The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar, Olivier Theatre, 27 June 1992

I have carried a fondness for this play with me for as long as I can remember, despite it not really being my type of play.

Revisiting my first encounter with it for Ogblog, some 25 years later (August 2017) I can understand why. This was one heck of a good production.

The Theatricalia website has recorded all the cast and crew details, mercifully, so I don’t have to – click here – then gasp in awe and wonderment. What a cast, what a production team.

Photostage has some photos, which you can peruse if you wish – here.

All my notes say is that I went with Bobbie Scully and that we thought it was very good.

I remember thinking Ken Stott was superb – I don’t think I had seen him before. It might have been my first encounter with the excellent Alex Jennings. Des Barrit was also a standout performer, as usual. But in truth the whole cast was good and you can see many names on the list who went on to do bigger and bolder things.

There are no on-line reviews to be found – until now – this one – yay!

I’m not sure what Bobbie and I did about eating afterwards, but in those days we would sometimes eat at the RNT itself – we might well have done that – or sometimes we’d go to The Archduke or somewhere of that ilk nearby.

 

The Lovers, NewsRevue Quickie Voiceover, 25 June 1992

Another unexpected discovery, this one. Credited in my notes to John Random and Gerry Goddin as well as myself. There’s not much of it, so it must have simply been a shared joke at that week’s writers’ meeting.

It was Wimbledon time and the news story that year was Monica Seles’s grunting – see this newspaper article by way of example. 

There was also a movie out at the time, set in 1920’s Indochina, The Lover – click here.

I don’t recall whether or not this quickie was used. Perhaps Messrs Random and/or Goddin do recall:

THE LOVERS
(This quickie is “voice over” throughout)

{The pianist plays a few bars of music that immediately make the listener think of the Orient. It is Indochina in the 1920’s. It is hot. It is steamy. Lust is in the air. These few bars make the listener think of all that. What a pianist.}

 

THE LOVERS:{Orgasmic grunting noises (possibly some male, some female – mainly female) build up rhythmically, eventually reaching a “fingernails digging into the mattress” level of intensity.}

UMPIRE:Deuce. (pronounced juice)

DAN MASKELL:Oh I say. Monica Seles has really come out on top.

UMPIRE:(sounding exhausted) New balls please.

Maxwell’s Wife, NewsRevue Lyric, 21 June 1992

A nasty lyric, but then Maxwell deserved it. I’m not sure whether or not this one was used. Probably not, or if so only briefly.

It has its moments as a lyric:

MAXWELL’S WIFE

(To the Tune of “Mack the Knife”)

 

VERSE 1

The old shark had pearly teeth dear,

And he acted rich and flash;

A fat check book had Bob Maxwell,

But that fat Czech had no cash.

 

VERSE 2

When the old shark took a dive dear,

Filthy lucre rumours spread;

Old age pensions had Bob Maxwell,

And he dumped them in the red.

 

VERSE 3

Now old Bob’s son name of Kevin,

Tried to save the family;

But the game played wasn’t cricket,

At the Maxwell MCC.

 

VERSE 4

Down in Chelsea, early morning, (bo, bo, bo)

Press and coppers spring to life;

“Piss off bastards, we’re still sleeping”,

Yes, that sounds like, Maxwell’s wife.

 

VERSE 5

Maxwell’s rich wife named Pandora,

Raised his bail, proved her rocks;

Kevin Maxwell took the money,

But did not o-pen the box.

 

VERSE 6

Rupert Murdoch, David Stevens,

Lord Rothermere, Conrad Black;

They’ve all boosted circulation,

Now the Maxwell story’s back.

 

(OPTIONAL INSTRUMENTAL, WILD DANCING, CORNY BUSINESS AND END)

Here is a vid of Louis Armstrong singing Mack the Knife:

…and here are the Mack The Knife lyrics.

Drought, Unfinished Fragment Intended For NewsRevue, 21 June 1992

Did I run out of ideas? Did it start raining?

