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A little Christmas Magic

13 December 07 words: Tom Hathaway
Let’s go back in time; back in time, back to 1978, back to Nottingham when Christmas was a little bit different

Jeremy and the Magic Flute
words: Tom Hathaway

Well, Hoodlums! May I be the first to wish each and every one of you a very blurry Christmas and a very peaceful and prosperous New Basford! I wonder if any of you are going to the theatre during this, the jolly season of panto? Me? I’ve recently been to see Tommy Steel in Dr Doolittle, but no, no, things weren’t always this bad. No, not this bad! Oh no, no, not indeed, no! Let’s go back in time; back in time... back to 1978... back... to Nottingham... back to when Christmas was a little bit different.

It was the Friday before the big day and I was very much getting in the festive swing. We’d decided to go and see a pal’s band called Loose House up at the Hearty Good Fellow, just to warm up the seasonal gig agenda. Loose House were no great shakes, but they imparted a party spirit and we would doubtless do the rest.

Now, at that time, in order to get a sizeable reduction in the price of their rehearsal rooms, the band had cut a deal with the property owner, a Mr Jez Shaw (who also owned ‘Woodwind Plus’ on Derby Rd), which entailed allowing him to do an interval solo stint onstage in order to plug the shop’s latest merchandise and, obviously, where to buy it should the punters be interested at this, his busiest spell of the year. As it happened on this evening, it transpired that he’d recently taken delivery of a consignment of nose flutes (see kazoo – different orifice). So then, during this particular interval, he arose to acquaint us with this ‘real winner at the office party’ and then proceeded to entreat us to his nasal rendition of ‘Colonel Bogey’. I still can’t remember ever seeing a man tempt providence with such a vengeance.

Well, the song was going down quite well and this cute little gizmo was holding its own and charming the crowd; until. Until the ebullient Mr Shaw decided to hazard a grandstand crescendo to the final chorus. As he hit the top shelf, the most omnitexturous and unsavoury ball of flobber which had palpably been sitting up there, waiting for the red light to go on, blasted clear of his hooter, splashed all over the mike, down one of his jacket lapels and over the knees of the middle first row of punters. The place had never seen uproar like it. As calm was gradually restored and sincerest apologies were shared among one and all by a very red-faced Jeremy, he once again approached the mike – firstly to wipe off the lime green abseiling Buddha and then to tentatively offer a free replacement to the band, who were now understandably arguing over who the lead singer now was.

Order restored and with the probable physical unlikelihood of anything like it visiting Earth twice in a lifetime, Jez went on to leave his business address and then he cheekily asked if anyone had any requests they’d like to hear on the Nose Flute before he left the stage. At the back and on his own, all attention was quickly drawn to an absolutely mountainous biker who had hitherto spent the entire evening standing quietly and totally impassively with his arms folded across his enormous chest. He grunted as to speak,
‘Ahh!’ he boomed, ‘Voodoo Chile!’

Now That’s fucking panto, Hoodlums!
God bless you one and all!

Read an interview with the author on LeftLion

Tom Hathaway's debut novel Full Bacon Jacket is available to buy on

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