Fairy tales are deadly serious things, and not just ‘cos the brothers were Grimm. There’s messages inside, if you’ve got the bottle to uncork them. Take Cinderella for example. You know the classic readings – she’s oppressed, her two-step sisters are ‘wickid’, she had ‘lil feet. The lessons? People who wear glass slippers shouldn’t mount thrones? A little bit of magic wand goes a long, long way? Princes hold their balls late at night? Okay, these are all legit, but the sticking point for me was always the tipping point for Cinderella – Pumpkin Hour.
Pumpkin Hour isn’t just about when the Fairy Godmother’s ‘magic dust’ starts to wear off, although that’s a sign that it’s time to be scootin’ before boots get pointy and curl, where the ‘streets have no shame’ and the girls grow big warts, scaly dicks and sharp teeth. You gots to know, there’s an appropriate time to get the hell out of there. A friend of mine calls it ‘chasing the dawn’ – for him, getting to bed while the daylight is still deniable means the difference between a neat night out and an outbreak of the very, very, very, wrong indeed. I have it on good authority that ‘Pumpkin Hour’ at Revolver of a weekend is 11am – but that might say more about those shunned nuns and their habits than any sensible depravity. Club der Visionaire in Berlin gets pumping at around 4pm ‘the next day’ (whenever that was when it’s all the whole weekend is all the same baggy monster). Blech. Another friend of mine famously seems to go too early – everyone comments on it.
‘He just left.’
‘Already?’ Chorus the fools.
‘Yup - he said to say bye.’
Cut to 4pm the next day, just as the horrid flashes of memory begin to assault your mind, slowly crawling out of the fading fug of last night. ‘Where did I leave my…? Not my … oh (horrid flash)… dear god, not that? Dear God…(opens wallet, sighs)… and the beer monkey stole my money again, on top of everything.’
You shower, but the dirt won’t come off. Poverty, shame, regret… then you remember X. His two o’clock glass of water. The way he wound everything down, before everybody wound up getting wounded. The polite good-byes, the discreet slipping away into a 3am taxi… this is a man who truly understands the tipping point that is Pumpkin Hour. How to get away before there’s any mention of glass slippers or the joining of those words, those sordid words... ‘pump kin’. Look at yourself in the Sunday mirror, and see the Jack-a-Lantern that you made yourself when you did just that (you did, you actually did), and remember Cinders. Remember the tipping point, just before it all got sour and spillt (and that ain’t milk, even though there’s no use crying over it). Before the cost you count becomes the sad measure of everything that could have been otherwise. Heed the tipping point and learn your very own Pumpkin Hour, or live (and live with) the folly.
© Peter Chambers 2007
in which the naked chimp is unmasked, his machines debugged, and his bugbears debunked
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