The Madness of George III by Alan Bennett, Lyttelton Theatre, 30 September 1992

I believe we did a date swap for this one. It is in my diary for Saturday 17 October, but I ended up going to see Death And The Maiden with Janie, John and Mandy that night.

I think Bobbie had a problem with that October weekend and we arranged to swap with a friend of hers to see this production midweek, on 30 September.

My production log says:

Went with Bobbie. Very good.

So what else is there to say? I remember it being a very big, busy play, with an enormous cast of courtiers attending to the protagonists. I remember laughing quite a lot. I suspect I would find it a bit cheesy if I saw it again now.

Nigel Hawthorne was very impressive and I suppose it is “quite a thing” that I saw him perform live.

The Wikipedia entry links to rave reviews on both sides of the channel. The subject matter very naturally had appeal for the USA so it is no surprise that it was also a hit there and also made into a film.

I was probably quite tired that evening, as the diary shows I spent a long day flying up to West Lothian the day before on business – that will have been Sky with Michael – a memorable working day.

I suspect that this was the last time I went to the theatre with Bobbie. We probably had a post theatre meal, perhaps at the RNT itself or perhaps somewhere like RSJs or the Archduke.

We’re A Member As Well, NewsRevue Lyric, 27 September 1992

Twenty five years ago to the day (as I write) the EU was problematic for many of its members. Denmark had voted no to the Maastricht Treaty. France had voted yes by a whisker. The pound had bundled out of the exchange rate mechanism the week before and the French Franc looked vulnerable.

More importantly (from my point of view), I wrote this little “pseudo-reminiscence piece” for NewsRevue,which ran for a good few weeks:

WE’RE A MEMBER AS WELL

(A Duet to the Tune of “I Remember it Well”)

 

(HIM:I can remember 1992 as if it were yesterday;

Le Maastricht treaty, les trucker strikes, la political infighting, le virtual collapse of the French Franc……..)

 

VERSE 1

 

HIM:I voted oui,HER:You voted non,

HER:To set us free,From Mitterand;

HIM:Ah yes, I remember it well.

 

HIM:You voted non,HER:I voted oui,

HER:To harmonise,The EEC;

HIM:Ah yes, we’re a member as well.

 

HIM:French truckers blocked the rails,

HER:And they blocked the road,

HIM:Francois Mitterand had to dump his load;

HER:I am so glad that he said “non” to that old bag Edith Cresson,

HIM:Ah yes, I remember her well.

 

MIDDLE BIT

 

HIM:How often I’ve thought of that Sunday night,

When France agreed to put up with Maastricht;

But several days later we caught a fright,

When we learned that the Franc is now worth…..

HER:…..nicht.

 

VERSE 2

 

HIM:The Franc went up,HER:The Franc went down,

HER:You bought the Mark,And sold the pound;

HIM:Ah yes, I remember it well.

 

HIM:We had to plead,HER:With begging bowl,

HER:The Bundesbank,And Helmut Kohl;

HIM:Francois tasted his member as well.

 

HIM:It’s a partnership,HER:One man’s in control,

HIM:Francois Mitterand?HER:Uh, uh, Helmut Kohl.

HER:You’re back in bed with Germany,

Just like Petain in 43,

HIM:Ah yes, this surrender is hell.

Here is a vid of Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold singing “I Remember IT Well” from the film Gigi:

The lyrics to “I Remember It Well” can be found here.

Maastricht Voice Over, NewsRevue Submission, 13 September 1992

This one didn’t even make my print out file, but is there in the electronic file.

It is about the 20 September French Referendum on the Maastricht treaty…

…you know the one…

…when the French said “oui”…by a whisker…after the Danes had already voted “nej”.

Jokes that need to be explained are not usually the very best jokes. This isn’t a great voiceover and I don’t think it got used.

MAASTRICHT VOICE OVER

(This quickie is a mock French commercial for the Maastricht referendum)

The music Je t’aime plays while the following voice over is read in a cross between mock Frenchman and mock commercial voice over:

The Maastricht Treaty……

Vote oui to Maastricht on September 20th…..

and get shafted by the rest of Europe.

