Wonderful life

Because we are putting on a show in December an empty warehouse with some serious electrical problems, there are these low power panel heaters that look like whiteboards. Now that the show is down until after Christmas, I’ve loaded two of them into an uber so my flat isn’t freezing tomorrow. I’ve thrown in the Christmas tree, an entire unused orange pavlova, shitloads of leftover show food (backup in case of sudden people-flood) and Brian bought a case of beer from the show. Tasty beer from the London beer factory. I’ve also got my costume to wash and dry – it’s getting pretty stinky. And another 1.5 litres of gravy. There’s definitely enough food in the flat now, come what may.

This evening Brian and I ran around the flat sorting out the shape of it and getting it ready for whatever comes tomorrow. The panel heaters make a difference. Now we are watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’ve never seen it before. I’ve avoided it.

Back when I was at school I got cast in a musical version of this story. I was thrilled to be offered the part of “George Grimstone” because I was at school and I wanted to act. Back then I had no idea that the character’s name was “Potter”. I had never seen the film. I just obediently did the job in front of me. I honestly thought that the film was about lots of people in spandex doing bad showtunes. It’s not. It’s about so much more. God I now see it was woeful. But I reckon I was well cast, back then, as the darkness. But I now know that I shouldn’t have agreed to dress up in a shiny black suit and sing one of the tunes, transposed up an octave so out of my comfortable range, in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank to a panel of judges including Bob Holness, who fronted Blockbusters but has also been radio James Bond for ages, which perfectly illustrates the magic of radio. Why were we there? Some sort of competition for schools. We won “Best original musical” but I think it might easily have been called “only original musical.” Back then I already knew I was doomed to this vocation, so any straw was worth clutching.

I like the message of the movie – put into the mouth of an angel: “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” “Remember no man is a failure who has friends.”

I wouldn’t have the panel heaters, the Christmas tree or the cash to buy the food if Brian and Louis hadn’t decided to punt a load of money on Christmas Carol this year. Building a theatre and a kitchen safely into that massive unplumbed warehouse space was a fucking nightmare and carried unexpected emergency costs that could never have been anticipated. When the month closes it won’t have made a loss. But a lot of people wouldn’t have made the punt. Thank God we’ve got a robust show. And a sexy double act. I love working with Jack. We can read each other’s minds now.


Here is my view as I write. Pickle. Tree. Lights. All is well. Brian is snoring on the sofa by me. I’m going to make him more comfortable and hit the sack. Happy Christmas!!

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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