Friday, 8 August 2008

To the one...

For the one I love dearly,
It pains me not to be able to have this read during the service...

A Pink Wool Knitted Dress

In your pink wool knitted dress
Before anything had smudged anything
You stood at the altar. Bloomsday.

Rain- so that a just-bought umbrella
Was the only furnishing about me
Newer than three years inured.
My tie- sole, drab, veteran RAF black-
Was the used-up symbol of a tie.
My cord jacket- thrice-dyed black, exhausted,
Just hanging on to itself.

I was a post-war, utility son-in-law!
Not quite the Frog Prince. Maybe the Swineherd
Stealing this daughter's pedigree dreams
From under her watchtowered searchlit future.

No ceremony could conscript me
Out of my uniform. I wore my whole wardrobe-
Except for the odd, spare, identical item.
My wedding, like nature, wanted to hide.
However- if we were going to be married
It had better be Westminster Abbey. Why not?
The Dean told us why not. That is how
I learned that I had a Parish Church.
St George of the Chimney Sweeps.
So we squeezed into marriage finally.
Your mother, brave even in this
US Foreign Affairs gamble,
Acted all bridesmaids and all guests,
Even- magnanimity- represented

My Family
Who had heard nothing about it.
I had invited only their ancestors.
I not even confided my theft of you
to a closest friend. For Best Man- my squire
To hold the meanwhile rings-
We requisition the sexton. Twist of outrage:
He was packing children into a bus.
Taking them to the zoo- in that downpour!
All the prison animals had to be patient
While we were married.

You were transfigured.
So slender and new and naked.
A nodding spray of wet lilac.
You shook, you sobbed with joy, you were ocean depth
Brimming with God.
You said you saw the Heavens open
And show you riches, ready to drop upon us.
Levitated beside you, I stood subjected
To a strange sense: the spellbound future.

In that echo-gaunt, weekday chancel
I see you
Wrestling to contain your flames
In your pink wool knitted dress
And in your eye-pupils- great cut jewels
Jostling their tear-flames, truly like big jewels
Shaken in a dice-cup and held up to me.

Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters

Monday, 23 June 2008

The Day of the Diva

Sitting by an open window always gives one the feeling of great achievement, taking in a deep breath and allowing the fresh air to blow serenely onto your face. When in actual fact all you have done are the things you do naturally, you have no control on the weather. Or control over the fact that to survive a human has to inhale Oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. I suppose the act of opening ones window, and the state of mind you are in while partaking in such activities could be classed as a sense of achievement. But only if you’re general state of mind puts you a notch above a chimpanzee… And without any further ado, we are back where we started, the same frame of mind that propelled one to open the damn window in the first place.

The day started perfectly normal, well normal if you are my cat. I woke pretty early as we have guests whom are not used to this city, so I thought the best thing to do was wake early and see them on their way. The alarm, which I did indeed set so no one else can be blamed, went off ridiculously early… 7:30. Who is awake at 7:30 on a Monday morning?? Anyway, I switched it off and curled over, making sure the duvet covered my head sufficiently enough to block out both the light and noise. Thus giving me more time in which to complain about it later in the day. (That was the normal bit I mentioned not the waking early). Anyway that was all shot to shit as the noise from several people taking showers and insisting on giving renditions, if a little less Maria Callas more Michelle McManus, of La Traviata. Please forgive me but I am damned if I want to woken by ‘Libiamo ne’lieti calici’, and not by my alarm clock. If I wanted to be woken at all I would have acknowledged the alarm with gratitude and sheer joy. But I didn’t, so I didn’t.

By 8:30 everyone was washed, dressed, cleaned and spruced and ready to leave in their finery for the day. Me however was just about stable on my feet. I threw on yesterday’s clothes, draped a pashmina around my neck then adorned sunglasses, a necessity I found when one has a headache. And I can tell you; today one had a very big headache. We left the house and made our way to the train station. Guests were put onto a train and I was nearly put into a coma, stupid bloody trains… this is London not some remote country village, no need for loud whistles and train horns! This state of shock put me completely off my morning coffee, so you can imagine how bad it was. I eventually made my way back home, picked up the mail, kicked out the cat and carried out my best impression of Norma Desmond by dramatically collapsing onto the sofa as if in a silent movie. I then realised the cleaner was coming and that we had run out of black bin bags, apparently another necessity. So I had to go to the local supermarket. Intending to spend nothing except the few pounds on the bags, I inevitably left with a ton of cleaning products, I’m sure the cleaner steals them, enough food to feed an army, some scented candles and a new serving bowl. Of course when I got home I noticed I had forgotten the bin bags. I blame the alarm clock.

