Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Mes chers amis

My friend, Mapstew, asks why I wouldn't want to be Beth Ditto, and I can answer this impertinent question with two words: fat lesbian.  I would be completely hopeless as a fat person, and particularly useless as a lesbian finding hot girl-on-girl action a huge yawnarama.  I am sorry to say that some disappointed suitors can attest to this.  Also, I do not have the discipline and commitment required to become truly fat, as I am easily distracted from the task in hand (eg eating a pie) and I am too nervous to enter a fast food establishment.  Occasionally, when my prodigal son turns up on the doorstep, with his burning eyes, his hacking cough and raccoon skin hat, I take him for a Drive Thru at MacDonalds.  I don't mind doing this.  My boy shouts his order into an intercom and the wageslave asks if he wants to go large.  Occasionally, I will agree to a Diet Cherry Coke, but I have never had a cheeseburger, nor a Whoppa in my mouth.  The MacDonalds we prefer is opposite Reading Gaol.  Sometimes, if we park up, my son will observe that it looks fucking awful.  

I see other people going into fast fooderies and I envy them.  They seem to know what to do.  I would be completely lost, because you have to place your order immediately, or risk annoying the queue, and you have to know which sauce you prefer.  Under no circumstances can you change your mind,  and the napkins are kept in a patented plexiglass trap.  This is all I know of MacDonalds.  I cannot even begin to imagine what goes on in KFC or Domino's.  However, I have to tell you that in Marlow we still have a Wimpy Bar.  Yes, really, we do.  The Henley Branch has only just closed down (to make way for an Oxfam Bookshop of all the gloomsome things!) so connoisseurs of frankfurters twirled around fried eggs and the fabled Brown Derby dessert have to head down-river.  You will be relieved to hear that it is still strictly waitress service and that the menu is illustrated, as it ever was, with highly coloured photographs of the fare.  All you have to do is point.  No flimflam about sauces, either, as there is a red plastic tomato and a ridged brown dispenser on every table.  The dimmer of my twins worked the Gaggia there during one unforgettable summer.  His spirited cry of "Una cappuccino, no froth!" was strictly pre-Starbucks.

But I digress.  My thrust here is weight.  My mailbox is oft-times becrammed with the plaintive plea:  Mrs Pouncer, how do you retain your schoolgirl figure (ie that of Marigold Russell in the first reel of Blue Murder at St Trinian's, gymslip and all)?  My answer is simple: history.  It is a generational thing, I'm afraid, and there is nothing that portly youth can do about it.  In the 1970s we walked everywhere; there was no rural bus service to speak of, and parents did not operate as Licensed Cab Drivers in those days.  Food in England was not easily available: you had to sit down to eat, for one thing.  The thought of Boots the Chemist providing sandwiches and Fruits of the Forest Yogosnaps was unthinkable then.  There were chipshops, yes, but none operated before 6.00 pm, and the only Kebab house I knew of was in Lambs Conduit Street.  I know some of you will yield up the appalling cry: what about sausage rolls and Oeufs Ecossais then, Mrs Pouncer?  Non-kosher, you aunts.

We all smoked, and when not smoking we chewed gum.  And then there were diet drinks.  How we loved them! My friends would neck quarts of Fresca and Diet Coke (Just For The Taste Of It!) but I loved Tab beyond all human comprehension.  I wouldn't have touched Tango with a bargepole; if it wasn't crammed full of cyclamates and sodium benzoate, I wasn't drinking - and none of this Tommyrot about how it inhibited mitachondrial DNA, either!  We couldn't care less.  We were on a roll then (an Energen Starch Reduced one) as the diet industry kicked in and lycra became leisure wear.  We had Limmits Crackers, Outline Low Fat Spread, ToniBell yoghurt and Savoury Beef Bisks - and whatever happened to Ayds?  Actually, I never ate any of this stuff, as by then I was supporting a moderate barb. habit and tipped the scales at just under 8 stone.  Of course, it wasn't healthy, I am not pretending it was, but the pavements were not logjammed with hefting teenagers who are too fat to care.  That can't be healthy either, can it? 

The trouble is that a healthy diet is a dreary diet, but I would always put my hand up for more spinach, raspberries, kneidlach, marzipan and vodka.  That's balance.

Friday, 17 July 2009


My dear friends

I have just come in from a terrible evening at a drearsome bar in Windsor.  Over-priced and under-staffed, the clientele was of the basest kind:  vile old junk-bond traders, lady watercolourists, friends of Princess Eugenie and raddled old inebriates, self included.  A bad-shave Turk sang Baglasam Durmam in a threatening way.  I retaliated with L'hatchil l'hamshich, and things might have turned ugly, but luckily I accepted a Pink Squirrel* from an admiring Armenian,  and we were all smiles before the bell tolled.

