Manchester 22.5.17

23 May

I Looked At Evil

 

I looked at Evil: it wore a suicide vest

My cause is just, it claimed

your murdered children my price

Kill me, and a thousand martyrs fall in behind

You cannot kill me, it smiled

for I am dead by a tug of this cord

 

You cannot kill me, Evil declared

You cannot buy me off

You cannot reason with me

Don’t bother to plead with me

for my ears are closed

my mind bankrupt

my heart already a corpse

You cannot kill me

for I am already dead

 

You cannot defend your children

for I am Evil

and I wear a suicide vest

 

 

 

The Theycanoclasts

18 May

(If They Get Enough Support)

The Blurb

‘The Iconoclasts’ is the debut show by Sheffield based theatre company, Dear Hunter Theatre. After a 5 star, sell-out run in Sheffield and performances at the National Student Drama Festival, this summer we are taking the show on a UK Tour, followed by a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We have been hard at work raising funds for the last few months. However, to ensure the show can go ahead, we need your help to raise a further £3000 to cover the enormous costs that come with a tour!

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, concert and night

All photos copyright Dear Hunter Theatre

The Link:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dear-hunter-theatre-s-the-iconoclasts-uk-tour#/  

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Tour Dates & Venues:

18th and 19th June @ Camden People’s Theatre LONDON
Tickets: https://www.cptheatre.co.uk/production/the-iconoclasts/

21st June @ STUFF NOTTINGHAM
http://newtheatre.org.uk/stuff/

26th June @ Alma Tavern & Theatre BRISTOL
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-iconoclasts-the-alma-tav…

28th June @ 53two MANCHESTER
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-iconoclasts-tickets-3423…

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The Review

From The Sunday Times:

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The (Ironic) Fun

If you are in the area, do try to see one of the shows, either on the tour or at The Fringe.  There’s a packet of Maltesers in it for you…

Don’t judge me; I’m a mother: bribery is my default setting.

 

 

I Lost A Friend

9 May

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor

Photo copyright RR Nichols

Her personal blog

Her political blog

Some of you read Laurie Nichols’ blog; more of you will have seen her comments on my blog.  For those who have been wondering, I’m sad to report that Laurie passed away on February 17th, aged 49, due to complications caused by her cancer.  Her husband Robert told me that he was with her the last 60 days of her life full time in the room, talking, and holding her hand and making sure she was comfortable.

Laurie was a beautiful woman, inside and out.  She was sweet and kind and lived life to the full.  She loved politics, gardening, travelling with her husband, cooking, movies, her dogs but, above all, she loved her family.

She was one of my greatest cheerleaders and we corresponded privately as well as through our blogs.  A favourite memory is the time she sent me some elephant ears, all the way from the US to the UK.  You can read about it here.  That post arose from another post (read that one here) I had written, and here is the conversation which ensued in the second post, which was the first post (hey, I may be missing Laurie but she’d expect me to write as confusingly as always):

Laurie: Love, love, love this! I bake Elephant ear cookies (Palmier cookies in French) so I thought that the bad man had thrown her cookies off the balcony, I never heard of a plant called Elephant ears. I would have been crying too if a bad man had thrown my cookies off the balcony, they are so delicious, flaky pastry dough folded umpteenth times in sugar and baked until golden and caramelized, cookie bliss. 🙂

TB: Drooling…

Laurie: Sorry about the drool, they are drool worthy though, next time I make a batch, I’ll be sure to send you some. 🙂

TB: The reading of this comment constitutes a legally binding contract under blog law.  Can’t wait! 🙂

Laurie: Don’t worry I honor all of my promises, you will be getting a surprise by the end of the month or the beginning of April the latest. 🙂

TB: Bless you!

Laurie: Anything for my Tilly 😀

And that’s Laurie in a biscuit tin.  The biscuits arrived as promised, and were devoured.  I still have the tin she sent them in.

DSCN2836

I miss her.  I miss her a lot.

 

I Think I Lost My Funny

24 Apr

Artist’s impression of lost and lonely dog

I found a lost dog on Sunday and I told people about it and didn’t crack one joke in the telling.  How is that possible? Remember when I lost my dog, Toby, a few years ago?  I managed to get three blog posts of almost novella length from that thirty minutes of agony, and cracked one joke after another despite my overwhelming trauma (Hello? Scraped knee, remember).  Here, I find a dog, and nothing: no funny, no cute, no whimsy.  I think I need to plank face-first again in peak traffic to knock the funny back into me.

