Tuesday, 27 July 2010

To happy endings and new beginnings

5 performances left for Desire/Desig. One day, I will tell you all about it. One day but not today. (Oh all right, I'll tell you about how last Saturday, someone from the next show at the White Bear thought it would be a good idea to use an electric saw to cut some wood... in our dressing room... it was like Pompeii meets the Termites World Fair...)

Today I want to talk about endings. As someone who aspires to live in the moment, I find myself most often projecting into the future (in an "oh my god what's going to go wrong?!" kind of way) or reminiscing fondly about the past (have you noticed how it's almost always summer in your childhood memories?). It's not a satisfactory state of affairs but I keep reminding myself that it's a work in progress.

So endings then - they are bitter sweet... the fear of the unknown has already lifted replaced by the sweet tide of  nostalgia. "I don't want it to end!" Oh well, it is bloody well ending so get used to it, and get a move on!

What exactly is ending? The play I've been in, the routine I've developed over the last few years (I'm big on routine, me), the tentative baby steps. It's all ending this weekend. As of Monday morning, a new chapter will start writing itself.

No, I'm not leaving town, or changing my name, or even my hair colour (although the rouge seduction nail polish will probably go)... I've just reach my ideal weight (remember the Dukan Diet... about to start the next 50 day phase) and am changing day jobs. Oh, and I'm having my hair cut at the end of the week... a small earthquake of its own (will it look good? Luigi at Sulis has only been cutting it with style and flair for a couple a years... who knows he could surprise me with something really unsightly...!)

I might as well be contemplating diving from a 20 meter cliff!

I find it terrifying... there are no markers... not yet at least. Will I have time to go to yoga classes and Zumba? What if I get asked something and don't know the answer? What if they don't like me? What if I don't fit in? You see what I'm doing? Projecting into the future with apprehension and growing panic. Why can't I think positive things, like... I don't know...

Sometimes I think that life should end on a high... I wish there was a service that would come and wrap you up carefully like some valuable antique and put you in suspended animation after a particularly good run of things... and there you could float on a bed of ether, content, looking back on a job well done. A bit like those who die doing what they loved but without the sudden and shocking ending... control freak to the last, I would want to schedule my exit into temporary suspended animation. And then be brought back when things looked particularly exciting and rosy.

How strange! That's material for a sci-fi novel maybe (although not a very good one), but more importantly: who would want to live their lives like that?

Well me, for one.

But why?

Life isn't about pressing the pause button, or fast forwarding, or rewinding for that matter. With life, someone presses PLAY and you're off! Until that same person presses STOP, or you run out of tape, (or more likely these days) memory space.

So how about it? Why not hop into the next circle of light illuminating my path and trust the Greater Universe in all its wisdom and age old compassion? Especially since I asked the said Universe for a clear sign guiding to the next step and it delivered an almighty neon lit all American Brass Band, Red Arrows flying overhead sign that said "GO DO IT!"...

So what am I waiting for? Another sign?

It's time for lift off.

Get, set, go...

Major Isabelle to Ground Control...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Who wears the pants in this outfit?

This post is for the girls really. Unless you're a guy with a Panty Fetish, or just curious. This is about thongs and regular pants (undies for you Americans... not trousers) and their role and function in an active woman's life.

I for one am a fan of thongs, ever since I discovered them age 18 (late bloomer). Why? I have two words for you: panty lines. Not a good look! Up there with double boobs, camel toes, builders bums, muffin tops and other sartorial taboos. For trouser wearing women, thongs are a godsend. No more fabric riding up with every step, no more panty lines, all the advantages of going comando but without the ick! factor. In other words: freedom!

But they have a downside. Comfort does not always mean attractive. It takes really good genes, and a lot of work at the gym to look good in a thong from the back. I don't think that they are a particular favourite in the bedroom. Sexy thong is an oxymoron.

Still, you can't beat them for day wear. Or can you? Some women have a real aversion to them. As one of my sisters puts it: "Why would you want a piece of fabric riding up your bum?" Ironically, she is one of the chosen few who would actually look good in a thong from the back.

I wear thongs whenever I can. I have a variety of colours and models to match any bra and occasion. White lacy ones, cotton ones with big pastel polka dots and blue trim (very on trend), black ones...

...I guess now that I've invited you into my underwear drawer we might as well take the guided tour. I also have undies with more coverage for that sexy bedroom look, some cute and girlie almond green lace low slung ones from Monsoon Accessorize (a present from my dear friend Adanna) - which incidentally seem to be the ideal combination of comfort/no pantylines and attractive from the back - and some plain black cotton panties: low slung but with good coverage.

