Saturday, 19 July 2014
Pangolin Villas, with state-of-the-art chalets in the beautifully landscaped gardens. Pangolin Villas, with what would be panoramic views over Glossop Brook if it weren't for a row of leylandii trees. Pangolin Villas, with what would be panoramic views over Glossop Brook if it weren't for a row of leylandii trees and several dark satanic mills...
Friday, 18 July 2014
Well hello, I’m Simon Mince and welcome to Stage Left, your weekly look at what’s the new rock ‘n ‘ roll in British theatre and I have with me tonight two of the biggest, most fantastic wonderful names in terms of board treading in the world.
First, the only, the one and only Sir Michael Rhubarb, 103 years young and still packing ‘em in as King Lear’s granddad in Toby Smartarse’s production of Neville Greville’s King Lear’s Granddad at the Very Old Vic….
Sir M: Mmmph.
And for the very first time on Stage Left, the exceptionally beautiful and captivating Miranda Fule, straight from her press – stopping performance as Madge Bunn in Barbara Cartland’s Its All Shite at the Goole Playhouse. Welcome Miranda!!
Let me start with you, Sir Michael. When you were a brilliant young actor, all those years ago, did you ever dream you’d one day play King Lear’s Grandad in such a fantastic and wonderful play?
Sir M: Mmmph. Well of course I didn’t, you little berk. By rights I should be brown bread by now or peacefully slavering in a home somewhere.
So what drives you still ?
Sir M: Mmmph. I’ll tell you what bloody well drives me sonny – a big bloke in a Merc, seven grasping ex-wives and a runaway cocaine habit. That’s what drives me!
Well there’s a brilliantly straight- talking Sir Michael for you! Miranda – I suppose even such a towering dramatic presence as your lovely self must be pretty excited about the reviews of your powerful performance in Its All Shite?
M: It’s a job, innit?
But weren’t you surprised at the grittiness of the piece, coming as it does from someone more associated with hearts and flowers?
M: Yeah, well, she’s dead now innit so we altered it a bit, right?
Really? How exciting! For those who haven’t seen it yet – in what way?
M: Well, me getting’ me kit off for a start.
Yes indeed. That must have been a first for Goole.
M: Not really, I’ve ‘ad me kit off all over the place and Goole more than once.
And the farting. Tell me about the farting.
M: Yeah well, that was Jaz’s idea. He’s a real old perv.
By Jaz, of course you mean Charles Tightfit the director and one-time collaborator of Matthew Bourne’s?
M: That’s ‘im.
Tell me, didn’t Charles, er Jaz once suggest having live turkeys dance Swan Lake?
M: Yeah, but they crapped everywhere and couldn’t do high kicks.
Which is a neat link back to Its All Shite, right? Oh my goodness, I’m breaking into rhyme, ha ha ha….
M: You’re a bit of a wanker really, innit?
Sir M: Mmmnph. Too bloody right he is. Tell you what Belinda, or whatever your name is, get some clothes on and let’s nip across the road for a quick snifter then maybe a line or two back at my hotel… no need to zip anything up….
Stage Left was a Precious Head up Bum Production for BBC Radio 4 and Simon Mince will be back again at the same time next week unless we can find somebody a bit less fawning.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Pangolin literary editor, Kevin Scragg, has asked some of the country's top writers what they will be taking this year to read on the beach:
Experience has taught me never to go anywhere without packing a paperback edition of my prize-winning trilogy, set in North London. In it the writer chronicles a journey of self-discovery, beginning with Muswell Ill and the harrowing choices faced by a fledgling writer trapped in the body of a chubby adolescent. Its sequel, Muswell Pill, weaves an extraordinary narrative from the temptations and tribulations of life as lived in Swinging London. Muswell Still is the wistful, bitter-sweet memoir of a youthful spirit held against its will in the body of an ageing but loveable step-grandmother.
I shall be taking Thrice Neigh, Antonia Pluke-Anstruther's monumental and definitive study of 18th century horse wormer syringes.
Poolside in Tuscany, I will have beside me as ever the 3-volume compact edition (1987) of the Oxford English Dictionary plus magnifying glass, along with Wisden, of course, and a book of log tables.
I shan't be without a copy of Thrust, Anthony Quirke-Burke's latest bonkbuster, set in Magaluf.
