Posts Tagged ‘Essex’

Mitzi Szereto interview on The Hammer Show

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

I recently had a chance to chat with Ross Hemsworth on his UK web radio programme The Hammer Show and a good time was had by all! From the controversy surrounding my recent novel Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts and my work on Mitzi TV, to celebrity culture and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s animal cruelty involving his own dog – no subject is immune!

Tune in for some lively discussion and a perspective on the world from both Britain and America. Clink to listen to the replay of the interview at:

Mitzi and Teddy’s Excellent Adventure in Norfolk

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo (the "Norfolk Hayseeds")

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo (the "Norfolk Hayseeds")

My beloved sidekick Teddy Tedaloo and I are recently back from our first in what will hopefully be many visits to the wonderful county of Norfolk. When friends told me that things are a bit quirky in those parts, I knew it was the right place for us – and I wasn’t disappointed. Sure, I got a bit of ribbing about all the inbreeding and webbed hands and feet (the same kind of jokes you get about Wales, which is a beautiful place!), but I saw no webbed hands or feet (except on the ducks), and the locals I met were friendly, pleasant and helpful.

The plan was to soak up lots of local colour for a quirky novel I’m going to write, and soak it up I did in abundance! The quirkiness kicked off a few minutes before my train arrived at King’s Lynn, with my friend and hostess sending me a series of progressively panicked text messages informing me that she was stuck in the soap cycle at the car wash and could not get out. I ended up waiting outside by the taxis with some poor woman whose friend apparently forgot to collect her from the station, and we amused ourselves by watching the gulls deposit their waste onto parked vehicles until a car came skidding to a halt before me. My friend had arrived.

Well, I felt really let down, especially after all those text messages. I’d expected the car to be covered in soap suds like some giant bath sponge, but apparently my friend managed to make it into the rinse cycle, and hence to freedom. And off we went for a Magical Mystery Tour of Norfolk that lasted for several days and probably put a couple of pounds on me from all the eating I did (did someone say “pudding“?).

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo at a Norfolk pub

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo at a Norfolk pub

Now there’s nothing Ted and I like better than country and village pubs, and we availed ourselves of plenty while there. My favourite pub was in a village straight out of Midsomer Murders, replete with a local vicar drinking there… only he wasn’t a local vicar as I soon found out. In fact, he was a Welsh vicar with a parish in Essex. You figure it out. Even he thought it was a scream. It was in this quaint old pub where I found the perfect inspiration for my novel – and I sketched out the entire plot on a scrap of paper in between exchanging quips with the vicar, who was a bit of a comedian. It seems his parish is very near the part of Essex where the ferries go to the continent, only he said his parish was for “the incontinent”. I kinda got the impression he wasn’t too crazy about Essex when he told me: “I love everybody, but I don’t have to like everybody.”

The Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads

Welsh vicars from Essex aside, you haven’t lived till you’ve gone to a pub with a black labrador that’s in season. We’d all just come from a lovely walk on the beach, barely missing being swallowed up by high tide, and were in the mood for some real fish ‘n chips (not sure what the lab was in the mood for, but let’s not go there). Anyway, there was this smaller male dog at the bar giving her the eye and, well… let’s just say he was interested and leave the subject before it disintegrates into non-family content.

Actually, forget about the horny dogs. You haven’t lived till you’ve been on a boat in the Norfolk Broads piloted by Ted. He’s a pretty good driver for a bear, and, in fact, he was a damned sight better at driving our boat than my friend (who continues to assert that I ran over a swan when I took the helm). But I had to get to the Broads and at least see what David Bowie was singing about in “Life On Mars“.

Teddy Tedaloo piloting a boat through the Broads

Teddy Tedaloo piloting a boat through the Broads

The only thing actually wrong with Norfolk (and there isn’t much) are all the Londoners coming in and trying to change it into a smaller version of London. There are quite a few so-called “celebrities” and other assorted riff-raff with too much money and no sense who descend on the county in their requisite Sloan Square attire, poncing about and trying to be all country-ish and “bishy-barney-bee” as they shop at the London clone shops and eat in the London clone restaurants (lovely old pubs that have been bought out and destroyed by the gastro craze and certain “celebrity chefs” who fob off their overpriced kibble on you). I have suggested putting barbed wire up to keep these Londoners out, or better yet, an electrified fence. I mean, if you want Primrose Hill, then stay in Primrose Hill!

