Posts Tagged ‘travel and places’

Mitzi, Teddy and Kevin Spacey in the Garden of Good and Evil

Sunday, February 26th, 2012
Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo hanging out Savannah's on River Street

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo hanging out on Savannah's River Street

For those of you who have been following our travel adventures on Facebook, you’ll likely have noticed that my famous bear Teddy Tedaloo and yours truly are recently back from a trip to the South, y’all! – in particular, Savannah, Georgia, land of moss-draped live oaks and more ghosts than folk who are still alive to draw a breath.

Ted had an invite to visit actor Kevin Spacey and I had an invite to visit the cemetery – the Bonaventure Cemetery, to be precise. If that sounds like a quirky way to spend a holiday, then you clearly don’t know us very well, as quirky is our modus operandi – in fact, the quirkier the better!

Teddy Tedaloo visits Kevin Spacey by Forsyth Square

Teddy Tedaloo visits Kevin Spacey by Forsyth Square

While Ted was busy sipping mint juleps with our Kev (aka “Jim Williams“), I was busy dodging branches of moss-laden oaks (along with a few headstones) looking for Talen Dashkovar, the handsome (read “hottie”) blood-sucking vampiric star of the hit American television series set in Savannah called “The Blood Moon Kiss” and, by coincidence, the star of my Southern Gothic short story of the very same name featured in my recently published anthology Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic RomanceNow there’s a coincidence you can really sink your teeth into!

Looking for Talen Dashkovar in the Bonaventure Cemetery

Looking for Talen Dashkovar in the Bonaventure Cemetery

I suppose it was inevitable I’d meet up with him at some point, especially when you consider his close resemblance to Ian Somerhalder (aka “Damon Salvatore”) from another hit American TV series, “The Vampire Diaries,” which is an obvious rip-off of “The Blood Moon Kiss.” (They’re just lucky I haven’t sued.)

Fortunately, I managed to survive my cemetery date without losing too many pints of blood. As for Teddy, I’m afraid he ended up worse for the wear from his own social engagement. You see, he really tied one on with Mr. Spacey. I do declare, I even heard The Lady Chablis had to intervene between the two gents before they came to blows. Rumour has it they got into a scuffle over a woman. Or was it a pint? Knowing Ted, it must’ve been a pint. He’s a bear who has his priorities right – and he’s not inclined to lose in battle. Hmmm… I wonder if all our years of living in Britain has made him a wee bit too blokey. I do worry about him sometimes.

Teddy Tedaloo kicks Kevin Spacey's ass

Teddy Tedaloo kicks Kevin Spacey's ass

Anyway, it turns out we felt right at home in Savannah. We ran into a couple of good old boys in the form of an Irishman and a Scotsman on the very same day – now I ask you, how much better can it get? It’s always reassuring to meet people from the old country when you’re travelling. The fact that the Scotsman later plied Teddy with pints of Scottish ale at a local Scottish pub is another story.

Needless to say, at least we didn’t get thrown out of the joint. I’m just glad Spacey didn’t turn up, especially after the earlier bloodshed. I suspect Kev’s going to want some kind of rematch – I mean, why else do you think he’s always hanging around London? That Old Vic theatre stuff is just an excuse. Truth is, he’s stalking Ted. And yes, I agree this isn’t the most dignified behaviour for a man who’s received an Academy Award.

As for dignified, I’m afraid our trip took a slight turn for the worse when Savannah’s version of the Old Bill decided to take matters in hand.

We'll go quietly, Officer.

We'll go quietly, Officer.

Oh, well… I can always write a prison novel.

 

 

 

 

 

A Night Out with the Homies on Hollywood Boulevard

Monday, July 11th, 2011
Mitzi Szereto with homies Vicki Hendricks and Teddy Tedaloo

Mitzi Szereto with homies Vicki Hendricks and Teddy Tedaloo

I bet you were thinking Tinseltown. Well, you don’t need to go to California to have a surreal night out. Or perhaps it’s just me. The surreal tends to attach itself to me like stepping in a piece of freshly chewed gum on the sidewalk. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get it off the sole of your shoe.

