Great Nanny Wilson and the rogue counsellor.

The Amigos Great Nanny (Paula) Wilson peacefully drifted off with the fairies, (for good this time), this morning. She’d been happy in their company for about ten years and managed to reach a wonderful 94 years before flying away. She had brought up her family alone, in a rather nice house in Headcorn, a happy home with plenty of love and care. Our families had been estranged for over a decade (not our choice) as a result of the divorce many years ago. W.O. is quite inconsolable and I’m rubbish at being sympathetic. I gave him a trifle yesterday evening and then made him some mince pies. My nature is to keep people smiling, crack jokes, tell a limerick, but I need to stifle it, smiling is not for NOW! I would be a TERRIBLE, Eric Morecombe style bereavement counsellor. My advice to bereaved friends is always: 1. Eat LOADS of hot-cross buns/cherries/toffee apples/Christmas puddings (adjust according to season), turn your bedroom into a glam home cinema and join a choir. I did try several counsellors when I was utterly lost and miserable, but counsellors are like Toploader songs; there are a couple of gems among a sea of rubbish ones. Actually, Toploader only have one gem, as ‘dancing in the moonlight,’ is a cover! Back to counselling – a session is about £50! £50 to talk about yourself! There is no complimentary cheeseboard and glass of fizz, they won’t give you any advice and I even had an NHS one that developed an odd and rather unsavoury crush on me. He asked for singing lessons, he asked to meet in Costa, he asked to touch the little hole in my tights! Yuck and NO THANKS! Hilarious, but no doubt would have upset other patients/clients/thingies. Better to spend your £50 on two tickets (for you and your most yellow, yellow) to the Rye Kino, 2 large G&T’s, whitebait and Chucky chips at The Globe. A good friend will listen AND advise. You won’t take the advice, but you’ll have survived another day, rather than dying a thousand deaths at home on your own.

The Amigo’s Great Nanny Wilson. She loved wearing lilac and navy blue and growing Bonsai Trees

I very often get things wrong. but I run on instinct, in every part of my life. Amigos – once you are old enough, you will learn to trust yours too. If something doesn’t feel right, if there are red flags, alarm bells – listen! Step back! March into things that excite you, inspire you, fill you with zip-a-dee-do-dah. Choose things as you would choose a song. If a song hits the spot, then I’ll choose it for the choir, regardless of it being unknown, disliked or even odd. I may add a song later if I get time to finish it before Hawkhurst this

Loads of manuscripts to write up… wish me luck!

Lullabys, babies and bombs!

What a fully odd few days it’s been. More bugs around than in Bugtopia. Sick ones, cold ones, sick AND cold ones. Butsy’s clan have the lot! Speaking of (not so) tiny, little things that multiply, Head Office has a new babe! She’s so very sweet and a very welcome girl to our squad of unruly boys. Two more babies due too…lucky then that Wayne and I just made a lullaby called Hushabye Mountain – It’s from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! What jet-setting superstars we are! He was in his studio in L.A. and I was at my holiday home in Cannes…just like Bocelli and Streisand when they record their songs. Actually, it sounds like Wayne was in a wardrobe recording his bits – I think I can hear coat-hangers clanking around and at one point, Karen asking if he wants a cup of tea. I was in my studio/cupboard, pretending my keyboards are a glockenspiel, drum kit and string section. The barking dog comes as standard on all my productions haha.

Ahhhh. A new Amigo for Head Office Helen.

Got a fair bit of cabaret work done this weekend, in between sorting out family stuff. There I was, very happy galavanting all over the place, then bang…discovered W.O was in a very bad place (I don’t mean Tovil). I don’t wish to elaborate (although this blog is basically, my life), but if you consider what a sad place some people find themselves in, he was probably in that very place. So my shenanigans are on ice (that’s what I keep telling myself anyway) while I fix what I can and attempt to steer the family out of stormy seas, with Butsy as my able-bodied second in command. We are GREAT sailors! Amigos – I no longer believe we are responsible for another persons happiness – we are responsible for our own, and hopefully, if we are nice enough, we will contribute to others. We are also responsible for the paths we choose to take, despite what we encounter along the way. It took me 55 years to realise all these things. I’m no martyr and nor should anyone be expected to be. On a fully exciting note, W.O. was born in Hoo. That makes him a Hoo (a Who, from Whoville). W.O. and Butsy actually look a little Who-ish, Amigo II as well (its the filtrum), which is rather lovely, especially with all the Grinchy Christmas stuff approaching.

Amigo II chilling on his beanbag.