Of course, coming home is never without its own excellent adventure, particularly when the train driver can’t be bothered to stop at my stop, or indeed, two of the previous stops, when they are ALWAYS scheduled stops. Just one more great mystery brought to you by British Rail. I had been so elated that for my journey home I wouldn’t need to schlep my heavy suitcase up and down countless stairs as I had to on the way to Norfolk (resulting in a slightly sprained hand), but not only did I end up at the next town up from mine, I ended up having to deal with stairs when I was forced to make the reverse journey back to my town. Thankfully my plight was put to an end when a young gentleman intervened and took over suitcase duty. I have often said there are no gentlemen left in Britain (especially in the London area), and I continue to adhere to that statement, therefore it was a pleasant surprise to actually find one (the only ones still alive are usually walking with zimmer frames). Mind you, this particular gentleman (not surprisingly) was from out of town.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to getting a start on my new novel, and I might at some point need to pop back up Norfolk for an inspiration fix. And who knows, maybe I won’t leave!


A Motorbike Ride in the Country: Strange Encounters

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
On a BMW

Mitzi Szereto slums it on a BMW motorbike

Okay, anyone who’s seen the latest Mitzi TV video “Born To Be Wild” can probably figure out that I’m a bit partial to motorbikes. In fact, some of the happiest times I’ve ever had were riding pillion when I lived in LA. Those were the days, flying along Pacific Coast Highway on the smog-tinged ocean breeze! (I’ll omit details of how I once drove into a wall in Beverly Hills while actually driving one of the things. Well, at least it wasn’t a wall in Compton!)

I guess it was inevitable that this subjugated desire of mine should once again rear its ugly head. Being the resourceful lass that I am, I put the word out that I wanted a ride.

An invite was soon forthcoming.

However, things never quite go according to plan – at least not where I’m concerned. What started off as an autumn Saturday afternoon motorcycle ride into the English countryside ended up landing me in the midst of what appeared to be a camp of survivalists in rural Essex.

Tank Girl

Mitzi Szereto as Tank Girl

Now Essex is known for many things; survivalists aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. Chavs, footballers, footballers’ wives, bleached blonde hair and fake orange tan (see footballers’ wives), Essex girls, white stilettos (see Essex girls), West Ham supporters, holidays in “Ibeefa” (see Essex girls), the highest rate of marriages in the UK (and the highest rate of divorces), and a sledgehammer accent (innit?) that can strip the paint off metal – these are the things that have put Essex on the map!

Oh, yeah, and Jamie Oliver. Now he’s the kind of Essex boy you’d want to bring home to mama. In fact, he’s probably the only Essex boy you’d want to bring home to mama, unless you fancy your mama being besieged by copious uses of the “C” word, which is bandied about by these finely reared Essex lads as often and easily as one might ask for a cup of tea.

Anyway, I was dead excited about my scheduled ride into the country on the back of a BMW motorbike wiv my new m8 “Mister G” – gun runner, rapper, and drug cartel kingpin from the West Country. But as the day drew near, I began to suffer a twinge of anxiety. Bad enough I’d just read a news article about a motorcyclist in Scotland who ended up in hospital after colliding with a sheep. Apparently the guy sustained a lot of injuries, however, that didn’t stop him from being billed by the local council for damage when his motorbike caught fire and melted a portion of the road’s surface.

The sheep died.

Then I kept getting SPAM emails from some insurance company in the UK that specialises in road accident coverage. Was somebody trying to tell me something?

We weren’t even ten minutes into our ride when we passed through a village with a preponderance of funeral directors, not to mention a cemetery located conveniently close by. Another sign? Was I teasing the Grim Reaper by daring to do something I might actually enjoy? I realised later that the village had a very large population of elderly folk. Hey, you’d think they’d figure out not to move there, what with the high mortality rate. Sort of like that TV show “Midsomer Murders“. Why do people live there when the murder rate is something like 85%? I mean, how dumb can you get?

I decided to get a photo of me slumming it on a BMW motorbike, so we pulled off the road into an area that looked for all intents and purposes like a family campground. However, rather than pup tents and screaming tykes, it looked like we’d landed in the midst of a military coup. Tanks, weaponry, army boys with rifles – with the only tents in sight army-issue with camouflage netting. I kept expecting Charlton Heston to appear holding up a rifle that could kill a charging buffalo as he muttered something about “from my cold dead hands”.

