Saturday, 20 July 2013

Good fortune

This morning, whilst rummaging around in the box where I put things that I don’t know where to keep anywhere else (necklaces I don’t wear but might one day, a promo postcard from a gig, that spare keyring, etc.)  I found a dog-eared scrap of notepaper with unfamiliar writing on it.  I’d kept it for about twenty years, tucked away in a ‘secret’ compartment and never looked at, until now. 

It took me back.  We were on holiday in a well-known English seaside town and it had rained every single fucking day.  I think we spent most of our hard-earned dosh that week on hot meals, trips to the cinema, coin pusher and candy grabber games.  Souvenirs from that trip included an emergency umbrella, a purse full of coppers and an extra half a stone in weight.  By Thursday we’d run out of decent things to keep us entertained so the Fortune Teller advertising his services in the small arcade away from the seafront was an attractive diversion from the rock-grey skies and the nauseating combination of smells from Dickie’s Donuts and Fanny’s Fish Inn.

The Fortune Teller was not as I’d imagined.  He was like a friend’s Dad – straightforward, ordinary looking and friendly in a slightly distant kinda way.  His service was like a Three-For-One supermarket deal; zodiac, palm-reading and tarot cards all in one package - I think there might even have been a sprinkle of numerology and a mention of the Chinese horoscope too.  He didn't go quite so far as to include rumpology which is just as well because I'm not in the habit of showing my bum to strange men.  Not usually, anyway.

So, without any hint of mystery or supernatural powers, he told me what was apparently in store for me in a very prosaic manner whilst his assistant, a young girl, jotted notes down for me to take away and reflect on later – and that’s the scrap of paper I’m looking at now.

I’m wondering:  do fortunes have a Sell-By, or even a Use-By, date?  Should all the things he forecast for me have occurred already, or could they still happen in another twenty years’ time?  The notes are like prompts so I’m thinking back to where my life has been in those two interim decades and, oddly, some of it's looking rather accurate.  There are some specific initials, places and predictions which weren’t relevant at the time but which have been since.   The initials get me more than the rest because they’re not common ones, so that’s a bit spooky.  I realise the other things could probably happen to most people: suggestions of travel and buying property, etc., so maybe they’re a pretty good bet for many folks, although one or two specifics in there seem strangely apt, if you want to believe that kind of thing.  And, yeah, I admit it: in a simple childlike desire to embrace some magical mystery, I do want to!



 (An edited highlight!) 


I remember his final words too - he said I was 'meant' to live by the sea.   In spite of some dreams and half-baked plans to do just that for our own reasons several years ago, we never quite achieved it.  Oh well, maybe one day – if the Use-By date hasn’t expired just yet.  I’ll put the scrap of paper away for another twenty years and see what happens.


Tony Jackson & The Vibrations: 'Fortune Teller' (1965)
Love it.


12 comments:

  1. Love that version of Furtune Teller, like Poison Ivy and Some Other Guy it was a real staple of British '60s records for some reason.

    My only fortune teller experience was a radio call-in show. She was extremely wrong with me (I felt, but it's all down to interpretation I suppose) and I did give my proper date and time of birth and all. Nowadays I'd think it was a front to get your vital stats to get a credit card under your name or something. The stars... I'm very skeptical of what they have to tell me if they're not in a rock group I've heard of!

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    1. Hi Rebecca - it's a great track, isn't it?
      That's funny about your radio phone in - I sometimes catch snippets of those TV progs where, ahem, 'psychics' do predictions for people via texts and emails - I think the least you need must be to actually meet someone if you're going to try that! They do make me laugh, tho'...

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  2. Tee hee, I used to read Tarot Cards (never for money, just for a laugh and sometimes I could be bribed with cakes) and was always told I was pretty accurate despite having made it all up! I sometimes used to have my tea leaves read by a friend of my mum's mainly because she was old and funny and very eccentric, I desperately wanted to lead the life she always saw for me but it was not to be. It turns out the Tall, Dark and Handsome always remain strangers! ;o)

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    1. Ooh, I'd love to have you read the cards for me! I've a lovely big double chocolate cream and jam filled gateau with strawberry topping here, by the way... Tempted? :-)

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  3. Reminds me of one of my favourite jokes of a guy who had piles.....he eventually goes to a specialits Doctor who tells him to rub tea leaves on his bum. He goes back a week later and the Doc says it has not cured you...but you are going on a long journey....the joke goes for about 5 mins.

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    1. Very good, OPC.... I bet you tell it well in person, too, I can just imagine.

      What a fab profile pic, by the way! (What band were you in?!)

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  4. Tell me about the initials EFB.

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    1. I could do.... if you were to cross my palm with silver, my dear....

      (That reminds me of an old joke:
      Fortune-teller "It's £10 for three questions"
      Customer: "HOW much?!"
      Fortune-teller: "£10. And your other two questions are...?")

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  5. Only once did anyone attempt to tell my fortune....in india a very tall well kept man in a turban approached me as an obvious tourist,asked me to think of a flower and then unfolded a piece of paper with the name of the flower written on...not that obvious a one either...then he said "would you like your fortune told?". Being young and arrogant and sceptical I just said "you're the fortune teller, you tell me". He got very angry and followed me for a while before he told me, for free, "you will have a very unfortunate accident soon...", how's that for fortune telling with threats ! Love the track by the way, Downliners Sect do a fab version too !

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    1. I love your youthfully cocky reply, oh, what a taunt...! But the 'fortune-teller' sounds like a right bastard! Take it you didn't have a very unfortunate accident soon after, tho' perhaps he was planning something for next time he saw you just in case... did you notice the tripwire?

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  6. Without going into too much detail, because of one thing and another, I was in a bit of a state in early 2003 and someone suggested the name of a Tarot reader, thinking it might help me. I was extremely sceptical - it's not the sort of thing I would even consider under normal circumstances, but it's a measure of how I low I was at the time that I was willing to clutch at any straw.

    The lady was very down to earth, charged only a nominal fee for the reading and, before I left, refused to immediately make another appointment, saying I shouldn't need one, but to call in a couple of weeks if I still felt it was necessary. I didn't call. To this day I don't know if it was the cards (she talked in some detail about my past, present & future) or some form of psychological unburdening on my part (although I barely spoke during the reading), but, as she predicted, within a couple of days, the almighty cloud around me began to disperse and I was gradually able to get on with my life.

    Great post C - it clearly got me thinking! I'm not sure I'd have taken the advice if it had been suggested that I visit a rumpologist instead of a Tarot reader though - I was desperate, but not that desperate! Top tune too. I hope you & Mr SDS do get that home by the sea one day.

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    1. Thanks, The Swede, and so glad you were able to get out of your low state back then too. I wonder if it's not just the process of unburdening, but also something about the concept of 'surrendering' to something that is beyond rational explanation, that was therapeutic, if you see what I mean. I guess people use religion that way too. Even as a completely non-religious person I still have a small desire to believe that there is more to life than just this - not a god, not anything that can be neatly boxed or labelled, but just some kind of power in nature, and by feeling that I believe it gives me a deeper sense of perspective. Ooh, very deep! But I suppose it never really matters HOW we find our way to a more positive place, just that we can and do!

      It WON'T ever be via Rumpology, though....

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