The One and Only Spud



"Daddy what's this?" asked the little girl.

Daddy had been sat in his chair reading the evening paper when his daughter had wondered into the room with the large circular black object held high in her grimy and sticky little hands. The newspaper didn't move, it merely rustled slightly, and there was a hint of a grunt from daddy as he concentrated on reading the remainder of an article on the future of home entertainment.

The article was predicting that within twenty years most households would be 'hooked up' to the internet, and that all but the most recent of releases in both the film and the music industries would be readily available at the click of a remote controlled mouse on any of up to twelve screens scattered around the average home. The article appealed to daddy, who had become slovenly and lethargic in his chosen methods of home entertainment. He had succumbed to the Sky revolution, just as he had succumbed to the c.d. revolution some years previous.

Gone were the days of renting videos, of having to stand up and walk across the room to turn over his favourite album, and of even getting up to answer the telephone. He could do almost anything whilst sat in his large comfy chair. He could answer the mobile, he could switch channels and watch movies anytime of day, and he could even listen to music for hours on end without having to leave his comfy chair. As far as daddy was concerned, the day they invented the comfy commode/bidet, would be the day he would give up walking altogether, and retire to the pasture of his living room for the rest of his days.

"Daddy, what is it? Is it a plate, can I put my sweeties on it?"

"Mmm, hhmm, just one minute darling."

The little girl wondered out of the room and daddy finished the article. He glanced over the top of the newspaper to see if his daughter was still patiently awaiting an answer to her questions, but on noticing she had made her own assumptions, he turned the page to see what was on TV for him that night. A minute or two later, the little girl re-appeared at the door and said:

"Daddy, it's got a hole in it, and I can push my chocolate right through the middle because it's melting and it's squelchy."

At this point daddy became intrigued and he peered around the newspaper.

"JESUS!" he screamed, leaping from the chair and rushing over to the startled child as the newspaper fell to the floor. She dropped the 'plate' and froze on the spot. Daddy fell to his knees and very slowly and carefully scooped the item up off the carpet. His jaw dropped wide, and a look of sheer terror swept across his face. The little girl had tears in her eyes, she knew that she had done something terrible, something unforgivable. Daddy gazed at the object and began biting his bottom lip.

"Oh no, no no no, not Low!" he said through gritted teeth.

But sure enough, through the melted chocolate smeared right across the shiny black vinyl and all over the orange label, he could see that it was indeed 'Low'.

His gut swam as he looked up at his little girl.

"I'm sorry daddy, is it yours?" she said.

"Don't worry sweetheart, it's not your fault."

"Is it a special plate?"

"Oh yes, yes, yes it's a very special plate indeed."

"That's okay then, because I've found lots more of them upstairs. I've been playing with them."

"Oh my God. Nooooooo!"

He took the stairs three at a time and he rushed into the bedroom to see albums and covers scattered all over the room. The inner sleeves, their clothing, had been strewn across the carpet, all crumpled and creased. Aladdin Sane lay totally naked on the bed, cavorting on top of Ziggy Stardust. "Heroes" was warped and being scorched alive whilst wedged between the radiator and the wall. The Man Who Sold The World was crucified up on the window sill and was covered in stickers depicting the heads of Boyzone and A1. It was absolute carnage.

"SHIT! Shit shit shit, f'kin 'ell." he whispered under his breath.

He picked up and opened the gatefold of Diamond Dogs, to see the hazy delicate artwork had been jazzily freaked with luminous felt tip pen. His eyes fell on to the words of Future Legend. They seemed so fitting, so true...

"And... in the death - as the last few corpses lay rotting on the slimy thoroughfare -"

The words themselves were almost untouched by the pen, apart from a wayward loop of scribble that had ironically encircled the final phrase...

"This ain't Rock 'n Roll - this is Genocide."

This was pure sacrilege, and there could be no one else to blame but himself. He should never have hidden the albums away. He should have taught his daughter to love and to respect the vinyl. It should never have been out of sight. He began picking up the albums and their covers and surveying the damage. Oh sure he could clean them, he could drum up a mix of part alcohol and part distilled water like he used to, and lovingly cleanse his treasured Bowie collection, but they would never be the same. They had been battered and beaten by an innocent child.

Daddy turned and looked at the child, she was holding up Space Oddity, or rather 'Space' in one hand, and an 'Oddity' in the other.

"This one got snapped Daddy, I've got my glue though so you can fix it."

Daddy sat down on the bed and lifted Aladdin Sane off the top of Ziggy Stardust. He placed them carefully side by side and tried desperately not to lose his head. In fact he held his head in his hands and looked skywards in search of some god given self-control, but screamed when he saw Bowie and Twiggy staring back at him from the ceiling.

"Yahhhh! How the HELL did you get that up there?" he shouted at the now trembling child.

"My glue... and the sweeping brush... and bubble gum." whimpered his darling little girl.

Just then the key turned in the front door and he heard his wife call out as the door opened.

"It's me!.. Hallo... anybody in?"

"Mammy mammy mammy." cried the little girl as she ran out of the room and down the stairs.

"Hallo darling, where's daddy?"

"He's upstairs with all the plates, he's been shouting."

That night, daddy crept into his little girls room and placed a gentle kiss on the tiny forehead of his little angel, who unbenown to him was running scared in a dream from a man with spikey hair and a big red zig zag across his face.

He switched off her lamp and tiptoed from the room.

As he settled into bed next to his wife, she asked. "Is she sleeping?"

"Oh yes, like an angel."

"Awwr, it wasn't her fault you know."

"I know it wasn't her fault. It's just that I got a shock that's all."

"I bet she did as well when she seen your face." laughed his wife.

He let out a big puff of air and said "Yeah, poor little sod."

"I told you to put them in the loft months ago, out of her way."

"I know you did but... well... you know what happened last time I was in the loft." His wife laughed again.

"Yes, and I've told you to lose weight, all you do is sit in that chair."

Her husband shook his head. "Twenty five minutes I was stuck in that hatch."

She sniggered again. "It's a good job I had plenty of butter in the house."

"Yeah, but the embarrassment. I used to go to school with that fireman. I was fitter than him at school.

"Hahaha, and he didn't even know it was you till he got you out."

"Okay, don't rub it in."

They both burst out laughing at this point.

"Anyway, I'm gonna lose weight because I'm gonna have to search all the second hand record shops for replacements now aren't I."

"Well you can take the bairn with you, she can learn all about how important vinyl is and then you won't need to hide it from her."

"It'll never be the same though. Those albums were mine and mine only. I've had them since they were first released you know. I can get replacements but they'll never be the same. They'll all have been... urghh 'touched' by other people."

"Oh behave you stupid bugger. Come here and give me a cuddle." And she snuggled up to him.

"Okay but you'll have to turn the lamp off." he said. "I'm not doing anything with those two staring at us."

His wife looked up to see Bowie and Twiggy looking down upon them. "Oh I dunno, it's a bit of a turn on really isn't it." she said quietly.

"Never mind turn on, turn off that lamp then we can do it anywayanyhowanywhere I choose."

Speak soon,

27th April 2001.

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