Last shows of the year

Well that’s it. 2014 all but over and a time to review and predict.  My last show at the rather bleak Brookfield shopping centre in Cheshunt was relieved by the very welcoming and friendly people who work there and who manage to keep the whole site immaculate, safe and welcoming for the thousands who shop at the two giant supermarkets.  I do mean immaculate too.  I didn’t see one cigarette end on the carpark and no abandoned forgotten trolleys in the far corners and every morning forecourt was swept and scrubbed by guys who really take particular effort and care to make it so.  And all achieved with a smile and a friendly approach to what could be a daunting and dismal occupation.

Sadly I couldn’t say the same about the previous week at Aylesbury where predicted high winds (which in the end didn’t materialise) meant that the event was transferred to the bleak soulless mind-numbingly awful Friars Square shopping precinct.  Like every precinct in every town across our country, it is an amazingly different environment from the quaint cobbled Town Square outside which for the last few years has been transformed into a magical Victorian Christmas market and in which my stage has looked perfectly suited.  The antithesis inside as I tried to interest the bored passers-by in that bleak place was, like the architecture, insipid, dull and uninspiring.  And without my stage the show has considerably less impact. I don’t think I’ll be there next year as I heard that the organisers preferred the indoor event.  Ah well, one door closes…

Earlier this week I visited wonderful Wallingford and spent a great day with Mr Alexander’s Ragtime Band at the recording studio.  Hearing Maff’s original music grow in the hands of the talented band of musicians was an enormous joy and I am really excited to hear the end result which will be soon.  I am hugely grateful to those who pledged money to this project.  The next step is to spend time with Rhys the film maker to edit and add the music to the DVD. I will be contacting all those who helped fund the project with more updates about the release date for the DVD.  For those who would like a copy when it does come out, watch this space.

So it’s now back in my yard in Chester to prepare for the down time.  Except it’s not really down as there’s loads to be done to prepare for the 2015 season.  Everything has to be taken out of the trailer, assessed, repaired, repainted and varnished.  I am going to spend some time on the outside of the trailer this winter as it has taken some bashing over the last couple of years and needs to be refreshed.  I would dearly love to have the other side of the lorry painted too, but need to find another artist to take that on. If you know of anyone…

There is also the new backdrop to the stage to be constructed, painted and installed. Cheshire artist Liz Ellis has designed a very special new moon cloth and cabinet maker, Suzanne Hodgson are going to paint it in the next few weeks.  I’m very excited about it so another new element to the show for 2015.  And maybe the Materialising Motorbike will materialise in 2015.

When I remember my mental state this time last year, I have to say that things are considerably improved now.  In fact it’s a world of difference. Although I’m not exactly well off, at least this year I think I shall survive financially without the generous assistance of mystery benefactors or credit cards.  Many people helped me psychologically through the difficult times and I need to thank them.  I won’t name them but they know who they are, and thanks, very much, for what you did.

So all is good and can only get better.  The next blog is part of my series of stories from my youth and includes the copy of a real letter I sent home after one of my escapades at Christ’s Hospital.  It’s very revealing.

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander

Mr Alexander