We’d say events have taken a strange turn, but events are always strange when our loose screw columnist is in the house… hang on, seems he’s in the laundrette
Tell you about washing powder? Thought you’d never ask. I spice up my loads with ketchup, or if I’m feeling frisky, horseradish. Squeeze the little sachet into the fabric softener tray and let the Hotpoint do the rest. Your whites get a sexy whiff, and the other people in the launderette rarely complain.
My local launderette is run by an awkward woman who is not unlike a haggis, in that she’s a bulging sack of innards barely encased in greasy skin who only goes near vegetables once a year on Burns Night. She looks like she’s into morris dancing and Westlife, which made last week’s launderette trip all the more surprising. Please imagine this page going wobbly because you’re about to read a flashback.
I staggered in for my usual wash: it’s gone two in the morning, I’m drunk and I nearly snap my Ann Summers loyalty card jimmying the lock. Near the rusted dryers is something new – a wonky little shelf screwed into the wall. On the shelf is a tatty seven-inch record of ‘Popcorn’ by Gershon Kingsley. Next to the sleeve there’s a sign, definitely written by launderette woman, which says “For Sayle. Twelve Pounds Fifties.”
‘Popcorn’ is a brisk Moog number that Kingsley wrote in the 1960s while selling confectionery at Cineworld. The Monkees had just released a confusing film called ‘12 Monkees’, and John Lennon had just declared he was bigger than Jesus Jones. A man limped into the cinema, children in tow, and stuck his feet into the popcorn. “It helps with the calluses,” he said. A light bulb appeared above Kingsley’s head. “A father is also known as ‘pop’, and foot calluses are called ‘corns’. I have an idea!” And that’s how ‘Popcorn’ was written. Please don’t Google this.
Why would the haggis hag be selling this single? Maybe she dreams of owning a record shop, swapping Persil for vinyl, locking her spin cycles into RPMs forever more. Maybe she hates the song and hopes it will curse the buyer in a devilish ‘Needful Things’ pact.
I had to solve the mystery of the ‘Popcorn’. Therefore, I am proud to present (please imagine a drum roll because you’re about to read an announcement) an interview with the actual launderette woman!
“Hello, what’s your name?”
“Where am I? Why am I inside a magazine? Where’s my living room gone?”
“I’m interviewing you for my column.”
“Is that what you call your shlong? Why is this paper so shiny? What’s that rubbish cartoon doing on the page?”
“I just wanted to ask about the–”
“Are you the one that puts sauce in the machines? I’ve got a bone to pick with you.”
“Oh, I, er…”
“Why did you put that stupid shelf on my wall? You’ve drilled into the tiling. Stop breaking into my launderette.”
“Sorry, I needed something to write about, so I made up a story about you being into an old electronic music track.”
“I’ve smashed up your crap single.”
“Broke it with a hammer. Threw it into the bins out back. Stop messing around with my launderette.”
“But that was worth £12.50. Oh, bloody hell.”
Dammit. I’m going to a different launderette next week. It’s an extra hour out of my way, but it’s near a newsagent that has a half-price offer on squeezy HP bottles, so it isn’t all bad. Please imagine Gershon Kingsley’s ‘Popcorn’ fading in as if it’s a theme tune, because you’re just about to reach the end of this column.