Sunday, 22 May 2016

Benny Hill's

I woke up in a bit of a funk this morning, worried about money and thinking it might be time for me to find myself a job - any job - to tide me over for a few months until the next commission comes in. This is a periodic dilemma because, despite the fact that I have plenty of creative skills, I'm not sure any are particularly transferable in the big wide world! That said, I had this very conversation with a playwright recently who'd been forced to take a job in publishing to make ends meet after he'd had a child. His response was quite interesting: "I worried about that until I actually started work and then realised being a self-employed artist involved working a shitload harder than anyone with a "proper" job. Everyone's so lazy!"

Anyway, I sulked a bit, thought dark, dramatic thoughts for a while and then got over myself and went with Nathan to the wonderful Drayton Arms pub in Earl's Court to see a play which written by our good friend Daryl. It was directed by his husband, (Nathan's best man), Philip, and stage-managed, acted and produced by a big group of Nathan's friends whom he met doing drama in the Royal Airforce. Nathan, of course, wasn't actually in the airforce, but his nearest drama group as a youngster was at RAF Brize Norton and his years there were hugely formative.

The show was great fun. It was called Benny Hill's and was set in a drag cabaret bar in, I think, Benidorm. The show was a six-hander, with brilliant performances all round. The set, which was designed by Janie Ranger (who did the artwork for the London Requiem) was perfect, and reminded me of a little gay bar Philippa, Sam and I used to frequent when we stayed in Nerja many many years ago.

The Royal Airforce theatre club is a really very special organisation. They place a heavy emphasis on new writing and run an annual one act play festival where the theatre groups from different RAF bases get to compete with one another. The standard of everything I've seen which has emerged from the "RAFTA" umbrella has been very very high. I have some incredibly happy memories of the time I wrote music for their production of Much Ado About Nothing. The rehearsals were absolutely brilliant fun.

We chatted in the pub for some hours after the show. The barman apparently recognised Nathan and me from the wedding which I found rather astounding after all this time - particularly as we've both subsequently added a considerable amount of facial hair to our faces and taken a fair amount off our heads. Or at least Nathan has, who took a razor to his bonce this very morning!

We came home to a pasta bake and the Antiques Roadshow on catch-up.

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