A Dick for a Dic


Am reworking the script for my show ‘A Superior Type of Girl’ with the aim of performing it at some fringe festivals to people who have never heard of me. And when I say rework I really mean jam a few more jokes in to cover up for the sad bits where no-one laughs and I get horribly uncomfortable.

I also want to find a better ending. Endings are difficult, at least in scripts. People in real life don’t have to come up with the endings to things, they just experience them as they go along and have no idea how hard it is for us writers to come up with something that isn’t predictable, preachy or nonsensical.

To add a bit of drama to the end of my story I’ve decided to try and track down my birth father, the elusive not-French man.

You won’t find this kind of plot commitment with the New York publicist version of Maggie Gallant. She’ll be too busy upsetting the Don Manning’s of this world with her tirades about babies on planes and whether cowboy boots for dogs are just a fad. You can watch her here talking about ‘Bethenny Getting Married’. Gallant was her publicist for the show. Bethenny is now unmarried. Coincidence?

Although I am a brilliant master of Google I have decided to hire a Private Investigator to help me find the not-French man. A Dick to find a Dic, brilliant, better make that the title. Having my own Private Investigator feels a bit bad-arse and very American. Like talking to strangers and enduring a 30 minute firework display. These are the things on which US Citizenship should be based.

I do like to think of myself as the fruit of my father’s loins (though preferably a fruit with peelable (fore)skin like a banana or a kiwi and not an unwashed Texas berry that will give you Cyclaspora and explosive diarrhea) and am wondering whether he’s starting to get a tingly feeling that I’m trying to find him.  Or is he completely oblivious and merrily living his life like a Nazi war criminal right before Simon Wiesenwhatshisname tracks him down and makes him pay for his shameful past. My father will try to protest his innocence and claim that he wasn’t in Paris in 1963 and has never heard of anyone called Sandra but then my Private Investigator will make him bare his sticky out right ear and that’s when he’ll know the game’s up. Then my Private Investigator will show him a series of photos of me and it’ll be like looking in a motherfucking mirror.

Yes, this is exactly how it’s going to go. I have told the Universe.

If only I were famous I could be on that ‘who the bloody hell are you?’ show where they track down your ancestors and they all turn out to be hateful racist, bigoted individuals but you have to forgive them because ‘well, it was just the times wasn’t it’.

Anyway just to be clear, this search is entirely for the benefit of my show and has nothing to do with any kind of secret longing or desperate search for identity on my part. I am a selfless performer.

There’s not a whole lot for my Private Investigator to go on. We know that Dic got his MBA at INSEAD in Paris so he’s trying to get access to the alumni records if only to confirm that Dic actually existed. INSEAD does have a reunion coming up in October but not sure an 81 year old is likely to make the trip. But what a great scene in the script that would be if we met on the very campus/bushes/bins where I was probably conceived. Damnit why doesn’t some TV company want to get involved with this brilliant story?

I’m not entirely sure I want to meet this man, especially if he is anything like me in personality. Of course he may also be dead. In which case I’m even less keen to meet him. On the positive side I suppose if he did father any children that he decided he wanted to keep then they’d still be around and I could shatter any illusions about their lovely dad.

But once I find him, alive or dead, I’ll have the perfect show ending. In fact I could invite him on tour with me*. We could have the big reveal at the end and he could come on wearing a beret and a string of onions just for the irony. How we’d all laugh.**

*So long as he’s alive, I don’t have the energy to lug around a cadaver on the Fringe circuit.

**As above.


Dear Don Manning

I am a writer. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to write about and you have to look around for inspiration. And other times you are given a lovely case of mistaken identity by an idiot called Don Manning.

Name: Don
Email: donmanning@erik made me delete the rest of this
Subject: You’re an idiot dog owner

Message: I came upon a pet travel article Q & A by you in a 2008
VIA/AAA magazine. When asked if it’s more difficult traveling with a baby or a dog, you slammed  babies for being noisier on planes.  So typical of dog freaks. You slam children at every turn, while dogs come out smelling like a rose.

Well let me tell you something, dog FREAK. Children belong on planes, trains, and automobiles. Dogs do NOT. Dogs are mere pets. Useless moochers. Dead ends. Children meanwhile are the future of this nation. Citizens. Future voters, tax payers, employees/ers and investors.  

Babies on a plane are MORE IMPORTANT than dogs. Got it?

And here is the article that spurred on this lovely tirade.

So, in response:

Dear Mr Manning/idiot

Thank you for your email stating your very clear, if barmy, position on the dogs vs babies on planes debate. And indeed for making this a debate.

