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November 2021 Archive
29.11.21 > The Detail - Episode 3
"In this episode, we discuss how to begin writing, dealing with sudden success, Writing with Mel C from the Spice Girls How to look after your own mental health in a competitive industry, the pressure of being signed to a major label."
27.11.21 > Acoustic Album No. 8
Less is more.
Okay, three-word reviews probably don't cut it in this day and age. First though, I want to say a massive thank-you to Zurab Melua for a monumentally stunning effort in the production of this album, both on the recording side and for his divine guitar playing–delicate, intricate and perfectly weighted to complement Katie's vocals rather than compete with them. I simply want to thank Katie for releasing this album at all. For years, I have been saying that I prefer her voice with just acoustic accompaniment rather than a full band or even orchestra, and this album finally gives me the opportunity to directly compare the songs in both stripped back and full-blown recording studio versions.
Every listener may have their own opinion on which version is best, but for me, as I suspected, the acoustic version wins hands down. That's not to take anything away from the original album at all, which I gave five stars to when I first heard it and I will always stand by that. I will continue to listen to those studio recordings, not least for things like the Gori Women's Choir and the church bells on Heading Home, but this acoustic re-imagining really brings the magic of the songs to life. Somehow, I think a little soul gets lost in the recording studio. All of the tweaking and polishing to attain perfection in a way sanitises the heart of the performance. Yes, the studio versions of songs like A Love Like That, English Manner and Voices In The Night sound amazing and I wasn't sure if they would stand up to having that complex soundscape ripped away from them, but they all survived perfectly well, thank you very much. It is interesting to wonder how that can be. Perhaps it has something to do with these performances feeling real and in the moment. The ambience of the recording puts me in mind of somewhere like the Rivoli ballroom when empty, as though Katie and Zurab are performing on the stage and you are sitting alone at a table near the back, in the shadows, just melting away into the sonic world they are creating. Close your eyes and it feels like Katie is singing live, just for you, and it is that personal connection between the performer, the listener and the song itself that really makes the music and lyrics so potent in stirring feelings in your mind. But it is better than a live recording because you don't have the annoying distractions of all the whoops, whistles and clapping of an actual audience.
Interestingly, the running order of the tracks on the new album has been modified. I wonder if this has anything to do with the needs of the artist being put before the needs of the marketing people for once. At any rate, the new path through the album works beautifully. There is also the welcome addition of No Better Magic, which slots seamlessly in with the other songs and blends in perfectly with the overall theme of love. The end result is an expertly written story in eleven chapters, beautifully told by the deftest of storytellers.
In short, Acoustic Album No. 8 is a treasure. The pinnacle of Katie's work to date. I'm sure there will be some people who bought the original CD and will look at this and wonder why they should pay for it again with a load of stuff taken off. My answer would be "because it has been improved". Less is more.
25.11.21 > AN8a. 26.11.21
It's almost here! So close you can almost, but not quite, touch it. Tomorrow is the day we can finally get our paws on the much -anticipated acoustic version of Album No. 8. Same great songs, with fresh, new, stripped-back performances. An absolute essential for any Ketefan. If you haven't ordered it yet then I'm not speaking to you. But you can click on the pic and be automagically transported to Katie's online store where she's willing to trade a pristine copy of the CD for just a few numbers on a bit of plastic. What are you waiting for? Go....
23.11.21 > The Detail - Episode 2
Here's the blurb on Episode 2:
"A Conversation between Katie Melua Polly Scattergood & Jim Sclavunos, in this episode we have an insightful conversation about feverish New York in the late ’70s , the No Wave movement, The start of cult magazine “No Magazine” Creating music scene, Lydia lunch’s strong concepts of identity and purpose, Being a key member of Nick Cave and the bad seeds, Sonic Youth Working on the iconic Boatman’s call album."
22.11.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 19
Bad Katie sat in her manager’s office, with her feet up on his desk, nonchalantly fiddling with her phone.
Sumit eyed her warily and looked at his coffee suspiciously as he cautiously took a sip.
“Something wrong?” asked Bad Katie, glancing up at him momentarily.
“No, no,” said Sumit. “Apart from not trusting you as far as I can throw you.”
“Why do you have such a low opinion of me?”
“How long have you got?”
“My feelings are bruised,” said Bad Katie, sulkily.
“Yes, well, there’s no part of me that hasn’t been bruised by your antics.”
