Over the last few weeks, Mick has started a reflective book called The Philosophy Of Love and Laughter. What follows is an episode taken from the fledgling work. Hope you enjoy it. xx
Vicky chose me some cracking jackets through our lives. I still have, somewhere in storage, a one-off, red velvet Bomber jacket with the signs of the zodiac running down the arms in silver and black with a large world and star design emblazoned across the back that we chose together, early ‘90s. She bought me my Grandma’s Curtains Jacket.
I should say at this point that my wife (the beautiful Miss Victoria Lesley Jackson) has just died. I hate it. If I’m honest, I’m still pretending it hasn’t happened.
That’s what’s going on right now, I’m blocking, battling my brain, emotions and logic and sometimes I lose, and when I do, it really fucking hurts.
There’s a lot of official bollocks to sort out and I found myself sobbing yesterday, as I filled out yet another form, hissing, ‘I’m not a widower, I’m married and you can’t stop me being…. Official bullshit, it’s just official bullshit. I’m married, I’m married to Vicky and she din’t say any different, so we’re married. Just because she’s died dun’t mean we’re not still married, we are, she’s my wife…. She’s my wife, you electronic cunt of a form and I’m no fucking widower.’ I was overwhelmed by a form, a stupid form just like the previous seven forms I’d filled out without even noticing that they’d classified me as a widower.
As young teenager in 1970s East Leeds I came out, in girly clothes and make-up. The dirty rocker or spitting, growling punk stuff (although I loved the music) was too close to real life. I wanted to gentle miself up and change my outlook and surroundings. Vicky was soon there to encourage, advise or help me adapt old ladies blouses, jackets or coats that I’d bought from jumble sales. She’d help work out just what went with that gold lame jacket from Miss Selfridge.
Y’ see, I love clothes, I’m one of those weird people that invests meaning and emotion in certain clothes. They can have a life and a story that ties them into my life and the people of my life.
I was and am, without question, the vainest man in Leeds. I LOVE MY BLING, I love strutting. I am, in short, a lot of a twat. Vicky was classier, more subtle, that’s why she always avoided the obvious looks from our youth and took that through her life. With me, she helped contain my urge for over the top glam or bling and gauged it just right.
Anyway, back to The Last Jacket Vicky Ever Chose Me. About six months ago she came with me to chose a bling, Indian wedding jacket, a Sherwani. I’d wanted one for a while, but dint like to spend more than a fiver on any jacket but Vicky encouraged me. In the shop, she held a relatively plain jacket in her hands for 20 minutes, saying, ‘Try this one.’
‘It’s too plain, it’s all maroon.’
I continued going through the store, trying on the blingiest jackets they had. Big, embroidered silver diamonds going over shocking blue and black patterned panels. They weren’t quite right. Vicky was still holding the dull jacket, ‘Try this one.’ I did, ‘Fuck,’ I exclaimed giddily, ‘I knew I’d find the one in the end.’
I drag my eldest son, Ezra, out dancing sometimes and he finds my bling (and talking shit to random strangers) difficult. As I walked up, on the first night out wearing the new jacket, he exclaimed. ’Thank fuck. Dad, that jacket is perfect.’
‘Yeh, ta, Vicky chose it, I was after sommat more… ’
‘Nah, y dote want more, that’s just enough. Vicky got it just right, thank fuck y’ took her. You should listen to her more often. VICKY, VICKY…’ He shouted, pointing at the jacket, with thumb up, ’Good choice.’
Vicky planned her death, she didn’t want a hearse or a service or people sobbing as the coffin disapp