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Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Last night, for my first time in New Zealand, I attended an amateur musical entertainment.

My beloved had mentioned last week that she had been invited to accompany some of her older friends to a meal and a show in Upper Hutt. She had agreed, and of course I had to go along.

I had to hurry home from school, leaving lots of work undone, rush to shower and change, and then get out to meet at a new Indian Restaurant. The meal was nice, but the Indian waitress's eyes widened in shock when I asked for m meal "Indian Hot", not kiwi hot.

I've noticed over the last 7 years here in NZ, that you poor colonials just cannot take a good hot curry. I've been to many restaurants where a Kiwi friend has said "be careful of this one TSB [the Scotsman, not the arena] it's pretty spicy", only to find the meal rather bland and insipid. I grew up in Glasgow as curries began to make their way into the tradition of weekend drinking. It became de rigueur for a young chap to finish off an evenings entertainment with as hot a curry as he could stand. I proudly attained the stature of "Vindaloo Survivor". I can still remember the numbness of the mouth, the sweat running down my back, the exquisite agony of the abused tongue, and of course, the semi-contained screams the next day as the corrosive waste was excreted. I almost expected a hiss of steam as it hit the water.

But, enough on the food, onto the entertainment.

The music was mostly from the 60s and 70s, and the band consisted of the musical director on the piano (wearing I believe, the worlds first macramé tuxedo, with sewn in mirrors), base and acoustic guitars and a drummer.

The cast, my God the cast.

They varied in appearance and age from mid 30s to early 70s.

They varied from very fat to anorexic.

They varied in talent from merely adequate to "I'm going to blow my brains out if I have to hear her again"

The cast varied mightily in appearance and agility, and as tthey swung? through their acts I noticed:

The clang as two of the more elderly members tapped their copper anti-rheumatism bracelets together.

The voluptuous wobbling of a not unattractive young(ish) lady as she gyrated and leaned forward so all the audience could get a really good look down her blouse.
Gratuitous image to keep Fflur ticking over

The muffed lines.

The flat and sharp off-notes.

The way many of their voices faded away into nothingness as they attempted notes outside their vocal range.

The way some of their voices screeched into a higher register many times during a song

The casual re-adjustment of a colostomy bag.

The oxygen tank sitting at the side of the room.

The fixed grins on the cast's face.

To be fair they tried hard.

To be fair the musical quality was horrendous.

To be fair, they had some comic talent. I actually enjoyed (in a mild and restrained fashion) a couple of funny scenes, where timing, script and backing music worked, and actual singing was at a minimum.

They also awarded some prizes during the intermission.

As the cast withdrew to change for the next scene (a medley from the California flower power era, of such concentrated awfulness that I wanted to not only blow my brains out, but to do it retrospectively) one of the organisers appeared on stage and told the audience to go through a variety of commands. "Raise your right arm", "Wave it slowly about" etc. Being a grouchy anti-social bastard (my beloved's words, not mine) I sat there and did not obey the commands. The lady on the stage then told the audience (after a range of similar commands) to reach under their seats (with just a hint of sexual innuendo) and bring out what they find. After about 2-3 minutes of searching, with no excited shouts from us, the poor lady suggested that we should be looking for a "smiley face". More fumbling under seats, accompanied by muttered curses as fingers encountered ancient deposits of chewing gum. Still no excited shouts of triumph. My beloved gave me a gentle nudge (well it was gentle when compared with the Christchurch Earthquake of blessed memory) and after I'd managed to start breathing again I felt under my seat. Oh Shit. I had found the bloody smiley face. Waving it non-excitedly aloft (to the accompaniment of another of my beloved's elbow jabs) I was awarded with a wrapped gift box, of a fair size (about 0.5 metre long).

We then went through a series of questions based on James Bond (the previous closing number had been a medley of Bond film themes. I'll never look at Thunderball again in the same light, after I had watched one of the younger and slightly less fat-challenged male performers hit himself repeatedly in the crotch every time the word Thunderball was uttered by his colleagues on stage, carrying as he was a plastic water pistol in a very suggestive manner) and I won 3. it became embarrassing.

Which was the first Bond Film: Dr. No

Who was the "Bond Girl" in that film: Ursula Andress

What type of RAF plane crashed in the sea in Thunderball: Avro Vulcan

What musical was based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: West Side Story. (I know it wasn't anything to do with Bond, but I think the organiser was desperately trying to get someone else to win at least one bloody question, and away from this obvious Bond Geek in the second row (me).


I've won more trivial pursuits than any other member of my family. My sister-in -law refuses to play anymore if I'm playing. My beloved just hits me if I mention the game in her hearing.

I began to whisper the answers in my beloved's ear, just to spread out the prizes. We gave most of them away to our fiend sitting beside us, but i kept 4.

A box of Lavender Scented Drawer liners

A Ball of baby-blue wool

A packet of "Happy Tea" (My beloved said she was willing to bet her entire jewellery collection that it wouldn't make me cheerful)

A bottle of "Refined essence of various vegetable oils, suitable for the removal of stretch marks and wrinkles" (I felt like donating it to the cast. Their need for anti-stretch mark and definitely anti-wrinkle oil was much, much greater than mine.)

At last the evening of "Musical Entertainment" drew to a close (no encore for the poor sods, we just wanted to get out, get away, and consume large amounts of mind-altering and amnesiac substances)



More whisky

Hot shower

Last whisky



  1. Ah, I loved this post! Never, never go to amateur musicals!
    Well, I guess you know that now.

  2. And you thought that it was bad. Spare a thought for the poor bastard who sat behind you after you had just had a very hot curry!

  3. God that picture of the woman in the bikini is absurd! I couldn't decide if her arse and boobs where just unbelievably gigantic or if her waist was ridiculously small, or both - she looked like she belonged in a freak show

  4. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that you are a Bond fiend.

  5. This post was brilliant.

    The last time I went to amateur dramatics I left at interval - something I have never done before.

  6. Thanks Richard [of RBB], I didn't want to go, but when I'm told by my beloved.........I know my place.

    TC, if you speak from personal experience, I would suggest going to see a doctor. Gas generated by digestive processes should take at least a few hours to reach the "exit port"

    Fflur, I know the picture of the young lady is absurd, it's been photoshopped, and I found it on a "weird Pictures" site. I bet most blokes would find it reasonably attention-getting, at least at first glance.

    Nicola, thank you. I'm not especially a Bond fiend, just a gigantic repository of useless facts.

    MoE [the man, not the ministry] thank you. I wish I had your moral courage and integrity. I really wanted to, but
    a) My beloved wouldn't have let me.
    b) The hall was so small, I think the cast would have burst into tears if they saw me leave. I just didn't have the heart.


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