Jeffrey Bernard is unwell


Jeffrey Bernard is unwell.

My first blog in 2016.  Not for lack of trying or inspiration but mostly because of my usual winter malaise.  As you probably know if you read these pages regularly, in the weeks before the winter solstice I start becoming very introverted and grumpy and this lasts till about four weeks after it.  I’m just beginning to emerge now as we experience that slight increase in the length of the days and a little improvement in the weather.  It’s the light rather than the heat as my lovely little woodburner keeps me toasting through the winter in the lorry. I just can’t stand the darkness and it seems to have been particularly dark this winter.

So what’s been happening since the 6th December and wild weather days in Portsmouth? Many a 3.00 am fire and some excellent tv, sometimes with both combined. I loved the latest series of The Bridge and currently I’m really liking the French political series Spin. I went to see the latest Star Wars on Imax 3D which was a good evening out. Some great performances and of course the action sequences in 3D were superb.

But I don’t much like Christmas. I know, I know. Bah humbug. I just find it such a stressful time and as I’m a skeptical atheist, all I really see is the blatant and rabid commercialism of it and the way it carves many family loyalties. Anyway it’s over for another eleven months. I think next year I will go and work with homeless people. Maff, my good Wallingford friend, who wrote the music for my DVD, always does that and I think I will join him next year.

No Mr A shows but Cat’s Paw Theatre has been very busy. A brand new Year 9 show with the same issue; rape and sexual consent, and a 16+ one which has been very well received at Yale College on the premiere day last week. I am so proud of this work, and particularly of the group of four young actors who play the central roles and also take over some of the facilitation from Andrea and me. This is Cat’s Paw Theatre’s twentieth year. We have presented shows every year and the last few have been particularly busy. We now have service level agreements with the four authorities in North Wales and a reputation which is second to none for delivering engaging educational presentations for a range of audiences. This week we are presenting the piece at a professionals’ conference called ‘Hidden Crimes’ for all the high-ups across North Wales. Looking forward to that.

Mr Alexander’s bookings are picking up well for the summer. A lot of phone calls and emails from 2015 customers re-booking, so I’m very pleased to say it looks as though I’m going to be just as busy as last year. Lincoln Castle is a new venue for me and I am pleased that they were able to book me for two weekends in the summer. Sounds like a great space and a city I’ve never visited so certainly you can anticipate a blog or two from there this year. My website diary page is up to date if you want to check out my confirmed bookings.

And finally, why that title? Well I thought I would make a resolution, albeit a little late, to write a weekly blog and stick to it. If I put the above in the title and first line it means I’m not up to it for some reason. It comes from the notorious Spectator reporter of that name who had a close affair with alcohol. When he couldn’t write his column because he was suffering from its effects, the editor just wrote that one liner. Everyone understood what it meant. I hope you do too, although it won’t be alcohol I’m suffering from, just the harder and much more addictive drug – life.

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander