I’ve got a bit of a thing for soundtracks. I blame it on the musical ‘Joseph and his ritzy Dreamcoat’. I was taken to see a production of Joseph when I was somewhere around 10 or 11 and for my birthday that year I got the soundtrack and a little personal record player to play it on. It was the perfect way for my parents to make me stay in my bedroom even longer. Soon I would only come downstairs for meals. Until they installed the serving hatch on my bedroom door.
The record player came in an orange hard plastic case. It couldn’t be lifted out, you just opened it like a briefcase to reveal the turntable. Its portability meant that I could impress my friends by playing a record at a moment’s notice if I was out and about with it. And had friends.
A few days ago I downloaded the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack and haven’t stopped playing it. It’s excellent, as was the movie, and has a few tracks that make me feel like I could run a 6 minute mile. I can’t, so instead I’ve been ‘dancing’ to it in my garage while rehearsing. Our Angle in Heaven is going all bangra.
Don’t know what to make of the fuss about Prince Harry calling one of the soldiers in his platoon a Paki. One of the characters in my show is Pakistani and gets called a paki right at the top of her scene and it still grates on me, even though I wrote it. The video of Harry caused a bit of an uproar among Daily Mail readers but he’s generally been given an easy ride with a lot of the reports banging on about his grandfather being a racist, which of course he is, and how his dad has a polo playing friend that he calls ‘sooty’ (because he’s black, not because he has a man’s hand up his arse).
Much as I’d like to be all morally outraged by Harry – in a non-sexual sense – I can’t because I wasn’t much better. I remember in my teens going to the ‘chinky’ (chinese take-away) with friends and long before that being in the playground at school and doing all the actions to the rhyme ‘chinese, japanese, dirty knees, look at these’. I still don’t understand the connection between Asia and dirty knees and I’ve rarely seen Chinese or Japanese women with big boobs. But I don’t think the rhyme was intended to be culturally accurate.
But I mostly I remember telling a racist joke when out with a group of friends, though I’ve conveniently forgotten what I actually said, and being publicly pulled up on it by my friend Amey whose dad was Mauritian and therefore counted as black. I remember the humiliation and the feeling that I was caught and couldn’t come up with some excuse. I learned my lesson and am now far better prepared when making racist slurs.
Anyway, none of this was my fault and any blame should lie with my parents. My mother would never accept being called racist, but still refers to her Pakistani doctor as coming from the ‘dark continent’. And one of my childhood toys was a Golliwog. Anyone reading Enid Blyton’s Noddy books knew that Golliwogs were up to no good. I recall a story about Noddy and Big Ears being stopped in the road by Golliwog, who then tricked them and stole their car. Disgraceful. It was my generation’s Grand Theft Auto. To my credit, I only ever referred to mine as ‘golly’ and not as … you know… which surely proves me anti-racist.
How’s the play coming along you wonder? I’m right on track. We open a week on Saturday, the tech rehearsal is this coming Sunday. It’s therefore only right that I hate the whole thing. I’m bored of rehearsing, bored of the characters and the story and think it’s all rubbish. The tech will make me feel far worse and more insecure and I will then torture myself by going to watch some other Long Fringe shows, possibly even one of GWs.
Then I’ll be absolutely brilliant on the night. One of the four, but I can’t say which.