Here’s what happened: I walked the dogs up to the local park and we arrived and a lone dog – husky-cross, I think – ran up to us, freaked Toby out, followed us off the park, freaking Toby out more, followed us back on to the park…are you asleep yet?  The man lying in the grass whose dog I thought it was and who turned out not to be dead (I seriously wondered, he was so still) was.  Asleep, that is.  You forgot where I was up to, didn’t you?  See, not funny.

Toby freaking out plays a big part in this story, because I had to pick him up to calm him down and his toenail caught in my chunky cardigan – kind of like a KitKat made of wool – oh give me a break, I’m desperate here – see what I did there? – and he screamed, and I mean SCREAMED in panic and wriggled like mad and I happened to be wearing earphones and he got tangled in them, my cardi and the lead so he was practically hyperventilating.  Trust me, a screaming, wriggling, hyperventilating Yorkshire Terrier is a terrifying sight to behold.  And hold.

Meanwhile, Molly slipped out of her harness, Lost Dog capered around blissfully unaware of the mayhem he was causing by being within, oh, I dunno, three miles of Toby, Toby freaked some more, and Not Dead Man kept on sleeping, despite the fact I practically fell over his feet trying to untangle me, my dog, my earphones and my clothes.

Artist’s impression of Molly, the naughty little monkey

Then I had the first of what turned out to be the same conversation with several strange men that day:

TB: Is this your dog?

SM: No.

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.

Artist’s impression of Toby, the Freaking Yorkie

Molly was already off the lead and Lost Dog had a collar but no ID, so I clipped him on and Toby almost fainted.  Resignation then set in, though he did manage a couple of thin-lipped nips at the air beside Lost Dog when he got too close.  Molly followed us home.  Fortunately, the park sort of backs onto our street (trust me, you don’t want a topographical lesson here; I’m falling asleep in the telling as it is), so I knew she’d be safe on the short walk back.

The Hub was watching City lose the FA Cup semi-final (though he didn’t know that yet) when we all arrived home, but promised to help me find the dog’s owner once the match was done.  Then it went into extra time so I marched Lost Dog out of there on his lonesome this time, Molly declining to walk if it meant her own extra time in the street and Toby reclining on his bed (actually Spud’s bed but what Spud doesn’t know Toby could not care less about), emotionally battered until dinner time.

I had the brainwave of saying to Lost Dog, ‘Home!  Take me home!  Let’s go home!  Where’s home, boy?’  He responded by pulling me through a hole in the park fence and running straight to a front door.  I knocked and a handsome man answered:

TB: Is this your dog?

HM: No.

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.  Did you know you’re gorgeous?

Actually, I didn’t say that last bit (I think), but I certainly thunk it.

I was beginning to suspect that Lost Dog, though amiable, was a six-pack short of a six-pack.  I repeated the home mantra and he walked me up and down many streets before leading me to another front door.  I knocked and another handsome man answered:

TB: Is this your dog?

HM: Yes!

TB: Oh.  Okay, thanks.  Did you know you’re gorgeous?  Wait, back up…he’s yours?  Why aren’t you out looking for him?  Handsome is as handsome does, you know.  Can I leave my husband and have your puppies?

Um, everything after ‘thanks’ may have taken place in my head but, seriously, where did all these handsome men suddenly appear from?  It’s like the sun came out and a shower of hunks descended on Stockport.

Artist’s impression of Handsome Man

Handsome Man (who so isn’t because is as does, like I said) was extremely grateful but in a real hurry to get rid of me.  It was odd – discounting the fact that a middle-aged, frumpy dognapper* was drooling on his doorstep, why was he so eager to be rid of me?  And then I looked at my watch: aha!  Extra time was almost over.  He obviously wanted to get back to the match.  Loving your pooch is one thing; football is quite another.

So, good deed done for the day, I headed home, where the Hub was crying into his fixture list:

Hub: Hey, let’s go find that dog’s owner.

TB: I already did, and you wouldn’t believe how ugly he was, yuk! Eurggh! Disgusting, horrible.  I didn’t embarrass myself at all, honest.

Hub: That’s not funny.

*

*Spellcheck wants to replace ‘dognapper’ with ‘dapper kidnapper’.  I’m so tempted.

