As I might have mentioned a few times before, my pa is my absolute hero. And that dude I’m marrying is one, as well. Obv.

I have a few others as well though.

Mark Morriss from the Bluetones is one. What other lyricist is brave enough to pair “I keep hearing strange rumours about you and… satsumas”? And he’s a bit of a looker as well, which always helps.

Having adored him from afar, one day he played a solo gig in my home town, and my sister took me as a surprise. We ended up chatting to him over a drink, and I mentioned my all time favourite lyric.

“Well, you try and find a rhyme for rumours!” he said. “Groomers, bloomers, no, no – you’re only left with satsumas.”

Which I feel is a metaphor for life.

Afterwards I went back to his hotel room and did a cryptic crossword. That’s not a euphamism; we listened to music on his iPod and did a crossword. Well, if I’m honest, he did most of it, I’m hopeless at those things. Then a few months later I went to see him at his flat and we watched a documentary about horror films whilst drinking tea and eating wagon wheels. It was possibly the most surreal night of my life. They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes because they’ll only disappoint you, but he was lovely.

My second all time hero is an author called Peter S Beagle. If you know me, I’ve probably talked at you about how beautiful this man’s writing is. As sublime as “I keep hearing strange rumours about you and satsumas” is, it doesn’t quite take up the same space in my heart as the opening to Peter S Beagle’s most famous novel, The Last Unicorn, does.

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

If I’m in the right mood, that paragraph can make me cry. Something about it resonates in my veins and makes me wish I could be better. When I’m writing and I get stuck, I turn to Tamsin. In chapter ten, almost half way through the book, a boggart appears. I don’t know how he does it, but this description actually unnerves me, even though you wouldn’t think it should be frightening at all:

It was a him, all right – I’d have known that much even if he hadn’t had a beard, just from the way he stood there with his thumbs in his belt and his head back, looking around our kitchen as though everything in it was his. I’ve seen three-year-old boys stand like that on playgrounds – you can’t miss it. He wasn’t any bigger than a three-year-old, either: He came about up to Julian’s chest, not counting his silly Seven Dwarfs hat with the green feather. He was dressed like a cross between the Seven Dwarfs and Robin Hood, in a kind of loose red smock, but with the belt, and brown leggings underneath, and heavy little boots, ankle-high –  I’d have taken them for Doc Martens, except I don’t think they make them in boggart sizes. And there wasn’t a thing else in the world he could have been.

Julian had grabbed my hand, and I could feel him trembling right down my arm and into my stomach. He whispered, “Jenny, he came out from under the stove! How could he do that?”

I didn’t answer. I just held his hand with both of mine, trying to stop his shaking. Julian said, in this small, sad voice, “I don’t like this, Jenny.”

The boggart looked at us for the first time. You could tell he was really, really old, but I can’t say exactly how I knew, because he didn’t have any gray hair, and no wrinkles at all, just a few lines on his skin, which was red-brown, the same color as the new lettuce fields closest to the Manor. He had a face like a goat’s face – long and high-boned, with the little curly beard, and with big dark-red eyes, wicked eyes. I don’t mean evil, I mean wicked. I know the difference now.

I could go on. But I won’t, because you should go and discover his books for yourself.

I sent a hopeful tweet to Peter’s agent, asking for an excerpt to use as a reading at our wedding (my wedding to Ian, I mean, not to Peter – I’m not that besotted), and he got back to me, and said he would look at putting something together. This actually made me cry a little bit (weddings are emotional, okay?).

So that is contact made with two of my heroes.

My third all time hero is Daisy from Spaced. Funny women are few and far between, and she’s wonderful.

Turns out she’s recently moved to my home town and lives opposite where my friend works. It’s only a matter of time.

2 thoughts on “Heroes

    1. Isn’t he! I’m just so pleased that his agent/tour manager is such a lovely guy – how many people are willing to give up their free time for you like that? Though I have a feeling maybe that’s an American thing – I’m sure we Brits aren’t that helpful.


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