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Call Me Fabulous

Series: The Adventures Of Cindy George

Chapter 4

There was a postcard from Greg. It arrived that morning. He was in Paris. Where else? The land of poets and dreamers.

It was lying on the side when she got home from work. There was a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the front. She turned it over. "Hi Cindy,” he had written. "Having a great time. Been here a couple of days, off further south next. Wish you were with me. Hope you're having fun. See you soon.”

Like the first postcard he sent her after he had gone on his travels, it was perfect. But why did he have to write that? If he really wished she was with him, he would have taken her. As for her having fun, she hoped he appreciated her new good-time girl image, embracing the libertarian lifestyle Paris represented.

And, at that, she took the postcard up to her room and started what would be a collection.

 

But that was earlier. Right now, she was standing in The Ship with the girls. She needn't have worried about wearing out her welcome. She got a good reception from the gang, her new partners in crime. They were standing at the bar, in the usual place, when she arrived and they seemed pleased to see her, especially after the fun and games on Saturday night.

But that was last week. This week there were new entertainments to take their fancy. They were talking about a gig that was on that night. It wasn’t a proper gig, just a few bands at the local sports club. But some of them were supposed to be all right, according to Donna. She saw one of the young lads who went in there sometimes, in town. He was telling her about it, said they should all go down. They might like it.

So they were getting in the mood, having a few vodka and cokes at the bar.

They were dancing from time to time. There were a couple of old northern soul songs on the jukebox and they had taken to putting them on at regular intervals and having a groove round their end of the bar. After their dancing and their drinking, they were feeling in the mood to see the bands. They tottered out onto the street and flagged down a taxi. There was some debate at the beginning about the number he was allowed to take. There were five of them and the taxi driver started saying he was only allowed to take four. It didn't look like he was going to budge but, after a little girlie persuasion, he relented.

It wasn’t far, anyway, just a short drive along the main road out of town. Marie sat in the front and the rest of them crammed into the back. They lit cigarettes - Cindy had taken to smoking Consulates - and passed a medicine bottle of vodka, that she brought from home, around, much to his consternation. It made them laugh and they got into a fit of giggles. They were killing themselves when the taxi drew up outside the sports club and they got out and paid the fare.

He drove off and they stood laughing and walked towards the entrance. There was no one on the door and they walked into the foyer. There were posters for fitness classes and fixture lists for football matches and adverts for discos and other events. They paid their money and went into the hall. It was more full than Cindy thought it would be. There were lots of indie boys and girls, a few grungy types, and the occasional old hippy, including the guy they knew who owned the second-hand record shop just off the high street.

The band on now were of the hippy type. They were a bit older than them and were playing rock stuff like Born To Be Wild and Route 66. Cindy liked this sort of music but preferred it played with a bit more panache. These just seemed like a few old guys playing songs they had played loads of times before. They were all right though. They sounded better than they looked.

They went up to the bar and Marie bought a round. Cindy was feeling good. They went and found a place to watch the band, who finished off with a loud version of an old blues song and left the stage. There were muted cheers from the audience. Then music started to play and the girls waited for the next band. They had a dance to an old soul record that was playing.

The next band was on quickly. They were pretty unprofessional, just a punky thrash. All the songs sounded the same. Cindy gave them the benefit of the doubt, because they were young lads at the start of what they hoped was their dream, but they would have to improve if they were going to get anywhere. She wasn’t sure if that was their aim. The limit of their ambition seemed to be here.

Their set lasted around twenty minutes. The girls finished their drinks and bought more. Another slice of soul came on from the DJ in the corner.

Then it was the next band and, as soon as they came on, there was a moment of recognition. Cindy knew the lead singer. She had seen him before in The Ship. She looked round at the other girls. Donna smiled at her. She knew him as well. The first thing that hit her was that he was wearing a bright pink suit.

He walked to the front of the stage and went up to the microphone.

"All right. We're The Fabs.”

Then he started bashing his guitar. He was oozing confidence, like he knew he was going to be a star. She liked that. She liked his front. And she knew when she had seen him before.

She was sitting with Greg in The Ship one night and she saw a boy with a battered up light blue guitar at the bar. thought he looked good, so much so that she decided she would put him on her to-do list if Greg was ever not around.

