I don’t go to many parties, and I wouldn’t have been invited to this one but for one of those remarkable series of happenstances which affect all our lives.
I don’t go to the Library much nowadays; at one time I’d go two, three, even four times a week, but although I still do a lot of research, I can now do most of it on-line; it’s only when I’m writing something academic – quote unquote – that I insist on using hard copy citations. I wasn’t going to go that day, but my machine crashed, and I couldn’t be bothered to switch it on again, so I thought, what the heck. It was just after 9am, I always travel off-peak, and I knew all the books I needed to consult were either on-site or on the open shelves, so I picked up my folder and print out, and a couple of pencils, and was on my way.
When I arrived, I ordered the books I wanted then went upstairs to Humanities 2 to do some music research until they were delivered. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and it really is infectious. I choose a song, check it isn’t already in the database, then start work on it.
That day, I found a rather interesting interview in Melody Maker dating from 1983; there was a lot of material here, and between that and the other books I was using, there was no way I would finish it in one visit. I spent about an hour and a half upstairs, then went back down to Humanities 1, found a vacant desk, collected my books, and was so engrossed that it was five o’clock before I knew it. Although I hadn’t eaten all day I didn’t feel the slightest bit hungry – unusually for me – so thought I’d nip back upstairs and jot down a few more notes on that interview. As I removed the heavy volume from the shelf with some difficulty I happened to glance down, and there it was, a big fat wallet.
Don’t get me wrong, if I’d found this in the street, I would have been sorely tempted, but I’ve spent over twenty years researching in this place, first at Bloomsbury, and now at St Pancras, and I have a cast iron rule that I never but never do anything dodgy in the Library. I also have, not a rule exactly but, well, I always like to perform one good deed every day, which is why it is always better to catch me in the morning.
Man, was this wallet fat, as I opened it I saw it was crammed with £20 notes. I learned later that it contained a little over two grand, but I had not the slightest hesitation in handing it in, nor would I have. I walked towards the security desk on the door, where a young man was fishing in his pockets in front of the guard, obviously with some concern. As I handed the wallet to the security man I said “I just found this on the floor”.
The young man looked at it and said, “That’s my wallet!”. Oh yes, did I tell you it had a reader’s pass stuffed into a small transparent pocket at the front?
He’d been out to use the toilet, and on the way back in he couldn’t find his pass, a not infrequent occurrence. Usually when this happens the reader will have left it on his desk. Usually of course it is not in a wallet stuffed with twenty pound notes. His property was soon positively identified, the bloke on the desk handed pass and wallet to the young reader, and Al turned back to the music shelves.
“Just a minute,” called a voice.
I looked back, and the guy walked up to me to shake my hand. “I’m really so grateful,” he said.
“That’s all right”, I said, wondering if he would be grateful enough to offer me a reward. Evidently not.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Baron”, I said.
“Well, Mr Baron, I’m very, very grateful.”
At this point, the librarian on the main desk who was holding up a telephone with one hand and holding down a book with the other looked towards us and said “Shhh”. We parted company, the young bloke walked out with a spring in his step, and Al went back to his Melody Maker.
I spent another twenty minutes upstairs then thought I might as well stay till chuck out time, so went back down to Humanities 1 and my books. By the time I left the Library it was a little after eight, and I still wasn’t feeling hungry, at least not that hungry. This was most out of character, normally I eat like a horse. I decided to spend an hour surfing down the West End, and then go to that vegetarian bar off Old Compton Street, so instead of taking the Northern Line to London Bridge, I took the Piccadilly to Leicester Square.
And there I was, surfing YouTube with the mouse in one hand and a Cappuccino in the other when I heard a recently familiar voice behind me.
I turned my head, and there he was, the young guy from the Library.
“Hello again”, I said.
He held out his hand for me to shake, which I did somewhat awkwardly.
“I’ve always wanted to meet an honest man,” he said.
“When you find an honest woman, let me know”, I said, turning back to my surfing.
“Perhaps he’d like to come with us”, a female voice said behind him.
I looked around, and saw he had in tow a rather attractive girl of about the same age. He introduced us, “Susan, this is the man I told you about. Mr Baron, this is my fiancée, Susan”.
She held out her hand, and I shook that too.
“This is a small world,” he said.
