Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Those Questions

Time for me to answer the questions submitted to mark the first birthday of this blog, most of them from Portuguese Nova.
Both she and Tony asked what I did for a living.
'I have had wide-ranging experience in both the private and public sectors, dealing with people at all levels and developing a broad range of skills....'
Well, I don't want to be too specific.
But I've already revealed here that I once worked at the Savoy Hotel. And that I worked in London theatres. The latter job, if you want to be pretentious, was as a 'stage technician' but more commonly known as a 'stagehand'. My actual job description on the contract I still have a copy of, from Stoll Moss Theatres, was 'showman'. This meant you just worked on shows (i.e. part-time), as opposed to a 'Dayman' who was a full-time member of staff but who also worked on the evening shows. I wonder if that traditional terminology has survived in the West End. Probably not.

I spent many years in an office job in London and also spent many years in local government. I've also done some freelance journalism.
I once worked for one day in a London pub. I must write about why it was only one day on another occasion.
I did some part-time teaching for a year as well.
There are a number of things I nearly did but either didn't get or else backed out when sense prevailed. These include becoming a postman, teaching at a Prep School and running a stately home.
As you can see, I've never had a 'career' but have just careered around from one opportunity and expedient to another.
My childhood ambitions were to be (in order) a coach driver, a zoo keeper, a librarian and a novelist. My grandmother always mispronounced 'librarian' and told everyone I wanted to be a 'Liberian'. People were too polite to ask why a young boy would wish to change his nationality.

PN also asked:
If you did want to make your own muesli, would you know how?
No, but I'd do what I always do. Look up a recipe on the internet, print it out, put it in my Recipes Folder, and then never make it.
Have you ever been to the US?
No and probably never will. I cannot travel by plane so would have to book one of Cunard's State Rooms which would be very expensive. I was invited to San Francisco in 1970 by an American I met in a London pub. He gave me his address but if I turned up now he probably wouldn't remember me, despite me having retained my boyish good looks.
If I were ever to make it out of Portugal while on your continent, and we were to meet for a drink, what would I order for you to celebrate your blogiversary?
That's a tricky one. I stopped drinking a few years' ago so my tolerance to alcohol is now very low. So, to avoid any embarrassing scenes in the Rod and Mullet, I would just have a weak shandy and sip it slowly. Anyway, I would be sufficiently intoxicated by the excitement of meeting you.


At 9:57 PM, Blogger portuguesa nova said...

:)) Flattery gets you everywhere.

Are we allowed to continue the questioning within the context of this post?

1. No flying because of health or fear of flying or hatred of paying money for unreliable, uncomfortable bad service?

2. Do you recommend a career or careering around?

3. What is your favorite play?

At 6:48 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

1. Fear of flying.

2. If you plough a straight furrow in life you miss out on a lot of interesting experiences and people.
Also, you are a slightly different person every ten years of your life and what you do should take account of that.
The downside of careering around is that you enter middle age with a store of memorable experiences but no fucking money in the bank.

3. Impossible to name one favourite play. But I can think immediately of two of my most memorable experiences in the theatre. Firstly, Peter Schaffer's Equus. The film gives no idea of the impact it had on the stage, where the horses were played by people and, incredibly, it worked.
Secondly, The Elocution of Benjamin Franklin, a one-man tour de force by Gordon Chater who managed to fill the stage with other, unseen characters. The misleading title led many little old ladies to think it was a cosy, historical drama, a mistake that became clear when Mr Chater made his first entrance stark bollock naked. It had a short run in one of London's smallest theatres in the seventies but nobody who saw it will ever forget it.
There are many more I could mention but these two plays did something that could not be done in any other medium except the theatre.


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