Monday, 9 October 2017

Overheard on my Walk

  There's a sign, where you get off the abandoned railway line path and into the forest. No Right For Horses.
  Two people today were puzzling over the sign today.  Looking both ways on the path, one said, 'But surely it depends from which direction the horse is approaching if that's a right turn or left?'
 

Friday, 29 September 2017

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Parable of the Ugly Cheese - excerpts from my forthcoming book about creating and touring a one-man show

  
  A one-man show can mean anything from a reading of MR James ghost stories, through a biopic of Mata Hari to the wondrous spectaculars of Derren Brown.

  Subjects.

  Someone has proved that, from his behaviour in the Old Testament, God is gay, bi-polar and addicted to bric-a-brac. There have been one-man Beowulf's, Tom Jones's and Under Milk Woods. Monologues on Lully's conducting accident, Beethoven's chamber pot spillage and I was Mr Squirrel First for Benjamin Britten, in Noyes' Fludde.
  Historical re-enactments by one of the Stonehenge masons, Michelangelo winch-hanging under the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the unmaking of Tracy Emin's bed.
  With no one word answers allowed audiences have played Twenty Questions, Clumps and Analogies to guess the identities of Bathsheba, Moll Flanders and Miss Marple. Mark Anthony, Van Gogh and Liberace. The Mad Hatter, Shivah and Hitler.

  So how to decide on yours.  There are, give or take, two ways.  Evolving or planned.  Let me clarify with my Parable of the Ugly Cheese.

  On Radio 4's Food Programme some time in the noughties, a Maitre Fromagier said of an English cheese, 'Today, it does not have a story, but given time in the future it will.  Yes, its look is definitely not pleasing to the eye.  But the taste! The English must not be afraid to make this type of modern, ugly cheese.  It really is one of the best cheeses here this year.'

  The ‘here’ referred to being a cheese festival in the Dordogne.  Next on the programme came two festival exhibitors; the first being he who had foisted on us said plug-ugly bugger of a cheese.

  'It was all I ever dreamed of, making cheese,' he said in a gentle Lancashire accent. 'And I know that sounds daft to say, but it was. Cheese making wasn't in my family or anything, either - my father was an accountant.’

  And one day there came on the market the only dairy he would ever be able to afford.  He talked his wife into selling up in Bolton and moving down to Somerset. 

  ‘And for a while, I have to say, things didn't turn out well.  I had a recipe that I followed, but it failed to make a cheese we could sell, let alone that was going to excite anyone.  Everything we'd put into the business, and all!  I could see it going down the pan.  Then one very late night in the middle of this getting worse and worse time I was so tired, I made a mistake with the amounts in the mix; and against all the odds, the result was outstanding.  I remember the look on my wife's face when she tried it; and friends were all telling me how they loved it; then it proved really popular at market.   So that decided me to give it a try over here, where they really know.'  

  Next up, a woman from (she insisted) the more upcoming part of Pimlico.

  'My portfolio already included a number of UK catering outlets anyway.  And my business partner and I had a look around Neale's Yard to see what gaps there were potentially in the cheese marketplace - and we decided that there was a need for a tangy Brie-like soft cheese, with a strong cabbage aftertaste.  We went into production and here we are in the Dordogne with it.  So pleased.'

  Said the Maitre Fromagier, 'Frankly, there is just too much of this trite, prettified, imitation French cheese around today.'
  Next time, we'll discuss how being school of the Ugly Cheeseist, I fell into drag ballet. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Wilderness Festival - Sleepless With Stoicism

  I've just done my first festival proper with My Tutu Went AWOL. Wilderness.  I sold a book to Tom 'The Idler' Hodgkinson, who I revere.  As for the festival itself, wandering around I overheard one of the security guards say, 'The only thing posher would be a cheese and wine party...'
  Except when you borrow a tent sight unseen from a mate and it turns out to be a mountain tent of tininess.
  Luckily, I went to the festival with Grace Barry-Tait, the superb singer and host.  She knows the festival build team.  A buggy arrived at the Yellow Area, driven by Liselle, who toted Grace and me with our stuff to Crew Camping. Liselle peered at my tent from under her vast curls. 'It's very small.  But I'm sure you'll get into it, don't worry.  Let's...' Grab a rubber mallet, ignore the instructions, and get on with it. 'There.  Except...we'll wait for Jack to give his opinion.  He's in the shower.'
  Jackson James Purcell emerged from the shower, wearing a towel. A face-swap of the young Brando and the young Sinatra, tall, with a boxer's build and gait, he took one look at the tent. 'It's a nylon cat's coffin.  Anything else you need to know?  Right.  How are you with stoicism?'