Oh, yeah, he is dead. Guess that gun thing didn’t work out too well for him after all.

As for the survivalists, something wasn’t adding up. First of all, the men I saw didn’t look as though they were cast members from the film “Deliverance“. Second, I didn’t hear any banjos. In fact, the one major thing that gave a hint that something wasn’t quite kosher was an old phonograph playing The Andrew Sisters. Turns out it was just a harmless gathering of retro-military aficionados camping out for the weekend.

I’m now looking to recruit someone with a Harley so I can have another pillion ride. Though after this visit to the Twilight Zone, maybe it might be wiser to hit Kent?

On second thought, maybe not. It’s south of the river. And as any proper Londoner will tell you, you just don’t go south of the river!


Mitzi Szereto recruited by NRA (From my cold dead hands...)

Mitzi Chats About All Things Mitzi TV

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Yours truly (that’s me!) recently took some time out to chat with journalist Michael Casey at a local Essex watering hole about my new entrepreneurial Internet television venture Mitzi TV – its origins, its direction, and its future, as well as the business of books, blogging, and social media.

Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Day Out: Shopping at Ikea

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Ikea before photo


I’ll tell you this for free: you just haven’t lived till you’ve visited the Ikea in Thurrock, Essex during school half-term. For those of you not in the know, this is the Ikea located at the (in)famous Lakeside Shopping Centre, a large American-style shopping mall full of the usual retail chains with the requisite disgusting food court and the requisite annoying crowds of shoppers dragging their screaming and bawling children behind them. Lakeside even has a West Ham shop (no surprise, that). Believe it or not, I actually saw a pink tea kettle at a department store in Lakeside. I kid you not. Would you want to drink a cup of tea that came out of a pink kettle? I know I wouldn’t. But plenty of people in Essex do. And no, they aren’t gay men! It’s a Essex girl thing, apparently. (Insert “grimace” emoticon here.)

I had the displeasure of “shopping” at Lakeside once with an ex-boyfriend. Well, I didn’t exactly shop. He only took me there so he could use my wrist to try on watches; he wanted to buy one for his sister’s birthday, and my wrist was daintier than his. I didn’t even get a Starbucks latte out of the gig. Having said that, he did give me his West Ham shirt. I won’t go into that torrid tale; let’s just say that he enjoyed that shirt far more than I did! And if you know anything at all about Essex boys and their single-minded passion for West Ham United… Mind you, I should’ve known the writing was on the wall when he took me to The Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker on an Easter Sunday afternoon. There’s nothing more romantic than graphic images of nuclear annihilation when you’re out with your bloke. Let’s just say that THIS wasn’t the fantasy I wrote about in The New Black Lace Book of Women’s Sexual Fantasies.

As for Ikea (umm… that WAS what we were talking about, right?), I’d finally managed to intimidate one of my loftmen into driving me there. (The begging didn’t work.) Well, you’d have thought you were in Disneyland. Talk about cheap entertainment! Seems like everyone had taken the kiddies out for a day of fun and frolic at the local Ikea. The place was bursting with sprogs (rugrats to you Yanks). If I had been maneuvering the shopping trolley instead of my loftman, I’d have run over a few – and no doubt let out a great big guffaw while doing so. Instead I clung valiantly to my sanity and tried to keep from going beserk. After all, when you’re running short of loftmen (I think I’m going to have to fire one, and the other whom I’ve recently recruited is still having visa issues), you can’t let an opportunity to go bye-bye car ride to Ikea pass you by. I needed to buy a lamp for my bedroom and another for my living room (they died within days of each other – no doubt one of those bonding things you find in long-term relationships where one can’t live without the other). I also broke my very last drinking glass the other day, so I needed a set of new ones. Plus I needed a new kitchen rug, having spilled bleach onto its hapless predecessor. Oh yeah, and I needed some coasters too.

My loftman thought I was a bit overboard in my attitude toward the brats – oops, I mean children. Mind you, I didn’t criticise him for nearly running over an elderly couple in the car park, especially when he thought he’d recognised the man as his old boss. The pair were heading back to their vehicle sans any shopping, clearly fleeing the retail mayhem and thanking their chosen deity that they were done with all that child-rearing nonsense and were now well and happily on their way to their graves. Frankly, I couldn’t blame them. Had I known what lay in wait for me inside the Ikea, I would have taken a rain cheque on the entire shopping expedition and stayed home to do my ironing.

