Click here for Roistering With Intent Part II    

 

 

Monday 27th April 1998

Reached the unstunning conclusion that if you have to get up at 3.30 am, take an hour's taxi ride to the airport, then have a three and-a-half hour flight to Gran Canaria it's probably unwise to drink lots of lager and have a huge curry from the Bhaji Take Out the night before.

 

Somewhere over the Atlantic ocean blue ice was falling with an unmistakable hint of Chicken Madras.

 

Iain and I arrived in Gran Canaria and from this point onwards we were making things up as we went along. We had no local currency, just a stash of English bank notes we'd got from cash machines the night before, no idea of where we were going to stay and no idea how to get there. Brilliant! The adventure was just beginning.

 

Within an hour we were sat by the beach at Puerto Rico, enjoying a couple of beers and had gleaned some info from an English girl working at the bar on where to find a cheap hotel. An hour later we had an excellent room at the Maracaibo with a shower, cooker, fridge, balcony and sea view for a mere ten pounds each per night. We didn't waste time unpacking but headed straight for the beach and our first dip in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, some seventy miles from the east coast of Africa - bliss! Things were going exceptionally well.

 

That night we headed of to the centre of town (which wasn't far as Puerto Rico is tiny) to perform a preliminary recce in the search for the Unidentified Fathering Object - we'll call him Mr. X in order to preserve Colin Fisher's anonymity. As there was a pub quiz at La Fiesta we decided the postpone our detective work until tomorrow and get a feel for local culture by enjoying the many fine beverages on offer (especially lager).

 

(Cultural Footnote: It's surprising how similar Spanish culture is to our own. Union Jacks dominate the facade of every bar, egg and chips seems to be the staple diet of the locals, they have bingo, pub quizzes, staff who speak English with such impeccable colloquial accents you'd be convinced they all came from Leeds or Newcastle, and a Gary Lineker theme pub - amazing!)

 

After whipping us up into a frenzy with the pub quiz, La Fiesta then offered us the Zenith of light entertainment - The Elvis Impersonator. Actually he was pretty good, the only thing which shattered our wilful suspension of disbelief that this really WAS The King was his banter with the audience between songs. Granted it was delivered with Elvis's deep Southern drawl, but did Mr. Presley ever say things like "anyone here from Bradford tonight?"? I think not.

 

An old bloke sat at the next table was smoking a joint. He offered it to us. What a nice man. He was from Leeds, never goes a single day without rolling a Marley. Kindly gave us a joint of our own. Pretty soon we were stoned and drunk, we were giggling uncontrollably and beginning to worry that The King might take this personally. It was time to go - to the next bar.

 

Outside every bar in Gran Canaria there seems to be a pretty young British girl whose job it is to entice gullible young lads into their particular bar with promises of free tequila shots and cheap beer. How could we resist? Best of all the beer really was cheap and the tequila plentiful.

 

Somehow we made it back to the hotel, but I don't suppose we'll ever remember how......

 

Don't miss the next thrilling instalments of 'Roistering With Intent" - including 'Dads, Tarot Cards and Spider Monkeys' , 'In Search of the Mythical Tapas', 'German Tanning Efficiency', 'Three drug deals and a hair extension' , and 'Close Encounters of the Stoned Kind'.............

 

In the first instalment of 'Roistering' we left our two drunken heroes stumbling around in their hotel room trying to work out how the hell they managed to get there. One thing was for sure, the bottle of red wine we'd opened before we went out to allow to breathe had lost it's previous appeal. Iain later developed an intimate relationship with the bathroom floor as he nakedly crawled commando style across the linoleum in a desperate bid to reach the toilet and pray to the Porcelain God before firing a bolt of chunder.

 

Our gallant adventurers were certainly off to a cracking start.

 

Tuesday April 28th

 

Where was I? Why was the sun shining? Why did I have an unquenchable thirst? Who let that pig inside my head? Slowly the answers drifted into my transom - Gran Canaria. Ditto. Dehydration. I let the pig inside my head. There was only one possible course of action to take if our two dashing leading men were to make any sort of recovery - THE FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST. Fortunately, despite being in a Spanish territory off the east coast of Morocco, this wasn't hard to find. As we padded gently along the promenade, the same girl who'd help us find accommodation yesterday kindly informed us that we could get a big fry up at the bar where she worked and they served "proper sausages - none of those German things".

 

Our breakfast hit the spot like a German V2 bomb falling on Coventry.

 

Having made a partial recovery our two intrepid P.I.s were ready to begin the search for Mr.X.

 

We went to the beach.

 

Later, our search began in earnest. But he wasn't in Ernest so we began by going undercover as two tourists recovering from hangovers and seeking redemption at the Royal Oak British Pub. Pretty soon we had our first concrete lead.......