That’s what happened on a recent sweltering summer evening out in Hollywood (Florida, that is) with my noir author friend Vicki Hendricks and my famous sidekick bear Teddy Tedaloo. No, there wasn’t any chewing gum, but there was plenty of weirdness packed into a few hours.

Teddy Tedaloo discovers margaritas

Teddy Tedaloo discovers margaritas

It all began with the margaritas (yeah, blame the booze, right?). You see, Ted’s never tried them before, being a real ale bear and all. I must say he was definitely on his best behaviour, unlike some of his more infamous  behaviour in certain British pubs (one of which involved a brawl with a monkey). Our trio sucked up those margaritas in a flash, feeling no pain. Summer in South Florida is excruciatingly hot – you gotta do something to ease the pain.

After chowing down on Mexican food (to help soak up the margaritas), we happened on this curious little place that offered “bubble tea” and an evening of open mic. As we deliberated over whether or not to go in, we sort of got railroaded by some old beat poet dude, who no doubt wanted to pack the audience with some friendly faces. I made the mistake of joking that maybe I should do a reading from my new book Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts and that was it: he insisted we come in. The place seemed to have lots of guys there, none of whom looked like the kind of guys who go to poetry nights in little clubs that serve bubble tea.

We sat on some high sofa thingie and perused the menu, trying to figure out which flavours of bubble tea we wanted. The poet was by this time in full swing, and we weren’t even able to catch our breath and flag down the tea guy before some comedian took over. I must confess that I’ve been away from America for many years now and his humour was pretty much lost on me. He did a lot of “short guy” humour, since he was short. Mind you, I was never one for American humour or comedians, save for The Marx Brothers and Jackie Mason. Therefore it was a relief to me when he finished.

Teddy Tedaloo meets a local belly dancer

Teddy Tedaloo meets a local belly dancer

We never did get our bubble tea. (I should add that we went to this place a year ago and never got our bubble tea then either.) Instead we discreetly sneaked out of the joint, deciding to head to this kava place near where we parked the car. We got waylaid along the way by a belly dancer, at which point Ted insisted on being photographed with her to make all his mates on Facebook jealous. The lass must have been quite taken with him, since I later found a slip of paper with a phone number on it in the pocket of his trousers.

Like the bubble tea place, we didn’t expect the kava joint to still be in business since the last time we’d popped in. But there they were, empty, but there, save for some guy playing chess with what appeared to be a woman in a burka or one of Papa Lazarou‘s gypsy wives – I couldn’t tell in the mood lighting. The kava bartender was smoking something that smelled mighty familiar, and when I made a comment about the smell, he said it was sage. Yeah, right, pull the other one, mate! When we inquired about the kava, he launched into a rapid-fire spiel about the merits of the stuff, but said we shouldn’t try it because we’d been drinking. I’d only had one margarita, but I’m telling you this: he sounded exactly like Dan Aykroyd in the film “Dragnet.” (Cue the virgin Connie Swail.)

With the kava now nipped in the bud by Mr. Aykroyd, we decided to take advantage of the chair massage on offer by the resident chair massage girl. The fact that it had started to piss down with rain didn’t make us too inclined to head back outside either. Ted, however, decided to decline the massage, as he didn’t want to get oil on his fur. He was having enough misery with the South Florida heat and humidity, as was I. Can’t say I blamed him for opting out. Frankly, I don’t know how any sane person (or bear) would voluntarily live in this climate.

As for our surreal night out in Hollywood, it came to a pleasant end, with both Vicki and myself feeling slightly more relaxed from the massage. Heck, we’ll probably do it all again next year – and hopefully remember not to drink so we can finally try that kava. Well, that’s if they’re still in business next year. You just never know these days.

The Case of the Missing Glove

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

No, this isn’t the name of my new crime novel. Yes, I am writing a crime novel, but it’s nowhere near to completion for me to spill the beans about it. Worry not, however, for you’ll soon be hearing lots more about my raunchy and outrageous new novel Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts due out in spring!

