Sweet Tooth: The Ballad of Kola Kubes (intro)

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July 16, 2010 by markstani

Head up Frydale today and there’s hardly a sign of Kola Kubes ever having been there. It’s a small moor place hunkered down in a dip like it’s hiding out from something. They tried a sign once, screwed in wood at village limits. No-one knew who put it there, but its straight-line letters and general smartness spoke of someone who gave a shit. It said, Birthplace of Kola Kubes. It got daubed on first, then hauled down and chucked in the beck. It was put back and the same thing happened. No-one gave enough of a shit to replace it second time round. It stayed in the beck, got lapped over till the letters faded out. In the chip shop where she used to work, there was an old fraying photo beneath the price board. The famous one, the one she gave the fryer called Charlie the first time she headed back to the place. She had puff-out blonde hair and a brand new pair of 36DDs. They strained out of a snow-white wedding dress with a fringe like frosted icing. It stayed up for years, yellowed and pocked with chip oil. I guess they figured it was good for business. For a short time Charlie re-named the place Kola’s. He stuck up more shots of her, introduced specials. You could get a Kola Krunch for fifty pence. It was a bag of chips with triple scraps, her favourite. You could a Double D for the same price. It was two chip cones taped together, filled with chips and a nipple blob of Ketchup on top of each. He even tried deep-fried kola kubes. They glooped together and spoiled the fat. The name and the shots and the menu were the first things to change when new owners bought the place. The long-stay statics we grew up in are gone. With them went the little museum her so-called step-dad set up with its home-pirated videos and ripped-out glamour shots, her early A-cup bras hung from the curtain rail. There’s a couple of statics still there. Their insides are gutted and their rooves peeled up like tin-can lids. The rest is empty concrete squares and breezeblocks. The reception hut and the Bullocks’ flat above are boarded up, the kiddie pool drained and smashed with glass. The tourists are long gone, headed over to Sun World, newer and nearer town.
Scratch hard enough, you might still find her. Last I heard, the stock room at the back of the news shop was still piled high with iron-on Sweet Tooth tee-shirts. There’s a couple of trees with her name carved in in the car park woods. Out at the truck stop, a bunch of truckers built a shrine. There’s a small wood cross with a nailed-on nude shot in a plastic bag. Marker-penned over the middle is Kola: Truck On. They leave fags and Pernod minis. They like to reckon she brings protection. Round the back of the café it’s scrawled KOLA 74-08 RIP. It’s kind of touching. She would have liked it. Say what you like about what those truckers wanted and got from her, they treated her about as well as anyone.
There’s a two-line mention on the Frydale Wikipedia page:

a village and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England, best known as the birthplace of the late glamour model and adult actress, Kola Kubes, born Trisha Carless.

I wrote it up. Twice it got vandalised. Now it’s full of bullshit untruths I can’t access. As far as Frydale goes, that’s about it, save the stink of guilt that still glooms over the place over how they treated her. There aren’t too many folk left there to avoid looking me straight when I traipse around, but those there are dig their eyes in the ground and act like they’re filled with something they daren’t admit. I’m not saying my sister was any kind of angel. But the fact is while most kids her age slumped out of school straight on the village green steps and more or less didn’t move since, my sister got off her arse and went and did what she did, and for the most part the folk of Frydale ought to be proud of that.
I started this book soon after we burned her. It’s my way of trying to set things straight. You could have cut down half of Frydale forest with all the untruths that sprouted up in her life and especially after her death. Folk would say one thing then sell different stories for cash. The new-built porches and fancy cars round Frydale at that time jabbed like lottery fingers at the folk who couldn’t keep their gobs shut. I’ve used the notes I found half-written after she died. She wanted it heard so here it is. It’s none of that ghost-wrote crap you find on the shelves these days, the stuff that sugar-coats so-called stars so thick it’s like they’ve done no wrong. It’s not the thing for folk who find themselves easily worked up over things. Put it this way, there won’t be a book-signing session on the village green in Frydale any time soon, that is for sure. But it is what it is. It’s the story of my sister, take it or leave it.

(more here)

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