The non-start to the Season
I’ve never had such a strange start to my season. Well it really hasn’t started at all. Everything was ready. New varnished flats, new burgundy jackets for the painted orchestra, a great new routine with the Rubik Cube, rehearsals with the Old Time Rags… and now with nowhere to go. Climate change has meant the cancellation of two big weekends, one after the other, both with waterlogged grounds. And there’s nothing worse than a waterlogged ground. The Leisure Lakes and Rushden Cavalcade will both have to wait until 2019, and I will have to wait until Malvern Spring Garden Festival before any of the new array of props and routines can be appreciated (or I can be paid which is more to the painful point).
OK yes I did go to Silverstone, and I was really looking forward to my first visit to the historic car racetrack. I had visions of super-rich families in tweeds, cotton twill and Rolls-Royces, picnic baskets strapped to the racks, the sound of champagne corks and the finely-tuned hum of the exquisite engines. Another big disappointment all in all because something went wrong with the marketing and very few people came. Except those with noisy cars to race. I ended up doing close up magic shows on a couple of picnic tables to six people in a carpark with the sound of distant (and sometimes not so distant) racing cars doing what racing cars do. Zoom, whoosh, roar, gone… Over and over. Not that I’ve anything against racing but fast cars are not really me and I can’t help thinking that the weekend show cancellations have a global link to man’s apparent love of the rumble, whoosh, roar, gone… machines.
And I do mean man. The fathers (there were a couple of mothers but only a couple) who did attend I watched patriarchically dragging their children unwillingly past my show so they could watch race after race, whoosh after roar. ‘We’re here for the races, not some prat on a unicycle…’
The strangest of strange tannoy announcements, preceded by the woman announcer’s very calm voice saying ‘Attention Panic! Attention Panic!’ giving me visions of cars spinning out of control and awful mangled messes of man and machine. Until half way through the day when I realised with that growing sense of my own stupidity that I had misunderstood her and she was actually saying ‘Attention Paddock, Attention Paddock’.
The lovely young people who organised the event were devastated by the poor attendance. Marketing was not their responsibility they said. It could have been a sweet event. Lots going on in the carpark, but just nobody there to appreciate it. A Last Little Show at the End of the World par excellence.
Let’s hope it’s not an omen. I don’t believe in omens. Just accept it and enjoy the peace of a Bank Holiday weekend in my yard doing all those little things I’ve been putting off. The season looks good. A couple of new events to look forward to as well as all the old favourites. A first visit to Morecombe and A Splendid Day Out on June 2nd and 3rd. It has the look of an annual event for me with an interesting and fun Steampunk programme. (http://asplendiddayout.com). And you know how I love Steampunk. I’m based right on the Promenade so walks with the doggies along Morecombe Bay and a cautious half in some local hostelry, no doubt.
The other one I am looking forward to visiting for the first time is Another Fine Fest on June 16th and 17th, so named as Ulverston was the birthplace of Oliver Hardy and the town exudes the famous duo and the Festival is the town’s annual celebration of all things Laurel and Hardy. I can’t wait. It looks wonderful (www.anotherfinefest.co.uk) and if you would like a few days near the Fylde coast and the Lake District and a lovely event then do come and say hello.
The Old Time Rags (https://en-gb.facebook.com/theoldtimerags/) will be there at both of these and if you come you will see the World Premiere of our Interruption Sketch in my last show of the day, a revival of a what I think is a very funny piece I used to do twenty-five years ago on the first incarnation of the stage show. It’s lovely to see the old pieces come round again. A bit like me really.
All the best from a road near you,