Our podcast The Truth Lies in Bedtime Stories, from See Through News, Series 7, Marcus & Jemima – how I deal with people at parties who assume I have children, hits hard, as George stuns us with more astonishing revelations.
In Episode 4, George spills the beans about all his other children.
Like all stories, it’s best to start at the beginning:
Next: Episode 5: Further Clarifications
Or for the whole thing, the Omnibus edition
Narration and series theme music by George Hinchliffe
Produced & mixed by SternWriter
Podcast sting by Samuel Wain
If you enjoyed this series, why not try:
- Series 1: The Story of Ganbaatar – the only qualified deep-sea navigator in Mongolia
- Series 2: Betrayed – A Tale of Christmas Spiritual Pollution
- Series 3: Life on the Edge – Taiwan, China, America and the Moment I Realised Mrs. Wang Was Mostly Guessing What Her Husband Said
- Series 4: The Quiet Revolutionary – the heroic role played in a plot to assassinate the King by someone you’ve all heard of
- Series 5: A Classical Chinese Dirty Joke, Told Thrice
- Series 6: Teetering – how a Hawaiian beach bum held my career in the balance
The Truth Lies in Bedtime Stories is a See Through News production.
See Through News is a non-profit social media network with the Goal of Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active.
For more visit seethroughnews.org
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Episode 4 : Further Developments
How do we introduce Clytemnestra? Is it possible that there are others as well?
Well, once I had realised that I’d invented my children Marcus and Jemima, I thought if this had been real, would they have been my only children?
You know, here I am in my 60s, been around for a while, had relationships. It’s probably likely that I would have had more than two children if I’d have been in the business of having children.
And so I thought actually early on in my adult life I probably would have had another child and I thought Clytemnestra would probably have been the name that we’d have chosen. Of course, I’m not sure at this stage whether Clytemnestra would have come along before Marcus and Jemima. It’s unclear. If you’re making it up, you can switch all that around.
You could say, ‘Oh yes, Clytemnestra came along quite late in my life’, or you could say, ‘Oh, well, before I’d got things together it was just a mistake at college. But you know, she came along and we welcomed her. It’s been a bit of a struggle to cope with her,’.
So I don’t know whether she’s older or younger than the other two. If the conversation had developed and then we talked about other children, I would have said to Rupert, ‘Of course, I have another child, Clytemnestra’. And he’d say, ‘Oh, that’s a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it’?’ He’d probably say that.
And you know, because we’d have established rapport and he would be able to in a way criticise the naming of the child or at least discuss it. And I would have said,’Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but we’ve always called her Cleo or Clea.’
We would say you wouldn’t abbreviate Clytemnestra to Clite or Clitom, but Clea is probably the word that you’d use. And so that would sound perfectly reasonable if you said,’Do call Clytemnestra – ‘time to come in from the garden now Clytemnestra’, you know, say it would be clear, clear. That sounds like the sort of name you would give a child, I think colloquially.
Well, after I’d been talking to Rupert for a while about the two children, I confessed to him that I did have a third child, Clytemnestra, and because he’d established some rapport and we were talking in quite a relaxed way by then he was able to ask me if we always called the third daughter Clytemnestra or if we shortened her name.
And so of course I said to him that in everyday use we’d said Clia – we called her Clia, not Clytemnestra. And so he thought that was perfectly reasonable and it seemed perfectly credible. We had a third daughter with a slightly unusual name.
And what were the circumstances under which you had this other child that you didn’t and why didn’t you immediately bring her up?
Well, Clytemnestra was a different kettle of fish, if you will. And when I was talking to Rupert about it, I realised that Clytemnestra could have come along before Marcus and Jemima or could have come along quite late in life. And so I chose to introduce the topic without specifying details about how old she was.
Of course, if you’re making things up, it’s sometimes a good idea to have a backstory so that you can say, ‘Oh yes, Clytemnestra is 30 now’, or say ‘Well, you know, she’s only 12 – she was a late addition to the family’.
But of course if you’re responding to the needs of a social circumstance and primarily you’re not trying to come up with something that’s accurate or true, but merely trying to facilitate social intercourse and establish rapport with a person you’ve probably never going to see again, you can make it up as you go along.
If the social circumstance develops, to the extent that candour and detail seems appropriate, then I could say something more about my own circumstances.
So for example, rather than saying that I’d been in the Army and I’d had an honourable discharge even though I was the person who procured the non-prescribed pharmaceuticals, which my superior officer was court-martialed as a result of. And he had well, he had a dishonourable discharge and I had the honourable discharge even though I was the one who got the drugs.
Rather than telling that story, which of course could have been true, I could have told a story about how I had post-traumatic stress and was banged up in a psychiatric wing. Now, of course this was in the late 70s, early 80s when things were different and they only let me out one day a year.
And so I saw my wife once a year and for the next 13 years we had 13 children saving up our fertility for that one day a year.
So I could say that Marcus and Jemima came along. Clytemnestra was a different thing. But Hubert, Lillie and Walter were the next three children. We went in this old-fashioned sort of naming cycle and then we decided to have more modern names.
So we had Wayne and then the following year Taylor and then Warren and then we got all sort of New-Agey about it and had Sky – rather a nice name I thought – but then decided traditional or old-fashioned naming conventions were better.
So we had Augusta and then of course late additions were Maaike and Baz. But by the time Maaike and Baz came along we’d got into – what do they call that thing? – ‘Care in the Community’. So I was no longer incarcerated all through the year.
Thank you for clearing that up.
And of course then we had Pjork….
Okay. Um, what was the what was going on with Pjork? That was on the way back…That was unrelated. But why did that seem funny? We were talking about children who had names that were like pork products.
[SternWriter] It was like meat. Captain Beefheart.
Captain Beefheart, or – some kind of bacon. Oh, Kevin Bacon! Yeah. Let’s not get distracted. Oh. Michael Gammon.
Okay. There may still be some listeners who are slightly in the doubt about what’s going on. I thought your story about the Village of Compulsive Truth-tellers and Compulsive Liars was very helpful in that regard. But I wonder if there’s another illustrative story that might illuminate what’s true and what’s not.
In Episode 5, Further Clarifications, George tries to set things straight.