Monday, 24 April 2017

Not Coveting, but...

  Declan Forbes worked front of house at 
Covent Garden when I did.  He was reading
law.  He must have read it very keenly because
these days when he travels for work he stays
at hotels that have three-page pillow menus.
Touring I have often stayed at a 'hotel' 
that has three cork boards of mugshots. 
Do not let these characters onto the premises. 
Police aware but running scared. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Aversion Therapy?

  My singing teacher listened to me reminding her that diets (she is always on one) have a shelf life, though, sadly, her Co-Op bought cakes never seem to.
 'But I have to have cake,' she said.  'It reminds me of my mother's little smile of promise when she went out to the back scullery and would sing a bit of Liza Lehmann, and then come back through with cake or scrambled eggs with cream or, spread on a barm, the lovely congealed ooze with chewy bits in from under the previous Sunday's roast. Always a joy when she went to that back scullery.  Well, apart from this one time.  Our neighbour's eldest, Susan, seventeen, had been ill for a few months and kept to their parlour.  We all knew why, of course. Like sopranos of the nineteenth century having a nine month bout of twisted knee. And one Monday morning Susan called in at our back door, shouting through to us that she was just letting us know she was up and about now, not to trouble. So we didn't.  And a bit later my mother - there was the little smile - went through to the scullery.  No singing, though, I noticed.  And she called through to my sister, "Eva, come here, please.  Leave Lesley where she is. Susan's left a still born on the draining board".'

Thursday, 20 April 2017

On PR: Give Yourself a Mythology

  Conductor Nicola Rescigno asked Maria Callas to demonstrate Bel Canto phrasing to the cor anglais soloist for the 1958 recording of Anna Bolena. Rescigno then asked her to explain why precisely she had phrased Anna's music that way. She answered, 'It has to be, because Anne Boleyn was the queen of England.'
  Easter Sunday I recorded "Tom Bowling" for the audiobook of My Tutu Went AWOL.  James Lloyd, ex-band service player accompanying, commented on how musical my last take had been.  Nodding to that Callas story I said, 'It has to be, because of Tom's terrible death.  Where his solar plexus once was is now, incarnadine, a cannonball.'
  James thought that, as with his five-year-old, I shouldn't have had all those e-number riddled Easter eggs.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Pooling Marine Wisdom

  Great launch for My Tutu Went AWOL at the London Hippodrome last Monday. The Royal Marine himself, Stacks, couldn't make it - he's off again protecting ships from marauders. He said we ought to pool our joint wisdom for a How We Met feature (that is, in the event I should ever get one). So:
  Travel upstairs on buses.  At eighteen put yourself down for a Peabody Trust home, at fifty for an alms house.  Always remember how easily accessible are Radio 4, libraries and death. Be able to pull away in third gear.  Have one outfit that is strictly Just for Best.  Check the Reduced for Quick Sale shelves first but don't stint on toilet paper, coffee or mascara.  Never treat a wank as casual.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Royal Marine Himself Reviews My Tutu Went AWOL

Stacks's Review - or Looking Scary on the Poop Deck

The man himself has just written me an email - he's been reading the Kindle edition onboard a ship that he's protecting from marauders.

