Outrageous former fashion celebrity Eloise Slaughter and introverted Kilburn sink estate kid Bradley McCreedy are poles apart. She’s a seventy-something, gin-soaked diva. He’s a seventeen-year old who’s learnt it’s safer to keep his eyes down and his mouth shut. She has a past she likes to boast about. He’s already given up on his future. Yet against the odds, as this comic novel describes, the two of them become a formidable team.
Answering an ad, Bradley finds himself roped in as Eloise’s live-in companion/secretary/domestic help. Unable to recall his name for more than two minutes at a time, she calls him ‘Boy’. Dictating her memoirs of 1960s Swinging London, Eloise re-lives the heady days of her past, from spoilt childhood and failed marriages to Carnaby Street ‘shock frock’ fashion fame.
Bradley, meanwhile, grateful at having escaped his neglectful mother and brutal brother, attempts to bring order into Eloise’s messy life, while making free with her plastic. He finds a friend his own age in fashion-mad Molly. Giving Eloise’s flat a much-needed clean, he’s intrigued to discover a locked room. What secret can Eloise be hiding?
Bradley and Eloise’s relationship is volatile, not helped by her devotion to Bombay Sapphire gin and an increasing tendency to confuse the past with the present. While Eloise struggles with memories of long-ago betrayals and humiliations, Bradley grows in confidence and cunning.
On the very day she reaches the most harrowing part of her memoirs, Eloise has a violent encounter that threatens to push her over the edge. When her only source of income is abruptly cut off, her situation goes from bad to desperate.
Bradley, with Molly’s help, conceives a plan to recover Eloise’s lost riches. But does the inexperienced teenager have what it takes to save the day? Can he be trusted to have Eloise’s best interests at heart, rather than his own? And will the unpredictable Eloise put the mockers on everything? We find the answers in a chaotic and colourful final act that draws together all the major players in Eloise’s long and turbulent life.
Note to Boy is an entertaining romp that touches on universal truths: don’t write people off, just because they’re unimpressive or annoying; don’t let your past screw up your present; and value friendships, no matter where you find them. Oh, and it’s funny too.
She weren’t a bit like I expected.
‘Kindly remove your headgear,’ she goes, ‘in the presence of a lady.’
Well, that’s me done for, I think to meself, pulling off the beanie. Just when everything was going smooth as.
It’s a miracle I get there at all. Never go in that newsagents no more. On the Parade. On account of the creep behind the counter. He’s a gawper. One of the worst. That’s why I always wear a beanie or a hoodie when I’m out. Both sometimes. On account of the gawpers.
ET I call him, inside my head. His fingers is black, you see, from the papers. All except one. That’s pink, glowing pink, like ET off of that old film. Why? ‘Cause it’s always up his nostril, that’s why, digging for buried treasure. One minute he’s snot mining, the next he’s serving sweets to little kiddies. Makes me want to vom.
Like I say, it was stroke of luck I saw it. Sellotaped in the corner of the window.
‘’Wanted!! Urgent!! Refined, respectable lady authoress seeks domestic assistant of same ilk. A degree of reflexology. Usual rates.’
And a mobile number.
Well, I get the ‘domestic assistant’ bit. That’s a cleaner, right? But I don’t know nothing about ilks nor degrees. Still, what have I got to lose? I break my rule, nip into the newsagents and pretend to be browsing in the gardening section. I glance over. ET’s got his elbows on the counter, head deep in a mucky mag. As I’m leaving, I feel his dead, gawping eyes follow me to the door. Don’t matter ‘cause I got the card in my pocket. Well, don’t want no-one else going for it, do I?
I go home. Just my luck, Dom’s up. He’s in the kitchen, ramming a sarny in his gob like he ain’t ate for a week. Raspberry jam dripping everywhere. Right off, he eyeballs the card. Next thing, he’s snatched it.
‘Watch it,’ I go. ‘You’ll get jam over that.’
‘You’ll get jam over that,’ he goes, in a stupid whiny voice what’s supposed to be me. ‘What’s this then, Bradley? Postcard from your boyfriend?’
He’s always saying stuff like that.
‘It’s a job,’ I tell him. ‘Leastways, could be.’
‘You stupid or something?’ he snorts. ‘You know Ma’ll go mad if you get a job. What about her bennies?’
‘No, it’s sound,’ I go. ‘Cash in hand.’ Leastways, that’s what I’m hoping.
‘What kinda job?’ He squints at the writing. Never were much cop at reading, our Dom.
‘Dunno ‘til I call, do I?’
‘Cheeky,’ he goes, cuffing me one round the ear. I take my chance and reach for the card. He grabs my wrist, twists my arm up my back and shoves his pie-hole up against my ear. ‘You come across anything interesting, you be sure and let your big brother know,’ he hisses, spraying jammy paste over my cheek. ‘No sneaking behind my back, you little freak.’
He loosens his grip and for a sec I think that’s it. Then he comes back at me, jabbing a nasty little Bruce Lee punch above my elbow. He strolls off, still chewing. I hear the flatscreen fire up and stand there, wiping jam and tears off of my face.
Received my biggest pledge yet, to join me on a tour and tasting in a gin distillery. Such a great feeling to know people believe in Note to Boy. Or maybe just really love gin. Either way, thanks.
A huge thank you to the generous and lovely people who have pledged their support. With your help, despite Christmas and New Year distractions, Note to Boy is 10% of the way along the road to publication. Your reward will be ... wait for it ... a short video, ready soon, telling you a bit more about the book. Sorry about the presenter. It’s the best we could do. Even though he’s now available, Stephen…
Takes longer than you think, this filming lark. Just spent an afternoon getting three minutes of usable material for the Note to Boy video. Let’s hope our talented editing team can sprinkle some fairy dust.
Thanks to all those lovely supporters who've dragged themselves away from the mincepies and the awful telly to pledge their support for my book. I don't deserve it. No, really I don't. Well, maybe I do. A bit. It's only the first day of the New Year and already we're up to 6%. What happens next? The video, that's what. The film crew and I have been green-screening and CGI-ing like mad (not really…
Yippee! We’re out of the traps and the race is on. My sincere thanks to the lovely people who’ve already pledged their support. You’ve made my day.
The Note to Boy campaign has been launched. Eloise and Bradley - heaven help us! - are out in the big world, depending on the kindness of Unbound supporters for their survival. She, gin-soaked and demanding, and he, quiet and cunning, have scores to settle and a racy autobiography to write. Help me get them into print by pledging your support. You’ll be rewarded, not only with a glow of satisfaction…
These people are helping to fund Note To Boy.