In My Kitchen

Last month three of Britain’s leading lights invited me into their family homes. In three fly-on-the-wall moments of political genius, Camshaft, Moribund and Clogg each revealed their kitchen’s innermost secrets – how the kitchen was the hub of family life and how they shared the routines of a workaday household. Chopping onions, stirring cake mixture and laying the table were all on show, as were recipes offering the nutrition that helps senior politicians tirelessly conduct themselves with vigour and grace.

I felt it only right to reciprocate their hospitality by inviting the three of them round to my house. I say ‘the three of them’ because once other party leaders got wind of my intention they all wanted to come. At one point seven of them were demanding a piece of the action, which I thought was a bit of a cheek since only three had been considerate enough to show me their kitchens.

(L to R) Camshaft, Moribund and Clogg at ease in my Herefordshire  home

(L to R) Camshaft, Moribund and Clogg at ease in my Herefordshire home

At the appointed time Camshaft and Moribund were delivered by smart limousines, though we had to wait a while for Clogg who’d come by public transport and the connecting double-decker from Gloucester to Ledbury had conked out in the middle of nowhere. Once we were all assembled in my kitchen and Clogg had called his mum to say he’d arrived safely, we got down to business.

I think they were instantly impressed! I’d worried that their kitchens would be a tough act to follow, but I could sense a heap of kitchen envy coming my way. And they seemed pleased to be free of the Westminster maelstrom and to bask instead in the haven of my provincial Herefordshire home.

Camshaft was interested in my two sieves – a coarse, plastic one for vegetables and pasta, and a finer one for rice.

My Twin Sieves

My Twin Sieves

‘Moribund’s economic policies would wash away through either of these,’ he said, with a tight-lipped grin.

‘But joking apart, this system is ideal for the smaller home,’ he added. ‘And if the Cons form a new government it will be our aim for every three-bedroom household in England to have twin sieves.’

 

One of my Kitchen Cupboard Doors

One of my Kitchen Cupboard Doors

I noticed Clogg admiring my kitchen cupboard doors. Personally I find them rather dull, but it was flattering to have them thought of so highly by such a senior figure.

‘Our raising of the Income Tax threshold during the past five years has enabled thousands of ordinary households to install kitchen cupboard doors like these,’ he said.

‘If the Never Nevers form a new government we shall raise it even further, allowing millions to upgrade their flip-top bins and oven extractor fans.’

 

Quietly unnoticed during this door-admiring exchange, Moribund had been closely inspecting my Morphy Richards microwave.

‘That’s strange,’ he said, ‘this microwave is timed in minutes only. There’s no “hours” symbol.

My Microwave Control Panel

My Microwave Control Panel

‘That’s quite normal, isn’t it?’ I suggested.

‘It’s a disgrace!’ he said, with as much bluster as he could summon. ‘If Laborious forms a new government, I shall put an end to the outrageous epidemic of zero-hours microwaves.’

We all sniggered a bit – but, fair enough, I guess he had a point.

 

 

 

To get a better understanding of where they really lay on the all-important matter of cooking and kitchenalia, I set them a challenge. I laid out a number of ingredients from which they each had half an hour to make Welsh rarebit. I would stand by and offer encouragement, and it would be called Master Chief.

Camshaft fussed away, admitting that he’d always steered well clear of Wales and this task was therefore a bit close for comfort. He also pointed out that with the extra million jobs he’d created in the economy there were now a million more people able to enjoy Welsh rarebit as a teatime treat.

Meanwhile Moribund was stirring a suspicious-looking mix like nobody’s business, smacking at the unyielding cheesy lump whilst muttering about the right ingredients for a just and fair society.

Sadly, Clogg disqualified himself, breaking competition rules by phoning his mum to ask whether the Marmite should go underneath or on top of the cheese.

Having hosted them in my kitchen, I felt none the wiser about political affiliation than I had when they entertained me in theirs. My test hadn’t really helped, nor did the subsequent debate on television, where Clogg, Camshaft and Moribund were joined by the four other leaders who’d tried gate-crashing my kitchen event:

  • Nigella Gar-arge             You Fancy a Kip Party
  • Theresa Green              Clean Party
  • Nickaless Urge-On        Scottish Gnats
  • Leanne Would               Plied Comely

TV DebateGrandiose claims on the economy, immigration and the National Health Service were bandied about by seven people during two hours of heated debate, but none had the guts to reaffirm their position on recipes, ladles, kettle wattages or, frankly, kitchen matters of any kind – rather disappointing, I thought, after the early promise of three culinary campaigns.