As for the case of the missing glove, it is, in fact, a real case, and it takes place on the dark foggy streets of Londontown. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t so foggy when it happened…

Teddy Tedaloo and his mate enjoy a pint of Fruli beer

Teddy Tedaloo and his mate enjoy a pint of Fruli beer

The mystery all began thanks to my famous social butterfly and bon-vivant bear Teddy Tedaloo and his Christmas meet-up with a mate of his, who was coming down by train from “oop north.” Ted was in fine Christmas cheer attired in a dapper Santa suit, replete with hat, which ended up coming in quite handy for warding off the freezing Siberian cold that had draped itself like an old lady’s shawl over our little island. Of course no meet-up worth its weight in ale can kick off without first paying a visit to a favourite drinking establishment in Covent Garden – particularly one that serves Fruli strawberry beer. We were already halfway to the floor drinking our lunch when Ted’s Uncle Geoff turned up, at which point things began to lean a wee bit toward the surreal. Though frankly, I’ve become so used to surreal that if Salvador Dalí gave me a melting clock for Christmas, I’d likely not bat an eyelash. (The fact that he’s dead probably wouldn’t faze me either.)

Teddy Tedaloo on Thames River Christmas cruise

Teddy Tedaloo on Thames River Christmas cruise

We set off down to the river, where we availed ourselves of a Christmas boat cruise on the Thames. Little did we expect to be entertained by a commentator who could have put any of the top British comedians to shame, he was that good. Alas, nearly all of his humorous jibes went over the heads of our mostly foreign sailing companions, who seemed more interested in speaking as loudly as possible and instigating their screaming children to do likewise. But hey, it added to the hilarity of the moment, as did the gingery fizzy cocktail we were served. I mean, we really needed a drink to sober up after all that Fruli!

Once we’d teetered off the boat, we sobered up even more in the Arctic blast and had a look at the Christmas market set up on the South Bank, which featured among all the sweet sellers and soap pushers a babushka lady selling religious icons and statues from Minsk, Belarus. Now I ask you, what else would you possibly expect to find on London’s South Bank but a babushka lady from a convent in Minsk? It’s the first thing you think of, right? I have a feeling that Ted’s uncle was rather taken with her, but he decided to play hard to get by going off to buy some sweets, which we later stole off him, afterward topping up our hunger with some roast pork and sage stuffing sandwiches, which we ate while standing up, our frigid fingers clinging to our food for dear life. We next got some rubberised French crepes that were a challenge to eat, particularly with a plastic fork. These were eaten to the accompaniment of a musician whose hands were so frozen he could barely get any sound out of his guitar. Yeah, baby, it was cold.

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo observe safely from the sidelines

Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo observe safely from the sidelines

We rounded off the evening by schlepping across the river yet again, this time to Somerset House to watch the ice skating, where we were joined by yet another mate of Ted’s. Enter the missing glove. Apparently somewhere between Waterloo Bridge and the ice rink Geoff discovered his right glove had gone missing. With no sign of Sherlock Holmes (Elementary, my dear Watson!), it was up to us to solve the mystery. A frantic search ensued, involving much harassment of the security people, neither of which yielded a result. We ended up inside the viewing galleries, warming up with tepid and obscenely overpriced cups of “hot” cider and dancing to some very peculiar Balkan-esque music being piped in, whereupon it was decided we’d find another pub once we’d escorted our out-of-towners safely to the tube station.

The pub never happened, which might, in retrospect, be a good thing. We were in the vicinity of Charing Cross station when our glove man, who was to catch us up after one more check with Somerset House’s lost-and-found, sent a text that he was returning back across the river to the South Bank to search for his glove. Had it been me, I’m not sure I would’ve gone to that much bother on a freezing cold night in a city that is exhausting even in the best of times. However, it was probably the temperature that drove him to seek out his glove rather than endure further torment.

Later that night when I got home, I texted Geoff to see if he’d found his errant glove. I didn’t receive a reply. My first thought was that he’d been mugged during his search or possibly even run off with the babushka lady. Indeed, perhaps his claim to return to hunt for his glove on the South Bank had been but a ruse to put us off the scent. I mean, you just never know with men.

