Antony And Cleopatra by William Shakespeare, RSC Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, 31 October 1992

This was the second of the two previews Janie and I went to see on our first long weekend away together in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

It seems that Janie decided to “give Shakespeare a go” with me (we have done a few in our time) but in truth she has never got on with Shakespeare. I have got on with Shakespeare but didn’t get on so well with this play and/or this production.

It is a very long play and in truth I don’t think one of Shakespeare’s best. My log records:

We didn’t go great guns on this one.

Good cast: Richard Johnson (Antony), john Nettles (Caesar) and Clare Higgins (Cleopatra).

There is a single fixed camera video of the production apparently, click here for details, including lots of details about exactly who played whom and stuff and where you might find the odd review.

This production probably helped to put Janie off The Bard, but fortunately did not seem to put her off me, despite the fact that (as I recall) the back-aching and thirst-inducing length of the play did little for our moods, especially mine.

The Changeling by Thomas Middleton & William Rowley, RSC Swan Theatre, 29 October 1992

This was the first of two plays Janie and I went to see on our first long weekend away together in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

I had seen The Changeling before, at the RNT in 1988, thought highly of it as a Jacobean revenge tragedy and thought Janie might like it. I didn’t yet realise that she was not so keen on classics/old plays. I’m not sure she realised it yet either.

My log reports:

Not quite to Janie’s taste – I rather liked it.

It was a superb production. Looking through the cast and creatives list you can see why. Cheryl Campell as Beatrice-Joanna, Malcolm Storry as De Flores, Michael Attenborough directing. Also a stellar list of youngsters who would break through in their own right later; Sophie Okeonedo, Barnaby Kay, Dominic Cooke (assisting Attenborough). Even Tracy-Ann Oberman (prior to her NewsRevue & SportsRevue days) puts in an appearance as an inmate of the asylum.

The Swan is an ideal venue for this type of play, much better than the Lyttleton. Very high production quality both times though – hard for me to rank one production above the other.

There’s a picture from The Swan production in a Guardian Gallery – click here and scroll down – but no on-line reviews of course.

I GATT Round, NewsRevue Lyric, 27 October 1992

I don’t suppose the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was the funniest topical subject in late 1992, unless you happened to be an economist.

Seems a bit topical again now at the time of writing (December 2016) with protectionism hoving back into political view.

Evidence shows that this one wasn’t used before Christmas 1992 and I doubt if it was used afterwards either, although I can see I submitted it in the January 1993 Bowden submission and there is evidence that I tweaked the text in February 1993.

 

This isn’t really a funny enough song, I’ll be frank. Although the following line made me smile:

“My buddies and me we’re not at all well known, But the IMF know us so they give us a loan.”

Here’s the whole lyric:

♬ I GATT ROUND ♬

(To the Tune of “I Get Around”)

 

INTRO

Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round.

 

We Gatt round,{Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

We have found,Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

That we are bound,Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

To make contentious sound.Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round.}

 

VERSE 1

We’re getting bugged trying to subsidise your oil seed crops,

We’re goanna stick a huge tariff on your goods in our shops.

 

My buddies and me we’re not at all well known,

But the IMF know us so they give us a loan.

 

CHORUS

We Gatt round,{Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

We’ll astound,Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

When we propound,Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

That quotas still abound.Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round.}

 

We Gatt round round round round round round round,

Wupwah-ooh, wupwah-ooh, wupwah-ooh-ooh.

 

VERSE 2

The West spends a fortune hoarding crops and meat,

While the Third World countries have got nothing to eat.

 

We’ve been talking for years but we can never agree,

So we’re goanna fuck up the world economy.

 

We loathe Leon Brittan and hate Jacques Delors,

So we’re goanna fall out and have a global trade war.

 

We Gatt round,{Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

It’s renowned,Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

That we shall impound,Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round,

Any goods we’ve found.Round, round, Gatt round, Uruguay round.}

 

We Gatt round, Gatt round round round round round.

Click here or below for a link to the Beach Boys song, I Get Around, upon which the lyric is based.

Nude For Thought, NewsRevue Lyric, 17 October 1992

I don’t think this one about Madonna was ever used. Certainly it forms part of the Bowden submission of January 1993 and was unused before then.

I don’t think it is a great lyric for a NewsRevue performance, although it does have its moments as a read.

Strange to think that, at the time of writing (December 2016) Madonna is still hanging around and UB40 are doing a comeback tour.