We’ll never know.

Anyway, here is the fragment, which (perhaps mercifully) tails off at the Denis Howell bit…

…perhaps reminiscing about the 1976 Minister For Drought was a dead end.

 DROUGHT

 (To the Tune of “Shout”, For Soloist and {Chorus})

 

We-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ll

-e-e-e-e-e-e-ll

 

FIRST BIT

You know there’s gonna be a drought, {drought}, Hear the pipes-a thumping, {drought}

There’s no water pumping, {drought}, Put your hose back, {drought},

Come on now{drought}

Go and pay your water bill,{drought}

Yeh pay for every pint,{drought}

yeh yeh yeh yeh yeh{drought}

Pay your bill{pay your bill}

On the meter these days{pay your bill}

Come on come on{pay your bill}

Take one bath in three days{pay your bill}

 

SECOND BIT

Come on now, {drought},

Don’t hose your garden, {save}, Don’t drink the water, {save},

Don’t wash your bottom, {save}, You shouldn’t oughta, {save},

Go thirsty{drought}

Go thirsty{drought}

Go thirsty{drought}

 

THIRD BIT

I still remember, {shoo-bee-doo-wop}, when we had a drought years ago, {shoo-bee-doo-wop},

We had a minister, {shoo-bee-doo-wop}, by the name of Dennis Howell, {shoo-bee-doo-wop},

Here is little Lulu and the Luvvers singing “Shout”:

…and here are the Shout lyrics.

We’re Not Here For The Game, NewsRevue Lyric (Probably Unused), 21 June 1992

I don’t think this one was used, but it reads well – there are some good ideas and some good lines in it.

There must have been some sort of soccer thing happening in Sweden at the time, with English soccer fans disgracing themselves as is their wont…

WE’RE NOT HERE FOR THE GAME

(To the Tune of “Name of the Game”)

 

ONE ENGLISH YOBBO

 

I’ve drunk ten pints, in a short time,

Watching the football in Sweden;

Went round the town, had a good time,

Look, there’s a doorway I peed in.

 

TWO TOLERANT SWEDES

 

They are an impossible race,

Tho’ we give them cheap lagers;

They fight and they mess up the place,

Like the villains in sagas.

 

TWO ENGLISH YOBBOS

 

But you ought to know (sniff),

We’re not here for the game,

We just want beer and Aquavit,

We’re not here for the game,

Cos our soccer’s a load of shit.

 

ONE TOLERANT SWEDE

 

Tell me please, cos I’d like to know,

Why the louts throw up, over my Volvo?

 

TWO TOLERANT, DEPRESSED SWEDES {WITH YOBBOS ON BACKING VOCALS}

 

And it makes us sad {do do}, and it makes us weep {do, do},

We take Mogadon {do do}, or else we cannot sleep;

When it gets us down {do do}, we take Valium {do do},

And when Sweden lose {do do}, we shall try Potassium – {Cyanide} ,

For committing suicide……..

 

THE YOBBOS LAST SEETHING CHORUS {JOINED BY SUICIDAL SWEDES}

 

You ought to know (sniff), oh yes you ought to know (sniff),

We’re not here for the game {they are an impossible race},

We just want beer and Aquavit {they fight and they mess up the place and throw up a lot},

We’re not here for the game,

Cos the soccer’s a load of shit…..

 

(Perhaps the song ends in chaos with the cyanide taking effect on the Swedes and the yobbos beating each other up??  Or perhaps not?)

Here’s a vid of Abba singing “Name Of The Game:

…and here is a link to the lyrics of Name Of The Game.

Music At Oxford At The Old Royal Naval College, 9 June 1992

I was reminded of this evening when John Random and I visited the Old Royal Naval College and toured the Painted Hall ceiling in January 2018 – click here or below for that story:

If It Ain’t Baroque…Don’t Fix It, A Day Out With John Random, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich,18 January 2018

I mentioned to John during that 2018 visit that I had attended (nay, even been part of the hosting group for) a concert in 1992, around the time, strangely, that John Random and I first met.

