160. The Nureyev of the NCP


“You still typin’, Luci?”
“What the fuck do you mean, Scorcher?”
“Well, every time I come in ‘ere you’re either typin’ or shovin’ that mouse about.”
“It’s my job, Scorcher. It’s what I’m paid to do. Sit on my arse and tap keys and shove a mouse. It’s why I was born. It’s the cross I must bear. Some are born to lead armies, conquer nations. Some are skilled engineers, spanning rivers with steel or tunneling below oceans. Me? I was born to tap a fucking keyboard and shove a mouse about on a desk. It’s my fucking destiny.”
“What?”
“Nothing. Just… fucking… nothing.”
“This job weren’t my destiny, Luci. I were made for better things but it didn’t work out.”
“Of course you were, Scorcher. We were all made for better things than being shut in a factory printing junk mail for ten or twelve hours a day. It didn’t work out for any of us.”
“Yeah, but I almost lived the dream. It were in me grasp but were cruelly snatched from us.”
“I didn’t know that, Scorcher. I just presumed you’d always been here.”
“Me? Nah, I were goin’ places! Had meself on a proper trainin’ course for the job o’ me dreams, got to the last few in selection, then it were dashed from me hands.”
“Wow. Sounds pretty harsh, mate. What job was it?”
“Car park attendant.”
“Fuck off.”
“No, really, Luci! I wanted to do that since I were a kid. I remember me dad parkin’ up one time when I were a lad an’ this fella in a big yeller coat limpin’ over, clickin’ his fingers at us an’ whistlin’, tellin us not to park ‘ere but to park there, an me old man had to move ‘is motor! I watched ‘im ‘hobbling back to ‘is ‘ut for a brew an’ a fag an’ I thought to meself, ‘There’s a fella with authority! Power!’ an’ I wanted a bit o’ that. So when I were fifteen I took me sen to Car Park Attendant College.”
“Car Park Attendant College? Where’s that situated? Oxford or Cambridge?”
“Don’t be daft, Luci. There aren’t enough car parks round them parts to learn the trade. Every cunt cycles round there. Nah, it were in Leeds. Not there no more, like.”
“What happened to this center of learning, Scorcher?”
They pulled it down. It’s a car park now.”
“How fitting.”
“Yeah. There’s no craft to car park attending no more, Luci. All them skills lost. It’s a dyin’ art.”
“Maybe you should have another crack at the title.”
“Nah, I can’t. It’s in the past now. Failin’ when I did… nah, it’d kill us to try again an’ fail.”
“Go on then, Scorcher. Tell us what happened.”
“Right. It were like this. I breezed the first courses. I got the limpin’ just right, clickin’ fingers an shoutin’. Straight ‘A’s. I were top o’ the class in brewin’ up an’ rollin’ fags. I got distinctions for me whistlin’.”
“Let me get this right. You’re trying to tell me that you had to sit exams in whistling, clicking your fingers, limping, making tea and rolling cigarettes?”
“Nah, we didn’t sit no exams in none o’ that stuff.”
“I don’t understand…”
“It were all practical assessments. In the field, like.”
“Gotcha. Carry on.”
“As I were sayin’, I were passin’ me exams wi’ flyin’ colours. I ‘ad the biggest yeller jacket the instructor ‘ad ever seen. I ordered it special from a place in Birmingham. It weren’t cheap, mind, but I saw it as an investment in me future. It were me limpin’ that were best, though. I had it down to a fine art.”
“How the hell does limping make you a better car park attendant?”
“It’s part o’ what car park attendin’ were all about. It’s part o’ the whole… ambience. Yeah, that’s how they described it, back then. It were an ambience. When yer roll up to a derelict patch o’ ground, ready to knacker yer suspension tryin’ to park yer Granada where it weren’t gonna get scratched, yer wanted to see a bloke limpin’ ovver, whistlin’ an’ clickin’ his fingers, tellin yer that yer can’t park ‘ere an’ you gotta park there, then when yer parked yer motor yer want to pay him yer fiver through an ‘atch in an ‘ut filled wi’ tea steam an’ fag smoke. It’s all part o’ the ambience!”