 

Episode III

 

Previously in "Roistering With Intent";

 

Part I

 

Lager, curry, flight, lager, beach, lager, more lager, Elvis, hash, lager, tequila, the darkness.....

 

Part II

 

The haze, the light, the realisation, the agony, the sausages.

 

Still Tuesday

 

We left our hardy-livered heroes at the Royal Oak British Pub, engaged in the subtle and delicate art of detection. First rule of private investigation - ask a barman.

 

Jason: Do you know Colin Fisher?

 

Barman: Colin. Yes. Sets up his fortune telling computer just by the entrance to this plaza at about six o'clock.

 

It was that easy! We knew where he would be that night. Now I was truly frightened. Part of me had thought, before coming on this trip, that at least if I didn't find my father then I could always say I'd looked. A bit like MacMurphy in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest' after he couldn't lift the sink and throw it through the wall but at least feels the satisfaction of having tried. Now I was confronted with the dilemma of what on earth to do next? This isn't something they teach you in school - you never have classes entitled "How to Confront Your Biological Father". Perhaps there should be. If we lived in America this situation would be easy. I'd simply get us both on the Jerry Springer show and announce it to him on TV. Some huge woman would probably run out from the audience and start hitting him, the audience would begin a tribalistic chant of "GO JERRY!" and at the end of it all Jerry would deliver a short moralistic sermon on the evils of illegitimacy. The show would have some snazzy title like "Hey Pop! I'm Your Son!". If only I was American. I would have had a lifetime of TV education to prepare me for such an event. But, being a repressed Brit I was completely at a loss.

 

I finally decided on a plan. Tonight Iain and I would introduce ourselves to him. I would simply say something like "remember my uncle? You used to work with him when you were a pianist. He told me to look you up while I was here." We'd have our fortunes read and then retreat to form a new plan of attack. We'd opted for the proceed slowly and cautiously approach. This, however, didn't make Tuesday night any less bizarre........

 

2BCont......

 

Still to come - 'The Tarot Never Lies', 'Hey Pop! I'm Your Son!', 'The Blues Boozers', 'Jeeps Without Germans', 'Germans Without Clothes', 'Vodka Martinis - Stirred not Shaken' and 'Keep Watching The Skies'.

 

Don't miss the next action-packed instalment of R.W.I.

 

To quickly recap. Our spunky heroes, having begun the quest to find Unidentified Fathering Object Colin Fisher, soon became distracted by pretty girls, booze, marijuana and sausages. However, by day two we'd somehow stumbled across the information we were looking for. This naturally presented the dilemma of what to do next. Undeterred, our foolhardy protagonists had decided that tonight was the night when i would finally look my father in the eyes........

 

Roistering 4 - The Next Generation

 

Actually, I'd once looked my father in the eyes before without either of us knowing it. Mum and I bumped into him at Blackpool Fairground when he was earning a living taking photographs of people with a monkey on their shoulder. Strangely enough I can recall that early childhood event. I can't really recall him but I do remember Mum saying to me, "he used to be a brilliant classical pianist but gave it all up to do this". That was the only time we'd ever met and Mum gave nothing away. I don't think he even realised I'd been born about nine months after they'd been together. It's quite funny really, most fathers have memories of their offspring taking their first faltering steps, burbling their first words, going off to school etc. But I suppose if you asked Colin Fisher about his recollections of fatherhood he'd have to say "I once put a monkey on my son's shoulders".

 

But this time I was armed with knowledge and on a mission to find the missing piece in the jigsaw of myself. I'd come this far. It felt strange but there was no turning back. I wasn't going to tell him the true nature of my journey tonight but I was actually going to see a glimpse of what could be my future self. The great irony was I was also going to get him to make a computer prediction of my future. As you'll find out soon, it proved uncannily accurate.......

 

Apologies for keeping everyone in suspense following 'R4', but it's hard finding the time to write when you're busy being a spy, international playboy and bus-top tour guide.

 

.....Having enjoyed an Epicurean repast of Spanish Omelette (very difficult to find bearing in mind that the staple diet of your average Gran Canarian would appear to be egg and chips) our plucky young adventurers were ready to make the first foray into The Fatherdome - a place of mystery, monkeys and uncanny supernatural predictions.

 

We arrived at the designated time at the booth by the supermarket (although any building which sells ice lollies and flip flops seems to count as a supermarket on the tiny island) and there he was. The Unidentified Fathering Object had been identified for the first time in 27 years. We stood a safe distance away and gazed on in wonderment at a slightly podgy, grey haired man with a marvellous Oliver Reed Moustache. I looked at him. Iain looked at him. I looked at Iain. Iain looked at me. We both looked back to Colin not knowing what to do next. I tried to summon up an eloquent summation of the moment - something profound and quotable for my memoirs;

 

"Bugger me! It's me Dad."