  Sleepless, apparently.

  Got home to a letter about Tutu.  ​'In spite of itself, your book has soul...'



  Here we are performing with Jackson...

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Motivation Monster

#motivation #motivational #motivationalquotes #goalsetting #goals #life #lifehacks

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Monday, 26 June 2017

Tabard Tweaks...

  Afternoon to you all - and apologies for a lack of posts.  I've been recording the audiobook of ​Tutu with Mornington Media - including songs - and writing the next book, ​Found, Found My Tutu Now ​(working title) having been signed to agent Lisa Eveleigh at Richard Beckford Associates.  'We need to know more about your psychic mother, country and western singer father, the strip-a-gram giraffe...'
  Thrilled that ​Tutu ​is being carried around on concessions trays (I am an ex-Royal Opera House usherette after all) at the Winter Gardens Margate, the Hippodrome Leicester Square and the Royal Albert Hall. And I love seeing it in my local shop. Local Author with Rave Reviews in Non-Local Press
  Cynthia has retired from the shop...
  First time ever shopping at Cynthia’s I had looked for a basket, not found one, begun taking items off the shelves.  Excusing herself from a customer, Cynthia had politely but firmly relieved me of the items, and replaced them. ‘We’re not self-service here like the Co-Op or Sid's Electricals.  Oh, and Wood’s garage is only self-service just now due to a bereavement.’
  Then when it was my turn, she had asked me what I would like.  ‘Jam, first, would it be?  Thank you very much.’  Tweaking 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, please.
  ‘Thank you very much.  And would that be Robinsons, Tiptree or home made?  Home made, would it?  Thank you very much.’  The three tweaks again.  ‘And would that be home made by Mrs Aaron, Mrs. Abbot, Mrs. Ackhurst, Mrs. Addenham, Mr…hm!...Agate, Mrs. Ahern, Mrs. Allan, Mrs…’
  I decided against buying Pic-N-Mix.
  But please decide to review Tutu ​on Amazon!  I'm off to showcase my book show talk at the Women's Institute tomorrow...
 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Overheard on the Fairy Tale Walk, Thorpeness

SHE.  Look, those cows are lying down because it's raining.
HE.    Is that really a thing?
SHE.  Well, yes, they're lying down, aren't they?
HE.    But those other cows up there are standing.
SHE.  They want to get wet. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Light Your Life

Is your life more
Sacred Flame of Itzachilatlan
Or
Bunsen Burner of Ipswich?





Thursday, 27 April 2017

Critics...

  In an otherwise lovely review of My Tutu Went AWOL the critic commented that though my vaudeville act was booked for Iraq and Afghanistan on a bill with stand-up comics, I included relatively little of their thoughts on being out in warzones.
  Stand-up comedians being so known for having thoughts on things other than themselves and their material...

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.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Sell Your Hair to the Doll Factory