“Anyway, have you packed for the Georgia trip yet?”
“Oh, yes,” said Sumit. “Though I’m still not sure why you want me to come with you this time.”
“You normally only come with me on official music business. I just thought it’d be good for you to join me purely for fun. You know, take in the sights, experience the real Georgia, have a few laughs.”
“Then why do I have such a bad feeling about it?”
“Because you’re a naturally grumpy sod?”
At that moment there was a polite knock at the door. Sumit’s secretary entered and placed a parcel on his desk in front of him.
“This just came for you,” she said, and quietly retreated.
“Oh,” said Sumit. “I wasn’t expecting anything.”
He unwrapped the parcel to reveal a wooden box. He lifted the lid and there was a little bang followed by a sudden cloud of white dust. Sumit’s face was covered in flour.
“Oops,” said Bad Katie. “That was unfortunate.”
As the seat-belt sign dimmed, Sumit unbuckled and called for the air stewardess.
“Thank god that’s over,” he said, as the plane levelled out. “Now I need a drink. How about you?”
Bad Katie was staring out of the window.
“What? Oh, sorry, I had my head in the clouds. Literally.”
The stewardess floated up to them and gave them a smile that could accelerate glacial melting. “Hi, I’m Nino, what may I do for you?”
“Could I get a double whisky on the rocks, please,” said Sumit. He looked at Bad Katie.
“Lemongrass, passion flower and ginger herb tea, thanks,” said Bad Katie. “With a drizzle of acacia honey.”
Nino’s smile flatlined. “This isn’t Fortnum and Mason madam. I can probably rustle up a Lady Grey.”
Bad Katie screwed her face up, then scowled at Nino. “Yuk. Just bring me a Coke Zero then.” (Other calorie-free cola sodas are available.)
Nino reinstated the smile, nodded slightly, then floated away again.
Sumit got up from his seat.
“Where you going?” said Bad Katie.
“I need to point Percy at the porcelain.”
“Already? We just took off. Couldn’t you have gone before? Anyway, they don’t use porcelain on planes. It’s probably metal.”
“Well, I need to show Steven the steel.”
“Come to think of it, in this day and age it could even be carbon fibre.”
“Then I need….” said Sumit, then he paused and frowned at Bad Katie. “No, I got nothing.”
He shuffled off, leaving Bad Katie to study his seat and wonder if there was any way she could booby trap it.
The stewardess returned. “Scotch on the rocks for the gentleman, and a Happy Cola Lite for his charming daughter,” said Nino, with her smile ramped up to eleven.
Bad Katie gave her the level stare that anyone who has been the victim of could have warned Nino to be very afraid of.
Sumit came back just in time to save Nino’s bacon. He was grinning like a schoolboy as he sat down. “Thanks, Nino,” he said, and took a sip of whisky. Nino nodded and floated off again.
Sumit looked at Bad Katie. “We have a VIP on board!” he said, excitedly.
Bad Katie shrugged coyly. “Oh, don’t make a fuss about me. I can’t be arsed signing autographs.”
Sumit frowned. “Not you, you heifer. The Bublé is on board!”
“Michael Bublé. On this very plane. Jesus.”
“He’s not Jesus. Just some American Sinatra wannabe.”
“He’s Canadian, not American,” said Sumit.
“Oh well, then I take it all back. Jesus,” said Bad Katie sarcastically. “Anyway, why the hell is he going to Batumi?”
“He says he’s been told it’s the Vegas of the Black Sea. But much cheaper. He’s thinking of filming his next Christmas Special there.”
Bad Katie rolled her eyes. “God help us all.”
Some time later, Sumit had had enough of Bad Katie’s incessant snoring. “Wake up, Katie,” he hissed.
Bad Katie opened her eyes. “Fried chicken. Eh? What? What’s happening?”
“Nothing. Just a little turbulence. No doubt caused by your snoring.”
“I do not snore,” said Bad Katie indignantly.
“Try telling that to the rest of the passengers,” said Sumit.
“Then why didn’t you put on headphones and watch the in-flight movie?”
“Snakes On A Plane? I don’t think so.”
At that moment, a little chime prepared them for an announcement. “Hello ladies and gentlemen. This is your stewardess, Nino, speaking. Just to let you know, we are making really good time, and there is absolutely nothing at all for you to be concerned about. Thank you.”
Bad Katie and Sumit looked at each other in puzzlement.