I eventually mustered the energy to make myself an Earl Gray, just as the cleaner arrived, and I’ve been sitting here ever since, by the open window. The cleaner, whose name I don’t know is currently do the ironing. The one good thing about her is that she doesn’t speak. She’ll be off soon, and I wonder what on earth I am to do with my day… I dare say I maybe very proactive, and watch re-runs of Ground Force.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

A night of endless dreaming

As the man lay there, all the thoughts of days previous seem to linger like the smell of mothers cooking… seemingly for hours yet somehow managing to escape before fully savouring each moment. Without lighting the room he drew back the bed clothes, knowing as he did so thoughts that plagued him would be removed. Each naked foot hit by a sudden wall of coldness. Each bare leg engulfed in the feeling of power, as though brought out of retirement. Each vertebrae aligning themselves as only memory would allow. The hands, wrists and arms all gracing, and savouring each gesture of performing this one last time, with only the sheer darkness as an audience.

The man walked out of the dark room, through the passages of his home and into a realm full of light. The light felt so warm, as warm as any bosom owned by a new sleeping babe. The light was bright and yet somehow remained so soft. The room was full of objects of his memory, a bed that his mother slept in, a basket he used to fill with blackberries. A picture of a girl and her dog, his Grandmother kept in her hall. The cream woollen rug he used to fall asleep on in front of the fireplace, after coming home from school. A pair of dancing shoes he had never returned after a school show. The same shoes that had once started him on the road that would eventually fulfil every hope and emotion he would ever face.

He reached his hand forward and picked up the shoes. For a moment he held them, still, motionless. Too afraid to move as all the energy once belonging to them slowly started filling the space around him. He raised his arm, and allowed his head to second the motion. Before he knew what had happened, the once silent room was filled with the sound of music. The shoes had managed to possess the thoughts and feelings of the man that had once owned them. He started remembering the ways in which he would dance while wearing the shoes. Remembering the ways in which he would feel during every step he’d take. He replaced the shoes onto his feet, allowing them to return to their rightful place. And, with the music that had been summoned by his thoughts, he started to dance.

He swayed and tilted. Turned and glided. Leaped and swooped. Each time feeling all the strength of his heart, urging the feet to press onward. Reminding the feet of how they used to be the epicentre of the body’s power. On hearing the sound of the overture, he instinctively started to dance the steps of his greatest role. The passion and intrigue of his character instantly filled his every limb. Each bar of music instructed an order of movement, the role was his once more. As he moved through each sequence the more he started to feel the abandonment of a soul full of desire. The desire to take forth and fly as high as he could with the wings he had been given. The light formed once more into darkness, but the music continued playing, and the body continued to listen. The feet still owned the power of movement. The head still owned the glimmer of passion. And the heart started to rekindle its love affair with desire.

As time wore onward, the shoes kept dancing, the heart kept urging, the head still reminisced. The music slowly reached for its dramatic climax, and, encouraging the forces, they continued to climb together. They continued the journey through time, through memory of movement. The man continued to dance through the darkened space, trusting the music and his soul. The music slowly started to fade, in the same way as the light. The shoes started to squeeze his feet outward, through the tops of the canvas. As if they couldn’t take any more. They wanted to return to the spot they had been found. The man struggled in the darkness to keep his balance as the feet and shoes feuded against one another. Each trying to omit control. The sides of his head also started to squeeze. Pushing the temples as far as they could inwards, towards the point the memories had started. The music started up again, this time much louder and crass. The light returned but was no longer soft as before. Each fragment no longer worked happily side by side, but struggled to find the power of control.