I did recall that I had seen Evelyn Glennie perform that evening and that it had been a BDO Binder Hamlyn event as part of my old firm’s sponsorship of Music at Oxford. But the rest I couldn’t recall and I felt a bit silly about that, because I knew that I would have kept the programme at least and that it was all lined up to be Ogblogged…eventually. I should have dug out the bumf before the 2018 visit.

Anyway, curiosity got the better of me a few days later and I dug out the programme. Indeed, not only the programme but, inside the programme, instructions from the BDO Binder Hamlyn marketing department telling me what to do.

Here’s the programme:

Below is a link to a pdf of the instruction pack for hosts. There is even a copy of the form you needed to fill in if you wanted to arrive in Greenwich by boat.

Instruction pack for hosts – including boat form – click here.

People who know me through Z/Yen and associate “me and boats” in the context of our many Lady Daphne boat trips over the years, might be surprised to realise that I chose not to arrive by boat…those who know me a bit better than that in the matter of boats will be far less surprised.

Those who want a laugh about what happened the last time I was “conned” into transferring by boat will enjoy the following piece – click here or below:

Nicaragua, Morgan’s Rock to Mukul, 16 February 2016

A common theme to all the elements of this story so far is Michael Mainelli, who was/is:

  • the BDO Binder Hamlyn partner who led on the Music at Oxford sponsorship/marketing events,
  • my business partner at Z/Yen who owned and led on the Lady Daphne boat trips thing,
  • someone who, coincidentally, visited Morgan’s Rock in Nicaragua with his family (though not Mukul, which didn’t exist back then) a few years before Janie and I went there.

Anyway, I got a chance to interview Michael about the Music at Oxford event yesterday (25 January 2018). His main regret was that he couldn’t recall who he took as his date that year to Music at Oxford. Our conversation then side-tracked onto the loony rule that Binder Hamlyn had (and many firms still have) prohibiting intra-firm romances. Michael was already going out with Elisabeth back then but it was a secret, closely guarded by several dozen of the several hundred Binder Hamlyn staff and partners. So Michael had to take a decoy date to events like this instead.

Once we got over that digression, Michael recalled that this particular event was rather a ground-breaking one. Certainly it was the first time that we had taken  a Music at Oxford concert beyond Oxford. But Michael thinks it might have been the first (or certainly one of the first) commercially sponsored concerts to take place at the Old Royal Naval College Chapel.

Michael also recalls that Evelyn Glennie was very pleasant company over dinner after the concert.

Here is an interesting little vid about Evelyn Glennie:

Here is a little vid of the percussion and timpani cadenzas from the Panufnik Concertino that Glennie played that night in the chapel – but this is some other people playing. It is a bit noisy:

But the Old Royal Naval College Chapel is a Baroque building of great beauty, so you might want to imagine the sole baroque piece we heard that night, Bach’s Ricecare a 6 from A Musical Offering. Here is a sweet vid of the Croating Baroque Ensemble performing it:

But surely the last word should go to John Random. Because, strangely, that 1992 spring/summer was when John and I met – through NewsRevue. John was the first director to have my comedy material performed professionally – click here or below for one of the better examples from that season:

You Can’t Hurry Trusts, NewsRevue Lyric, 7 May 1992

On spotting that we also heard a piece by Antonín Dvořák in the Old Royal Naval College that summer’s night in 1992, I was also reminded of one of John Random’s lyrics from that same summer. Because that was the summer that Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. John wrote a superb lyric to the tune of Slow Hand by The Pointer Sisters, which included the wonderful couplet:

Not a compatriot of Dvořák,

I want a lover who’s a Slovak.

1992 was a seminal summer in so many ways.

A mere 25 years later…double-selfies hadn’t been invented in 1992