Only weeks till the big day. Cometh the election, cometh the Leader. If they’re to get my vote they’d be well advised to slot in a few more demos at their marble worktops. I tell you, the first person I spot sporting an anti-slip, toughened-tip, ultra-grip, own brand Wilkinson spatula with matching omelette whisk will shout out at me: “WINNER!”

Paul Costello Copyright © April 2015

click. com – a play by Paul Costello. A comic romp through the joys and pitfalls of internet dating for ‘mature’ people. Showing at Bosbury Parish Hall Friday 24th/Saturday 25th July 2015.

Letter from No. 10

Dear Broadcasters

I take exception on two counts to your proposal to ‘empty-chair’ me at TV debates.

Firstly, I can assure you there is no such verb as ‘to empty-chair’. This is a feeble attempt by you broadcasters to be media cool. Leave all that to me. The only such transitive verb is ‘to empty-pocket’, a practice of which I now have five year’s experience.

Secondly, you don’t say what kind of chair.Blue chair Can I put in a bid for the MARKUS swivel chair in sonnebo blue from IKEA. Clever choice I thought, what with Sonny Boy Williamson finding the blues so vital to life.

Should you have a change of heart about ’empty-chairing’ me, I’d be happy to come and tell viewers how I propose empty-pocketing them over the next few years.

Yours temporarily

Dave Camshaft

Copyright © Paul Costello March 2015

click. com – a play by Paul Costello. A comic romp through the joys and pitfalls of internet dating for ‘mature’ people. Showing at Bosbury Parish Hall Friday 10th/Saturday 11th July 2015

Website: www.paulcostello.me                 Twitter: @PaulCostello8

Eddie’s Eye 8 – Govis

When LADS (Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society) began rehearsing Terms and Conditions Apply  the title and plot were very different from the Show you’ll see at Ledbury Market Theatre next week, 31st July to 2nd August.

My original play was about a sixteen year old desperate to go to the school prom in a pink stretch limo, get off with a feller she really fancied and live happily ever after. Sadly, the girl was the subject of bullying by two ugly sisters who on the night of the prom forced her to stay at home and watch repeats of Don’t Tell the Bride.

Armed with this exciting format, Director Bob thought the ugly sisters should be played by men, and chose this actor (seen at his first rehearsal) to play the one I’d called ‘Drizella’.

Gove funny

At first the casting seemed perfect. The man would stand uncomfortably close, emitting a light spray through botoxed lips and staring at you fixedly through the pebble lenses of his oversize, horn-rimmed spectacles. It was hard to feel at ease in his presence and no surprise to find he’d once been cast as the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

But whilst his looks were ideal for the part there were problems with his personality. From the start he set about manipulating the play in little ways, throwing ideas around like actors do; a change of word, a change of emphasis, perhaps a tweak to the set. But lurking behind those pebbly eyes was a mind so dogmatic and forceful that he soon began pushing for greater change; getting rehearsals rearranged, forcing costume changes and demanding that whole scenes were scrapped, insisting he knew best.

Although resentment was building, Bob went along with his ideas because his frightful face was so perfect – even without specs.

Gove funny 4 no specs

It got worse. Before long the actor had changed the plot, altered the setting, renamed all the characters (taking Govis as his own) and changed the title to what it is now – Terms and Conditions Apply. We didn’t know where we stood from one rehearsal to the next, and the play seemed more of a political satire than a love story. With the Show due in a few weeks, our fate was set.

But as is right, it was the Director who decided on the final change. He had ‘Govis’ fired in an early scene by a character of his own creation, Dave Camshaft. Relegated to a minor role, his influence was removed with one firm blow, and we’d now see very little of him. What a relief!

And my writing was not entirely wasted. You see, in revising the script ‘Govis’ had given a character called Nick Clogg a similar role to the one I’d written for the sixteen year old girl, and even found a use in Clogg’s dialogue for the word I’d dreamt up for my original play title – Cinderella.

Back soon, friends.

Eddie

Watch out for the final Eddie’s Eye!

Rosette

Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard.  Thurs 31st July – Sat 2nd August @ 8pm.   Ledbury Market Theatre

Tickets £10 adults  £5 students

On line:  www.themarkettheatre.com

Or: Masters House, Ledbury (Mon/Tues 9.30 to 4. Fri 9.30 to 2) 01432 260500

Or:  07967 517125

 

 

 

 

Eddie’s Eye 6 – Underlings

Eddie’s Eye 6 – Underlings

Only a few weeks till Terms and Conditions Apply  hits  Ledbury Market Theatre  (31/7 – 2/8) – rest assured that until then Eddie’s Eye will bring you all the inside gossip!