She stood and watched him on the stage. He looked as good as he had that night in The Ship, face chiselled, floppy black fringe, fitted suit against his slim frame, with the middle button buttoned up and an open neck shirt. His trousers were tight as well, snug around his crotch and down to the top of his ankle, where he was sporting a delicious pair of Chelsea boots. Donna looked at her again, smiling that Donna smile, and raised her eyebrows. She knew what Cindy was thinking.

She stood watching, sipping her vodka. There was another boy in the band, who she had flirted with one night in The Ship, and she got the feeling he wanted her to notice him. She didn’t. Her eyes were on mister pink-suited singer-guitarist as he blasted through his set of proto-punk rock tunes with a poppy edge to them. That was another point about this lot. Not only had the singer got star quality, but the songs sounded good in their raw delivery.

Cindy finished her drink and wanted to get another but didn’t want to stop watching the band. Beverley bought a round instead. She passed her another vodka and coke and she sipped it as she watched. The set didn’t last long. After about twenty minutes, he walked up to the microphone.

"We're The Fabs. I'm Fab. This is our last tune.”

And they blasted through two minutes of madness and then it was all over. Abruptly. His friend started smashing a guitar. Fab leaned one against a speaker with feedback flying out. Then they left the stage and headed to the bar.

She wasn’t hanging around. As soon as the show was over, she went up to where he was at the bar. She threw her hair back, fluttered her eyelashes. She wasn’t letting him go.

"It's my rock star,” she said, looking up at him with her big blue eyes. He smiled. The girls stood around him. And he responded like he was holding court. Which he was in a way.

"All right,” he said. "Did you like it?”

"Awwwite,” she said, mimicking him. "Awwwite mate. Yeah, it was good. Straight in your face. Just the way I like it.”

She put her hand on his shoulder. He stood there, nonchalantly laughing.

"It’s just the start,” he said. "Watch us go from here.”

"I'll be able to say I saw you at your first gig.”

"Nice one.”

"You're a rock star,” she said. "My rock star.”

"I'm a star darlin. I've always been a star.” He smiled.

"I know that Mr Fab. Lead singer in The Fabs. Come and dance with me. What's your name? Fabrizio? Fabian? Something else?”

"Just call me Fabulous.”

"Come and dance with me Fabulous.”

So they went and danced. Then she told him she was feeling warm and they should go outside. He smiled and she took his hand and led him out. As soon as they were outside, he put his hands round her and pulled her towards him. Then he kissed her and it lasted forever.

"What are you doing later?” she asked.

"Nothing,” he said.

"Well, there’s no one in at home. I’ll be all on my own. You could keep me company.”

He smiled in a way that said he wouldn't miss it for the world.

"Try and stop me,” he said.

She went and told Donna she was leaving. Then she went outside and found him waiting, having had what seemed to be an argument with his friend, the one she had flirted with before. She didn’t ask what it was about. She took his hand and flagged down a taxi. In a few minutes, they were back at hers.

 

When she woke, she started to remember him from before. Call me Fabulous was something of a cause celebre the previous Summer with the girls, the new kid on the block, which he was quite happy about from what she remembered. She was with Greg then and had watched from afar.

Later that morning, he had a suggestion.

“We’re looking for someone to take some pics of the band. Do you fancy doing it?”

"Yeah, why not. Not sure I'm good enough. But I can give it a go.”

"You'll be good enough. I'll have to put a pink suit on again.” He laughed.

"You will. Where did you get it?”

"You know that charity shop on the high street?”

"You didn't. You didn't get it from there.”

He burst out laughing.

"I did.”

"You didn't.”

"No Cindy. I didn't. I hired it.” He couldn't stop laughing.

"Well, I didn't know.” She thumped him on the arm.

"Do you really think they'd sell a suit like this at a charity shop?”

"Maybe.”

"But I got the boots from there.”

"Did you really?”

"I did actually.”

 

The next day, she went to the charity shop. She went out of curiosity. If Fab got some of his gear from there, it couldn't be bad. She walked down the High Street and felt self-conscious as she walked in, in case Ann saw her. She didn't have much sympathy for people who bought their clothes second-hand. But she put that out of her mind and walked through the door and was confronted by rows of musty smelling jackets and tops and jumpers, old board games that hadn't been played for years, crockery that was worn out decades before.

