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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Milton Keynes Theatre

This interview with Paul Chuckle and Arron James had me laughing so much. Don't forget to watch the video of me and Paul doing To Me To You. I look like a total idiot!

Panto season is upon us... my second interview of the season is with Snow White and Prince Charming...I mean to say with the lovely Charlotte Haines and the dashing Dale Mathurin. 

You can see them both in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Milton Keynes Theatre. 

Now that its officially autumn, I will be posting interviews with the cast of this years Panto at Milton Keynes Theatre.  And I’m starting us off with a banger of an interview.

It’s our favourite Judge, Rob Rinder.

Rob Rinder on Panto, Strictly, and being Judge Rinder.

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To Her Majesty, The Queen. Rest In Peace. 

I have written about my encounters and memories with the royal family over the years and how I am feeling about the passing of the only monarch I have ever known. 

Rest in peace your majesty.

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It's Panto Press Day...

I know its July but I am still very excited about this year's Panto at Milton Keynes Theatre. I had a blast meeting the cast and will tell you all about it during the autumn, in the run up to Panto season. But please don't hesitate to buy a ticket... its going to be such fun. Oh yes it is! 

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Darren Day Feedback

I recently reviewed Footloose, starring Darren Day. He read my review and sent me a video thank you in return. I was delighted to receive this. Thanks Darren. 

You can find the video on my testimonials and feedback page. 

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Les Mis is in Milton Keynes. If you want to know how actors Dean Chisnall (Jean Valjan) and Nic Greenshields (Javert) feel about their roles, click this link for an exclusive interview. 

If you want to know what I thought of Les Mis click here

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End Of Year Review 2016...or end of tears?

 

2016 has not been a good year for many of us but It started with such promise.  David Bowie had just realised Blackstar to high acclaim and it was going to be a year that I celebrate a significant birthday.

 

However, with no warning only 10 days into 2016, David Bowie was cruelly taken away and I had no idea how profoundly this would affect me.  I have loved him since I was 12.  He had always been there in the background, sometimes supporting me, sometimes quietly watching my life unfold.  I didn’t really believe he was gone.  On 16th January I set off on my Bowie Pilgrimage and met with friends who felt the same as me.  We visited Brixton and Heddon Street as well as the house he was born in – and later that night, we all sobbed as we sung his songs.

 

Bowie was hugely significant to me and his loss was a huge void.  However, it was not just the loss of Bowie that has called 2016 a bad year.  Terry Wogan was a legend and for years I watched Eurovision purely for his sarcasm.  And it didn’t stop there.  Ronnie Corbett died from Motor Neurone Disease. Ronnie was one half of The Two Ronnies and I grew up with their sense of humour.  I loved their dry wit and play on words and still find their sketches hilarious today.  It was a terrible loss.  Alan Rickman was the same age as Bowie and I am sure would have had much more coverage over his loss, if Bowie had still been with us.  Rickman was an actor with a huge range from the troubled husband in Love Actually to the best baddie ever in Die Hard.

 

Just as we thought the worst was over, it was announced that Prince who was only in his 50’s, had gone too.  Purple Rain had been one of my most played albums in the 80s.  How can this be?  Paul Daniels was another and I had met him many years ago. Although he was not as popular today, in the 80’s he had a prime-time TV show and was fantastic at sleight of hand.

 

In my personal life, my youngest son was taken seriously ill and hospitalised for a week in April and again in May and September.  The experience was made worse by neglect of the surgical consultant and I wrote to PALS on my son’s behalf to complain.  No one should have to go through what he has gone through and I now believe that everyone in hospital should be offered an advocate to speak on their behalf.  My son is recovering now but this experience has left us both wary of medical professionals.

 

However, my End Of Year review is not going to be all doom and gloom.  If you dig hard enough there are a few gems.  Through my grief of Bowie, I have met lots of new friends who loved him as I do. (yes, that is still present tense).  And it was good to see them again in July for the annual netters gathering.  I was once again nominated as a finalist for my blog, ‘It’s a wonderful life’ which inspired me to start my own website.

 

Heaven 17 have always been a great band.  But this year was 35 years since my favourite album, Penthouse and Pavement had been released and there was a national tour to celebrate it.  To make it even more special the second half of the gig was going to be a BEF special. (British Electric Foundation) which meant special guests including the lovey Mari Wilson and original Sex Pistol, Glen Matlock.  And I also saw Heaven 17 at the intimate Jazz Café gig where they wished me a happy birthday in front of the whole audience.  That really was a special moment.

