Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Old Papa Laura

Well, they do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder… How does a year suit you?! Pretty darn fond I’d say!


My last blog entry stated that I had recently turned the ripe old age of 27. I can safely say that I have since then added one whole year to that total. 28. Safely out of the clutches of the ‘27 Club’… Sorry Hendrix, we’ll have to save our high five for later. Much later hopefully, cue touching of wood, rubbing of rabbit’s foot and any other life assuring gestures sure to keep me on this planet until I am old enough to sit in a rocking chair and hit a child with a walking stick*.


Dream big Darrall, dream big.

What I have noticed about this y’ere aging process is that the older I get, the less I give a sh*t. Not about the important stuff like family, friends and SClub7, that I still very much give a big steaming turd about. But the little stuff, the things I used to endure night sweats over in my teendom, that is water off a duck’s back with a few years behind you.


A queef for instance, or in layman’s terms: a fanny fart, when one of those cheeky buggers slipped out in my younger years I would freeze, squeeze my eyes shut and pray for temporary deafness in my gentleman caller.


Whereas, today I positively GUFFAW in the face of a queef, which shall henceforth be new minted as the Victory Honk.  


There is something incredibly empowering about aging.  So many people shy away from it, fear it or are in darn right denial about but I say NAY: AGE, WISDOM AND BOOB SAGGAGE, I AM READY FOR YOU.


Ok, so the boob saggage I am not quite ready for, that was merely my getting swept up in hyperbole, though due to the nature of having 34Ds (thank you Mother) it is somewhat inevitable. But like that high five with Hendrix, I’d like to stave it off for a few years yet. 


Failing that, portable scaffolding will have to do. 
Just without the builders please.


So readers, I charge you, when someone asks you your age this week, because they will, the nosey buggers, say it loud and say it proud. If someone I.D’s you, because like me you have the face of a grubby toddler, flash your provisional and nod with dignity. And finally, if the youth at work start calling you Old Papa Laura, take it, make it your own and then hit them with your walking stick**.


*Note to readers, no children were hurt in the making of this day dream.
**Second note to readers, this is a true story and you may all now address me as Old Papa Laura.

Until next time Folks!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

CHEESE BOARD

So FerryEgg… it’s been a while. In the age old terminology: 
It’s not you, it’s definitely me. 


Since we last spoke, I have turned the ripe old age of 27; I am now officially in my LATE twenties. I can no longer cling to the youthful ‘mid’ but am now forced to reside in the upper echelons of that limbo decade between your teens and your thirties where society is hinting SUBTLY that it’s time to grow up but your innards are positively screaming for a 2 litre bottle of white lightening, a park and a spotty boy to snog.


I celebrated my birthday, or as one of my cards called it ‘the anniversary of when [I] popped out of a vagina or something’ (my friends know me SO well)...


... albeit not in a raucous fashion as I am wont to do, but laid up in bed, plagued by a chest infection, spouting more green mucous than an episode of ‘Get Your Own Back’ (WHERE THE HELL IS DAVE BENSON-PHILIPS NOW?!?) and with Bridget Jones haranguing me in the background via the dubious medium of channel 5. If only it were just a cliché.


At the end of the day, the grass is always greener and every cloud has a silver lining. These are a few of the clichés I would have preferred to have embodied rather than a snotty 27 year old sobbing away to Bridget Jones. (I wasn’t ACTUALLY sobbing; sobbing is just for girls… Oh wait.)


But hey, in the words of D: Ream (another promoter of the much beloved cliché); things can only get better. Right? RIGHT?!

(This is not my t-shirt...)

Right. I have resided in the Lake District now for nearly seven months, performed a different play every night, climbed many a mountain (HILL) with the assistance of a blue inhaler and an apple at the top, pretended to learn the ukulele, hosted a hen do, swam in the lake, sprained my foot and come up smiling.


I may sound like a stilton based voice over for a bad Richard Curtis movie (About Time was pretty terrible, you have to admit it); however, with two weeks left in this idyllic part of the country I feel that a mild bit of cheddar is allowed.


As long as it is accompanied by a grape. Or two. In my case the grapes are usually embodied as horrifically bad genital jokes but to save your eyes and ears from my nether based wit, my grape, for now, will be embodied as the Future. 
Epic, huh.