The performers love the limelight. I’ve given many a mention to the main protagonists but I thought it high time I headlined those in the cast who don’t get to see the light of day as much as us Leaders – the hard grafters in the engine room where policies marinate and mature, who so generously act as scapegoats when those policies flounder.

Take Ducken-Sniff. Here’s a man who devotes every waking hour in his understairs office to moulding and massaging Universal Credit into a policy fit for a modern economy, as portrayed by this actor at rehearsals.

ducken-sniff at workNow that’s perseverance. It must be like a bait digger in the Severn Estuary extricating his trapped left wellie from thick mud only to find that the right  one gets stuck. Yet he’s an honest man and I’m pleased that in Terms and Conditions Apply  he at last gets the recognition he deserves. A spot in the spotlight.

The same goes for Vince Capable. Poor feller looks so forlorn sometimes. Look – we’ve found the perfect person for his part!

vince forlorn

 

 

Some see Vince as a whinging, would-be entrepreneur, wittering about big-time business with Bermuda and Bahrain and deals with Denmark and Dubai, yet perhaps never travelling beyond Dover. But at least he tries. So again, I’m delighted he’s making a go of it. Good for you, Vince!

 

And how about Harriet Harmful, a misnomer if ever there was one since my Assistant is a caring, compassionate servant of the Laborious Party who for decades has sat alongside Leaders at PM Question Time, nodding when needed, grinning at her counterpart across the Chamber and joyfully joining the cheering and jeering from the back benches behind her.

harriet conducting

 

 

Here she is helping me get a Mexican Wave going at a recent rehearsal. Loyalty, staying power and an undying willingness to handle the humdrum stuff, that’s what Harriet has.

 

Then there’s Nick Clogg. Not everyone is born to be a Leader, you know. Some try but don’t quite reach that exalted height, others make it but don’t stay the course. Nick is one who tiptoes tentatively, so I’ve been doing all I can to help rehabilitate him as he goes it alone. Though he still has a way to go, his stint as Camshaft’s helper in Terms and Conditions Apply  at least gives him a platform from which to drive forward to a future befitting such a fine feller. It’s a treat performing alongside Clogg. He’s the kind of chap I’d be happy to take to my mum and dad’s for tea.

Eddie

In the next Eddie’s Eye. Henchmen.

Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard.  31st July – 2nd August   Ledbury Market Theatre

Website: www.paulcostello.me                 Twitter: @PaulCostello8

Blog:      paulcostello2011.wordpress.com     Recent blog: Eddie’s Eye 

 

 

 

Eddie’s Eye 5

I promised to tell you about one of the great electorate – Mr Wildbore.

You know how water floods into a canal lock once the sluice gate is opened? Well, that’s what it’s like when Mr Wildbore starts talking, an analogy that came to mind from the narrow boat holidays my wife and I take …

… not because we can’t afford more luxurious ventures as we both earn an incredible amount of money (which no longer in itself makes us the target of media flak thanks to Tony’s placing the Laborious Party rightfully in Middle England), but because we like to be seen doing the commonplace things the Mr Wildbores of this world indulge in …

… so that we at least appear to stick to our brotherly roots even if we sneak a Caribbean holiday or two (when Parliament isn’t busy and the hurricane season is over) in order to meet our true social needs – thus covering all bases, as it were.

There – I bet you thought I was never going to stop! And that’s exactly what I found with Mr Wildbore!

Geek

This picture on his doorstep –

as he explained the sun’s trajectory, itemised the rainfall figures in Afghanistan, banged on about medication and bus timetables, decried the loss of public toilets with the cutbacks and how church services had become too modern what with all the guitarists and gospel choirs …

… and berated own brand sausages, detailed the shipping routes for Argentinian beef and its average fat content, stressed that Marmite should be spread thinly …

… and criticised Mrs Smith next door for having doorstep deliveries which was ridiculous considering the price of milk in Tenko offered such good value, except to farmers, although this was their fault for still running tinpot farms with six cows when the world around them had moved into mass production and anyway no-one wants full-cream milk any more …

… and insisted that if you work at it (and young people these days don’t know the meaning of work) you can write endless sentences like Alan Bennett which as long as they’re properly punctuated still make sense even if readers do lose the will to live

– was taken by Nick Clogg, lurking behind a silver birch to watch and learn as part of his apprenticeship.