 

 

♬ NUDE FOR THOUGHT ♬

(To the Tune of “Food for Thought”)

CHORUS 1

I can see Madonna,

Posing in the nude,

She’s got nothing onna,

And some bits are quite rude.

 

VERSE 1

Customs at the airport,

They have seized her book,

While they file their report,

They’ll have a closer look.

 

VERSE 2

Look at nuns in custard,

See her with a sheep,

And I see she’s mustered,

A costume like Bo-Peep.

 

VERSE 3

Rude things with a candle,

Having oral sex,

Now she has her hands full,

Of fat enormous cheques.

 

CHORUS 2

I can see Madonna,

Standing in the buff,

I shall be a gonna,

If my wife sees this stuff.

 

I can see Madonna,

Posing in the raw,

She is not a stunna,

What did I buy this for?

Click here or below for a link to Food For Thought by UB40 with the original lyrics.

Coal Digger, NewsRevue Lyric, 17 October 1992

This was a very successful number, which ran for many weeks in many runs of NewsRevue, including the Christmas run I’m pretty sure and then the Bowden run in early 1993. 

It’s a belter, with potential for enough business to keep the audience laughing as well as thinking.

 

♬ COAL DIGGER ♬

(To the Tune of “Goldfinger” with an acapella horn section)

VERSES 1 & 2

Coal diggers,{ba ba ba}

Fear the man,

The man with the miners touch,

A minus touch.

 

Such,

A cold figure,{ba ba ba}

31,

John Major’s no friend of mine,

Nor’s Hestletine.

 

MIDDLE BIT 1

British Coal had a dose of the shits,

So decided to close half the pits,

And the miners all know they’ve been pissed on,

Cos the mining in-dustry’s gone.

 

VERSE 3

Dole figures,{ba ba ba}

Like the men,

Who live in a mining town,

Just won’t go down.

 

MIDDLE BIT 2

All the bosses in power are crass,

Cos they think that they need only gas,

So the miners are once again shafted,

By that coal black hearted bastard.

 

VERSE 4

John Major,{ba ba ba}

Hope he finds,

That trying to shut down coal,

Was an own goal.

 

copyright © Ian Harris 1992

Click here or below for a karaoke version of Goldfinger with the original lyrics on the screen.

 

An Evening With Janie, John & Mandy; Death And The Maiden by Ariel Dorfman, Royal Court Theatre at the Duke of York’s Theatre, 17 October 1992

I believe this was the first time that either John or Mandy met Janie; Janie and I had only been going out together for a few weeks by then.

This was also only the second time that Janie and I went to the theatre together – the first time having been our first date; The Street of Crocodiles.

My diary is a bit of a confusion for that evening – indeed all that it reads is “Madness”…

…which I’m sure means “The Madness of George III”. But my theatre log is very clear that 17 October was this particular evening with John and Mandy and my diary also shows that “George III” reigned on 30 September for me:

What I think happened was that Bobbie, once again, could not make the planned theatre visit to see Madness of George III on 17 October, but was very keen to see that play. I vaguely recall Bobbie arranging a ticket swap with friends so that she/we could see “Madness” midweek a couple of weeks earlier and her friends got the prized Saturday night tickets that I had procured.

That freed up the evening of 17 October for Janie to meet John and Mandy and for all of us to see Death And The Maiden, which was still one of the hottest tickets in town that year, even though Juliet Stevenson (who had wowed audiences as the lead) had moved on.

Penny Downie played the lead in the cast we saw, which, as super subs go, is pretty darned super. Danny Webb and Hugh Ross played the male parts.

Janie and I are struggling to remember what other arrangements we made with John and Mandy around this evening. I think we might have had Chinese food in Soho with them before or after the theatre. Perhaps Mayflower? Or Joy King Lau in those days?

I also realise that my diaries at that time are littered with clues that John and Mandy must have recently moved house around that time:

Guessing that John and Mandy moved to Dangan Road that August, hence the address and phone number scrawled on 12 August…
…did I really escape the carnival 30 August to join John and Mandy in the George at Wanstead 30 August? Guessing that “birthday thing” 28 August would have been with my parents, but I’m not entirely sure about events of that weekend other than the 29 August hot date with Janie.

Anyway, on the day I am writing this up (29 August 2017), we shall be seeing John and Mandy later in the day, so I’ll pick their brains on these matters this evening and update this piece accordingly.

Back to Death And The Maiden.

