Hum Buggery and Dyking the Halls

Aren’t Sunday mornings just the best? I always set my alarm for 8.30am to wake and publish my weekly blog, and then try and spend a couple of hours still wrapped in the warmth and protection of my duvet sipping Assam tea and eating hot buttered toast. A boulevardier should relish these moments of extravagance.

As I languished in my decadence my thoughts turned to the evening ahead. I was looking forward to travelling to Brighton to catch up with a longstanding school friend, Sarah, and watch a Christmassy anti Christmas show hosted by the phenomenons that are VG Lee and Rose Collis.

I was ready to Bah Humbuggers or Dyke the Halls and join these two talented lesbians in their show. The title itself had caused some controversy in a more sensitive area of society, but I shall not discuss that here.

After fiddling around with my social media for some time and see Friends of Ally Pally retweet my blog and have it included in an online publication, The Daily Snapper, I could rise happy.

It was 11am and time for daily ablutions.

After a long soak in the bath, and another cup of Assam, I needed to decide what to wear. The temperatures were plummeting as they do in December and I didn’t want to be cold but wanted to be cool. After considering several options I settled upon a pair of grey jeans, grey desert boots with swirling circular patterns, black Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and a multi coloured H&M sweater.

With the trusty quiff revitalised it was time to go. As I closed the front door at 2.30pm it wasn’t as cold as I had imagined, and even better, the sun was low but out. I had earlier thought it was a grey day from my bed. The combination of clouds, blue skies and low sun made some beautiful shapes in the sky. This year we have been most fortunate in England with bright skies. Usually autumn is a grey sunless season. I have quite taken to capturing photos of the cloud formations and posting them through Instagram to Twitter and Facebook.


A good friend Sammy Jo noticed my passion and text a couple of weeks ago asking ‘Have you given up work and are now a photographer specialising in skies?’ She followed this a few days later with ‘Your sky photos are getting a bit like selfies!!!lol!’

To which I responded ‘Shall we call them cloudies?’ And thus the cloudie was born. Not sure it’s trending yet, but I will persevere.

I boarded the train at Victoria and managed to secure a facing seat with table. I switched on my Kindle and decided to start rereading A Christmas Carol. I thought it rather apt when heading to an event containing BAH HUMBUGGERS in its title.

Starting A Christmas Carol on the 1st Sunday of Advent seemed fitting when en route to a Christmassy anti Christmas show. I smiled to myself and popped another Minstrel in my mouth. I tried to remember the original advertising and I think it was ‘They melt in your mouth and not in your hand.’

It was a little after 5pm and Sarah and I met and went straight to the Emporium Theatre. We were so early that the afternoon tea dance had barely finished. We found a comfortable corner booth and caught up on the last six months’ news since we’d last seen each other.

The Emporium Theatre started life as a Methodist Chapel at the end of the 19th Century but looks more like a gothic church. The main café area is where the main church aisle and alter once lived and is a wonderful large open space with high ceilings. Rather than pews there are less uniform booths, long worn leather sofas and dining sets. The serving area is abundant with lots of home cooked cakes and goodies. We ordered in abundance.

Our creamy, hot, yellow and plentiful scrambled eggs soon arrived which tasted delicious and was washed down with several large glasses of hearty red wine.

The team looked distinctly aloof and anti Christmassy before the show.


It wasn’t long before we were called forward to enter the theatre at the back of the building. The stage was simple with two chairs, a small table with a half full bottle of Sherry (I knew VG was in the house as she is, like me, rather partial to Sherry), another table with a jar of pickled onions on a potty on it, a couple of music stands and Bud the Banjolele (Rose’s instrument).

It was rather chilly in the theatre and all patrons pulled their scarves and coats back on. Was this to add to the Christmassy anti Christmas atmosphere? No, it appeared that the heating had failed. The lovely Emporium served up free hot drinks at the interval to help warm everyone up.

Rose entered the stage looking very smart in a formal tuxedo with tails. Rose treated us to anecdotes about her famous pickled onions and a number of facts dispelling the myths of Christmas. Did you know the concept of sending cards at Christmas was a shrewd business move from the originator of the Penny Post?

Rose then picked up her Banjolele and beautifully sang a couple of feet tapping numbers.