Then Nino continued. “Oh, and if anyone happens to know how to fly a plane could you please make your way to the front and see me. Have a nice day!”
Mayhem, panic, bedlam, and general screaming ensued.
Bad Katie stood up and clambered over a startled Sumit.
“Where the hell are you going?” he said.
“To fly the plane!” she said, rubbing her hands purposefully.
“What! Do you even know which end the cockpit is?”
“Oh, grow a pair. I’ve had a few lessons.”
Bad Katie set off down the aisle.
“Other way,” shouted Sumit.
Bad Katie turned and strode back past him. “I knew that.”
Sumit looked to the heavens. “We are all doomed!”
By the time Bad Katie made it to the nervous-looking Nino, they could hardly hear themselves speak because of the chaos around them. She put two fingers in either side of her mouth and let out a piercing whistle. Everyone fell silent and looked at her.
“Right you lot, sit down and shut up. We got this.”
There were a few mutters and mumbles but things were generally calmer.
“Can you teach me that?” said Nino.
“Oh, well you just…” began Bad Katie.
“Hey guys, you dudes need a hand?” said Michael Bublé, swaying up to them.
“Bugger off, Bubble,” said Bad Katie.
“Hey, aren’t you that K.D. Mellower?”
“No. Now sod off, cheese dick.”
Bad Katie turned to Nino. “What’s the problem anyway?”
“It’s the pilot. He’s fallen unconscious. We suspect it might be linked to the prawn cocktail he had for lunch.”
“Why? You didn’t have it too, did you?”
“Yuk, I wouldn’t eat that fish vomit.”
“Hang on, isn’t there a co-pilot?”
“Oh yes. But, well, he had the prawn cocktail too.”
“Serves them right.”
“Aw, don’t worry ladies. I think I can land this little bird,” said Bublé.
“Why are you still here?” said Bad Katie. “And it’s not a little bird, it’s a passenger plane.”
“I’ve had a couple of lessons. Jeez, how hard can it be?”
Bad Katie scoffed. “Leave it to the pros, honey.”
“Look,” said Nino, “I think you will both be needed.”
Bublé’s eyes lit up. He looked eagerly at Bad Katie. “Hey babe, we could do a duet together!”
“I really must go,” said Bad Katie.
“Baby, it’s cold outside,” sang Bublé.
“It’s starting to snow.”
“Baby, it’s cold outside.”
“I wish I knew how…”
“Your eyes are like starlight now.”
“To land this plane.”
“I think you’re driving me insane.”
“The passengers will start to worry.”
“Beautiful, please don’t hurry.”
“Flight control will be pacing the floor.”
“Listen to those engines roar.”
“I’m opening the cockpit door.”
“You’d better make this airplane soar.”
“Right, I’m taking control.”
“Oh but it’s cold outside!”
Nino glanced awkwardly between the two of them. “Ahem. Perhaps you could get a room later but…”
“Anyway, who’s flying this baby now? We seem to be going along nicely,” said Bublé.
“Autopilot. Duh,” said Bad Katie.
“Come on, I’ll let you into the cockpit. Put on the headsets and Batumi Flight Control will talk you through it,” said Nino. She opened the cockpit door and ushered them inside.
“Where are the bodies?” said Bublé.
“They’re not dead,” said Nino. “But you couldn’t really sit in their laps. We’ve moved them to a private place to rest.”
“Which is the Captain’s seat?” said Bad Katie.
Nino pointed. Bad Katie leapt into it and buckled up.
“Hey, I should be Captain,” protested Bublé. “I’m the man here.”
“You’re the idiot here,” said Bad Katie. “I’m Batman. You’re Robin.”
Bublé slunk into the co-pilot’s seat. “Well, just shout if you need me to take over.
Bad Katie punched him in the face and put on the headset.
“Now then,” said Bad Katie. “If I remember correctly, you just push this button and shove this stick thing forward.”
She did both. The plane fell into a serious nosedive. In the cabin, there was mass hysteria once again.
“Oh god, we’re going to die. Oh god, we’re going to die. Oh god, we’re going to die,” chanted Sumit.
“Oops,” said Bad Katie. She reversed her actions and the plane gradually returned to smooth flight.”
“That went well,” said Bublé.
“Shut it, willow warbler, I’m just familiarising myself with the controls.”
“Say, why don’t we just let the autopilot land this thing. It seems to know what it’s doing.”