I can hear you saying “Oh, Mitzi, how terribly mean-spirited of you! Children are such a delight!” To that I say, keep them at least 100 feet away from me, if not 1,000! Believe me, I had the patience of a saint trying to get to the department I needed, which inevitably was at the tail end of the store – meaning we had to traverse the entire managerie of this Scandinavian retail warehouse as well as make our way past a hoard of happy breeding families all having a grand day out in gloomy wintry Essex. Were any of these families actually buying anything? Not from what I could see. No. They existed merely to spite me and interfere with my requirement to get what I needed and get the hell out of there. The only thing that offered any respite were a handful of gay male couples out selecting things to feather their nests with. It was obvious they were gay: they were physically fit, good looking, and groomed. No hairs sticking out of their noses or ears or, I’m certain, other locations in which you SO don’t want to see hairs sticking out from. I’ll say this much – in my next life I plan to come back as a gay man. And don’t try to talk me out of it!

After all this murder and mayhem, I nearly wept with relief to experience the peace and quiet of my flat again. Well… except for the fact that I had to spend the next hour fending off yet another proposal of marriage from my loftman, who proclaimed in a rather sinister tone that one day he will marry me. Christ, I didn’t realise I made that good a cuppa – and it was only from a PG Tips teabag, too! Alas, I had to let him down once again, as I simply cannot play favourites with my loftmen. Besides which, I suspect he doesn’t quite believe that a woman can exist who does not desire marriage, let alone harbour the desire to play incubator for the future inhabitants of this doomed planet. I have to admire the lad for his tenacity though, especially since I forced him to go up into my loft again to store some empty suitcases and boxes. But hey, such is life. He left my flat dejected, but nevertheless, warmed by a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

As for me, I’ve got my two new lamps, six new drinking glasses, and six new coasters. And let’s not forget my new kitchen rug!

Ikea after


Three Chavs and a Packet of Crisps

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Mitzi Szereto on the South Bank, London

Well, I’ve barely been back in the UK for 24 hours and I already have an all-new train adventure to tell you about. I mean, I didn’t expect this much excitement so soon after returning home to Blighty, but as they say, “It’s all go round ‘ere!”

It all began when I dragged my jetlagged self into Central London on Saturday to meet a friend for lunch, with us starting out in the South Bank and ending up at a curry house in Soho. Okay, so the vindaloo nearly killed me (more like blew the back of my bloody head off), but I managed to survive both it and the usual swarm of Saturday afternoon humanity one tends to encounter on Oxford Street. I’m sure my face was still beet-red from the crowds and the vindaloo by the time I reached Tottenham Court Road tube station, having to reroute myself there after the big Gaza demonstration screwed up any chances of making it into the Oxford Circus station, let alone crossing the road to John Lewis, where I’d hoped to find an adaptor. Instead I glommed onto two confused-looking women and hurled myself in the opposite direction, just wanting to get the hell out of there asap.

The tube wasn’t very interesting, but my train ride back to Essex was. (If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts you’ll know that something always seems to happen on my train.) Being an early Saturday evening my car was crowded with passengers on their way home from their various outtings in the city, so I sat with a trio of lads, who instantly took me under their protective wings and welcomed me to their little party. I must’ve looked more lost and forlorn than usual, so I was happy for the distraction and hilarity they provided – and they provided it aplenty! Indeed, there was never a dull moment with this charming troika, who started out by offering me polite little smiles, after which proper introductions ensued. Obviously I didn’t tell them that I’m a famous author of both erotic literature and revenge stories. After all, a woman must maintain some aura of mystery, right?

I had a front-row seat as one of them received a phone call, the booming male voice on the other end giving him a right bollocking for not turning up for a job interview. The rest of us were trying to contain our laughter so as not to make the situation any worse for the hapless job seeker, but we weren’t too successful. I don’t usually like to laugh at other people’s misfortunes, but in this case I made an exception. He probably wouldn’t have gotten the job anyway. I mean, if he’d wanted it badly enough he would’ve gone for the interview surely? He soon saw the funny side of it after the caller rang off, whereupon he decided to discuss Michael Jackson until I cut him off, informing him that I can’t stand Michael Jackson.

