It went alright on the night!

IT was a triumph!As regular readers will know I am an enthusiastic member of the Ipswich Most Operatic and indeed terribly Dramatic Society.

James Marston

IT was a triumph!

As regular readers will know I am an enthusiastic member of the Ipswich Most Operatic and indeed terribly Dramatic Society.

Well, last week the society trod the boards at Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion in a production of our review show Sounds Familiar.

We theatrical luvvies, including my plain-speaking-photographer-friend-Lucy who had a solo all of her own, did ever so well, darlings.

Backstage was most amusing and I found myself in a changing room which included my friend Julian who dressed up in tights during the show and Arnold, an older gentleman who also dressed up in tights and remembers where he was when Kennedy was shot.

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Of course we all make mistakes and I'm certainly no dancer.

If I'm honest, I struggled in the section during which I wore a most unusual green waistcoat, large white trousers and a be-feathered hat.

Thankfully the critics were generous, as were my three cummerbunds I had especially made by wardrobe lady Pam, and the praise wholesome.

It's nothing but junk anyway, mostly.

I don't know about you but every time I have a couple of days away from the office I always seem to return to find my e-mail inbox full - something on which I spend far too much time as it is requires yet more attention. Having an e-mail account is, if you'll excuse the rather crude analogy, like a dog's stomach - it's never satisfied.

I'm fed up with e-mails.

They take so long to sort through and most of them are rubbish anyway. I much prefer a letter, but of course no one writes them anymore.

However, my younger sister Claire, who enjoys jigsaws and works in recruitment, left something in my inbox the other day which I thought I might share with you all.

It was addressed to those of us born in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and as I just, only just I hasten to add. fit into that category I suppose it is apposite.

The e-mail said:

- First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

- Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

- We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

- As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

- We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

- Take away food was limited to fish and chips.

- Even though all the shops closed at 6pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death!

- We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

- We ate cakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because...we were always outside playing.

- We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

- No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.

- We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.

- We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY, no video/dvd films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no internet or internet chat rooms. We had friends and we went outside and found them!

- We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no courtroom proceedings from these accidents.

- Only girls had pierced ears!

AS regular readers of my self-indulgent-self-obsessed-self-styled column will know I do enjoy a new word.

This week Mr Southgate, a gentleman from Ipswich, dropped me a quick line.

He wrote:

Hello James,

When I was a child my mother always used to warn me that I would 'get the pip' if I left home with wet hair, or insufficiently dressed against the cold weather.

Even as a married adult my wife and I were still advised against getting 'the pip' although it was never explained just what 'the pip' was.

I never heard the expression outside my immediate family who were all Ipswich natives.

As pensioners we still use the term jokingly and have to explain it to others who look bemused.

As we are just recovering from heavy colds perhaps we have already had 'the pip'.

We enjoy your column.

David Southgate.

Well I have to admit I've never heard of getting the pip have you? Is this another Suffolkism? Missives, electronic or otherwise are all gratefully received.

IT'S so draining isn't it?

Keeping up with the banking crisis and listening to all these concerns that seem to mostly affect rich people is just so depressing.

From what I can work out banks have got into trouble after lending out too much cash they didn't have and now the poor taxpayer is footing the bill and getting little in return apart from keeping a banking system that thrives on the western world's propensity to greed.

But no one seems to be too worried though do they?

From what I've seen things are beyond a stage where much can be done by anyone anyway, apart from all these blank cheques everyone seems so keen to write - we taxpayers even bought a couple of banks this week.

I must admit it sounds like ever so much fun to spend our nation's worth without really knowing what's going to happen to the money or where it's coming from - so much for Gordon Brown's much-vaulted prudence, he's not a dour Scot at all. In fact he's almost prodigal - I wonder how much he spends when he really splashes out.

I might go into politics.

Lucky Gordon he'll get a lordship and a wonderful pension when it's all over as well.