One thing led to another, and I found myself invited to a party. To say I was reluctant to accept is a bit of an understatement; I protested in vain that I was teetotal, that I was a bit of a bore socially, and that I was thirty years older than him and the rest of his crowd, but they both insisted, and we did have some common ground, we were both researching contemporary music, and his fiancée was a professional musician.
As well as that, suddenly I felt ravenous, and they had mentioned a buffet, so… “Okay, just for an hour,” I said.
It wasn’t far, one of their friends had hired a suite above a public house, and that was how I ended up standing in the middle of a large, lavishly furnished room with a glass of orange juice in my hand, an A4 wallet under my arm…and then I saw her.
She was easily the most attractive woman in the room, God, she wasn’t just attractive, she was stunning. She had long legs that went all the way up, long blonde hair, big…eyes. And she was at least twenty-five years young than me, so I took in her beauty, heaved a sigh for wasted youth, and turned back to the bloke I was talking to, but I couldn’t help looking back at her. Five minutes later she was still standing there alone. As I looked at her for the Nth time, our eyes met, and I looked away at once. Window shopping is fine, provided you don’t set your sights on something you can’t afford. Then she walked over to me.
“Excuse me”, she said, “were you staring at me?”
Nothing like the direct approach, I thought. “Me, no,” I said, turning back to the buffet.
“Oh. I was rather hoping you were”.
Now that took me by surprise; I put the prawn sandwich on hold.
“Really,” I said.
“Yes, I don’t know who you are, but I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”
Obviously she had mistaken me for an eccentric millionaire with a single digit IQ. Either that or this was some sort of wind up.
“I remind you of your father?” I said.
“No”, she seemed surprised.
She laughed now, “No, really, you just seem such a, such an interesting person.”
She might have had a point there.
“That’s what my probation officer says.”
“And my four ex-wives.”
“Are you divorced?” she asked.
“No”, I replied.
“You’re not gay?”
I was going to tell her I wasn’t queer or homo, the language I always lapse into when people allude to this spiritual sickness as gay, but I didn’t want to offend her, just in case…
“No, there are some men who are fated to be alone. And I am one of them.”
We talked a bit more, then as I reached for another prawn sandwich she said “I only live around the corner.”
“I have a penthouse flat.”
“Very nice,” I said.
“Daddy bought it for me.”
Although I have a reputation for seeing further than most people, and indeed seeing things many people don’t see at all, I’ve never been able to take a hint, but even I could see where this was leading. But there was more than a nagging doubt in the back of my brain, it was in the front as well, and indeed was also pulsating in the back of my neck. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, none more so than with women, especially my last affair d’amour, but don’t let’s even go there.
At this point I looked at her right arm, and noticed it bore a large band aid just below the elbow. I should have pointed out that she was wearing a short sleeved blouse that set off her figure enchantingly. I was just going to comment on the band aid when this massive black guy in a tuxedo appeared out of nowhere. When I say massive, I mean enormous; he was about six foot six and nearly as wide.
Turning to me he said in Oxbridge English, “Excuse me sir, is this lady bothering you?”
That was a new one on me. Before I could answer, a younger, and even more formidable looking white woman appeared at his side. She was no more than five foot four, but she had an air of authority about her, even menace. She too was dressed formally, and they were obviously both house security staff.
“Er, no,” I said.
The woman turned to the girl of my dreams and said “You’re not welcome here. Leave. Now.”
In films, the hero – that’s me, folks – would probably intervene at this point, diplomatically if nothing else, but for some curious reason it was not indignation I felt but relief. It was as though these two bouncers were my personal guardian angels.
The damsel turned to me with pleading eyes and said, “Please, give me a minute". Before I could answer, she turned to the male bouncer and said, “Please, I only want to ask him something.”
The woman bouncer ignored her and seized her arm in an iron grip, but her companion looked at me and asked me a question with his eyes.
“Er, I suppose so…”
“Please, come with me, I only want you to fuck me. I’ve got AIDS, but you can use a condom, please…”
At this point my ears shut out what she was saying, but that was enough; the bouncers now had an arm apiece and were about to drag her out of the room when somehow the woman’s iron grip slipped, the band aid peeled off her charge’s arm, and revealed an ugly greyish-red open sore.
