Some time ago, Richard Herring, the comedian, thought about reclaiming the toothbrush moustache. Obviously heavily identified with Adolf Hitler, it was a tough challenge and he received quite a lot of stick for even raising the subject. As I watched his efforts some years ago, little did I realise I would have my own toothbrush moustache kerfuffle to deal with. I am resting in bed before I head off to the hospital to have my arm wrapped in an effort to reduce the lymphoedema. It’s a long process that requires doing on a daily basis. Luckily it also involves a very soothing massage as the nurse moves lymph fluid around my body. She mentions that Mr Mason could help with massaging my back for when she is not around and I mention it to him later but he looks dubious. A look he quite often adopts these days. As Mr Mason finishes his ablutions in the bathroom, he wanders back into the bedroom with a piece of toilet roll pressed tightly to his face. In the olden days, it was not uncommon to see men wandering around with small pieces of toilet paper stuck to their faces from where they had cut themselves shaving. There seemed to be no embarrassment or sense that this was not the most stylish way of looking. I have to say that I haven’t noticed toilet paper stuck to men’s faces for ages. Presumably the rise of modern razors with their millions of blades has put paid to the need but today, Mr Mason is on a time warp, big style.
“I have cut myself shaving” he says. “I appear to have given myself a Hitler moustache”. Once he removes the toilet paper, I can see that he has, indeed, given himself a Hitler moustache of sorts. He appears to have sliced a chunk out of his upper lip and the resulting dried blood looks very much like a toothbrush moustache. We are very fortunate Mr Mason does not have dark brown hair or he would have to stay indoors.
Mr Mason offers to give me a lift to the hospital so I can get my arm bandaged. In order to lure me in, he says “I have a bag of cat litter and a pack of toilet rolls in the boot” with a slightly mad look on his face. He is such a smooth talker. In spite of my better judgement, I accept and my journey goes smoothly. As I am early for my appointment, I go into Maggie’s first and catch up with some friends. Firstly I announce to my friend Tamsin that Tamsin will not be able to meet us this morning. She gives me an old-fashioned look (how I love that phrase) and I realise I have confused her with my friend Tatum. This is the first in a litany of frustrating dead-ends in my verbal dexterity. My mind is like a complicated maze at the moment and I continually run headlong into the hedges, bouncing off as I grab at words that elude me. I have quite a long conversation about going to Bakersfield in California some years ago and explaining we had gone to see XXX XXX who had a hotel and club there. Who is XXX XXX? they ask. I cannot tell them but I can tell them a lot about our visit, including that he had a young protegee who is current in country music. Who is that? they ask. Ah, that I cannot tell them that either. We have seen him play, I tell them. Both of them. And XXX XXX was elderly and forgetful but could play guitar although his singing voice had deserted him. He died a little while after we saw him although the two things are unconnected. This is despite the fact I told Master Mason that XXX XXX only died after he saw him and that the two things were undoubtedly connected, he being possibly on a silent rampage, killing elderly musicians. Some of the Village People died after he saw them at the age of 5. I am saddened to say that his very first gig was to see the Village People (who were great) and Gary Glitter who has since been exposed as a paedophile. Gary Glitter did not perform as he injured his back, probably by falling off his platform shoes or so we posited. This early exposure to entertainment and very dubious individuals does not seem to have affected him unduly although he would tell you he needs counselling, should you ask him.
In the end I save the day by shouting out “Buck Owens!” for it is indeed he who is XXX XXX. My memory is definitely getting worse. Having expected improvement, I am rather depressed by its decline and don’t know how I can rescue it. Chemotherapy has torn a large, ragged hole and is holding my memories hostage. If anyone sees them, please let me know.