How's it hanging, hombres? Don't worry - I'm allowed to use language
like that nowadays. That's right! Billie Piper is all grown up
now. I'm no longer the tiny child that squeaked out pop hits like Because
We Want To and all them others just over a year ago. These days I'm
slinkier affair, who doesn't have to wear vests any more and can
do different kinds of dances!!! And I say 'Yay!!!' a bit less now, but
But don't worry!!!! I still love creatures!!! There's nothing on earth
that could make me forget my various pals from the animal kingdom!! In
between my last column and now I've had lots and lots of fantastic adventures
with innumerable beasts and one day I may tell you all about them.
And by 'beasts' I don't mean Ritchie!!! Ha ha!! Thanks for all your emails
while I have been away - I'll make sure I answer every single one
of them. Yay!!!
But of course, my adventures are not always happy affairs. Some of my
best creature pals have died as a result of our antics, and I'll never
forget the times I had with them. My monkeys, of course, were the most
important thing in the world to me - every so often I pour some Nesquik
onto the ground in honour of their collective memories. I do miss their
mayhem. And every
weekend (more or less!!!) I leave some flowers on the grave of that bear
that I met that time.
Anyway, you don't want to hear about old adventures!!! You want to know
about why me and Ritchie split up!!! It's a long story, which most of
the papers seem to have got wrong, and I won't go into it all now. Suffice
to say, Ritchie was not at all pleased when he found out I was
with Busta Rhymes. And then there was that lengthy and quite boring adventure
that I had with all the hens, which I'm afraid left poor Ritchie on the
verge of insanity. Their constant clucking very nearly drove him bananas!
It's very sad, but in the end I had to let him go, as much for his
own good as anything else. We'll still stay friends of course - as long
as he keeps his hands off of my Coco Pops, that is!!!
So, 'what does a grown-up Billie get up to?' I hear you ask. And
well you might... because I have a cautionary tale to recount, which hopefully
will help some of you youngsters avoid making the mistakes that I made
last Friday night. I may need to talk about some pretty foul things
in the telling, but I'm not going to pull any punches, because it's
important!!! And obviously, there'll be "Creatures Galore" in there!!!
It wouldn't be right if there wasn't would it? I'd be a liar then,
and if there's one thing I won't be accused of, it's lying to my lovely
Anyway, it all started last Friday, when Busta Rhymes came over to stay.
I'd been writing to him for nearly a year, and it was sooooooo great
to finally meet him! I met him at the airport, holding up my card that
I'd made saying 'Mr Rhymes', just in case we didn't recognise each other.
The big klutz walked right past me, so it was
lucky I'd brought along the photo he'd sent me!! The poor rapping lamb
was very tired after his flight, so we went for a coffee to wake him up
and catch up on all the gossip since we'd last written to each other!
There was lots to talk about - Busta had been recording his new album,
called The Anarchy, which he told me was about a system of political
thought that was much misunderstood and misrepresented, and it was about
time someone explained it all to the world. "It's not all fighting!" he
Then I told him about my album, which is about love and sex and responsibility.
I told him all about Ritchie, too - Busta said he was glad that Ritchie
was no longer on the scene. While Busta liked Ritchie, from what he could
tell from my letters, he thought that he was causing 'rambunctions'. I
was inclined to agree with Busta - little did I know then the rambunctions
that I was to have later that evening!!!!! Still, I don't think Ritchie
would have helped, had he been there. In fact, he'd have
probably made things worse.
But Ritchie's all in the past now.
So - after I'd brought Busta home from the airport, and he'd had a little
nap in front of the fire to help his jet lag, we decided what to do that
night. It was Busta's first visit to London when he hadn't had to do a
show, so he was eager to explore! He wanted to go to Buckingham Palace,
the museums, and the Tower of London, and, and, and...
"Shut up, Busta!" I snapped. He shut up and looked at me like a wounded
kitten. We were in the kitchen, having some Ribena (Toothkind, of course!).
"All those places are closed at night. We're not all 'twenty-four-seven',
like in America." Besides, I'd been to all those places before.
"Well - I'm sorry for getting over-excited, Miss Billie, it's just ..
well, rappers just want to have fun, you know?"
"I know, I know, Busta, I'm sorry," I said, and furrowed my brow, thinking
hard. It was natural for Busta to want some entertainment - he's just
like a big kid, really. Then I wicked idea took me! Honestly, I don't
know what gets into me sometimes. I giggled to myself and clapped my
"Let's go to the pub!" I exclaimed. "Yayyyy!!!!"
"The pub?" queried Busta. "Where's that?"