As she was all but frog-marched out, her voice rose to a shriek, and then she was gone from my life forever. Thank fuck.
Before I could regain my faculties, the young bloke from the Library and his fiancée were at my side together with the host.
“I am most frightfully sorry”, he said.
“Er, that’s okay. I thought she was a guest.”
“Didn’t you recognise her”? he asked.
“No”, I said, “I thought she was a bit like Paris Hilton with personality”.
They all three laughed. “That was Alison Melissa Goddard,” he said.
“You’ve got me”, I said.
“You haven’t heard of her?”
“No, should I have?”
“You mean like our very own Mary Mallon?” I asked, alluding to the well-known case of Typhoid Mary.
“You’re right, James”, his fiancée turned to him and said, “he is a scholar.”
I half-smiled at my newly acknowledged academic prowess.
The young bloke – James I suppose I should call him now – continued, “She was deported from Canada”, he said, “she infected about a dozen people there.”
“Deliberately?” I asked.
“Yes. Her family have disowned her”.
“Yes, I can see why”, I said, “but perhaps she needs a psychiatrist as well as, er…”
“The Canadian Government have recently passed a law called the Alison Goddard Law. It’s now a criminal offence in Canada for someone who has AIDS or HIV to have sex with another person unless she informs her partner that she is so infected”, he said.
“Or he and his partner”, nudged his fiancée.
“Quite”, he said.
“So she haunts Soho looking for victims?” I asked.
“I dated her when we were both students”, said our host, then he added hastily, “but we never had sex, and that was before…”
“Quite”, put in James.
“She targets older men, generally sadder types; I’m surprised she picked on you,” said James’ fiancée.
Fortunately, with this endearing but not entirely accurate compliment, this was where that particular conversation ended. I helped myself to another prawn sandwich or five as we made small talk about music, and I am happy to say I impressed James’s fiancée with my knowledge of the development of contemporary folk song, then I bid farewell and walked off into the night. I’ve found that’s always the optimum way; even my best friend can only take me in small doses, and it’s always best to bid a premature fond farewell than to outstay one’s welcome. I half feared the predator would be lurking outside waiting for me, but fortunately she had moved on in her – hopefully vain - attempt to find another victim.
When I got home I bathed and went straight to bed, but the next day when I logged on, I read all about the not so sweet Alison Melissa. It turned out she was the nymphomaniac daughter of a wealthy property developer. She did indeed live just around the corner from that pub, and it seems she spent her nights prowling Soho looking for unsuspecting males to ensnare. Because she had been been warned about having sex with strangers by the British authorities too, she’d had a consent form printed up. Apparently she’d target an older man – a sad type, unlike me - invite him back to her place, and when he agreed she’d take out a form and say something like: “I have AIDS, but you can use a condom when you fuck me. Please sign this form to acknowledge you have been advised of this, and that you consented”.
Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t appear to have found any takers.
Several West End premises had taken out injunctions against her. I had to admit she looked extremely healthy for someone who was suffering from full blown AIDS, apart from that thing on her arm, of course. And I hadn’t seen the rest of her body, nor had I any desire to now. And, I had to remind myself, that thing on her arm was only an outward manifestation of disease.
Later in the week, I flicked TV channels into the middle of a BBC documentary in which some radical feminist was expounding against the evils of the Catholic Church, and the current Pope in particular. She was coming out with all the usual shit. She wanted to outlaw prostitution because as long as men were permitted to pay for sex, women would continue to be exploited by them. The average age at which girls in Britain became prostitutes was fourteen – that was a new one on me. Most women were forced into prostitution – no dear, the overwhelming majority of whores become whores by choice, (forced prostitution is rape). But the worst of her bile was reserved for the Pope. How dare he, a celibate, tell Catholics in Africa or anywhere they were forbidden to use condoms when condoms saved lives? Countless studies had proved this. Sure.
Up until recently I had been – celibate is not the word – but I’d learned to live without sex. Ever since I had my first fuck more years ago than I care to remember, I’d concluded it was vastly over-rated; once the schoolboy fascination with sex had faded, it was no big deal, nor was any sort of relationship. I might add that for me, with one spectacular exception, women had been alluring poison, but none had been either quite so alluring or so poisonous as the miserable creature roaming the streets of Soho looking for some even more miserable fuck beggar to surrender willingly to her poisonous embrace.
