Go to 2014B 2014A 2013B, 2013A, 2012B, 2012A 2011B, 2011A , 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004

unmade films



for Building Plans on CAD for  Planning Permission


Mrs. Monk's Would-be Diary should have been written by Mrs. Monk, since she is the "Writer" in the family.
However, since she is a writer only in the conceptual sense, I have undertaken to fill these pages on her behalf
If not by her, these pages will certainly be about her, and other important matters of the day         Leslie Monk




  Complain, Applaud, or Comment  CONTACT Shoestringonline


Death In Essex

Part 3.1

by  Saramo 19 July 2014

Before  long I fulfilled my first short-term teaching assignment, and took no time putting myself about for more of the same. But then I faced another obstacle: it seemed that my American teaching degree was not altogether recognised in Britain, and to show that they meant business, they cut my first and only pay cheque by half.

So I found myself back at the Job Club where I was treated by my pals like a returning warrior.

Back on the Southend heartbeat, I got used to being verbally addressed as "Miss" whenever I came across one of my former students working in McDonalds.

Occasionally a parent would be standing by and I would thank them for the temporary loan of their child. I enjoyed these frequent street encounters; a wave of the hand or a sidewise glance.

But let's face it, what I needed was a teaching job and as I know now, schools are more inclined to reduce the number of  teachers and increase the size of classes.

Once more beaten down, feeling rejected. Down and out in Essex, unable to work, my alarm clock, redundant.

And this ungodly fear that I would never work again, ever more the real prospect as each day at the Job Club passed by.

Most of my original colleagues had found jobs in Quick Save and B&Q, but all had grander ambitions, ultimately compromised. They sold out to the devil and jumped into the deep blue sea, beyond.

But no shortage of soul mates at the job club,   die-hards were still there, from the day before the day before my short employment. Mr BT was around and I was glad about that. I liked his spit and fire and my new friends proved equally inspirational.

I soon got down to the Job Club gossip; notably the scandal of Job Clubs being paid bonuses for jobseekeres being sent out to work for just one day.

"How much?" Al wanted to know.

"I thought they were a charity," Derek said.

"They have charitable status", opined Bob disdainfully, "but that is not the same thing."

"Bastards!" said Derek.

One of the young Tory jobseekers tried to interject a counter argument.

"How do you think they pay for all this?" he said, looking around meaningfully.

We all joined in by spontaneously and meaningfully, looking around at our sparse environment.

With great timing, who should enter but Dame Shirley Porter with her silk skirt clinging to her thighs like wet seaweed. Her white stilettos clicking out a beat that none of us would ever follow. We looked at her with renewed contempt. We were the die-hards: proud that we had resisted the temptations of burger flipping careers.

Her power dressing disguised the sheer pointlessness of her mission. She was the biggest burger flipper of them all. Her raw material the soft meat of men and women whom she tossed over a slow grill, cheap meals that look good but taste like junk.

That afternoon no one had the stomach for any more job searching.

Al, Derek and I looked out of the first floor window and watched the world go by and passers by  walked below with purpose down on the street, as we wondered who amongst them had a job. Most of the shops were boarded up, and we wondered where they were going.

Al surprised us by announcing his new initiative.

"Have you heard about the new French funeral parlours?" he said. "Funerals on the cheap, that kind of thing?"

"Go on, I'm listening." said one.

"Well, obviously funerals cost too much money."

"Not for the dead," said Derek.

"People expect to be ripped off,  but then they have other things on their mind."

"Like the old man snuffed it," said Derek.

"So what we do is take away the worry. We take care of the death certificate, for example."

"How do you do that?" I said.

"You take it around to the registrar, on your bike like." said Al.

"Excuse me Al, I can understand your reluctance to come out with it. But what you appear to be proposing is that we become... Funeral Directors?"

"Well, yes, but with a difference."

Al was thinking on his feet.

"Go on!" said Derek.

"We would have a human face. We would be different. People would trust us. No shiny shoes and white socks. No smarmy manners, no rip-off and definitely no black".

"No black?" said Derek.

"No black," said Al.

"What colour did you have in mind Al?" I said.

"A colour that says you can trust us. We will put your old man away like a dream... Pink."

Al slowly pointed to a boarded up hairdressers across the street complete with pink shop front.

"Our new premises." he said.

We all joined in the fantasy of the undertaking dream.

"Look" I observed. "It even has a ready made sign. Open 9 to 5.!"

"I'll be happy with those hours, how about you Derek?"

"OK by me but it also says open seven days a week?"

 "Never mind, we'll have to repaint the sign anyway with our new business name."

 We all fixed our eyes on the failed hairdressers' premises and we each wanted to be the first to come up with a suitable name.

"I've got it" said Derek.

"SAD Funerals."

"Sad Funerals?"

We were not impressed. Derek explained, "S for Sarah, A for Al and D for Derek."


"I'm warming to the idea Derek. But, do you think the actual punter will get your drift?"

And so it went on for most of the afternoon. We were there to get a job but for a short time we indulged in our own fantasies. Quietly, we got back to the papers and on with more job searches and enterprising schemes.

Just a few moments of paper rustling ad then we resumed our usual meditations.

It was Alf who broke the silence.

 "DIE" he said.

"Die?" I said.

"DIE!" said Alf. ..

"Death In Essex, get it? Death in Essex, get it?"

 "Yes, I get it" said I.

"I'm thinking, I'm going home."

I did head home; I passed the beach front and watched unhappy people enjoying themselves. The tide was out; the mud was in. I looked at Southend and gazed at the longest  pleasure pier in the world.

I bought a ticket and then walked on water for the mile and a quarter until the end.


Go to 2014B 2014A 2013B, 2013A, 2012B, 2012A 2011B, 2011A , 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004

  Complain, Applaud, or Comment  CONTACT Shoestringonline




She was the biggest burger flipper of them all


first published by BBC R4 immediately before the 1997 General Election



Part 1.1

Part 1.2

Part 2.1

Part 2.2

Part 3.1

Part 3.2



All references to Dame Shirley Porter were cut by the BBC without our consent or endorsement. They may have feared litigation, or accusations of political bias.