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One of the things that most fascinated me as a child, walking along the sea front in Blackpool, was all the fortune-tellers.
Every hundred yards or so, there would be a tiny little doorway leading, I always presumed, into a tiny little room. Sitting at the doorway, invariably unless they were inside telling fortunes, were extraordinarily weather beaten women of indeterminate age calling themselves, ‘Gypsy Rose Lee’ or ‘Gypsy Petulengro’.
There would often be pictures at the doors of stars of the day. Usually British stars but, now and again, American stars.
I remember one of the so called ‘Gypsy fortune tellers’ having a picture of John Wayne, of all people, outside her little door.
As a child, it never dawned on me that the likelihood of John Wayne travelling to Blackpool and avidly gazing into Gypsy Rose Lee’s crystal ball was a tad remote.
I presume she was claiming that she had predicted that he would have a good career that included horses and the movies, or something like that.
Anyway, I was never allowed to go anywhere near them.
Well, I never was until I was sixteen and spending a weekend there with friends anyway.
I girded my loins and went to see Gypsy Rose Lee. She offered me a palm reading with one hand, a palm reading with both hands at double the price or, at a special discount that halved my spending money in one hit, a look into her crystal ball.
I chose the crystal ball – mainly because my girlfriend of the day had lots of money, so I knew I wouldn’t be short of money when we all went to the bar.
Gypsy Rose Lee gazed into the crystal ball. So did I but all I could see was a distorted reflection of myself – which, at the time, was quite alarming.
“You will have a long and happy life” she announced gravely – which was good news. “You will never want for anything” she continued – (how the hell these people can keep a straight face is, to me, awe inspiring) – “But!” she suddenly shouted,
(I genuinely nearly fell off my chair I was so unprepared for the shout), “Beware of a man with unruly blond hair in the next Century!”
She looked at me with hooded eyes.
“He will be very dangerous to your health and well being, many peoples health and well being, and even your very life”
She then stood up and ushered me out, shutting the little door behind me before I could inquire more about this apparently dangerous chap who could do everybody harm.
Whilst I don’t claim total recall of everything in my life, I can absolutely promise that she said that. After all, she’s the only fortune teller I’ve ever visited, so, I suppose, I would remember it quite well.
Well, I’ve made it to 61 years of age. Not long in comparison to somebody who makes their 80’s or 90’s, but, on the other hand, longer than many so, I’ll give her that one.
She completely buggered up the second bit in so many ways, I almost have the urge to go to Blackpool, seek her out (albeit she looked about 90 then, so the probability of Gypsy Rose Lee being one and the same today is remote), and ask for my money back.
Mind you, just because you do ‘want for something’, I suppose it doesn’t necessarily follow that, in reality, you need it as much as you think you do.
Perhaps I should be magnanimous?
Let’s face it, if you spend your entire life either sitting on the Blackpool sea front chain smoking cigarettes outside little cubicles with only a picture of John Wayne for company, or sitting inside said cubicle gazing at peoples palms, or your crystal ball, and telling them garbage, then, perhaps you deserve some magnanimity?
“Beware a man with unruly blond hair in the next Century!”
That was such a weird thing to be told, I remember it to this day, with understandable puzzlement. I have never met a man with unruly blond hair. Not once.
Perhaps it isn’t, necessarily, somebody I will personally meet?
More likely, I suspect, this man I should be wary of with unruly blond hair was simply a figment of her fevered imagination.
After all, she was just an old lady making some kind of living feeding the gullible hogwash.
An unruly haired blond man who would be dangerous for my health and well being eh? Not to mention some other peoples health and well being. What absolute, utter tosh.
Ridiculous. Absolutely ridic –
Hang on a minute –