines…
…which I will send to Stuart (who has already cast himself in the story as a character called Craig Shaft) and wait for the next chapter of my dubious life-story.