Shrewsbury Flower Show has seen the flowering of a new mode of travelling life for Mr Alexander. I’ve blogged about the hoverboard/seguay/electric skateboard previously and my walkabout burlesque character Verity who inspired its original inclusion has come out at a couple of venues this summer, but it has not been until Shrewsbury that the device itself has really come into its own. I love it. I’ve spent a lot of time practising on a range of surfaces and now feel very comfortable on it. Not without a few bad falls initially but that’s only to be expected. It is so wonderful to use, quiet, easy and fast and personal energy saving, and even more significantly saving on knee use. And my poor knees do suffer from all I expect them to do. Local travelling around a show site will certainly never be the same again. It is controllable, safe and wonderfully economical and eco-friendly. It also provides a small additional height so provides a kind of mobile stage, on hand, or rather feet, at any time. I have been using the off-road version for floating around the showground and travelling into town and the smaller wheel version for onstage experimentation. I can ride to the shops or for a drink and carry it inside without anyone even noticing and it hides under the table until I leave. (Yes I’ve had the occasional beer this year. Nothing too dramatic but an occasional pint or two. It’s nice to be back in the pub.)
I am going to spend some time choreographing a dance using the smaller board on the stage to Noel Coward’s moving and emotional ‘I’ll see you again’. It emerged as these things do with the computer on shuffle play. I think I need a prop that will work with the floating quality of the movement the board allows. And maybe a story. Perhaps a theme linked to the First World War. The variety theatre has always been a vehicle for examining war and I came of age with and loved Joan Littlewood’s ‘Oh what a lovely war’. Noel Coward wrote Bitter Sweet in 1929, but it still has a flavour of the war which had finished eleven years earlier and offers a wonderful possibility for a story.
Anyway the potential for the board is great and I think by Wallingford Bunkfest I will feel confident to use it comfortably in shows as well as between times and I am developing some other characters with elements that hide the board. I have to avoid overusing it though as I’ve not had so much fun since I learned to unicycle and it’s tempting to try lots of different routines on it. I’ve managed juggling on it. And bending down keeping the balance on it is interesting, especially when the ball is four inches below the feet and I’m standing on wheels. The sort of thing I like experimenting with.
The Shrewsbury show was very enjoyable. It’s not been a great season thus far but this show changed things. The weather has been pretty dreadful and my state of mind has matched it, but I now feel things are on the up again. The weather was warm without rain (the first of the season when it hasn’t rained at sometime) and I felt good about things. It’s about time. Family and friends have kept me on the positive side this season and I will always be grateful to them.
The ‘last show of the day’ has changed. I feel I am discovering something really positive, different and creative with it. First show three chairs ‘Showbusiness show’, second two, ‘The Classic’ and the third no chairs. A silent show. And a change of costume. Quite a different feel but I am enjoying it with potential for improvisation and experimentation. It met with approval from the cognoscenti Shrewsbury audience if their generous contribution to my hat is anything to go by. Apparently I’m ‘quite good, sometimes’. I’ve always said you’re as good as the money in the hat and this weekend has been very pleasing in that regard. I don’t do what I do for the money but there are times when I need money more than others and this year has been and continues to be a difficult one for me financially.
Anyway enough of all that. Without these challenges life would be far too easy and we couldn’ t have that. Creativity comes from chaos. The best things in life are hard. Nothing good ever came easy. Certainly true of the hoverboard.
All the best from a road near you,