Ah boogalooloolala, ay bolaogalloobaba. weilalala al umdaboogooboolala, wei o wei o aiiiiiiiiiiiii cluck cluck chick cick niiiiiiiiiii
Sorry. Just finishing off my evening prayers. Islam never sat easy with me, so I converted to Swahili. It just seemed the right religion for me. And people told me I was a natural at it. Sometimes when I opened my mouth and let the juices flow I found that I spoke the word of God so fluently it amazed even me.
Anyway I digress. Back to my story. It was 2009. I had matured. I was now a success in everything I did. To the outside world my life looked perfect. I mean I had it all. A nice 4X4 conv. A big house in the Cotswalds, with training ground/assault course in yard to practise my military exercises. A successful career, first as a thespian and then latterly as a serious documentarian/war journalist cum producer/writer/’brand’.
Yes. To the outside world my life was perfect. But inside there was something missing. No it wasn’t that I wished that I had a slightly more intellectual face. I was happy with the gelatinous mass that Zuzuclick-click* had given me. I didn’t mind the simian brow, nor the porcine eyes. Nor did I wish my legs were less stumpy or my proportions less of a tub, more of a flute.**
No. It wasn’t my physical appearance that I was unhappy with.*** No. It was something deeper than that.
I missed Rebehka.
**Actually I had a decent V-shape from hours of lat pulldowns. I had a firm enough torso and my guns were massive. My glutes could’ve done with taughtening but then, hey, who’s couldn’t. Anyway I was happy with my appearance.
*** Except perhaps my back which had acquired several layers of excess fatty deposits as I had gotten older.
2009– Spring: Rebekah
Her ghost haunted me everywhere. I would see her name in all the papers. The News of the World. Well actually it was only the News of the World but it would take me a week to read the paper so I saw her name every day.
One time I stayed up all night writing her a song. It went:
Rebekah, rebekah, We used to be so good together
God I felt like I was in my own film. They would’ve called it Romeo Solo. And then one day I got a call– it was my old agent Marv.
“Ross, good news. Got a part for ya. For some reason they want you to be in a film. It’s a romcom called Love Actually. Don’t ask me how you wangled it.”
“A film! I’ve never played in a romantic film. Who’s in it?”
“It’s an ensemble cast– you’ll be playing with Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and yer old pal Martine Machutcheon.”
“Ok I’ll do it. Well done Gav. Sounds like a great ensemble. Though you’d think they could come up with a slightly more original name than Love.”
“No Ross. It’s called Love Actually. That’s the name of the film.”
“Er hello Gav. That’s what I said– Love. Can you hear me properly.”
“No Ross not Love. It is called Love Actually.”
“Ok put it another way it’s called Love Actually Actually.”
“You mean it’s called Love Actually Actually.”
“Look Ross stop talking. You and me we go back a long way. You were a simple man then and you’re a simple man now. Now get yer fat baby body down to Soho House before they change their mind.”
I had never done romantic acting before, and so I thought yes, why not. Ill do it. Yes, yes I will! It would be playing against type but that’s what thesps do! You need to be challenged! (My role would be that of a nightclub bouncer who finds love with one of the punters. I had to act all agro an hard but with a soft side).
My heart beat faster than it ever had.* God, I would be in a film. Rebekah would see me! The fame, the money, the power! She would fall in love with me all over again. Yes, this summer Ross Kemp, would be back and better than ever before.
*except for the time I visited the dunkin donuts factory and asked to be dropped headfirst into a vat of donut batter
2009. Summer: Kempf on films
My first day on set. I strode out there and felt just like Richard Burton. Or was it Ian Burton? Anyway this was exciting. It was full of actors. There was that small actor from Stuart Little. There was Ralph Fiennes. Or was it Liam Neeson? I could never tell the difference. There was Keira, smoking a fag. There was Colin Firth. Or was it Liam Neeson? One of the two.
And there, there—it was Hugh Grant!!! He was strolling about set like a king! I went up to him to chat but he immediately whipped out his mobile phone and started to speak on it very loudly.
I was about to walk away when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was a wire, dangling out of the bottom of his phone.
“Oi Hugh,” I said to him. “You’ve got something hanging out the back ‘o yer phone.
“Look I don’t need any more props thank you Mr Propman.”
“I’m not the propman, I’m Ross. Ross Kemp. Listen mate. I can do you a full check if yer like. I’ve been down to the spy shop in London, got all the latest kit in me house. I could tell what and where that’s comin from. ‘Ere why don’t you come over to mine tonight and we’ll give it a full going over.
“Ah, oh can’t tonight, er Jemima’s meant to be popping over. Ah…I mean…sorry, er who are you again?”