 

Birthday Boy

18 Apr

Twenty-seven years ago today, I was given a little gift:

I loved this gift.  I played with it and dressed it and took it with me everywhere.  And then one day I lost it (I hate Lancaster University; anywhere he’s ever lived; any job he’s ever had).

But then, my gift returned one day, bearing another gift:


So I forgave my gift for having a life of its own without me, and was just glad that it had doubled in size.

Happy birthday, darling!  Did you know that you share your birthday with some illustrious people, including:

  • Lucretia Borgia (alleged poisoner) (hey, there weren’t that many careers available to 15th Century women)
  • Bernard Ogilvie Dodge (American botanist and pioneer researcher on heredity in fungi) (no joke required; his job says it all)
  • Clara Eggink (Dutch poetess) (…?)
  • George Huntington Hartford II (American heir) (seriously, who wants to be famous for being an heir – Prince William excepted, of course?  I’d rather be famous for being an alleged poisoner; at least I’d be making my own way in the world) (though I wouldn’t object to being an unfamous heir)
  • Lenny Baker (rocker with Sha Na Na) (well that’s just embarrassing) (though he is saved by the fact he was in Grease) (and he is often mistaken for Kenny Baker – being mistaken for a midget android with a cute voice has to be a step up, surely?)
  • Herbert Mullin (American serial killer) (some mothers do ‘ave ’em) (not this mother, of course) (right?)
  • Bernadette Robi (ex-wife of football player Lynn Swann) (yes, well…almost as worthy as being born an heir)
  • Thankfully, the list is saved by the great David Tennant (my child has a Doctor Who connection!!  He is now officially my favourite child)
  • Kourtney Kardashian (and he’s back off the favourite child list) (happy birthday, anyway, sweetie pie xxx) (love you)

Author’s Note:

The favourite child thing is just a joke: mothers don’t have favourite children.

But grandmothers do.

There’s Been A Change Of Plan

17 Apr

Alexander Cosgriff (Alec Iconoclast) in The Iconoclasts, by Dear Hunter Theatre (Sheffield), at NSDF 2017.

So, there we were, all set for his radio debut, and what happens?  Alex comes back from the National Student Drama Festival with a horrendous chest infection and no voice.

He arrived home on Saturday and immediately set to with hot toddies of honey, lemon & ginger; Vicks in a bowl of hot water; a good night’s sleep; no dairy or caffeine – all of the usual remedies.  He went off to rehearsal in Sheffield yesterday with high hopes of a miracle occurring in the hour it took to get from home to hall.  His people dosed him up with more of the same; he opened his mouth to sing…and out popped a box of frogs.

The interview and live singing (by Debra Finch) is still going to happen today, 17h50 GMT on BBC Radio 3, but without Alex. 

Sad faces all round.

Alex is tucked up in bed here at home, disappointed but stoic.  As his mother, I’m less stoic and more gutted to my very core, but I’m a tad more dramatic than he is.

He had a great time at NSDF, at least.  Silver linings and all that.

The show he was in (The Iconoclasts, from Dear Hunter Theatre) is available to watch in its preview form.  It was recorded last year but has changed quite substantially since then.  His big number has remained, however; you can find it at 48 minutes:

Alex On The Beeb!

13 Apr

Alex is going to sing live on Radio Three on Monday.

That’s on THE BBC – OUR NATIONAL BROADCASTING SERVICE!  THE BBC! BBC RADIO!  He has to TRAVEL DOWN TO LONDON!  On a TRAIN!

I’m not at all excited.

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I don’t have any details yet, except that he’ll be performing with Debra Finch, his singing partner in the last few Broadway shows he’s done; and it’s to promote their next show, Lerner & Loewe’s The Day Before Spring, which hasn’t had a full performance since 1953 – which is probably why the BBC is interested.

I’ll update this post with details when I have them.

In the meanwhile, picture me on Easter Monday, sitting glued to the radio all day – or TV, in this case, as everyone listens to the radio via their TV these days.  Or maybe glued to my phone, waiting for Alex to remember his doting mother, up in the northern wilds of Britain, anticipating that text which will tell her what time he’s going to be LIVE ON THE BBC (radio, admittedly; and not even the MAIN radio station, but STILL, it’s the BBC, you KNOW).

No, I’m not at all excited.

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