Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Commemorating a Mayday victory with a Cleopatra for the ages

the book:

Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino years by Sue Townsend

Published 1999 Diary entry 1st May 1997





[It is election day in the UK. Adrian and his family are preparing to vote.]

I answered the door to find a handsome blond man carrying a parcel. It was Nigel. He used to be my best friend at Neil Armstrong comprehensive. ‘Nigel!’ I said. Then ‘What are you doing driving a van? I thought you were gay.’

Nigel snapped, ‘Being gay isn’t a career, Moley, it’s a sexual orientation.’…

My mother… ripped open the parcel eagerly, saying ‘It’s my Labour victory outfit. I’m wearing it at the count tonight.’ Her face sagged past its normal levels when she saw the navy-blue trouser-suit nestling between the sheets of tissue paper. ‘I ordered red’ she shouted. She ranted on about the impossibility of wearing navy blue at Pandora’s victory party tonight. She threatened to sue [retailers] Next for the psychological trauma she was suffering… She is [already] waiting to appear in court against Shoe Mania! because a stiletto heel fell off on the summit of Snowdon….

I offered to ring Next and arrange an emergency delivery of a red suit. She said scornfully ‘As if.’ But I called Nigel on his mobile and he promised to do what he could, though he warned that ‘anything red’ was sprinting out of the warehouse
and prophesied that there was to be a Labour landslide.


observations: And Nigel was right, there was a (real-life)Labour landslide that night, and Adrian’s lost love Pandora was indeed elected to parliament (also wearing a red suit). The Labour victory in 1997 was a supreme moment for those who had hated the Thatcher years in the UK – perhaps comparable with the election of Obama in the USA in 2008, though of course the colours are reversed. Like every longed-for new regime, it eventually lost its shine. But it was a great night.

Pauline Mole, Adrian’s mother, is a heroine for the ages, Cleopatra with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and a drink in her hand, seen always, of course, through Adrian’s eyes, but still shining on as a beacon of unmaternal liveliness. Like Topaz in I capture the Castle
this entry - her age is a matter of mystification for the constant reader. When Adrian Mole started out in 1982, she seemed like our mothers. Now she is like us.

Links up with: Adrian Mole featured
here – where Pauline Mole’s fancy-dress costume of choice is Dolly Parton. Clothes panics entries include this one and this one.

The picture is (again) from the San Diego Air and Space Museum archive, via Flickr.

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