It took her a moment to focus, to adjust her mindset. She told herself that you could find something of quality in here if you looked hard enough. She went over to the tops. There was nothing there, just old-fashioned stuff she wouldn't wear. It was the same with the jackets and the jumpers. She wondered if Fab was joking when he told her about the benefits of shopping here.

Then she went over to the coats. That was when it jumped out at her. It was a raincoat. She took it out and had a look. It was classic off-white, single-breasted. It looked good. She instinctively had a sniff. Was it musty? Did it have that inimitable charity shop aroma? Maybe. It might need a freshen up. But that wasn’t the point. She took it off the hanger, tried it on, went over to the mirror. Yes, she liked it. A lot. It was a bit oversized but that didn't matter. It was fashionable this year.

She turned and looked at herself from behind. It was good. She was getting into this. It wasn’t for every night. It was a summer, rainy day look, for those days and nights when you needed to keep the rain out and stay warm. It would go with anything,

She took it over to the counter and the old woman gave her a once over. They didn’t normally have people as young as her in there. She put it in a bag and, in a few seconds, she was out on the street.

 

She had the chance to wear her raincoat sooner than she expected. She had been out with Fab a few times since the night of his gig at the sports club. Each date had been special and each time he had stayed at hers. She was trying not to get too close to him because he had made no secret of the fact that his band were going on tour soon - "playing the toilets" - so he would be leaving for a few months. She was just making the most of him while she could.

One night, while they were sitting in a wine bar they went in sometimes, he brought up the idea of her taking pictures of the band.

"Let's do it tomorrow,” he said. "All the band's around. We could get some good photos.”

"Go on then,” she said. "I'm up for it.”

"Nice one Cindy. You're a star.”

"You going to wear your pink suit?”

"Afraid not. It had to go back. Nearly didn't get my deposit back either, there was a mark on it. But I sweet talked them. You know what I'm like.”

They finished their drinks and went back to hers. The next morning, he left to get ready for the photoshoot and arrange for the other band members to be there. She called in sick and told them she had a bug. They didn’t question what she said.

They arranged to meet at around two-thirty. It was late enough for most of the band to have had their lie-ins - rock stars needed their beauty sleep, as Fab told her - but early enough for them not to lose the day.

She was going for a daywear look. She hadn’t expected it last night but it was a rainy afternoon. She imagined Fab might have planned the shoot for another time, if he'd known. But there you were. None of them were the sorts to check the weather forecast. She wasn’t sorry, in a way, because she could put on her raincoat. She created her look with care. She tied it in with light blue jeans, skinny fit, that came down to her calves, and deck shoes. She wore a white vest top underneath her raincoat and her collar was up. Her blonde hair hung loosely over her shoulders. She was thinking about buying a polo shirt, that would have looked good with this coat. She had seen one, in pink with white tip, in the shop on the High Street. The rain had stopped by the time she left the house which was perfect.

She drove into town, smoked a Consulate as she went, and parked in the Pay and Display near the park. She walked down to High Street and waited on the corner. This was where she had arranged to meet them. She leant against the wall.

They made her wait, these boys. That was boys for you, she supposed. She waited there for ten minutes or so and then she saw them, waltzing down the street, laughing. There was Fab and two others. One of the boys - the one she had flirted with – wasn’t with them.

"All right,” said Fab, walking up and kissing her on the cheek. He was wearing a Harrington jacket, zipped up. "Ready to take some pics of us?”

"Yeah,” she said. "Is this all of you? I thought there were four.”

"Nah,” said Fab. "Not any longer. Musical differences and all that.” They all laughed.

"I see,” she said. "Perhaps I shouldn't ask anymore.”

"Come on,” said Fab. "Let's find somewhere to take pics.”

He walked down to a bench that was located halfway down High Street. He stood on it.

"How about this?”

She burst out laughing and took a picture of him. He jumped off.

"How about over here?”

He went over and leant against a wall, an average wall that you could find in any high street in any town across the country. But it didn’t look average. Fab was standing in front of it. would have made any wall look interesting.

The rest of the band went and joined him. She clicked and took a few pictures of them, Fab being stupid the whole time. She took more pictures than she should but she didn’t care. The whole band looked very nice today and she was happy to take some photos of them looking good. Next time she had a chance they may not be together.

