It's Creatures Galore!

Honey......to......the......bee!

with Billie Piper!

Hiyaaa!!

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 an older,
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 still sometimes.

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 pen friends
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 readers.

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 kept saying.

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, and all
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 hands.

"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 broody
chops.

"But you're not old enough to drink!" cried Busta.

"I know!" I said. "But I just get these crazy ideas sometimes!!! And I have
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.

"Nope."

"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 I get
served!"

"But Busta! You're easily old enough to get served! You look eighteen, don't
worry."

"Oh - right. Sorry. Back in the States, you have to be a lot older to drink."

"How old?"

"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 a ditch.

"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' again?"

"No, no. I got an ill vibe. That's a good thing."

"Oh?"

"Now sees, this is how I figure it... this place is famous for gangstas?"

"Mmm..."

"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."

"Meaning?"

"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 politest voice.

"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 fleshy mouth.

"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 men.

"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 women.

"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 18, right?"

"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 business,
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 was made
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 their horns
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 was foul!

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.

Gercha!
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 drink.

"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 ventured.

"That's because I'm your special spirit friend, Miss Billie!", he buzzed.

"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 air.

"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, more quietly.

"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 went in...

* * * *

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, Mr Rhymes?"

"Yes - what really happened?" I asked.

Busta spoke.

"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 the mouth."

'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!

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

My name is Professor Martin Grant, and I am an alcoholic ghost bear.

The Ghost of That Bear says:

'Are you concerned about alcoholism? Maybe a relative is showing worrying signs, or you just want to be reassured about your own intake? Then click on my haunting face.'

 

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