Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lucky me - J.P. Bowie


Strange, I've always thought of myself as a forward  looking kind of person, not one who dwells over long in the past, certainly not one who looks back on  life with regrets - Je ne regret rien, has been my motto for most of my life, but recently - perhaps because I am no longer young, skittish and fancy free, there has been a tendency to reflect now and then about those I have known, loved and lost. Now and then I put those memories into stories, glam them up a bit and produce them as fiction. As custom demands they must have happy endings, so there's a lot of fiction towards the end.

When this topic came up, I started thinking of the funny, sexy, tragic events of my past. Tragedy plays a part in all our lives at one time or another and I'm not going into that here. Lets go with the sexy and funny - sometimes they were inter-related...

When I was very young, the world was younger than I,
As merry as a carousel.
The circus tent was strung with all the stars in the sky,
Above the ring I knew so well...

Now I have never worked in a circus, only stages, but I remember this song by Rogers and Hart so well. I was twenty one, alone in London, attending a small jazz club in Soho when the trumpet player, who was leading the band, asked for someone to 'come on up and sing.! How I got the nerve I don't know. The times I had sung in public I could count on one hand, but I suddenly knew I just had to do it. Maybe it was the cheap Chianti I'd been drinking. Anyway, there I was, blinking into the spotlight and the guy said, "What's the song and what's the key?"
"Little Boy Blue", I mumbled. I didn't have a clue about the key, but I added C sharp. So they  gave me a really nice intro and, my heart in my mouth, I started to sing.The nice lighting man dimmed the lights to a faint amber glow which set the right mood

Sit there and count your fingers
What can you do
Old boy you're through
Just sit there and count your little fingers
Unlucky little boy blue.

I got through the song, received pretty good applause, took a bow, and blinded by the spot which the lighting guy had brought up to a full glare,  fell down the couple of steps from the stage. Red faced I landed on a table right in front, and was helped to my feet by a young man who kissed my cheek (this wasn't a gay club by the way) then asked  me to sit and have a drink. I did, and later, back at his place, we did more than kiss. In a romantic novel this would have had a happy ending. Unfortunately my KISA turned out to be a member of the London Mafia. He had to 'disappear' about six months into our affair.

St there and count the raindrops
Falling on you, it's time you knew
All you can count on are the raindrops
That fall on little boy blue


Life goes on, people come in and out of your life. Some stay, some move on, some write or phone, some you never hear of again. Again, I was singing, this time a little further on in my career. A nightclub where I was appearing nightly and gathering a small collection of regulars and fans. Tall, dark and handsome was sitting at a front table with a couple of friends. They were tipsy, smiley and applauded a lot. I liked them. After my set TD&H asked me to join them for a drink. I did, he walked me home ( I lived in the West End in those days). Turned out he was a police officer, but it was too late. I was hooked. We had a really incredible love affair - man, I could write a book! Well, actually I did. But dammit, no happy ending. The cop was married - the swine...

No use old boy,
You may as well surrender
Your hopes are getting slender
Why won't somebody send a tender blue boy
To cheer up little boy blue


So time marches on - it stops for no man, right? I'm on a cruise ship, managing a casino and a bunch of reprobate dealers who gave me nightmares with their chick chasing, and weed smoking. The number of times I saved their asses from being chucked overboard by irate fathers or husbands. Phew! But every choppy wave has its silver lining - I know that was awful - and there it was, or rather he was, playing his guitar and singing guess what....?


Sit there and count your fingers
What can you do?
Old boy you're through
Just sit there and count your little fingers
You lucky little boy blue.

And I was lucky, and I got lucky, and I'm still getting lucky. We got married last May..

Lucky little boy blue.

13 comments:

  1. J.P.:
    It is such a treat to hear about your bold, adventurous life. I hope you are writing a memoire. I tried to get into the circus my self once. I applied for a position as a human cannon ball. They said they needed a man of higher caliber. (rim shot).

    I think recognizing luck is an act of healthy humility. It is an under appreciated influence in our lives.

    Congratulations on your marriage. May it be 'until death do you part'.

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    1. Hah! re: your caliber. Spit tea on my keyboard.

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  2. I, also am amazed at the richness of your life, JP. The more I read of your exploits, the more I see where your sense of laissez-faire comes from. Perhaps not so much luck as recognizing synchronicity.

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  3. I love the way you intersperse the song lyrics with your recollections. I often think about people I've known. I try to keep my characters fictional, but sometimes I look back and realize that these people I remember have snuck their way into my fiction.

    I'll add my congratulations to Spencer's. Do I recall correctly that you took a honeymoon cruise to celebrate your marriage? Same boat?...

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  4. Getting married is only the beginning. Staying married and enjoying it is equally hard and rewarding. It's the best way out of the loneliness of being stuck inside of our own bodies and heads...you get to know another person so well you feel at one with that person. Almost like you're two parts of a whole. That's the part that so many never get to...they bail when things get tough. But fight for your marriage, just as you fought to be together, and you will reap the rewards. Best of luck to you in your shared journey.

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    1. ...you get to know another person so well you feel at one with that person. Almost like you're two parts of a whole.

      As usual, wise, simple words, Fiona.

      Momma and I have been together since we were 18 and 16 respectively. (both virgins at the time) We don't know it any other way. I often notice in my posts that I'll use 'I' and 'we' interchangeably.

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  5. Thanks all - Phil and lived in sin for over 20 years before tying the knot, so I think we'll have our HEA. Spencer, Noah told that joke originally. LOL. No Annabeth, the boat we met on is at the bottom of the ocean. We actually watched it sink on live TV. Quite upsetting, watching the bar we met in every night go under. Fortunately all 40 crew were rescued. It was on its way for a redo in Valencia, Spain.

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    1. JP
      Yes, I told that story back in the '80's to introduce a speaker who had actually been in the circus . He was dumbfounded. Didn't mean to photo bomb you, but it was a hanging curve ball.

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    2. Ah, sorry to hear about the boat. I'm glad the crew were all rescued!

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    3. And the story gets even richer.

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  6. I think it's a lucky life that provides so many occasions for pleasant nostalgia. And especially lucky for a writer to have so much to remember.

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  7. Great story, JP, and it shows the theme that has been emerging from your posts: you not only have luck from time to time, you usually have the courage to seize a good chance.

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  8. Brilliant chain of recollections, JP!

    Even when the tales don't have happy endings, it's sometimes fun to take that walk down memory lane. Especially since on the last lap, you got lucky!

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