“Because it can’t actually fly the plane, numb nuts. It’s basically the plane equivalent of a brick on the accelerator.”
“How come you know so much?”
“Because I’ve spent my life learning instead of swaying.”
“Hey, don’t knock the sway.”
At that moment, another voice joined in the conversation.
“Flight BAT666, this is Batumi Air Traffic Control, do you copy?”
“I never copy anyone,” said Bad Katie indignantly. “My work is always my own.”
“He means can you read him,” whispered Bublé.
“I can’t see his face, how should I know what he’s thinking?”
Bublé shook his head. “We copy you good buddy. Loud and clear.”
“Good, my name is Amiran, and I will be talking you back down. Just remain calm and follow my instructions carefully and everything will be fine. Who am I talking to?”
“I am Katie Melua, გამარჯობა, you’ve probably heard of me,” said Bad Katie, patting her hair.
“No,” said Amiran.
“Oh,” said Bad Katie.
“But the rest of the guys are freaking out right now.”
Bad Katie looked at Bublé and winked.
“Keti, it might be better if we talk in Georgian,” said Amiran.
“Negative. Bubble wouldn’t understand us.”
“Who is Bubble?”
“I just haven’t met you yet…” sang Bublé, annoyingly.
Bad Katie glared at him.
“Ah. სულელი,” said Amiran.
“Exactly,” said Bad Katie. “His name is Michael Bublé.”
“What!” gasped Amiran. “Not THE Michael Bublé!”
Bublé looked at Bad Katie and winked.
“Stay with me, sway with me…” sang Amiran.
Bad Katie face-palmed. “Okay Amiran, can we just focus on the job here.”
“Yes, Keti, of course, of course. So, you should see a bright orange button flashing on your left.”
Bad Katie reached towards the button.
“Under no circumstances should you ever push that button,” said Amiran.
“Oh. Er, maybe we should just concentrate on the things I should do…”
Half an hour later there was a loud squeal of tyres on tarmac and an even louder squeal from Sumit in the cabin.
A sweat-drenched Bublé uncovered his eyes. “Oh my lord, I can’t believe we’re actually on dry land.”
“Piece of piss,” said Bad Katie nonchalantly.
“We’re not quite done yet, Keti,” said Amiran. “You’re going a bit too fast. Cut the throttle back and go harder on the brakes, but gently.”
Bad Katie ignored the last bit and everyone in the cabin head-butted the seat in front of them, apart from those in the front seats, who head-butted their own knees instead.
“Watch you don’t swerve, Keti,” said Amiran.
Bublé screamed. “Jesus Christ, look, there’s a cow on the runway ahead.”
Bad Katie grinned. “Welcome to Georgia!”
She swerved the plane to avoid hitting the cow.
“He said not to swerve,” yelled Bublé. “You should have just hit the stupid animal.”
She glared at him. “This is Georgia. We do not hit our cows.”
The plane was now heading directly for the terminal, which was growing larger in their view by the second.
Bublé covered his eyes again. “Oh god, we’re still going to die.”
“Reverse throttle, Keti,” said Amiran calmly.
The plane gradually slowed down and was only doing a couple of miles per hour when it gently smashed through the glass wall of the terminal and finally came to a halt with the nose just touching the counter of Burger King on the first floor.
Bad Katie fist-pumped. “Yessss! Result.”
“Good job, Keti,” said Amiran. “Nobody died. You are a hero!”
Bublé exhaled slowly, then whistled. “Jeez, that’s a real shame.”
“What do you mean?” said Bad Katie.
“If you hadn’t swerved for that cow you’d have made a perfect landing.”
“It was perfect, goat-breath. I was aiming for Burger King.”
“I’m ruddy starving. And that was the greatest queue jump ever!”
She quickly grabbed a clipboard and scribbled “bacon double cheeseburger and fries” on it, then held it up to the window to the slightly startled girl behind the Burger King counter.
“Oh sorry, Bubble, did you want something too?”
A couple of days later, Bad Katie was chilling out in her downtown apartment, reading all about her heroism in the local papers. Sumit knocked on the door.
“It’s open,” she shouted. “Unless you’re selling something, in which case there’s a ravenous Rottweiler standing right behind it.”
“Only me,” said Sumit, letting himself in. “It’s been non-stop this morning. We were meant to be here for a quiet vacation but now everyone wants to interview you, both here and back home. You haven’t had this many bookings in years.”