The play is set in an unspecified nation emerging into democracy from brutal dictatorship. Ariel Dorfman was a Chilean exile during the Pinochet years and the brutal regime is clearly based on that one. It is one of those hugely affecting plays about torture and the abuse of power. It brings to mind also One For The Road by Harold Pinter and Fermin Cabal’s Tejas Verdes.

I’m sure we did something after the play – perhaps we did eat afterwards. For sure we’d have needed a drink. For sure we found a way to discuss and decompress together for a while.

I remember being very pleased that John, Mandy and Janie all seemed to get along so well; in that regard alone the evening was a tremendous success (to use John’s favourite adjective). But it was also an excellent evening of theatre and I’m sure we must have eaten and drunk well…if only Janie and I could remember those details too.

Closed To You, NewsRevue Lyric, 10 October 1992

This was a very successful song in NewsRevue. Not a laugh out loud song at all, but a biting/make you think lyric and room for some business.

“Care in the community” was one of that Major Government’s big things. Not much changes (he says, writing in December 2016).

The song ran for several runs towards the end of 1992 and was part of the early 1993 Bowden submission, although I’m not sure Mark used it.

 

♬ CLOSED TO YOU ♬

(To the Tune of “Close To You”)

(A vagrant wanders the stage, very scruffy, perhaps rummaging in bins, perhaps talking to himself incessantly, perhaps both.  The singer and chorus are clearly disturbed by him and hurry out of his way to take their positions.)

 

VERSES 1 & 2

Why do flies suddenly appear, every time you are near?

Just like fleas, they long to be, close to you.

 

Passers by all avert their eyes, with the fear that implies,

Traversees, don’t want to be, close to you.

 

MIDDLE BIT 1

Everyone who sees the poor believes it’s not their problem,

And the homeless ought to find a job to do,

So they hose the vagrants off the streets,

And hope they bugger off to Waterloo.

 

VERSE 3

That is why all the cops in town, wish that you weren’t around,

{cops in town….wish that you weren’t around}

Endlessly society’s closed to you.

 

INSTRUMENTAL

(During the instrumental the tramp dances with an inanimate object – e.g. a traffic cone – and talks gently to it – e.g. “Good evening, my dear.  Do you come here often.  The hyacinths are particularly beautiful this year.  Would you care for another glass of sherry?”)

 

MIDDLE BIT 2

When the Tories came to power, accountants got together,

And decided they could save a bob or two.

So they closed the residential homes,

Those Tories are more lunatic than you.

 

VERSE 4

That is why cranks roam round the town, since their homes were shut down,

{cranks roam town….since their homes were shut down}

Care in the community’s closed to you.

Care in the community’s closed to you.

 

(Either end it there, or dance off going “Waaahhh, closed to you”)

 

copyright © Ian Harris 1992

 

Click here or below for a link to Close To You by The Carpenters with lyrics on the screen.

 

As Time Goes By or They Flew From Tuscany, NewsRevue Sketch and Medley, 10 October 1992

This was the version of this sketch/medley that was actually used. It is much better than the original version – click here for that – but the original version is interesting because I wrote it before Black Wednesday.

Pearls before swine, my economic predictions, pearls before swine.

Anyway, this post crisis version is funnier. There is an in-between version written a week or so  before – click here – I’m guessing that the director suggested improvements, e.g. switching Gini Bottomley out and Lady Thatcher in, which did make for a funnier sketch.

The early evening show at the Canal Cafe at that time was called “As Time Goes By” – some sort of musical retrospective of 1940s material, which made this sketch/medley especially fitting.

AS TIME GOES BY – NEW IMPROVED VERSION

or THEY FLEW FROM TUSCANY (A Sketch and Medley of Sterling 1940’s Songs)

 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

 

John Major (Johnny)

Gillian Shepherd (Jilly)

Lady Thatcher (Maggie)

Norman Lamont (Fartface)

 

THE SKETCH

 

(VOICEOVER:And now, for those of you who missed the early evening show – here is an exert from “As Time Goes By”)

 

(The pianist tinkles away at the Second Movement of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto – a la Brief Encounter.  The music is adagio sostenuto, the voices are staccato.  Paula Tappenden knows all about it.  We start with just Johnny and Jilly on stage.)

 

JILLY:Johnny.

 

JOHNNY:Jilly.

 

JILLY:Oh Johnny.  What’s happened to the economy?