 Because I need your help, you see, nicely.  Namely: reviews to be posted on Amazon now you've, hopefully, enjoyed Tutu. Read on for more...
  Have I told you about Rachel, the mezzo-soprano?  The one who thought that her most recent public appearance could be classed as a gala because at the tea between rehearsal and performance the scotch eggs were cut into sixteenths?  Just saw her, the other day in Oxford Street; dressed as usual for that Disney kibbutz.  Then when she she took off her fuchsia chintz headscarf – her hair was vast!
  She said something along these lines: ‘I’m growing it to sell to a doll factory in Puerto Rico, proceeds going to the Hacienda Verde.  Year’s growth: they’re offering three thousand five hundred. Just off to the treatment clinic.  They put on it Kamatakan mung-dynasty beans, Tregothnan Manuka honey and Watneys pale, then leave it to do its thing for a fortnight. Then they drain it all off and in a petri dish collect what the beans have poohed out after they’ve eaten and drunk: except they don’t eat and drink like…with mouths…whatever. Then they put this stuff on your hair and you have to leave it for six months till the clinic cuts your hair off - and it gets to the stage where nobody can stand to be around you without the aid of burning joss sticks. I had to take a tarpaulin for a swimming hat at Christmas (I call it Winter Solstice Plus Three these days) when I went on a “finding myself” trip; swam with dolphins.  Came back after a day and I’m suing the travel company because the whole time the dolphins were laughing at me...'
  Anyway, that was Rachel. My point in telling you all that is that I need you to do for my book what that clinic is doing for Rachel's hair.  Nurture it.  But rather than smearing mung-dynasty-bean mash on the cover, I'm asking you to review it on Amazon.  Then my numberage gets quodosic...or something.  Honest reviews, please.  No jokes about you laughing so hard you were asked to leave the Trappist Monastery.  Let's get it to film now!
  Then I can play me in it. With Lizzie Roper as Nicky Ness, Joseph Beattie as Rink-Dink, Tom Hardy as Stacks...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=my+tutu+went+awol&tag=mh0a9-21&index=aps&hvadid=8861238560&hvqmt=p&hvbmt=bp&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_9q5furh49_p The link, you see...

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Carol Will Know

  On my walk along the disused railway, I was stopped by a twitcher.  She was in comfortable blues and a khaki pashmina threaded through a plus-sized woggle.  In a rich, beautifully modulated voice she said that I'd been probably wondering about the noise out there - meaning the conservation area.  'It's probably a duck, rather than a goose; except that the call is so low and raspy. Can't actually see what it might be.  I'm puzzled, frankly.'
  I said, 'I'll ask Carol from the shop when I walk back.  She always knows.'
  The twitcher nodded, clearly accepting one of the wisdoms of Thorpeness.
 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

My Tutu Goes AWOL in Windrush, hopefully...



  Henry Bonas Events rang today - the actual Henry himself - to wonder tersely did I expect a bloody book launch now somewhere near him? 
  'Yes, but only if I can have linen like you provided for that Honourable's wedding, where I could see the pleats in it even when I was dancing twenty five metres away.'
  'Do Waterstones have linen on their tables when the new Jonathan Coe's out?  And, more importantly, have you learned to bloody drive yet?  I can't keep picking you up from the station.'
  'Henry, you've picked me up once, the other times you've sent Barry in his taxi.  And I can order taxis myself in future...'
  'What, you'd know how to get hold of Barry, would you, who I send specially for you because I know how your little heart is gladdened by hearing how he's been driving around Nicholas Parsons, Camilla Parker-Bowles and Jilly Cooper?  Don't be so bloody ungrateful.'

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Countdown to Madame Galina's Book Launch, Hippodrome, London April 3rd

Asked in an interview what was my 
favourite ballet by Sir Kenneth MacMillan:
  'Song of the Earth...no, wait...Concerto:
when the Second Movement girl is supported doing 
ports de bras. Actually, The Judas Tree totally 
stuns me. Different Drummer.  When you 
feel like someone's been at your insides with 
the de-icer? When as Mother Goose I was dipped 
in the Lake of True Beauty, I would see poor Wozzeck
drowning himself in the bath. No wonder my 
Dame Transformation Ballet - Own Frock - 
went a bit Wayne McGregor...'

Monday, 13 March 2017

My Tutu Went AWOL...out on Amazon...Tell Everyone!

  First tell your nearest and dearest, then your family, then your work colleagues; then the butcher, the baker the candlestick maker;  open the door to tell Jehovah's Witnesses.
  I've been doing just that.  Though I decided not to disturb the thoughts of a woman this morning, who was gazing out across the marshes from the Aldeburgh Road across to the abandoned railway. But she spoke first:
  'Yes, I'm sure it is a borderline spectacular view,' she said.  'But when, as I do, you live in real Fen country, then here you gaze and gaze and quite crave a cathedral.'

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Don't Procastinate

I did yesterday...and it wasn't good.

