ken and jacky....

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 13 October 2009

With a salami sausage in one hand and four little oatcakes in the other it's a little tricky writing this blog, but here goes anyway.

I have just come in from The National Theatre. A memorial evening for Ken Campbell.

The great and the good turned up, paid their fiver, took their seats at 7.30 and laughed and clapped until 11.30 when the last of us left. Leaving behind memories, old friends and a very expensive cap in row J.

A huge picture of Ken presided over the proceedings.

John Sessions compared, actors spoke his word. Excerpts of 'The Illuminatus' and 'The Warp' were performed, ventriloquist, Nina Conti, used two dummies that Ken had bequeathed her in his will. One, an old lady the other a doll of Ken himself. Pidgin English Shakespeare, Toby Sedgwick as a slice of cooked bacon writhing around the stage, improvisational madness and Warren Mitchell who was helped on the stage by Richard Eyres.

Photographs of Kens life were projected at the end of the show and there was I nearly thirty years ago in my sack running around rocks up Arthurs Seat. I was nominated for best actress at the Edinburgh festival for my part in 'Stonehenge Kit The Ancient Brit in the End of the Woad'

Jim sat in J23 and B and I in F23/24. My daughter sat and saw how her parents had met, learnt their craft and shared theatrical history. We cried with laughter at a word sketch, we rocked with merriment as brave actors bared their talent, we were moved by Warren Mitchells baboon soliloquy.

But all the night I was aware how quickly our little lives pass. Ken was only 66 when he died. I met people I hadn't seen for 30 odd years. Yes of course we've aged, but thats what's supposed to happen. Either that or we end up the way of Ken.

He left a legacy of lunatics and inspirational performers from Chris Fairbank, to Bob Hoskins to John Sessions to Richard Hope.

Today I interviewed Jacky Collins. Hardly an interview more an over the fence chat. She really is lovely, no airs and graces, a true player. Glamorous, honest and a delight. She has written 28 books, has over 300 million readers in 40 countries and not a puffed up bone in her body. She signed my book and told me to keep it safe as its worth money.

She made me realise, like Ken, that there really is no point in putting off life, if you don't grab it by the short and curlies pretty damn quick it can pass you by in the blinking of an eye.

I've got indigestion from my Polish sausage, that'll teach me to try and multi task.

Tomorrow comes on at a petty pace so it's good night from me and goodnight from moi.

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