Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'd forgotten it runs in the family. My father was telling my wee niece a selection of the usual daft stories when he reminded me of one I'd completely forgotten.

The 1960s for so many of us was more Sheila Delaney than Carnaby Street and it was all black and white up to the summer of 1968 when Mrs. Gmerek brought in some tubs of lime green and mandarin orange paints and infant class 3 tried to go psychadelic. By then we were living in the flats in the suburbs. Before then we'd shared my nan's terraced house in Old Trafford, five yards away from where it became Hulme and Manchester corporation rates. Times were hard but they had their sense of the ridiculous to help them get by. Which is how it came to pass that one day my mum and nan had the fright of their lives as an ugly old tart popped her head round the doorway and said: "Hello dearies! What's for tea?"

It was my dad, dolled up in my mum's Max Factor war paint and with granny's shawl round his head.

There it would have been, just another daft little thing in the scheme of things but for one unforeseen happenstance.

The lipstick wouldn't come off.

Max Factor industrial strength kiss-proofed carmine lipstick. (I have quizzed my mum about this and she says she'll tell me about it when I'm older.) Nothing but time would shift it.

Which is how come my dad turned up at the plumber's yard the next day with cute little red rosebud lips and two rouged circles on his cheeks.


Gadjo Dilo said...

Oh good heavens that's delightful! Poor bloke. Did he get a nickname down at the plumbers yard after that?

fairyhedgehog said...

That's very funny. I'd forgotten about lipstick that stained your lips.

Gaw said...

Was he asked to become a plumber's mate?

Lulu LaBonne said...

... and this runs in the family Kevin - have I missed the post where you describe getting ready for the day?

Jimmy Bastard said...

The tradition still stands in Manchester, so it saeems. I often see the carefully made up men prancing and preening upon the green of Old Trafford itself.

Grand post.

martpol said...

Reminds me of a fantastic scene in Saxondale. Tommy turns up at breakfast with rouge on his cheeks, clearly the result of some not-to-be-spoken-of bedroom antics. To maintain the pretence that his girlfriend Mags did it to him as a joke, he draws a full black beard on her. Only he manages to do it with permanent marker.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Gdjo: I expect so, but he hasn't shared it with us.

Fairyhedgehog: living history (-:

Gareth: ooh, bold! (I've just remembered I promised to tell Lulu about Round The Horne some time)

Lulu: possibly...

Jimmy: it annoys me that the old village has migrated a mile and a half down the road and is appropriated by that bunch of jagoffs.

Martin: that, in turn, reminds me of the time I spent three days with green glow-in-the-dark tiger stripes across my face. Happy days.

Madame DeFarge said...

I fear I should have guessed this from your previous mention of eye shadow. Your father must have been a brave man.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Madame: for "brave man" read "silly beggar!"

Luckily, silly beggars were two a penny in them days.

Scarlett Parrish said...

I just lost control of my bowels laughing.