Sunday, 3 January 2016

Kumquats in the Green Room - the "It" Factor

  As Hansel A. Mannish was pointing out in the green room at L'Escargot on New Year's Eve,
  'With someone like Charlie Covell it was never a case of 'if' so much as 'when'. The type are just out there. They have a talent along with the many - but they're among the few with that "it" factor.'

  Because posterity alone can say who had (or had not) the "it" factor, performers seek to forestall its authority.
  With Facebook posts/Tweets/Instagramage:  'So blessed and privileged and humbled to get the standing ovation tonight! #showgirl.'
  Er, the people were simply getting off the train...
  By this sort of talk in a dressing room:  'Yup - yup - yup. We have to just point out to Rick - and he can be a total prick, I know - that we've had this six months premature penciling for Glasto, so may have to abort Krakow and Colchester. Yup - yup - yup.'
 Er, they're sorting the post-clean up team for Glastonbury early this year then...
 With the usual parting shots about a "serious pipeline overflow scenario", flouncing off the cabaret circuit the day before that broadcast of Made in Chelsea,TOWIE or Come Dine with Me will lead them on to A-list status:  'I got to see how the true professionals in this industry work, while I was doing walkabout, being filmed at right angles through a french window out of the bar set up with my right stilt in view for a frame and six eighths behind Lucy Watson.  The assistant-assistant-assistant-runner really nurtured and respected what I had to bring to the table. And at all times there were jiangsu kumquats in the green room.'
  Er, hello again, it's been almost a whole fortnight since you left never to return. HBO sitcom been commissioned?  Never mind. Peek Freans Fig Roll from the rider?...

  Now, while we can never quantify what gives someone the "it" factor, I dd overhear Allison and Jacqueline, two teenage girls on a bus going from Blackwood to Ystrad Mynach, discussing how it can be measured. 
  They discussed a lot of other things along the way.

  Allison, whose hair was flat to her scalp, then became ever more primped and swinging as it went on down, asked Jacqueline who she had come with into town that morning.
  'Kelly,' Jacqueline answered.  She had too many buttons undone for an October day in South Wales.
  'And where’d you and Kelly get off the bus, at the library?'
  'No,' answered Jacqueline. 
  'Pet shop?
  'No.  By the way, do your Mark and Claire have an official wedding list?'
  'Yes, Jacqueline.'
  'Guess.'  Allison looked smugly out of the window at the passing pebble-dashing. 
  'Online. And anyway, Jacqueline, now, surely you didn’t get off the bus all the way back at the garage this morning?  No other possibilities.  Unless you went too far. Just thought.'
  'No, we didn’t get off at the garage, and no we didn't go too far...'
  Allison stopped twisting a swatch of hair round her forefinger. 'The stop further back than the garage is the one at the roundabout. Surely you never got off there?'
  'We did!'
  'What for?'
  'Kelly thinks it’s more exciting to see the shops come gradually into view. Makes it more of an event, she says.'
  'Did you think much to it?'
  I could tell that Allison was relieved Jacqueline hadn't thought much to it. 
  Jacqueline said, 'But I never knew before that Morgan's used to be Evans.'
  'How do you know it was?' Allison asked. 
  'Writing’s on the wall. You can still see the "Evans" faded painted looking up at the wall when you go past the pound shop.'
  'I might have a look next time.'  Allison smoothed her skirt over her knees. 'Or I might not.'
  'My nan remembers when they used to have a revolving door at Morgan's; and her and her mates when they were our age used to sit on the bench opposite and watch the fabulous accidents with old people. One woman had a hook for a hand after she got overexcited at the January sales. And she’d camped out overnight.'
  They both looked down at their hands in their laps as though considering hooks of their own. 
  'And where are Mark and Kelly going to live after they're married?' asked Jacqueline.
  'At home for a while. Then their names are down on council house lists for here, and for there where Kelly's from in Bristol.'
 Jacqueline considered this. 'Like when you go to Burger King with someone, and you stand in one queue and they stand in another and whoever gets to be served first the other nips across there. And the boys from under the underpass kick off behind you saying you're taking the fucking piss, is it?'
  'A bit.'
  'I thought you said Mark and Kelly were going to live on a farm, for the lifestyle?'
  'They were.  But Kelly decided she wouldn’t want to be woken up by the cockerel at four every morning after all and have cow shit in her shoes.'
  'Wouldn’t have to have a cockerel, Allison.'
  'You have to have a cockerel, Jacqueline.  It's a farm. Nature’s alarm clock.'
  'They could buy an alarm clock.'
  'Where from, Jacqueline, now? Point of a farm is self-sufficiency away from civilisation. Nowhere to buy miniature white goods.'
  'They could have lived on an Inner-city farm, Allison. Then they could have all the mud and the hay and the rest of it, but no cockerel and near enough to Argos to buy an alarm clock.'  She was clearly pleased to have thought of this solution. But, then: 'Still cow shit in Kelly’s shoes, mind.  Easily get over the tops of them on account of she’s so short.'
  They were silent for a stop. 
  'He might have perfect beauty, your Mark,' Jacqueline said, quietly. 'Like was on - I think it was, far as I remember - the Discovery Channel. It said in this study of "it" boys and girls and their A-lister beauty, right, that your nose should be x amount of division narrower than your lips, which should be a specified distance from your temple; and there should be somewhere for a canal here.' She ran a finger between her nose and top lip. 'They did the test on Brad out of The Vamps. Not the real one, a photo. And Brad was measured to have perfect beauty.'
  'What did they use to measure?'
  'Compass and protractor set. That’s why they could only use a photo. Might have had Brad’s eye out in real life with the compass and his people would have sued the BBC’s people.'  She nodded a a few times. 'And then the Children in Need totals would have suffered, I expect.'



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