Val (VG) Lee entered stage right with a richly tapestried dressing gown, rollers and her fluffy pussy. Val had previously, and rather salaciously, advertised her fluffy pussy. I might call it a stuffed cat.

Val mesmerised us with an epic tale of friendship amid her friend Deidre’s worship of department store bed linen. Val’s delivery as ever was animated and full of comic timing. The audience roared with laughter. Val even mentioned that she could hear my laugh above all others. I think this was a compliment.


Val then sat down with Rose and interviewed her in a Parky kind of way. Rose gave us some more facts including some wonderful gift suggestions. My favourite was the Christmas pudding shaped juggling balls on offer from Marks and Spencer.

In the interval Sarah had more mint tea and I had more refreshing wine. Micra Mary, a good friend of Val’s, who drives a Micra was attired as an Elf and handed around delicious mince pies.

As the second half started Val treated us to information regarding her worst ever present which was a hot water bottle. She tried to trump the gift giver the following year with a tea cosy.

There were more tales and songs from Rose and VG read her solo erotica story, which had the audience blushing and roaring with laughter in equal measure.

We were on a high and when Rose picked up Bud the Banjolele and started playing Merry Christmas Everyone (accompanied by VG’s backing harmonies while wearing Elf ears) we all joined in the merriment and raised the rafters with our rousing chorus’.

After a brief encore and a couple of extra choruses we all left with a fine Christmas spirit. Had they failed in their mission to Bah our Humbug? Not at all. These great raw performers had put on a great show and we understood them both a little better and left sated with wine, food and song.

The show is on at The Hideaway, Jazz Club, Streatham on 15th December. There are tickets still available and your Boulevardier highly recommends you see it. If you’re lucky you might even see some of Val’s on stage dance moves!


Because Laughing Matters

Exercise is an important part of the Boulevardier’s routine, and to comply I am a regular at Virgin Active, Crouch End. A few weeks ago I went to the Saturday morning spin class, as usual. I was, however, incredibly tired and after about ten minutes started to feel dizzy. Mia, on the bike next to me, looked at me and said I didn’t look great and recommended I stop immediately. I left the class feeling a little dramatic. As I walked to Waitrose I started to feel a pain right across my chest. There was a familiarity to it. It was not as severe as it had been in January and I hoped it was muscular pain rather than more pulmonary emboli. I took to my bed for the remainder of the weekend.

I hoped Monday morning would bring a refreshing spring to my step. Once awake I took a deep breath and could still feel the pain. Eleven hours later I heard those fateful words ‘I’m sorry but there are more clots on your lungs.’

I thought my January episode was a one-off, and with clots dissipated by the anti-coagulant medication, my only reminder was a degree of tiredness, which had been a feature of the year.

This chapter means anti-coagulants for life, a lot more tests and the return of the debilitating weakness and tiredness. I was determined not to let it affect me the way it had previously and tried to press on.

After seeing a preview of Laughing Matters starring Celia Imrie with Fidelis Morgan’s direction, I purchased tickets as soon as they were available. I had been looking forward to the show and wasn’t about to let the blood clots ruin my enjoyment. They would limit but not destroy it. The only challenge was that the performance was five days after diagnosis.

Saturday evening soon came around. I felt tired and weak and needed to ensure I used my depleted energy reserves sensibly. I made quick decisions regarding my outfit and settled upon Ralph Lauren painter’s jeans, All Saints T, and H&M jean and jersey jacket.

The Revue was held downstairs at Brasserie Zedel, which is just behind Piccadilly Circus.


The Brasserie looks quite modest from the exterior. However, the downward sweeping staircase leads to a lovely restaurant, retro American bar, and an intimate and unique venue called The Crazy Coqs.

Crazy Coq’s oozes Art Deco with rich banquette seating along two sides, the stage and a Great Gatsby era bar occupying the others. The walls were lined with pictures from France in the 1930s. Chandeliers are draped richly from the ceiling. The room was filled with clusters of bistro style tables with red atmosphere lamps. 1930s Paris surrounded us.

Zedel - Crazy Coqs4

It was all very civilised, and while it was not possible to reserve seating, the  Maître d’ had our names and escorted us to our table. On stage were a set of drums, a coat stand and an ebony and sleek grand piano. The pianist enticed us to get into the spirit of the show with lots of Noel Coward numbers. I wanted to immerse and enjoy cocktails, served by blackuniformed waiting staff, but decided against it due to the state of my health.