They went down to the park. There was plenty there for them to pose by, trees, flower beds, an adventure playground with climbing frames and swings.

Then they went back into town. It was busy with shoppers, who Fab and the rest made fun of and mimicked. She got some good shots, them leaning against walls, in cafes. She thought she had taken some pictures that Fab and the rest would like, that they could use for some promotional material. She took the final shot and put her camera away.

"Cheers Cindy,” said Fab, coming over. "Thanks for taking pics of us. When will you get them developed?”

"I'll take them in tomorrow. Hopefully won't be too long.”

Then they went back to her house. It was a couple of hours until her mum would be home.

 

She spent the next few weeks hanging round with Fab. He was her lover, her poster boy, her educator. He had opened her mind to possibilities. To rock and roll possibilities. He brought records round sometimes. Hard, wild records. He put them on and they smoked consulates and he told her about the bands who made them, the sixties bands, the originals. He said she should go to the second-hand record shop, just off the High Street. He said she should become a connoisseur, get to know the best records to buy, that she could become a real rock chick.

Apart from thinking he was as cheeky as ever, because she was already a top-level chick, she welcomed the idea. She went to the shop. She searched through the racks and found some records by bands he had told her about.

While she loved music, some of these bands were not music she had ever been exposed to before. She loved that aspect of it. She always saw life as a kind of journey, that it was your responsibility to be aware of new things and discover what it was that got people to identify with them, need them, make them part of their life.

She had the pictures developed. They looked good. All of them. A proper time capsule of The Fabs and their development. Taken by a groupie. Or more than that. The girlfriend of the singer, albeit a casual one.

Which, in this world, probably made her a groupie.

 

She was starting to wish this could go on forever. Knowing that he was going on tour soon, she had managed to put a pretty good barrier up against falling for Fab. But it was getting harder. The longer time went on, the more she was finding herself getting used to being with him. He was becoming a habit, one that wasn’t tedious or irritating or repetitive. It was a habit that she wanted to cultivate until it reached its natural conclusion, if it ever did.

But she knew she couldn’t. He was the pretty boy frontman of a band and, as such, he was much in demand. He was off on tour at the weekend. So she enjoyed her last few days with him. They went out for drinks, sat in cafes, went shopping, lazed in the park. She took him back to hers on numerous occasions. She didn’t bother going to work. She would ring in sick. That could wait until he had gone.

And then finally he did go. On another Saturday morning of departure. He stayed at hers on the Friday night and in the morning headed off to get his things together and meet the band. They had an old van they were going to put their gear in and travel up and down the country, playing support slots at little venues. He said it was called "paying your dues”.

She didn’t resent Fab going. How could she? He had his whole life ahead of him and this is what he wanted to do. He never made any secret of the fact that he was going to go touring with the band. He decided long before they had met. Good luck to him. One day, maybe, he would make it. And she could say she went out with a rock star.

But it did make her think. Maybe she should go out there and find her place one day. She didn’t want to be stuck in a small town forever. She knew where she wanted to go. Fab's presence had added a flavour to her life. Rock stars and indie boys. She was getting a taste for them.

 

And then she was back in the saddle, like when Greg went. If this love, or lust, game had taught her anything, it was that this was what you had to do. When one guy left, there was bound to be another to take his place. You needed to make the most of it.

The night he left, she met a boy in the back of the Bull and took him home. After that, there were others. Most were one-night stands. A few hours with no questions asked. They might meet again if it was right. They might not. It suited her perfectly.

Since then, she had been on a roll. She had been out every night, having a ball. She knew what some people were thinking. She was so shallow. She knew she was. She had no depth, no breadth of vision, no ambition, nothing that would put her, in the way her old school teachers might have looked at it, as someone likely to achieve anything other than the most primeval. She held her hands up, admitted it. Of course, she was. That was her to a tee.

If she had been sensible, she would have moved on from Greg's departure and used the opportunity to concentrate on sensible things like career, studying, or building a life. But she had spent the last two years doing that. She was breaking free, doing all the naughty things she hadn’t been able to do before. She was enjoying what she was doing, going to clubs, drinking vodka, staying out all night. All she thought about were boys and clothes and dancing and going out and having a good time.

It was the way she was living her life. And she loved it.

 

 

 

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