Number 10 | Join a musical society …

After the debacle of 2015 (I auditioned for quite a big musical society in the local area, they turned me down, they also turned out to be the biggest group of backstabbing bitches I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet and I’ve not sang in front of anyone since) I decided to audition for a different musical society, a much nicer one in Leicester. They’re called the IDOLS (Infirmary Dramatic, Operatic and Literary Society) and having liked their last two shows, as well as knowing a couple of people in the cast, I thought I’d give them a shot.

But holy shit, that audition was terrifying. I don’t like to tell people in advance that I’m doing anything where I might fail at it. I held out on confirming I would actually be coming to the audition but secretly went for some singing lessons and practised my audition number in front of my singing teacher and my boss (weirdly). What made it so much worse was that the audition panel was comprised of people I know (and one I fancy the arse off). I much prefer doing stuff like this in front of people I’ve never met before. If I fail at it, I never have to see them again.

Somehow, despite being stupidly nervous, cocking up and forgetting my words and standing as far away as humanly possible from the audition panel, I got in! Now all I have to do is decide whether or not I want to audition for ‘Annie’, which is the next show that they’re doing …

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Number 9 | Become “kind of a big deal” …

I’ve been a member of the rather excellent Little Theatre, Leicester for almost four years now and every year there is an Annual General Meeting – shocking, given how they use the word ‘annual’ there. But this year there were available spots on the trustee board up for nomination.

I’ve always imagined the trustee board of anywhere to be a version of the shady ‘Greater Good’ gathering from ‘Hot Fuzz’. Mysterious names, shrouded in mystery, and only known to those on the inside. This isn’t strictly true with the theatre. There’s a notice board with a picture and mini-CV of all those on the board.

But anyway. I decided to put myself forward.

I don’t know why. What possessed me to do that? I know *nothing* about how to run a theatre, and the trustees are in charge of EVERYTHING. They make ALL THE DECISIONS. Considering I can barely make my own decisions, this was probably not a wise move.

So I put myself up for nomination along with a friend of mine … and we both got voted on to the board. Both of us! People actually voted for us! For me! What is that all about?!

Obviously I can’t go into details about what we talk about but for our next meeting, I’d like to come in a mysterious black cloak and tell people I have an apartment that smells of “rich mahogany”.

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Number 8 | Write a play based on a true story …

Well, it’s vaguely true. I’ve written a one-act play based on the very thing that led me to this point – the ex-boyfriend and the theatre group (go refresh your memory and read ‘The Story’ link on this site).

So far in my creative life – which sounds so much better than, “what I do when I doss around” – I have written numerous sketches, based on everything from ‘Dr. Who’ to Steve Irwin. I’ve written two children’s books and self-published them through Amazon. I’ve written one film script, and started a sitcom. And I’ve also written three one-act plays.

The first play, ‘Thirtysomething’, was about a one-night stand between Nicola and Ben. The morning after, Nicola holds Ben hostage WITH AN ACTUAL GUN until he agrees to be her boyfriend. This is not based on a true story in any way, although quite a lot of the dialogue was.

The second, ‘Useless’, is about a bloke who gets dumped by his girlfriend. His friends rally round to avenge his dumping, and it turns out that they are all superheroes. Really, really crap superheroes. As in, they speak in Shakespearian dialect / sing in harmony / tell stories through interpretative dance. I don’t think I need to point out that this is in no way based on any true story in existence.

And now we’ve got ‘The Fixer’. I wrote it as a reaction to last year’s break up but switched around some of the details. The girl, Caitlin, now breaks up with the guy, Ed (YES! REVENGE WILL BE MINE!). Ed is getting too into his theatre groups, loving the attention from all the women, and it’s making Caitlin unhappy and left-out. From Ed’s point of view, Caitlin is being too clingy (at least, this is how I imagine the ex in question saw me), which she’s only doing because she actually wants to see her boyfriend, who she loves. Along comes The Fixer to fix things … by nearly killing Ed. This is the part that never happened.

But so much of the dialogue is based on real thoughts and feelings from that horrible period. I wrote it a matter of days after all the shit kicked off and, when I went to re-read it a few months down the line, I realised it was basically just a rant about this certain ex. Sometimes that’s healthy to do, to get everything out of your system like that, and I realised that I didn’t want to change much. I wanted to make it a bit less personal, add in some ridiculous elements to make it slightly more absurd … And it was done! We performed it at the Leicester Comedy Festival earlier this year (which is where the photo below was taken) and we’re doing it AGAIN at The Little Theatre as part of the All-England Play Festival on 31 March. This time around we’ll be competing with 11 other one-act plays to win various awards and go through to the quarter-finals of the festival. We also get adjudicated IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, so if the adjudicator thinks it’s crap he will let us know.

 

But come and see it! Support will be most welcome – check The Little Theatre website for details. Support won’t overthrow the adjudicator’s decision if he *does* think it’s rubbish, but we can definitely get a large enough group of people together to beat him senseless with a rolled up copy of the Metro.

Number 7 | Go to a random museum …

Last Saturday I had the distinct pleasure (bit of a weird word to use, but we’ll go with it) of visiting Abbey Pumping Station. Being a lifelong Leicester resident, it’s almost shameful how I’ve managed to avoid it for so long.

APS is essentially the place to go to if you’re interested in either steam or sewage. Set next to the National Space Centre, the two attractions together “tell the story of over 200 years of science and technology from the early days of steam and industry to the space exploration of today.” And yes, that is taken directly from the website.

So what does APS have to offer? Well, a lot of steam related stuff – ye olde engines and the like. Some old-school cinema things – cameras and zoetropes and things. There’s also some bits about Leicester’s tram history (yes, we have a tram history) and the history of washing, both with clothes and bodies.

And then we come onto the history of the toilet (the ‘Flushed with Pride’ exhibit) and Thomas Crapper’s role in it. Now this is where it gets really interesting.

First of all, let me point out that I went to this museum by myself, which already made me a little weird. In a building full of families or the elderly, I was neither old nor with a child.

The museum features one of the best interactive demonstrations ever, especially if you’re a small child or just really immature – Where Does Poo Go When You Flush It (*not the official name of the demo).

At one end of the room sits a toilet with a transparent cistern full of water above it. Put an object in the toilet bowl, pull the chain to flush it and watch through see-through pipes as the water takes the object down along the pipes to the drainage system at the bottom, fish it out (by hand) and start all over again. In itself, not an overly interesting demonstration. What makes it much more fun, however, is seeing (or being) a little kid shouting, “it’s a poo! IT’S A POO! Dad, I’m flushing my poo!” and then watching them race the water to end and hearing, “I’M GETTING MY POO OUT NOW!” So much fun, but very much not designed for 32 year old women there by themselves.

Always fun to start with the steam stuff, and end up with the poo.

**The photo below was taken from the display boards that are all around. Apparently this is some old form of washing that’s being depicted. It looks painful.

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