Soppy, sentimental old fool that I am, I’m a sucker for a tear-jerker. I cried during the opening Circle of Life scene of the Lion King when I first saw it in the West End many moons ago. And I started to blub during the first few bars of Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace and carried on sobbing right through to the finale. Pass the Kleenex.
Last year Liam and I watched the film version of Everybody Talking About Jamie on Amazon Prime. There’s a scene midway through – a flashback to the dark days of the early nineties when the gossip on the street was of a ‘gay plague’ and gay men were dropping like flies to a hostile crowd.
A few brave folk fought back, and the rest, as they say…
“Even the Iron Lady couldn’t stop the show.”
It’s a time I remember well. Too well. Who could forget? Here’s the scene that had me bawling.
But then there are tears of joy too. We also saw Six, a musical about the wives of that old lecherous tyrant, Henry the Eighth. Despite their bleak destiny – divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived – the show delivers an uplifting, defiant message. It’s a message that seems to have struck an inspirational chord with young ladies everywhere judging by the audience at Norwich’s Theatre Royal and the flash mob at the Tower of London, where two of Henry’s queens lost their heads. The young faces say it all. Right, ladies, it’s time for your crowning glory. You’ve earned it.
We’ve put Amazon Prime on trial. The retail juggernaut offers Prime free for a month. The jury’s out whether we’ll carry on once the trial is over. Not because it’s rubbish. It isn’t. But because Amazon has got too big for its boots. Just saying.
The trial did give us the chance to check out Prime Video and a couple of movies that took our fancy – ‘Dating Amber’ and ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’. We’d not heard of the former but we’d seen the stage version of the latter beamed from the West End before the pandemic turned off the glitter ball.
Set in Ireland during the mid-90s, ‘Dating Amber’ tells the story of Eddie and Amber, two gay teens who decide to fake a romance to stop the kids at school from banging on about their sexuality. It’s a funny, sweet and touching coming out tale, and perfect for warming a cool autumnal evening.
The musical ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ was a surprise West End hit, inspired by the 2011 BBC documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’. The show follows the eponymous teenager as he beats the bullies and the bigots to slip on the high heels, sequined frock and big hair as a wannabe drag queen.
The show’s back on in the West End now and Prime recently premiered the film version. We liked the stage show but we loved the movie – gutsy, exuberant and courageous with a sparkling cast, including Max Harwood as Jamie.
And what do these two films have in common (apart from the bleedin’ obvious)? None other than fabulous Irish actress, writer and comedian Sharon Horgan who plays Eddie’s doting mother and Jamie’s tight-arsed teacher. Sharon Horgan’s all over our screens right now, making career hay while the TV sun shines. And who came blame her?
Liam’s busted ribs are mending slowly but surely and the pain has eased. At one point, I was considering putting him on the liquid morphine left over from my arterial bypass a few years back, but it’s well past its ‘use by date’ and I didn’t want Liam to go from crack to smack. A casualty of his temporary incapacity was a planned jolly to North Yorkshire. Since Liam could neither travel nor drink, our merry night in Leeds followed by a little festive fun in Knaresborough was off. My disappointment was partially redeemed by a recent five star Amazon review for that book I wrote seven years ago. Amazingly, it still sells, though less so these days. The reviewer simply wrote:
Thank you, Susan Pritchard. Have a fabulous Christmas.
Waterstone’s is the UK’s second biggest bricks and mortar bookseller (after the ubiquitous WH Smith’s) and its stores are great places to shelter from the rain and thumb through a title or two. I would hate to see them disappear from the high street just because of the relentless march of the on-line retailer. ‘If you can’t beat them, join them,’ may be a well-worn adage but it made perfect commercial sense for Waterstone’s to launch its own on-line offer a few years ago.
Much has been said about the phenomenal growth of Amazon and its sharp practices, not to mention its questionable (but quite legal) tax avoidance shenanigans. But you can’t fault their business acumen. If you view an out of stock item, you get this message:
Temporarily out of stock, order now and we’ll deliver when available
Contrast this with the message from Waterstone’s:
Not in our warehouse. We can order it, but could take up to 3 weeks
Turkey Street is an ancient road ‘… just wide enough for two emaciated camels to pass each other unhindered’. Now you can take a stroll along its winding path following in the strappy sandals of Alexander the Great as he tried (and nearly failed) to ‘…wrest old Halicarnassus from the doughty Persians’. But be wary of the ‘…motorcades of Nissan tanks flanked by Vespas on amphetamines’, something Alexander never had to contend with. Turkey Street is now open for business. Relax, open a bottle, kick off your heels and maybe grab the Kleenex.
The real strength of Turkey Street though is that at its heart is a genuinely touching love story.
Greetings from a wet, blowy Norwich. Oh, to be in Bodrum once again. Nevertheless, Liam and I will be popping open the bubbly later to celebrate. This one’s been a bit of a labour of love. Thank you so much for all the pre-orders and messages of support. I’m chuffed.
Turkey Street: Jack and Liam move to Bodrum is officially published today.