I started to feel too tired already, but I was determined to ignore it. Stomach cramps were setting in too which added nicely to the way I was feeling. I was lucky to be surrounded by Michael, Alkan, Michael and Ange who looked after me.

Celia burst from the back of the room imprisoned by a straitjacket and launched into her version of Twisted made famous by Annie Ross which parodies the psychoanalysis of the protagonist’s insanity.

We were off and early signs were great!

The Revue combined music, dance and sketches perfectly and seamlessly. We were transported back to its golden years, the first part of the twentieth century.

This was going to be good and I wasn’t about to let my clots spoil the evening and popped a couple of paracetamol to lessen the pain.

The marketing for the show told us that Celia really believes that… laughing matters. It was true, she was clearly enjoying herself and we were too. Her classic training, pedigree and star quality shone through. However, she was not aloof. Celia was right there with us; yes on a stage, but if we were around a piano having a sing-song she would have been there too. And yes these evenings still occur. Only recently, after a few glasses of Prosecco at my friend Marina’s birthday, we retired to the home of her friends Patrick and Neil. They have a white, baby grand in the sitting-room of their terraced Islington Villa and we gathered around and sung show and popular tunes to our hearts’ content. Needless to say, we accompanied our singing with a few more refreshments.

One outstanding sketch for me was Common Talk by Alan Melville. It told the tale of a woman who had recently left the safety of central London and decamped to Wimbledon. Her vista allowed her to observe all the untoward (and mostly nocturnal) activity on the Common. It really is a common Common, or so she tells us a number of times.

I also really enjoyed ‘Smut’ where a rather well-to-do campaigner against double entendres tried to persuade us to reconsider hobbies to take our mind off of sex. She asked us to consider gardening and innocently delivered her own double entendres about her impressive melons and the like. I heard this piece, performed by Celia, earlier in the year at a Literary Salon where it was equally successful in having the audience guffawing out loud

There was a mass of nostalgia, of times lost, throughout the show and I for one would welcome back the Revue. We live in an age of auto tune and technical wizardry but none of that supplants the enjoyment received from raw and intimate performance.

I wish I had had the energy to laugh outwardly as loudly as I was inside. The show was all too soon over, but by this time I was really weak and needed to jump in a cab and straight home to bed.

The reviews of the Revue have been mixed, and perhaps I am not a professional, and therefore overlooked missing elements required to make the show a resounding success, but I thoroughly enjoyed its mix, and refreshingly new retro elements.

Laughing Matters

I can do no better in summary than to quote The Telegraph:

The evening is tinged with palest blue, but the allure is definitely more Anglo-Saxon than Gallic – saucy rather than sophisticated, more Marie Lloyd than Mistinguett, with overtones that are sexy, but also strangely comforting – as though your favourite auntie had dressed up in something sparkly and started twirling her knickers around her head.

We need more shows like this, and who knows, I might just be brave enough one day to put one on.


Nude with Violin

It was one of the hottest Saturdays in July. It was beautiful.

The summer of 2013 was certainly turning out to be the best since 2006. UK summers over the last 6 years have been a let down. Much was promised by the ever optimistic weather diviners, but few of their predictions had come to pass.

2013 was proving much better with long days of constant sunshine and temperatures regularly hitting 30 degrees. A Boulevardier should never demonstrate a physical manifestation of overheating or worse sweating so it was important to select suitable clothing and activity.

I had a beautiful lunch with my friend Jane at Melange in Crouch End, where we respectively enjoyed walnut and Roquefort and tuna steak salads, while sitting in the lovely sun. As the temperature rose we moved inside to maintain a cool appearance.

Jane left and the afternoon was spent relaxing in the garden with another friend Michael. We were barely moving and relished conversation filled with art, books, music and theatre. We were indeed off to the theatre together that evening.

Late afternoon we made the short journey to Highgate, and partook of a late afternoon drink at The Flask, which incidentally is across the road from George Michael’s London home. Unfortunately he was nowhere to be seen either to star spot or sing us a song. After several glasses of refreshing Malbec (me only) we consumed some pre theatre food and took the few steps to the Gatehouse Pub.

Storms were brewing, temperatures were going up and the humidity hung in the air creating a tropical atmosphere.

