So good they named it twice

SEE I flew in from old England just the other day.Yes, I flew in from Heathrow and we circled J.F.K. The movie ended and I pulled up the shade, looked out the window while the Muzak played.

SEE I flew in from old England just the other day.

Yes, I flew in from Heathrow and we circled J.F.K. The movie ended and I pulled up the shade, looked out the window while the Muzak played. Oh yeah.

Infamous columnist, talented journalist and now stateside jet setter.

And unlike Barry Manilow, who famously suffers from the Brooklyn Blues, I was so excited I could hardly talk - most unlike me - when I landed at New York.

The skyscrapers, the bustle, the shops - New York, New York is a little bit different from Ipswich, Suffolk, and though I am fond of the home of Thomas Wolsey and the Ipswich Witches, NYC is a tad more exciting.

Joined by my glamorous-and-voluptuous international flight attendant friend Jane - who helped me pass the time at 35,000ft by drinking dry the sumptuous Virgin Atlantic first class bar - we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Intrigued by the work of Edward Hopper and windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Jane and I wandered around for quite some time.

After five minutes of oohing and ahhing at a Rembrandt we got hopelessly lost and saw John Constable's Salisbury Cathedral three times before we could escape from the tricky loop that is the section devoted to 19th century English paintings.

We never got to the Egyptian section, diverted by a selection of musical instruments and the rather interesting shop-I bought a Christmas decoration and a print to adorn my little Ipswich sitting room. Jane picked up a Monet postcard.

Waking up in the city that never sleeps I hit the streets early.

A constant battle with busy New Yorkers, dodging pretzel sellers, avoiding being run over and jumping in and out of yellow cabs, I enjoyed myself.

I had a mooch round the Museum of Sex-not as interesting as you might think. It seems no one had much sex until after the war.

So, tired of museums and walking I visited the CNN studios.

Joining a group 14-year-old schoolchildren I toured the newsroom looking out for breaking news and snippets off info in case I could tip off the Evening Star-I saw nothing, there wasn't one story on Ipswich.

In the lift I fell into easy, if somewhat intimate, conversation with one of the group's middle-aged teachers -I suspected she recognised me from the Evening Star website.

“I'm Liza, with a zee. We from nowhere Alabama, US of A,” she drawled.

“I'm James with a J. I'm from Ipswich, Suffolk, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” I replied.

“How sweet.” Eh? “You enjoying the tour darlin'?” she demanded.

“Well hell yes honey,” I said. “I shall soon need a bathroom break though. Have a nice day. Pass me the lox (salmon) .” That shut Liza up.

Secretly, throughout the CNN experience, I hoped to see Jerry Springer so I could join in the food fight and talk about my life as a minor celebrity on the streets of Ipswich and as a rising star of East Anglian journalism but I never dated, let alone married a Latino transvestite or eaten my sister with a side order of coleslaw in a trailer so I don't think I qualify as weird enough-I think he's on another network anyway.

Flying back to Blighty, I was mightily relieved to sit back and enjoy Harry Potter with some goblet and, despite the man next to me who was from Market Harborough though originally from Birmingham who fidgeted with an unpleasant accent for six hours, I quite enjoyed myself.

Before I went I thought I might pop into the high octane newsroom of the New York Post and show them my portfolio but, after careful deliberation, I have decided that non smoking bars and rude cab drivers who constantly demand tips aren't really for me. The New York Post will have to glean its next brilliant talent elsewhere.

Britain is best.

WELL it's April and Summer Holiday has come to an end.

The Ipswich fairly Operatic and certainly Dramatic Society has proved itself worthy of its excellent reputation once again-and not just thanks to my stunning performance-there were a few others in it too.

Of course the production was a huge personal success.

I only once had my hands in the air when no one else did and I was at the back anyway and I managed to get into my plethora of colourful costumes, after they were let out by costume lady and show stalwart Pam, in the right order every night.

Today I'm already missing treading the boards underneath East Anglia's largest proscenium arch in a pair of lederhosen.

Of course, while on the stage you can't really see the show at all. To remedy this frustrating truth I suggested we perform in front of a mirror so we could all enjoy it.

And judging by some of the boys' fascination with their own reflections in dressing room number four, this idea would have been warmly welcomed. But a mirror doesn't buy tickets.

The make-up, the red satin shirt, the murmur of the audience, the lights, the colours, the music, the applause-it's a bit like a rather nice feel-good narcotic.

The after-show party was perhaps the highlight. I enjoyed the buffet.

I must say offering a karaoke machine to a group of wannabe stars with few inhibitions was rather like introducing an injured antelope into a cage of starving lions.

I thought there might be a punch up as the refined ladies of the show battled it out with the male dancers for microphone supremacy.

Only with am dram karaoke do you find co-ordinated backing singers.

Tempted by the world of theatre all I need now is an agent.

If only had a fax machine, I'm sure the offers would be rolling in. If they don't though I've already got a plan up my sleeve.

I shall write and star in my own musical called 'A Prima Donna in my sitting room.'

Of course the handsome, lean and gorgeous actor catapulted into the lead role and picked from thousands of hopefuls, shall be me.

N

Read more of James at www.eveningstar.co.uk/content/eveningstar/columns.

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