 

Yes, I have truly had to dig deep to find those gems of good moments.  One of my favourites was my significant party.  It was a very glam event.  Set in Birmingham, with friends making the journey to celebrate with me from as far south as Southampton, as far north as Thornaby and as international as Germany.  The theme was Studio 54 meets The Blitz and included a 70s-disco set, a Blitz set, a hi-energy set and other tracks that have been the soundtrack to my life.  I had two Fabulous DJ’s – Only After Dark founder, David Wright and the fabulous Symix.  I also have some wonderful photos from Stagedive photographer, Tony Gaskin.  The dress code was glamorous and stylish so people could come with a 70’s  or 80’s theme or anything glam.  If you know me it’s always dress to impress!  I couldn’t tell others to dress up and not do so myself, so I had my dress made.  Not only did I have my dress made but I had the material made.  I wore a dress with photos of me throughout the years on it.   At least I knew no-one else would be wearing what I was wearing!  It was a fabulous event and made me thankful for all my friends family and all who bring something to my life.

 

So, at this time of year which is supposed to be goodwill to all men, but the media tells us of a horrific terrorist attack in Berlin and politicians being shot dead, here is my Christmas wish…

 

I wish you health.  Without good health, you cannot do all the wonderful things you want to.  It’s more valuable than any money or expensive handbags.  I wish you all good health.

 

I wish you love.  The Beatles were right when they said ‘All you need is Love’.. It really does make the world go around.  We all want to be loved – just watch the film, Love Actually again to remind yourself.

 

And finally, I wish you happiness.  You can all be happy.  It’s not about the biggest present at Christmas or the car you drive or the job you have.  Happiness is a state of mind and you can choose to be happy and try to see the silver lining – even in difficult years like this one.

 

Let’s all look forward with hope and good intentions.  Let’s not make New Year Resolutions but make life goals that are achievable and realistic.  Let’s make this world a better place.

Love to you all. Xx

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We built this city on rock n roll

Milton Keynes always gets a hard time from those who don’t ‘get it’.  Yes, we have roundabouts and concrete cows – but we are so much more.  A new book by Lee Scriven shows us in pictures from our humble beginnings to where we are now.

Just looking through this book felt like my own history.  I was born in London but came to Milton Keynes as a child and grew up here. (Just like Freddie Burretti).  I worked in ‘The Club’ at The Point, for a year when it first opened, had my first Saturday job in Woolworths in the city centre and my first Bowie gig was at the legendary National Bowl.  I love the fact this book calls Milton Keynes a city.  Yes, we get it.  We don’t need the Queen to give us city status to be proud of where we live.  We love it here!

I was invited to the book launch and an exhibition that accompanies it.  It was almost a who’s who of everyone who is anyone in Milton Keynes.  Of course, I was there to document it.  Lee Scriven and Pete Winkleman who both have given so much to our city.  The book also covers the legendary Jim Marshall (of Marshall Amps – Yes, they started in Milton Keynes!), John Dankworth and Cleo Lane (without whom we wouldn’t have The Stables venue) and my dear friend, Caz Tricks, who I have known since I was 15 (It’s a shame The Starting Gate wasn’t featured in the book!) and is not only known as a singer (The Blues Collective), Compare at many music gigs, director and actor at many stage performances covering a range of works and most of all – one of the best people on the planet!

The exhibition covers some of the movers and shakers that have made Milton Keynes what it is.  You can visit this exhibition for free until the end of January 2017 at The Event Pace. Milton Keynes Library.  The book, we built this city on Rock n Roll is available to purchase for £15. 

Coming up to a big age I find myself reflecting a lot on the past.  I feel very lucky to have grown up in the post punk generation.  We learnt early about diversity and accepting each other for our differences.  There were punks, new romantics and even the odd rocker all getting along together.  This was in the days before ‘Goth’ existed.  I classed myself as ‘Alternative’ and still prefer that term today.  I don’t like to be catagorised into a box and really threw people when I told them enjoyed a bit of Abba.

The post punk generation was creative.  We made our own fashions and music.  Never had

bands been so stylish!  But it wasn’t just about looks.  The new electronic sounds coming out

of this era was like nothing that had been heard before.  David Bowie himself went backstage

at an early Human League gig and told them they were the future of music.  A high accolade.

But most of all we all believed we could achieve our dreams.  It was an exciting and vibrant

times, full of colour with big hair, big make up and big ambitions.  My dreams have changed

a bit over the years.  Back then, I dreamed of being an actress (I do have Lamda qualifications)

and loved being on the stage.  But dreams change as you grow and now instead of being on

the stage I review a lot of theatre instead.  This is not the frustrations of an actress that never

quite made it…this is actually where I want to be.  I love going to theatre and gigs and turning a big number isn’t going to change a thing.

So despite a few more days of clinging onto my 40’s for dear life I have forgotten that turning 50 means…

1) I qualify for saga and that awful life assurance for the over 50s!
2) Travel insurance goes up
3) Age UK can support me

Well f**k that shit.... if you know me you know that nothing will change.  I will still be gigging and reviewing.  I'm still me!

 

How many 50 year olds crimp their hair and wear dresses like me?  We are the post punk generation and the rules are about to change!!

 

Looking back is for old folk. And I'm not old! The best is yet to come!

A Significant Birthday