Thomas Bonaparte came into this world with two major afflictions.
Firstly his parents decided to continue the family name and shackle him with the surname of one of the greatest mass murdering dictators in History.
Secondly he danced out onto this primeval planet with a good dose of Aspergers syndrome; not that the geniuses in white coats wanted to label him this way anymore – syndromes are so Victorian!
This combination led of course to a delightful childhood at the hands of the so called normal children. The perfect little children from the perfect little houses with their perfect little parents liked to call him ‘Tore Me Bone Apart’. It was a perfect little joke from perfect little horrors. When Thomas reached secondary school he tried to explain to his tormentors that he suffered from Aspergers syndrome; they decided to call him ‘Ass Burglar Sin Drone’.
Children can be right little cunts.
It was his obsessiveness that seemed to get on everyone’s tits. Take the music lessons. At the start of his first term at St. Finbarrs Holy Roman Catholic Comprehensive School for boys, Thomas sat through a music lesson given by Mr Tuttle. In this lesson the joys of music were explained away; food for the soul said Mr Tuttle. Sadly this preceptor showed a distinct lack of earth boundedness when one wag said “Sir, Our Souls don’t need feeding.”
Thomas instantly became enamoured of the miniature trumpet referred to as a Cornet. It tickled his unusual sense of humour when realising that his favourite dessert could also be used for playing music. It was Friday afternoon when young Thomas signed up to become the legend that would blow Louis Armstrong out of the water and make Herb Alpert look like a bit player in a pub jazz band. Sadly, the Peripatetic would not be in school to start lessons until the following Wednesday.
The budding bugler began his obsession there and then. He looked for pictures of trumpets and cornets in every book he had at home. He searched magazines and comics, watched TV non-stop until he saw a brass instrument whilst declaring ‘that’s what I’m going to learn’.
By Wednesday he could describe every piece of the Cornet from mouthpiece to Bell and all things in between. He knew where to find the finger ring, the names of the valves and the valve slides; he was looking forward to using the Water Key and the tuning slide; he even looked forward to wearing the Top Valve Cap, though he didn’t know why.
Thomas was eager with anticipation as the time for his first lesson approached. His eagerness could only be surpassed by a teenage boy waiting for the first time his girlfriend was ready to drop her knickers (not that this was a long time in many cities, but it’s good for illustration purposes. In fact in Manchester this is a very poor metaphor but I’ll leave it in anyway.)
So when Mr Paul Deetov turned up for the first lesson with Thomas his delight was unbounded. A super keen pupil who recognised all of the parts and even had some idea how valve combinations led to particular notes. Fantastic. It didn’t take long for Thomas to get the hang of the funny raspberry blowing technique required to make that horn swing. Thomas was a natural; he’d learnt to play a short tune by the end of the first lesson.
Sadly the first lesson turned out to be his first and last. Mr Deetov was arrested a few days later over allegations of inappropriate behaviour with some of his pupils. It appeared that Mr Paul Deetov had come up with a rather inventive method of helping girls overcome their shyness whilst singing into a microphone. He would blindfold the girls and give them the mike to sing into, insisting that they hold the Mike tightly and squeeze it as the belted out their notes. Unfortunately it wasn’t a microphone the girls were holding.
Thus ended Thomas’ obsession with musical instruments.
Never mind; at least he still had his train set.
Well not exactly a train set. Thomas built a model railway in the garage at home, with its own operating timetable, opening hours and period setting. He chose to base his layout in 1938 so he could run models of the Coronation Scots in all of the original glory with their fantastic liveries of Red and Gold, Blue and Silver. Thomas knew the history of the LMS inside out.
Between 6pm and 8pm every night of the week Thomas was the King of his own world as the schedule for up and down trains, passenger services for Crewe, goods trains for Derby, and mixed freight traffic scurrying off down branch lines before Hitler and Dr Beeching had their ways with the Railways of Britain.
It is probably best to gloss over Thomas’ teenage years as his obsessive nature almost led him to go blind.
At 21 Thomas fell in love with the beautiful Louise Richardson.
Obsessively in love.
Sickeningly in love.
Frighteningly in Love; well it frightened Louise anyway.
It was a real obsessive pain that almost killed him. And Louise.
If he saw her car parked outside his house his hormones and intestines went into a self destructive Tango of intertwining emotional turmoil. This sent his heart into serious over drive and his bowels into serious evacuation mode. It’s not a great way to great your beloved to say ‘hello darling girl, you look beautiful but I need a shit’ and then promptly vomit in the kitchen.
Obsession can be a silly thing.
She dumped him.
Which led to his next pathway of self elimination, called Claret. Whilst bouncing off the walls one day under the influence of at least three bottles of Claret, derived originally from the French word ‘clairet’ meaning pale rose wine from the Bordeaux region, Thomas fell across his father’s copy of the Requiem Mass by Mozart.
Two hours later he was still listening to ‘Lacrimosa’ for the fiftieth time, writing the words in Latin and trying his best to understand the tears of the mother. His own tears fell as he dropped the stylus onto the vinyl for the fifty first time. Wiping away the snot and tears he caught sight of an open Sunday Magazine, one his mother had clearly been reading.
And there he spotted his first pair of Magical Underpants!
It was an advert on page twelve, full colour. A pair of deep blue Y-fronts with delicious blue piping to set off the ‘Y’ and the waistband.
Pants to die for! He had to have pair!