"It's a bar, silly!" I said, slapping him playfully about his big
"But you're not old enough to drink!" cried Busta.
"I know!" I said. "But I just get these crazy ideas sometimes!!! And I
to act on them."
"You're not going to let me talk you out of this, are you, Miss Billie?"
said Busta, noting the stubborn set to my chin.
"Then I'd better come along and make sure you're all right!" said Busta,
gallantly. "I'm off to get ready - you'd better make sure you look old
enough to drink."
"I will!" And with that, we both went off to get changed.
* * * *
Twenty minutes later, I entered the kitchen a picture of maturity. I was
wearing a cardigan and flat shoes. And a ginger wig so no-one would recognise
me and my famous age. But Busta!!!! Busta looked a sight! He was dressed
in an old zoot suit that didn't fit properly, a trilby hat with a
feather in it, and he was holding a walking stick. And best of all, he
was wearing a fake white beard!!!
"Oh, Busta," I laughed, doubling over. "What are you wearing?"
"Don't laugh!" protested Busta, looking embarrased. "It's to make sure
"But Busta! You're easily old enough to get served! You look eighteen,
"Oh - right. Sorry. Back in the States, you have to be a lot older to
"Don't know. That's why I like to be safe, rather than sorry."
"I see. Well, you can take all that off here."
"Oh, OK. I'm s-".
"Shut up and let's go to the pub."
* * * *
The only pub I'd heard of was The Blind Beggar in Whitechapel - it was
in that film with that man from EastEnders (which I never miss! Watch
out, Dan, eh?) - so I asked the taxi driver to take us there. As Busta
paid, I got out and looked at the building with trepidation. I'd never
been to a pub before, and this was not what I had expected from television.
The outside was painted green, and the sound of merriment and swearing
came from within. There was the occasional sound of a glass smashing,
and Cockney shouting. The pub sign showed a filthy beggar stumbling into
"I'm not so sure about this, Busta. Let's go and have a nice glass
of Nesquik at home," I ventured.
"I got an ill vibe, Miss Billie," said Busta.
"You want to go back too? Is it your tummy? Has your shit got 'absurd'
"No, no. I got an ill vibe. That's a good thing."
"Now sees, this is how I figure it... this place is famous for gangstas?"
"Well, I always 'roam through the forest just like a brontosaurus,
born in the month of May so my sign is Taurus, kick you in your face like
my freakin' name was Chuck Norris', as I like to say."
"I'm not frightened - I get on well with the criminal fraternity."
And Busta walked towards the door, as cocky as you like!! 'Ooh, get him!!'
I thought, and hurried in behind him.
Inside, the pub was pretty intimidating. The bar was crowded with old
men in pinstripe suits and toothpicks in their mouths. There were some
ugly old women in too much make-up and low tops (but not like Britney
wears!!!) drinking gin and laughing like billy-o. Some of their chests
were nearly falling out!!! I felt dead nervous, like the first time I
went on stage at Sylvia Young's. In the corner, two bearded men played
the piano and sang songs about sawing people's legs off.
"Go and get us a drink, Busta." I said nervously.
"OK, what'll you have?"
"Oh, do you think they do Ribena?" - that's my 'special occasion'
drink. I wasn't going to touch any alcohol until I was 18.
"'I'll ask..." Busta waited patiently
at the bar to get served. While I waited, the people looked at me and
pointed at my wig. Some of them were laughing!!! One horrible woman pointed
at me, then at Busta and said something like 'pimp'. If anyone can tell
me what that means, email
me!!! I hope it's nice!
"Can I have a Ribena and a 40, please." asked Busta, in his
"Ere - listen to this Frank! 'E wants a Roibena!!!" The landlord
sniggered and gesticulated to his cronies around the bar. They all laughed.
"And a 40 for me." repeated Busta.
"So 'oo wants the Roibena then?" said the barman out of his
"My friend over there." Busta indicated me with his finger.
The whole of the pub turned to look at me. I was shaking with nerves!!!
What if they knew wasn't 18?
"Ere, she looks familiar, Bert." said one of the old Cockney
"You're right," replied the landlord. ''Oo could it be?'
"I'm not famous!!" I shouted. "I'm just an ordinary 18
year old woman!!!"
The landlord looked at me. "Yer right. You can 'ave your Roibena,
on account of 18 year old hair."
Yay!!! They were going to serve me - and they didn't even ask for
ID!!! Phew!!! I wiped my hot brow with relief. But - oh no!!! I knocked
the wig off!!!
