Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Once More With Feeling

What Now?
Celebrity Q&A

This week we put your questions to playwright, philosopher, diarist and former hand model, William Godwin.

What book are you reading at the moment?
To call it a book would be to call the wedding in Cana a simple luncheon. No it’s more of a poetic guide to existentialism.

Yes but what is it called?
Milking the bulls and other hot hazing stories.

What is currently your favourite sandwich?
Mozzarella, rocket, red onion, tapenade, tomatoes and black pepper on herb ciabatta.

Which one thing do you think would go further than anything else to correct the UK’s current financial situation?
This ‘impasse’ would be eradicated tomorrow if children were re-introduced to mines and chimneys.

When were you last truly happy?
The night of the Oddbins’ fire in Stockwell, June 1994 - the looting opportunities put me on such a high.

What is your greatest fear?
Nowadays – that I’ll bump into someone I know when I am out shopping and have to chat. As a young man, running low on cleaners’ fags.

What’s your last thought as you fall asleep at night?
If those girls don’t shut up in a minute I’m going to shit through their letter box first thing tomorrow.

And your first thought on waking?
Whether it is safe to iron.

What is your favourite quote?
'Kindly close that hatch!'

What is your greatest extravagance?
Grand Crus and fillers.

Who has been your greatest influence?
All men are influenced by their mother, and she gave me great patience, sociability and openness to the views of others, but I would have to say overall it is Danny La Rue. His wit, his agility with rhyme, his ability to be all man yet also all woman, his simple philosophy for happiness and of course the gowns.

Who would be your ideal dinner guests?
Which course?

For the whole meal.

Well I would have to say Alan Whicker, Dorothy Squires, Lulu, Kate Adie, Patti LaBelle and Dora Bryan. I would serve wild goat and raspberry fricassee and be damned!

Which one thing would improve your life?
Slip on shoes.

Are you ruled by your head or your heart?
It depends whether I am lying down.

What is your greatest weakness?
Rugby players' thighs.

And your greatest strength?
My compassion and knowledge of the Dewey decimal system.

What would you like your epitaph to be?
‘Good night my Darlings, I hope I haven’t bored you.’

William Godwin's new play 'get your Junk outta my trunk’ reflects mournfully on a society teetering on the brink of dereliction. The key protagonist Doraleene embodies a real and painful sadness as she journeys in hand with the audience through the gratingly slow realism of a future devoid of warmth and suppleness. The crescendo, which builds, is a release for the characters and the audience, or as Godwin likes to call them 'participates', but a release to an unknown destination(mostly to their homes or a Counsellor). 

His most recent book 'Was Lulu really taller than Dana' featured impressively in the Leamington Spa Courier’s top 350 books for Christmas feature last November and received such reticent praise as 'I can't believe I read this book' and 'The cover design gave the book an aesthetic sense of being a great and valuable libretto'.

William Godwin, 34, lives in East Dulwich with his barn dance instructor and his Spanish sommelier. 

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Kent, that’s not a name – it’s a cricket team!

Apparently the glorification of the nation’s treasure houses and preserved follies, and no I’m not talking about Julie Covington and Rula Lenska, does not begin until 11.00 am which sounds fine until I realise I am in the unusual position of being in Kent at 10.30, in the am.

I’ve gone on holiday by mistake, and am heading down to Rye as I had decided to knock a couple of places I’d never been before on the head, visiting wise, and Rye had always held a slight quiver of interest, so I thought why not, why not indeed.

However I decided to make an unscheduled stop on my already re-routed Journey. First stop was supposed to be Hastings after a bolt of inspiration on the A20, what with being related to King Harold and all that, made me realise that there was no compulsion, neigh no requirement, to be in Rye prior to luncheon.

But not even in Hastings for 11’s – I saw a sign for the Trust’s Scotney Castle and having recently invested my support for the nation’s treasures in an NT membership I swerved, keen to see as many as I can and thus make the most of my £43 and free binoculars. I had pondered Sissinghurst, but it is closed – those damn Sackville Wests!

I don’t know anything about Scotney Castle and I still won’t for another 18 mins. But the sign tells me there is a house, a castle, a walled garden, a tea room and a shop. Well you can’t really go wrong with that now can you!

All in all it’s too early. I had come from a breakfast appointment with a 3 year old with chicken pox – yes I did, which meant lovely pancakes but far too much frivolity. I awoke at 6 am and had started some work on my latest tribute to Danny La Rue, it’s a life’s work – I know. But actually it is extremely liberating and exhilarating to be on the road so early – there is something quite free spirit about it and I like Kent.

So the clock strikes 11 and I meander up to the entrance gate, and there are so many old people queuing – does this happen at 11am outside very NT property across the land, everyday? Is this where the old people are when they’re not stopping to chat in supermarket doorways?

Anyway Scotney Castle is great and I’m very pleased I joined that queue of old people. The top tip I leave with is to put pine cones on chairs where you don’t want people to sit – so simple, so effective, and so sore if read wrong. It is a beautiful house with charming guides, although one was a little too overly scented. Also a nice Gay to chat with in the shop – curds galore!

