Saturday, 17 July 2010

Like Edam

I decided not to set my alarm and fell asleep last night before midnight, waking up at 11am. I obviously needed some sleep and have been pretty low energy all day. I thought tonight I might venture out on the town, although I’ve never been very good at making small talk with strangers, so I’ll probably just wander around for a bit and then return home for a mug of cocoa. I’m so tediously rock and roll!

I’m currently watching Tonight’s the Night with John Barrowman. Two young girls are murdering a song from the musical Wicked and the audience is going bananas. The girls seem thrilled to be there, which you can’t take away from them, but I’m not quite sure why the audience is cheering so wildly. I think a ripple of polite applause, just at the end of the song, would have been a much more appropriate response. There’s a lot to be said for sympathy applause, it puts people firmly in their place and makes them aware that they need to try harder. Dionne Warwick was also singing on the show, and even though the gusset seems to have dropped out of her voice, it’s good to know the old bird’s still ticking along, wearing those baseball caps and pencilling in those eyebrows.

John Barrowman is now singing Let’s Get Loud in front of a group of gyrating morons. It is intensely irritating and I've discovered a new found loathing for the man. I didn’t think my opinion of him could drop any lower after seeing him in Desperate Housewives, but I think this has to take the biscuit. To me, he is the epitome of shiny cheese. He is like Edam.

I’m not sure the programme is aimed at people like me. In fact, I’m not sure it’s aimed at anyone. It’s one of those BBC turkeys like Last of the Summer Wine or My Family that they continue to bring back because they’re scared of commissioning anything new or daring. Has anyone seen My Family with Zoe Wannamaker and Robert Lindsey? I think it may be in its 59th season. I watched it this week and spent all the time trying to work out whether the son in it was the same actor that a female friend of mine slept with on a North Sea ferry to Denmark. This surely means I wasn’t particularly engaged in what I was watching.

Television’s saving grace tonight, however, came in the form of young singer, ElizaDoolittle, who was on the Lottery Show. Her song, Pack Up is genuinely worth listening to. I don’t know what it is about this country and its ability to generate a seemingly endless parade of fascinating young female singer-songwriters. But she is no less talented than the likes of Paloma Faith and Duffy. And you can hear her song here.

Pepys was visited first thing in the morning by “an old, consumptive man”, who later revealed himself to be the infamous Mr Barlow, his dreaded predecessor at the Navy Office. For some reason, which has never been clear in my mind, perhaps out of kindness, perhaps just to get him out of the picture, Pepys offered to pay him a whole 50l year from his salary (which is about a 6th of the full amount) . This seemed to thrill the old man, who no doubt was just chancing his luck by stalking the young pretender.

Pepys took advantage of the good weather and sent all his belongings by cart to his new house. He followed later on, over-taking the removal carts “a-drinking at the Strand” on his way. Once installed in their new home in Seething Lane, Elizabeth was sent out to buy some food and came back with a quarter of Lamb, which they endeavoured to eat, but discovered it was “not half roasted”. Obviously an early form of take out. Pepys went back to Westminster by boat to do some work with Montagu, who had a stinking cold and sat in bed like a lummox all day. His last few sentences, however, bristle with pride. Pepys walked back to his new home with a linkboy, one of a set of young lads who made their living by holding torches in front of the well-to-do to light their way through the darkened streets of the capital. It’s probably worth quoting our hero in full:

"I went on foot with a linkboy to my home, where I found my wife in bed and Jane washing the house, and Will the boy sleeping, and a great deal of sport I had before I could wake him. I to bed the first night that I ever lay here with my wife."

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