"Look, look!!! It's that girl!!!" crowed one of the dirty old
"You're that Billie Piper orf of the radio!!!" shouted the landlord.
"You're not 18 - you're 17. It was on the Ozone."
Ohhhhh!!!! But Busta was swift to save the situation.
"'If she can drink alcohol, she must be
"Erm... I suppose yer right there," said the landlord, scratching
his bald head.
"So give her some alcohol, that'll prove that she's 18 years ol'!"
rapped Busta, to the tune off of Knight Rider.
The landlord was a bit confused, but he made me a special drink with Ribena
in it, called 'Snakebite and Black', mixed with some beer and some cider
out of a tap with a sweet little Woodpecker on it. I was very scared about
drinking alcohol - I'd never done it before. But I should be alright if
it was made by woodpeckers - after all, creatures are my pals!!!
The assembled company looked on eagerly when I gingerly raised to glass
towards my face. Across the bar, a crone cackled in the thick, Cockney
language of her benighted people. Busta muttered words of encouragement,
to steel my nerves.
The moment the cloudy liquid touched my lips, I knew that I was doing
something wrong. The foul reek of cider mingled with the sharp bite of
Ribena in my nostrils, but I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, and took
a deep gulp. The noxious fluid gushed down my throat like nobody's
and I felt nauseous. But still I continued to pour the Snakebite and Black
down my gullet, to make the experience as short as possible. Once the
glass was drained I slammed it onto the counter, like they do on films.
I'm ashamed to say that I felt good afterwards. I thought I'd done something
'cool' and 'trendy' - the people in the bar were impressed and I smiled
my biggest grin. But, Busta was looking concerned. He tipped his head
on one side, and then his whole body, and then everyone else in the bar
did the same thing. The chairs and tables also rotated 90 degrees,
and only I was left standing up straight.
* * * *
Somehow I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew I woke
up, lying on the floor of the pub in a pool of fluid. Busta and the Cockneys
had gone, and the place was changed, twisted somehow. The walls
were leaning at crazy angles, and the ceiling seemed to pulse up and down
like it was breathing. I staggered to my feet and looked for Busta and
the gang, but they were nowhere to be seen. Then I realised what was wrong
- all of the pub's customers' heads had changed into creatures!!! A gang
of donkey-men brayed by the dartboard, while a man with a hog's face leered
hideously over a cow-faced woman, who was laughing with a deep, lowing
noise. Two or three mongrel dogs leaned against the bar, drinking themselves
stupid on gin, while another pig-faced thug brawled with a weasel-man
over a card game. It was a horrible sight, like a cartoon from a 19th
Century issue of Punch!!!
Or something like that.
None of them had noticed me, fortunately, but I knew that I had to get
out of here - they were behaving like farm animals or something!!! I crept
towards the door, narrowly avoiding being splashed by the vomit which
flew from one of the donkey's mouths. I almost fell out into the
street, dazed and frightened by the transformation of the 'people' in
the pub. But worse
was to await me on the streets on London...
The sky was a deep shade of red - not what I had expected from a warm
evening in June. All around me the streets had changed - the lights were
gaslamps, and the buildings had become taller and more menacing. When
I looked at the road, I could see that it was cobbled, but that each of
the cobbles was made up of smaller cobbles, and each of those cobbles
of even tinier cobbles. I kept staring at them, but they started moving
about like insects, and I had to climb onto a bollard to get away from
them. It was all soooo frightening!!!! Can you imagine??
Monstrous man-creature hybrids cavorted clumsily along the dimly lit streets,
parodying the daytime activities of your actual Eastenders. Strange Krayfish
swam through the air, and a man made from pies and mash forced great,
living conger eels down his gaping mouth. I had to get out of here, so
I ran as fast as I could to the end of the street. As I rounded the corner
I was met by a horrendous blast of discordant noise, like the sound of
a million car horns echoing from the chambers of Hell!!! Aiieee!!!
The main road stretched towards the West End, but it was clogged for as
far as the eye could see by cars, standing bumper to bumper and banging
and car alarms continuously. None of them were moving, and although the
windows were clouded and the drivers invisible, the distinctive sound
of a non-stop barrage of Cockney swearing rent the air.
I knew that I must be in some kind of mental version of London,
that was a result of my drinking the alcohol. I remembered reading about
something a bit like this in some of Ritchie's funny books with all the
colours on the front. I think it was called a 'journey' or a 'trip' or
something. If only I could complete my journey back to the flat
in Notting Hill, I thought that everything would be back
to normal. Or as normal as it gets being a 17 year-old pop princess!!!
