Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans


Tomorrow I stop. Just for one day. Wouldn’t want any more, but 24 quiet hours…ooooh yes please …

… I read excerpts from Dracula to open Tricks and Treats, a great cabaret night, on Halloween, then rushed off to a friend’s wedding. The cabaret was magic and I wish I’d been able to stay, but you can’t miss a Halloween wedding. Actually, because he was getting married, I couldn’t hassle Nige to get his coffin for Dracula, as was my original plan, but it went well anyway. Aidy was there which always makes things good - Dyl had a sleepover. In fact we rushed to Vaults after Trick or Treating with Aidy’s mates.

I feel incredibly lucky that I can take both my boys to most of the things I do and they see what I do and they see me happy. It’s not always been that way.

I missed the second half of Tricks and Treats, which is a pity - Nikki Loy looked especially good.

That night led to an interesting few days. Aidy was sick in the middle of the night (I know, I know, it was probably because he was up late and eating late), so next day we took the sick-covered sheets to the laundry. We got back to the boat, I stepped onto the gangplank and knew a split second before it slipped off the boat that it was going to slip off the boat. Managed a ‘Noooooo’ before I was up to my eyes in swamp water. Two lovely clean bags of washing still in my hands. Aidy trying not to laugh as I came out like the swamp monster. And I tell the guys every time not to step onto the gangplank before checking it. Dried myself off, then back to the laundry for a retake.

By the way, my phone was soaked (as was everything else) and I couldn’t sort out a new one the next day. It didn’t work for 24 hours, then started working again and it’s fine. Lesson in this disposable, throwaway society we live in. Rest your appliances and they will come back to you - I remember a toaster stopped working once, I left it where it was for six months, then tried it and it worked perfectly. Think I’ve still got it.

Then, I headed for London for a reading of a new play by my mate Simon Farquhar. He’s a really good playwright, living in London and from Aberdeen. His Rainbow Kiss was on at the Royal Court in 2006, and was directed by Will Frears in New York. Will wants to do Simon’s new play, Guilty Parties, in New York, and organised a reading to work out what needs working on.

So, I turn up for the reading only for the landlady of the pub we were using to say …”Oh, that’s tomorrow!” I have NEVER done that before. Still, I was just glad it was that way round and I hadn’t turned up a day late. And it wasn’t exactly my fault - the message did say the day I turned up on, but also the other date. Easy mistake to make.

It was worth it though, the reading was great fun, with a good bunch of people. I hope it was useful for Will and Simon and I hope Will remembers me when it comes to casting, though probably not for my Australian accent, which was possibly the worst Oz accent ever heard (I played four roles).

Then it was full on into Collider by Shaun McCarthy. A play about vaudeville, burlesque and particle physics - and you don’t get many of them. I really like the writing, the roles are great and a great opportunity to get your teeth into something. Hopefully we did that. We performed it on Saturday November 14, as the Uk premiere of the play, and the launch of the Oxford Saturday Matinee Club, Katie Read’s new theatre company. It felt like a good opening night, but I really wanted more - next night I would have put a lot of tweaks right.

Still, Katie and Shaun are now trying to fix up a mini tour, hopefully taking in Bath, Bristol, Oxford and London. And then there’s always Shaun’s next play…..

I managed to find time for Alexa’s 30th birthday in London. Sarah, Will and I even found a great chippy on the way, cos the restaurant was a bit refined for our taste. I won best ‘outfit’ for my comedy suit which harks back to the original Miami Vice of Don Johnson and the guy who played Tubbs. Knew it would come in handy again.

I thought I might get a chance to slow down after Collider, but last week was a bit hectic. It started on Sunday with the 3rd Anniversary of Andrew and Tom taking over at the Jam Factory. And also the start of Tom’s long goodbye - he’s off to the states in January. Space hopper races, water fights, guitar hero. Suddenly it’s 4.30am. And I’m up at 7 for work. Still, made it across the gangplank OK.

Monday night was George Chopping’s cabaret  night at the Chester Arms. I turned up and he asked me if I wanted to do anything. Because I was knackered (and only planned yo stay for half an hour) I said I’d just watch, then as Tamara Parsons Baker, Henry Stead and Huck did their thangs I really really wanted to do something. I asked George if I could but there was a full programme. I should have known that I would pick up and find energy when the guys came on. I learned a valuable lesson that night - George is a shit!

Tuesday we had a meal at Hester’s. I had pulled out of a physical theatre piece I was going to be doing through the Oxford Actor’s Network. I’ve never done that before, and I didn’t do it lightly, but the group we were supposed to be collaborating with were shifting grains of sand and it just wasn’t what I signed up for. I was worried about the quality of the other work we were being showcased alongside, and I just didn’t want to be part of the night for various reasons. Knowing what I now know, I’m very glad, but I always knew the decision that had to be made and that it was the right one.

Wednesday I went to a buddhist discussion group. Actually this was another slight mistake on my part. I thought it was a buddhist meditation meeting which might have been perfect for the exhaustion I was suffering from. But it was good. I did get slightly fed up listening to one woman who was talking about all the things that had gone wrong in her life. She put her money into all these get-rich quick schemes and her friends bailed her out, then she did this and her friends were there for her, then she tried this and her friends came to her rescue. Now she’s just going to ‘be’ and ‘go with the flow’. I just thought “Take responsibility for your own life and stop relying on the generosity and kindness of your friends. When does it ever go the other way.” I don’t suppose it helped that she reminded me of an ex-in law relative of mine who is probably the only person I can think of that I can’t stand. She’s just so selfish, manipulative, ego-centric and wrapped up totally in her own needs. I guess if you’re brought up being told you are never wrong, then that’s what happens. But don’t get me started on that…..

Thursday I went for an Indian meal with Kersti, Tom, Tim, Zara, Emma, Sid and his girlfriend to debrief after Tricks and Treats. We were royally entertained by Sal, a Pakistani Elvis impersonator - award winning at the Edinburgh fringe no less.

Friday was Ros’s birthday. That involved painting to poetry and yogic laughter. Great fun.

Now, I’m off to Charlbury for a one-off return in Alan Fraser’s poetry evening. Not sure what I’m reading yet, better go and work it out.

See ya! X