After disclosing that two of them were aged 19, with the one next to me a seasoned old man of 20, the lad across from me (their chief spokesperson from what I gathered) played a game of “Guess the Accent” and got mine right on the second try (Canadian is usually the first guess). He next began to interview me as to my relationship status, gaping in disbelief when I told him. He digested this information for a moment, then asked politely and respectfully if I’d consider going out with him, only to engage the shy lad beside me into this romantic discussion, suggesting to him that he might “walk the nice lady home” from the train station – that “nice lady” being me. Seems all three of them wanted to walk me home, and it wasn’t even dark yet! Who says there’s no gallantry in the Englishman? – or, for that matter, the Essex chav? And before you scoff, let me say this: I didn’t hear one single curse or foul word pass through the lips of these lads. Now if that isn’t proof that God exists, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, they invited me out for a night on the town (or rather the town we all coincidentally live in). In fact, there was even a mention of a dozen red roses. Although I didn’t give them a definite answer, I didn’t say no either. Just before they got off the train at Romford (they decided to kill some time at The Brewery since I’d said I was jetlagged and planned to just crash at home for the night), I was given the phone number of their head honcho.

I tell you, if an artist had to paint my life, it would definitely be Salvador Da were he still alive. Nevertheless, I have to admit, those lads from the train made me laugh, and they were very sweet and gentlemanly too. I could do worse. (And honey, I have!)

So what do you think? Should I take them up on their offer?

Tweeting in Soho (And No, It Isn’t Illegal!)

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I guess it’s safe to say I’m now officially a social media tart. I’m on everything: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Plaxo, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, and probably some places I’ve completely forgotten about or would prefer not to remember. I even linked up my Facebook status updates to appear as my Twitter updates. Okay, I’m lazy, so sue me.

I recently joined Flickr and it’s been a right larf. I’m now being stalked on there by some Cossack who plays the balalaika (no I am NOT kidding). I’m telling you, he’s way out there, Russian Orthodox and single (oy vey). He looks like he could be straight out of Dr. Zhivago. (Ironically, I’ve a copy of that very tome given to me as a special gift on my bedside table – and I’m seriously considering setting fire to it.) It’s a shame the Cossack doesn’t float my boat, or else I’d be viewing dachas with Russian estate agents as we speak. There’s also a really hot Hungarian guy on my Flickr. And don’t ask me how, but even Robert Scoble got on there. And no, he’s definitely NOT hot. Well, except perhaps to Mrs. Scoble. (Sorry, Bobby! Kiss kiss!!)

Which brings me back to Twitter. I already had a very severe case of laryngitis (that has now developed into bronchitis) before I arrived well armed with Moo cards at their London networking event on Monday evening which was, by a curious twist of fate, called “Twinterval” (it’s got the word “winter” in it, get it?). So trying to shout above the impenetrable din at The Match Bar in Oxford Circus was a major challenge, as was the pushing and shoving by too many people crammed into too small a space. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) I was plied with mango Bellinis courtesy of a free drinks coupon and courtesy of some social media guy from Toronto. So rather than squawking like bird roadkill, I squawked like an injured hawk that hadn’t yet become roadkill. Mind you, the evening was only just beginning.

I ran into a few familiar faces from other networking events I’ve attended recently, including a blogger from France who remembered that I’d been about to take my “Life in the UK” test the last time he saw me. In fact, I’d forgotten all about it until he asked how I did. (If you read my blog post “How Many Chavs Does It Take To Screw In a Lightbulb” you’ll know that I passed.) A number of other people came up to me too, recognising me from Facebook and other sites, which was kind of cool in a rather friendly stalkerish way. There’s no anonymity on the internet; you’re out there naked for the entire world to see!

When it became clear that my oral communication skills were severely hampered and weren’t likely to improve, I set off trying to locate what was left of the free munchies (I have my priorities right). I tell you, that crowd chowed down nearly everything in the place, leaving only the tables, chairs and couches behind. I ended up parking myself at a table full of people I didn’t know or speak to just so I could eat the hummus and pita bread they weren’t remotely interested in but had somehow been fortunate enough to have ended up with. Talk about eat and run.

