To continue with the books recently read; another ‘show business’ one, ‘Back Stages’ by Michael Kilgarriff. He and I are contempories and have both been in the theatre a good many years but our paths never crossed. Hardly surprising as he was more into musical theatre, Music Hall, and pantomime whereas I was legit as it’s called. Consequently only a few names in his book cross over as it were. Trish Michaels, now married and living in Canada, and Nola with whom she shared a house in Hackney where we were living at the time. We are still in touch with Trish but lost contact with Nola a long time ago when she upped stakes and moved to New York. I believe she was a very good film editor and she most likely thought America would provide more opportunities. John Dalby is mentioned and we know John well. We both performed in a lunchtime theatre for him in a club in Leicester Square, a short farce by Feydeau, and he was also our singing teacher. Simon Merrick is mentioned and I worked with this actor in a dreadful play called ‘Who Goes Bare?’ twice nightly one summer season in Bournemouth. I swore I would never do twice nightly again and thank god I never did. Then there was John Inman, later to find fame in the television series ‘Are You Being Served’ who I worked with in rep in Weston Super-mare. This was for that good old-fashioned actor-manager Charlie Vance. I’m surprised Michael didn’t work for him; nearly everyone else did at that period. I was also in the company for a season at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge and toured in ‘A Man For All Seasons’ for Charlie doubling Cardinal Wolsey and Henry Vlll. Charles played Sir Thomas Moore.
I followed up ‘Back Stages’ with a quite delightful book, also written by an actor, Michael Simkins, every actor seems to be writing a book these days. It’s called ‘Fatty Batter’ a memoir all about a fat child growing up to become a cricket fanatic. If you don’t like the game of cricket or don’t know anything about it I doubt the book would appeal to you in the same way. Or maybe it would, I don’t know. It is very funny but he missed out on one legendary cricket story, I don’t know whether or not it’s apochryphal but a commentator during an England versus the West Indies match was reputed to have said ‘The bowler’s Holding the batsman’s Willy.’
And finally one of the books I truly love, another perfect charmer in the Number 1 ladies detective series by Alexander McCall Smith, ‘The Double Comfort Safari Club.’ A ray of comfort indeed in this crazy world.