LEADERS - not followers

Thursday, May 1, 2014

MACC AND CHEESE


MACC AND CHEESE


It was very quiet in the village, the day I decided to take the local Bus Company’s ‘Official Guided Tour of Local Places of Interest’… So quiet in fact, that I was the only person who’d actually forked out the rather curious sum of £4.27 incl. VAT, for the tour (20% of that comes to the equally curious sum of £3.41…!). However, the matter was cleared up, after a fashion, by the ‘Ticket Issuing Officer’, who stated …“We tried to increase profits, by announcing a ‘zero tolerance - correct fare only’ policy, in the hope that we’d be able to keep the change from all the banknotes handed over… only it kind of backfired on us… everyone started coming with the correct change… That’s why I’m giving you your change in 5,2 and 1 pence coins… Sorry pal”

As if by magic, Dorothy McGuire, the ‘Official Tour Guide’, turned up just as he finished speaking.

“Walk this way,” she smiled.

A million responses to that prompt flashed through my head, but I resisted the temptation… You know how comedy is all about timing…? Well, it was five past eleven, and Dorothy had a tour to conduct…

She led me out of the bus station, across the main road, and down a side street, where stood an ancient, unused and derelict, concrete bus shelter, which, Dorothy kindly explained, stood as a kind of monument to the original bus terminus, dating back to before the ‘modern’ bus station was built… in 1974

“There was only one bus, back in those days… if you don’t count the Town Festival Special… which only ran whenever the event took place… every 29th of February… You didn’t want to miss that one home!” Dorothy was a mine of information. “The regular bus was the number 74… and guess where it used to go to…? I’ll tell you… All the way to… Macclesfield! She said the word ‘Macclesfield’ as though it were some far distant, exotic country. Then she explained… “I love Macclesfield… just love the place… Never been there… but I simply love it… I love the sound of the word, and the feeling I get whenever I say it… It makes me feel so … good… all over…!” She winked.

“That’s, er… interesting…” was all I could manage…

“You know…” she continued “I’ve decided… definitely… I’m going to start lying about where I come from… just so I can say… Macclesfield… and feel good… all over…! I’ll be in the pub tonight, and I’ll deliberately get up to leave… early… about nine thirty… ‘Where are you off Dorothy?’ my friends’ll ask, and I’ll say… ‘Oh, I have to make sure I don’t miss the last bus home…’ – ‘Why? Have you moved?’ … they’ll ask, and I’ll say… ‘Yes, I’ve moved to Macclesfield’ …It’ll make me feel so good… all over… Macclesfield, mmmMacclesfield… It just sounds so nice and familiar… Like a favourite uncle… ‘Macc.’… that’s short for Macclesfield, you know… Sounds just like an old friend, doesn’t it…? Just like an old…”

“Raincoat…?” I suggested.

Well, if looks could kill… Dorothy would be facing a genocide charge right now.

“I’ll have you know…” she scowled… “…a lot, and I mean a lot, of good things have come out of ‘Macc.’ …There’s the, er… you know, the erm… …Macc Lads…! …for instance… You see… And what a considerately named pop combo they are! No confusion what-so-ever about where they’re from… is there? I mean… You wouldn’t say… ‘Oh, I saw the Macc Lads in concert on Saturday’ …just for someone to chip in with… ‘Oooh! I like them… they’re from Crewe aren’t they?’…and for you to hit back with… ‘No… I’m sure it’s Sandbach…’ …I mean, you just wouldn’t ever have to have that conversation… would you”

“No,” I admitted, ‘…that is a relief… But isn’t it true that in, er… ‘Macc.’ They don’t call them ‘The Macc Lads’…? …just ‘The Lads’…?”

“There you go again, with your sarcasm… but you must admit that any town that has a band called ‘The Macc Lads’ has to be… alright… mustn’t you? I mean… Any town that has a band called ‘The Macc Lads’ has got to be…”

“Macclesfield…?” I guessed… correctly.

Dorothy the Tour Guide tutted at me and started walking away from the bus shelter.

“But why Macclesfield?” I asked. “We’re only a couple of miles outside of Manchester… a modern, vibrant city, with so much history and culture… Then there’s the night-life, the music scene, football… City and United… and some rugby teams… possibly… … What’s the big attraction to Macclesfield?”

Dorothy sighed… as if it was blatantly obvious.

“You can see I’m a lady… can’t you?”

“Yes, but…”

“But nothing… It’s quite simple really… Why choose Cotton… when you can have Silk…?”