Turn it off can't you?

AS my more regular readers will know, I like theatricals. Am dram, plays, even the odd bit of poetry - I quite enjoy the word games, and the suspension of disbelief employed by literary craftsmen and women.

AS my more regular readers will know, I like theatricals.

Am dram, plays, even the odd bit of poetry - I quite enjoy the word games, and the suspension of disbelief employed by literary craftsmen and women.

Throughout my life I have tended to somewhat lurch from drama to drama and though it's been a thrilling ride I sometimes get a little worn out by being me.

So as I shut the door to my little Ipswich sitting room, got on my bike and freewheeled to the theatre I was in a good mood.

I arrived, sipped a diet coke, thumbed through the programme…I was looking forward to sitting back and watch someone else provide the excitement so it was with a sense of relief I slipped into my chair.

Arthur Miller's The Price is currently at the New Wolsey and it is pretty good. The top quality acting and interesting themes make this play well worth making the effort for. This was my first Miller play and I soon discovered there aren't many laughs.

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Watching the play took a lot of concentration and I soon found myself in that blissful state where you are completely engrossed in something else that isn't you.

I admit I am a bit of a 'me me me' person - geniuses often are - so it was a nice change to stop thinking about myself and have my mind drawn elsewhere.

But there is no excuse for what happened next and this, dear readers, has enraged me so much I just have to sound off about it. Just at a crucial point - towards the end - someone's (and they know who they are) a mobile phone went off.

Beep beep beep.

Beep beep beep.

How frightfully rude.

Indeed, I would use more Anglo-Saxon language to describe my anger at this unnecessary and outrageous incident but the Press Complaints Commission might get irked.

The actors, as true professionals, carried on regardless but I and most of the audience I suspect was left seething. I know it's not worth losing sleep over, but nobody has any respect for anyone else.

It's not as if they didn't know they needed to turn of their phone and I bet the call wasn't important - they didn't look useful or clever.

It happens on the train enough.

For some reason people think they have every right to shout loudly into their phones on the train. And most conversations are, to be frank, dross.

“I'm on the train.”






“I'm going into a tunnel.”


“Can you hear me?”

Pause. Followed by another pause.

“Oh there you are.”

I sometimes wonder in this age of speedy round the clock communication if anything valuable is in fact ever communicated.

Indeed I have devised a few questions I would like you to answer. Send me a nice letter.

How come these people are so puffed up with their own importance? But are, in fact, useless.

How come everyone is quite happy to conduct their personal business in such a public place? But insist on a right to privacy?

How come they have to get a lap top out at every opportunity? But then complain they work too hard.

Don't they know how silly they look?

Send me a nice letter please, with your thoughts.

Without the constant adrenalin rush of the Ipswich surprisingly operatic and definitely dramatic society rehearsals that took up so much time, I have recently found myself with time on my hands.

My cycling is improving each day as I negotiate the treacherous streets of Ipswich awash with dangerous drivers. You'd know what I meant if you cycled. This is keeping me occupied.

But, to be frank dear readers, sitting in my little Ipswich sitting room, talking to myself and watching television programmes about awful people relocating to quite nice parts of France - I console myself these pompous types won't be my neighbours - is taking its toll.

As I walked from the comfortable-and-fuctional-kitchen-cum-dining-room to retire to my sumptuously-decorated-maroon-boudoir-last night, I thought to myself (in fact I may have even expressed it out loud)

"James you handsome hunk, you have got to get out more."

As I closed the curtains to shut out the street below I remember thinking "I can't bear another night flicking through a biography of the last Tsar and trying to be interested in a police/hospital/footballing drama which really isn't interesting. I want to live my own glamorous life."

So it was with this thought in mind I jumped into a recently-washed trusty rusty Rover last Friday night and sped across to visit Liz my journo-turned-spin-doctor friend in the west of the county - where it is true I am less well known and less likely to be asked for autographs.

My public-sector-spin-doctor welcomed me with open arms. "James my dear, how lovely to see you," she exclaimed.

"I know. I know." I replied.

Offering me a restorative Lemsip the conversation turned effortlessly to the subject of me.

An evening of sophisticated conversation (gossip), a chicken-based dish (chinese chicken in a black bean sauce) and a couple of 12-year-old malts (not a drink I'm used to) followed.

I was cheered up, I had got out and I hadn't had to endure another tv-fuelled evening on the sofa accompanied only by a bag seedless grapes, a couple of crackers and a strong stilton.

It's often surprising what drawing the curtains can lead to.

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