 

"Well, what shall we do now?" asked Iain.

 

"Let's go for a drink."

 

"I respect you for that matey. These are on me." (I was so glad Iain was with me on this trip - a true kindred spirit).

 

One lager later and we were ready to venture forth and find out what the cards would portend for our future.

 

But you'll have to wait until next time for that......

 

Ok, ok, ok. This will please the moaners and whingers amongst you 'orrible lot (and you know who you are) who've been demanding that Roistering details the first meeting between Colin and I. But to those impatient souls I say this;

 

Roistering With Intent is a gripping serialisation based upon true events. It is in the nature of a serial to leave the reader on the edge of their pants at the end of each thrilling instalment. These are the rules of the genre and even I would not be so bold as to break them for fear that the Poodles of Retribution should be released from Hell and piss upon the Lamppost of Folly.

 

The names of characters, places and brands of lager remain unchanged so as not to protect the guilty.

 

So there I was, having just clapped eyes on my father and feeling decidedly odd and somewhat dazed. I didn't feel any great wave of emotion or any overpowering filial bond - I never expected to. How could I? He was, after all, a complete stranger, just some bloke stood at a booth. A long time ago he gave me a sperm - just the one. I've received bigger and more expensive presents since then - like the brilliant Action Man Helicopter I got for my ninth birthday or the roller blades Mum bought me this Christmas (one day I may consider growing up - nab, bugger it, I bloody won't) - but that tiny little Jason fish was one small gift that I really wanted to say 'thank you' for. Besides, I wanted to evaluate my chances of going bald.

 

"OK Iain. Let's go to work."

 

We walked over to Colin and his fortune telling computer.

 

"Colin Fisher?"

 

A very suspicious look came over his face. No one ever actually approaches a booth of this kind, instead it's the stall holder's job to entice people to part with their pesetas using their charm and cheeky banter. Who were these chaps and what did they want? Protection money? Revenge for a prediction which went horribly awry? Very reluctantly he replied "Yes?"

 

"How do. My Uncle told me to look you up whilst I was here. You used to work with him when you were a musician. Sam Read."

 

Suspicion instantly became relief. This wasn't some Sicilian 'Bring Me the Head of Colin Fisher' scenario, just the nephew of an old friend and his mate on holiday. We began to chat......

 

.....Oh bollocks, Gwyneth Paltrow's just showed up at the house again and wants to take yet another look at my collection of antique underpants. I think she's stalking me. Until next time.

 

Sorry for the delay but I've been languishing on Coconut Island for the past week. Somehow I thought that after the adventure in Gran Canaria life couldn't get any weirder (especially when you find out what Iain and I saw on the last night of our quest), but travelling round England in the guise of Captain Jason Coconut with my own boatcar, desert island and bikini clad wife really takes the coconut biscuit. Anyway, once Roistering reaches it's gripping climax I'll tell you all about the tour in my next serialisation "Fear and Loathing on Coconut Island". You have been warned.

 

We left our Knights Templar by a fortune telling booth, having just discovered the Holy Grail of fatherhood, Colin Fisher. Having reassured Colin that we weren't the local Mafia we struck up a conversation which, for me (and also for Iain as he told me later) had a profound undercurrent of surrealism running through the entire meeting. It's hard trying to remain cool and Fonz-like during moments such as this - and this was a moment.

 

I have this theory that there are certain things in life which qualify as true 'moments'. You can't categorise them or rationalise them - they simply exist as a brief quantum event in the space-time continuum. In the same way that an atomic particle can spontaneously pop into existence, be given spin, colour, charge, charm, mass, velocity and direction (yet according to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle we can never truly measure all of it's properties) before spontaneously popping out of existence without anyone ever knowing why it came into existence in the first place, moments can occur in life which defy all of our attempts to measure their cause, effect, significance, value, meaning, etc. As Homer Simpson once so profoundly put it - life is "just a bunch of stuff that happens". Sometimes out of that stuff there pops into existence a moment. For me at least, this was one of them.

 

"How do. My Uncle told me to look you up whilst I was here. You used to work with him when you were a musician. Sam Read."

 

"Ah Sam. We worked together years ago. I remember how we'd all drive home drunk after playing gigs in Liverpool. Good musician Sam - great guitarist."

 

"Yeh, he taught me how to play. Do you play anymore?"

 

"I'm getting back into it now, playing better than I have in years. I had to give up because I was drinking too much and it affected my playing. Became alcoholic. Haven't had a drink for nine years now."