And my Future currently is in Pantomime. Yes, I, Laura Darrall will be directing a Pantomime. Cinderella to be more specific. I will be going from the peace and tranquillity of rep theatre in the Lake District to the back end of a horse in a primary school. And I cannot WAIT.


Theatre by the Lake in the words of my grape is, regretfully, almost BEHIIIIIND ME; but I know that, like Arnie albeit slightly less violently, I’ll be back. 

And equally, I cannot WAIT.

Monday, 19 August 2013

GARY-GATE

Good morning campers! So an unusual start to the day was had today, this very merry morn began with a cup of tea with a police woman. And no, before you ask, I have not joined the Sapphic quarter of uniformdating.com.  What I have joined is the OAPs. That’s right. It’s Grandma time.


I have been having a little bit of trouble with a certain noisy neighbour of mine. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a party and a boogie but to be woken up at 4 in the morning on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and SUNDAY nights on three consecutive weekends is NOT ok. I repeat- NOT OKAY.


It would be fine if it was to the dulcet tones of SClub7 or the sweet sweet harmonies of Blue (I was a teen of the Naughties, what can I say!?) but the nonsensical crap that emanates from Gary’s walls, (YES OF COURSE HIS NAME’S GARY), is absolutely unforgivable/unfathomable/and every other UN word in the Oxford English Dictionary. WHICH HE HAS PROBABLY NEVER READ BY THE WAY.
So to quote beloved Grandma’s of ages gone by, I have been forced (“forced” who am I kidding, I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life) to use the timeless phrase: ‘TURN THAT RACKET OFF NOW!!      YOU W***ER!’  That’s what my Grandma says anyway… but then she is from Wolverhampton after all…


The worst part is, that when I do go round to bang on his door (lovingly attired in my Primark pyjamas and with my face covered in the remnants of Sudacrem- good for visages as well as vages- who’d have thought?!) to tell him to shut the BLEEP up, the douche bag has the gall to try and flirt with me. ‘You’re shoooound you are… you are sound…’ he slurs, trying to look at my face but the booze and gravity inevitably drag his eyes and jowls slowly but surely towards the floor/my boobs.


Yes Gary, yes I may be what you call “sound” but I’m afraid your SOUND is currently corroding my right ear drum, destroying my various internal canals and stampeding out the other end, having destroyed my inner child, plundered my soul and pillaged me out of all hope for the future. In short, your music has turned my innards into George Osborne. George Gideon Oliver Osborne. THANK YOU VERY MUCH GARY.


It doesn’t help that every time he returns home from work the corridor between our two flats is choked with the pungent stink of Lynx Africa (OF COURSE HE USES LYNX). So that not only are my eardrums being assaulted but my nostrils are simultaneously being forced into some unwanted nostalgic time warp where they suddenly believe they are back in a school hall, snogging a boy with curtains who uses too much tongue, whilst sporting a pair of Adidas poppers.  THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN GARY.


Luckily, Gary’s contract is up in approximately six weeks, turns out the rest of the building and the landlady aren’t too happy with him either. So not long and he will be OUTTA THERE! 

However, until that day… it is war. Grandma war. I propose to use all the Grandma tactics known to man. I will acquire a stick, charge at him on a mobility scooter and finally, send him a hamper full of tins and bottles of squash way past their sell by date. GARY, YOU ARE WELCOME.


So watch out. Grandma’s coming for you.

P.S It's TOTES my birthday on Thursday EEEEEEEK!

Friday, 2 August 2013

THE TRIP

I am a naturally clumsy girl (WOMAN- I have to remind myself) at the best of times. My family’s accurate yet affectionate nickname for me is ‘Spiller’ and no before you jump to any nostalgic conclusions they are not referring to the hit chart toppers of August 2000...


... Although for the record I had a wonderful holiday romance played out to that song in a French Eurocamp, aged 14, so the reference would not be entirely out of place- no what they are referring to is the physical impossibility of my supporting any vessel of liquid without depositing it on either myself or the surrounding areas.


So far on this job I have sprained my foot, locked myself out of my house (this happened when a friend came to visit and an over-zealous Dazza ran out of the house to hug said friend and the door- naturally- slammed behind her), burnt my entire hand on my curling tongs (I may have grabbed the tongs by the hot end… IDIOT) and finally, last night, tripped onto stage.