The best way to get to my flat from the East End is a tube, so I thought
that I would start there. I was a bit shaky on my feet, and there was
no way I could cross the road, so I set off towards the nearest tube station,
which I thought would be Stepney Green. I made up my mind to be a brave
girl, because I'm an adult now, so I set my face into a 'determined' look
and trudged onwards. The entrance to the tube was a dripping cave-mouth
hewn from the buildings surrounding it. An unbearable stench of urine
and decay gusted up from the entrance, but I pushed into the darkness.
Immediately I was standing on the platform with hundreds of angry commuters
gushing sweat and looking cross. The crush was horrendous, and
the murmurs of fury almost shut out the sound of the tannoy, which was
repeating the same message over and over and over: "Due to bodies
on the line there are delays to all services. Due to bodies on the line
there are delays to all services..." The commuters mumbled louder
as I pushed my way to the front of the crowds. As the people parted to
reveal the tracks I started back in horror!!! The line was carpeted with
fried bodies, each blackened and writhing in death throes. Eurgh!!! It
There was no way I could get home by tube, so I pushed my way through
the sweaty suits back to the street. I felt dizzy and sick. Would I never
get home? The journey would need to be made on foot, so I decided to walk
down to the Embankment, where it was usually quite nice. As I approached
the Thames I passed by Smithfield's Market, where squat boys lugged great
slabs of meat the size of small cars. In the surface of the meat were
leering faces which drooled fat
and blood. One that looked remarkably like Jamie Oliver winked at me with
a gristly eye. It was certianly not 'pukka' at all.
I approached the River down from St. Paul's (the dome of which was a big
half- peach full of maggots, in case you were wondering), and was, inevitably,
met with a gruesome sight. Across the water, perched on the roof of the
new Tate Modern, was a gigantic newt thing. It had the face of
Ken Livingstone, and seemed to be doing nothing but plucking the new Millennium
Footbridge like a giant guitar string. Screaming tourists and blind people
were being catapulted into the water, as the Kennewtish horror hummed
Clash songs to itself. Yike!!
I averted my eyes towards the river, which was choked with effluent and
rubbish. Old Father Thames was there, a single tear of sewage rolling
down his great marbled cheek. But!! I was in a hurry!!! No times
for allegories!!! I walked swiftly by and tried my best to ignore the
painted whore that was pissing on a Lion dressed as a business man, while
his Unicorn friend wearing combat trousers waited for his turn!! This
was a bit heavy-handed as far as I was concerned.
As I made my way towards Soho, I did think twice about it, really
I did. If the rest of London was a nightmarish vision, Soho was bound
to be full of all kinds of spooky nonsense. But it was the most obvious
way back to my home, and my sanity. So I had to walk through. As I strolled
into Old Compton Street, I was assaulted on all sides by warty, pox-ridden
women calling me 'darling' and the like. But I've fought with cavemen
and skellingtons!! I had nothing to fear from them! I wound my
way through the reeking streets, choked with rotting vegetables and spilled
heroins. It was like a maze, and there was no way out!!! I started to
panic, incapable of remembering which way to go, and where I was
trying to get to!!!
After walking for what seemed like an age, one of the tiny alleys opened
out into a large square with a leafy garden in the middle. The small park
was a sight for sore eyes, and I ran onto the grass and sat down, hoping
to rest my weary legs. But, just as I sat down, my eyes were struck by
the most appalling sight of all. Across the square stood a tall building,
with a neon sign sparking and burning above the door. It read 'The Groucho
Club'. Above this, squatting upon the roof, was a great squealing mass
of fat. Poking from the top of this thing was a tiny head and two
long, spindly arms tipped with wicked-looking claws!!! And on the head...
WAS JULIE BURCHILL'S FACE!!! Oo-err! She wore a tarnished crown,
fashioned from the bones of suicidal teenage boys and on her shoulder
flapped a cawing raven. The Burchill-thing was alternately squealing and
rumbling like you wouldn't believe.
Below her, on a balcony, was another vile creature. A 10-foot tall Keith
Allen was dressed as a pearly king, but withhis bloated belly spilling
over his breeches. The white flesh of the
distended abdomen was torn, and foul-coloured fluids spilled from the
rents in the skin. Beneath the liquids danced many tiny homunculi with
the faces of Alex James, Damian Hirst and Gruey!!! They laughed in high-pitched
voices as the fluids cascaded onto their thin little heads and they slipped
and slid in the ordure. I was transfixed by the horror, until I saw the
face of the Burchill-thing turn, and realised that she was looking at
me!!! She raised a pointed finger and indicated my little poster frame,
squealing with rage. The scabby raven took to the air and came flapping
towards me!!! I can tell you, reader - I was pretty scared!!! I
ran for my life, like in previous episodes.