The man’s body could remain upright and he dropped to the ground instantly. As he did so the pain stopped. The light vanished and the music ceased. The moment was silent. Nothing stirred. The man lay there in the darkness, feeling nothing, seeing nothing, hearing nothing. Alone as he had started, with only the thoughts of the days previous…

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

'Driving around in an automobile...'

It has officially been seven weeks since I started rehearsals for S.I.T.S. And so far it has been eventful. Although officially only five weeks of performances ,but we have already covered 18 venues, 3 countries and a total of 99 hours in a van. That is a lot of traveling while being cooped up into a space 1.5 meters x 1.5 meters. 
In short this week off is mostly spent releasing any trapped frustration. Mostly by baking, walking in the opposite direction, knitting the odd stitch, smashing the odd plate and making lemonade.

Overall the shows are going well, I suppose. Except when you've driven 8 hours to west Scotland, done a get in, performed a show, done the get out, then spent the next 9 hours traveling to south Wales to find yourself up a hill, in the middle of nowhere, out of petrol. Stopping for the night in a service station Travel Lodge, driven another hour to the venue, done a get in to be told you have an audience of 4!!

And breathe.

The only solice I found in these troubled times were the knowing the weekend was being spent in my home town with family and friends. And the knowledge that the four performances in Harrogate actually had an audience. 

"It's harder getting a ticket for 'Sword in the Stone', than it is to see David Tennant".

Needless to say the two days after the welsh debacle were spent with humans and alcohol. Although I've realised one small problem with this tour.... 


But I have to admit that it's rather fun playing an autistic 12 year old. 

Monday, 7 January 2008

In this world that we trust...

With such an interesting, and unpredictable 2007, I can only help but wonder what this new year has in store. No sooner do we countdown with Big Ben than the year already throws to us some unexpected challenges.

This time last year I was about to embark on an altering journey throw the realms of Laura Ashley sofas and fabric, find a new meaning to love, and join forces with a band of rebellious Femme Fatal es up north and fall from a stool through a wall. Discover new productions and the value of solidarity... All the while, fighting a head on battle with 'He who shall not be named'*.

Twelve months ago I didn't how to defy gravity or realise how strong the market for porn was in this volatile world. Or what you can do with a B.A. in English! I had never seen Silvia Plath's art work and had never left the English shore.

I had never been in a white transit with a man I'd never met. Never found such hilarity in a drunken man at a bus stop: "Are you two together? Blut, blut". I hadn't yet seen how Dickens and Shakespeare could be compared or how beautiful Whitby could be. I hadn't yet seen the fabulous light of blossoming friendships and luxury... Or even heard that Dirty Dancing was now a 'classic play on stage'.

I invariably had more hair, less money, and slightly more sanity.

Now the man with a van is a co-star and employer with my new job. I cant go a day without singing about visiting a wizard... But I'm not gay...

Lets hope that the year to come has just as many twists and turns, that can only ever endeavor to make me the person I've become...

*See previous blog. June/July.

Friday, 9 November 2007

A Crime of Passion

Time 10:34
Location: Aldywch

I rush like hell, fighting off all others to reach my locker before the cattle arrive. I withdraw my belongings and run to higher ground.

Time 10:54
Location: Embankment

Shit shit fuck!!! Missed the tube!

Time 11:34
Location: Tooting Bec

Bus due in 3mins

Time 12:03
Location: La Sofa

I lift the lid and log on.... Dean is... realising his life is being spent through the dictatorship of Facebook!!!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

An ode to Dodie...

I am writting this sitting at the dining table. A fresh bouquet of autumnal, rust coloured flowers, with cream rose buds peering around each spray, are proudly sitting in a ceramic jug in the centre of the table. Beside the jug of flowers is a silver candlestick with an elegant cream taper... All of set off with our new Laura Ashley Wallpaper. Wilton in Cranberry.

Im telling you this as today I feel a strange sense of self, a feeling of security. Im sat writting sipping a cup of tea from a china mug, Director Boy is busy sorting out paperwork for his forth coming production at the Arcola, and the cleaner is busy making our, Im appalled to say, somewhat dilapidated kitchen, look like it has just been installed.

