Yes, it’s over three weeks since Battleaxe wrote. Excuses? I have plenty. I’ve been unwell pretty much since we came back from Vienna. Better now, thank goodness. Secondly, my novel. It is finished, and have been very busy sending it off to different agents and publishers. Third, the situation in the Middle East had cast me down. How can we condone the murder of innocents? Next, the weather. For the last week or so it has rained unbelievably. The town centre is flooded again – those poor shops. Then to crown it all, the clocks have gone back – it is winter. Obviously I’ve done plenty in the last weeks, ill or not, but chose three things: the launch of our Stanza Poetry Group Anthology a week last Friday, a trip to London to see Cabaret, and another trip to London the next day to see the Crown to Couture Exhibition.
Unwell? Yes. I don’t know if it was flu or Covid, but I obviously caught something abroad. I had horrible on-going catarrh and cough, and just felt utterly washed out. It didn’t seem to go… sounds like Covid, doesn’t it, but I tested three times and was negative, so gave up.
Novel? Yes. Philosopher read it and pronounced it Not Perfect but Totally Publishable. (Well, it would never be his taste anyway… WI murders? A lesbian vicar running off with a Muslim Imam? Scarcely his usual literary novel fodder.) Its initial title is ‘Death, Double Lives and Cake.’ I read that less than 1 in a 100 approaches to agents result in a positive outcome, so am not holding my breath. But say it as I shouldn’t, am pretty sure it is well-written, which alone should set it apart from lots of the junky stuff you download as holiday reading.
Middle East? What is there to say? You can’t criticise the actions of the horrible right-wing Israeli government without being labelled as an antisemite, and you can’t criticise Hamas without being accused of being anti-Palestinian. So many people are so STUPID. So will say nothing.
Events. Firstly, the poetry anthology launch. Have I mentioned it before? Not since August – see this post. Well, we had booked the event at the White Rock Hotel. 15 local Stanza poets, including me, have two poems in the book, and we all had to read out one. The book is being sold in aid of the Refugee Buddy Project – a very good local charity.
We had all been asked to bring our friends along. Well, we all did, and they all came! The room in the hotel was absolutely heaving, and unbelievably boiling hot. My husband kindly came along and did cash sales of the book. He only took photos of me doing my stuff plus a couple of others, which I won’t share because what about all the rest who were missed out…. anyway, this is my blog, so here is me…
We made a lot of money for the charity. I was still not feeling great that night, but had to get through it… I chose rather a difficult poem, ‘Meandering Down to the Old Town’ and it was an effort. I was so hot, didn’t know if it was fever or the hot room. If anyone wants to buy the book, it is available from the Book-Keeper bookshop and the Hastings Bookshop. Contact me if you’d like a postal copy.
So, Cabaret. We went with Anna (whose birthday it was) and Gareth. Had a very nice lunch first, at the Ivy Market Grill at Covent Garden. For the show, the Playhouse Theatre had been transformed into the 1930s Berlin Kit Kat Club. All very decadent. I only have photos from the internet because they actually put a sticker over your phone camera to stop you taking any… dunno quite why. You entered through a side door and went down to the basement. The main doors were all blacked out. The stage setting was lovely – I don’t know how much they had reshaped the auditorium, but it was very effective.
Now, first, the good bits. Lots of energetic half-naked hoofing from the chorus, Jake Shears (ex Scissor Sisters) was truly excellent as the EmCee. Camp, slightly creepy and very strong. There was a good atmosphere, great songs, good special effects on the revolving rise and fall stage and a strong supporting cast. Those things alone were enough to ensure I enjoyed the show. But like many older people I had only ever seen Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles. If you’ve never seen her, think gamine severe short-cropped black hair, vampy, muscular eroticism in fetish leather strapping, high heels and fish-nets. That character carries the plot of the musical forward. However, they had cast a pop singer, apparently very well known among the young, Rebecca Lucy Taylor, aka Self-Esteem, as Sally Bowles. Philosopher and I had never heard of her, and were more than a little puzzled/confused to be faced with this girl who attracted great acclaim but we felt didn’t look the part, couldn’t dance, couldn’t act, couldn’t project herself or her voice and seemed to do a lot of lumping round in a dressing gown and Ugg boots. I now read that she is very keen on promoting feminism and body-positivity… maybe spend a bit less time in that dressing gown then love? As far as I can see, there is a huge difference between being a successful pop artiste and a knock-em-dead West End lead-level musical theatre performer. However, as I said, we both enjoyed the show irregardless… Cabaret? What’s not to like.
Next day, it was London again, this time with a gang of WI women, to see the Crown and Couture exhibition at Kensington Palace. Again, the good bits… endless happy yakking time on trains and buses to get there and back. Nice lunch at the Civil Service Club near Charing Cross (two of us were members). Here we all are…
Some lovely things to see in the exhibition. Here are a couple.
BUT the exhibition was far too crowded. They let far too many people in at once, even though we had timed entry. Much of the time the view was like this…
Also, Kensington Palace is a higgeldy-piggeldy building, it was very hot, and the exhibition was very spread out – up stairs, down stairs, along endless passages. We almost lost our way… it was badly signposted and the items were poorly labelled. Battleaxe would, as a consequence, only give it one star…
Gosh, I do sound an old misery, don’t I? Well, I am a Battleaxe. It’s hard to believe that only just over a week ago, Battleaxe and Philosopher were sitting outside in the sun for fish and chips, and went for a brilliantly sunny walk in the Country Park.