Friday, 29 July 2016

Tit for Tat

           Irrelevant but so pretty...Bard looking like a face swap of Brad Pitt and Mark Wahlberg

  Overheard in the village shop:  'Marian, you really must go to Clemmie's funeral - or she mightn't bother going to yours!' 

Thursday, 28 July 2016


                        Copyright: Alarmy Stock Photographs - did you guess? 

  A quick question for parents of toddlers.  When you crouch down and put your arms out and encourage your child to run to you from a way away, do they ever not fall down? 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Olga, the Grrr Lady

    Carol answered the phone in the Thorpeness Village Stores. 'Hello Mr Pearson!  Two dozen of the Grrr Lady's chunky?'
  She made a note and said she'd see Mr Pearson as usual on the twenty-sixth.
  'Stays here the same dates every year,' she told me. Takes the same amount of marmalade home.' 
  The Grrr Lady is Thorpeness resident Olga. She's only ever referred to by her first name, as with Madonna,  Cher or Emu. Her selection of fudges and preserves may just be the next locally produced range to follow Suffolk Mud and Purely Pesto into the likes of the Co-Op, Waitrose and Fortnum's. When told that her Aldeburgh Festival show had sold out as fast as the latest Apple product, Prima Ballerina Madame Galina, another Thorpeness resident, wondered: 'I-phone 6S or Olga's chutney...?'
  I've tried and love all her prize-winning preserves - perhaps my favourite being the Pink Peppercorn Marmalade. Olga's Mince Pie Fudge, a glass of fizz and a read through most of Sherlock Holmes made my Christmas. 

  Buy from the VIllage Stores, or tweet Olga directly: @grrrlady.  The Harrods Food Hall beckons. Then Olga might be hard pushed then to find time to make Mr Pearson's annual batch.



Monday, 25 July 2016

I Just Didn't Have It...

                                         Me and my shadow, apparently...

  You know how when someone doesn't get a role it always seems to be in spite of the fact that the director said he loved them, as did the producer, the stage manager, the actor they read with, the understudy to the actor they read with, the head of running wardrobe, box office, chief usherette, foyer book stall attendant and the two Guildhall freshers watching the auditions for experience? Well...
  Years ago, before my voice finally sank to bass-baritone, I was being considered for the role of Albert Herring.  I didn't get it. The director thought that it would have suited me vocally, but Albert is a virginal innocent.  
  'You're too apparently the lived in, been round the block a number of times, tart with a heart, Iestyn.'
  Actually, I was relieved -  Albert has to hiccup on a top c flat!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Nowt so Unreal as Reality


                                         CAN you imagine? 

  I read somewhere that the accent David Suchet used for Poirot wasn't pure Belgian, but a hybrid of Belgian and French. The actor made this choice knowing that the pure accent would sound unconvincing to the casual listener.  I can't really explain this, but have an example of my own.  The daughter of an exiled Russian princess came to watch my Madame Galina show and said that my accent was accurate to the point of indicating social strata and where precisely Galina lived in Moscow. Other members of the audience thought that the accent had travelled from Cardiff via Crete to Bavaria and back again.  

  When Hercule Ease, part-time male stripper, performed his squaddie themed act in Chelmsford, he was advised to get a much more realistic looking soldier's outfit. Hercule is in reality Corporal Bailey, 9th SQ, and he had performed the act wearing his army issue uniform. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Dreams or Dregs?

  In 'miscellaneous' downstairs in the Emporium: Trinkets, Ephemera and Masks, were the most elegant blue china cup and saucer.  I was imagining myself as Linda Radlett having afternoon tea with Fabrice at the Ritz; Dame Margot in the intervals of Swan Lake drinking darjeeling in dressing room five; Maria Callas unable to sleep before she'd read the reviews of her Berlin Lucia, sitting up in bed in her her woolen nightgown, drinking cocoa.
  I took my treasures to Lorna at the counter.  
  'Morning, Iestyn - old maid crockery for one?!'

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Pudding Provides Proof


  I went to my piano lesson the morning after the Guildhall Rag Week Revue.  I'd sung "The Stately Homes of England" in black tie, and danced Swan Lake Act Two in sequins and feathers glued onto forty-six doilies. Professor Peppin said how she'd enjoyed me singing the Noel Coward, but who on earth had that pudding of a girl been doing the ballet? 
  She refused to believe it had been me until I stopped playing Schumann and did lame ducks round the Bechstein...

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Jane Eyre's Alternative Ending

  At drinks I heard that someone in Cartwright Mansions had sought help during a heart-attack by banging on a party wall with the base of a stuffed owl. Hamish, apparently, got that little nugget into the Reader's' Digest. Tom, youngish, asked me what the Reader's Digest was, please. I said it was a magazine/book hybrid that taught people to give a tracheotomy with a bic biro and to say "Christmas bauble" in Serbo-Croat. 
  'Oh, and it condenses books down into happy endings,' I over-egged the pudding. 'Jane Eyre ended in five and a half chapters, with Mr Rochester's partially severed arm growing back.'
  Gin does that to me...

Thursday, 14 July 2016

On Editing...

  The editor of My Tute Went AWOL! just reminded me: 
  'Only tell the reader what they need to know. If you want them to particularly notice or remember something, repeat it three times. In your book's prologue, why don't need to know any more than that we're in Camp Bastion outside the NAAFI, you're in a tutu and the nurse gives you some news. The rest of it needs to go: fast food prefabs, the Garrison Sergeant Major and the anecdote about someone castrating themselves with a pull-along Dyson.   
  'Think of the Prologue to The Sleeping Beauty. We learn that the fairies are coming to the christening - and are alerted to the fact that something is potentially amiss when the Master of Ceremonies insists three times - yes, your majesty, yes, your majesty, yes you halberdiers - that he has remembered to invite all the fairies. We get the arrival of the good fairies, then of the forgotten bad fairy, the curse, the mitigating of the curse. We don't get a description of the fairies' various hole-in-a-tree dwellings, their diet of conker and acorn broth or their Amazon orders for wing clippers. 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

My Tutu is Going AWOL Again!

