Category Archives: Mumbo Letters

Blissfully Naff from Hammersmith

Dear Auntie Soph,

How right you were.

I’m so naff I could marry Geri Halliwell at a Sandals Resort.

Not too-naff-for-Hoxton but properly white Ugg boot naff- right to the tips of my highlighted hair.

I feel like I’ve been trapped in some kind of hellish media-world merry-go-round and you’ve come along and set me free.

Everything about me was a lie (apart from my thing for karaoke, which friends thought was ironic but wasn’t).

I’m out and proud and being slightly too friendly to cool people.

I’m telling them that I like white bread.

Not hunks of thick-crusted rosemary and walnut bloomer but thick-cut Sunblest slices with iceberg lettuce in the middle. And malt vinegar.

I’m rubbing their eye-shadow free faces in my French manicures and taking mail-order catalogue gifts to their ‘kitchen suppers’, with a bunch of garage flowers.

Before your letter I was ashamed to say three little words. Now I’m prepared to shout ‘Malibu and Pineapple!’ from the back of the Eight Bar.

I love Dale Winton, roller-blading and yellow sports cars.

I think Mr Bean is comic dynamite.

Plus I’m going to let my parents stay with me and leave the house in daylight. They’re not as naff as me but they are old and unsightly.

Gastropubs are arse.

If you want the truth, lentils make me gag.

I crave breaded mushrooms at a Harvester.

And if it’s my birthday I want them to turn the lights off and for the whole restaurant to sing to me over a Viennetta with sparklers in it.

Don’t give me a glass of dry white wine, for crying out loud.

I want it sweet and I want a bottle. Wearing a dinner jacket wine-cooler.

And at Christmas you can ***k off with your Jo Malone.

I want a perfume gift set from BHS and tickets to see Gareth Gates. In anything.

Today in Waterstones I bought a copy of ‘Girl Power’ when I was waiting at the desk to pay for Kerry Katona’s autobiography.

I’ve enclosed it for you to sign (remember to dot your ‘i’ with a little heart).

Love and hugs,

Blissfully Naff from Hammersmith xoxoxox

*

Dear Blissfully Naff from Hammersmith,

Please stop writing to me.

Auntie Soph

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Filed under Mumbo Letters, Musical Mumbo, Uncategorized

The letter I want to send to John Lewis but probably won’t

Dear John,

What’s going on with you? Are you having issues? You’re not breaking up with Peter Jones, are you?

I’m so disappointed with your service recently, I can’t tell you. Everyone has bad days but this is beyond a joke.

You’ve sold me two broken coffee grinders, delivered the wrong kitchen bin twice and been late with my blinds, which required so much intervention I thought you were going to ask me to glue the black-out material on myself.

When they arrived, they didn’t fit. Then the guy fitting the replacements was an hour late, left his bloody screwdriver behind and is now stalking me to come and pick it up.

All without a single apology.

I realize this isn’t you personally but they’re all using your name. It’s your reputation at stake here.

Do you know what one of your staff said to me on the phone when we tried to get to the bottom of the bin fiasco?

This is a recording of the conversation, for training purposes:

‘Hello. You delivered the wrong bin to me again.’
‘Really?’
‘Yes. It’s blue and semi-circular, when it should be stainless steel and round.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes, I am.’
‘Oh.’

Long pause.
‘Might you be able to help me get the right bin delivered?’
‘I’ll check in the system. What’s the stock number?’
‘Of the wrong bin?’
‘Yes.’
‘Twelvety-five.’
‘That bin is blue and semi-circular.’
‘I know, it’s in my hall-way. Please could you find the stock number for the right bin, so you can re-deliver it.’
‘What’s the stock number for the right bin?’
‘I don’t know because I’ve got the wrong one.’
‘Well, I can’t find it if I don’t know the number.’
‘It’s stainless steel and round and I have already paid for it so can you think of another way to find it?’
‘Is the bin short?’
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Is it short?’
‘Well, I suppose it depends on how tall you are. Where is this conversation going?’
‘It looks short on the computer screen.’
‘O.K. I think I need to talk to a human being now. Send my love to the other mice in the warehouse.’

I mean, come on, John, seriously! Who’s head of customer services? Abbott and Costello?

You need to surround yourself with good people. Take your attitude and put it back in road rage, where it belongs. Listen to the messages on your answerphone, once in a while, so you can call people back.

The last few times I’ve needed to talk to you, I’ve thought, ‘Oh God, I need to call John Lewis’, which is not a great feeling in a relationship.

I know you’ll put me on hold. Try to pass me around to your mates in different departments. I bet you don’t do this to your mother.

So this is a little note, for old time’s sake, asking you to Get Your Act Together.

Take some time off. Call in with a sicky- stocktaking is always a great excuse. Or hide behind a little construction work. Say there was a flood in your basement, or something.

Maybe having to be a yes-man to Sloanes for more than 75 years, has taken it out of you. Maybe you’re just not a soft furnishings man anymore. Reflect on what it is you want to do.

There’s more to life than never knowingly being undersold, my old chum.

Smoochies,

Mumbo x

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To my espresso machine

Dear Cubika,

People complain when men objectify women. Do you think they would care if I sexualize an object?

Because I feel the need to say you are one hot piece of equipment.

You were a risk to me. You looked good. I didn’t know if I could handle you. Pump, milk frother, plug business: I knew there would be maintenance issues.

The social dynamic scared the hell out of me too. No more barista banter? No more drinking in public? Really?

Friends influenced me. Some said you may not be pro enough. If you’re taking one home, they said, get the super model.

But I was ready and I knew it from the length of time I gave to your instructions.

You are super and you make me super too.

Do you know how hard I tried to get the right grinder for you? Hours surfing consumer reviews on Amazon, like some caffeine-crazed Laird Hamilton. Dedicated expeditions to Oxford Street. Not one, but two faulty Krups machines; John Lewis really needs to sort out their kitchen department.

Jug, thermometer, stainless steel tamper: I haven’t been cheap. I want you to feel alive- like the crema you push through the tiny holes in your cup filter is at the very core of who you are.

I will never fill you with stale beans.

When I have sponged you down tonight and you take a rest- which you really deserve- I want you to know how you make me feel.

With you I am Humphrey Bogart. I’m a Parisian tart wearing suspenders, in a smoke-filled dive. I am a bespoke-suited, middle-aged Italian outside a café in Venice. I am an intellectual in the rain. I am so bloody grown up.

And I’m thinking up good things, really fast.

X

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