The theatre named ‘Upstairs at the Gatehouse’ delivers exactly what it says on the tin, and is in fact on the first floor in the Gatehouse Pub. I am sure many of you will have seen the Gatehouse, as it sits at the top of Highgate Village, next to the junctions heading to Kenwood and Hampstead. The appearance of the pub externally is Tudor, and I believe to be one of the oldest in the area. It is also allegedly haunted, although I saw no phantom apparitions.

The bar area was disappointingly generic, lots of light wood panelling, coupled with loud carpet and banquette seating. We headed upstairs to the ‘green room’ which was a fabulous mixture of props, posters and furniture, appearing as a spare room where everything is shoved that you don’t want to display. In the corner we eyed with anticipation a regular domestic chest freezer with signed promises of ice cream.

At the appointed time we, with the other patrons, were called into the theatre, which was a mid-sized auditorium set in the round with rows of stadium crushed velvet seating. We sat in the middle on the back row.

The temperature was going up.

The play was a little known Noel Coward piece called Nude with Violin, which is set in Paris in the mid-1950s. It’s a beautiful comedy of manners set in the drawing room of a recently deceased world renowned artist, Paul Sorodin. His estranged but most immediate family have gathered to sort out the estate in the absence of a will.

As the drama unfolds various characters turn up with letters signed by the artist confirming that they indeed painted the pictures of various periods of his career. In fact we are left wondering whether he actually painted anything himself.

To avoid the scandal the family and the art dealer set about trying to contain the secret with the assistance of the ever present, ever listening, multi skilled valet.

It’s not particularly fast paced, and the entertainment came from the clever and witty one liners.

The theatre itself has not yet been able to invest in air conditioning and the 3 fans and one portable unit could not stop the ever increasing temperature, and despite the claps of thunder (I wondered whether they were indeed part of the production), the air did not cool.

In the interval we headed for ice cream and some air. While it was cooler outside of the auditorium it was far from cool, and the rain was heavy so rather than risk flat hair we had to stand by the open outer pub doors and try and cool down. The creamy vanilla ice cream helped.

Things seemed to get hotter in the second act. By the end I was sticky beyond belief and feeling a little dizzy, which was a shame as it was a wonderfully funny tale ridiculing the world of modern art, with which I agree.

It reminded me of a visit some years ago to Flowers East on Richmond Road in Hackney when I lived there. I had seen some beautiful paintings on the first floor, and took some very arty friends, Rita and Andre, to view. The ground floor contained what I like to call ‘paint splodges’, and when we headed to the first floor I was aghast to realise that my favoured exhibition had been replaced by more paint splodges.

‘Oh no! These paintings are the same as downstairs!’ I exclaimed.

A curator appeared and informed us in an irritated manner ‘These have absolutely nothing to do with the exhibition downstairs.’

‘They look the same to me.’ I said

‘To the untrained eye maybe.’ He replied with an ever increasing patronising tone.

‘If that’s training my eye, I would rather stay unpretentious and untrained.’ I added, and at this he scurried back to his room. Rita, Andre and I nearly fell to the floor laughing.

It is ridiculous, and I am well aware that I don’t ‘understand’ some modern art, but I am not sure I want to. Educating Rita springs to mind (and not the aforementioned Rita).

I guess a good Boulevardier has to maintain a pretence of being in tune with the art world, but maybe I am more independent and happy to confidently assert my own opinion at the utter rubbish which can be defined as modern art.

So Mr Coward I am right there with you in ridiculing something so easily set up to be mocked.




Lady of the Wild West Hill

A lady of recent acquaintance who also happens to be a phenomenal writer advertised that she was putting on and acting in her first play as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival. There was no way I was not going to purchase tickets and enjoy this spectacle.

I marketed my plans to a few friends, and was pleased that three decided to come with me. We plotted to make it an entire day of fun in Brighton.

The morning came, and what to wear? The weather was of course changeable. This is the UK after all! I wanted to dress on trend, but decided that warmth and comfort took precedence as it was to be a long day. Leatherette trousers, Nikki Minaj T shirt, salmon hoodie, and green, cotton, faux denim jacket. Prada trainers, of course, also featured.

