Tuesday 24th April 2012
“TIDY it up, please. I’m a posh bloke in a play and need to look smart. On second thoughts, just do the best you can.”
I’d not been to the hairdresser’s for forty-four years. A number of females – including, latterly, two granddaughters – have kindly indulged my wish not to buy into an industry I consider fatuous (and almost political) in its influence.
I went to the traditional men’s barber in town. Apart from the price having risen from 1s 6d to £11, nothing’s changed. He seemed surprised by the tip, but that was to indulge my nostalgia. The result was fine. Still seems odd that so many people fork out good money to look like each other.
The trousers for Still Kicking I picked up from a charity shop. They were on the large size, but of a material (no idea what) that doesn’t crease. With my one decent jacket and a collared shirt, I’d look presentable enough as Sir John. He would have loosened the tie on getting into his car at the station.
(Dame Josephine is arranging flowers in the summer-house. Enter Sir John)
BOTH: Oh you.
SIR: I thought you weren’t here.
DAME: Well, I am.
SIR: Clearly… I thought you’d still be up in town.
DAME: London was too hot. I wanted to get back. To do the flowers.
SIR: You still can’t decide, can you?
SIR: Why not?
DAME: I like the part… I’m just not sure about working with Trevor again.
SIR: You don’t have to do it.
DAME: I don’t have to do anything, but I might enjoy it.
That line of Jo’s was central to the whole show. Do the rich really have a greater freedom than others? How far do duty and obligation dictate what people do, what they wear, how they must behave?
Would Jo and I have actually led happier lives had ambition led us to seek fame or status? Of course not.
Meanwhile, we had great fun with our assumed alter-egos and their evening of mid-life crises: a blazing row, making love in the shower, her decision not to take the part, his to quit his important job, and for the pair of them to write a play, set in the summer-house.