No More Heroes?

I go through the names at every visit, to give them back their name being spoken on the wind again, albeit in a language different from their mothers voices. After all this and all they did there are still some that can’t see past what the name means, the clue it gives of how they give thanks in their life for something they looked for out of it, the clue that a mother and father bestowed it as a blessing on a child they expected to outlive them.

The same people who use those very fallen ‘our boys’ as an excuse to never look outside the longitude and latitudes of their own lands to help, cannot comprehend that others did one time, before they were born, looked out from there, to help here and didn’t even get buried at home, but a small square has been given to them. Now, all that is there is the name, amongst running water and a sapling each standing to attention and watching, that can bend with the weather when they never could.

The one word they never use is irony, it is only short but very heavily loaded. It seems that for some the grave does not level us all, that a warrior grave that usually elevates should not be given to all, no matter how noble, selfless and honourable their sacrifice to protect other people’s families with no gain for them. Other people’s families who generations down, spew on stories that ‘This is England’ and say ‘Lest We Forget’ for a few days in November, but then do forget if the hero is not the right colour or religion to be gained entrance into their mawkish lip service. Maybe they should be made to wait and watch over those dead to see that after all, the bones are the same colour and fit together the same way and the heart is in the same hollow and the arsehole has all disappeared apart from the one regarding.

The casualties of war, are they those who die a noble death or those who 100 years later can still not let go of hate?

And you who worship your God of fire
Do you think he knows your deep desire
Is proud of the bile you spout
Your views uncovered spilling out

No you’re not racist but
There’s just a little part
That can’t keep the hate out
That ferments in your heart

And you do it in the name of your God

Where is it written that your DNA
Is the only one that is ok?
Who gave you a license to supremacy
When you bleed the same as me
And them
And breathe
And scare
And flounder
And drown
You would you know
Let’s hope you never do know

Let’s just hope that you turn the pages of your book
To the verse and chapter that says take a look
At the person beside you mother or son
Same look in the eye and same moon and same sun

Same pain and loss and joy at birth
Same chance to do good on this earth
Same compassion that weeps and arms that can hold
To turn off the hate let the guns go cold

And here, like people who did their best
Attached your colours to their chest
Fought so you had freedom to state
I’m not racist, but,

What did they waste?


Christmas Scenarios

Scenario One:

Christmas Eve/Morning

‘I’ll just shove this stuff here in this drawer/cupboard/room/under the stairs/dungeon of oblivion where nothing returns, people will be here soon. I’ll sort it out Boxing Day’

Ordinary day a bit/lot later

‘Have you seen my ‘really important thing’?’ (One of the things you put away)

‘Yes it errr…. Oh.. erm Oh for God’s sake if anyone actually helped around here but no it is always me!’ (Frantically pulling at a drawer stuck because an old kazoo has got wedged in which then explodes onto the floor, ‘essential thing’ lying on top…..

‘See I told you I filed it and indexed it exquisitely’

Scenario Two

Someone posts a jolly picture on Facebook of them at Christmas with a family/friends/cardboard cutout and says ‘spending a few days with these crazy guys’ and checks in to a location

queue many comments from Facebook friends they have never actually met ‘hey you’re just round the corner from me let’s have that catch up that we keep talking about I’ll PM you my mobile number!’

No more Facebook from original poster until 2nd Jan

‘Hey just saw your comment ! Signal was terrible maybe catch up soon!’

wipes forehead ‘phew saw that one off!’

Woking Wakes For Sleeping Beauty


imagePanto – it’s a magic word for ‘play everyone enjoys except grumpy old gits’ and this was true of Sleeping Beauty at New Victoria Theatre Woking this year.

Every year for about a million years I have taken the family to panto, I have seen it through their excitement at white Shetland ponies and water pistols, plastic things that light up and are essential needs, to squabbling teenagers saying ‘your Mum’ to everything – which was annoying as they were talking about the ugly sisters and I am their Mum. About the time I started reviewing them and being given a programme to read, they started nicking it immediately as they pored over the dancers and discussed which ones they fancied, but then lost their shit like 3 year olds again when the magic bits happened.

This year, with universities and work claiming them I only had one left and with a boyfriend on the horizon the dancer observation was reduced to a pretend not looking. My sister had conveniently had children later than me so I took my six year old nephew. This seems like a pointless review but in order to set the scene, and I don’t get out much, I need you to know that I have guided a child through panto from the magic to the fnar factor and therefore you are safe with me.

Some pantos are the type that are very family friendly and you cheerfully say this to people, but think ‘Gah! I wish it was a bit ruder’ – this one is fantastic the double entendres abound, going right over the head of the younger contingent, keeping the adults happy. I left my pen behind so the only quotes I have quickly put in my phone at interval ‘popped my cherry out the back’ (Molly), and ‘my name rhymes with my job, I’m glad I’m not a banker’ (Chester), give you an idea of the dialogue that made me snort unattractively through my nose comforted by the look of confusion at my amusement on my nephew’s face, and shock and laughter on my daughter’s.

Chester The Jester (Alan Committie) and Molly Coddle (Simon Nehan) have excellent dynamic between them and comic timing as the scene is set for the telling of the age old story. The professional dancers are flawless and the children playing the villagers, usually local also don’t put a foot wrong.

It’s a good pairing of Ben Goodridge and Vanessa Clarke as King Hector and Queen Camilla, they give the married couple double act famed by the telly famous, George & Mildred, Stan & Hilda a run for its money. The versatility of actors like this who with an impressive classical theatre CV bring such fun to the panto should be applauded.n

Carla Nella who is an engaging and expressive Princess Beauty and Ben Faulks as Prince Tarragon both engaging vocals individually and in their duets/dialogues make a sweet and gentle couple.

For an excellent vocal performance Shelley Ann Rivers as the Lilac Fairy singing Time to Say Goodbye was beautiful, and when Katie Price as Malevolence shouted ‘Shut Up’ she seemed most relaxed in her role. Surrounded in panto by professional dancers, actors and singers can be daunting for those cast in the traditional ‘personality’ role, having to act as themselves, in a character, with someone else’s words to blend in the mix so at the beginning of the run nerves might be a factor.

imageHighlights as always are the 12 days of Christmas with the audience playing catch with the toilet rolls and the bra with three cups, the water pistols (‘Mum how come we are near the front my hair!’) the wildly varying accents from the ‘French’ beauticians (Molly & Chester) sent to free the caged Prince Basil so he can save the day with a kiss.

I think ‘Po Faced Cheryl’ should get a mention – she played her part well, the audience member who allows themselves to be drawn in to the action and make a sounding board for the actors in true panto tradition. They gave her a carrier bag of goodies as appreciation, so she was at least 5p up on the beginning of the night.

The part of the panto that never changes is the lavish costumes and the engaging jokes, the writer Eric Potts should take credit as we all sit down thinking ‘come on mate let’s see which part of the town gets a slagging off this year’ but it was Ascot so that was fine. The special effects of the forest they needed to kill with an electric toothbrush, axe and sword and the fiery dragon to be slayed at the end were great. The whole event is made better by the theatre staff who enter into it with enthusiasm. For little children whose first visit to the theatre is the panto it’s a great start.

If you do want a panto that keeps all the traditions alive, you can’t go wrong with this one
Sleeping Beauty is on at New Victoria Theatre Woking until 10 January 2016. From 28 December the part of Malevolence is played by Anita Dobson. Tickets can be obtained from or 08448717645