 

JOHNNY:Gerry’s giving us a bally barney, Jilly.  The pound’s doing terribly.

 

JILLY:What about Yankee Doodle Dandy?

 

JOHNNY:Gerry’s giving Yankee Doodle Dandy a bally barney too, Jilly.  The dollar’s doing awfully.

 

JILLY:Oh Johnny.

 

JOHNNY:Oh Jilly.  What are you doing for the old effort?

 

JILLY:I’m in employment.

 

JOHNNY:Gosh, that is unusual these days.

 

JILLY:In the ministry.  Oh Johnny,  this darned economy’s simply ruining all our lives.  I’m sorry.  I’m acting like a bally fool.

 

(Enter Maggie)

 

MAGGIE:Johnny, the economy’s going horribly.

 

JOHNNY:Terribly.

 

MAGGIE:Awfully.  And what about the Treaty?

 

JOHHNY:(offers her a sweety)  Have a choccy, Maggie.

 

MAGGIE:I mean the Maastricht Treaty.  (Maggie pokes her finger at Johnny’s lapel as she says) Johnny, I’ve warned you before, it is a ruinous straitjacket.

 

JOHNNY:(Brushing his lapel)  I thought it was rather trendy.  I got it on special offer in Marks and Spencer’s.

 

MAGGIE:Oh this is hopeless.  Where’s Normy?

 

JOHNNY:Out there in the treasury battling it out with Gerry.

 

MAGGIE:Oh God, I hope he isn’t going to do something silly.

 

(Enter Normy)

 

JOHNNY:Here he comes now, and I rather think we’re all going to do something silly.

 

JILLY:You don’t mean……

 

NORMY:Yes, we’re all going to sing a medley.

 

FALLING IN ERM

(In the Style of Marlene Dietrich to the tune of “Falling in Love again”)

 

I often stop and wonder, why stripy shirted men,

Financial markets plunder, sell pounds and buy yen.

We offer them low taxes, but still those city sharks,

With mobile phones and faxes, dump pounds for Deutchmarks.

 

Falling in ERM,

Sterling’s down the drain,

Valueless again,

So don’t hold it.

 

Falling in ERM,

Sterling is the pits,

Norman’s got the shits,

And can’t help us.

 

DON’T FUCK UP THE ECONOMY

(To the tune of “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”)

 

Don’t fuck up the economy with anyone else but me,

Anyone else but me, anyone else but me (no, no no);

Don’t fuck up the economy with anyone else but me,

We’re screwed financially.

 

We’ve devalued the currency with countries like Germany,

We’ll struggle internally, from now till eternity (no no no);

We’ve devalued the currency to purchasing parity,

With Spain and Italy.

 

WE’LL ERM

To the tune of “We’ll Meet Again”)

 

We’ll ERM don’t know why don’t know when,

But I know we’ll ERM our money pay.

Make Sterling true to the Mark and ECU,

Till the interest rate is ten percent a day.

 

Now we are not in at all,

But the pounds in free fall,

While the Deutchmark’s still strong;

And though Sterling’s now small,

Some of us still recall,

When we used to belong.

 

We’ll ERM don’t know why don’t know when,

It’ll cost us fourteen billion a day.

The above material was used quite a lot, not least the “Don’t Fuck Up The Economy” snippet which found its way into other medleys and even was sandwiched in a Ben Murphy medley in 1993 – I take no credit, nor demerits, for Ben’s other bits:

Here is Marlene Dietrich singing “Falling In Love Again”…

…and the Andrews Sisters singing “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree”…

…and here’s Dame Vera Lynn singing “We’ll Meet Again”:

Snatchbroker, Snatchbroker, NewsRevue Lyric, 4 October 1992

This song was used in NewsRevue in late 1992 but I don’t think it made the Christmas run nor was it used in the early 1993 Bowden run.

Not my most subtle lyric.

I’m not sure it was especially topical either, other than (presumably) a revival of Fiddler on the Roof was on the go…but then there usually is a revival of that musical on somewhere.

 

♬ SNATCHBROKER SNATCHBROKER ♬

(A Song for Madame and Fresh Tart to the Tune of “Matchmaker Matchmaker”)

(MADAME:There’s no use you working here if you’re fussy, luv.  We have to put up with all sorts.  Accountants, judges, MPs, sports commentators, MPs who are also sports commentators…..)

