I'm back on stage - at the back!

FOR regular readers among you it will come as no surprise that my favourite subject is myself - it will also come as no surprise that I occasionally indulge in things theatrical.

James Marston

FOR regular readers among you it will come as no surprise that my favourite subject is myself - it will also come as no surprise that I occasionally indulge in things theatrical.

I have performed, in what I refer to as my pre-Suffolk life, rather badly, as a ghost in a pantomime in Battersea Arts Centre. I once even stood on the stage of London's Palladium - though admittedly it was part of a guided tour - and here in Suffolk I have graced the stage of the Regent Theatre in my regular role of large boy at the back in various productions with the Ipswich terribly Operatic and absolutely definitely Dramatic Society.

I have even performed in Felixstowe - perhaps most memorably in a routine as an Egyptian mummy during which my costume fell off leaving little to the imagination of the rather unfortunate spectators in the first three rows - where I have made my home.

Well, Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion is one of those venues you play twice in your career - once on the way up and once on the way down, and dear readers, I am delighted to be back.

Of course, it is with great reluctance that I have decided to return to the stage.

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I know, I know, I know I said “never again” after my plain-speaking-photographer-friend-Lucy told me, in the kindest possible way, that I was fine on stage as long I was someone else but fate has intervened and I can no longer disappoint my public or my burning ambition to show off - my role as large boy at the back is going to be reprised.

This time, in a special one off show celebrating 100 years of the Spa Pavilion in June, I am appearing in a section performed by the Dennis Lowe Theatre company.

It was over a warmed-through selection of amuses bouches and a glass of ersatz Champagne one evening in the salon of my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) that my theatrical friend Suzie asked me to take part - well I had dropped several heavy hints, mentioned it a few times and eventually asked her outright if I could join in.

Naturally I jumped at the chance when she finally agreed to my request, in the end.

CAN you believe that we're almost halfway through the year already?

And I was going to do so much this year - make a fortune, write my autobiography, launch myself on the Felixstowe dinner party circuit, get myself a prime time chat/quiz show and lose five stone.

Instead all I seem to have done is much the same as the year before.

Is it just me but does time go quicker the older you get or does it just seem so? In less than a month the nights will be drawing in again - now that is a depressing thought isn't it?

On the plus side we're apparently looking forward to a barbecue summer - that means it's going to be long and hot with plenty of burnt meat.

YOU have to hand it to them, don't you?

They bay for Speaker Martin's blood and the minute he announces he's going the MPs start saying how lovely he was. Typical.

But Speaker Martin acting as the sacrificial lamb - he's the one who presided over the expenses system where we all pay for duck islands and the like - misses the point.

What MPs never seem to get is that many of us no longer have any faith in any of them.

They still don't seem to realise that the whole culture of claiming expenses as a legitimate way of augmenting income was not acceptable.

They still don't have a clue how angry and fed up their voters are.

And some, incredibly, still blame the government for introducing the Freedom of Information Act for letting over-burdened taxpayersfind out where their money goes.

Their arrogance remains astounding.

The thing is they've been caught with their hands in the till and they have the nerve to blame the media and the man they elected to preside over them and look out for their interests - everyone but themselves.

Why should they have such a wide range of expenses and allowances at all? They are well paid by most people's standards.

Of course, it's easy to have a moan after the event. And if we're honest, MPs are human after all.

Perhaps it the cynical hack in me but I seriously doubt any one of us would have acted that differently.

IS it warm enough to go swimming in the sea?

One of the great advantages of living in the Edwardian seaside town of Felixstowe is proximity to the azure main. And sea swimming is something I like to indulge in - mostly when no one's around much for fear of being spotted at my most unattractive (partially undressed) - during the summer.

I know the North Sea is never going to be like the South Pacific but I don't want my feet turning blue and my heart stopping due to the cold.

It surely must heat up at some point - does anyone know when it's at its warmest?

THIS week's joke - the cleanest I've had for a while - was kindly sent in by regular reader Brenda of Felixstowe.

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.

The wife said: “You should do it because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee.”

The husband said: “But you are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee.”

His wife replied: “No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.”

The husband is understandably incredulous and he demands she shows him where in the Bible it says he should do the coffee.

So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says HEBREWS.

AS you can imagine we journalists get invited to all sorts of things.

Openings, previews, launches, lunches, working breakfasts - whatever they are - sporting events - I rarely go - screenings, fetes, Royal visits, even the occasional black tie event - it's all part of the exciting gamut of regional newspaper journalism.

But this week, I received the most unusual invitation to date - a request for the pleasure of my company at an open evening at Ipswich crematorium.

Certainly one of the more unorthodox events to which I have had to find an excuse not to attend - I'm busy not doing anything that night - it does sound somewhat intriguing.

I wonder, dare I say it, if there will be a live demonstration? I've no great desire to go to be honest but if you'd like to it is on June 10 from 5.30pm to 8.30pm and it's free.