“Bugger them. They can all wait till I’ve had my holiday.”
“They’re offering silly money to get you.”
“Right, that was a lovely holiday. I’m free this afternoon.”
“Oh, and I hear the Mayor of Batumi is going to give you the keys to the city!”
“Really? I didn’t even know they locked it. Where’s the keyhole?”
“Yeah, I think it’s more of a symbolic thing.”
“It gives you certain rights. You know, like being able to lead your cattle and goats through the streets.”
“Everyone does that anyway.”
“And I think there’s a restaurant that is offering you free khachapuri for life.”
Bad Katie’s eyes lit up. “Now you’re talking!”
Sumit shook his head. “Good job with the plane, by the way.”
“No worries. Though I still have a bit of tinnitus from your screaming.”
“Oh but hey, you should check out the view from the balcony there.”
Sumit wandered over to the open doors and stepped out onto the balcony. There was a brief shriek as he fell through the rotten wooden slats of the floor and landed in the pool below.
“… but mind yourself, some of these Georgian balconies are quite decrepit. Oops.”
A vexed voice rang out from below. “KATIEEEEE!!”
16.11.21 > The Detail - Episode 1
And here it is! Episode 1 of The Detail with Katie and Polly features Travis front man Fran Healy. It is a fascinating listen for anyone interested in songwriting. You can listen to the whole thing right here, without leaving the site, just by clicking the big white PLAY triangle above. Or click SUBSCRIBE to find a link to the podcast in your favoured player. If you are into QR codes then here is one for The Detail:
13.11.21 > The Detail
Katie has announced she has teamed up with her friend Polly Scattergood to create a new podcast called The Detail. You can find it on Spotify and iTunes, or other podcasty places you may poke around in. In the first edition, next Monday, they'll be chatting to Fran Healy of Travis. Hope they've got their umbrellas ready....
09.11.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 18
“You don’t look well, sis,” said Zurab.
“What do you mean?” said Bad Katie.
“Your face. It’s bright green.”
Bad Katie rolled her eyes. “It’s makeup, you tepid turnip. It’s Halloween, and we’re going trick or treating. I’m transforming into a wicked witch.”
“Not much of a transformation,” muttered Zurab.
“I heard that.”
“But… aren’t we a bit old for that kind of thing? It’s for little kids.”
“What? Free sweets on offer from every house—you think I’m going to pass on that and let a load of snotty sprogs scoff them all?”
“You could actually afford to buy your own sweet shop, sis. Doesn’t seem fair.”
“Sod fair. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, why should I fork out my own dosh when people will be dishing out delights for free? Enter into the spirit of it, bruv.”
“Stop moping and get ready. Your costume is in that box. Whack it on. I’ll paint the stitches on your face when I’m done adding these hairy warts to my cheeks.”
“Stitches? What am I going to be?”
“Frankenstein’s monster. Seemed like the least work. Oh, and go clean out the recycling bin too.”
“We’ll need it to stash our haul in.”
“Oh. But most people have little bags.”
“Bugger that. If we’re going to do this it needs to be worth our while. Now hurry up, Poll will be here soon.”
Bad Katie and Zurab were in the kitchen when the doorbell rang. They continued carving their pumpkins whilst their mother answered the door. A few moments later, Perfect Polly joined them.
“Hi guys,” said Perfect Polly. “Ooh, carving pumpkins! Can I do one?”
“Of course,” said Bad Katie. “That one’s for you. Knock yourself out.”
“Aw, thanks,” said Polly.
Bad Katie stared at her in puzzlement. “Poll, why are you dressed as a unicorn? This is Halloween. We’re meant to be scary.”
“Oh, yes, I know. I’ve left the scythe outside by the door.”
“Yes. You see, I’m the Unicorn of Death!”
Bad Katie continued to stare at her, though her expression had changed to a blank one. “And that is a thing, is it?”
“Well, no. But unicorns are supposed to be all goodness and light, so one with a scythe, that’s like well scary.”
“But unicorns have hooves. How the hell are they supposed to wield a scythe?”
“Oh for heaven’s sake, Katie, don’t read so much into it. It’s just a metaphor.”
“For what, stupidity?”
“Don’t be like that. It’s a representation of the latent hatred within the purest heart, the sinister dark side that we all have within us that can lie hidden and dormant for decades and then erupt like a supernova when the right trigger conditions are met.”