The next morning I had an email informing me of the sad news: the black glove was never found. On the bright side, however, Geoff happened upon a right-handed green glove that some other poor soul had lost, thereby giving him a proper (albeit unmatched) pair. The last I heard, he was still wearing it!

So now you know what happens to all those lonely gloves you see scattered around London. They eventually find a new partner, and live happily ever after.

Happy holidays!

“Bear Necessities” from Mitzi TV

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo enjoying a post-Mitzi TV pint.

Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo enjoying a post-Mitzi TV pint in Kensington.

When you have your own Web TV channel, everyone wants to get into the act. Suddenly the entire world is getting in touch with a “brilliant” idea for a segment (which generally involves sticking their mug in front of the camera!). Now I’m very good at saying no, especially when said idea hasn’t the slightest connection to what Mitzi TV is about (or, for the matter, is even passingly “brilliant”). But there are times when an idea, not to mention the personality behind it, can be awfully persuasive.

Therefore how could I possibly refuse when the famous Teddy Tedaloo, Production Assistant Extraordinaire at Mitzi TV, suggested we cover a teddy bear festival?

The result is the new Mitzi TV video “Bear Necessities”!

The Mitzi TV crew head into the wilds of central London to seek out some furry characters at the Hugglets Teddy Bear Festival (http://www.hugglets.co.uk).

“Mitzi TV Bloopers #1” from Mitzi TV

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Well, I suppose it was inevitable: I’d have to screw up somewhere. And what better place to do so than right in front of a video camera for the entire world to see? Okay, I could have kept it hidden, saved my professional pride. But that would be cheating.

And you don’t want me to cheat, do you?

Because sometimes even Mitzi doesn’t get it right!

“Born To Be Wild” – The New Video From Mitzi TV

Friday, September 25th, 2009
Mitzi TV video shoot

Mitzi Szereto at Mitzi TV "Born To Be Wild" video shoot

Mitzi TV head to the pastoral English countryside for some peace and relaxation, only to get a lot more than they bargained for when a hoard of Harley Davidson riders descends on their quiet country hotel.

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.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
Mitzi TV "Eels" video shoot

Mitzi Szereto at Mitzi TV "Prowling For Eels" video shoot

…It’s Mitzi TV!

And just what did you think it was, a man with three buttocks?

In case you didn’t already know (like where you been, mate?), Mitzi TV is the new web TV channel to head to for all things quirky and eccentric in London. We’ve gone from crazy pub singalongs, eating jellied eel, and chatting about classic cars with such luminaries as Formula 1 racecar driver/BBC TV presenter Tiff Needell, couture shoe designer Jimmy Choo and Batman – to Morris dancing with software geeks. And no, this wasn’t in the same episode!

Of course, I couldn’t create all this madness and mayhem without the talents of cameraman extraordinaire/stand-up diamond geezah Steve Beer and cutie-pie theme musicman extraordinaire Andrew Shatnyy (Facebook/MySpace). And let’s not forget the talents of my handsome (albeit furry) production assistant extraordinaire Teddy Tedaloo, who also provides onscreen talent.

As for those buttocks I mentioned, how do you deal with a governmental body that has all the common sense of not even one buttock?

In my never-ending quest to bring you the ever-quirky and eccentric (while still managing to stay out of the loony bin), I recently found myself entering into a rather annoying fracas with a governmental body: the Royal Parks people. I knew I should’ve cut through all those buzzing drones and biscuit-eating/tea drinking middle men (and women) and gone straight to the top, specifically HRH. Now Lizzie’s a queen who gets things done!

I am referring to a recent attempt by yours truly to line up permission to shoot a Mitzi TV video at Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park. Because it’s a “Royal” park, I knew I’d need to obtain an official okay. I mean, it wasn’t like we’d be there with a little digital camera and could subtly blend into the crowd. We run a professional operation with professional equipment. (Plus people have commented on that big-ass mike I use, so “subtle” is not the word that springs to mind when we’re talking a Mitzi TV shoot.) Since Speaker’s Corner necessitates a substantial police presence (some of the speakers and audience members can get pretty wound up apparently), I didn’t fancy being led away by the Old Bill, therefore I decided to follow the proper channels to make the shoot happen. It’s a quirky kind of event, and Mitzi TV is nothing if not quirky, so it didn’t seem likely I’d be given an “on yer bike, missus!”.