We four met at Victoria Station at 11.30am intent on taking the 12.06 express train to Brighton. We headed straight to Marks and Spencers in the station, to get some provisions for a en route picnic! M & S have an ingenious British Summer collection and we excitedly stocked up on such delicacies as Fish and Chips Crisps, and Rhubarb Crumble to be washed down with a nice chilled bottle of prosecco! Once we boarded, chose seats with a table and laid out the picnic the envious looks started from other travellers.

The journey passed quickly and we were soon in Brighton. We took a picturesque walk to the town centre, walking through rows of ample Victorian villas beautifully framed with contemporary shutters. We mused the benefits of living in one of these vast Brighton properties.

After visits to a divine kitchen shop (I know! Why a kitchen shop! We were drawn in by the faux vintage items in the window), Primark (I waited outside), Top Man, (again outside) and H&M, the sun came out and we headed with some urgency towards the beach. The beach area was buzzing with locals and visitors alike. A number of stag and hen parties were present evidenced by their style of costume. The best of which was a stag party adorned in costumes made famous by the Village People, although not sure it was warm enough to be pounding the streets in loincloths! Perhaps the Indian, faux feathered, headdresses added some temperature.

The sun was short lived unfortunately, but we were not perturbed and spent another hour laying on the beach wrapped in coats. We were not the only ones. It would seem rather British to head to the seaside and disrobe with the slightest sign of sun, and then sit on the beach wrapped and shivering.  I pondered it would be useful to have my duvet with me.

Off again and a quick visit to the funfair. Not sure if this Boulevardier knows what is ‘fun’ about the fair as I get sick travelling backwards on a train, let alone being thrown in every direction whilst being insulted with the loudest, latest rap tracks!

After a restorative bottle of Merlot (no sherry) and fish and chips we headed expectantly to the Marlborough Theatre. After getting our hands stamped, thereby allowing us entry to the theatre, we sniffed out the bar and stocked up on extremely large glasses of wine and waited to be allowed to enter the theatre room itself. It was not long before we were hurtling up the stairs and taking some seats in the small but perfect theatre.

VG Lee entered the stage to the tune of Que Sera Sera, and set about her one woman play. VG acted the central character Jean, and introduced us to her friends and neighbours via a series of phone calls, shared coffees and trips to the wool shop. We met Malcolm her neighbour who exuded displaced debonairness, Karen her friend desperately trying to make her romantic endeavours work, straight Stella, and Jean’s distant and married lover Rebecca.

We glimpsed an hour or so of Jean’s life with a number of laughs, but also some tender and touching moments as she tried to make her futile relationship with Rebecca work, all within reach of the wonderful and wild West Hill.

VG has tremendous talent! To date I have adored reading her novels and short stories, and loved her Facebook anecdotes, and can now add loving her playwright and actor credentials. Individually and in person she is a very special lady who I have the pleasure of calling my friend!

I was high with creativity as we left the theatre and headed back to another bar for another quick bottle of red before getting the 10.30 back to London.

A fabulous day filled with laughs, shopping, theatre and sunbathing! What else could one ask for…? (except for maybe ranges of sherry in all drinking establishments)!



A night with Mari Wilson

Wk 5 Stats

1)      STS

2)      2 (wishing it was a bit higher)

A night with Mari Wilson

Crouch End is such a wonderful place to live. It’s absolutely North London but with a beauteous community feel. People remember you, and not just your immediate neighbours, which in some parts of London is a feat in itself.

Within a minutes’ walk from my flat is a brilliant coffee shop/cafe called The Haberdashery where this spirit is not only embraced it is celebrated. They continuously and tirelessly have events on showcasing and celebrating all kinds of arts and community projects.

I saw an advert in their window ‘One Night Only – Mari Wilson in Concert’. Now I was aware that Mari was a local, and followed her on Twitter. Just What I Always Wanted was one of my favourite tracks of the 1980s. So that was an easy decision and I was booked to go with two friends. The evening cost £35 which included a two course dinner, glass of bubbly and the concert. Bargain.

It was one of those occasions which you could really look forward too. A starlet performing in a local, cosy venue. In all there must be no more than 15 tables.

I tweeted Mari to say I was looking forward to it, and she tweeted back ‘I think it will be great fun!’

