Tuesday, 31 July 2012

On Radio

The joys of radio are that all the people who act in radio plays are very nice - and also one has a laugh. I have not fathomed why this should be but it's true. I met some marvellous people in Manchester while doing the series Higher -where I play a woman who is long suffering and helpful (very similar to myself) This series is funny and written by a real academic so there … tune in

Afternoon Drama - Higher - Series 4

'Return of the comedy series by Joyce Bryant about the worst university in the UK - ranked 132nd in the academic league tables.'   Listen to the first episode - 'Clearing' - on iPlayer  (available until 6th August)

Next episode is on  Monday 6th August.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Heavy work and sexual enlightenment

I made my speaking debut at the Saddleworth Women’s Institute where I discovered that - to a man - every one of these stalwart members had read ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’. And there was me thinking I was being gently racy. In fact more than fifty hands shot up when I enquired (somewhat cautiously) if they had read this book of enlightenment and I was pleased to be told the book is now two for one in Smiths including free galaxy should I be interested.

So that’s a book group worth popping along to next time I’m passing by the moors.

But this wasn’t just a one way learning curve. Since I had been rashly invited up to talk about myself, I mentioned my daughter had been filming with Alan Partridge (sorry Steve) in his new film ‘King of Soho’ where her part had been promoted from prostitute to actress (understandably very proud) and where she had to do – I quote - ‘girl on girl action’ as well as wear a merkin (not to be associated knowingly with Firkin but then why would you?)

However when I enquired of the avid lady readers of Saddleworth if any of them knew what a merkin was I was greeted with a less unanimous reaction. Typically some members kindly explained to the less informed what a merkin did – which, I was pleased to observe, clearly demonstrates how the spirit of the WI is alive if not throbbing up north. When it was spelled out that a merkin served as a coverer upper for the private hair dept one lady in the front became stumped for the rest of my talk. She kept saying to her neighbour in mystified tones “but why would you want to?”

More good news in the enlightenment dept. I was presented with a pair of teapot book-ends in china – thankfully didn’t have to travel to said country to receive

More excitement at the Huffington Post first birthday party where I got caught up in the hip tingling sounds of the Noisettes - a welcome awakening I can tell you. I star-spotted Ken Livingstone in a crumpled beige linen number and Peter Tatchell who I noted opted for dark and white clothing on this special occasion. I remained on water and yet still jiggled. I even participated in great conversations which I can still remember - another first.
This is me finding my inner jiggle with an
amazingly invigorating NOISETTE … 

And now to tackle the lanes with the circles on them – or rather not tackle since Boris will charge me if I go in them - but I’m not going to be cowed. I’m going about my business as usual in my Ford Escort - Olympian presence or no. The only difference now is a new awakening in the joys of sports wear and it’s going to grow...I have just spent a bit of extra on quality lined leggings – I can now boast a shortened rouched mini trouser length with a hidden aertex gusset that lets you BREATHE … no merkin required …

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Party Time

I was a ‘plus one’ for the HARPER COLLINS summer party – being reliably informed this was THE ONE to go to. Indeed it was – as thus far have not been acquainted with any other invite with the words ‘Summer’ or ‘Party’ It was to be held in the Orangery and since my invitation went to the wrong house number (I think this was an accident, but who knows?) - I assumed it was the Orangery where I had already been lucky enough to attend a book launch and a wedding ie a Posh greenhouse in Holland Park. So I buy high wedge shoes. I meet my friend. I insert wedge shoes on both feet at door and we are welcomed with a tumbler of elderflower cordial. (We could have had champagne but I am temporally off sauce and my friend doesn’t drink). A kind waitress offered to walk me to the lavvy which was right, right and right again – understandably I needed help given mild dyslexia but mostly due to the wedge shoes.
Quite high for a person used to wearing Scholl sandals or clogs
 and not a million miles from a cork notice board

When Diane timidly suggests the venue is smaller than last year, I say ‘Rubbish! This is The Orangery because I’ve been here before and anyway it says ‘Orangery’’.  Suddenly it dawned on us that the kind folk with shy smiles and gestures of middle class hospitality were not in fact members of the Harper Collins literati –i.e. no soft linen sports jackets and pashminas. Dianne firmly said ‘This isn’t the right party’. We panic. We then learn there is another Orangery in Kensington Palace. I reinstate my flip flops in order to walk to the road and hail a taxi. Our taxi driver is dripping. Diane suggests he lie on the grass in the nude to cool off.  He is polite. We now enter another Orangery - a hallowed party of proven wordsmiths, agents and others who have given their lives to the infrastructure of publishing and its testing demands. Did I say I am not drinking? (A temporary pause as I inch my way down to a normal size.) This means I can not slide into a alcohol fused banter where no one minds what one says because one looks glazed and benign. I am shocked to discover that for the first time in twenty years I am almost tongue tied. Had a good exchange with Nick Cohen – who sadly absented himself for a fag. And even though I had a catch up with Tracy Chevalier who has been fellow judge (darling), when I encountered Jonathon Lloyd (Curtis Brown literati and scribe) in a group he also left to circulate. My presence is causing a departure of guests – it’s now happened TWICE.    I back out smiling.  I walk past the mini-meringues without even stopping to pop one in bag.

Pic taken by Diane J Connell. She consumed 7 meringues and 8 éclairs.
 Fifteen sweet units in all - but I suspect it was a bit more.

I sail into a taxi still smiling. In my bed by 9.15 and ready for Jeremy Paxman.   Next challenge the Saddleworth Women’s Institute without a bevvy - can it be done?