Well I’ve the bug now so where next, the leaflet says Batemans – Rudyard Kipling’s place is nearby, so again, why not. A completely different set up I find, and a lot less of what I like; the guides are altogether cooler and a lot bossier. Apart from the nice lady in the bedroom - steady – well you know about ladies in the bedroom. From what I remember you have to make sure you have a clear run to the door.

And guess what the lady in the bedroom told me - I haven’t even been in Kent, after all, but in Sussex, even Rye, my destination isn’t in Kent, no Kent at all! They’ll be telling me this isn’t England next.

So the Batemans’ house is all a bit boring actually so I head for the gardens where I think I’m being followed by these two old blokes with their cameras and their suitcases! To be honest I’m pretty sure it’s the Chuckle Brothers ‘that Joe Godwin’ but I move on swiftly as only an agile athlete of my youth and good looks can. Hopefully I won’t be appearing in their next ‘calendar’.

I thought I might stay and have my lunch at Bateman’s - after all Mr Kipling is renowned for his exceedingly good pies. But no, the tea room smacked somewhat of coach parties and I have an avowed dereliction of that what might be a coach party or similar, so it’s best avoided. So it’s back in my trusty motor and onto Rye for lunch and adventure – never mind the cost!

Now I had my map, but what I didn’t have was the pensione’s address. I had my confirmation email but now I look, that seems not to have the address. So I pull myself off into a municipal car park and I dial in the hope of alleviation du quandary.  An Aussie answers and I’m given the address, i thank him, but realise I still have no bearings and I could not see a handy street sign for love nor money. Maybe we only have street signage in London, and maybe it is over rated, but for the love of the Jesus - where am I? Now for a postage stamp community with all of 10 streets you wouldn’t have thought directional traversation would have been problematic.


Key thing is I’m here now, and the Ship Inn is very SE22, and mucho pleasante du vacance. Only hitch so far is the owner’s accent, but the lady owneress is a delight. Having only been over her threshold for a moment she’s already succeeded in fleecing me for a Hoegaarden, a spinach, feta and spring onion pie and some minted news. Easily fleeced that’s all I can say.

OH MY GOD – it’s so nice to be away.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A Woman's Touch (no homo)

I’ve been thinking about taking a wife.

Now it’s not such a strange thing as some of you may think, I know I am a Gay, and I don’t want to get all you lady readers over excited about any potential courting opportunities – hold on now, steady.

You see I’ve got a king-size now, with box space below, and an under stair cupboard, with light, so I think there’d be plenty of room for her. I don’t know where she’d keep her bonnets but I do have off site storage options that I could look into – I’m thinking a sturdy carrier – maybe John Lewis or C&A and if we put a couple of these together, they’d provide a tip top waterproof container, in the garden, for some of her corsets, hair pins, ribbons and recipe cards.

You see the thing is, I tire of chores but moments after they are initiated, I only have to fold a tea towel and I have to take to my Captain's chair and have another sip of Complan.

I want you to think, just for a minute, about what I have to put myself through, night after night, day in day out, at the weekends, and even when I am away.

Tonight, for example, I returned home after 9 hours of tedious chuff. There was a list of required activity long enough to bruise Mrs Bridges’ ego. And I don’t know how I can continue to be expected to have to slave for myself – day after day.

This is what I had to do this evening:

I had to turn my own mattress, and replace the 600 count with a fresh set - under, flat, top, pillow cases, duvet cover - it all adds up!
I had to do some washing up, my own dishes! and do a surface wipe-down in the kitchen. 
I had to load the washing machine – with washing and washing liquid.
I had to turn the oven on, drizzle olive oil over a handmade pizza, and then put it in the oven -by hand.
I had to make myself a small salad - yes.
I had two new CDs to load onto my computer – I had to do this myself.
I had to call my sister, dialling myself, using my own voice, to discuss her birthday and our week in Cornwall.
I had to respond to a couple of emails, typing by hand.
I had to pour my own wine, red - which is heavier than white.
I had to put the ruddy archers on as I am 4 weeks behind.
I had to sit quietly and contemplate my future.
I had to walk to the post box - walk, and post a birthday card, holding it in my hand all the way.
I had to take some rubbish out, by hand, and consider the state of the pavement.
I had to ring Robbyn and give her some advice about should she ever choose to move home.
I had to go onto facebook and respond positively to the utterings of my inner circle.
I had to watch a clip of Paul O’Grady at the RVT.
I had to wash the lenses of the glasses I’ve bought to wear to Ronnie Corbett’s do at the Dorchester.
I had to chase up a Cornishware order..............

All this, and with a shopping trip to plan, and a haircut to arrange for Saturday.

Do I need to go on?

I don’t know how the rest of you cope.

A wife seems the only answer.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Starved of Luxury

I can barely type this I am so upset - how thoughtless others can be. Fancy allowing me to have to do without so much; so much that I should be granted based on my give, give, give lifestyle and personality alone. I mean, don't get me started on the lack of MBE (so far). Luckily for the needy it is not enough to put me off my constant struggles on their behalf. I can hear a few NGOs (thems which haven't been disbanded by the ConDems) exhaling with relief. I mean, what would the helicopter arm of literature have done without Yorkie - Fergie. Give it some thought why don't you!