 

I was beginning to like this man. He seemed totally open and honest. I'd only met him a minute or so ago and already he was talking quite candidly about his drinking problem.

 

"I hear that you studied with John Ogden?"

 

"Yes, I was very close to John. Amazing technique, perhaps the greatest pianist of our time."

 

"Didn't he die recently?"

 

"Yes, back in 1989. A waste of an amazing talent. Put it all into perspective really. How's your Mum? Did she ever get married........."

 

More to follow. Must go and iron my sailor's outfit.

 

At last! Roistering lives on. There are those amongst you who thought I'd given up on this story just when it was about to get interesting. As if I could be such a tease. No, the simple reason for the prolonged gap was the intervention of Captain Coconut. Now he's been laid to rest (though there are rumours of a resurrection tour) I can crack on with this sordid little tale of bastardy, drugs and aliens.

 

To quickly recap; after much stalling involving lager and sausages Iain and I had finally come face to tash with my father - the gloriously non-balding Colin Fisher. Colin was still in the dark about my mission, I'd planned that little bombshell for the following night, instead we were making our first tentative foray into the Fatherdome.

 

"How's your Mum? Did she ever get married?"

 

At this point I was beginning to wonder if Colin was beginning to suspect that he had more to do with me being here (here in the existentialist sense of the word, not here as in 'here in Gran Canaria') than I'd led him to believe.

 

"No, she never married." Iain and I were watching his expressions and listening to his intonations very carefully. We seemed to be venturing into dangerous territory and every word spoken seemed strangely loaded.

 

False alarm. If he did have any inkling of what was going on he did a very good job of not showing it. We were still safely in the realms of polite conversation.

 

"So how long have you lived here?"

 

"About four years. Came away to make a fresh start and haven't been back to England since. Well, I did go back in November for a couple of days as it was my mother's funeral, but that doesn't really count as a holiday." Iain immediately realised the significance of what he'd just said. It wasn't until about twenty minutes later that it struck me.

 

"Oh, sorry to hear that."

 

"I'm going to Blackpool for a couple of weeks in June. It'll be my first real trip home".

 

"Actually, I once met you in Blackpool. You once took a picture of me with a monkey on my shoulder".

 

At this point Colin turned to the woman working on the next stall. "You hear that? I once took a picture of him at Blackpool fairground when I had the monkey. Isn't it funny how your past always catches up with you?"

 

This was becoming too surreal. "Isn't it funny how your past always catches up with you?" He's saying this to his illegitimate son and he's talking about a bloody monkey. Bizarre overload imminent - DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!!! RED ALERT!!!! MAN THE LIFEBOATS!!!! ICEBERG AHEAD!!!! RUN!!!!! It was time to beat a hasty retreat, but not before we'd had our futures foretold by his fortune telling computer.

 

Obviously this was a strange, if not unique, scenario. Imagine, if you will, a Hollywood scriptwriter trying to pitch this story to film director Ron 'Parenthood' Howard.

 

"Ok Ron, it's like this. We have this son - let's say Michael J. Fox and he has a dad - except he doesn't know who his dad is and his dad doesn't know he has a son. You with me so far Ron? Anyway, Michael's character, let's call him Jack Danger, gets robbed and suddenly thinks 'life stinks' (this is where Michael gets the chance to show his emotional depth as an actor and lose his 'Teenwolf' image - the same way that you lost your Richie Cunningham image from Happy Days). So, filled with feelings of anger, self-pity, pessimism, you know real kinda Robert De Niro stuff - maybe we could have a vigilante subplot for the kids? - Jack calls up his mom and says "Hi mom, just been robbed. Life can't get any worse. By the way, who's my pop, because if he's a low-life, pimpin' gangsta, drug addict, serial killin' mutha it really doesn't matter anymore."

 

So cut to the chase. Jack's fear were groundless. His father isn't like leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (hey, maybe we could have like some interesting dream sequence in which Jack pulls of leatherface's mask of human skin only to reveal Jack's own face staring back at him - cool). His dad was some sort of concert pianist who, now just run with this for a moment Ron, gave it all up to work with a monkey. Ok Ron, I can see I'm losing you here but just hang on in there, this is deep man, real deep.

 

We do lot's of character development stuff and introduce Jack's friend Iain (I see Johnny Depp), who happens to be a Private Detective. He locates Colin in Gran Canaria and they go off on this like quest - real King Arthur/Terry Gilliam stuff. It's like a road movie, a detective movie and a Tarzan adventure.

 

Now Ron I know you're a busy man and you want to go shopping for baseball caps real soon so I'll make this quick.