I’m a little unclear from the subject heading as to whether you feel I own an idiot dog or I am a dog-owning idiot, though I suspect from the use of the term ‘dog FREAK’ that you intend the latter. I do indeed fall into this category, as I would imagine does anyone in your mind who owns a dog and by implication hates babies.

I would agree that Maggie Gallant is something of an idiot, though perhaps for reasons different to you. You see your Maggie Gallant is not my Maggie Gallant. Yes we all like to think of ourselves as unique and unlike you I do have quite a distinctive name. However, just as I’m sure that many other Don Manning’s would like to do, I must distance myself from the Maggie Gallant you have aimed your bizarre tirade at.

Lavender-wafting Maggie Gallant of NYC

You see the dog-carrying, lavender-wafting object of your perplexing nonsense lives and works in New York, is a publicist with Rogers & Cowan and used to write and record regular ‘Pet Trends’ segments for Animal Planet. I do none of these things but I know this information because I bothered to look it up. Yes I had trouble finding an email address for her too and I would agree that this seems a bit odd for a publicist, but you should consider taking some responsibility for your laziness in just contacting someone else with the same name. Especially after all the effort you put into writing your email. Especially because you might end up sending that email to a writer with a blog.

Having said all that, I would like to respond to some points in your email.

Your spur of the moment rant seems a little odd for an article that was published in 2008. Was it perhaps lying on a table in your psychotherapist’s offices? Gosh I hope you weren’t actually on a plane and reading it with someone else’s dead-end dog at your feet. That would be too ironic for words wouldn’t it.

For the benefit of other readers, let’s go back and review the offending article. Well actually it was just a question that the interviewer posed to Maggie Gallant.

Q What’s more difficult, traveling with a dog or a baby?
A Well, Dixie is a lot quieter than most babies on a plane. So I’m giving the dog the Better Traveler Award.

I don’t know why the baby comparison was made as Maggie Gallant makes no mention of babies. Just AAA magazine trying to stir things up as only an association’s member magazine can. Of course, your bluster aside, her answer is entirely correct and it would have been the same answer regardless of pet. Except snakes. Babies are a nightmare on a plane. Most parents with babies do not like babies on planes. I do not need to take a dog and a decibel monitor on a plane to know this. I’d sooner have a tortoise sitting next to me than a baby and I think we can all agree that there’s no greater moocher or dead end than the tortoise. God should have taken Sunday off completely instead of dabbling. But have you ever heard a tortoise screaming so loud that you couldn’t hear Wolf of Wall Street through your headphones with the volume turned up to max? Maybe it does on the inside.

Clearly Maggie Gallant does have some experience of traveling with her dog, given her response to an earlier question (see below). But I’ll be honest and say that her response does raise some security concerns with me because if this information got into the wrong hands it could be disastrous. I want my ne’er do wells to look shifty and sweaty when trying to get through security, not all calm and relaxed. Trixie and Peanut sounds like a terrorist cell doesn’t it. I think the government should ban aromatherapy, don’t you?

Q What are some recent trends?
A Aromatherapy. If Dixie gets nervous at security, I give her a spray of lavender, a natural essence that relaxes both people and pets. You can find great organic sprays at trixieandpeanut.com.

Of course this does explain why you believe her/my dog would come out smelling like a rose. My dog has never smelled like a rose. You could rub her down with a valentine’s day bouquet and spray her in eau de rose made from scrunched up petals dropped by small flower girls and she would still smell like a dog. With Frito-scented paws.

I would also like to address your assertion that dogs should not only be banned from planes, but also from trains and automobiles. I appreciated the reference to the 1987 movie with Steve Martin and John Candy and suspect that you rather identify with the Steve Martin character, right up until the last 20 minutes or so when he starts to show some human kindness. I cannot comment on Amtrak’s pet policy as I have never ridden on the trains here and honestly cannot be bothered to look it up. I can see now why your lazy version of research is so enticing. But I can tell you that my dog is allowed to ride in my automobile, or as I like to call it, car and always will be. Babies however are an entirely different matter. But I’m sure you don’t have to worry about any friends inviting you to ride in their dog-filled automobile.

I do appreciate your eloquent closing line ‘Babies on a plane are MORE IMPORTANT than dogs. Got it?’. Are you in legal practice? I can see how this might work on a jury. ‘He is INNOCENT. Got it?’. To be honest Don I’m having a bit of trouble with this. You see I’m not entirely convinced that babies on planes are terribly capable. I certainly wouldn’t trust them in a plane emergency, they can’t even read the safety card let alone operate the emergency slide. Equally, I doubt that Dixie would have a lot to contribute but I’m not the one writing ‘MORE IMPORTANT’ am I. My message is that they are equally useless and I think we both wish that Maggie Gallant had used that argument.