If Nicolas Cage can drink himself to death after the loss of his partner, in ‘Leaving Las Vegas,’ then, I can surely attempt to eat myself to death after some turbulence in my life? ‘Leaving Las Vegas,’ is a brilliant film and so sad too, was that it’s author, John O’Brien killed himself just two weeks after hearing his novel would become a film! His dad says the whole book was written as his sons suicide note. I am not really going to eat myself to death, instead, I will visit CP…

Had a GREAT Claude and Maude afternoon with CP. We watched, ‘Toilkien.’ It stars Nicholas Hoult, who started out as that very unattractive kid with a dodgy haircut, in, ‘About a boy,’ and ended up a rather handsome man with a regular fringe. He does have mad eyebrows though, but so does Tom Cruise and he did fairly well in life. Welsh people tend to have mad eyebrows too. Absolutely loved this film, for so many reasons. Ooooh – the soundtrack has some lovely Kate Bush style piano pieces in it. Definitely an autumnal watch, as it’s full of floating leaves and lovely old homes with soft, amber lights and golden hues. Tolkien was to the world of fantasy writing, what the Beatles were to the world of pop. He was a first and what an amazing man to invent languages and worlds, long before computers and so on – well, long before anyone else did. I’m not a fantasy film fan (I slept through Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) but I think he was quite a genius. It’s also a sweet love story. He and his wife, Enid, are buried together, their names written in Elvish on the headstone.

C.P. has discovered a 500lb bomb while excavating in London! How exciting. He has sent all his expendable staff to deal with it. This was the look on his face when he discovered it…
Hushabye Mountain. © Arr. Bridle/Wilson. Glockenspiel much too loud…sorry! xxx

A November birthday for Nona.

Mum with Butsy. 1994.

I love November. Amazon has Black Friday, M&S have Christmas pudding and Monsoon has loads of velvety things to wear. During November, I have to buy 25 presents for each Amigo, so that they have one each day of advent. Last year I left the wrapping until the last minute and had to do all 75 in one day. NOT a good idea! The daily gift can be anything from a chocolate santa to a snowsuit. I get them loads of festive clothes too – what is the point of giving a Christmas jumper on Christmas Day? November is also GREAT because the Christmas songs are in full swing at Rockits rehearsals! I have been working on new ones today, in between Nanny Day Care and a lengthy visit to the merch. printers for new Rockits T shirts and goodies for next year. Once we realised the printer could make things glitter, it was open season. Cabaret sold out in a flash this year! That’s GREAT! Now, all we have to do is stick it all together (luckily I have lots of glue) and hey presto! What’s so sweet about the Christmas cabarets, are that most of the audience have come since the very first one, many years ago. It’s become a tradition, just like our very own, “The Christmas Cracker Song!” Christmas starts at the Town Hall…

1989. Nona-Bean with Ol, Rhubarb and cousin Becky.

“Happy Birthday Nona-Bean, the faster putter on the green.” Yes, today is Mothers birthday, which she is spending in Naples, Florida, along with the sunshine, pelicans and Pop. Lots of people say their mums are brilliant and I am sure they are, but mine is just perfect, small and mighty. She will never forget if you need to tax your car, but she may forget to put water in the saucepan when she is boiling sprouts. The kids call her Nona-Bean. No idea how the bean arrived. Some folk are born into poverty or endure neglect and this becomes the blueprint for their whole life, while others, like Mum and Dad, do everything they can to escape it and give their family everything they never had. Mum was brought up in real poverty, her dad died when she was young and her mum, struggled, to say the least. What is sad, is that Mum has so few warm memories of her childhood. She does remember her dad being lovely, but after that, I think it wasn’t all roses. What it did though, was make her determined, and she never stopped pushing for the wonderful life that we all live, as a result of this.

Mum with Ollie. April 1984.

Dinner V Christmas Pudding. Who will win? Mum would definitely say that dinner should win, BUT, there are only 286 calories in an M&S Christmas Pudding!!! That’s half the calories of the dinner AND it contains enough dried fruit to keep me regular for three months. Haha. xxx

And the winner is…

No song today because I am beavering away on manuscripts for cabaret. Big love xxxx

Dodgy wigs at dawn…

So Beatlemania was last Friday and as we drove home, we decided it was a bit like the play, “the show that went wrong.” In fact, it was funnier at times. The sound issues were NOT funny and really impacted hugely on the evening. I’m so sorry for the Rockits and Ruby Rockits who worked SO hard, to not be heard in all their glory, as I hear them every week. The Ruby Sisterz sound checked and yet the sound crew appeared to have forgotten entirely when they performed later, and seemed to go AWOL at times during the show. Aaaahhh – so cross! I wanted to impale them on the very tall boom stands! There was wailing and feedback… it made it a hard evening. However, second half, the audience got behind us (they knew the score, I had reams of them coming to me in the interval to comiserate) and it all ended up ok. We live to fight another day – but with a different sound crew, please! The next day I was inundated with such kind messages from The Rockits. That’s why I love them so much AND, we just keep getting gorgeous new ones! Jane of The George (Robertsbridge) is such a lovely and lively addition and always makes me laugh (dodgy wig comment) and what a great Cilla, haha! Jenny S. looked as though she had fallen off the cover of a 1964 edition of Vogue. Dido was a hoot to watch; what a BRILLIANT lust for life.