She is blonde. Young. And possibly Polish. She has an accent which sounds distinctly Polish or Czech. Today is her first day and she has spent the past three hours hidden in the kitchen. We, I use we in the royal sense, thought that she would perform magic all over the house, that was until we realised just how many lifeforms were cohabiting on our work surfaces. Kim and Aggie would have a field day.

But the reason I feel secure is because today, life has slowed to a pace of actual reality. Today I realised how my life is and in what direction it is travelling. Whether or not the direction is the right direction, remains to be seen, still it is a direction.

Although I have to admit I feel distinctly like Monica in Friends when she gets a cleaner. My role as 'Mum' seems to be challenged. I keep going into the kitchen for a jug to water the plants, again. Checking Guy's room for something important, just to hear what noises are coming from inside the room that is being cleaned.

If she turns up wearing my jeans...

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Behind closed doors... each to their own

Three men sitting in a bar. Yorkshire man, a cornish man and a hungarian.

Cornish: Would you ever sleep with a man?

Hungarian: Well, technically I share a room with another man... but not I'd never actually sleep with him. My girlfriend wouldn.t approve.

Cornish: I wouldn't mind sharing a room with a nice young HUNG-arian... lol

Yorkshire man: You know what they say, 'close your eyes and enjoy'

Hungarian: In my country we have a saying 'In the dark, everyone looks like cows'

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

I feel them hitting me, over and over, always a new place to strike where I am unguarded. I am completely surrounded. There is nothing to do but put up my collar and pull the umbrella closer to my head.

I wrap my coat with intent and face the blugeoning wind and bombs of water, and start to make my way through the labyrinth of streets that surround London. But it seems that all the other habitants who have adopted this city as their home have also decided to cut out the crowds, and have, in turn brought them here too. There is nowhere to hide or anywhere to escape. Doorways are filled, sheltering bankers and vagabonds alike. For once, everyone is equal. The weather takes all.

As I stride forwards down the longer crowded road, there is an almost choreographed feel to the London bustle. People all dancing the same routine around the puddles, bobbing thier umbrella's over the beggars head as they pass systematically.

It's 5pm.

Monday, 10 September 2007

The Tin-Man, who always has a heart

The table is approached by the waiter and the remains, or lack of, from our course is removed. I look over to my dining companion and find myself falling into the eyes I've been lost in before. So many times, yet each time a more over whelming feeling. Each more intense than the previous and just as exciting and new.

The candle light shining onto his skin, me noticing once more the curve of his brow, the depth of his smile. The rush of that first kiss outside my old theatre. The memory of the way he smelled as we waited, long after closing for our taxis. The feeling of longing to prolong our separation when they had arrived. The anticipation in his voice as he called me back and the warmth of his breath, out there in the cold, as we kissed for the first time.

The way we wake in each others arms. The way he smiles in his sleep, like a young innocent boy without a care in the world. The way he looks at me secretly when in public, and scrunches up his nose to signal that all is ok. The way I'm willing to devote my life in every way possible. To be by his side, through hardships and triumph. To love, hold, listen and learn from. To be ever faithful and share my world with, like no person before and nobody after. There will never be an after.

My life is this man. This man is my life.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Actors or Chocolate...


I hear noise!! Don't you understand that I am sleeping? Noise! NOISE!!

"Dean are you awake?"
"It's Corinne on the phone... (to the phone) 'he's still in bed, rather decadent'"

I hold out my arm without looking at him and grumble into the phone.

"What's wrong"
"I've just seen *actor* and he's beautiful, I can't hold out much longer. I'm going to cave in. All my defense's are failing rapidly!"
"Put down everything you are holding except your phone"
"Right. Done"
"Do not touch the strawberries"
"They're in the fridge. Does a strawberry yogurt count?"
"Yes. Stay away. Get chocolate"
"I have a chocolate croissant?"
"That'll do"

Chocolate always counteracts the desire for a man. ALWAYS!

I decide that talking, or at least grunting down the phone will pre-occupy the mind of the besotted, femme fatale...