What on earth are they for? They are for my yoga classes. What can I say, wear a thong to yoga and be prepared to strangle yourself... The thong has its limits, and yoga is one of them. Ignore this at your peril.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Madam I like your melons...

Poor man, I do him an injustice. He didn't actually say that, the man in the green cap and tweed jacket standing behind me in the queue at the Barbican Branch of Waitrose. What he said was "I'm sure you're not!" He was referring to my David and Goliath red singlet which reads "DRAMA QUEEN" in white capital letters on the front.

- Thank you. It's meant to be a joke, I'm an actress. (Ooh how I love saying that!)
- I'm sure you're not a drama queen at all...I'm an organic vegetable farmer!
- And you shop at Waitrose?
- Yes, but not for vegetables. At my local Waitrose they have specials on Wednesday afternoons, and you can pick up a good fat duck!
- That's nice.
- But today, I'm just picking up a bit of shoe polish, I've got a wedding to go to later on...

Then it was my turn to pay and so I said goodbye and wished him a great time at the wedding. Afterwards I thought: I'm not sure what it was all about! Was he just been friendly? Was he being harmlessly flirtatious? Did my top amuse him? What was he doing staring at my chest in the first place?

Why look for a nefarious reason? I think he was a friendly organic vegetable farmer who was amused by the message on my top and was warm and sociable enough to let me know. I responded, and encouraged our little harmless exchange. That's probably how things are done out in the countryside (beyond the M25 - the big circular motorway around London). He was probably grateful to find a chatty friendly towny. He'd probably be aghast and saddened to hear that it prompted this slight attack of paranoia.

I mean, a vegetable's a vegetable, right? And a friendly spontaneous exchange between strangers in a queue at the supermarket (especially Waitrose which is rather posh...) is just that, a friendly exchange. Right? Right...

Friday, 9 July 2010

I'm primed and will find my mark...

Mike said "you need a high waisted pencil skirt - grey if you can find it" so I did. I did it! Under duress from the amazingly talented designer for my new play DESIRE (13-31 July at The White Bear, London - box office: 020 7793 9193 - please come and see it or I will strike you from my FB!) I had to go to... Primark for the very first time.

I went early on Tuesday (they open at 8:30) before rehearsal. It was almost deserted, but even at this hour it had a few die hards getting in a bit of shopping therapy before going to work... Now, I don't usually go shopping for clothes. I'm like one of those poor souls on Gok's Fashion Fix. Shops scare and confuse me. They make my head spin. I walk in and get spat out again like someone who's put too much momentum going through revolving doors. I don't understand for the life of me how anyone can call it shopping therapy...

So imagine my surprise when I walked into Primark and made a bee line for their "tailored corner" and immediately found a rack with grey dresses, matching jackets, trousers and of course... the coveted high waisted pencil skirt... in grey! And I'll share something rather spooky with you: it looked exactly the way it did in my head. Imagine that! I'm on the same existential plane as Primark. I'll say that for Primark, their prices may be low but their designs are anything but cheap. They're very very good and in fashion parlance (gleaned from the rather shrieky but very funny blonde American designer on  Gok's Fashion Fix) "on trend".

But there's more... Wait for it...

I did not reach for the size 14 or even size 12... I am getting better, aren't I? I grabbed a size 10, and then almost as an afterthought spotted a lonely size 8 and grabbed that too, just in case. Off to the changing rooms.

The Primark changing rooms could teach the more expensive high street stores a thing or two. They are a thing of beauty: clean, spacious, with good mirrors and lighting.

And in the privacy of my Primark Tardis (you'll only get the reference if you saw my one woman show "There's Something in the Fridge..." - see, better book your tickets to my new play otherwise you'll miss out on all the witty references that I'll be peppering this blog with. Book now! 020 7793 9193.) I tried on size 10 - without any sense of apprehension. I am doing better! And it was too big! Not by much but definitely not fitted the way a pencil skirt should be. So I tried size 8: and bingo!!! It looked f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c.

So there you have it, my first amazing shopping experience - since that purple tartan mini-kilt I bought in Edinburgh - was sponsored by Primark! (there's another reference to the one woman show... if you're curious go and read my 2008 Edinburgh Fringe blog "Notes from the Fridge...")

Now, I could include a picture of me in the Primark grey pencil skirt (about £12) and the rest of my delightfully sexy and tight fitting costume but... I won't.  If you want to see it, you'll have to come and see the play. The details, one more time in case you weren't paying attention: DESIRE, 13-31 July, The White Bear Theatre, London, Box office: 020 7793 9193.