  I swirled the dregs of my tea three times, upended the cup into the saucer, then righted it again; but left the actual reading of the tea leaves until after I'd done my February-March tax return.
  When I went back to them, the leaves had dried up and the images were fuzzy.
  And, yes, all that's ever in my tea leaves is the inevitable half a Mona Lisa, a seahorse and a tutti-frutti cup-and-ball game, but this time might have been different.
 
  So, don't procrastinate: buy your tickets for my one man book festival, Matcham Theatre, Hipppodrome Casino, London.  April 3rd, 7.30pm.





Saturday, 11 March 2017

Be Positive!

  You're winning.  Or you're not.  But come on: we'll try.
  Let's remember what opera producer Norman Ayrton said to soprano Dame Joan Sutherland:
  'You walk eagerly to the window to look out at a magical night.  You do not totter in its vague direction as though you were expecting someone to shoot you through it!'
 
 
 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Joys of Unexpected Things

   This is - guess - more advice from my passive-aggressive screw-up of a future self.  'What would you never usually react favourably to, Iestyn?  Well - point out the joy in it today with an exclamation of rapt delight!'

  'Oh, look, hoorah, lock-off cameras!'
  'How glorious, see, window cleaning in progress!'
  'Woohoo, its stock-taking day at the book shop!'
  'Larks a mercy, it's the Pinney's Oysters Van!'
  'My day in the hills, they've painted the wrong colour around that drainpipe!'
  'The Wifi is deliciously,  deliciously slow!'
  'How divine, darling, Judge Judy episodes are only available on YouTube posted in little onscreen boxes, with leaves falling around, played at the wrong speed!'
  'Yippee, I'm still owed nearly three grand after two years and am about to resort to small claims myself!'

 

 
 
 
 

Monday, 27 February 2017

April 3rd...Hippodrome...STD...



  Oops, let's maybe fully write out Save the Date...
  Another Animated Brain Tableaux email today from my future self.  'Remember that you must act from a position of full achievement.  So, to take just one example of your self-perpetuated negative self-imaging [crikey], imagine that you are already fully qualified to give expert advice on weight loss. '
  Okay...
  Raw Till Four...?

  Cookie Dough.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

April 3rd Countdown, Hippodrome, London

  The secret of success, as Buddha said, is "To walk on.  Walk on..."
  "All well for you to say, Master.  But you never walk.  You sit constantly in Padmasana."
  "Precisely, child.  My legs are buddha'd."

Hippodrome April 3rd Countdown Diary 7

  Yet more passive-aggressive emails from, as we're calling them, Animated Brain Tableaux.  I must remember my goals - My Tutu Went AWOL! becoming a best-seller.  And my process for making that happen - being booked for literary festivals everywhere.  All good, so far.  But to avoid utter psychological enfrazzlement, my future self advises, I must rewrite those sad stories.  And I would, apparently,  know full well which ones.  Yes, indeed, I must rewrite those sad stories as happy, beginning way back in childhood.
  My future self didn't say that the sad stories needed to be our own. So:

Insy-Winsy Spider checks the weather forecast.
Humpty Dumpty observes proper parameters for health and safety.
The mother cat loops the fated Mittens over the Three Kittens' wrists.
Three Sighted Mice...
The ding-dong dell well has a grille fitted.
Little Miss Muffet isn't an arachnophobe.
Confiscated - the Sparrow's Bow and Arrow!
Nellie the Elephant unpacks her trunk having said, 'Hello again!' to the circus.
The hunters miss Bambi's father.
Tiny Tim does die.

  And do you know, it works - quite as well as four gins, a kebab and a botty-wank.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Essex Book Festival 31/3 and Hippodrome Countdown to April 3rd. Diary 6

  Call me soon, mother dear, for I'm to be Queen of Saturday Live, Radio 4.
  9am March 4th, with Lee Mack.
  I was on the phone to the producer, Steven, for forty two minutes; he kindly worried for my phone bill and offered to ring me back on the Beeb's dime.  Other than the book coming out in a minute, he never mentioned any other hooks for my being guest on the programme.  Just asked questions and either giggled or sharply intook breath at my answers.
  So I thought I must sidestep quoting Hercules Ease, Prettiest Boy of 9th Squadron, Camp Bastion.  When I told Herc in June 2006 that I was going on Woman's Hour to be crowned Forces' Sweetheart, he wanted to know why I was mentioning him on Woman's anything when he was a bloke.
  'What is it, exactly, Eddie?'  He called me Eddie, never making it to Iestyn.
  'Magazine programme, Radio 4.'
  'Eddie, I'm just an honest joe.  My magazines are Men's Health, FHM and Nuts.  And who knew that radio went all the way up to number 4?'

