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Tilebury Events - What's going on and how'd it go?

Fiona Davies

1 November


The end game?

Put it to bed? Is this the end? Have the forces of good won?

Tentatively, I think yes. The reins of newspaperly power remain firmly in Fran's grasp. Decimated Doreen has sacked her lawyer for consorting with the enemy (more below) and there is internal stife between the prime movers of her camp.

All she's managed this month is a petulant missive. So we're done...

I think... (hope)

But what a good story!

The Story from your correspondent on the spot.

I had to go to work, so I only got back at about five and ran, well power-minced cos my new shoosies are a bit tight, straight to the New Inn to see what the puffs of white smoke were telling the tribes of the vatican (might have got a bit mixed up there). And straight into a pushy, foot-stampy little handbag fight. Lots of heart pumping and fight-or-flight but I managed to stay calm. You can trust my objective-i-ness, dear reader.

There was the ballot boxes with, of all people Charly-warly Bent-Habbits presiding (how did she get that gig?), on one side of the saloon. Opposite, at a table by the window, old Dr D-B was sitting surrounded by tablets and paperwork and empty G&T glasses with a little sign saying "Exit poll research." Which is what exactly?

Well that is pretty much what Lord/Lady Arty Heather Reed-person seemed to be asking. Obviously I tried to help out at the debate. Essentially, the Doc was struggling to express her purpose without slurring the words, while Heather seemed to think her being there was outrageous in itself. Odd really - as Dr D-B is usually in the Saloon surely her presence can't have been a surprise.

That, however, was when Kim turned up. She didn't seem too pleased to see me, which bearing in mind she seems to have been poking about in my underwear drawer, (sorry Rev, I can't help it if she's more interested in my lingerie than yours) seemed a bit ungrateful.

Well the handbags got a bit more violent and there was lots of screeching, above which I obviously kept a reserved calm. Kim seemed to be suggesting that my column was everything which was wrong with the Harbinger and Dr D-B said that her research suggested that Doreen would be editor by the morning so we'd all be on the scrap-heap anyway. Then she said something about how Kim was overreacting, which inevitably meant that Kim overreacted. Not a brilliant bit of pyschology if I can say so Doctor Brenda! Well Kim stormed off leaving us to clean up the pint-glass she'd thrown at the Doc and Heather Reed-person also stalked off.

Panic and the hour cometh-ing.

Well the Doc was getting a bit overwrought and the returning officer (Ha Ha!) Char-lean Tweed-Harris was flapping about getting in the way trying to calm things down. But the key point seemed to be that the polls were against Fran. This was not good and a little spilt beer wasn't worth crying over.

Voting was going to finish at nine, and the hour was about seven, which meant that it most definitely had cometh. However, it wasn't obvious what could be done.

Well it took about twenty minutes to get the Doc to tell me who hadn't voted yet and what was going to happen. During that time Arch-Alia turned up. Being fair, A-A covered herself in a bit of glory this time - the cometh-ing of the hour had meant not just one woman had cometh but two of us had!

Council of war and we rushed (Alia like a rotund whippet in her trainers and me speed-tottering in my heels) out to see who we could energise. A-A looped clockwise down T'Mas Broad and I looped anti-clockwise along the High. She got to the Ship Inn first because I got held up with a group of boys I met in the square. It took me a few minutes to explain to them why they needed to come with me.

The Ship in a Storm.

The Ship was stuffed. It was a residency night and Cold Shoulder were a couple of songs into their set. The only breathing space was around the People's Priest who was sitting alone at a table for four. Star Struck was there wearing clothes, Miss Bump in slimming black and Little Mel with the designer handbag she bought with the insurance money when her last one was stolen in Taunton. Veve Balantain and the Persecuted Songstress were on stage Kirsten K-W was at the bar. Particularly interesting was Doreen's pet (and pert) lawyer, Felicity Nuttall hanging around talking to some of the boys. She seemed to be off duty and perhaps relieved to be away from her client.

Alia was going from table to table and her mates were nodding in agreement. But no-one had gotten up. Me and the boys I'd found pushed our way through to the front and Cold Shoulder reached the end of their song.

Staging a come-back.

So I jumped up on the stage and nearly turned my ankle but - thank you Veve - they let me take the mic anyway. I got everyone to shut up and listen to me by singing a top-A (approximately) at the top ofmy voice until the babble stopped. Then I offered everyone a deal.

If everyone in the pub went to vote I'd give them the treat of their lives. What did they most want to see on the stage? Thank you to the handful who suggested I strip off. Happily I still had a card up my sleeve before it came to that. (Maybe another time)

Which was the ultimate Tilebury music event of all time ever. Who wanted to hear a super band? Who wanted to find out what Tilebury really could produce? Who wanted Cold Shoulder with guest vocalist - the boy I'd found in the market square getting out of his car at the end of his national tour - Jimmy Keegan?

Saviours of the Village

The cheering was too loud for either Jimmy or Cold Shoulder to refuse. Jimbo was up on stage and Veve was rolling the drums before the applause died. But I made them promise first. first everyone in the pub had to raise their hands to show they'd go vote afterwards. And they did - even the ones who might not be my greatest fans got a stare from Alia and raised their fists.

And when the song was over - Kirsten joined Alia and me forming everyone up into a crocodile and marching them cross-town to the New Inn.

Proudest moment of my life was seeing Dazed Doreen with her mouth open watching the ragged columnn of the footsoldiers of freedom laughing and slouching as they followed Jimmy K, the pied-piper of Tilebury, to the New Inn to make democracy spit in her face. Particualrly when she saw her own lawyer, Felicity Nuttall chatting to Jimmy in what can only be said to be a flirty manner.

The Decay of the Rebellion

The result was comfortable in the end. Dead-in-the-water Doreen didn't even turn up to the count. And the inquest seems to have started immediately. Felicity has been sacked. Camilla Corkerham has announced that all she wanted was a column more attuned to her interests. Christina Collett and Doreen have fallen out over responsibility for legal fees.

And most odd is that Kim K, our screwdriver queen seems to have retreated to her battlements and is speaking to no-one [not quite - see Handywoman column - Ed.]

From all I can work out, a few of her friends have gone to try to find out what's going on, but they can't get past the gate because a whole load of alarms go off if anyone approaches and spot-lights come on and three-headed dogs from the sixth circle of hell rush out and bite their ankles. And somehow she's managed to equip her cottage with steel bars and shutters on the windows and a door that looks like something out of Camp Bastion. Any moment now I'm expecting the roof to open and a war-rocket to emerge. Or have I been watching too many films?

But I won't let that worry me. I'm floating on a warm cloud of success in my onesie and big socks. If Kim is behind her barricades it means she's not poking about in my bin. Now if only I can find someone to fix the latch on my window.

Love you all!

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