 

We have this scene. It's like a tableau. A sultry Canarian night. A fortune telling booth. Jack and Iain are there, face to face with Jack's Father (I see Bob Hoskin's). They talk about monkeys and then Jack's pop reads their fortunes. Like Ron man. What a scene. How Surreal. All those layers of meaning. Deep shit man. Really Deep. Only you could film this.

 

So, whaddaya think Ron....?"

 

"Bollocks!"

 

So what did the oracle portend? Colin offered us a discount if we had both our Horoscopes and Tarot cards read by computer. We still have them. You've got to admit, it's an unusual holiday souvenir.

 

28/4/98

 

Hello Jason......This is your personal Astroscope....

 

Date of Birth - Thursday 2 July 1970 :- 10162 Days old [I hadn't been counting]...

 

Thursday Child Has Far to Go....

 

You were Born under the Star Sign of Cancer

 

Behind your hard outer shell [do I have a hard outer shell?] lies a sensitive caring personality. The Family unit is of great importance to you [already becoming spooky]...Some Cancerians are a bit lazy and don't have much ambition. They need to be constantly told that they are loved. Diana Rigg, Ringo Starr [nice one] and Lady Diana [not her again, she gets in everything these days].

 

...Chinese year of the Dog

 

This indicates that your life tends to be tinged with anxiety and that you become obsessed with trivia [There's nothing trivial about Roger Moore!]........

 

..Alan Bates, David Niven and Kate Bush [a good selection of dogs].

 

...And now your Horoscope

 

.... Your sex life should be sensational at least until next Wednesday. Then it becomes rather too much of a good thing. [What sex life??? Didn't know computers were capable of taking the piss] At work a new element is introduced and you may find yourself doing more writing [Roistering?], speaking or travelling [Coconut Island tour?]

 

- A reasonable Horoscope but the real coup de grace was to come in the Tarot reading -

 

Card Number 61

 

The Emperor

 

This card represents a person who is about to enter your life or may be a part of your life already. You will not be able to ignore this very powerful man, he may be a skilled business man, someone in government or a strong fatherly figure.

 

Things had just gone beyond any reasonable person's weirdness threshold. It was time for Iain and I to go to the pub and reflect.

 

We said our goodbyes to Colin and went to the nearest bar. They had a Karaoke evening on. It had to be done. Meet dad - sing karaoke. Why not? As we were making our selection (we wanted to do a slow Elvis number but the manager was keen for us to do something more up tempo to get the audience going) a thought occurred to me.

 

"Bloody hell Iain, that was me Gran that died in November."

 

"I know mate, I thought that as soon as he said his mother had died. I thought 'That's Jason's Gran.'"

 

"Funny old game innit?"

 

"Yeh."

 

"Let's sing."

 

To be continued......

 

Sorry for the huge delay, as you probably know I've been away from Gormenghast's (that's the name of our house) operations centre for the past few weeks. Here 'till tomorrow so I may as well knock up the next instalment of Roistering.

 

You may remember that things were getting decidedly supernormal within the domain of The Fatherdome and Our two Magnum P.I.s had beat a hasty retreat to the nearest bar where we left them trying to select a Karaoke song which met with the manager's approval. Inspired by the performance of the Elvis Impersonator at La Fiesta the previous night (yes we are still only on day two) Iain and I favoured 'Love me Tender' or 'Can't Help Falling in Love', five minutes later we were up on stage strutting our stuff to 'Everybody Needs Somebody To Love' from The Blues Brothers. It wasn't our choice and I did feel somewhat ridiculous having to say "And we're so happy to see so many members of Illinois law enforcement community" in a place perpetually sans Americans. Still, we performed the song with passion, gusto and even attempted to mimic the dance moves of Jake and Elwood Blues. However, our free-form interpretation of both the music and lyrics seemed lost on the audience and we could sense them slipping away from us. We mustered all our soulful reserves for the big finale and somehow managed to recover some ground before ambling off the stage to a gentle ripple of polite applause from a very bemused looking crowd, who must have been thinking to themselves "why the hell didn't they do something simple like Love Me Tender?'. Next to grace the stage was an eight year old girl who brought the house down with a tear-jerking rendition of 'I Believe I Can Fly'. Call us old cynics but Iain and I thought that she was shamelessly using her cute appeal to entice the crowd.

 

We left. Day two was finally coming to an end...almost.

