High Camp in a Big Tent

We love a live show and they don’t get more lively than ‘La Voix’, drag queen extraordinaire and a glorious blend of song, sparkle and wit. La Voix belts out the tunes in the best tradition of old-fashioned drag cabaret where the voice and the repartee are just as important as the frocks and the wig.

It was high camp in a big tent – ‘Interlude in the Close’, a big top in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral’s Lower School. La Voix’s old razzle dazzle was part of the wider opening up of the arts across the city, after a very dark time. Even during the Blitz, the theatres stayed open; not so with COVID.

The only downside was travelling back to the village on the last bus with a load of young people who’d been out on the razzle themselves. They were no trouble, but there wasn’t a mask between them. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Get the Bloody Jab

Get the Bloody Jab

We just can’t wait to get back into the theatre – we’ve a glittering chorus of touring musicals queued up – from the modern: Six, Waitress, The Book of Mormon to the classics: Bedknobs and Broomsticks and The Sound of Music. Few trades have suffered from COVID more than the performing arts. The only sure way to get bums back on seats and keep them there is for everyone to get the jab. And yet there are still some twats out there who won’t get vaccinated because they’d rather fall for the total crap swilling around social media than listen to those who really know what’s what.

A case in point is the music video commissioned by the Official London Theatre (the umbrella organisation for London’s West End theatreland) which features a host of names encouraging vaccine take-up. I love it because it’s a spoof of ‘The Rhythm of Life’ number from Sweet Charity, one of my all-time favourites. Like everything else these days, the video’s on YouTube. Depressingly, the barrage of fake ‘outrage’ from the trolls is staggering.

So I have two messages – the first to the refuseniks…

Do us all a favour, stop being a wanker and get the bloody jab because it’s the right thing to do.

And the second to those running the show…

Do us all a favour, share the vaccine with those in the world who can’t afford it because it’s the right thing to do and because until we’re all protected, none of us are.

National Treasure

I got my first jab a few weeks back but, being a tad younger than me, Liam had to wait a tad longer for his. He got his first shot in the food court at the Castle Quarter Shopping Centre in Norwich where life-saving injections rather than artery-hardening fried chicken are now on the menu.

Vaccine centres across the realm come in all shapes and sizes but none is more majestic than the soaring Gothic splendour of Westminster Abbey in London. And who better to enter stage right than Norfolk boy Stephen Fry, actor, writer, presenter, everyone’s favourite audiobook narrator and all-round gay good egg. Here he is getting his first jab by Poets’ Corner, final resting place of writers, artists and actors down the ages – Chaucer, Browning, Tennison, Dickens and Olivier, among many others.

It’s a place for national treasures like Stephen Fry.

Valentine Greetings

Local lass, friend, author and blogger, Roving Jay, is a remarkable lady – intrepid, resilient, resourceful, on-the-ball and bright as a button. Little seems to faze her. She just gets on with it. As it turns out, she’s also quite the artist too. Not a piss artist like Liam and me, though she can sink a few with the best. No, a proper artist in pen, pencil and paint. She’s good, very good, as in people-would-pay-good-money good. Our Christmas card this year was a classic and, unlike most cards chucked into the recycling, now hangs proudly on the wall of the office here at Pansies HQ.

Jay recently travelled from the UK to Turkey and was forced to endure the tortuous tedium of quarantine. As she did so with fortitude and good humour, a Valentine’s Day card dropped on our mat.

I guess it’s unusual for a couple of married old fairies to get a romantic Valentine’s card from someone of the opposite sex but then, Roving Jay is unusual in the best possible way.

Read about Jay’s witty and informative Quarantine Chronicles here.

Putting on the Ritz

I know it can be tough on pets and those of a nervous disposition but I do love a pyrotechnic extravaganza, especially at New Year – all that sound and fury signifying nothing but the turning of time. When London was home, I’d jump on the Tube to enjoy the spectacle from the banks of Old Father Thames along with tens of thousands of other revellers. These days I’m content to watch from the comfort of a warm sofa, glass of bubbly in hand.

For obvious reasons, we assumed the fireworks would be off this year. But the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had other ideas. Without plug or promotion, sneaky Sadiq gave us the old razzle dazzle to cheer us up. The theatres may all be dark right now but London can still put on a show.