 

FRESH TART:Snatchbroker, snatchbroker, hire out my snatch,

To men who’ll sleep, in the damp patch,

Snatchbroker, snatchbroker find one who’s clean,

With no germs that I may catch.

 

MADAME:Snatchworker snatchworker I’ll find the match,

Swallow his pride, straight down the hatch,

Snatchworker snatchworker he may well be,

A man who once worked for Thatch.

 

FRESH TART:Oh madame make him a lawyer,

Cos at least then he’ll stick to the rules;

MADAME:But my God the bastard will bore yer,

Cos they rarely know how to use their tools.

 

FRESH TART:Snatchbroker snatchbroker find me a man,

Who doesn’t need taking in hand;

MADAME:Fresh Tart, there’s one thing you must understand,

There’s not even one, in the land.

 

MADAME:Accountants won’t please you, cos they like to work in teams,

They take double entry to logical extremes,

But always pay the right money, true? true;

Try a politician, I may have the man for you,

Was in the cabinet (Aside: in ’62).

It is never easy cash, cos their ego’s hard to stand,

With their speeches and families and early day motions they don’t stay up for long.

 

FRESH TART:Snatchbroker snatchbroker thanks all the same,

I think that I’ll, keep off the game,

I’ll make some cash when I kiss and tell names,

BOTH:So tease your MPs,

No nights of vice,

No sucking toes,

No tax advice,

Until men come up to scratch.

Click here for a link to Matchmaker Matchmaker in the film of Fiddler On The Roof, with lyrics as subtitles. 

 

Midnight Plane To Jordan, NewsRevue Lyric, 3 October 1992

This one was too complicated by half. It would have been very difficult to sing/choreograph. It was a tricky subject (peace talks) and the choice of tune is slow for a comedy song.

I remember trying this out on/with work mates at a BDO Consulting training course. It didn’t go well, although we did have a laugh…at ourselves trying to sing it.

Still I submitted it a few times, including the January 1993 Bowden submission. I’m pretty sure to no avail.

If someone had simply come up with the guts to perform this lyric, I’m pretty sure that peace would have broken out in the Middle East. “Okay, okay, we’ll freeze settlements, we’ll stop terrorising people, just don’t sing us that dirgey song”.

 

♬ MIDNIGHT PLANE TO JORDAN ♬

(To the Tune of “Midnight Train to Georgia”)

VERSE 1

(VOICEOVER:Ladies and Gentlemen, Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas is proud to present, Gladys Flight and the Tips).

 

BA flew too far from Amman {too far from Amman, he couldn’t get there},

So he’s chartered a flight all of his own, oh-oh,

{He said he’s goin’} Said he’s goanna find the man {goanna find the man}

Ohhh-ohhh who runs Jordan land,

That peace talks left behind in the desert sand, oh no.

 

CHORUS 1

He’s leavin’ {leavin’} on that midnight plane to Jordan

{Leavin on the midnight plane} yeh

Said he’s goin’ out to find {goin’ out to find}

An old King who’ll change his mind,

{Wherever he takes that flight, he’d better go and see that Hashemite}

Peace will be with him {I know it will}

On that midnight plane to Jordan {leavin on the midnight plane, bing-bong}

He’d rather give up his oil {give up his oil}

Than let the peace talks decline {crude oil for peace this is not refined}

 

VERSE 2

He kept dreamin’ {dreamin’} ohhh that soon he would see Hussein

{that’s King Hussein, cos Saddam is insane}

And he’ll ask that Sunni whether he’ll come round soon for Dinar

{cash could make his dreams come true, ah-ha, oh-oh}

He’ll invite al-Assad {ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh}

And even Yitzhak Rabin {ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh}

But poor Yassar Arafat, has to take, the other’s scraps,

Oh yes he does, that’s how it is.

 

CHORUS 2

I know he’s leavin’ {leavin’} on that midnight plane to Jordan

{Leavin on the midnight plane} yeh

Said he’s goin’ out to plan {goin’ out to plan}

A partition of the land

{He had better mediate, else it’s goanna be like ’48}

Peace will be with him {It better had}

On that midnight plane to Jordan {leavin on the midnight plane, bing-bong}

He’ll have to find an accord {find an accord}

Where land is in high demand

(Repeat favourite bits  with ooh-oohs and aah-aahs while dancing off)

copyright © Ian Harris 1992

Click here or below for Gladys Knight and the Pips singing Midnight Train To Georgia with the original lyrics on the screen.