My Celebrity Interviews: 2. Mr Venus

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MY INTERVIEW WITH MR VENUS (at his shop in Clerkenwell, London (courtesy of Charles Dickens’ “Our Mutual Friend”)

No.2 of my celebrity interviews series

ME: How’s #business, Mr Venus?

V: Wery good – wibrant, even. Not only am I at the top of my trade,

I am the trade!

ME: Surely there are other taxidermists and articulators of bones?

V: Not to my quality or to the beauty of my specimens.

ME: Unique?

V: Mr Robinson, if you was brought here loose in a bag to be articulated I could name your smallest bones blindfold, and sort them all in a manner that would surprise, and charm you.

ME: Expensive?

V: Have you seen in West End shops those expensive skeletons they sell to wealthy bankers and politicians for their offices?

ME; No

V: It is I, Wenus, that supplies them.

ME: Were you surprised to win the ‘What The Dickens! #happipreneurship‘ award?

V: I was not expecting to be wictorious.

ME: Why?

V: Such competition – Artful Dodger, the Boffins, the Littles- not related – Little Dorrit and especially, Little Nell.

ME: Why Little Nell?

V: For keeping the Old Curiosity shop going despite her grandfather’s gambling addiction and debts – a rewelation to all of us on the High Street.

ME: The word is that you’re addicted too?

V: China tea? That’s an occupational hazard.

ME: How come?

V: What do you see in my shop?

ME: Bones, glass eyes, hair, fur, bottles of liquid, tools and stuffed animals – dogs, ducks ….

V: Stop! They are not “stuffed animals”!. They are animations – warious, specimens of beauty and lifelong companions to their owners. What you don’t see are price tags.

ME: What have price tags got to do with tea?

V: I learned how to sell from the best in the world – Janice B Gordon – Customer Growth Expert, Alison Edgar MBE, Jan Cavelle, Ian Farrar and Becky Lodge BA (Hons) CIM – questioning, listening and obserwing means ewerything. And …

ME: And the tea?

V: You wisitors from oop north have wery limited intellect. To each customer, I say “My tea is drawing and my muffin is on the hob, will you partake?”. I learn what they need and what they can afford – it’s a win-win negotiation.

ME: Do you get paid on time?

V: Eweryone gets paid on time. If we don’t then you go straight to the debtors’ prison.

ME: Good idea. You have been a successful entrepreneur for many years but being happy is much more recent. Dickens referred to your “exceeding low spirits” and habit of making “whimpering sounds”. What’s changed?

V: Firstly, Charlie Dickens, saw my shop but did not meet me. He was always making things up. At the time he wrote about me – what with his ardour for that young actress – his mind wasn’t on the job.

ME: Harder?

V: No, a…r…d..o…u…r – the same thing, really.

ME: And secondly?

V: Secondly, Precious Rideout, wouldn’t marry me because of my trade.

ME: And now?

V: I agreed not to do any more articulating of female bones.

ME: Oh!

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