Friday, 29 January 2010

Quiztopher Biggins

I’m crammed into a car surrounded by bags, sweet wrappers, water bottles, Nathan, Hilary and Philippa. We’re heading towards my parents’ village – just south of Cambridge - to take part in a quiz. But this isn’t just any quiz. This is a Thaxted village quiz. It will take part in the village hall and it will be hard core. To cheat would be to flirt with death! I can't wait.

The comedy last night was actually pretty good. It was more a surreal sketch-based drama than the stand up I was dreading and there was enough decent acting in it for me to focus on enjoying that rather than trying to interpret the jokes! It was a weirdly star-studied audience for such a tiny venue. A quick glance around revealed I was in the company of comedians, impressionists, shoe designers and a Pet Shop Boy!

Went for a meal afterwards with Matt and his wonderfully quirky friend and then met Nathan out of Naked Boys Singing, which is the show he’s doing in rep with Nunsense. As I sat waiting for him to emerge in the foyer of the Arts Theatre, a number of people with rather flushed faces were creeping out; “it wasn’t really for me” one of them mumbled, apologetically. Not sure what he was expecting from a show called Naked Boys Singing! Apparently the full frontal nudity in the show attracts a fair number of hen parties, and of course, a smattering of the dirty mackintosh brigade. Some of the things that have been found in the auditorium after the show would make a grown man shudder!

350 years ago, Pepys spent much of the day looking over his accounts. He was fanatically organised when it came to money and at any given moment would know the value of his worldly goods down to the last penny. At the end of every month, there was usually an entry dedicated to summing up his finances, sometimes involving intricate lists revealing how he’d spent his money from the most expensive piece of jewellery, right down to the cheapest of notebooks. One of the joys of the diary is watching these end of month figures rising, first very slowly and then escalating almost out of hand as Pepys rapidly became a very wealthy man. On the 29th January he was worth £40. Within ten years he’d be worth more than £10,000; a figure which would enable any 17th Century man to retire and live a life of absolute luxury!

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