Sunday, February 26, 2006


You probably won't believe this, but I used to be an altar boy. Straight up! I wore a dress and strode around the pews with a brass cross on a stick, bigger than a fishing rod. I gassed rows of fidgety, anxious pensioners with incense, faredodged my way around the stations of the cross, took pound coin tips from mourners at funerals, scratched my plonker under my cassock and rang a handbell at the nubile daughters of the Union of Catholic Mothers.

Now, it's usually at this point that some wag chips in, "Uh huh huh, so did you get abused by priests?" The answer is no. I put this down to the fact that, aged 12, I bore an uncanny striking resemblance to the Infant of Prague. After mass, when the priest would burst into the sacristy (the 'back stage' area), slugging on a bottle of altar wine and jangling his rosary beads around like some Claire's Accessories chain belt, I would simply freeze, stand erect (oh, grow up), purse my lips and extend one hand with two fingers jammed together, eyes glazed in a thousand yard stare. The padre would then mistakenly lunge for the waist-high statue of the Infant Jesus, dragging it towards the nearest cupboard, panting and wheezing and growling, "AH NOW BOY, WE'LL HAVE TO PUT A STOP TO THOSE FISHFINGER AND CHIP SUPPERS!"

Did you know there's actually a newspaper called "The Catholic Mother"? It's produced and distributed for free by the aforementioned UCM, a bizarre coven of fishwives devoted to making their long-suffering kids' lives a complete misery. They pray for their sons to contract stigmata (in order to hamper five knuckle shuffles) and consider the slightest mark of mascara on a teenage daughter's face to be the smear of Satan's own dung. They're not a bad bunch, as completely loopy cunts go. Thank St Greavsie, my ma never joined this sinister cabal, I don't think even she was holy enough to ascend to their ranks.

There's a lot of weird subcultures in the Catholic Church, and I don't even have to go as far as Opus Dei - check out the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, an evil sect of child abusing bitches. This mob even had a teenage splinter group, the Young Vincentians, who, from what I can ascertain, spent most of their time decrying abortion and homosexuality. The big irony being that the latter eradicates the need for the former, but then again eradicate both and the YVs would probably be ranting against the evils of home taping*, drinking coffee or rearing greyhounds instead.

But back to my altar boy days. My brother had been press-ganged into fulfilling this 'job' (we're talking spiritual rather than financial reward here) as a teenager in the 1970s. Only he'd decided he wouldn't mind a bit of the financial reward as well, and began to dip his fingers into the collection plate. A lot of the contributions were made mafia-style, in discreet purple envelopes. Needless to say, my parents discovered a pile of these torn envelopes in his wardrobe and beat the living fuck out of him. As a result, being an altar boy meant my mother felt she had the right to turn out my bedroom on regular inspections, in case I emulated my sibling on his road to Hell.

I mean, how fucking stupid can you get? I'd have thrown the envelopes away at least, the fool. I don't know how much he got away with, but it was around this time he bought his first Honda.

It's quite odd being on the altar. Like a sort of cross between performer and janitor. On the one hand, I couldn't fall asleep, though by Christ, given the amount of sermons I had to sit through on the subject of "The Sunday Sport" ("DON'T BUY IT!!! THERE'S NO 'SPORT' IN THAT PAPER!!") by some pervert in a frock, lying that a 'friend' had sent a copy to him for his 'perusal' , as a warning of the mounting stockpile of PURE EVIL dwarfing the modern world, it's a wonder I didn't drift into a coma. BUT, on the other hand, when you'd see a couple of exquisitely fucking bored foxy girls in the 'audience', manacled to their parents, it became obvious that you were a boy in a dress, and that by mucking about and falling asleep you might get a reputation as the 'bad boy' of the altar. What a paradox. Of course, even if I'd let off a firework, grasped the microphone and started yelling "BOGSIDE, CLYDESIDE, JOIN THE ANGRY SIDE", I'd still have been a boy in a dress, doing nice things for Jesus, an ideal boyfriend only in the eyes of the UCM.

There was only one solution, I had to get chucked off the altar, which I managed successfully by deliberately dropping every implement given to me on a Sunday 11am service of pure chaos. I then feigned mock outrage at the priest's suggestion that I give up carrying the cross to one of the other suckers, and used it as a pretext to tell my parents I considered it the ultimate humiliation - how dare he demote me. Luckily, my dad was mad enough to buy this and spent a half hour ranting about priests being a shower of bastards, not like the real ones back in Ireland. Sorted - now all I had to do was bunk off mass full stop, but that's another story for another time...

(*- 'home taping' -primitive 20th century method of music piracy, most infamously endorsed by a Satanic pop group called Bow Wow Wow)
-haha, i knew it!
suddenly it all makes sense now...
It was very boring, doing the collection in s Church of England service. I was about 50 years younger than everyone else doing it...

Quite a lot of cash coming in, and bits of it went on abhorrent stuff like missionary work as well. I never nicked any tho...
...BTW where's your "Flowers Of Romance"-post, Martin? was beautiful.
Martin - I've still not had any calls through on that number!

I don't think I'm getting value for money here, compared to what I pay the guy who puts the postcards in the phoneboxes.

You told me this was the future and that readers of your blog would be well up for my services, but now I am thinking this whole thing has been one big con...

Sort it out, or you can forget those "mates' rates" we talked about.
I'm sorry that you haven't had any calls, but maybe you should consider why. Are you charging too much? Are your specialised services a bit out of date with the sex worker zeitgeist?

Maybe you're sending out an extremely rude and uncommunicative vibe to punters - ring the Shards Fragments and Totems 'Bombay Goth' number for an example of what I mean

This is a bad time of year for it, anyway, what with Lent - a lot of people give up whoring til Easter's out. Keep your chin up - at least you're not a freelance journalist.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?