I went to see Hobson’s Choice at the Crucible with my sister, Sue, in mid-June. I think this was her O’ level play. Certainly she studied it at school. Wikipedia tells me it was first performed in 1916. It was jolly well done in Sheffield. Mr Hobson was a pitiable monster but Maggie, the strong willed and sensible oldest daughter was, as always, the star of the show. I’d like to go to the theatre more often but with the prices at the Crucible I will not be buying anything in the interval. I used to collect programmes. I used to buy a beer. Someone else can fund the expense of supporting live theatre. All I can afford is the ticket to the play.
The weekend after was Tony Berry’s BBQ which was, as expected rainy, chilly and breezy; typical British BBQ weather. It was, of course, lovely to see Tony, Julian Headlong, the Harveys and Laura Wheatly, Paul and Aiden. I was very grateful to the Lawsons for giving Sally a lift down and for the chance to catch up with Dave Cox and Simon Dearn. I’m sure there is a reason for the propensity of middle-aged men to barbeque but I have never been able to fathom quite what the attraction is. Still, it's lovely to see the fans out of their natural environment of hotel bars.
A week later I went to see Paul Simon at the Armadillo in Glasgow. Take That were playing the same night but I think I got the better deal. Paul Simon seems always to have been in my listening selection, first as part of Simon & Garfunkel then on his own. When I look on iTunes I have 98 songs under Paul Simon. Admittedly one is David Essex singing, ‘For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her’. And one seems to be Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill singing the duet from the Pearl Fishers although it is labelled as 'One Trick Pony'. No idea how that happened. One of the things I have always appreciated, as well as the wonderful lyrics, is the lovely complexity of the music though I speak, of course, as a musical illiterate. Simon had eight fabulously accomplished musicians playing with him who all seemed to play many multiple instruments. I loved every minute of the show and for days afterwards ‘The Only Living Boy In New York’ played through my dreams. The songs seem to have grown over the years and, after the show, listening to the originals is a little pale in comparison.
Gosh, what a gadabout I am. The next weekend we were down in London to see Rita Rudner. Julia and Dougs gave us a lift down and back and we spent Sunday morning with Julian, admiring his new bookcases. We met up with Julian Saturday afternoon in the middle of Leicester Square. He was waiting patiently for us, buffeted but basically unmoved by the colourful and exuberant crowds of Gay Priders. I’ve long admired Rita as one of the finest comedians I’ve seen. The jokes are packed in, terrifically funny and nothing sexist, racist or anything else objectionable. You can see some of her quotable lines here. We had to bring Julian, who is a passionate Rita fan, as it seems unlikely he will ever fly again (due to extreme decrepitude) and she has pretty much taken up residence in Las Vegas while they raise their child. Some years ago, while I was still flying, we (Julia, Ian and I) saw her performing in Vegas without Julian and I have a slight suspicion that he never forgave us. Perhaps the cruel gloating and incessant teasing hasn’t helped.
Strictly speaking that brings me to the beginning of July. How these months merge together. Sigh