Saturday, March 01, 2008

cleaning up

My agent rang me last week. I hadn’t heard from him for ages. He told me he’s been too busy promoting my daughter's book about growing up neglected by a mother writing a book about how much she cares about her children . ‘I’m worried Rilly’, he told me. ‘People think you’re too posh. You need to do something common’. I wish I hadn't asked him what he had in mind. ‘Why don’t you write about cleaning toilets? The readers will love it, think you’re one of them’. I’m not sure my agent even reads my blog sometimes. ‘I support the Labour Party’, I told him, ‘what do you think I am, bloody working class or something? Do you think Harriet Harman cleans toilets?’ I put to him. ‘Look Rilly, Wife in The North did it when her agent told her to. Why do I just get the stroppy clients, huh?’ I asked him if I couldn't just make something up. He said readers would be able to tell it wasn’t true because they were so used to my gritty social realism. ‘But this house has got four toilets!’ I said. My agent had bigger plans. ‘The village hall!?’ I cried, but then remembered the village hall only had two, so I quit while I was ahead.

‘Have you been caught speeding again Rilly love?’ asked the lady who has the village hall keys. ‘I haven't been sent by a judge this time, I just want to help the community’. I said. ‘Are you unwell pet?’ she asked. ‘Just let me in at four, and can you lend me some of those rubber gloves that poor people wear please’, I told her. Well, I got to the village hall and just had to keep remembering that my agent had assured me of royalties on five thousand extra sales if there was a good toilet cleaning story in the book as I went into the gents. Oh God. Nobody has suffered for literature this much since Seigfried Sassoon’s agent sent him to the Somme. Phone for sex said the graffiti. Oh well, I thought, I suppose this is all for research. I took out my phone and dialled. ‘Hello’ said the voice. ‘Fabio?’ I replied. ‘Mrs Super?!’ said Fabio. ‘Is, erm, my husband there?’ There was a pause. ‘He is tied up at the moment’, came the reply. My husband works so hard when he’s down in London, the poor darling, sigh. I hung up, finished buffing up the durex machine and then my mop and I headed for more familiar and friendly territory in the ladies.

Elizabeth's relationship with Darcy indicates Austen's rejection of the patriarchy of the Regency period someone had written on the wall. I disagree, rather although romantic love and long term commitment are quite distinct Darcy leads us to believe that the one leads to the other thus leaving women trapped in relationships that can never be fulfilled someone else had scrawled below. I sighed. If only men know what women talked about in the ladies. As I began dusting off the chicklit vending machine I paused. I reached in my pocket and found a pound coin. Pushing it into the slot I pushed a random button on the machine and a book fell into the tray at the bottom. ‘Hmmm’, I thought, bending over my bucket to pick it up, Pride and Prejudice. I sighed, as I leaned on my mop, but with a ribbed chocolate flavoured cover. Now why didn’t I think of that? I peeked out of the door to see if there was anyone around, leaned my mop against the wall, slipped the lock on the cubicle, put the seat down on the loo, and settled down to my book. My agent (men, huh) would have to wait, sigh.

17 comments:

lady thinker said...

Rilly - how could you - what a let down! And after that teasing mention of Sean Bean/Sharpe - to put old spooky thingy 'whats'his name' as Darcy - no, no never. It should have been the delicious damp Colin Firth. A Deep Sigh

rilly super said...

oh lady thinker, are you thinking of this scene by any chance?

lady thinker said...

Oh Rilly - bless you - my faith in your exellent choice is restored ... sigh

aims said...

Really Rilly - cleaning the toilet for artistic credibility? Lord - tell me I don't have to do this!!

Of course I then went to 'this scene' and was completely thrown off by the title of Colin Firth strips off...I was totally disappointed when all we got to see was the damp shirt pressed up against his 'man boobs'....

mutterings and meanderings said...

Gimme Sean Bean any day above Colin Firth - he's never really done it for me.

And of course, the divine Toby Stephens (Stevens?) as Mr Rochester - now we're talking...

Mr Farty said...

Chin up, Rilly! You do these dirty jobs - and back-breaking research - so we don't have to.

I must say I'm surprised at the quality of the graffitti one finds in t'North. Surely Wifey hasn't been using the ladies' in the village hall?

CrazyCath said...

Rilly I am disappointed there is no further installment on the Sean Bean episode. And you never mentioned there was a queue. I think I am first anyway because I used to live near him.... ;0) Alas I was only about 12 at the time and failed to make myself known. He doesn't know what he missed.

And as for Mr. Farty's surprise at the calibre of the graffiti etc. in the North - well, it just shows that he hasn't been in any ladies loos recently. We're very cultured up here. Your blog proves it.

Expatmum said...

I obviously used to frequent different ladies' loos when still at home. The graffitti I remember went something like:
"My mam made me a lesbian when I was only 12".
And underneath some bright sparkette had written, "If I get the wool and needles will she make me one too?".
Drum roll...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Gawd Rilly, things are going rapidly downhill for you aren't they? But at least you have a better class of graffitti up north; do you think it's the downshifters or - gasp - well-read locals?
It is a confusing world in which you live. Good luck.
Pigx

Norman said...

When I lived north of Shap we sat in the loo [nettie] to read, but not Jane Austen's book, it was usually the "Newcastle Journal" (pronounced Jaw-nal).
At least you've picked up on a BIT of Geordie culture.

Swearing Mother said...

Not you too Rilly, cleaning loos for the sake of your art? But if that's what it takes I'm strapping on the Marigolds right this minute.

J.J said...

You got a mention in the Guardian's guide...nice one!

Mopsa said...

Did you leave the porcelain trumpets sparkling Rilly?
If you need disposable gloves in future, I strongly recommend the orange armpit type as used by vets when they want to tickle the ears of a cow from the inside/backside, and by me at lambing time.

nuttycow said...

If you're going for Jane Austen heros then surely the lovely Jeremy Northam in Emma is the one?

Sean Bean *dribble*

EmmaK said...

darling!!
I bring good tidings. We are both listed here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguide/internet
pop open the champers we're going for a night on the town!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Congrats Rilly for The Guardian.

Norman, ya cannit gan wrang with The Jornal.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Rilly - you have this fixation with Wife in the North. You need to soar above it and be Rilly Super.