My young fans
I received a lovely email and will copy it here. It was from Kirsty, whose fabulous wedding to Lawrence I was lucky to attend and entertain a couple of years ago.
Kirsty wrote about her daughter Evelyn who I think is nearly three.
"Evelyn just said to me: "I want to see Alandar"
I was stumped. "Amanda?", I asked, thinking it might be a child from school. "No!" was the response. "Alandar" she repeated. "Alandar?", I asked. "No" was the response again.
Evelyn tried a different tack: "I want to see 'one alligator, two alligator'.
The penny drops! "Mr Alexander!" I exclaim.
"Yes!" says Evelyn. "Can we take our coats?’ “
I love the final comment about the coats. I’ve no idea what it meant but I love the wonderful innocence in the non sequitur. For those who don’t know the alligator reference comes from one of my routines which had obviously been particularly memorable for Evelyn.
And of course I love working with children, even though in my shows, as they run, I tend to perform to the adults in my audiences and assume the children will also follow on too. It’s a psychological thing. I am not only a children’s entertainer. I play to the child in everyone, including the children, and this is the difference I think. I try to entertain the children and amuse the adults. Or is it the other way around?
Many adults tell me they love the expressions on the children’s faces as they watch and of course, once in a while, I stop my show’s frantic gallivanting to notice it too. I try to look at myself through those wide eyes and their burgeoning view of the world. I worry what will happen when the children who receive the million pound note I sometimes give as a prize present it at the checkout with a trolleyfull of toys. I grieve over the early loss of innocence brought about by our connected lives and I worry about the planet we are leaving for them. But for that half hour I know that I seem to be able to weave a spell that suspends time along with the harsh realities of our lives and creates a world that echoes the innocence and wonder with which children view everything. It’s that world I try to draw the adults into as I perform, and it seems I am progressing in that life endeavour. Practice makes progress.
It certainly had a lot of practice at Shrewsbury, the first syllable to be pronounced I was firmly told, as the small rodent and not to rhyme with ‘show’. The Shrewsbury Flower Show was lovely. The stunning Dingle garden in the park where the show takes place is an award-winning masterpiece, timed to look its very best for the Flower show. The marquee displays are worth the huge entrance price I guess, but £26 for an adult is by far the largest entrance fee at any show I attend. Maybe I’m just moving up in the world. At least the children come in free which means there are many of them for me to play to and for. As a bit of a gardener myself, I gazed in awe and wonder at the displays of vegetables and fruit, the cut flower creations and the immaculate bonsai.
Much like the awe and wonder with which the children, my young fans, along with many of the older ones, gaze at my show. So it’s all good.
All the best from a road near you,
PS Sorry about the strange formatting in this chapter. I've tried various ways to solve it without joy and have given up trying!