I’m regarded as a cat lover – I don’t regard myself as a cat lover, just a cat ‘mug’. The current furball, known unoriginally as ‘Molly’, came from our local animal charity ‘BARK’ – Berwick Animal Rescue Kennels. They have a good value shop in town and I only went in to pick up a few bargains and yet somehow by the time I’d left I’d promised to take in a homeless cat. See what I mean? ‘Mug’. Long-haired, black with an auburn sheen in the summer, she has a tail just like a feather duster. She’s a bit dense but being beautiful gets away with it – like a girl you might find at ‘Stringfellow’s’ night-club. On the whole she’s well behaved but at first ripped off the wallpaper in the hallway that I can neither afford to have someone replace nor am I well enough to redo it myself. So now I have a tramp’s hallway, black fur everywhere and have spent a fortune in those sticky roller things trying to control it. Ho hum. She’s sat by my side right now, as she usually is, waiting for the excitement of my moving. Change of subject: MLM is wanting to go to a quiz night tonight but I’m feeling wrecked so we’ll see. I haven’t been able to do any music for over 2 weeks and we’ve a couple of open mic nights on this weekend so I’d like to save my energies for that – and for picking the black fur out my mouth.
PS: I don’t know what they’re like now but ‘Stringfellow’s’ used to pay their live musicians a pittance – very disrespectful.
Sometimes I worry about my dreams – they are too weird. Today I wrote a musical play in my sleep, rehearsed it with the actors ‘n’ everything. The props department came to me with a problem: they said they could manage the spaceship (!) I’d written into the opening scene but they were having problems making the pretzel shaped pterodactyl that I'd ordered. A pretzel shaped pterodactyl?
MLM (My Lord & Master) and I hadn’t been going out long when I had a serious interaction with one of his skirts…Let me explain.
MLM is seriously into his martial arts and very good at it. He’s a second dan in aikido, not one of the most famous types of martial art but very interesting. He was one of the coaches at St Andrew’s University in Scotland’s Aikido Club until he moved home away from the area. Obviously they don’t do their jumping about in a business suit and tie but in those white pyjama things with a coloured belt around the middle (black in his case). One evening MLM tells me he needs some sewing done to his new aikido outfit and would I oblige? Ever happy to show off my only feminine skill I suggest he slip into the outfit and I’d look at the problem. Well, dear readers, not wanting to shock any of you, but he re-enters the room wearing - a SKIRT! – a long, black evening number.
"That’s a skirt!" I yell, ever observant and alert. "No, it’s not, it’s traditional Japanese dress." "It’s a skirt!" "No, it’s not, it’s traditional…" And on we went…we are known for the high quality of our debating skills.
The SKIRT was trailing on the floor and needed taking up and I dutifully obliged. I was later to see him at his aikido club and sure enough, the higher graded practitioners wore these skirt things over their white pyjamas and only someone as deeply ignorant as myself would refer to ‘skirts’ or ‘pyjamas’.
I saw video footage of some of MLM’s tests he went through for his upgrading to second dan and I was so impressed. You know how in films you see the good guy being ‘attacked’ by a whole bunch of baddies and throwing them off even though he’s outnumbered, well that’s what MLM was doing but this wasn’t choreographed with camera cuts; this was the real thing. Five blokes (in skirts) were attacking him at the same time, he had no idea what they were going to do, but he was throwing them off him and they couldn’t get near. It was REALLY something, amazing. He’s a clever guy.
(Personally, though, if a bloke in a skirt attacked me I’d just threaten to pull it off and expose his stockings and suspenders underneath!)
Here's a link to a site that has put up a few paragraphs by me. It's a fantastic, comprehensive site dedicated to our British theatrical institution of 'pantomime': that's a family Xmas show based on a fairytale where good battles evil and the princess always marries the prince at the end. For most people it's their first experience of theatre as children so holds a special place in their memories.
The article itself just talks about the positive side of the experience, not, as I've written in my autobiography, about the then hidden, sinister side. I would go on stage twice a day in front of thousands of people and act out scenes where our 'wicked uncle' would try and murder my 'stage brother' and I, then I'd go home to where my parents would regularly take my real brother and I to the very edges of death...and they all wondered how I could act the part on stage so well...
Anyone my age (born 1962) living in the UK has surely watched the ‘6 Million Dollar Man’ and the original ‘Bionic Woman’ TV shows. In the seventies we had 3 channels to choose from so everyone watched the same thing and everyone could quote those opening lines: "Steve Austin, a man barely alive…" We thought 6 million dollars a huge amount – now it might just buy you a little two up two down house in London – and I thought the actor Lee Majors inscrutably handsome.
I had a poster of him on my bedroom door ("Put it there, Hazel, don’t want you spoiling the wallpaper") to draw my eye away from the cold blue old lady flower wallpaper on my walls. Later he was joined by a poster of Starsky and Hutch (this one given the honour of masking said wallpaper). I sometimes wonder if Mr Austin influenced my later choice in men as I seemed to keep going for men ‘barely alive’ until, too late, I sussed out the alternative. Lee famously went on to marry Farrah Fawcett so must have got something right himself, but not for long as they were soon parted. Farrah was everything I wasn’t: blonde, tall, lean and soooo American looking – cow!
When the original Bionic Woman came out it gave my strange Great Aunt Annie nightmares. She couldn’t get the hang of the word ‘bionic’ and came up herself with alternative ‘bon-yock’ – which sound to me like it should be a Russian word for some kind of root vegetable you pickle. "Oh," she’d say, "I dreamt last night I was that Bon-yock Woman and I was a-leaping and jumping up into the air ever so high…"
It was with nostalgia I watched the new Bon-yock Woman series which has just started here in the UK. First episode not so bad, the second awful. Apart from Miguel (who I keep getting confused with that Chronicles of Riddick guy, Diesel Truck, or whatever his name is) no one can act. Bon-yock’s just buried her lover, you’d think she’d just been told she’d missed Macey’s Sale. The tough commando guy has a fey sounding speech impediment. MLM (My Lord & Master) doesn’t always get the hang of things and suggested that the actors were bad because they couldn’t afford to pay good actors! Doh! I said, this is HOLLYWOOD, there’s out of work actors everywhere you look who’d work for the same money or less and do a better job. MLM just looked confused…which is more than the Bon-yock actors could manage…