 

Back at the Maracaibo hotel Iain and I wasted no time in accessing our booze reserves from the previous night. By midnight the outdoor pool had never looked more inviting. We gathered our provisions (wine , glasses, towels, etc) and headed downstairs for a dip. This was the life. England, work, money, bills all seemed to exist in some far way world. It was a moment of beautiful serenity - then Iain fell on his arse. It was a glorious fall though, almost balletic. If I was going to fall on my arse I hope I could do it in the same way. A good arse fall involves continued forward momentum and an upward motion of the legs resulting in the arse being the initial point of contact between body and floor. It also helps if the fall is immediately followed by a direct reference to the arse - "Ow! Me arse!" Iain's poolside fall fulfilled all the criteria for a good arse fall and, if a panel of judges had been present, he would no doubt have scored maximum points for both technical merit and artistic interpretation.

 

And that was day two. It had started with a hangover and ended with a magnificent fall, but somewhere along the line I'd met my dad. Now all I had to do was tell him. Would I do it? Could I summon the courage? What would I say? What would he say? You'll have to wait a couple of instalments to find out because in the next Roistering our two rugged adventurers go on a jeep safari - no Germans Guaranteed.

 

Wednesday April 29th

 

Some people go abroad and never really leave home. Others don't. Iain and I considered ourselves to belong to the latter category. We didn't want the ease of package holidays with pre-booked hotels, all inclusive meals (of the home cooked variety) and inane travel representatives. No, we weren't mere tourists, instead we believed ourselves to be the archetypal 'travellers' - brave, inquisitive, ready for action and adventure, calm, cool and composed in the face of danger and positively oozing savoir-faire. That's why we decided to go on a jeep safari; to get away from the beaches and the tourists and see the untamed heart of the island. However, there is one dictum upon which both the timid tourist and fearless traveller will always agree - avoid the Germans.

 

Iain and I had yet to encounter the teutonic hoards which descend en masse upon Gran Canaria each year, but we were becoming increasingly aware of their existence. The previous day just prior to our detective work at the Royal Oak pub, we'd notice a small tourist information booth offering jeep safaris, boat trips, watersports, etc. It was, of course, the idea of a safari that appealed to our Indiana Jones sensibilities so we decided to make some enquiries.

 

"He does the safaris for the English on Wednesdays and Fridays" said the Oirish girl in the booth.

 

"What about other days?" Asked Iain.

 

"Oh that's when he takes out the Germans. You don't want to go with them."

 

"Does he do the tours in German too then?"

 

"Oh no, but you wouldn't be wanting to go with the Germans."

 

We tried to maintain some semblance of political correctness by muttering something like "well, we're not really bothered" but the knowing smile of the girl in the booth tacitly acknowledged the fact that this was just an attempt to save face and that no one, but no one who's a Brit goes on a day out with the dreaded Hun. They may have lost the war but they've been fighting us on the beaches ever since.

 

We booked our tickets for the following day - Brit Day. Our encounter with the Germanic tribes had been avoided, but, as you'll soon learn, the full terror of the Master Race was still to come.

 

The jeep safari was to depart from Macdonalds at 9 a.m Wednesday morning. This was not good, we were both hung over and Iain was complaining of a sore arse - the result of sunburn and his spectacular poolside fall. A greasy spoon breakfast was urgently required. Macdonalds was out of the question for a number of reasons;

 

1) Macdonalds is an out of control corporate monster. Devouring culture in favour of conformity in it's unstoppable Godzilla-like global assault on society. Empire building has never been so bland.

 

2) It's shit with piss on it.

 

Fortunately there was a greasy spoon across the road which promised a hearty repast of egg, sausage, bacon, beans, mushrooms, fried bread and, of course, a cuppa tea - the perfect combination for soaking up alcohol from the body's fragile alco-system. There was a bloke on the table next to us still drinking beer. He told us he'd been on an all night bender and was obviously in no mood for quitting. He did, however, ask us the code for England so he could call his Mum. Perhaps he was homesick. Bless.

 

Iain was still not firing on all cylinders. A selection of Country and Western favourites was being played over the Cafe's sound system, on a nearby corner was a mechanical horse which would occasionally make horsy noises. Iain failed to notice the horse....

 

"Funny isn't it, the way they've recorded horse sounds on these songs."

 

"What do mean? That's not part of the music. There's a bloody mechanical horse over there you plonker!"

 

"Well, how was I to know? I just thought that as it's Country and Western it's fair to assume it would include the sound of horses. Anyway, it's too early, my brains not fully functioning yet."

 

Then the jeep arrived, we were about to begin our journey to the interior - in search of the real Gran Canaria....

 

Wednesday. The Jeep Safari begins. Safari? So goody!

 

Our travelling companions for the day were a very sweet English family (chatty Grandma, lovely Mum, doting Dad and bright seven year old boy) and a French couple who spoke very little English but smiled a lot and seemed to be enjoying themselves (I tried to tell them my one French knock-knock joke, they gave a polite and slightly bemused look of amusement/bewilderment).

