I'm addicted - to the stage

PERHAPS you might know the answer.

James Marston

PERHAPS you might know the answer.

Why on earth would normally sane, responsible people with normal jobs, lives and ambitions want to put on strange clothes, slap on some slap and parade in front of hundreds of strangers singing and dancing and playing the fool?

I ask you today because, as regular readers will know, and for those who aren't regular I'll tell you anyway, I have recently performed on the stage of the Spa Pavilion Theatre in the Edwardian resort of Felixstowe.

It's a question I have yet to answer with any degree of satisfaction - perhaps we're all show-offs.

It's not, as you might suspect all about attention though.

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I think I like the drama and the backstage atmosphere.

Indeed it is often the case that behind the scenes is almost as entertaining as what is happening on stage.

At any one time you can find people in all sorts of states of undress, people learning words, practising dance moves, eating sweets and applying ever more eye liner.

Whatever the reason, I had ever so much fun dressing up as, amongst other things, an undertaker, a French peasant and an Edwardian costermonger - whatever that is - and treading the boards.

Of course, the after-show party is always a boon.

This year I found myself indulging in too much vodka jelly, enjoying several miniature quiches supplied by hostess-cum-dancer Rebecca and walking home from Trimley St Mary to my small flat with sea views (distant) at 5am. My feet have yet to recover.

Of course as a wanna-be-almost-celebrity I don't mind being in the full glare of the public eye.

Though my friend Kath, who wore a huge feather contraption during the performance and little else, has recently given me cause for concern.

She said, as she stage whispered to a friend of hers as she introduced us over a glass of post- performance rose: "James thinks he's a celebrity and we've found it's just easier to go along with it."

I think I better get back on stage as soon as possible don't you? Just in case I'm forgotten.

I JUST happened to be passing the leisure centre in Felixstowe on Sunday, partly because I might like to join an aerobics class to tone my body, when I stumbled across the Felixstowe Horticultural Society show.

Naturally, along with my mother Sue who's keen on such things, I'm always keen to take part in the goings-on of the community, so we popped in.

Inside were a large selection of produce including marrows, carrots, raspberries and a huge selection of lovely flowers - the standards seemed very high to me.

I especially enjoyed the miniature gardens and the dahlias.

While we were there I noted media colleague Rob Dunger of BBC Radio Suffolk fame presenting the prizes - several of which went to a lady called Audrey who must have a fantastic garden - apparently he used to be a florist before taking to the airwaves.

Though I know little about gardens, I bought a lupin, a favourite of mine, from the flower stall and I learnt it will grow back every year.

DO you remember spot the ball?

I used to like things like that and spot the ball was a nice way to spend a few moments.

You don't see it anymore though do you?

SO, according to the papers, the artist formerly known as Banksy is really called Robin Gunningham.

Robin, we are informed, is a bit of a posh boy - no surprise there.

But to be honest I've never understood the attraction of this artistic pimpernel, feeling that his work is only interesting because he is, in an age of visual celebrity, faceless - a contradiction in terms.

I also veer towards the unfashionable school of thinking that what he does is little more than vandalism.

Though perhaps to be so famous for your work - in whatever form - and not your body or looks or lover or husband or bad behaviour or vulgarity or parents is a rare talent indeed.

LAST week, as eagle-eyed and regular readers will know I wished many happy returns to my favourite royal Camilla.

I note with amusement that for her birthday she received a selection of vegetables including a giant cabbage.

I wonder if it was on her wish list of things she really wanted?

Well she looks rather pleased with her basket of vegetables doesn't she?

Being, I suspect, of a practical turn of mind I suspect she'll pickle what she doesn't eat fresh.