"... and then she said I could blah, blah, blah, stay with her. Have I spoken enough about my own life to stop you thinking about the one you can't have?"
"Yes primarily. Although I did have a little epiphany half way through"
"Oh dear. More chocolate is needed. I demand you leave the digs, and get yourself a good bar of Green and Blacks, it's a good sexual depressant"

We finish our conversation and say our goodbyes.

Director boy looks at me, winks and gives that cheeky smile...

"So that's why the sex has dropped off"

I glare at him.

"Don't be giving me evils"
"I'm not. It's animocity"

We both giggle.

But chocolate is now banned from our house hold*

*This is why I buy it from Tesco on the Strand on the way into work. Oops.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Always an interesting journey...

I stumble onto the bus, wet and slightly annoyed at having to go into work early because of the previous nights events. The shelter of the bus seems like a small safe haven from the incessant drops of rain, dripping down my face and into my eyes. Blurring the world, allowing me to retreat to a place in my own thoughts.
As I get onto the bus the heat hits me and I feel faint. The heavy enclosed heat from the day's passengers makes it difficult to breathe, and as each new traveller seeks a place, we all fight for the small piece of new air. I settle at the back with my copy of 'Harry Potter' and a put up my feet.
The world seems calm as I focus on the troubles of the fictitious world on the page in front of me.

A woman in her mid-forties dressed in a pair of white slim jeans, heals, and a trench coat makes her way to the back of the bus. I stay immersed in my book as the problems get more and more entwined and danger is eminent. She looks at me, then at my feet in such disdain, I move them naturally and out of politeness. She brushes the seat with her manicured hand, tuts, then sits with a copy of the rental pages. Once more I'm back into my book. My feet ache and there is a spare seat opposite, so once more my foot graces the seat. As more people crowd onto the bus the woman is forced to move over, once again the same routine of tutting and glaring. I move my feet before she says anything, but that doesn't stop her. She smiles in a way I know is going to cause confrontation and moans about the law of 'feet on seat'. I shoot her a look then go straight to my book.
A few minutes later, her trench coat slips from her side to reveal the immaculate trousers that are stained in several areas, with grass and what looks like red wine. A.K.A. last nights outfit. I smile to myself and feel a great sense of satisfaction. Karma.

As I get off the bus, and uncomfortable catches of one anothers eyes have passed I decide to apologise. I ring the bell and pick up my bag. We catch one anothers eye once more and I realise this is it...

"I'm sorry about the foot thing" Says I. She looks up and smiles that same little grin she'd used earlier.
"I suppose you don't need any more stains on those trousers". And with that I walk off the bus.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

When all the world is a hopeless jumble... WALK!!

I shut my locker door and walk. I walk so quickly without looking back or acknowledging any persons in sight. I run down the stairs, sign out and leave. Breathe.

Director Boy looks at me with a smile, I feel bad as I return a scowl and announce that "we are walking". Each night when I leave work and he is waiting for me, we go to the nearest bus stop, unless something has happened in which case I vent my frustration and anger out on my feet and we walk, across London to Selfridges passing my 'feel good' shops.

This was one of those nights.

I explain to Director Boy that evenings events, and he declares we walk.

We talk and discuss the options. In the end we decide that walking was the best option. Is always the best option, as new shoes and cashmere always diffuse the situation.

When we finally get on the bus we both produce copies of 'Harry Potter' and agree that Green and Black's chocolate and Eggs Benedict are the order of the day.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Midnight Matinees...

Midnight Matinees will mostly include:

1, Your old employers turning up and recognising you.

2, Seeing the rest of the West End all wearing the same outfit.

3, Laura Michelle Kelly.

4, H from steps.

5, A Fire Evacuation at 2am.

6, Free Pizza.

7, Conversation with 'Alice'. A.K.A. Annalene Beechey.

8, Getting home at 3:30am in a Taxi and looking forward to getting into bed.

New Shoes and Substance Abuse

L: "... so this guy asked if I wanted a lime and coke. I was smashed out of my head and wanted something softer. Then he gave me his credit card and said 'meet me in the toilets in 10 mins'. Then I realised he said a LINE of coke"

Me: "Shit really"

A: "Have you ever tried it before?"