 

Dave was our driver/guide. This was his company. He'd left behind his humdrum life back in Blighty and come to Gran Canaria to do what he loves the most - drive like a maniac on narrow, high, curvy roads. Yes, Dave was one of life's thrillseekers and he was keen to share his love of near death experiences with his passengers. Fortunately, everyone in the jeep was game for some danger and excitement. I'll never forget the thrill standing up and holding onto the roll bar and all the passengers leaning with the jeep as we took the tightest of corners at unfeasably high speeds. It was like being in The A-Team.

 

We saw some spectacular sights - extinct volcanoes, lakes, forests, a camel park, but the award for Most Outstanding Natural Wonder must go to the Dagenham Cleavage we saw by a roadside snack van. For those amongst you who are unfamiliar with the term Dagenham Cleavage, this in fact refers to the world-wide phenomenon of the workman's bottom - the titillating hint of bottom crack exposed when a fat workman gets down on the job. This bloke's cleavage was incredible! You could have parked your bike in it. He was enormous, sat on a very small stool, leaning forward and wearing nothing but a pair of shorts which covered only a very minor surface area of his lower bottom. I had to take a photograph. Maybe I should send it in to Workman's Weekly - show them how it should be done.

 

The jeep safari had been a great adventure, and best of all it had taken my mind off my plan for the evening - telling Colin Fisher he was my father. Stuff suicidal cornering, this was going to be the scariest part of the day......

 

Captain Coconut is no more. I'm home again and glad to be here. Time to finish this once and for all....

 

Wednesday Night - "In Search of the Mythical Tapas" and "Hey Pop! I'm Your Son."

 

The safari had been an excellent diversion from the job at hand, but the time had come to make my final and most terrifying leap into The Fatherdome and I can honestly say that I'd never felt more nervous. How do you tell a total stranger he's your father? Forget steel, this was going to take cojones of pure Kryptonite. There was no way I could do this on an empty stomach, so Iain and I decided to seek out a traditional Spanish tapas bar. If this food gave Spanish men the courage to face down a raging bull whilst wearing a ridiculous hat and effeminate trousers then maybe it would work for me. The only trouble was, despite Gran Canaria being a Spanish territory, the supposedly indigenous tapas proved to be damned elusive. So alien was the concept of sampling the local culture to the majority of waiters we questioned, that Iain and I were beginning to feel rather maverick.

 

"Do you serve tapas here?"

 

"Tapas?"

 

"Yes, you know - Spanish food."

 

"We have omelettes."

 

"No, we want tapas."

 

"What about a curry?"

 

"No, we want to try real Spanish food."

 

"Uh?"

 

"Do you know where we can get tapas?"

 

"No, try asking the bloke at the Chinese restaurant over there. He might know."

 

(Bloody hell, finding tapas was proving much more difficult than it had been finding my Dad.)

 

We finally found the near mythical tapas bar down a small sidestreet. Not only did it serve Spanish food, but Spanish people ate there too - so that's where they'd all been hiding (probably trying to avoid the Germans).

 

Despite such arduous searching I can't even remember if the food was good or bad. It could have been Macdonalds for all the attention I was paying to the qui sine. Tapas was the last thing on my mind: my main concern was with Papas. His fortune telling booth was just around the corner and I knew he'd be there by now. Last night he'd told me about my future, tonight I was going to tell him a little about his past.

 

So, it had come this far. I could have just left things as they were, knowing that at least I'd seen my father, but that would have been a cowardly retreat. We came with a mission and I wasn't about to bottle out on the brink of completion (tempting though it was). Time for the big push...

 

Iain went to Snoopy's Bar, awaiting reports of my reconnaissance and mustering the lager reserves. I walked to the entrance of the plaza where Colin had his fortune telling stall. I paced. I hovered. I tried to rehearse my opening line but the more I thought about what I was going to say the more difficult it became finding the right words;

 

"Hey Dad!" - NO

 

"Do you know who my father is? I'll give you three guesses." - NO

 

"I've got something of yours. Your DNA!!!" - NO

 

"I'm so glad you're not bald. Do you know why?" - NO, NO, NO, NO!

 

Fuck it! Just go and tell him. I waited for his customers to leave, braced my steel cojones and manfully strode up to the stall.

 

"Hello Colin."

 

"Hello. So what do you do then?" Arrrrrgghhhh. Bollocks! He's made a pre-emptive strike by establishing polite conversation. Now, instead of just coming out with it I would have to try and steer the talk towards paternity.