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Hippodrome London Countdown to 3/4 Diary 5

  Therese, soprano from college days, fresh from an audition. Hair clipped back with diamant√© treble clefs; turquoise chintz pinafore dress, six roseate scarves, fake Swarovski bangles.  Ideal for that Disneyland kibbutz.  
  'Is that a library score?' she asked me on a top c flat.
  'Yes. I'm relearning Dandini for the Hippodrome gig.'  April 3rd, saved the date? 'To be accompanied by members of the Royal Marines Band!'
  'Tut tut.  I refuse to even belong to a library, let alone take anything out of one.  The books are forever getting pissed, shit or jizzed on.'
  Years ago I bought a copy of Cenerentola, for some Glyndebourne open day master classes.  That there were no markings in it made me feel oddly lonely.  No previous library borrower to hail as comrade for writing the instruction "Take bloody big breaths like 
the stampeding horse".  Pristine page after pristine page.  Though 
soon marked by me: “Too fucking fast”, “Much too fucking fast”, “Supersonic boomingly too fucking fast”.
  Therese said, 'The books I've been buying recently have been about thirdy worldly angst.  Did you know girls somewhere in Africa won’t go to school because there are no proper toilets so they have to go in the bushes on the way, and then they get attacked by snakes and spiders and the men that live specially in the bushes?  And a woman lost three babies out of four because she cut the 
umbilical cord with the thing she’d just been using to cut the rice down with.’
  ‘What about the fourth baby?’ I asked. 
  Looking confused, she replied, 'Oxfam showed her a film about the potential horrors of when you bring children into the world and she used the rice harvesting thing to castrate her husband.'

Hippodrome April 3rd countdown. Diary 4

  Another Animated Brain Tableaux email from my future self. Would I really want to risk not magically visualising my way to absolutely guaranteed success with a purchase of, let's call it, Rehash Resplendent? 
  At the bar after my recital recently, drinking with Claud and Gordon, the M and S obsessed couple that my mother has fag-hagged since 1976.  
  Gordon said we must be wary of false prophets. 'Booze.' 
  'I always get the right message from my fifth voddie,' said Claud.
  'Drugs.'
  'Only Night Nurse with a cod liver oil chaser.'
  'The rehashed trend for living in the visualised desired outcome of dreams.'  
  'Is that false, too? But I do my affirmations with tealights, a mini gong tinkled, wearing my mother's wedding veil. Shall I not 
get my high tea at the Ritz then, with Doris Day, Marian Keyes and 
the Briefs Factory boy with the YoYo?'
  'Oh, you fickle queen,' said Gordon.  'What about the muscle beauty in the green suit Iestyn got onstage at the Round House for 
that frabjous Boom and Bang show?'
  'Jay Copley,' I said. 
  'And might Jay Cop-Me, please, be at the Hippodrome on April 3rd?' Claud asked.  
  'Busy with his swamped classes at Barry's Bootcamp and modelling.  But maybe.'
  'Well, for another sighting of him, forget positive visualisations: 
I'd positively blue-whiten mother's wedding veil!'
  
  
  

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Diary Day 3. Countdown to Hippodrome London, April 3rd

  I sing as chosen by Joanna Lumley about 8 minutes in...

  The daffodils I bought opened overnight. They're more flat leaf than trumpet. I knew I should have turned right rather than left on the abandoned railway and bought a bath mat. 
  An email from Kiki in Walberswick saying that she went online and listened to Joanna Lumley's Desert Island Discs, and hearing my dear, unadorned (what?!) voice was like turning in the lane and seeing the first crocuses, or lambs - or realising that, yes, the days were really lengthening.  She hopes I will sing at the Hippodrome gig as she's planning on being there. 
  I've been helpfully paraphrasing:  '...turning in the lane and seeing the first muntjac's scavenged carcass, the Thorpeness ladies golf four doing execrable things with high-vis, fuchsia unwashable nylon shorts - the village idiot singing "Oh, God our Help in Ages Past" masturbating with a still bloodily pulsating ear stuck in his arse crack.
  