So I'm flicking through my How to Spend It supplement of the Weekend FT  in the Royal Spa, watching the rugby and debating the Pakistan issue with the old man, and I suddenly realise, having read my third article about yachts, that I’m never going to be rich enough to enjoy the lifestyle I crave, no, deserve (due). This is quite an upsetting epiphany.

I sit bolt upright and turn to my Father and say 'I don't know how you can live with yourself knowing I don't have a yacht!'

Do you know what he did then - he chuckled, cold and heartless I calls it. Fancy taking so little interest in your son’s well being, that his trauma causes you to chuckle! I'm speechless, thank heavens this is text based, otherwise you'd have to go without.

It really is not fair. I would so love to be super rich (or rich would do). I don't want diamonds, I don’t want furs, I done want fine Champagnes and Cognacs, and I don’t even want a Lamborghini. But what I do want, what I do crave, what I do need and deserve is extensive luxury travel around the world staying at the most prestigious spas and resorts to a platinum level of quality, comfort, service and wonderment. This is what I require.

I continued - 'I don’t think I'm ever going to be rich - I've missed my boat' - not a glimmer of apology, no sense of remorse, no ‘here’s 10k – please son, please go and enjoy 3 weeks in Gallipoli – I hear it’s the new Positano don’t you know!’ Nothing...., empty....

But I don’t want to have to see the world via easyJet and cheap make do and mend locations, I want extreme luxury and I want the blue waters of the world’s finest seas lapping on my bronzing toes as I savour the breeze and the low sun of a late summer rendez vous with destiny. ‘We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now! 

There are quite a few white sails bellowing in this imagery for me, in addition to a well groomed forearm factored, blue eyed, salting haired so an so with a look in his eye that would make a midwife blush, attending to me with fine wines, gastronomy délicieux du pays, grande cru, cru bourgeois etc., etc., etc., etc..

Suggestions, cheques and telephone numbers on a postcard, or postcards to the usual address please.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Love and death with a cold caller

Never, I repeat never let anyone in the whole world have your phone number unless you really know they are a totally fono bido organisation and there is a box you can tick or untick re the don’t you fucking dare flog my number your cheap roadhouse whores!

So I do my damnedest to take care, to prepare, to avoid, to lie low, to be as my mother was to the ring of the doorbell if her hair was not ‘done’ but it is impossible to totally avoid. Many a day I return weary, but worthy from a day at the office to my beeping answer machine – screen calling – it is the marketing call avoiders best tool – employ one now. They are often empty messages where the Bolivian loan company – ‘just undertaking some research in your area Mrs Gawding’ not bothering to waste their time or breath is there wasn’t the possibility of a gullible English person to harangue.

I even registered with the Telephone preference service, but even that doesn’t cut all third world marketing calls or ‘research’ organisations.

So this afternoon whilst as an alternative to my normal toil, I am at home researching my new book – ‘the quickest route to the Mormon heart -  a story of courting latter day lovelies’ I was shaken out of my Utah focus with the unnecessarily loud vintage clatter of my red trusty GPO 746 signalling I was required on the line. Now I didn’t screen, as you never know, and the phone had rung earlier and it had been my youngest sister telling me about the quiche she is making for my lunch on Sunday (how do you know when you’ve had Gay burglars? They’ve tidied up and there is a quiche in the oven). I thought maybe it was my dad ringing to ask what time I was arriving in the seat or to tell me for the twelftieth time that he had a lunch engagement on Sunday so I would be having lunch with my sister – quiche, yes I know. 

Blah blah blah.

But no it was not a familial catering discussion, my family’s, apart from my brothers, favourite topic  of conversation, nor was it the company that do meter readings for my electricity company ringing up only to have me explain for the however manyieth time that I am on an online tariff and they email me when my meter needs reading, so they don’t need to call anymore, if you don’t mind, and no I’m not going to give you a meter reading – GOOD DAY!, nor was it Anglian, asking me whether I needed any more windows or doors, ‘no thank you, I’ve still got the ones you sold me 8 years ago, and they still work’. Nor was it my old regular caller, from India asking me if I wanted a cheap loan or any assistance in managing my debt – how very dare they. No it was a strange foreign American accent asking if she could speak to Mr William Godwin, so I asked who was calling, never admitting that I am the person they crave, and she told me she was calling from the national research company and they were undertaking research in my town (research into debt, new doors and windows and meter reading no doubt). She said it was a very short survey, Mr Williams, that she would only need a minute of my time Mr Williams, no longer, really it was short Mr Williams, (well we’re onto at least a minute 30 by now).

So I said – ‘you can’t speak to Mr William Godwin I’m afraid’.

She asked why not, so I told her.

‘He died this morning, on this very phone, please do not call again’.

And with that she hung up, and I returned to my own research.

How very dare they!