Sunday, 20 March 2016

Waterloo Travelator

What a lovely day! I'm currently walking along the strange travelator which links the Northern and Jubilee lines at Waterloo Station. It's always fascinated me. It somehow feels really space age whilst maintaining more than a whiff of the 1980s. We shot an entire movement from the Busker Symphony films here. It featured various buskers moaning about their lot whilst a group of vocalists did some Swingle-singer do-be-dos in the background. All very surreal, but it was actually this film which gave the commissioning editor of A1: The Road Musical enough confidence to commission me to make that particular film. And it's the A1 film which led to the wedding... And so it goes on. So I am very grateful to this travelator!

I am also very grateful to my friend Tom for organising a little reunion of the cast of Big Book For Girls, a show I did at the Edinburgh Festival in 1994 and 1995. Twenty-one years on, and a lot of us are still great mates. We shared a very intense experience back then. We were at a rather informative stage of our lives, and working on a hit sell-out show at the festival. I guess everything felt rather easy and optimistic and we were living together, in the heady, decadent world of the festival, without any chaperones, or a sense of responsibility! If any of us got into trouble or had problems it was up to us to take care of each other. The young people of the NYMT are much more carefully looked after these days.

We did the show in the days before the festival became a corporate enterprise where there are more performers than audience members and everything is prohibitively expensive. In those days you could tip up to see an absolute donkey of a show which would make you howl with laughter for all the wrong reasons. We were living in the thick of it for four long, wonderful weeks. I remember those two summers as being some of the best days of my life.

There were five of us there today. Me and Tom, Jo, Annabelle and Gyuri. We had a blast talking about the old days whilst eating bowls of chips and nachos. I got a little hysterical at one point. Gyuri was telling us a really sad story, but one of the names he kept mentioning was so bizarre that I simply started laughing. The more inappropriate the laughter seemed, the more hysterical I became. It was like being in a school assembly again. I think perhaps I laugh when I'm uncomfortable because it stops me from bursting into tears.

Annabelle plays Kirsty in The Archers, who, I'm told by Archers fans, is currently rather pivotal in an important story which is developing with a character called Helen. It's astonishing how many people listen to the Archers and seem gripped by this particular storyline. I did my best to try and wheedle a few tit bits and spoilers out of Annabelle, but her lips are sealed. I have made it very clear that she is to help Helen out of whatever trouble Helen is in, because otherwise my dear friend Philippa will never forgive her. I think she got the message.

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