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