Why should a licensed premises be so becrammed with people you would hope didn't exist?  The whole thing is beyond reason.  I don't include myself in that doomed roll call, of course, but it did make me think of who I really wouldn't want to be.  I scribbled this list down in the taxi home:

As Clarissa Pouncer awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, she found she had been turned into:

1. Herostratus
2. Virginia Wade
3. Ron Weasley
4. Moira Anderson
5. Kappauf of Citizen K
6. Beth Ditto
7. Nicolas Copernicus
8. Lilian Bellamy
9. Rod Blagojevich
10. Mr Jacqui Smith

I do hope you agree with my selection.

*Pink Squirrel
1 oz creme de noyaux
1 oz white creme de cacao
1 oz cream
Shake with ice

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Hi Honey, I'm ho-ome.  I can imagine how thrilled you all must be!  Rest assured, I will be giving you the skinny on Rimmy just as soon as I am choc-full of Sinequan and soda, but for now I provide these opulent pensees to tide you over.  I fully intend to publish a small travel tome which I will have privately printed, bound in deerhide with an overall Chinoiserie motif and tooled in the Grolieresque tradition with gilt and guilt.  It is to be entitled Rimini Ways and Rimini Days and will remind some of the works of Ex-Crown Princess Hedwig of Saxe-Rothenburg.

 Just to give you some clue as to the state I'm in,  I must tell you that I took a taxi from Heathrow to home.  I could not face the Railair bus; I am sorry, I just couldn't.  A surfeit of alcohol and not much sleep has left me jittery and unstable.  At the airport I ate a sausage roll. That is how bad I am.  Non-kosher carbs in full view of the El Al frequent flyer lounge. Desperate.

Since revealing myself to be a member of the real economy, with a real job in which I meet real people and make real decisions, my inbox has been becrammed with demands from dreary women wanting to know the secrets of my success.  What shall we wear?  What shall we buy? With whom should we be seen?  This is the burden of their song.  Obviously, I am uniquely placed to answer these pleas, but I do not want to alienate my menfolk, or Kev and Gadj. Therefore, for a limited period only, I intend to split my posts into two distinct halves: one for each gender.  I will strive to make it abundantly clear which is which.

Can I say that these unimaginative enquirers are not my regular readers.  They do not feature in my comment box, nor are they fans or followers.  Many are from the United States and host knitting blogs.  Some are Australian.  There is a Canadian, a South African, three Kiwis and a farmer's wife from the Falklands.   A harridan from the Netherlands wants to know about Coccinelle bucket bags, and two Austrians - twins - ask if I know Vincent Lacrocq.  I am even solicited from Sweden!  Who would have thought that race would need style counsel?  (unbridled mirth here from Mrs Pouncer who believes the Swedes to be out there in the frump-stakes, Abba notwithstanding.  And I don't care what anyone says, the blonde one had clinical lordosis which is why she wore johdpurs and  zouaves.  I am  a doctor's daughter.  I see these things).  A native Emirati issues a poignant plea: I wear a floor-length black niqab every day. How should I accessorize?  And a Latvian hussy boasts about her huge rack before asking about Agent Prov's new fishnet knickers.   See what I am up against!  The job is almost too big, but I am up to the challenge, I know I am.   Now, just follow me:

(Everything you read here is true.  I don't fuck about with "in my opinion" or "it's a matter of personal choice".  You must follow my advice to the very letter.   Otherwise, it is all a waste of my precious time).

Q.  Which black eyeliner should I buy?  I want to look like you.
A.  Guerlain's Indian Black Kohl.  If you are poor, or live in an area that still supports a Budgen (most of Wiltshire; Telford, etc) Dolce & Gabbana's Stromboli Eye Pencil comes in at £5 cheaper.

Q. I am going to the seaside.  Usually, I go to Antibes, but this year I am poor and have to go to Camber Sands.  How can I avoid suicide?
A. Silly!  An oversize Irwin & Jordan shirt (the androgynous shift is the only thing to wear a la plage this  year; do NOT lie down and die in a Matthew Williamson kaftan), a pair of Casadei gold sandals, a huge Epice bag and  a bright yellow Agua Bendita.  You can then ignore your irredeemably prolly surroundings.  Don't forget to sneer.  Do not buy a Mivvy from the icecream man.  Do not strike up a conversation with a pleb.

Q.  Quick, Mrs Pouncer!  I stink of drink and Kensitas!
A.  Dr Maroon!  You are in the wrong section!  However, I am nothing if not giving and Marc Jacobs Splash Sorbet in Grapefruit can be used by either gender without their sexuality being called into question.  It is also available in Pear & Basil, which you might like to spritz over your oatmeal, hemhem.

Q.  Mrs Pouncer, why can't I be you?
A.  Good heavens!  I would have thought that was obvious.  However, never say die.  Start with Sisleya Radiance Anti-Ageing Concentrate (£200 House of Fraser, Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nicks.  Not Boots; not Superdrug) and work down.  Agent Prov's new fishnet knickers cannot fail.  And hips don't lie, as Shakira reminds us.  Get your hair cut by Sam McKnight - say I sent you.  Wear Plexiglass jewellery and Nicholas Ghesquiere glasses.  Own at least one vintage Halston piece and a silk dress by Missoni. Drink gin.  Sleep alone.