The horrors of alcohol!
I kept running until I collapsed in Hyde Park. Whilst this was weird,
it was a much nicer kind of weird than the rest of the city. The grass
was lilac, and the sky a swirling kaleidoscope of colour. Huge paisley
butterflies flitted from giant flower to giant flower, while the sound
of sitar music was carried to me on the patchouli-scented breeze. I plopped
myself down on the grass, and pulled the hood of my bodywarmer over my
head. I knew that I'd never touch alcohol again, at least not until
I was 18. When I was that age, I knew that none of this would happen and
that the law was right. Oooh!!! Why did I do it! Why did I feel the need
to show off by drinking booze!??
Suddenly, I was distracted by a loud buzzing above my head. I looked
up, and spied a little bee watching me while I mused on the horrors of
"Hello! You're a friendly little fellow,
aren't you?" I said.
"I am!" replied the bee. I wasn't surprised - I've met lots
of talking creatures, even outside of nightmare alcohol trips.
"You're the only... person who hasn't been nasty to me..." I
"That's because I'm your special spirit friend, Miss Billie!",
"Ah, right..." I responded tactfully.
"I am! What other kind of creature did you expect?"
"Well... I hadn't really thought about it, to be honest. An eagle
maybe. Or a wise owl."
"I'm a bee!" he chirped, turning a little loop-the-loop in the
"Yeah..." I said.
"I can guide you home, Miss Billie. Home to your flat!"
"Oh good. Well, let's get going then." I stood up and brushed
the lilac grass from my Tommy Hillfiger jeans.
"Erm.. OK. My name is..."
'Let's just go, OK?' I interrupted.
* * * *
With the phantom bee as company, we made swift progress to Notting Hill,
and although he kept annoying me by trying to talk about stuff, I was
grateful for his help. Although I'm not going to describe it. As we rounded
the corner of my street, I saw the welcoming door of my flat!!! It looked
so inviting!!! And even more so than in real life - because Ritchie
wasn't hanging around outside it, crying. I ran towards it.
"Thanks, bee." I shouted, and opened the front door. Inside
was a bright, white light.
"Noooooo!!!" squealed the bee. "Don't go in!!!"
"But I have to!" I shouted. "I need a wee," I explained,
"It's a trap! You've got to go into the horrible basement door instead."
"Yeah, right" I said, a bit sarcastically. But as I stepped
across the threshold, I could see that the bee was right - the white light
was a glowing tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel was the Grim Reaper.
It was the way out alright - the way out to DEATH! I stepped back
just in time, and moved away. Behind the Grim Reaper were the Gatekeeper,
the Rza-rector and the Undertaker, all nodding their heads in time to
an unheard, phantom beat. Brrr!!!
I walked down the steps to the horrible basement door, opened it, and
* * * *
I opened my eyes. I was in hospital. There was one of those tubes coming
out of my arm, and a heart-rate machine. Busta was there, and so was Ms.
Szasz and my family. They were all crying, but with relief, not because
they were sad.
"We thought we'd lost you, Miss
Billie!" said a family member.
"Mm-hmm," agreed Busta.
"Your heart stopped for a few seconds, you were on the brink of... dying,"
said another family member, a sister or something.
"Well - I didn't," I said. "Phew! But where ... I was in .. and Keith
Allen .. and .. and donkey sick!"
"She's delirious!" said my mum. Or older sister. "What really happened,
"Yes - what really happened?" I asked.
"You collapsed in the pub after drinking the er .. the alcohol.
We carried you out, but your eyes were rolling and you were frothing at
'We told the newspapers that it was a recurring kidney infection,"
said one of my publicists. "You've had this infection before and
it may be a recurring thing when you're rundown and tired," she added.
"So we brought you to this hospital, and you've just woken out of
a coma, after very nearly dying," narrated Busta, filling me in.
"Oh, right." I said. "I had the strangest dream..."
"Sleep now," said Ms. Szasz. "Tell us all about it when
you are less weak."
I rolled over to sleep, but my shoulder felt something furry. I looked
down.... and it was a squashed bee!!!! And it was smiling!!!
Anyway, see you soon, creature-features!!!! And I'll tell you all about
my adventures that I had when I was better. And remember - don't drink
alcohol until you are old enough!!!! Or you could become a drunken tramp
who wees himself
all the time!!! Yuck!!!
Lots of love and understanding,
B to the I to the L to the L to the I to the E!