Snowbush, NewsRevue Lyric, 13 September 1992

The 1992 US Presidential Election provided a rich source of material for satirists.

Bill Clinton’s flaws as a candidate and an individual were well known before the election. It all feels a bit familiar writing 25 years later, except not quite so awful as the Trump election last year and the prevailing shower in  its aftermath.

Anyway, this lyric did well in NewsRevue, running for many weeks over that election period.

I recall one duo reprising the first line through gritted teeth as an additional last line – excellent idea:

SNOWBUSH

(A Duet for Bill and Hilary Clinton to the Tune of “Snowbird”)

 

VERSE 1 – BILL AND HILARY GAZE LOVINGLY INTO EACH OTHERS EYES

We Clintons live in harmony and sing,

While George and Barbara Bush have both mislaid the vision thing;

George sells war planes to Saudi Araby,

But still the dollar falls deep in our slump economy.

 

CHORUS 1 – GOSH, BILL AND HILARY MUST REALLY LOVE ONE ANOTHER

Dump your running mate or you will fail,

Cos we’ve got beefy Albert Gore and George Bush has Dan Quayle;

When George says “no more taxes” it’s untrue,

Cos if he could we know that he would try to raise a few.

 

VERSE 2 – SOME FRICTION MAY BE CREEPING IN TO THE SONG

 

BILL:Old George believes abortion is a sin,

And no-one’s homosexual in his 4,000 kin;

HILARY:But George and Bill’s morality concur,

When they both take a shine to chicks who are named Jennifer.

 

CHORUS 2 – HILARY SINGS ALONE

(While Hilary sings the final chorus, Bill slopes off into the audience to chat up any pretty females he can find there)

Girls like men with presidential powers,

But Bill don’t send me Gennifer when I ask for some flowers;

The man that I’m supporting is untrue,

And if he could I know that he would try a casual screw;

Yes, if he could I know that he would try-ay-ay-ay-ay a casual screw.

Below is a YouTube link to Anne Murray singing Snowbird, with the lyrics on the video screen along with some sweet pictures of birds…the flighted variety:

Stand By Your Bank, NewsRevue Lyric, 6 September 1992

This is not one of my greatest lyrics but it is 25 years old on the day I am writing this Ogblog piece.

I wrote the lyric in response to some banking cartel activity (allegedly) long since forgotten, upping bank charges for everyone.

Actually, rereading mine yesterday reminded me of one of Ivan Shakespeare’s great lyrics, written not long after. The opening line of Ivan’s piece:

Sometimes it’s hard to be a new man…

…building to the cracking initial chorus line/title…

Stand by your flan…

Mine seems pale in comparison, but here it is:

STAND BY YOUR BANK

(To the Tune of “Stand by Your Man”)

 

VERSES – PAUPER

 

(Perhaps the chorus, offstage during the verses, could harmonise by making “slide guitar wowing sounds” during the verses.  The pauper should probably be “music hall cockney”)

 

Sometimes it’s hard to stay in credit,

When the wolves are knocking at your door;

The banks all tried to impress,

By paying me some interest,

And 5p made me feel less poor.

 

Then thoroughbreds lost on the bourses,

The better off dumped third world debt;

Those banks need easy action,

We’ll pay for each transaction,

They’ll charge whatever they can get.

 

CHORUSES – A WUNCH OF BANKERS

 

Stand by your bank,

We listen and we say yes,

This wunch of bankers largesse,

Extends to all our charges.

 

Stand by your bank,

We shall recoup our losses,

We’ve banked so much our assets shrank,

Stand by your bank.

 

Stand by your bank,

Don’t bother looking elsewhere,

Our charges all went up in rank,

Stand by your bank.

Here’s Tammy Wynette singing Stand By Your Man:

…and here is a link to the Stand By Your Man lyrics.