Bad Katie sighed. “Why couldn’t you just be a witch too?”
“Why couldn’t I be a witch?” moaned Zurab. “My neck hurts.”
“Katie, why has Z got a G-clamp on his neck anyway?” said Perfect Polly.
“He’s Frankenstein’s monster, obviously.”
“But didn’t he have a bolt through his neck?”
“I couldn’t very well use a real bolt, could I? Duh! I thought it was a clever solution. Looks just as frightening.”
“Except I can hardly breathe,” muttered Zurab.
“Then don’t waste air grumbling,” said Bad Katie. “Finish carving your pumpkin. What’s that meant to be anyway?”
“A demonic ghoul arguing with Satan’s sister,” said Zurab.
“Interesting,” said Bad Katie. “What about you Poll, what are you carving?”
“Mine’s a possessed fairy with spiders for eyes.”
“Of course it is.”
“What’s yours? That looks like writing. What does it say?”
“BUGGER OFF, WE HAVE COVID”
Bad Witch pushed the doorbell button and turned to Perfect Unicorn Of Death and Frankenstein’s Zurab. “Remember, leave the talking to me. Just act scary.”
The door opened and a little old lady was grinning at them. “Ooh, my first scary zombies. How exciting!”
“Yeah, we’re not zombies, gran. I’m a wicked witch and this is the Unicorn Of Death,” said Bad Katie.
“How lovely! And who’s the big chap behind you?”
“Oh never mind him, he’s just here for training purposes.”
“So, anyway, you got sugary treats for us or are you prepared to suffer the consequences?”
The old lady smiled. “Of course I have… but...”
“But what?” said Bad Katie impatiently.
“You’re rather big children aren’t you? How old are you?”
“Thirty-” began Zurab.
“Thirteen,” said Bad Katie. “We eat all our greens.”
“Very well,” said the old lady. She picked up a bowl of sweets from her hall table and offered them to her visitors. “You can each pick your favourite.”
“Z, open the cauldron!”
“The what?” said Zurab.
“The bin,” hissed Bad Katie.
Zurab stepped aside to reveal the wheelie bin behind him. Bad Katie had painted flames around the bottom of it. He opened the lid.
Bad Katie grabbed the bowl off the old lady and tipped the entire contents into her “cauldron”.
“Hey,” said the old lady. “What about all the other kids?”
“The early bird gets the worm. Be a good life lesson for them. Thanks, dear.”
Bad Katie shoved the empty bowl back at the bewildered old lady and strode purposefully back down the garden path. “Come on guys, we’ve twelve streets to get through…”
An hour later, Perfect Polly and Zurab were flagging.
“Are we nearly home yet?” asked Zurab.
“If I whinny demonically one more time I think I’ll rip a vocal cord,” said Perfect Polly.
“Quit whinging you two,” said Bad Katie. “We’ve half filled the bin with goodies already. We’re on a right roll here and we haven’t even got to the dental belt yet.”
“What’s the dental belt?” said Zurab and Perfect Polly in unison.
“It’s a posh road not far away where half the residents are private dentists. Word is they give away sweets by the sack load at Halloween. They bank on cashing in later by repairing the teeth of the sprogs they give them to.”
“You do realise that means you, don’t you?” said Perfect Polly.
“What rot,” said Bad Katie.
“I mean I have perfect teeth. Probably because I pay fortunes to one of the plier-wielding leeches from the dental belt. Time for some payback.”
“Sis, what are we going to do with all this haul anyway?” said Zurab. “We can’t possibly eat all of it.”
“Ah yes, well, I’ll cherry-pick the good stuff, obviously, but you know that youth centre near us?”
“Oh, you’re going to donate it to the kids there?” said Zurab.
“Don’t be a muddled meerkat, of course not. I’ve ordered an old vending machine off eBay. We’re going to install it there and fill it with this stuff and milk the little buggers of their pocket money.”
“That’s genius, Katie,” said Perfect Polly.
“Right then,” said Bad Katie, some time later. “The bin is nearly full of loot. What’s the trick count, Poll?”
“Well, we’ve got through two dozen eggs, dropped seventeen wiper blades down drains and let down thirty-one tyres.”
“Plus what we did to Mr Winklebottom,” added Zurab. “I’m pretty sure he’ll get the police onto us for that.”
Bad Katie chuckled. “I doubt he’s even got free yet.”
