A few years ago, we sent TABI investigative reporter Sam Sword to find out more about Tarot and Astrology. What he discovered is quite extraordinary, so we considered his findings worthy of republication…but here is a previously unseen episode!
When I got there, I could see Mickey with an older woman who although she had her back to me, was instantly recognisable by her orange wig and by her laugh which filled the room. The footie was on the telly but Mickey and Queenie were deep in conversation. I walked over and they both looked up at the same time.
I got a friendly, “Hello mate” from Mickey and Queenie said “Oooh hello again love, Keith said you was comin’ down”. I offered to get the drinks in but they said they were alright. I got myself a grapefruit juice and lemonade and settled in next to Mickey. Queenie was talking about her time when she ran a shop in Macclesfield.
“I think I might have told you, I sold mainly drapery but also as a side line almost every other commodity with the exception of food. It became quite easy to find out what star sign lots of shoppers were because their kids would come in to buy a birthday present for their Mum or Dad.”
She paused to take a sip of what looked like gin and tonic. Mickey was listening quietly so I chipped in innocently and asked, “Did you let the customers know that you were interested in astrology then?”
She laughed, “Did I ’eck! I couldn’t tell them I was an astrologer, could I. Sales would have gone right down and there’d have been non-stop debate. No, no not in them days. Might be a bit different now I suppose?”
Mickey said, “Yes. I think people are generally a bit more open to the idea. Not everyone though. Anyway Queenie, tell us about one particular Sun sign and their characteristic behaviour.”
“Alright luv.” She paused and I could tell that she was thinking fondly about her time in retail. “Well what about the sign of Libra then. I found that Librans were fairly easy to spot. First of all they were always nicely turned out, as we used to say. All colours either matchin’ or blendin’ and the ladies all very elegant I must say.”
“Even on a quick dash to the shop they’d have their earrings in place and a touch of make-up, nothin’ too clarty, and never with their curlers in or their sloppy old slippers on. Can’t imagine that for a Libran!”
Mickey laughed so I joined in gently. I was thinking about friends and family members with birthdays around late September and early October. She’s right, they are always smartly dressed even when it’s just a casual occasion. Tasteful colours, nothing that clashes. I like it!
Queenie carried on, “I tell yer, quite a few of me sales reps had Libran traits ’cause they make good middle men see. Very smartly dressed. Ooh one of them was very handsome…”
Her voice drifted off and I pictured Roger Moore from his Ivanhoe TV period.
“Sorry… anyway, they were always smartly dressed and their samples were quite artistically displayed and often sellin’ toiletries or delicate lookin’ ornaments and decorative containers which could greatly enhance one’s bathroom shelf or dressing table.”
I had to smile. I could hear the sales pitch coming back as she was getting into her stride.
“But they were always tactful, never pushy. I found it hard to resist and invariable like I used to give them an order. Their natural charm and good manners work well in the wholesale trade.”
There was a pause and Mickey asked Queenie, “I get the picture of the Libran sales rep but what about the Sun/Libra customer though?”
“Ooh Libran women are beautiful… Rita Hayworth, Carole Lombard, Brigitte Bardot, and what’s her name? Catherine Zeta-Johnson. And they age very well, look at Monica Bellucci.”
“I spend quite a bit of time doing that actually!” said Mickey and we all laughed.
“But anyway, I had a regular customer, Marlene, she was an ’airdresser. Typical female Libran, lightish colour hair, one week ash-blonde then sometimes auburn when she fancied a change. She would usually pop in the shop on her half-day and head straight for the dresses and separates display.”
“Then she’d move over to the counter lookin’ rather glum. ‘What’s up Marlene?’ I’d say. ‘Why the long face?’ ”
“She’d say, “Well, I get so annoyed with myself because I can never make up my mind, especially about clothes. Even more so when it’s a special occasion.” Well. I can tell you this is a typical Libran quandary ’cause it’s the sign of the scales see, always weighin’ up both sides.”
“I told her not to worry ’cause with her pretty face she’d look good in a sack.”
Mickey and I laughed.
Everyone in the pub cheered which was just as well because the three of us were laughingquite loudly by this stage.
Queenie pressed on regardless, “I asked Marlene to go into the fittin’ room, relax and leave it to me to select somethin’ that would fit the occasion. You see the Libran lady tends to be very feminine what with bein’ ruled by Venus so I knew she’d like a fine silk or satin material with a delicate floral pattern in pretty shades of blues and pinks. I looked for somethin’ fashionable and quickly found this lovely ankle length skirt with tucks and pleats arranged in fine folds…”
She had a faraway look in her eye and I could imagine that she must have been terrific in her shop, sizing people up by their Sun-sign and finding something that was just right for them.
“… and I found three assorted tops for her to choose from, earrings, necklaces also the long, chiffon scarf which one can always use to add a touch of glamour to any outfit.”
The old sales patter was still there. Mickey asked, “But how would the Libran cope with being given a choice like that?”
Queenie smiled, “Well you see, I didn’t want to put her back on the Libran roundabout of uncertainty so I told her the combination that appealed to me most and she agreed. Takes the pressure off ’em you see.”
“But it was my genuine preference and the customer was relieved not to have to choose from a large display of clothing. The sale was made. Marlene went home happy.”
Queenie glugged down the rest of her drink. “Happy memories. I could tell you both a story like that about each one of the signs of the zodiac.”
“That would be great.” I said, “There’s nothing like hearing about the practical application of astrology in real life. Thanks Queenie.”
“Any time. It’s always nice to see young people who are interested in learning more about astrology.”
Young people? I looked over at Mickey and I could see that he was happy to have spent some time with Queenie.
“Come on then” he said gently, “Let’s get you home.”
Article by Mick Frankel