Thursday, 27 April 2017


  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.