Diary Day 2. Hippodrome London Unbound Book Launch. Countdown to April 3rd...

   Smell this morning first thing from the cafe downstairs was unexpectedly chickeny.  Had a phone call from Jillian George-Lewis, director of entertainment at the Hippodrome, about my show there on April 3rd.  Jill and I are often accused of conversing in a kind of interracial Gaelic.  Today's was in full flow. 'Please get your tech specs over as a matter of urgency... ...In a ballet company she would be sixth swan on and keep her very wing-flaps shtum... ...And your postal address for the contracts... ...He'll no doubt soon acquire himself an even higher horse and need to be climbing out of second storey window to get up on it...'
  Email from, let's call them, Animated Brain Tableaux, apparently from my future self warning that if I won't sign up to the full A.B.T. course, having watched the introductory weblog on dissolving negative self-beliefs (with Esther Rantzen's double telling how a lay nun prayed her out of certain and untreatable kidney failure) then I will suffer a complete cosmic collapse.  Have replied to my future self with an apt Madame Galinaism: 'Desperate is never attractive!' 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Hippodrome London Book Launch. Countdown to April 3rd Diary Day 1

  Also a tie in with my talk at the Ink Festival: We'll do the Show Here!

  Ken Levison, writer, editor, dramaturge of brilliance, rang to say that I of course must perform Dulcamara the quack doctor's aria in my book show at the Hippodrome London.  'How nice of them to lend you the theatre!  Gosh.  Yes, I listened to your CD. And speaking as a layman I think you have a beautiful voice and should be doing the character parts in opera, because you have a sense of humour.  And, let's face it, are no longer - perhaps never were - the ingenue.'
  Brera PR agrees with me that acrobat Stefan Alexander in his underwear would be a good selling image in certain quarters.  'But for something like the Woman's Weekly, let's go more with you as Madame Galina off-stage. Perhaps some crocuses at your feet. No, not strewn on the carpet, go out for a walk.'  
  This reminds me, idly, of my mate Gerard's younger brother, Montgomery, asking not to have any more of those leaves (kelp) in his breakfast smoothie 'from bloody well outside!'
  Singing practise, ballet practise, two thousand seven hundred and six words of the new novel done.  

Sunday, 1 January 2017

A Happy New Year with Grace

  In Coffee Link, Solar, New Year's Eve, Pat wished Gracie a Happy New Year.  She was so over emphatic and insistent you could tell she didn't believe there was a prayer of this coming true.  
  She went on, 'And you had a good Christmas?' More telling than asking. 'You went up Steven's...'
  At this point the barista arrived with their order, putting the tray down so clumsily tea spouted out of the pot.
   'I've chucked your Earl Grey over there now!' he said, and went away again.
   '...so, Gracie,  you went up Steven's and had a good time!'
  'I suppose so.'  Gracie was sitting with her coat half off, Pat with hers fully on.
  'Been doing your exercise?' Pat asked.
  'I've been walking up and down stairs.'
  'Ah, but have you been told that that counts as the exercise you're meant to do?'
  'Heard around and about that it could very well be.'
  'But it's your dietician at the surgery would know for certain.'
  Grace took her coat slightly more off. 'When I had that frozen thing around my ribs, Marge just pointed me out something straight off the shelf in here.'
  'You don't want to be taking advice like that willy-nilly.  At least ask the pharmacist.'
  'She's always too busy only just in sight putting stuff away in those slidey-out, carousel drawers. And Marge was sitting right opposite me having a macaroon. I'd have gone down the surgery were my problem to have got any worse.'
  With reverence Pat said, 'Pharmacists as of recently have new, extra powers to swab for infection.'
  Grace snorted.  ‘'Well, that's going to do nothing more than one day put the poor doctors in that use it or lose it position that we saw with the branch railways, Woolworths and wet fish shops. But as you say - Happy New Year.'