Saturday 9th March soon came around, and despite some teasing sunshine and a rise in the temperature to something that resembled spring this had been short lived. So what to wear? I wanted to look cool but not as if I had tried too hard, so settled on a pair of grey skinny Republic jeans, with my polka dot creepers, black shiny Zoo York baseball jacket and cool t with a tattooed 50’s singer stencilled on it, think Imelda May. It may have been cold but I was ready with a spring outfit, and even if I got cold this would only be for a few yards!

I met my two friends for a quick sherry in The Queens, and quickly switched to wine as their sherry is only served in half measures!

Side note – Why does everyone always look at you strangely when you order a sherry in a pub?

We arrived for a start time of 7.30pm and the atmosphere was already abuzz, and took our table which was delightfully positioned with a full view of the stage area. The stage area had been constructed at the front of the cafe with fairy lights, a red curtain, and room enough for a keyboard and a mike and stool.


Sitting next to me was a glamorous middle aged lady looking too cool for school. She was on her own and after we had smiled at each other twice, I engaged her in conversation, and learned that she was an old friend of Mari’s who had been living in LA for 22 years, ran her own business and travelling home to visit family and friends after trying to make sense of suddenly losing her husband last year. She was awaiting the arrival of her daughter. I carried on talking to her until her daughter arrived, initially I thought to make sure she was not alone, but had the fringe benefit of chatting away to a wonderfully entertaining beautiful inspirational woman.

The main course arrived which was a delicious salmon which we washed down with Rioja. (Should have been white with salmon but we were all feeling rather red!)

Then, Mari and her keyboard player were introduced and came to the front. Mari was instantly chatty, relaxed, and joked at how close she was to the audience and that she might sit on one of their knees! Everyone roared with laughter and it was clear we were part of a very special moment. Her star quality was infectious and mesmerising.

Mari told us that she would sing from her back catalogue, her current covers album, and tracks from Dusty the Musical (which she had starred in). And did she deliver! WOW! What a voice, and all songs sung with divine tone and emotion.

There was a break halfway, and everyone clapped, cheered and whistled enthusiastically. I went to the back to use the bathroom, and Mari appeared. I smiled and said the first set was amazing. She thanked me graciously and said she recognised me from Twitter. Now she is not a megastar with millions of followers but to remember a random stranger from Twitter was special!

The second half mirrored the first, and the singing ended with a rousing encore mashup of Cry Me A River and Just What I Always Wanted (Glad it was both as my friend Steve had called for Cry Me a River, and lady on the table behind said ‘NO! Just What I Always Wanted’ – I had suggested ‘Both’ before it turned nastyJ )

Amazing but it got better as Mari spoke to the punters on several of the tables, and then got a glass of bubbly and sat at our table chatting and laughing, sharing where she was going musically, sharing Crouch End stories and our love of the Haberdashery, and photographic evidence to prove thus. I stopped short of inviting her back to my flat with the boys for a port! Another time perhaps…

Here’s the YouTube link to a short video of the evening!

Superstar gracious lady, you have a new super fan J   She may be the Soul Queen of Neasden but now also the Queen of Cool Crouch End.


Reflections – Ambition and Passion

Wk 4 Stats

1)      STS – Thats fine. I am in my zone.

2)      2.9 – A return to the safe zone

Reflections – Ambition and Passion

How many of us end up where we thought we would be at our age and stage of life? Did you have a plan when you were at school or before even? Do you find yourself questioning the decisions made, or currently making?

I do.

When I was 8 I decided that I wanted to be a doctor! No idea where that came from. Growing up in a small village in rural Hertfordshire, all of the male role models around me were either farmers or worked in the construction industry. I can’t remember why I wanted to train as a medic but I can remember being quite determined about it. This stayed with me until I was about 13, with a gradually decreasing desire to practice medicine. Hating the sight of blood and gore finished off that idea completely.

I then wanted to be an accountant, until I did some work experience in a charted accountant’s office, and found it too repetitive. So at 15 I had no idea what I wanted to do.

My passions were English and Drama. I loved writing stories, reading books and writing essays. My love of drama started at junior school, and I remember writing a play called ‘The Black Cow’. I can’t remember much of the detail, other than it was a pirate ship and putting on a production, of sorts, in the assembly hall, with a selection of chairs framing the ship.

At senior school I both starred in and directed plays, which were watched by a fairly sizeable audience.

