Celebrity City

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 24 February 2010

HOWARD GOODALL, the composer, talked to me from a school in Kennington. He has got 30,000 schools on board to become musical establishments. Today is 'National Sing Up day'. Teachers joining in and children standing proud as they open their throats and let it rip. HOWARD had two, kids with him, they sung to me down the phone. I cried. As Howard himself said it was moving, really moving.

Then it was celebrity city.LEEE JOHN, JAMES EARL JONES, POLLY RAE and WILLIAM BAKER. Hows that for a days work.

I often wonder whether I'm name dropping but its my job to interview people and today happened to be chock-a-block with celebrity.

Mr. James Earl Jones, he of the voice of DARTH VADER, is playing BIG DADDY in 'CAT ON HOT TIN ROOF'. He came into LBC Towers with his son, who took notes. He belched in the middle of the interview, thats the father not the boy, we laughed James said he belched and farted like everybody else, I told the producer to keep it in. I don't know whether she will. We sat in a tiny recording studio and talked about his life, his parents, Prof. Crouch the teacher that stopped his stuttering by making James read out a poem he had written in front of the whole class. James Earl Jones went 'mute' as he calls it, for eight years, after moving away from Mississippi. He was fun and measured and a big, big man. The interview is going out on Friday.

Polly is a burlesque dancer/performer/vision. She's appearing at the Leicester Square Theatre, in THE HURLY BURLY SHOW and at 28, looks delightfully young and fresh. She was a make-up artist but somehow found her way to Jo King, who teaches burlesque. Then she met William Baker, a young Mancunian, who has worked with Kylie Minogue and Beyonce, and has directed her in this collaboration. I pre-recorded the interview and managed to squeeze enough out of them before running into the studio to do a hand-over with James O'Brian.

The first hour was dedicated to the apology from Prime Minister Brown about the migrant children - 130,000 - who were sent to the colonies. Historically poor children were sent away but from 1920 -1960 charities sent young orphans, or children who were told they were orphans, out to the british Commonwealth. Fred called in from Brentwood and told us his story, it was incredible, how he and his brother had been sent to a 'Rhodesian' farm. Fred didn't know that he was one of thirteen children and that his mother was still alive. When he met her forty years later it was not the fairy tale meeting everyone had hoped it would be. Fred said the PM's apology was welcome but it was too late to mend broken lives. I had an historian and a professor talking about the power of apology and the background to todays speech. The conclusion was the apology was necessary. In so doing the apologiser has to take responsibility for their actions.i.e. admitting to their guilt. It was fascinating.

By the time it got to 2.00 I moved on from apologies and charity to burlesque and cabaret. William and Polly are trying to make Burlesque sexy. I thought it was but Oh! The problem with prudery. I am a prude, never know what I feel about striptease, burlesque, pole dancing. I look at naked women painted by Rubens and Renoir and don't bat an eyelash, so what is my problem with todays female nudes. Paul Simpson in Lewisham emails me regularly blaming me for the downfall of our society because of my feminism. He said because we feminists opened the sleuce gates women have gone awol. Dancing round poles, taking their clothes off and sticking pom-poms on their naughty bits.

Do I take responsibility for broken Britain, sometimes I feel like I do.

Leee John was terrific. I remember him back in the day but I didn't remember that IMAGINATION was his band name. My mind had gone. I thought one of his songs sounded like George Michael but as a fierce self promoter it made no never mind that I had had a senior moment. I'm going to see him at 'Pizza on the Park' on Friday, take the daughter and hope that all is forgiven. I was told by the boss that I should take lunch down in the office to gather my thoughts so that I don't make daft mistakes. I refused. I get ten minutes for lunch, ten minutes of peace and quite. 12.42 till 12.52. I will reserves my right to have ten minutes chow time and then make mistakes!

But I don't like getting things so wrong so I left the building a little down in the mouth. I felt like I had let everybody down what with the cock-ups and all so I decided to go to the Kings Road and buy some supper. But not before I had a meeting with a telly producer who ran an idea past me. I am doing a pilot for him in a couple of weeks. The head honcho is a dear man so I agreed to do it. Is there anything in it for me - zilch, nicht, nada but I am as loyal as an old bitch and anyway I get a day in front of the cameras.

Went into a shop with an amazing sale of boots and trendy clobber, intending to get a little something for B's birthday.

A very tall, skinny, shop assistant came over to me, bent down and with THE most patronising attitude said, with a toothy grin.

'Can I help you dear?'

'DEAR' I snapped.

'Well what do you want me to call you?' she said affronted.

'Nothing.' I said.

I must admit I did look like a little old lady, faux fur coat, carrier bag, dungarees and wooly gloves, but still. I felt like children feel when a great aunt comes just a little too close and they look like a reflection in the side of a kettle.

I don't normally feel the need to shout DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM. But I was that close. In the event I walked out of the shop, like a petulant adolescent, nursing my wounded pride and holding my head up high, which was a little uncomfortable what with my dowagers hump!

The rain tumbled down as I shopped for 1. I told you it wouldn't take long to miss the old git.

Is this how it'll be, people calling me 'dear' and a piece of salmon for tea. Buying that one courgette caught my throat.

I'm off now to organise my speech for The Radlett centre on March 21st. I know I keep plugging it but I don't want to play to an empty house, I'm taking a leaf out of Leee's book. Self promotion and self belief..

I shall cook the salmon and courgette, 8 mins a side. After which I shall take to my 6 footer and drink my hot milk with nutmeg, Manuka honey and cinnamon. Who said I don't know how to give a girl a good time.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At February 25, 2010 4:52 PM Lyn Misselbrook wrote:

Downloaded the audio book! Not listened to it all yet but have reached 2 March - 26 days before the end of GFL. So far so great ... !
How's the other literary stuff proceeding?
And please let me know about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!

Lyn xx

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