I have a very patchy memory of my childhood. It's one of the things about myself I'm most proud of. I have only a few obscure visions with no dates or names attached to show for the first 15-odd years of my life, and the rest is all fog. I don't really mind. I seem to remember it was a period where I spent a lot of time in the company of children, and I can't say I like them much.

But every so often one of the memories in my head swims into sharper focus and I can recall some things more vividly. And recently I had a recollection of a poem I once had to copy out in middle school, and do an illustration for, apparently in that time of school life where you're expected to just waste your time until the bell rings. The poem may or may not have been by T. S. Eliot, a poet very close to my heart for approximating to a backwards spelling of 'toilets', and here are the lines I have remembered. The less cultured among you will also no doubt recognise this from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

"McAvity, McAvity*, there's no-one like McAvity,**
He's broken every human law***, he breaks the law of gravity****.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare*****,
Something something something something, McAvity's not there******."

* McAvity is repeated twice in case you aren't sure you took in how to spell it the first time, and just to make it totally clear to the unobservant the subject of this poem, which also incorporates the name in its title. Now we've cleared that up, let's move on.

** Does anyone else get the feeling that the author of this poem owned a cat, possibly named McAvity, who was a bit naughty, doing things like leaving dead mice under the bed and knocking over bags of flour, then going to hide under the sofa? And that this activity inspired the aforesaid author to write this poem about him, obviously rather heavily embellishing certain aspects? If this is the case, then it's kind of laughable, like people who write fan fiction about their favourite celebrities in which they are superheroes or something. It's just creepy enough to be hilarious. It's only when they start writing the erotic fan fiction that it becomes worrying.

*** This is my all-time favourite line in the whole damn poem. I remember thinking at the time what a job it must be to notch up a confirmed breakage of every single one of our petty human rules. I'm sure it's kind of a good line until you think about all your favourite laws, like I found myself doing.

Indecent exposure - Probably not too difficult for a cat, although I can't see him getting arrested for it.
Drunk in charge of a vehicle - I have this weird image now of a cat completely out of it on catnip parading up and down on a top of a parked Vauxhall Astra while mewing 'Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner'.
Soliciting prostitution - "Ah, control to officer Chives, we've had reports of a suspect driving a small Vauxhall Astra slowly along 34th Street picking up known street prostitutes, proceed immediately. Suspect is described as small, ginger, having difficulty with the steering wheel. Repeat, suspect is small, ginger, and has no opposable thumbs, ah, over."
Downloading child pornography - Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (snort) hee. Hee hee hee hee hee hee.

I also like the way this line implies that there are some non-human laws he hasn't yet got to yet. Maybe some cat laws. Like "showing your rectum to people too much". Or "not showing your rectum to people enough".

**** This is the point I feel where our friend the author had to resort to his rhyming dictionary to see what else rhymed with the stupid name he came up with. Personally I don't know anyone who'd name their cat McAvity, but I suppose 'Mr. Whiskers' doesn't have the same ring.

***** This is where he starts gaining confidence in the last line and elaborates on his rather surreal idea. Incidentally a 'fakir' is defined in my dictionary as a Hindu holy man or a member of a church of Islam. I suppose these people would be quite surprised if a small cat came floating past, but not any more than, say, a bus driver or corner shopkeeper. Well, maybe not the bus driver. Have you seen the way they look at the road ahead of them? They can't be surprised by anything! I should think if a crack opened up in the road in front of the bus and the entire vehicle was sucked into the jurassic period, he'd be the one leading the scout party with a bored expression on his face. And you're surprised by a flying cat? Jesus Christ, sometimes I think these bus drivers have seen the face of GOD.

****** Ah, now, this bit refers to the whole 'mysterious' aspect of the creature, named as he is in the title of this poem as 'The Mystery Cat'. But he's kind of lost his impact by now 'cos, well, his mystery's been solved. People wonder how he's always mysteriously gotten away from every crime he's ever committed - assuming they were interested in arresting him for it, see above - but now we know how he did it. He flew. That's it. As soon as he's finished robbing the jewellery store or walking on the grass where it says 'don't walk on the grass', he just takes to the skies and zooms back to his pad. I for one feel quite disappointed.

Oh, and for the benefit of those people who think I haven't been English enough in my recent articles: Bum bollocks tosser cor blimey guvnor eccles cakes apples and pears god save the queen fish and chips I hate yanks etc.

I thank you.

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