When I received an email replying to my query, I thought, hey, this is great – sounds like we’re in! Here follows the exact text that refers directly to the issue about who and what controls the area in question:

Speaker’s Corner is an integral part of Hyde Park, which is one of London’s eight Royal Parks. The Royal Parks are owned by the Crown, but were passed to the Government under the Crown Lands Act 1851 to be managed as public open space. They are now the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who delegates their day to day management to The Royal Parks.  They are funded by the taxpayer.

Mitzi TV Talent

Teddy Tedaloo in Mitzi TV video opener

“Public open space.” “Funded by the taxpayer.” Well, I’m no lawyer, but this sounds like the definition of a public place – and you do not need permission to film in a public place (not yet anyway). That is why it’s called “PUBLIC.” That statement about being funded by the taxpayer put a further stamp of approval on the process, because guess who’s a taxpayer? Yeah, moi. Just to make certain there was no misinterpretation on my part as to what clearly looked to be a clear description of who controls the park, I messaged once more to confirm that I’d be allowed to shoot some video of the speakers, and asked which specific days they were there spouting off.

The reply came back that these Soapbox Annies and Alis are there on Sundays only, and yes, I would need permission to film, but my message was being forwarded to the Appropriate Party. Not wanting to waste time, I shot off an email to this A.P., explaining what I wished to do and that I’d like to take care of the details as quickly as possible. A.P. messaged back, informing me that they do not permit filming at Speaker’s Corner on Sundays, but I could phone them to discuss the matter further.

Umm… did they not just tell me that I couldn’t film there on a Sunday? So what was there to discuss, the weather? Of course we all know how the Brits love to talk about the weather.

So did this mean they’d give me permission to film at Speaker’s Corner on a day that was not a Sunday? Now forgive me if I’m wrong (or extremely stupid), but what’s the point of filming speakers at Speaker’s Corner when there aren’t any speakers there to film? This is the very question I put forth to A.P. in my reply, also mentioning the fact that plenty of people have shot videos there – how could this be possible if they needed to obtain permission? Needless to say, my email did not receive a response.

Mitzi TV "Car" video shoot

Mitzi Szereto at Mitzi TV "Baby You Can Drive My Car" video shoot

Now I have nothing against doing a bit of guerrilla filming – I’ve got more cajones than any of the men I’ve known. However, what I do have something against is being harassed (and led away by handcuffs) by the police. There’s a time and place for handcuffs – and this isn’t one of them. Besides which, London coppers aren’t as cute as they used to be. They’re getting a bit wide, if you know what I mean, looking more and more like their doughnut-eating American counterparts. So we’d better forget the handcuffs for now.

As for Mitzi TV, keep an eye out for me at Speaker’s Corner, because I don’t like taking “no” for an answer.

Guess it’s a good thing they abolished beheading in this country…

MITZI TV

I am the Passenger: A Eulogy

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

The perennial passenger.

He started off in Belfast and finished up in Sheffield, a city famous for steel, the Arctic Monkeys, and the film The Full Monty, among other things.

So what does an Irishman who’d come by with his guitar to serenade me with weepy Irish songs (the Irish can compete with the Hungarians for misery, I’ll tell you that) have in common with a classic Iggy Pop song? Well, it’s the kind of thing that could only have happened to Yudge.

I’d been living in Leicester at the time, and one afternoon he’d taken the train down from Sheffield, armed with gee-tar and a bottle of red. We met up in town first, had a couple of pints at this dodgy pub full of arguing Scotsmen, then landed in a tapas place with a pitcher of sangria rapidly disappearing between us. After that it was back to mine, where Teddy and I were regaled with tragic musical tales of lovers lost at sea and potatoes that refused to grow – all this to the accompaniment of that very potent bottle of red. In between this melodic misery we had the comic relief of Iggy Pop – and I made my mate sing “The Passenger” at least three times, too. Damn, even now I still love that song!