Now I realise that I tend to fluctuate between being a social star on one end and being a hermit on the other, but I find it rather curious that what was supposed to be a networking event consisted of several “networkers” sitting solo at tables typing into their laptops. Am I missing something about this social networking gig or what? Or were these people trying to demonstrate their geekiness by disengaging from the entire process of face-to-face networking and interaction with other human beings? I’d be willing to bet they were continually updating their Twitter status too – and updating it with snappy little tweets that made it sound as if they were really living the high life. (Sounds a bit like Facebook, eh?)

I don’t know if this is coincidence or not, but suddenly a slew of people are now following me on Twitter. I have no idea where they’re coming from or how they found me, but hey, if they want to follow me, so be it. I won’t complain. Isn’t that the entire point of this exercise? Unless there is no point, and I’m missing the point.

I suppose no evening out in London – or at least an evening out involving me – would be complete without its fair share of science fiction. Just as I was leaving the event, I was given a little gift bag, which thankfully I didn’t open on the underground, or worse yet, on the train back home to Oi Oi Essex. Mind you, I could have made some really good friends very quickly had I removed the contents of my goodie bag. What was in said bag, you ask? Well, try this on for size (ahem): condoms, massage melts, a “love ring” (yeah, there’s a ruder name for this and you damn well know what it is!), and something called a “Curlywurly”. (For some reason this makes me think of scissors and the importance of personal grooming.) I don’t even understand why this stuff was handed out. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the nature of the event, and as far as I know, the sponsors for the evening included the likes of Sun Startup Essentials and Openwave, not the Jiggy-Jiggy Sex Emporium. Unless I was the only one who received these treasures and everyone else was given a more respectable bag of Lotto scratch cards and cards for free international phone calls and packets of Maynards Wine Gums.

Hmm… I wonder if my dishy Hungarian might have had a hand in this? 😉

Three Essex Boys and a Loft

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

How many eligible single women out there can claim they’ve had three Essex boys in their loft? What about how many eligible single erotic-fiction writing women? Bet you can’t even think of one!

Well, please allow me to introduce myself…

And, while I’m at it, let me introduce my three official loft men: Dave, Stu, and Steve.

Any time I need a suitcase down (or for that matter, one putting back up), I send off a text or email, and invariably someone bites. Even my landlady’s boyfriend has bitten. Hey, someone needs to negotiate that folding metal ladder and the multitude of suitcases and boxes and miscellany I have stored in my loft just waiting to come crashing down through the ceiling. I think I even have an old laptop stored in there. I can’t really be sure though, since I’ve never ventured up, preferring to leave this rather precarious task to others. For all I know, there might even be some Polish builders living up there. Thankfully my flat is only seven years old, or else I’d be worrying about the Germans too.

It’s becoming quite a competition, this loft business. In fact, I’m concerned there might soon be bloodshed. These lads are getting very possessive of my loft, grilling me as to who was in there before, and when. I mean, it’s MY loft, and what I choose to do with it is my bloody business. But no, I’ve got these guys asking me all sorts, as if expecting me to slip up and admit to some wild orgiastic scenario. And it got worse when Steve appeared on the scene. You see, I needed a suitcase down in a hurry, as I’d made last-minute plans to leave the country. I first texted Dave (whom, it should be noted, my loft lost its cherry to), but he couldn’t give me a definite answer and frankly, I was starting to panic. So I emailed Steve – who just so happens to be my landlady’s boyfriend. He’s usually the one who comes by my flat to do minor repairs that need doing, plus he works nearby, therefore I reckoned he was my best bet on this occasion. Well, Dave was none too happy when he found out that Steve (who’s a West Ham supporter) had been tinkering about in what he assumed was his territory. Then there’s Stu, who’s not exactly over the moon about Dave (and he doesn’t even know about Steve!). The other day Stu came by to take me grocery shopping and to sort out my suitcase for my upcoming residential weekend erotic writing workshop on the Isle of Wight. As he stood balancing precariously on the ladder, he quizzed me suspiciously as to when I’d last had Dave up my loft, seeming visibly relieved when I admitted that it had been awhile. Guess I’d better not tell him that Steve was just here this afternoon. It might be more than he can take.