My role call would read as follows:

Chorus – Zarifa 1979

Soldier – Tinderbox 1980

Unknown role – Shirts – 1982

Owl – Owl and the Pussycat – 1983

Joseph – Greatest Show on Earth – 1984

Bookseller, Boxer, and Down and Out – Bugsy Malone – 1985

Francis Nurse – The Crucible – 1986

Mr Folair, Mr Snobb – Nicholas Nickleby – 1986

Sir (The Dresser), Bottom (Mid Summer Nights Dream), The Cardinal (Duchess of Malfi) – as part of a production called Puppets containing scenes from various plays where manipulation prevailed – 1987

I also wrote and produced a number of short pieces for morning assembly and in particular remember a take on ‘Mind Your Language’ with the characters based on teachers, and a comedy version of Fame!

Ha! I almost need an entry in Wikipedia.

I directed and produced a school drama group in 1987, in a production called Foul Play at Sunny Bay.

Then nothing…

What have I creatively written since 1987… Nothing!

Writing plays, acting in plays, directing, where did it all go?

In September 1987 I made a decision that I did not want to stay on further at school or in education and I wanted to work. I was 17. I don’t blame my parents but I do wish they had forced me to stay on and at least finish my A-levels. No one in my family had stayed on at school, so I guess they didn’t know how or why to persuade me to stay.

I fell into Insurance after going for a few jobs, and am really proud of my corporate commercial success now being a senior manager in a medium sized company.

The cost? Any work or involvement in the arts.

This is changing now!


I look at friends who have made it work… The girl who absolutely wanted to be an actress, went to drama school, and was until the age of 30 when she retrained and now runs her own successful consultancy. Another who at school was a credible artist, and is still today, with moral and ethics unwavered despite many commercial opportunities. Both happy!

I have always felt flattered over the years when random people asked me if I worked in the media. ‘Are you in music?’, ‘Are you an actor?’ are rebounding echoes. But now it’s simply not enough to look the part, I want to find a way to BE the part, and without compromising the lifestyle I have built for myself.

Does time run out? Do you lose your creative edge with age?

David Bowie, Annie Proulx and some of their contemporaries, by example would have us think not. I have seen studios and exhibitions of retired or older people, and quite often the work reflects the safe, tiring environment they are in rather that the vibrant, new, innovative, rebellious, anarchistic of the young. How many say ‘I am going to write that book/paint that picture/write poetry when I retire’! Why wait if the passion is driving you forward to do it! Suppress the art inside you at your own cost. Or someone like Morrissey, so innovative and creative in The Smiths and early solo with lyrics overflowing with brilliance and style compared to the middle aged dross he writes today…

I have so many ideas, and writing this blog is helping me to sharpen the discipline of writing something every week, for pleasure, and not for a corporate deadline. But also writing creatively within boundaries, i.e. certain number of words and new post each week. And being on the constant look out for inspiration, and making a quick note if when I hear or see something I want to write about.

After watching Wicked in December 2011 I had a great idea for a novel, and scoped out 18 chapters, and started writing the first one over the Christmas holidays. Then true to form stopped and haven’t picked it up since. That is changing as I have a great friend on board and we are going to write it jointly. She wants us to write a sit com together after finishing the book. I feel as if we have a moral contract with each other to complete these projects.

I also started writing about one aspect of my life experiences, and again scoped it out and getting down to writing it. Another friend has agreed to edit it for me. I might ask her to give me a timetable.

I have 4 new ideas for TV shows, but have no experience in pushing these forward or developing them further YET. I will find someone who knows producers that I can pitch to.

I feel really enthused and inspired to get on with all my creative projects, but will soon be working fulltime again. I need to find a way to continue my path, and realise my passions and dreams and true ambitions before I reach the tired retired stage (Unless of course I turn out to be a Bowie)!

At school we have careers advice from age 15! Ha! I finally realised what I want to be when I grow up at 43 years old! Does anyone else feel the same? Please do let me know in the comments.

I have travelled emotionally whilst writing this, and felt pensively melancholy charting the clear English/drama passions from teenage years, and wondering how I slipped into such a commercial, corporate, business career. And then picked up again towards the end when I realised that I can still do it! Sad, regretful, insecure, unfulfilled, hopeful, excited and enthusiastic.

Perhaps I should rename this piece – Emotional Rollercoaster in 1000(ish) words!