  'Mate, good on you!  It's a proper book now after all the trial and error you've had with it.  Made up for you.  And it's great, it really is. But I would say that!  But I think I'd even be enjoying it even if I wasn't sitting here bored off my bollocks.  Even though I know a lot of the stuff that's in it through one, knowing you like I do, and two making sure you didn't write ​Hercules when you meant helicopter ​there's still a lot of stuff that has had me chuckling.  It's weird taking in how you see me. Ray and Rink-Dink said the same.
  'Rink's gone back to the hills.  He said he'd seen you in Colchester.  You're so his favourite. Don't try and say I'm yours. I always felt left out from the time you met him in Kabul. lol Incredible to think he's about to be forty. I'm thirty-six.  You're sixty something? 2005, Trafalgar Night.  Totally incredible night for us both to be on ​Victory.  ​Seems like it was recent. But has to be a long old time as Rink said Galina totally looked her age in Colchester and he was surprised you can still spin. I'd forgotten about your poor hammy the second tour looking like mashed canaries. Did I really try and cheer you up saying my hamstrings were text-book?
  'Very interested to see what you left out!!! HAAAAAAAA.
  'Both Rink, Ray and me still say to each other that you had some fucking balls on you to do an act like that in front of us Royals, especially when we were running Soutar. You remember "...fifty-nine, fifty-eight, fifty-seven...'?  :) How much worse for you might something like that have been? Don't worry - I'd have stepped in and got you out of there. Rink saving you from that journo has had me pissing myself laughing again.
  'Anyway, got to go now and look scary on the poop deck. Proud of you, chick. x'

#book #books #MyTutuWentAWOL #Unbound #humor #tech #life #lifelessons #socialmedia

Monday, 27 March 2017

Countdown to Hippodrome April 3rd, 7PM: Cynthia's Three Tweaks

  Very moved by something that happened on Friday.  I was in Aldeburgh High Street, having left some author copies of My Tutu Went AWOL for display at the book shop, when Cynthia called after me. Cynthia used to own the grocer's shop.  She said how touched she'd been to read my back page thank you to her mother, Mrs Cooney, as one of the lookers-on and cheerers as I got Madame Galina from church hall to west end, via Blackpool, Iraq and Afghanistan.
  'Lovely things you said.  And about Margaret, too. She was a one, that one. People - or is just me - over time are getting more diluted.  Oh, I just wish I still had the shop for you to go smack in the front window!'
  As she walked on towards the Old Customs House I smiled, remembering the first time I ever bought anything at Cynthia’s. It was August 1985.  I had looked for a basket, not found one, and begun taking items off the shelves.  Excusing herself from a customer, Cynthia had politely but firmly relieved me of the items. ‘We’re not self-service here like the Coop.  Oh, and Wood’s garage; but that’s only self-service just at present due to bereavement.’  Then when it was my turn, she had asked me what I would like.
  ‘Jam, would that be?  Thank you very much.’  Tweaking first the fringe of her page-boy bob, then the middle button on her tabard and lastly the knees of her stockings.  ‘And would that be apricot, blackberry, blackcurrant, damson, gooseberry, quince, raspberry or strawberry?  Damson.  Thank you very much.’  The three tweaks again.  ‘And would that be Robinsons, Tiptree or homemade?  Homemade, would it?  Thank you very much.’  A further three tweaks.  ‘And would that be home made by Mrs Aaron, Mrs. Abbot, Mrs. Ackhurst, Mrs. Addenham, Mr…hm!...Agate, Mrs. Ahern, Mrs. Allan, Mrs…’
  I thought I might forego buying Pic-N-Mix.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

First Reviews of My Tutu Went AWOL

  First, because my mother speaks below, let's discuss her attitude to mortality. I recently told her that I had reached the death-aware stage of life. 
  She said, 'Even the great and the good die, Iestyn.  Jane Austen, Maria Callas, Margot Fonteyn...to name some favourites of yours.'
  I asked who she might list as favourites of hers that are no longer with us.  She answered. 'Oh, very much the usual.  Lena Zavaroni, Elsa the Lioness and Arthur Askey.'

  There are two five star reviews for my book so far on Amazon. From strangers, too. My family, merely strange, are adding to the feedback with ansaphone messages.
  My stepmother: ‘Iestyn, I’m on page eighty-five…don’t know what chapter that is.’
  My mother: ‘You’ve got your Mairs confused. The Mair I bought all the elastic for over however many years was the one who broke her television and had her leg amputated — she’s very much on her way out. The other Mair lived in Pimlico and is completely dead.’
 
  Cue best-sellerdom, clearly.