My Tutu Went AWOL! the show...

Actually, it's a deconstructed, bookless book launch!


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Booked up till the Tube Map...

  My singing teacher, Pamela, joined a book club that met at the library. During the first meeting she was ticked off for an opinion. She said that she was so entitled to any opinion she chose to have, she would repeat that unpopular one right now: here we go...
  The organiser of the club found it tricky to commit to a second meeting. 'The week in question my wife and I have a concert, preceded by the concert insight afternoon - with tea. The following day we're watching a masterclass. There'll be drinks after that, possibly some nibbles. Then there's another concert, preceded again by the insight afternoon - also with tea. The next night we have drinks at the Simpson's and dinner at the Lighthouse. The following day we have lunch with the Minsmere wardens, tea with the Giles's and dinner with the Bishop of Dunwich. Actually, I've just seen I might be able to make the next evening...'
  'I can't,' Pamela said. 'I've got brunch with the Queen of Denmark, lunch with the Pope and in the evening I'm singing solo Bach Cantatas at St John's, Smith Square.'
  I'd warned her that she wouldn't like being in that book club.

Friday, 8 July 2016

See, if I had a car...

...I would have missed overhearing this, from an elderly woman on the bus to the station. 

  'What was that ambulance doing going up your track, Bernard?  It were a car-ambulance, not a ambulance-ambulance. A ambulance-ambulance wouldn't be able to get down your track, Bernard, it's all so overgrown! I know you've not lived there long, but what would they have done in the past? I'd not have wanted the council to ever move me down there if I knew I might be vulnerable to needing taking away in an ambulance. Just as well developments in industry mean ambulances are getting smaller and smaller. I expect the day will come when we go in and out of hospital in a computer controlled, hovercraft hip-bath.'

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Leavers' Reasons...

  One woman in Aldeburgh, in a cotton dress, pumps and and editor's green visor, said that she really hadn't used Europe in such a long time. There had been that Easter when she and Rima - did I know Rima? - were eighteen and hitchhiked through Italy. Oh, no, nothing to worry about: two experienced Catholic girls were always going to have an instinct about getting into a car. She supposed they'd seen a lot of beautiful things. But, really, since meeting her late husband - had I known her late husband? - she'd been more of a West Indies girl and hadn't really found much further use for Europe. So she voted 'leave'.
  To adapt an old gag: more St Barts than St Ockholm. 
  The second leaver is a house-keeper who tells me that the various landlords she works for will now have to pay her a decent wage.  Access will dry up to all the Lithuanian cheap labour coming over to work as cleaners - so called - and who will insist on bleaching everything.
  And there's Scotty-Roy, a PT, model and bouncer, who gives cam shows on Skype. He charges ten pounds a minute for semi-nude posing and hopes that the single market will now be applied to the internet. He is forever being undercut by Romanians who charge a flat fiver to show actual bumhole. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Thoughts on Swan Lake

                            Copyright: Luke Casey-Browne, House of Black

 The Swan Queen, Odette, has been bewitched by Baron Von Rothbart. By day she is a swan, at night she can retain her human form.  Unless Prince Siegfried happens to be swan-hunting nearby, might it not be a bit dull: this night time, lakeside existence in human form? What can she, the big swans, cygnets and the rest find to do all night? There's no library, internet cafe or 24/7 Mcdonald's. Do they even have a television? How long can it take each night to clean up the molted feathers and swan shit...
  I wonder if at times Odette simply doesn't bother with her swan to human transformation.
  Not to mention that she'd actually look a bit daft in the now far too tiny tiara.

Kings Cross to Leeds, First Class

  Lorna, from ephemera, trinkets and masks downstairs in the Emporium, told me that her father would treat himself to a first class ticket going home at Christmas to Leeds from university in London. 
  'It was in the days of having the whole first class service on sleepers. Dad said he often wondered what would happen if he'd missed getting out at Leeds, the worse for wear with the meal served in first class, and ended up in Inverness. The train would have divided by then and that would surely wake you?  He said you could spread yourself out in those seats. Waiters in livery. Course after course. He said they'd sing carols. There'd be plum pudding. Brandy. Seasons greetings passed around the carriage. A real treat for the psyche - something we just don't do enough for ourselves these days.'  She paused, then asked, 'How did we get onto the subject of trains?'
  I didn't have the heart to remind her that I'm editing my book and had just mentioned trains in terms of doing an Anna Karenina with one...


Monday, 4 July 2016

Cruelty to Animals

  A woman at the back end of middle age, with wiry, flicked hair, in a pink vinyl mac, and gingham pedal pushers came through from Thorpeness Meare, leaving her jack russell off the lead as she continued past the pond. Three pairs of nesting swans and the egyptian geese were grazing there. The woman turned as people remonstrated with her, then stood in a beveled pose, like the central figure in The Three Graces statue, and indicated that she was happy for her jack russell to run to and fro barking by the water's edge. The goose nosed the tiny gosling into the pond and jumped in after it followed by the gander. The swans stood absolutely still, feathers up all around, in front of their cygnets. 
  The woman stayed in her pose, smirking indulgently at the jack russell, until a man picked the dog up by the collar, walked over to her and thrust it into her arms.
  'Take this back to wherever it is you're from!' he told her.
   After a stunned moment, the woman loped off across the grass, drawling back over her shoulder, 'Crouch End!'
  Where else?