Us Taylor Kids
I’m a just a small town girl. “Livin’ in a lonnnnley world” etc. But as all small town girls know- there is no midnight train going anywhere. I lived in a village where the last bus from the nearest city left at 8.52pm, arriving comfortably back in suburban Nowheresville at 9.30pm, so as we country folk could be safely tucked into our beds well before the witching hour. No Satanic rituals for us! Oh no!
This effectively meant you had to make your own entertainment. I suppose for a few village teens that manifested itself as unplanned pregnancy, petty crime and alcoholism but for us it took the shape of plain utter stupidity. Say anything you like about The Taylor Kids (as we were, and still are really) but we knew how to entertain ourselves. We had to. I have tons of stories about us Taylor kids, but a lot of them are kind of “You had to be there” type stories, and anyway one day I plan to write something a lot longer about us, probably centering around the year we spent in Brazil, where for long periods of time, and without school friends particularly nearby we really were each other’s only friends. There is a book in it for sure. Even if only three people read it. One thing you should maybe know about us is that we find nothing funnier than our own jokes. It’s not fair to expect anyone else to.
Any book about the Taylor kids would certainly include the things our brother did to make us laugh. Last night I remembered one that when I messaged by siblings to remind them had my sister unable to go to sleep for laughing. It was how my brother, without fail, at 12.30 every Saturday afternoon would do his Grandstand Dance.
Kids of the eighties, please just take 30 seconds to remind yourself of the genius that is the opening titles of Grandstand with Des Lynam.
My brother had engineered a carefully choreographed dance the climax of which would be a swivel hipped pelvic movement right on the large timpani bong in the middle. Bong! And ending with a double pelvic thrust on the final "Duh!Duh!" bit. Ahhh.. I can see it now. I am laughing when I picture it- hahaha he’s got a quiff and is wearing a Fred Perry shirt, a 80s grey and green nylon mix cardigan and just his pants and some off white sports socks(probably). Wasn’t everyone’s brother rocking this look in 1984?
Now, given it was 12.30 on a Saturday afternoon, chances are that my parents were in the house. Yet I never remember them witnessing it. In fact, when I think of the whole list of things my brother did to entertain us, I never remember my parents being present. But they must have been. I can only conclude that they were hiding in the greenhouse wondering where it all went wrong, silently weeping in the kitchen over a cup of tea with a stiff brandy in it, were on the phone to a child psychologist or were just avoiding us for the years it took for us all to bugger off out of their nice house and get a life of our own.
I’m sorry if this post is a little bit “you had to be there” but I’m writing it for my brother and sister really. For their delight (my sister) and embarrassment (my brother, but who am I kidding he’s proud of his achievements). I’m also writing this to try and encourage my 39 year old brother to film himself re-enacting the Grandstand dance for our entertainment. C’mon son- get that cardigan on!
Whilst he’s making his mind up, now that he’s a mature and responsible member of society (ha!) with a wife that would like to maintain a degree of attractiveness towards, here are some of the things my brother did to have me and my sister crying with laughter without fail:
1.The Grandstand dance (bong! hahaha!)
2.Dressing up in pants (there’s those pants again) and my mother’s fox fur coat (her honeymoon “Going away outfit” no less) and a studded belt, painted on eyeliner moustache and pretending to be Freddie Mercury with one of the fire irons as a microphone. I have a photo of him doing this whilst outside on the kitchen extension roof somewhere. If it kills me I will track it down.
3.Freaking out at the mere mention of Marc Almond’s name. To the point of hysteria. To really drive him insane take your copy of Smash Hits with Soft Cell on the cover and place over your face and say the words, “Ewan, I love you” softly and Almondly to him. Possibly up it a gear by trying to kiss him with Marc Almond still on your face. Seriously I’d still like to arrange for Marc Almond to appear at my brother’s fortieth birthday this year. Marc, if you’re free give us a call. It’ll be funny, mate, trust me. I'll by you a pint. But not the pint of legend, you mucky git.
4. Miming to West End Girls by the Pet Shop Boys as an unsmiling Neil Tennant when he was supposed to be filling the dishwasher whilst listening to the Top 40 countdown. My sister would be Chris Lowe but as the song went on Tennant would become increasingly more violent towards his bandmate, usually ending with him being kicked to death whilst lying on the floor. All with the same emotionless expression on his face and probably wearing a long black trench/wool coat of my Mums. (Mum, he was NEVER out of your wardrobe)
5. Filling his mouth with Alpen, milk and a munched up carrot and then running out to the back garden and pretending to be violently and uncontrollably sick against dad’s garden shed. We would probably make him do this about 10 times before we got bored. I don’t know if my mum and dad ever figured out what the mess was beside the shed. It’s possible they thought the dog had worms or something. No, it was just your son. Sorry if you spent any unnecessary money at the vets getting Sula checked out. Note: If anyone ever need a vomiting man double for a play or film or something I can honestly say you won’t find anyone more realistic than my brother. He is something of an artist.
So us small town kids, we know how to have a good time. This is a universally recognised fact. My current faves Arcade Fire knew this when they wrote their latest album The Suburbs. I’ve scanned those lyrics, I’ve found lots to relate to in them. Sadly dressing up in your mother’s clothes and miming to Queen isn’t in there; Win Butler and his brothers must have been doing something else. I’d like to think they dropped some tracks that were about the stuff that really made them laugh that when explained to other folks got them strange looks.
Ah, you had to be there.