“That was a classic, I must admit,” said Perfect Polly.
Zurab shook his head. “Remind me never to cross you two.”
“What, you only just figured that?” said Bad Katie. “Anyway, there’s just one more house I want to call at and then we’ll call it a night.”
Bad Katie folded her arms and tapped her foot impatiently as they waited outside their final door.
“Perhaps there’s no one home,” said Zurab.
“The place looks dark,” said Perfect Polly.
“He always does this, he told me,” said Bad Katie. She stabbed the doorbell several more times.
At last, a light appeared in the hallway and the door opened. “What do you lot want?” asked Sumit.
“Duh? Halloween? We’ve come for our sweets mister,” said Bad Katie, forgetting to disguise her voice until half way through the sentence.
“Katie, is that you?” said Sumit.
Bad Katie cackled. “Ha, ha, ha. Who is this Katie you speak of? I am the wicked witch of the west end and I demand to be showered with sugary surprises or you will suffer my most sinister spells!”
“Bugger off. Get a job and buy your own sweets,” said Sumit.
Bad Katie looked at the car on the driveway. “Ooh, nice wheels, mister. You must be nervous of anything happening to them.”
“You threatening me, you little witch?”
“Noooo!” said Bad Katie, waving her arms around wildly. “But karma works in mysterious ways…”
Sumit definitely was nervous. “Look, I haven’t got any sweets.”
Bad Katie squinted inscrutably at him. “I’m sure you have something stashed away. A witch knows these things.”
“No sweets, I swear. All I’ve got is a box of luxury chocolates from Harrods. They are for my wife, for her birthday.”
“I’ll take them,” said Bad Katie.
She glanced at his car again. “Such a beautiful paint job.”
Sumit sighed. He shuffled off and returned a moment later with the chocolates.
“Thank you kindly, mister,” said Bad Katie, snatching the chocolates from him.
“Be gone, thieving rascals,” muttered Sumit as he closed the door.
Bad Katie grinned. “Z, it’s time to deploy the spud.”
“What spud?” said Zurab.
“The one I stuffed in your pocket.”
Zurab fished the potato out of his jacket pocket. “What’s this for?”
“I need you to shove it up Sumit’s exhaust pipe,” said Bad Katie.
“That’s not a euphemism,” added Perfect Polly.
“But he gave us a treat,” said Zurab.
“Not willingly,” said Bad Katie. “Now spud his car and let’s go home.”
“Sorry I’m late Katie. My car wouldn’t start this morning. Had to get the AA out.”
“Really? I thought you were cutting down. Didn’t know they did house calls.”
“Not that AA, cheeky sod, the car one. Turns out some evil sprog stuffed a spud up my exhaust pipe.”
Bad Katie sniggered. “Ooh, matron!”
“It isn’t funny!” fumed Sumit. “If I knew who it was I’d have them arrested. I bet it was that trio of big kids.”
“Yes, the witch, the unicorn and Frankenstein.”
“Is that a sequel to the one with the lion and the wardrobe?”
“I actually thought the witch was you at first.”
“Me? Don’t be ridiculous. I’m a multi-million selling recording artist. And it was Frankenstein’s monster, by the way.”
“Frankenstein wasn’t the monster, he was the mad scientist that created him.”
“Oh. Well, there was something fishy about the three of them anyway. You know, the more I think about it, that witch really did look like you.”
“How very dare you, Sumit! Besides, I was in my home studio last night practising my acoustic take on ‘Anarchy In The UK’.”
“Yes, well, anyway. We need to wrap up our meeting quickly this morning. I have to get out to buy a birthday present.”
“For your wife?”
“Yes, how’d you know that?”
“Oh, I remember from last year. I’m good with dates. It’s not like you to leave it so late.”
“I didn’t. I had some lovely Harrod’s chocolates for her but I had to give them to those pesky trick-or-treaters last night.”
“They were so good,” said Bad Katie.
“I’ve heard they are so good.”
“Hmmm. Well, I’m going to get the coffees. Please, no tricks this time, okay?”
“Whatever do you mean?” said Bad Katie. “Tricks? Halloween is over.”
“Like you need an excuse for mischief!”
Sumit left to fetch the coffees. Bad Katie whipped out her phone and dialled. “Z, are you in the car park yet?”
“Yes, sis,” was the reply.
“Good. If you check your coat pocket you’ll find another spud…”