Friday, 28 July 2017

Boy George and the Bard

I bumped into Boy George yesteday at a ludicrously crowded Euston tube station. He was sans makeup and trademark Philip Treacy hat and he was wearing a pair of sunglasses. I only actually recognised him from his tattoo. He was generous enough to greet me like an old friend, although I'm never sure he ever quite remembers my name. I think we all shared something rather special working on his musical, Taboo, and I think he feels the same way about his show as I do with Brass, namely that anyone who was attached to it, at any stage, became part of a fabulously dysfunctional life-long family. The writer of a show is the only person who is inextricably bound to the piece. Actors, directors and set designers merely pass through before switching their allegiances to the next big thing. The writer waves them off with a similar emotion, one assumes, to a mother waving her child off to school for the first time!

It must be profoundly horrifying to be so well-known and so utterly stuck in a crowded tube station. I don't know where the crowds had come from. The Northern line train which took me down there was almost empty.

I had a meeting in Wimbledon in the late morning and bought myself a cheese and onion pasty from Greggs, wondering, as I walked away feeling utterly replete, what alchemy goes into those little bags of calories which makes them, at certain times in your life, the most delicious food known to man.

I drove up to Warwickshire last night via the Burton Dassett hills just off the M40, which has to be one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen. The sky was cornflower blue, and, on a clear day, you can see for miles up there. Ridges of dark green grass tumble over miniature quarried cliffs and stretch towards a patchwork of cornfields on the horizon. It's so, so beautiful. 

From Burton Dassett, I drove to Wilmcote, just north of Stratford Upon Avon to pay some much-overdue respects to my Auntie Gill who died in 1996. It seems such a long time ago now. My Auntie Gill is responsible for the silver elephant I wear around my neck, whose "mother" was a little wooden elephant which was pressed into my mother's hand just before Gill died. When the original wooden elephant broke, someone in my mother's village turned it into a silver mould and ultimately created elephants for my mother and all three of her sons. When I visit Gill, I take my elephant off and let him sit on her grave, nibbling at the lichen, whilst I have a little natter.

Stratford Upon Avon is a very charming town which seems to have bitten off way more than its share of the beauty cake! It's so lovely to wander around at night. Glorious timber-framed houses. Ancient Victorian street lamps. There are all sorts of lovely spots down by the river, and the walkways down there are covered in glorious floor lights, some of which look like stars.

Opposite Shakespeare's Birthplace there's a shop which sells Christmas decorations. Is that a bit weird? I felt so...


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