And that jump from babies being allowed on a plane to children being our future (you’re just a mid-1980s cultural lexicon aren’t you) is a little clunky. Perhaps I am too blinded by my dog from seeing this. Not literally blinded, that would be a jerk move by her just to become a seeing eye dog and get the jacket. Oh speaking of which, are the seeing eye dogs the useless moochers and dead ends that you were referring to? Or is that the dogs that can sniff out cancer, help calm autistic children, alert seizure sufferers, sniff out cadavers, do search and rescue work, and are sent to war? How about the dogs that are at the airports sniffing luggage to detect drugs or bombs that might otherwise be taken on the planes that babies (sorry, I mean future tax payers) are traveling on. Useless mooching twat heads.

You’re right, children are the future employees of this nation. So let’s add dog handlers to the list of worthy roles they can undertake as productive members of society. Let’s also remember that any dog that you would classify as a mooch is only likely to be a mooch for 15 years or less. Sadly the human moochers and dead ends will be around a lot longer. Did you have any children by the way?

In conclusion I am sorry that your invective did not reach its intended recipient. But it also makes me glad that I am this Maggie Gallant and not that one, if yours is typical of the kind of inadequacy that she receives.

And just in case she doesn’t receive it anytime soon, allow me to tell you this:

I hate babies. They are weak, unproductive and selfish. Also, my dog is a genius.


About the show

“The (acclaimed) director said he isn’t going to turn the music down, he said he paid for the theater space and tonight’s our tech.”

It’s 6:30pm on Thursday evening, an hour before my audience is due to start arriving and 90 minutes before the start of A Superior Type of Girl in the studio space of the Salvage Vanguard theater. The Stage Manager for the Foot & Mouth* company’s production going on in the main stage looks a bit apologetic and embarrassed but reassures me that there’s absolutely nothing else she can do. Continue reading “About the show”

Three bloody things

Today I’ve been mostly thinking about being French. Primarily because I’m finding it very difficult to draw myself wearing a beret. For some reason (though most likely my rubbish drawing skills) it keeps coming out as either a baguette or a low slung halo.

I’m having a hard time letting go of being French.

For those not following the narrative: I used to have a French birth father who wanted to marry my mother when she told him she was pregnant but my birth mother turned him down and this is what I’ve always believed until I found out through my half-sister who is my birth mother’s daughter by a different man that my father was in fact Armenian and my birth mother then died of cancer after which I found out that in addition to not being half French my father fucked off as soon as he knew my mother was pregnant. Confused? You won’t be after this post.

If you’ve never watched Soap then you’re too young to read this blog.

It doesn’t really help that my aforementioned half-sister Ingrid decided, after a run-in with a particularly obnoxious French man earlier this year, to confess to me her extreme dislike of the French. This was couched in ‘aren’t you glad you aren’t..,’ terms and I instantly felt sucker punched and pissed off. The 11 year old me lives strong and just isn’t ready yet to hang up her beret.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Stick Figure
This weekend I did at least begin my transition into brilliant graphic novelist. I base my brilliance on having filled 3 sketch pad pages with stick figures in action and some loosely interpreted drawings of my parents, my brother and myself. You may at this point be visualizing 4 stick figures of descending height holding hands in front of a ‘house’ (a square with a triangle on top and a chimney emitting curly smoke). Yup, one drawing down, a few thousand to go.

Went to a great panel on Saturday at Staple! the small press expo for comic geek people. It was all about autobio comics, which stands for autobiographical comics rather than a form of sexual asphyxia which is what first came to mind for me. As it often does.

The panelists talked a lot about the line between being honest and truthful and risking the privacy and possible wrath of those you’re depicting. Fortunately for me, of the 3 main protagonists in my story, one is dead and the other two have no clue who I am (extra reader points if you got the alzheimers reference).

International WOMEN’S Day
Yes it was yesterday but it doesn’t bloody matter because the point is that it’s called International Women’s Day, not International Ladies Day. Why not? Because we’re women for fuck’s sake. Some people already know that I loathe the term ‘ladies’, it just makes me cringe. I find it especially vile when women address each other as ladies, I get this all the time in emails at work and I just wonder what bloody century we’re living in. It’s condescending and old-fashioned though perhaps you need it when you’re sending out your ridiculous invitation to the Pampering Pink Pussies night in aid of the local cat shelter. ‘Because we all want to feel fresh as a kitten down there, am I right ladies?’.

Cue lots of hand-wringing over feminism vs femininity and oh this PC stuff is going too far again. What’s so fucking wrong with just addressing us as women? When did women become a dirty word? And if you don’t like women (the word, not in a serial killer way) then addressing a group of us as ‘everyone’ or ‘all of you’ is just fine. I’ll happily call you a twat regardless of your gender.