The Claret was ditched immediately and Mozart was told to ‘stop that feckin whinging’. A new day was dawning for young Mr Thomas.
Within a fortnight his collection of underpants had grown tremendously.
After only forty eight hours he was sporting four pairs of magical Y fronts.
And they really were Magic!
The blue pair, with the white piping, turned him into Burt Reynolds. He would stand in front of his parents full length mirror, legs akimbo, chest puffed out, with black eyes peering as though down a magnificent cleavage. On these occasions he would don a false moustache, a device he had made from cutting large chunks of black hair from his neighbour’s cat and sticking them on to double sided sticky tape.
As such he was a lady killer.
He also obtained a matching red pair, similarly enhanced with white piping. When engaged in the wearing of these fellows he would squeeze his pectorals until they almost showed, then focus tension into his thigh muscles and he was Arnie, swashbuckling his way through some far away jungle in some far away time. He imagined large bosomed damsels in distress being threatened by vile majestic snake gods; Arnie would perform a rescue, severe a snakes head and cry ‘I’ll be back’.
On his more flamboyant days he sorted the third in his trio of unbelievable Y fronts, this being a green pair with yellow edging, no doubt designed by an art student under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug. When attired thus he transported himself to Sherwood Forest and dribbled his skilful way through Nottingham Forrest. In the green he was Robin Hood, putting one over on the evil Sheriff whilst getting his leg over on the sumptuous tits of Maid Marion.
“Made Marion!” he would say.
When in his most daring moods he presented himself to his world in a threatening pair of all black Y fronts – including black piping! When dressed thus he would surreptiously approach the mirror, constantly scanning the room for threats, then suddenly pounce on his reflection hands outstretched together as a pistol saying ‘room clear’; he was alpha two bravo tidying up a house full of bad ass terrorists. He would kick the arse of any lowdown threat to democracy, children’s health or her majesty the Queen. Sometimes he would pull these pants up very tight, leer into the mirror with a sideways luck and say; “Do you feel lucky, punk!”
The Y fronts were only the start.
As time rolled by boxer shorts made a welcome return to men’s undergarments. A fantastic opportunity for Thomas to purchase a very long pair of white silk boxers with a red waistband. Now he was Rocky Bilbao, shadow boxing in front of the mirror, muttering something totally unintelligible in a pseudo New York Italian manner, probably a recipe for cannelloni he’d heard that day on Radio 4, then spit gratuitously onto the floor. On rare occasions he would sip a minute amount of red food dye to simulate spitting out gobs of blood as a result of his epic battle with a twelve foot tall Russian.
His mother was far from pleased with this wet mess she had to contend with when she arrived home from her work at the veterinary surgery.
“Do you think I spend all my days assisting in the removals of dogs testicles only to come home to puddles of fake blood on my bedroom carpet?” she would scold.
Thomas was forced to desist in his boxing fantasy, though not before winning the world title fight in Las Vegas by single handedly defeating a tag team of Mohammed Ali and Mike Tyson.
It was not long before the magic returned in the form of long legged knitted stretch Trunks. Preferably with button fly for fun. Our hero acquired several pairs in startling white and was immediately transported to a beach in his Chariot of Fire. He would shower, partially towel himself dry and embellish his nether regions with a beautiful pair of these prized white pants. Then he would run in slow motion from the bathroom to his mother’s mirror, head tossed back in delight, the twinkly twinkly electronics of Vangelis sustaining his delight. Sardine always won.
He almost lost the magic in his pants when thongs made a brief appearance in the underwear department. It was confusing for Thomas as in his limited outlook on life he equated the thong with the advancement of homosexuality. Not that he had any kind of problem with these types of people; it was just that so many great Hollywood actors were dancing at the other end of the ballroom so he just didn’t know where to start. Should he be Rock Hudson chasing after Doris Day, though loathing the whole concept; or young Mr Clift who went from here to eternity?
In the end he cleared the synaptically snapping confusion in his cranium when he found his old black moustache, grabbed one of his mothers hairbrushes and pranced around the bedroom singing ‘crazy little thing called love’.
This perturbation in the otherwise steady evolution of men’s erogenous zone coverings was brought to an end by the mass uptake of novelty underpants. He could visit any major store or supermarket to be transported into fields of wonder and imagination.
With this new focus on bedroom apparel he could be anyone!
Today he is Superman, avoiding horses if possible.
Tomorrow he will be Popeye, holding a stick of rhubarb and a bottle of Extra Virgin from his mother’s finest collection; before declaring to himself, whilst giggling out the side of his mouth, Popeye likes to put hard pink things into Olive Oil.
Later this week he can become paranoid about anal probes whilst sporting his latest acquisition from the South Park Collection.
He was particularly fond of the pair his Great Aunty Maude brought him from Ireland, calling the entire world to enjoy the taste of porter from the heaven on earth called St James’ Gate. He took great delight in wearing them, his alabaster white torso setting the head to the pint made from the black boxers. Sadly the pants began to fall apart after just a few washes, leading him to accuse his mother of deliberately trying to sabotage his hobby. It was unpleasant to find small pieces of black cloth attaching themselves to his undercarriage.
Never mind! Thomas was essentially happy.
In this world amongst worlds there is only one truth. His collection of underpants was truly magical. That is all he knew, and all he would ever need to know.
Beauty is truth, and white piped Y fronts are a joy forever.