I can't wait to get my hands on Naomi Piddock's Nemesis. This year I have set myself the challenge of reading a Naomi Piddock right to the end. As most readers will be aware, this small volume picks a short route over familiar territory, covering ground tackled more sensitively and more extensively in my own writing over recent years. Fans of my work will enjoy spotting common links, shared thinking and maybe the odd plagiarism. It's a book I look forward to reviewing for the autumn.
Monday, 14 July 2014
Justin here. I have been asked by the Editor to pen a few thoughts on the Synod’s decision to create female Bishops in the Church of England. Whilst I’m sure, dear reader that for you, my thoughts once every few days is quite enough, my esteemed Editor insisted.
Well naturally I am delighted that we have been able to overcome the divisive disagreements of yesteryear and that the injustice of male supremacy has at last been successfully challenged and I leave the wise and learned gathering with the words of “If You Were the Only Girl in the World” ringing in my ears.
But I would counsel caution. As (as the young man with the wire in his ear puts it) head of this operation, I do know of female clergy out there whose personal doctrines and beliefs might place them beyond the pale in terms of a Bishopric. (The young man with the wire in his ear feels a change in terminology is needed there). I feel I must name names – as Jesus would have done – even though this might cause further upset.
The Rev Edith Bagnall of All Saints Glossop, whilst still receiving a stipend, has not been seen since 2009 except for an inconclusive video stemming, it would seem, from Magaluf.
The Rev. Briony Lampeter-Wuff, lately of St Mona’s Bletchley, a qualified archaeologist and Wall of Death rider, who when not writing papers on what type of vinegar was offered to Our Lord, follows Ramsbottom’s Flying Circus around the country so, like the Rev Bagnall, is permanently in absentia.
Finally, the Rev Muriel McGimp who, on the one hand looks remarkably like ex-Archbishop Carey, but on the other is presently on remand in a prison somewhere in England, accused of organising Scots pro-independence terrorist cells and of manufacturing exploding haggis.
I offer these words in all good faith and pray for the wise counsel of the selection panel to prevail.
Saturday, 12 July 2014
Justin here. You might imagine, dear reader, my confusion and surprise at the statement by one of my predecessors that he now approves of the idea of assisted dying. The young man with the wire in his ear was alerted by my anguished cries of “Oh golly-gosh!” and when I briefly explained the reason for my concern, he immediately set about making a list of suitable candidates which included the Prime Minister, a Mr Roy Hodgson, the entire cast of The Archers and Peppa Pig. Of course, I quickly told him that those offered assisted dying had to be terminally ill in the first place. The young man with the wire in his ear said that he or any one of his colleagues could arrange that.
I felt that I would rather mull the issue privately; to find out what Jesus would have done – I mean, after all, Our Lord didn’t go about the place knocking off the sickly, did he? Quite the contrary, he miraculously re-arranged the alive/dead/alive situation for Lazarus, did he not? So I deftly changed the subject and asked him what he thought of England’s record-breaking last wicket stand at Trent Bridge. He merely grunted (he hates cricket) and strode away down the garden to assist my lady wife who had got herself entangled in the hosepipe during a bit of early watering.
This left me free to pray and ponder. I call it prayondering. I confess that I remain confused and unsure about Lord Carey’s statement, although I have made decisions about certain imminent events. Next month sees our annual Palace Flower Show. This year I am determined to avoid the debacle of 2013 when the winner, Delroy “Blades” McGuffie was shown to have purchased his winning bouquet from the nearby Esso filling station. The young man with the wire in his ear has access to some sort of technical device which can detect artificial dye, so he will be on this year’s judging panel as will my lady wife who has promised to stay awake.
And I look forward very much to the annual inter-parish co-denominational cricket match. Like last year’s flower show, the 2013 match was marred, it has to be said, by some idiosyncratic umpiring decisions by our Papist brothers. Normally, a good length ball, delivered within the crease, which avoids the batsman and removes all three stumps would be given OUT. Under the eagle eye of Father Desmond d’Eath -18 stones and six foot seven - this situation when applied to his own batsmen was decreed NOT OUT. They went on to win . Five hundred runs for one wicket (Father deEath) in 20 overs. This year I am keen to avoid this sort of thing, though I know not how. The young man with the wire in his ear suggested that as quite a few of the players are not in the spring of their lives, a little long-distance assisted dying might be advisable. I really must grasp the nettle in his regard. I believe he means well. But certainly not to everybody.
So, on with the spiritual struggle...