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.
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
McAvity*, there's no-one like McAvity,**
He's broken every human law***, he breaks the law
His powers of levitation would make a fakir
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
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
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,
Downloading child pornography -
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (snort) hee. Hee hee
hee hee hee hee.
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.
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.
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