Of a sudden Martine Macutcheon came swarming around the corner. She looked stunning! A porcelain doll with alabaster skin and eyes like two coals. The very picture of beauty. Unfortunately as soon as she opened her mouth that porcelain and alabaster melted away leaving only a talking skull. (It reminded of Indiana Jones, the scene where the German officer’s face melts into an oblivion. Classic!)
“Grant! Babe!! Ow are ya?!!”
“Martine. Oright babe. ”
“Eard you’ve been to Vietnam an all.”
“Well yeah turned inta a bit of a thesp I av since we last met.”
“Cool. Oi Hugh. This is Grant. Grant this is Hugh. Grant say hi to Hugh.”
“Erm actually it’s not Grant it’s Ross.”
“Erm, er, ah no it is Grant. Hugh Grant.”
“My name is Hugh Grant.”
“Yeah I know. You’re Hugh.”
“My name. It’s Hugh Grant, Grant.”
“Hugh Grant Grant?”
We were about to get lost in a miasma of complications, a maze of Borgian proportions, when Martine interjected.
“Oi Granty I ‘eard youve been going places, Granty. Been to the Middle Earth someone said?”
“Yeah darlin. I was doing my new programme Ross on War.”
Hugh walked off shaking his head.
“By the way it was me wat got you the part in this film.”
She held her hand out imploringly.
“Two grand’ll cover it.”
That was my first day of shooting. It was also to be my last. You see the role got cut as it was decided that I was a little too beefy to play the part of a bouncer. They’d wanted someone out of type. A little different it seemed. Someone who didn’t quite fit the typical bouncer image. In the end they hired Jason Statham. But what God takes with one hand he usually partly gives with the other. And that’s what I got.
2009: Autumn: Hugh/Grant
I was lost. I’d been in bed eating cabbage for a week. Things weren’t the same. I had lost all my mirth. And my girth. My dearth of girth and mirth really hurt. You can’t imagine what it feels like for a man like me to be less than 18st.
I was just about to rip open another package of savoy when my phone rang. This in itself was an unusual occurrence. But what made it even more unusual, frankly bizarre, was that it was Hugh Grant on the other line.
“Erm hi, hi Grant. This is Hugh, you remember we were on set for a short time.”
“Hugh! How are you mate? Of course!”
“Well y’know you said that I had a wire hanging out of the back of my phone. I um thought about what you said. And frankly er it all seems a little fishy. Um I was kind of wondering if you might take a look at it.”
“Well of course mate! I’d be more than happy to mate.”
“Please stop calling me mate. Well ok. Why er don’t you come round to my flat in Chelsea. You can maybe look at it here.”
“I’ll be there in a jiffy Hugh.”
I leapt out of bed like never before and ran out into the street my heart dancing with joy. It was only when I’d gotten to my car that I realised I’d forgotten to put my trousers on. But anyway this was too important an affair to think about trousers. This was an emergency. I was at his thirty minutes later. God I will remember those next few hours until the day that I die.
At first Hugh wouldn’t let me in the flat until I had put some trousers on. So I had to go to the M&S in Fulham to buy some new ones. But after that he let me in. And it’s those next few hours I will never forget. .
Hugh told me that his phone hadn’t been working properly and could I take a look at it. Of course him being a mate I acquiesced. I couldn’t work out how to open the phone straight away so threw it against the wall and it smashed open.
There were fragments everywhere. In amongst all the rubble I found something. It was a transmitter. I’d brought down a small spy analysis device which I’d ordered from the Spymaster shop in London. It was designed to tell you the location of all transmitters. Where they led to. Hugh and I sat down and plugged this into his computer. Immediately a map flashed onto the screen with a set of coordinates. They looked familiar. Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.
Part 2: Grant/Hugh
Hugh and I sat in the car driving towards the coordinates. We were just like Batman and that other one. Little guy. Sparrowman…whatever his name is…anyway the atmosphere was grim.
“Frankly I suspect your ex-wife’s been getting intimate details of my life and publishing it in that paper of hers.”
“Jeez Hugh. I just don’t understand it.”
“Did you never suspect it? I mean you were married to her weren’t you?”
“Well you could say that. But to tell you the truth she’d often lock me in the cupboard.”
“Ok, that’s enough talking.”
We soon arrived. It was already night and I knew that Beckah would be off entertaining with her new man. Getting in was not a problem. I smashed the conservatory doors and luckily she hadn’t changed the old alarm code (I’d had it tattooed on my arm when we moved in). Hugh and I crept into the house checking room by room. The kitchen, with the ivory cooker. The huge living room, filled with gold and other trophies which Beckah liked to collect. The bathroom, gold taps, diamante mirrors, a big photo of Beckah hanging from the wall. It seemed like a fruitless search until finally we crept into my old room. God what had happened? It was like Bletchley Park in there. Computers, CB’s, listening devices all manner of spy stuff.
