Penny for the Guy

After an excessive Guy Fawkes Night with a wheelbarrow bonfire, fireworks to blow your hands off and the drunken Gümbet Gals Chorus (ladies, you know who you are), I’m suffering from mental paralysis. I have neither the inclination nor the energy to write anything remotely interesting, amusing or informative. It’s just as well that it’s Kurban Bayram across the entire Moslem world, a time where men are men and sheep are nervous. To celebrate the occasion, I am releasing a tiny snippet from Perking the Pansies the Book which tells of our first bloody encounter with the Feast of Sacrifice.

Liam answered a knock at the door. It was Tariq’s daughter. Selma was a pretty little thing, a fourteen year old girl with fathomless dark eyes and long brown hair, perfectly parted at the middle. Our contact had been minimal but we had exchanged half smiles and several hundred empty wine bottles: she occasionally helped Tariq with the rubbish disposal.  Selma handed Liam a bag of bloodied bones.

‘For you,’ she said. ‘Iyi bayramlar.’

‘Why… thank you. Teşekkürler.

Selma smiled nervously and wandered off into the night. Sheep’s blood dripped through the bag and splashed onto Liam’s feet.

‘What the fuck?’

‘Who was at the door?’

‘Selma and a bag of blood.’

‘Fantastic. Anyone for spare ribs?’

‘You’re excited by a bag of bones?’

It was Kurban Bayram, The Feast of Sacrifice commemorating an Old Testament myth. God rather unreasonably commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. Thankfully, Abraham proved his devotion and God provided a sacrificial ram instead. I had never read the book but had seen the Hollywood movie several times.

Liam was unmoved. ‘So hapless sheep across the entire Moslem World are being butchered as we speak? Revolting.’

‘And the flesh is distributed among family, friends and the deserving poor.’

‘So we only get the bones. What does that make us?’


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Birthday Beaus

It’s been a double celebration of our birthdays. We were feted in style by a succession of festivities sponsored by a select sample of the Bodrum Belles and Gumbet Gals, and topped off by a birthday bombshell. Blighty-life friend and part-time thesp, Clive, flew in for the occasion on a surprise visit. Liam was suitably startled and unusually speechless. Our days were awash with lavish fizz and food, calorific cakes with candles, and generous bountiful gifts.

Dear Clive is a flimsy sleeper and needs total sensory deprivation. He couldn’t quite fit the isolation tank into his hand luggage so had to make do with a Virgin Atlantic mask and earplugs the size of suppositories. Thankfully, Clive managed to get his beauty sleep (despite the dogs, traffic, call to prayer and a plague of flies) and awoke each day rested and raring to go. Liam and I drank the house dry while a sober Clive looked on with amiable amusement. When the white was spent, I resorted to sucking out brandy from the fruit cake Clive had lovingly baked and slipped into his luggage.

After a solid week of liquor decadence and wringing our livers out in the sink, the show is now over. These two ageing queens are resting their drunken bones. Until next year.

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Painting the Town Pink

Gümbet is something else – Blackpool with a Turkish tan. I vowed after our last visit that I’d rather watch paint dry than spend another night there, but it does have one small enticement – a gay bar – a bone fide watering hole for happy homosexuals. It took us a while to find Murphy’s Gay Clup (sic). Presumably it was an Oirish theme pub in a previous existence. It was hidden along a sad little side street off the main drag, and we entered the place with apprehension, anticipating the heady aroma of tinsel and testosterone. We found a half decent, half-filled bar, populated mostly with young fey after work Turks huddled in camp conclave, a few off-duty taxi drivers twiddling with their tashes and the odd bemused bi-curious tourist in search of furtive titillation. Liam couldn’t stop giggling at some of the punters. It reminded me of  London in the seventies.  At least we didn’t have to knock on the door to gain entry. We stayed awhile and yes, it was kinda fun in a retro kinda way.

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Dream Girls, the Nightmare

We were hauled off to see a drag show in Gümbet. ‘You’ll love it,’ we were told. We didn’t. If every sequin tells a story then this was a Greek tragedy. We survived the show – just. It was truly dreadful and I’ve seen some dreadful drag acts in my time. We endured tired old routines that I first saw in the Green Room at the Wheatsheaf, Shepherds Bush circa 1977.  We’re not talking about the superb Lily Savage or the sublime Dame Edna or even the multi-talented Dame Edna Experience (resident Sunday afternoon cabaret at the Vauxhall Tavern in South London). It was about as funny as toothache. This may have had ‘em rolling in the aisles on Seaside Special but that was forty years ago. It was no surprise that the act was a couple of rough old queens from Blackpool. Still, the (almost exclusively straight) punters lapped it up. We ate chicken in a basket.

Fancy a Ride?

We invited Bodrum Belle Jessica over for supper. Jessica is a fine and elegant lady of a certain age and happy disposition. We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening of fun and fare after which Liam offered to escort our graceful guest home, a distance of only a few hundred metres. As he returned to the house Liam noticed a blacked out Range Rover slowly cruise past and stop just ahead of him. Liam walked past the mysterious car. The car drove off slowly and stopped again. This game of cat and mouse continued three or four times. Liam passed by a final time. The driver’s window descended and a middle aged Turkish man with grey hair and a bushy tash asked ‘Would you like to drive somewhere?’ A startled Liam declined his kind but misguided offer. The car drove off at speed leaving a cloud of dust in its wake, presumably towards the windswept promontory between Bodrum and Gümbet where curious men go at night. When Liam got home he relayed his stalker tale with a boastful flourish thinking he’d still got it whatever it is. Next time Jessica comes to dinner I’ll escort her home.