Q.  What about minge?
A.  Ye Gods!  How vile!  Who are you?  No, never mind.  Go to St James's Beauty Rooms (Strutton Ground, SW1) where they do the most painfree Brazilians.  Between times, Gillette's Venus Embrace is the only thing to use, particularly if you have a shaky hand.

Q.  Mrs Pouncer, I have done everything a bad man asked me to.  How much should this be worth in pounds sterling, or as some tchotchke or other?
A.  You sound like my younger self!  The Wages of Sin this season are easily identified:  A Mulberry Bayswater clutch, a Mulberry Piccadilly high-heel pump and a night at the Langham (Portland Place; 020 7965 0191) should suffice.

I do hope you have all benefited from this advice.  Tomorrow, I will address the men.  But now ... I drink!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Per Favore Smetti di Parlare ad Alta Voce in Questa Lingua Irritante

Just brief tidings this evening, I am afraid, for I am Rimini-bound tomorrow and must be rested and prepared for my Itie public.  During my absence, the household will be catered for by Mrs Rumteigh, the sumptuous old drudge, and her lackadaisical husband, who will, no doubt, allow my sweet peas to run to seed, and the dogs to create a huge pile of ordure which will await my return.  Why do I always land in the shit, and sometimes quite literally?  It is beyond reason.

Mrs R pronounces Rimini as Rih-meany.  This is a good example of her lack of rigour, and also her turncoat ways, for she writhes into conniptions should anyone dare to produce her surname as "Rum-tay", for example.  She also stutters over Vuitton, L. Annaeus Seneca and Cyclophosphamide, but I extend the hand of forgiveness, for she is a woman of mean intelligence and even meaner disposition.  Noblesse oblige.  For myself, I will admit to a weakness here, for I have never been able to learn Italian.  I know many of you will swoon at this news, having admired and loathed my facility with languages over the years.  I don't know how to explain it.  There is not much I can't get my tongue around, as  some will be happy to attest, but there is something about the singsong quality of that parlance that escapes me.  I suppose it might also explain my avoidance of Max Bygraves.  Who knows?  Rest assured, I have packed a little phrase book, so that I might dredge up such useful rejoinders as Veramente, signor poliziotto, la sua faccia era gia cosi quando l'ho incontrato, or the ever-popular Cazzo!  But I will rely mainly on the proven tack of speaking slowly and loudly and refusing to use public lavatories.  This has stood me in good stead in many places, including Algiers and County Monaghan.

I will take the Alitalia flight tomorrow, late afternoon, from Heathrow, which will be as beastly as ever, and arrive at Le Meridien Rimini in time for an oily evening repast.  This is not a holiday; I cannot emphasise this strongly enough.  This is a promotional freebie, which means work; yes, hard work, and plenty of it.  I am there at the behest of a gnarled old magazine editor who wants the skinny on the newly refurb'd Ekstasis Spa, and I suppose I will be obliged to submit to all manner of strange and unnatural treatments, including high colonics and flagellations.  What an appalling prospect for an Englishwoman in her prime.  Anyhoo, keep an eye on your least favourite fashion rags in the coming months to see me in my bright yellow
Agua Bendita, being worked over by a twig-yielder in the old fashioned way.  I hope.

My mailbox is oft-times crammed with yelps of despair from hopeless women: what should I pack for my hols?  they cry, in an irritating way.  And, Mrs Pouncer, what is a capsule wardrobe?  I can do naught but sneer at such faiblesse.  You should know instinctively what to pack, and I shouldn't have to spell it out.  And to the second query, I say capsule, schmapsule!  There is no such thing!  Who are these harpies (Hadley Freeman and Laura Craik) who think two skirts, a dress and a seersucker sunbonnet should be enough for three weeks on Cerf Island?  It would hardly be enough for a weekend at Port Seton, and I should know.  My counsel to you is as follows: toiletries - none. Buy what you need when you get there.  Ditto sunscreens and parfums.  A good book - I would go for something like the British National Formulary, but anything published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is good.  A biro, a jar of Marmite and a plug adaptor.  Some ludicrous underwear.  Some painful shoes.  A Leg Avenue sequined bikini. A Prada organza tunic.  A Butler and Wilson tiara.  A tub of Agent Provocateur's Creme d'Amour.  A Zac Posen minidress (yellow), some Betsey Johnson bangles, a bottle of Estee Lauder's Pure Colour Nail Lacquer in Fuschia, a Russell and Bromley Hobo bag.  I do hope this helps.  Possibly some (K. Musgrove) would also pop in a Pacamac, but that's Cleveleys for you.

Arrivederci.  Che cosa facevano i tuoi nonni durante guerra!