Now don’t go getting any crazy notions that I make a habit out of collecting loft men, particularly loft men from Essex. But can I help it if I have three Essex boys all battling to get into my loft? I mean, it’s a nice cosy loft, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that so many want to get into it. Plus it has good insulation, which is a real perk in a cold country like England. I admit it’s a tight space, not to mention a tad dark up there, but hey, that’s what torches (flashlights) are for! And no, it isn’t all wham bam thank you ma’am either. I don’t have that kind of loft – and my loft men know it too. Why, it so happens that one of my loft men has even proposed marriage to me – and more than once, I might add. (And no, it wasn’t my landlady’s boyfriend! You think I want my rent raised???) The last time he (my maritally minded loft man) came by, he brought me an early Christmas present: an ice cream maker, the plan being for me to use it to make some Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream (or a bastardised version of it anyway) whenever my little heart desired. Last Christmas another of my loft men brought a gift for Teddy in addition to the ones he brought for me. I tell you, when you’ve got loft men trying to impress your bear, you know they mean business.

Maybe I should consider doing a new version of my book Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers, altering it to Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Loft Men. Or maybe I shouldn’t.

Oh, well, an eligible single American erotic-writing lass in Blighty can never have too many loft men, can she? 😉

Camden Crawl

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
Mitzi Szereto in Camden Town

Mitzi Szereto in Camden Town

Ever have one of those days where you know that if you stay home you might very likely chuck yourself out from an upstairs window? Well, that about sums up last Sunday. Therefore I decided to go to Camden Town for the afternoon to distract myself and scout out some bargains, despite the fact I hate to shop (though necessity prevails). As a starving writer and a woman who refuses to give in to the moneyed gentlemen she’s met over the years who’ve offered to keep her in high style (though as we all know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch), I’m not in the leagues of Bond Street or Harrods; there are no Prada handbags or expensive designer dresses in my closet. So it’s Camden Town for me, though many of the shops there are still out of my reach! (Let’s get my books and short stories selling, alreet?)

The day began in a manner that made me wish I’d stayed home, despite the dire temptation of the upstairs window. My train journey into the city consisted of having to listen to the Essex geezah behind me making and receiving endless calls on his mobile phone, most of which were of him threatening his mate with dire consequences if he didn’t cough up the 450 quid owed him when he got to his house. Okay, fine, it didn’t affect MY life, save for the fact that his language was highly inappropriate at half past eleven in the morning (just as it would have been at half past midnight). Mind you, it seems the majority of men in Essex cannot speak without every other word being an obscenity, most of which are particularly offensive to women. If you’ve ever encountered any Essex males (usually visible in a crowd by their West Ham shirts), I’m sure I need not elaborate.

Things really heated up when the fellow seated across from me (whom it was later revealed was an American tourist to our fair isle) decided to take a photograph of the landscape outside the train window, which apparently was directly in the range of Mr. Geezah’s personage. Well, Mr. Geezah took none too kindly to what he construed as a photo being taken of his fine Essex self, and things began to turn nasty. In caveman-speak, he laid into the fellow, demanding to know if he’d been photographed and why, which escalated into a threat to take the camera and smash it (and, I gather, smash its owner’s face as well). The exchange went on for a good fifteen minutes, in between more phone calls as to the whereabouts of his money. Finally we were left in peace when he exited the train – no doubt to pursue the poor bastard who owed him the 450 quid, as somehow I doubt he was heading off to a late Sunday service.

I eventually made it to Camden Town, which was bustling with people out for a day of posing, shopping, and eating. Is there a recession on? If so, I saw no evidence of it in Londontown. Mind you, I was hard-pressed to actually see any actual English people buying anything – the only ones who seemed to be taking out their wallets were Spaniards, Italians, and Russians. Oh, and me, who by a stroke of luck did manage to snag some bargains, which included haggling a market trader down by 25 quid on a purchase. I’d managed to recruit a friend along to play mule by carrying my bags and preventing me from going psycho in the crowd (I don’t “do” crowds). Happening upon a pub that served Fruli (my favourite strawberry beer) on tap didn’t hurt either. I suppose I got in my friend’s good graces when I naysayed his potential purchase of a rather pricey belt made up of bullets that looked like something from out of a spaghetti western. The thing looked fabulous dangling from a wire, but it quickly lost its appeal when worn. Although his intention was to wear it to heavy metal gigs, I was certain he’d end up being arrested as a suicide bomber before he’d even made it through the door.

I’m now wondering if maybe I should’ve bought the bullet belt myself, and possibly a gun to go along with it. It might come in handy next time I’m on the train…