Helen’s report was this : “No-one missed the coach, no-one broke any arms or legs and The Counterfeit Beatles were great fun and jollied along with the choir. The beauty parlour on the altar, Martyn wandering in as the ladies were shimmying out of their clothes, backstage prayers and sneaked wine, clip-on headsets attached to knickers, Chloe trying to explain when she thought our next entrance was…”just wait,” she said…and at this very point, Fiona shot out through the curtains while we all stared at her in shock! Honestly, you couldn’t make it up!” Extra good news, is that Helen has acquired a new pink Amigo!

If a show or part of a show goes wrong, SO WHAT!! I always tell people this. The world won’t end and in no time at all we will laugh about it. Life is precious – enjoy it! Experience it, don’t just exist through it. Remember also, an audience is full of people wishing they were brave enough to get up there with you too. We raise tons of money everywhere we go, we make friends, we do stuff, we create memories… we are not sat at home watching Eastenders! Yay! When something grotty happens, when you’ve had a close encounter of an unsavoury kind, turn away, chin up, sing today’s song… and just walk away, well, dance a little as you go, click your fingers, swing! xxxx

I will survive. © Arr. Max Wilson.

Ghosts, ghouls and scary t(w)ats.

Tomorrow is Beatlmania. I am ready for it (due to having lots of help) but I am also absolutely knackered. So, I am going to attempt to unplug, to disconnect and watch tv in bed by 9pm, or else I will be rubbish tomorrow. I look as pale as a White Walker and more like a humanoid than a human. Today, while collecting headsets for tomorrows show, lovely Gordon (he of VERY sound mind and sound things in general) seemed surprised that I said I had been working a lot more than usual. He asked if I had a job. Hhhhmmm…I have known him for 32 years. Few people realise that running (shortly) four choirs and doing events all over the place does take up rather a lot of time. Dashing around pre-shows is nonstop, but on a weekly basis, it’s the arranging that takes up most time; arranging songs for every group, recording them, uploading them, writing manuscripts, then arranging programmes for entire shows. The teaching part is the easiest, but totally the most enjoyable.

Amigo I is Frankenstein. He had to be bribed to wear the inflatable giant head.

Today is Halloween which is something I don’t much like BUT my Amigos do, so I will like it on their behalves. I have made scary cupcakes and given them finger-shaped chocolates.

Amigo III is a cute, cloaked vampire. He has an abacus to work out how much blood he needs.

I rather love a cancelled plan. I love to stop chasing my tail for a moment if something gets cancelled and I unexpectedly have a free window of time. I will either fill it with more work OR I will go to my home cinema (bedroom) and watch crap tv, maybe snooze and definitely have a few snacks. It’s a very rare achievement these days.

Amigo II is a lovely spider with ten legs and two arms.

Even more horrific than Halloween is my tattoo. Why ever did I get a tattoo? Amigos – one, two, three… No! No! No! Sadly though, I see a future, heavily tattooed population. The only birds left will be the ones adorning skin. Tats look ok on a young guy with a good body, but I honestly feel sad when I see beautiful girls, with full sleeves. Having been covered in eczema all my childhood, to me, to ‘ruin’ beautiful, clear skin is unthinkable. So, rather odd that I felt a compulsion to get one. It may have been a post cancer diagnosis rebellion, it may have been too many negronis, it may have been a midlife crisis, my impulsive nature or pure stupidity. Luckily, it is small and inside my wrist, so not really noticeable… which is good as it’s a little ugly. You see, I have an odd phobia about tattoos. I went nervously into the shop, showed a picture of a cute, small, white daisy and then shut my eyes as the Greek tattoo artist did his thing. First mistake – I don’t speak Greek, he spoke little English. Second mistake – I didn’t look (as I was terrified) and it bloody hurt! What I got was a purple blob that looks nothing like the white daisy I asked for. It’s rather funny though.

Speaking of Halloween, bloodsuckers and leaches, I hear the MFI is back with his rich mistress and no doubt at a party now, dressed as Dr Faust. I wondered how long it would take before he needed financial backing again for his fake teeth and social climbing. I may write a book just about him one day, to help other imbeciles like myself; The Idiots Guide to spotting a Gigolo. I would also need to write the sequel – The Idiots Guide to spotting a Psychopath. The MFI is both, and much more besides. I always thought I was reasonably clever, but he was so good at hoodwinking (plus a raving nutter and a nasty piece of work), that I somehow become alliented and trapped in a hellish life. He is a master at pulling on strings (heart and purse) and expert in the art of making you feel like the most attractive woman in the room but HELLO – who is attractive with a sleazy gigolo by their side? I learned something, Amigos. Look at the history of the person. I found out much later that he had fathered a baby with a 17 year old schoolgirl when he was 37 and had various, VERY unsavoury partners as he worked his way up to richer pickings.

Hometown. I found this track I did a few years ago. I think 2020 will bring more Adele. This was an idea. I’ve mixed Sia’s ‘breathe’ with Adele’s ‘home town.’