L: "Once. But never again. Did you ever sniff Prit Stick at school? lol Sometimes I couldn't get through the day without a whiff of a permanent marker"

Me: "That's like serious substance abuse"

D: "I once got a headache from smelling new shoes"

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

"I hope you get your dreams. Girl go ahead, let your hair down"

When you have someone you love dearly and they live some 200 miles away, what do you do??

I am of course, talking about the dearest friend I could ever hope to encounter, but sadly me and said friend are somewhat distanced, and its taking its toll.
When in Leeds and I had free time, and even when I didn't, it was filled with the laughter, conversation and joy of said friend. Much time was spent discussing future ventures, current adventures, problems and plans, clothes and Vogue. All with a cup of tea in hand and generally some dessert of sorts gracing our taste buds. This was time well spent and sometimes mis-spent, I recall moments that we both really should have been using our time elsewhere and to something constructive, and yet we couldn't tear ourselves away from sitting in a tea shop, leisurely perusing books of possible future purchases and some we just liked to look at.
Time spent 'dress shopping' when there are already several dresses not yet in circulation. Because as every self-respecting female (and gay) knows, there is no better remedy than dress or shoe shopping. I say remedy but sometimes there was no problem to be solved or discussed, it was just the sheer pleasure of being with someone who's intelligence, charm and wit was always entertaining, even educational.

There too, was times of upset. Emotional car wrecks and baggage to be broken and sorted, each time with said friend holding the hand that held cake not days before. Sifting through the debris and always finding the solutions and words of encouragement. Likewise, I was there with more tea and cake, and a shopping trip for an umbrella, that seems to be the symbol for both hope and guilt.

Hand holding and hugs are always available for this said friend.
And tea.
And Bingo!!

So hurry up, said friend, I need you here!!!!

Friday, 27 July 2007


I awake, china cup in hand, sitting by the window. Cat on my right, the sun on my left.

The telephone rings...
"Hello" say I,
"Is that Mr. Burke?" replies the voice.
"It is. May I ask who's calling"
"It's Earnest Jones in Chelsea. We're just ringing to inform you that your Diamond signet has arrived"
"Oh brilliant" say's I.

And with that I leave the house. As I get to the front door I notice a Parcel clearly marked for a 'Mr T. Hescott', but I know that this is truly for me. Cashmere.

What more could one want than a delivery of Cashmere and Diamonds??

Thursday, 19 July 2007

A musical no-one has ever heard of...

"Ooh, ooh, I know this one!!"
"Yes Dean, it was sung in the first act"

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

'To be, or not to be? That is the question.'

When faced with the prospect of being in a West End show do you jump or do you wait to be pushed??

This morning I awoke from a dream I could only hope to forget, only to find it was on the path to reality. When I finally got out of bed, trying to prolong the forthcoming audition, nerves start fly to areas of my body I forgot existed. I grunted through morning conversation with Director Boy hoping to disguise the fact I was actually fully alert and coherent and completely petrified.

I haven't felt this nervous since the day I came out, realising the trust in what was placed in my mother was now public knowledge. I stand up and walk into the bathroom, clutching my stomach only to empty the contents quicker than should be humanly possible. Director Boy leaves for work with words of encouragement, and I sit there with only the thought that I was going to make a fool of myself in front him later in the day. After everything he's done to get me the aution the last thing I wanted to do was be unveiled as a theatrical fraud.

Time passes very slowly as I try and psyche myself up for the moment. Re-reading the scene I know is coming up and running imaginary conversations in my head, over and over. But all I can think about is how much my stomach still hurts, All in all I end up throwing up three times, each more painful than the last.

The moment finally comes and I approach stage door. A text arrives from Director Boy with yet more words, but I can barely read them, I need to concentrate on whats to come.

The audition itself was over in a matter of minutes. I read better than I thought I would but equally I felt relieved. My stomach felt settled and I felt great. I left the theatre after my first West End casting feeling proud of myself for just getting through it and not feeling like the world had collapsed.

Needless to say I didn't get the part, but I did get excellent feed back. There's no more I could ask for. Director Boy was proud of me and although I will never admit it, that was the only thing I wanted to achieve. When someone loves you as much as much as he does, there is nothing in the world I would do to disappoint or embarrass.