“I feel sorry for anyone reading this down South, Scorcher. They’ll be phoning Leeds for a translation.”
“They’ll cope, Luci. Any road, I were comin’ to the finals an’ it were all lookin’ rosie. I could splash me built up shoe through a puddle like a pro…”
“Wait. A built up shoe? There’s nothing wrong with your legs, is there?”
“It’s one o’ the tricks to give yer a decent limp. A cheaper option is a pebble in yer shoe. I weren’t gonna go cheap though. Got me sen a built up shoe from that orthopedic place on Kirkstall Road.”
“What, Club Phut?”
“Yeah, that’s the one. They reckon half their business came from car park attendants. They almost had to close when the college were shut down. Anyway, it were a rainy day in October that it all went tits up. I were in me ‘ut, brewin’ up for me an’ me assessor, when I saw this ‘ere Austin Princess Vanden Plas tryin’ to sneak into a dry space under t’ railway arch an’ I thought, ‘I’m ‘avin’ none o’ that!’ so I goes out, clickin’ me fingers an’ whistlin’, an ‘alf smoked fag ‘angin’ out me gob. The assessor were dead impressed. I ‘eard later that ‘e ‘ad me down for a fella o’ sixty eight wi’ emphysema, an’ I were only twenty two at the time.”
“Twenty two? Wait up, Scorcher, I thought you went to college at fifteen?”
“Aye. It were a seven year course.”
“Yes. Of course it was. Silly of me. Carry on.”
“So I’m off across this ‘ere car park like a good ‘un, lots o’ quality puddle splashin’, big yeller coat flappin’ half open. Text book, it were. Beautiful. ‘The Nureyev o’ the NCP’ they used to call me. But I took it too far. Flew too close to t’sun. I got a bit o’ a speed wobble comin’ round a badly parked Morris Traveller. Nowt wrong wi’ a bit o’ speed wobble, mind. Done right it can be quite majestic, but me big coat got ‘ooked over the chrome bumper o’ the Traveller. It swung me round an’ I tripped ovver me orthopedic shoe an’ I knocked me front teeth out on it’s varnished coach work.”
“Sounds nasty. Did you manage to recover yourself?”
“I tried, but that’s when it went bad. I tried to whistle but nowt came out. Me whistle were gone, dashed from me gob by a wonky Morris Traveller. I can’t even look at a Traveller no more. They make me fuckin’ weep, they do.”
“Couldn’t you just get a metal whistle?”
“FUCK. OFF. LUCI. How bloody dare you! No car park attendant worth his fuckin’ salt would use a metal whistle! It goes against everythin’ they taught us in Car Park Attendant College! Besides, it’s against union rules.”
“Obviously. Well, couldn’t you learn to whistle another way?”
“Nah. I only knew one way, the RIGHT way, an’ that whistle ‘ad been perfected over seven gruelin’ years o’ Car Park Attendant College. You don’t just pick up a new whistle after that. Nah, wi’ no whistle in me gob they failed me. It were ovver.”
“What did you do then?”
“I came to this ‘ere shit ‘ole, didn’t I? Bin ‘ere ever since. I don’t drive ‘ere, I walk. Parkin’ is too painful. I might ‘elp a van back up occasionally, but other than that, I’ve ‘ung up me boot.”
“You could have sold that boot on ebay, Scorcher. I hear the price of built up shoes is on the rise. Ha ha!”
“What?”
“Nothing.”
“Yeah, well our lass uses it to prop open the kitchen door when she’s doin’ chips. Listen, Luci. Did you ever limp across a car park, whistlin’ an snappin’ yer fingers at a badly parked Nissan Bluebird?”
“No.”
“Then yer’ve never lived. I pity yer. See yer around.”
“Yeah, see you, Scorcher.”

Where - car park jag2

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One Response to 160. The Nureyev of the NCP

  1. D says:

    Remarkable and surreal fella, it is truly a dying art. That and being a working mans club committee man, those comb overs and cheap suits lost forever…like tears in rain.

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