‘She Stoops to Conquer’ has finally entered the building and with it has come yards and yards of superfluous silks. Our dresses are at least three foot wide, with a little train, the technical term for which is a ‘sack back’… You have no idea how hard it was in the fittings not to shout out ‘AND CRACK… SACK, BACK AND CRACK… GEDDIT?!’ For a natural potty mouth like myself, it was a living nightmare.


Because of the width of the dresses, we ladies have had to develop a form of movement known to us as ‘The Crab’. The narrowness of the wings at the side of the stage means that in order to pass through, we have to turn sideways and scuttle along, much akin to a crab. The miming of pincers is optional, but it is an option I always take up.


So yes, last night I tripped. It was bound to happen; the inevitability of it sickens me. It was during a scene in which I am wearing my nemesis: The Cloak. Said cloak, is literally as wide as the equator and as long as a Pinocchio’s nose after he has been caught cheating on Jiminy Cricket. It engulfs me.


It happened as my character was about to say a GRACEFUL and tearful good bye to her lover, you know, one of those moments where time slows down and cherubs being playing tiny violins… Well in this case time froze and instead of tiny violins the cherubs were on percussion and played… BAH BOOM BOOM CHHH!


The cloak had wrapped its way around my ankles and like the scene in Harry Potter where the mermaids are dragging him down into the depths of the lake (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for pedants), the cloak and gravity aided my downfall. LUCKILY, I righted myself before face hit deck so I was spared the humiliation of having to haul myself up again. But still, the blush on my cheeks said it all.


The classic ‘Send me a postcard’ jokes and ‘Did you enjoy your trip?’ remarks were made, noted and fully accepted. I would expect nothing less.

So for any future employers, boyfriends, lovers, pets or friends: If you expect a hazard-free, smooth-flowing, elegant experience… please go to the ballet. For you will not find it here.


However, if you change your minds you will find me with Bridget Jones sat on an excessively comfy sofa surrounded by our pet Alsatians who are currently tucking into their evening meal of silky, silky cloak.


Until next time!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

SEASONAL STUPIDITY

So summer has come to the Lake District and my normal pasty hue of ‘Moth Attracting Magnolia’ (page 5 of the Dulux catalogue) has transformed into the much coveted shade of ‘Dark White’ (Bottom of page 6).


I have after 26 years (nearly 27 good GOD!) made a begrudging peace with my pale yet not so interesting complexion and have resigned myself to an ivory future bereft of that golden glow which seems to adorn every other scantily clad (AND FLAT STOMACHED) woman in all the glossy magazines that accidentally on purpose fall into my hands.


Don’t get me wrong, I go into WH Smiths with the intention of leaving with Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ but somehow end up with a magazine replete with all other sorts of idiots. Less life-defining idiots shall we say... 
*cough* Kerry Katona *cough*.


I blame the heat. ‘Seasonal Stupidity’, I shall coin it. In winter, when it’s cold outside and there’s a comfy sofa to sink your bottom into, I am MORE than happy to sit and sail through Dickens’ denouement or Marlow’s metaphors; but on a sunny day when I am slick with sun cream, uncomfortably sweating on an itchy picnic blanket and batting away the midges by the lake I can think of nothing worse.


(I probably could think of a few worse things, genocide, famine and the like; but to quote Margaret Attwood’s ‘The Handmaids Tale’ –thank you GCSE English- “CONTEXT IS ALL”.)

I have recently taken to accompanying the magazines with my play scripts, ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ opens next week, so I have been delving into the world of wigs, fans and bosoms… but trying to learn lines whilst defining my ‘Dark White’ is ever so difficult.


However, I probably should have had a re-look at my Inspector Calls lines during one of my picnic blanket sessions, as at the climax of last night’s performance my character Sheila has to proclaim: 

‘No! Because I remember what he said, how he looked and what he made me feel: fire, blood and anguish.’

Yet what I said, loudly and with much assurance, was:

‘NO! Because I remember HOW HE SAID, WHAT HE LOOKED AND… HOW I FEEL…’ 

*gulp*.

Of course, I expected no less than the complete and utter support of the rest of my cast who were, at this point, to be found intently and determinedly looking at the floor… shaking with laughter.


Moral to the story: The sun makes you stupid. But it is bloody lovely after all.

AND DON’T FORGET TO WEAR SUN CREAM!!

Or you’ll end up looking like this:


Or this:

Or this: 

That's all folks!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

BREAK A LEG...