At first I thought that this was some kind of treat she was saving for me. But Hugh soon corrected me.
“A bit of a spy this ex-wife of yours Grant?”
“Yeah that was Beckah. Always had to have the latest technology. She loved her James Bond.”
“Uh yeah sure. You do see it don’t you? You see how she got all her stories.”
Suddenly it hit me. It was like a lightbulb moment. Yes I did see. I saw it all. It was just like at the end of that film, the Unusual Suspects where the pieces all fall into place like a jigsaw.
For she had been using ME to get her stories! All those nights out with Bobby Fatso, panto with Les Dennis, seeing Shane Warne in the gym! I had told every story, in minute detail over and over. Of course! She had used me to get stories for her paper. And now she was using me to get to Hugh.
“God Hugh I’m so sorry. It was me. I am the mole. I sold the stories to the Sun. She took my anecdotes, tales of my dalliances with the stars, my celebrity encounters and…..oh God, she used me.” I began to sob. It wasn’t the first time and it sure as hell wouldn’t be the last but it felt awful nonetheless. “I’m so sorry Hugh. I never thought she would publish them.”
“No you cretin! Why would she take your nondescript stories for the paper. It’s much worse than that. She was hacking us! Me. My phone.”
“Eh? But you mean she didn’t use that story about when I saw Julia Roberts buying peas in the local supermarket? Or when I saw Mick Jagger at Lords?”
“No of course not! Look around you man. She simply used these boxes here to hack us.”
“But what about that time I went to the paragliding centre and Jeremy Clarkson was there and he was too shit scared to go on the big wall? That was big!”
“There was also that time I saw Colin Montgomerie eating an egg sandwich at Chichester golf club. You can’t tell me that didn’t make it into the paper?”
“What? That was you? That was your story? That was quite a good one.”
“Well yes. I did tell her that.”
“I’m being facetious you moron. Why on earth would she put a story about Colin Montgomerie eating an egg sandwich in the paper?”
“Hugh, c’mon. He’s famous. It’s the News of the World. Put two and two together. If they’re famous and they do something they’re in!”
“Hmm that is true. I guess it is the papers that make them famous for doing nothing.”
“Yes Hugh. And we’ve got to put a stop to this.”
I was overtaken with passion so picked up a computer and threw it wildly on the floor where it’s screen cracked a little. Hugh looked moved.
“Bloody hell. Maybe you’re not quite as attenuated in the brain department as you look. Let’s go Granty.”
I felt a surge of pride rise up into my gullet. My heart soared. And it was at exactly that specific moment that I lost all bowel control. For there, sillouhetted against the light of the moon was the dark shadow of a form, more hideous than any I had seen before. It was Beckah.
Kempf: The final chapter
It took them six hours to unglue my hands from my head and another three to remove the broom handle from my xxx. I was in a very dark place. They found me in a cupboard. I really felt like my life had ended.
“Hugh. Hugh. Hugh. Hugh.”
I’d been crying his name for hours on end. And it didn’t stop. It took me a full year to get over my injuries. I’d wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat chanting it. “Hugh. Hugh. Hugh. Hugh. Hugh.”
But Hugh never came for me.
Beckah was to face a full enquiry by the government. She was taken down to a thorough investigation. Then they let her go.
Unfortunately, they never found Hugh. Every now and again I’d read a news story and think it might be him—a man found in the forests of Africa, the yeti, the race for the US presidency, the American politician who got his wanger out and texted it to everyone. But no. All false leads.
(I remember that day they found that spy in the bag. I was watching TV on my sofa and jumped up into the air so high that I smashed the lightbulb into smithereens. “HUGH!” I screamed. It had to be him! But no it turned out to be another false lead).
He just disappeared.
Finally, a year later they caught him on the Wallace and Gromit set trying to hump Wallace. Anyway they gave him the role of a pirate’s voice (he face was too scarred to get back to camera roles). But we never saw each other again.
I too tried to get back into acting. But I was generally unsuccessful in getting the roles I went for. * My confidence was shattered for a while. I was low. But you know I never let it get me down for too long. Why? I’ll tell you why.
Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble give a whistle
This will help things turn out for the best
Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the right side of life
So, always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath
And that is the end of my memoir. I have taken up so many reams of paper describing my life that I think maybe you are undone. I’ve told you of my ups and my downs. My loves and my hates. My fame and my fortune. And now I need to find a fitting end. Something that will be an apt way to end my life’s work. Something of grandeur. Memorable. A wonderful encapsulation of all that’s gone….BANG!**
*I became obsessed with America for a while. Woody Allen, Groucho Marx, JFK. Great men. I even applied for a number of TV shows out there but didn’t get any– Mad Men (too fat), the Wire (too simple), Homeland (insufficient hair)– everyone had an excuse.