 

"Oh, I'm a tour guide on those London sightseeing buses. It's really cheesy." Well done Jase, you arse. This is not the time to be self-deprecating. How's he to know that I do it all the time? I want him to like me, not think I'm a bloody idiot.

 

I had to do it now before I confessed to having a fetish for safari suits.

 

- TESTICULAR STATUS: SOFTENING; CODE YELLOW -

 

"Erm, you know last night when I said that I was just coming here for a holiday and my Uncle told me to look you up? Well, I wasn't being entirely truthful. You see I actually came here to find you because....

 

- TESTICULAR STATUS: JELLY; CODE RED -

 

..You're my dad."

 

To be continued.....

 

"No I'm not!"

 

Of all the reactions I'd envisaged, denial was not one of them. I was stunned and not sure what to say next. Having a father is something you take for granted. We all know that someone is responsible for jump-starting our egg. But I'd forgotten that the same doesn't apply in reverse. Ever since I'd dismissed the idea that I magically sprung into being from the rosebud in my Gran's back garden I knew that the person other kids at school referred to as a 'Dad' was strangely absent from our house. Not that this bothered me, Dads seemed to serve no particular purpose and they all looked rather large and frightening. But, over the years I'd grown accustomed to the fact that, repulsive though the thought was, I too was the spawn of one of these Dad-creatures. Then, before beginning our Gran Canarian quest, I'd had a couple of months to get used to then fact that this creature was known as Colin Fisher. Poor old Colin had just been confronted with the shocking proposition that this strange little fellow stood before him was a hitherto unknown Son-creature. No wonder he said "no I'm not!."

 

"Yes you are," brilliant comeback Jase "why would I come all this way just to make up something like that?"

 

Colin was visibly shaken, he was obviously beginning to realise that it was entirely possible that he really was my father.

 

"But nobody told me - nobody accused me."

 

"Nobody told me for twenty seven years, and it wasn't a case of accusation. Mum decided that she would bring me up alone so she made up a story that she'd got drunk at a party, passed out and had no recollection of who the father might be. Sam [my uncle] knows but he says he worked it out for himself. Mum's always kept it a secret."

 

"But I saw Christine about twelve years ago, outside Marks and Spencers in Lancaster, she never said anything."

 

"Well, she wouldn't would she? Not after so long. She's never wanted any help bringing me up and she's been brilliant. I'm not here because I feel that something's missing, or because I want something from you, I was just naturally curious - wouldn't anyone be?"

 

"Well, I don't know what to say." Colin now seemed to be in a state of shock. I felt really sorry for him and was beginning to wonder if I'd done the right thing.

 

"I don't expect you to know what to say. I've had a long time to get used to this and I still don't know what to say. This is very strange." Now the surrealism of this encounter was starting to get to me. It was gradually starting to seep into my consciousness that I'd actually done it and I was beginning to feel a little light headed.

 

We shared a moment's stunned silence. Neither of us really knowing what to do or say. Then I remembered I had the letter I'd written to him with me, the one that was returned because it had the wrong address.

 

"I wrote you a letter when I found out. I made up some story and got the address off a bloke called Barry Elfin but it must have been wrong."

 

I gave Colin the still unopened letter, he looked at the address and tried to recall if he'd ever lived there.

 

"You know I've had a few different addresses since I've lived here. I think I used to live on that road once but the apartment number doesn't ring a bell. Now it must have been a couple of years ago since Barry was here......."

 

I think we both welcomed the opportunity to engage in small talk that the wrongly addressed letter gave us. We chatted about how I'd found him here and I asked him not to phone home and speak to my Mum as I hadn't yet told her about the purpose of the trip. I feel bad about not telling Mum, so far this is the only secret I've ever kept from her. The reason is that if I leave it a while before telling Mum I've met Colin she'll know that enough time has passed for there to be no repercussions. Or perhaps I'm just a coward. I said that if he wants to speak to anyone about me then he should call my uncle who was then staying at my house looking after our cats.

 

By now Colin was looking extremely upset. I was feeling so sorry for him that I wanted to give him a big hug but I knew I couldn't. The best thing I could do was leave, give him a chance to think about what I'd said and to read the letter.

 

"Look, I can see you're working and I'm taking up your time. Why don't I leave you to finish here and then maybe later you can read the letter."

 

"Well, I should get back to work. I'm only here for a few hours each night. I'll read the letter when I'm finished."

 

We shook hands.

 

"My address is in then letter if you want to get in touch."

 

"Oh I'll be in touch." Those were his last words to me.

 

So far, he hasn't been in touch.....

 

Click here for Roistering With Intent Part II including....

 

Naked Germans!

 

Drugs Dealers!

 

Crocodile Wrestling!

 

Spooky Hotels!

 

UFOS!