As a lifelong atheist I have no time for the Catholic Church, but for all its sins it was right on the money with this one. Where did this radical feminist harridan and others of her ilk get these ludicrous ideas? And more to the point, what right did they have to attempt to impose them on other people, and to censor anyone and everyone who oppose them?
Condoms indeed, I thought. These disgusting contraptions, devices, or whatever you called them, far from preventing or combatting AIDS or other diseases were more likely to spread them. It really got me when these morons suggested that homosexuals should use them as well. In the early 90s – that’s the 1990s – I did quite a lot of research on homosexuality, sexual diseases and related subjects. To this day there is speculation about the origin of AIDS – from the intelligent academic to the lunatic fringe – but whatever its origin, it is clearly a divine punishment, even a non-believer can see that.
Although the AIDS virus can be traced back a long way, to the late 19th Century according to some accounts, it is irrefutably documented that the AIDS pandemic started in Los Angeles amongst male homosexuals. Its spread into the general population was due initially to bi-sexuals – men like the sexual degenerate and so-called gay icon Oscar Wilde - who would consort with other men in public toilets and bath houses, or with Victorian rent boys in his case – then go home and sleep with their unsuspecting wives. At some point, injecting drug addicts picked up the disease, and its spread into the heterosexual community – that’s us normal people – was guaranteed.
Use a condom? If you must have gay sex, do it the safe way, and use a condom. Are these people sick, or are they sick? And among heterosexuals, in Africa or anywhere else, can they be serious? Do they really think that these disgusting, slimy pieces of gossamer thin lubricated latex offer any protection at all? As a means of contraception, condoms are around 85% effective. That means they have a 15% failure rate. That means the sperm get through 15% of the time, probably a lot more than that when you consider the fact that women of child-bearing age are “in heat” for only a few days every month, and that most who want to avoid falling pregnant will refrain from sex during this sensitive period. So out of two hundred homosexuals shagging each other up the arse, at least fifteen “couples” will in effect not be having safe sodomy.
To this you must add the well-documented but seldom spoken medical fact that the very act of sodomy has a detrimental effect on the body. A woman’s vagina is the result of millions of years of evolution, so is the human arsehole, and the latter was not designed by the Blind Watchmaker to accommodate a Prince Albert of whatever size, nor was it designed to receive sperm, which break down the body’s defences, that is if the mere act of penetration doesn’t tear the sensitive squamous cells of the anus itself, or rupture the sphincter muscles, which can lead to infestation by pathogens, or in some cases to incontinence.
Even the disposal of condoms causes health hazards; they seem to end up in the street or on tenement stairways as much as down the toilet or burnt with other bio-medical hazards.
Use a condom, yeah right. Like who in his right mind would willingly have sex with that Paris Hilton clone once she’d laid her cards on the table? A terminally ill cancer patient perhaps? Or a man on Death Row with an hour until his scheduled time of execution, and that after the Governor of Texas had refused his final appeal for clemency.
Sure, the Pope is so ignorant, the whole Catholic Church is, ditto all the African churches. In this connection, a few years ago I wrote:
“Black members of the Anglican church have come out firmly against reform recognising the time honoured principle that in a compromise between good and evil, evil always wins. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, Anglican bishops from Africa and Asia routed attempts by the brainwashed white liberals of the Western church to normalise homosexuality, and maintained that it should remain incompatible with Scripture”. [The Organised Homosexual Movement: Its Methods And Its Goals, published in Common Sense, November 2002].
Yet according to the proselytes of homosexual “culture”, these African church members are not simply ignorant or misinformed, but evil. As is the Pope and the entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church. And why are they evil? Because they oppose vice, squalor and perversion, and on the same grounds as your GP. What advice do doctors dispense homosexuals? First and foremost, don’t engage in anal sex. Don’t take my word for it, ask your own doctor!
As to using a condom, at the risk of boring the reader with repetition, ask yourself if any woman, however superficially attractive physically, would be quite so attractive or desirable if she told you she had full blown AIDS. The Pope’s message may be old-fashioned, but it is surely efficacious:
If you’re queer,
Do not take it up the rear;
And if you ain’t,
Please exercise restraint.
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