So, I began my last blog entry with the phrase “The dreaded has happened”…  How wrong could I possibly be?! In my innocent, able-bodied state I thought that forgetting a line was the worst thing that could conceivably happen. In the words of Dr Evil, “How about nooooooooooo ya crazy Dutch bastard!”


To cut to the quick, I have sprained my foot. Not my ankle, nor my heel but my whole ENTIRE foot. I don’t do things by halves do I?! Well, actually, technically I did as I only sprained one foot. 50% of the feet that I possess.

If I were to draw a pie chart representing my feet and then have it printed onto a plain white cotton T-shirt, sported by a headless model and then uploaded onto the internet it would look like this:


Fortunately, I don’t have that much time on my hands. Or feet.

So here’s the story morning glory… It was Bella’s birthday (Bella is another actress in the company and my dressing room budday to boot) and we had all decided to go for a swim in the lake in the afternoon to celebrate. You know, to be all primitive and at one with nature etc. Light some fires, kill some sheep, you know the deal.*


Nearly everyone had gone into the lake and so Old Muggins over here thought it would be a good idea to run in after them. Yes, RUN. Run into a murky lake where you can’t see the flooring. And with no spirit level to hand to measure the gradient.  Ho ho! What a fool I was!


Some might call it ‘showing off’; others might call it ‘bravery’. I choose ‘showing off bravely’. Either way, I ended up on my ass with a sprained foot. 

My nemesis: a mossy rock. It came out of nowhere. I wish I could say ‘Yeah, I sprained my foot but you should see the other guy!’ But I can’t, because the ‘other guy’ is a stealthy, moss covered rock adept in skulking below the surface and immune to my threatening demeanour. Harrumph.


It was then a natural progression to A and E, (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELLA!) to be kitted out with a wheel chair upon arrival and crutches on departure. Like the worst kind of airport imaginable. 

Needless to say, Bella was sympathetically wetting herself laughing throughout the entire ordeal. What was so funny about pushing me in a wheel chair, downhill, through swinging doors whilst re-enacting an episode of Casualty, I will never know…  Smirk.


The nurse who had the pleasure of dealing with me was a complete mixture of Dr Cox from Scrubs and a stoic goat. Whilst handing me the crutches, which he was intrinsically reluctant to give me in the first place, he said without blinking, ‘Don’t fall over on these or they’ll snap your arms’. 


No words of comfort, no gentle shoulder rub, just a point blank promise of shattered limbs.

Of course, I had to let the theatre know as I couldn’t walk without assistance, let alone act (which apparently involves walking AND talking at the same time… who’d have thunk it!) and within the blink of an eye this sign had appeared in the foyer:


Needless to say, it made my life. My favourite thing about it is the ambiguity. I may use the crutch ‘for part OR all of this evening’s performance’. Just to keep the audience on their toes! A bit like ‘Where’s Wally’ but with my walking aid.


To be honest, I’m surprised no one’s graffitied over it yet and changed the ‘u’ to an ‘o’. If the youth of Keswick don’t step up to the plate soon, I’m going to have to do it. And that will only end in tears and or the possible termination of my contract.


However, the highlight of this entire ordeal is that I have been used in a lesson. Yes, not only have I learnt my own lesson about lakes, rocks and the consequences thereof but my story has been used to inspire the youth of today.

My university side-kick Liz is currently working as an English teacher, moulding the minds of Dudley’s 14 year olds and studying the play ‘An Inspector Calls’. Coincidence? I think not. 

On the morning after the dreaded happened I woke up to this:


Yes, Liz had set me and my swollen, gammy foot as an essay question. ‘Why might Sheila be on crutches?’ ‘How could she use the crutches to add to her performance?’



INCREDIBLE.

Here are my top favourite answers:
  • ·         Sheila could have broken her foot by spying on Gerald and falling out of a window.
  • ·         Sheila could have dropped the decanter of port on her foot.
  • ·         Sheila could have slipped on a rat in the street.

And finally.
  • ·         Sheila could use the crutch to add to her performance by hitting herself with it when she realises she’s been bad.


All I can say is that there are going to be some BIG changes to my performance tomorrow. And we’ve got the youth of Dudley to thank for it. So thank you youth of Dudley. Thank you.


*Disclaimer to the reader: no fires were lit and no sheep were killed. I’m not a maniac.