Goodbye Gardosi 1963 – 2019

Thanks Mark. For all that Jazz. For Billy Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Tom Waits. That unexpected backdoor screening of Key Largo. The secret to Hungarian toast. King of quips and singer of songs, HE that hath heartily quaffed, fifties crooner daydreaming ‘back-when’ in that desperate sodium lit eighties Tory ghetto of ‘now-then.’ And no tongue better dressed for all the repartee and camaraderie. Good ol’ boy!

For Fagins and the Murphies, for high seas and rubber trees, for russian roulette and riviera etiquette. A bard, a Prof, a laughing cavalier. Zeitgeist forum, a birdy dance kaleidoscope of faces, Saturday night phantasmagoria here. New vocabularies absorbed in esoteric spaces and ‘bad habits’ met. The ‘Toad-blender’ rendezvous. Eclectic Church of the post modern apocalypse and all its strange fish too.

Fascinating mess of muso’s and freeboot musketeers, art school drop outs and unemployed bit-parts. Haunt of UFO abductees and self-styled xenobites, middle aged alkies and screenplay hacks. Raw but real until they privatised it. One more stolen gem. Scene painter, sculpter, cameraman and comic book maker. The hopeless and the hopeful crawling through the chaos, blessed few occasionally lifted.

The centuries old midland streets, recently deceased boot and shoe factories, churches abandoned. The squalid squats and rat run dead-sits. Coal not dole lamppost stickers. Class war and satellite star wars. Fist fed inculcation of Maggie’s miracle. Pissing down Chernobyl. China cracked and dog shit decorated. Questing hung dogs and broken men, hunkered down in pocket lint places. Barefoot junkies, spaced out in tips, knee worn northern runaways spilt in doorway slums. Yesterdays trench coat faces. Some now dead or insane. Some elevated and some just the same. Shopping trolley roses for all of your graces.

Your final incarnation, Craps Gardosi. Numbers racket racketeer ’till they called the numbers off. Black hat antihero. Cheap suit hood in braces. Dazzling tie collection. Gum shoe bum. Luck be a lady, dice rattler. Rag time hustler. Tragi-romantic chancer. Hopeless nostalgic. It figures. The same day I walked you down, that night I dreamt a zither played you out, as you smirked at me one last time like Orson Welles before vanishing into the crooked noir with the winnings. Melting into no-when in particular.

One man Brigadoon treading the time lost foot path, beginning to end only half a mile apart. Airs still thick with you, soaking up the mana on Bugatti heels, intangibly heavy at its end points where the heat of meanings fiercest. Your wherewithal without. Everywhere and everywhen about. Simultaneous Wizard of Was were ye, and so to always be for are thee not? Basking in the gentle sun of childhood cricket matches still and someday, breathless in the timeless expanse yet breathing in forever and forever breathing out. Diamond etched time snake spitting jewels.

Map to plot and plane to pilot to a morse code beat. Destination ‘hearts desire’ your next amazing feat. Now you cavort the score sheets of technicolor musicals, shuffling the pastel painted backdrops in spats pristine. Gatsby garbed debonair; guacamole impresario supreme, thumbing the pages of pastiche for new affairs to come. Perchance, a comedy of errors divine, a dance routine that’s bold. Else artistes pantomime or French farce to unfold. Ow u say? Like ya do, and such is life, amen!

Live in the mumbled gangster lines of tilted black fedoras and scuffed violin cases, gusto with the pulp hero giants and guffaw with the silver screens greatest. Know then the terrible bakelite secrets that the Aztecs kept and the wonderful mystery of Betty Pages luscious lips and kisses forever showered. Your life, you bet!

One last toast to old windsor before the grand finale then. ‘Hurrah, hurrah’ and cue end credits. Last dollar and ninth, sweating and breathless, the fat lady sings as the curtains fall. Shuddering. Just one brief moment of pain and then there’s nothing at all.

Out back, the meat wagon pulls in to cart away the carcass and bin bag the leftovers. Just a few scattered remnants. The only evidence you existed at all. Some old art, an embarrassing letter or two. ‘Bum list’ roll call of honour. The usual records. That’s it! That’s you. That’s all she wrote. But you don’ t care. Its only tatters. No stone marker, long and tall, marks the grave. No chalked outline marks the fall. One last disappearing act.

You’re not here at all. No… legend has you lazing in the arabesque shade, one last news hound scoops you in the garden at Akhmeds, expat escapee perfuming in the exotic stench of Moroccan cigarettes and petrol fluid. Rare and finest species of them all. One of a kind. Never dead.

Debauched effendi with feet up and shoes off in your tar stained smart white summer suit, nonchalantly flicking ash into your overflowing fez and blowing smoke rings, only to watch them rise slowly in beautiful jovian whirls above the cut throat bazaar and disappear, one by one, into the vast eternal dizzying heights above…