Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sibling Rivalry

Milimajor is crossing the Atlantic because he can a) no longer bear the scoffs and scorn of his erstwhile so-called colleagues in the so-called Labour party; b) no longer bear the carefully disguised pitying over-the-shoulder eye contact from Miliminor; or c) has been offered a seriously better paid job doing something useful, read the subtle tweets from godfather Tone, and thought ‘fuck all that, I’m outa here.  And I wasn’t really that into football anyway.’ 

As a fellow victim of sibling rivalry, I feel for him.  Tell me about it.  My brother has, throughout his life, outplayed me in almost every aspect of attainment.  I hardly know where to start, but the motorbike will do.  At seventeen, I mooted the idea of getting one, like my mates, and was forcibly made to wash my mouth out with two-stroke and write a hundred times ‘I must not think about motorbikes’.  Five years later, guess who’s whizzing around Bournemouth on some kind of Norton.  Or maybe it was a Vincent Black Shadow.  Doesn’t matter.  I’ve got over it.

Let’s go back further.  I was expected, at the age of ten, to look after him whilst my parents were swanning around doing work and stuff and my sister was trying to become a teenager.  Did he ever do the same for me?  Did he hell.  Even when I dropped him on his head in a train game involving dining room chairs, he showed no gratitude.  He just got up, bleeding from his eyebrow, and howled.  I was gutted, I remember: at least, I thought, you could have thumped me, shown some recognition.  But no, it was all about him.  And he must have been at least four, you’d expect some maturity, wouldn’t you?

And don’t start me on technology.  He was configuring wireless networks when I was still stringing coax cables across the pull-down kitchen clothes dryer.  He had the country’s first Pioneer 100-CD multi-changer just after I’d moved on from 78s, and the day after I got one, he gently, without a smidgeon of smugness, told me about this new gadget called MP3.  And don’t start me on the Fiesta XR2 – how heartless is it to upgrade to a Peugot 309 GT something-or-other the day after, on his advice, I’d bought one of those?  (Or my employers had, to be exact.)

And now – and now! – he’s moving house!!  Just like that: a mere eighteen months in the process, start to finish.  I’ve been trying to achieve this for at least three years, and haven’t got past the stage of ‘who’ll empty the attic for me?’, never mind ‘ where might I move to?’ or even ‘why would I want to?’ or ‘where’s the vertical equivalent of this sofa?’  And the little tinker just ups and does it!

Clearly, I’m going to have to rethink this relationship.  Right, done that: I still play better guitar than him.  Oh, but he plays better mouth organ than me. 


  1. Glad you've got that off your chest then.

  2. My little brother is exactly the same. They don't have to shoulder the responsibilities of us eldests and can slipstream and succeed with their sunny personalities and lack of sociopathy.

  3. I'll empty the attic for you, I'm brilliant at turning out, but completely reliable about not getting rid of anything important.

    My sister is five years older than me (at least, for a few months it's six) and I could never beat her in a fair fight so fought dirty, hair pulling and so on. Until the day I bit her thumb and the nail turned black and she had proof. Meanly, she used it against me. What was that about, hey? Tried to get me into trouble, small blonde winsome Z who never did anything wrong.

  4. Well that's quite enough about you, now let's talk about me.
    For the record I still bear you no malice for the chair drop incident and, in case you haven't noticed (yet) it was the chin, not the eyebrow that has the permanent scar (just checked, yup, still there).
    I admit the motorbike was due to my wearing down, through constant whining, the mater and pater but it was a 125 cc BSA Bantam. Very uncool when all we wanted was a scooter. And it was wrecked by Keith Jones outside the Wheelhouse. Then I got the scooter. I think you were in Italy, no doubt on a Piaggio.
    The Pioneer kit was good but the Technics 110 unit was even better. And the 78s still are wonderful, Hound Dog and Rock Island Line played on my vintage HMV wind-up (I like wind-ups). Oldies are often the best, even curmudgeonly ones. And if you knew the frustrations of my Apple TV so called wifi network, well...
    Now I'm not having the car one thrown at me. Who's got a beemer? Who had a beemer before their present beemer? Not I.
    As for moving, isn't it me that is always saying why don't you move to that honeysuckle encrusted cottage in Henley or Ascot or whatever. (Also, it helps if you actually put your house on the market). As for me, needs must, the pool has to go. At least there's one thing you've beaten me to. A jolly handy pension. And at least you get to those big birthdays well ahead of me, so be grateful for small mercies.
    Oh and I might be able to busk with my bodhran one day (let alone my mouth organ but I'd need a harness). I can see myself on the top of Haytor every evening playing in the setting of the sun. And you're welcome to join me, strumming, anytime.

  5. AQ - it wasn't really on it, to be honest, just saw the opportunity for some failed biting satire at D Miliband's expense.

    Rog - I agree, how did we manage to bring them up to be so infuriatingly charming and well-balanced?

    Z - Thank you, m'dear, I'll send you the schedule once I've found Honeysuckle Cottage. You'll need to be able to distinguish between good and bad vintage technology though (don't worry, I have an expert in the family...)

    Richard - what can I say? I take all your comments on the chin (except the Piaggio - I couldn't even afford drugs, let alone transport.) Oh, and I'm definitely not going to either Henley or Ascot. One has to maintain SOME standards.

  6. Tim, do you remember the time you stabbed me in the leg with a pencil? It was in the holiday house in Stepaside and I've still got the mark the lead made!

  7. Sue, so Rog was right about the sociopathic tendencies. I'd suppressed that pencil memory, I must admit, and will raise the matter with my friendly local psychotherapist next time we meet.

  8. And he'll always be younger than you, but ...

    HA! You should trying being the middle child, you are always TOO old or TOO young - it's hell. Middle Child Syndrome is where the seriously twisted inhabit, muttering and twitching and drinking gin.

  9. I AM that middle child, Zig (mutters, twitches, regrets that today's gin has already been drunk but sips wine anyway in self-consolation).