When the bottle had run dry and we’d likewise run dry of songs (not even The Beatles were sacrosanct), I realised I either had to offer my sofa for the night or pack this Irish crooner into a taxi. The taxi won out, since there was plenty of time to catch an early evening train back up north to Sheffield. However, when the clock struck midnight (okay, the digital face on my bedside clock) and I hadn’t received so much as email or text, I became concerned; it was only an hour’s journey. I texted, I phoned, neither of which yielded a result. Where in hell had he vanished to? Had he run into a mate and gone down the pub? – or worse, run into his estranged wife and her gangster boyfriend? There was nothing I could do but go to bed and hope for the best. He was a grown man – surely he could look after himself. He may have had the heart and soul of a poet, but he’d grown up on a rough estate in Belfast.

The following afternoon the phone rang. No, it wasn’t Sheffield’s version of the Old Bill trying to touch me for bail money. It was the errant Yudge, telling me that never again would he go near red wine; from now on he’d stick to white. It seems he’d fallen asleep on the train and ended up in Leeds – and there were no more trains back down to Sheffield. Thus while I’d been frantically staring at my clock, he’d been wandering about Leeds city centre armed only with his guitar and a terrified expression, being eyed up by all sorts of shifty characters, until he finally ducked into a hotel that had a vacancy on offer at the extortionate rate of 160 quid. It ended up being the most expensive day out this “passenger” ever had. Clearly, this was no story that was destined to see print in a volume of my Erotic Travel Tales anthologies!

Now I’m not trying to upset anyone who might be from Leeds (heartfelt apologies to the Kaiser Chiefs!), but nearly everyone I know who’s been to Leeds has run into a spot of bad luck. One guy I know went there for a night out with his mates and ended up having the crap beaten out of him by some local lads just because he walked down the wrong street. Another guy I know had his wallet stolen from out of his jacket pocket while having dinner at a restaurant (along with his return train ticket home to the safety of rural Lincolnshire). Now I’ve been to Leeds, and I managed to get out unscathed. Mind you, I did leave before dark – and in the safety of a Peugeot that sped away on the M1 with pedal to the metal! So in my opinion, Yudge had a lucky escape.

Alas, he died three years ago this coming August Bank Holiday weekend.

On the day of his funeral, I had to fly to Greece to teach one of my erotic writing workshops on the island of Skiathos. He’d often spoken of moving back to Greece, where he’d spent the early days of his marriage. Since I couldn’t make the funeral (I don’t believe in funerals anyway), I thought it more significant to bury his photo in the sand at the beach. Afterward, I went to light a candle for him at a little church that I found open during siesta. It was empty, save for a handful of other candles that had been lit. Half an hour later I returned to look for the priest and hopefully communicate to him to say a prayer for Yudge (he was Irish Catholic, though I doubt he’d have minded being Greek Orthodox for a day). Unfortunately, there was no sign of the priest – or of anyone, for that matter. Nor was there any sign of the candle I’d lit. The other candles were still there, burning away – but mine had vanished. And yes, I’d put a euro into the box!

Was this my friend’s idea of a joke? Because there was no earthly explanation for that missing candle. It’s a shame Mitzi TV wasn’t around back then – we could’ve done a Greek Tales of the Unexpected!

It took a year before I stopped expecting my phone to ring at 1am in the morning. We thought nothing of calling each other at outrageous hours – we’d usually be up anyway. Perhaps we both suffered from the same malady: he always told me we were too delicate for this world.

He was right. And so was Iggy when he wrote that song.

My mate Yudge was, indeed, the passenger. And I’m willing to bet anything he still is!

Click here: http://www.youtube.com

“Knees Up Mother Brown” – The New Video From Mitzi TV

Monday, August 10th, 2009
Mitzi TV video shoot

Mitzi Szereto at Mitzi TV "Knees Up Mother Brown" video shoot

Mitzi TV go for a right old knees-up at a proper authentic English “local”, The Duke of Kendal pub in Central London, where all forms of madness ensue. From colourful characters to rude Cockney songs and operatic arias, this is English eccentricity at its very finest!

Visit the official Mitzi TV website at: http://mitziszereto.com/tv