The actor playing Mr Wildbore in Terms and Conditions Apply  is so well cast that it’s hard to get a word in at rehearsals. This is me recently, about to throttle him when he wouldn’t stop.

Eddie throttling

Quite rightly, Director Bob has started imposing a time limit when ‘Wildbore’s Witterings’ become too much like a one-man show.

I can understand how Golden Brown slipped up in Rochdale calling Mrs Duffy ‘that bigoted woman’. Yet in the battle for Middle England votes we embrace one and all, meaning that the Wildbores and Duffies of this world and you, my friends, will I am sure eventually find us. Laborious. The Party of the People.

Ta ta for now.

Eddie

Mr Wildbore appears in person at Ledbury Market Theatre 31st July to 2nd August, alongside Dave Camshaft, Nick Clogg, Vince Capable, Theresa Mayhem, Nigella Gar-arge and many other favourites. Terms and Conditions Apply – a hilarious political satire.

Stand by for more Eddie’s Eye! And do share with your friends! Need to catch up on previous episodes? www.paulcostello2011.wordpress.com

www.paulcostello.me  

Eddie’s Eye 4

Dear oh dear! Nigella Gar-arge is proving such a handful.

I recall telling you in a previous Eddie’s Eye how at rehearsals she barged past me to lunge at a voter. I have to tolerate this sort of thing from Gar-arge all the time; the Leader of the You Fancy a Kip Party clearly has much to learn about common courtesy. And playing the ‘Cruella de Vil’ card (or de Vile as we call it) and drinking pints does her no favours at all.

Not that there’s anything wrong with women drinking pints. I’d like to think that we in the Laborious Party are modern about this sort of male-female crossover; indeed many of my female colleagues enjoy a pint of IPA, especially those descended from the leftie leaders of the 70’s and 80’s. But I’m not sure it’s entirely a healthy political image ever since Tony prised the reds’ gnarly fingers off our beloved Party and put New Laborious in its proper place – alongside the Cons and Dems looking after the level-headed folk of Middle England. Thanks to Tony’s foresight (but not Golden Brown’s, I fear) I’ve found it easy to settle in as Leader of the Laborious Party, modelling myself on Dave Camshaft in the same way as Nick Clogg follows my example.Cruella after 10 pints

The main trouble is that at rehearsals Gar-arge has to appear verbally aggressive after a supposed ten pints, and the only way the actor can achieve this is to actually drink the stuff, a routine she fell into rather too readily if you ask me. This makes it harrowing for the rest of us, as you can imagine from these images taken last Sunday. What’s more, treating the Methodist Church (where we rehearse) like a pub is in my view totally inappropriate.

I think I know where she acquired this drinking habit, because after a few pints she starts waving around this photo of her ex singing into his beer.

Farage PintI can’t repeat what she says about him; after all, Eddie’s Eye is a family newsletter. But let’s just say there isn’t much love lost between them.

Little does she know that I’ve a surprise in store. My dad (Eddie Moribund Snr) and a load of his pals are coming to see the Show on the Friday, filling the whole of Row D, I understand. In their wonderfully old-fashioned way they like women to behave like women, and when I told dad about Gar-arge’s behaviour he came up with the brilliant idea of them all crunching their Werther’s Originals in unison really loudly whenever ‘Cruella’ speaks. So although the audience will have to tolerate her appearance, at least no-one will be able to hear ‘de Vile’s’ bile.

All arranged, friends!

Speak soon. Oh, and don’t forget your own tickets! Full details below.

Eddie

Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard 31st July – 2nd August   Ledbury Market Theatre

Website: www.paulcostello.me                 Twitter: @PaulCostello8

Eddie’s Eye 3

Hello Eddie fans – across the world!

It’s a lark, this politics! We can make all sorts of unqualified, glossy pledges to get votes, and  only after we’ve settled into our cosy Westminster offices tell voters that the ‘free Health from cradle to grave’ we promised will actually only apply to those living in street names beginning with Z. Hence the title Terms and Conditions Apply  – for us they don’t!

Bob

As well as being a famous gurner (facebook pic), the Director Bob Maynard is an experienced comedy actor/director, and is transforming a great script into a piece of comedic brilliance. With political satire rarely tackled in amateur dramatics it feels so-o fresh and exciting, though why I’ve chosen to take part in something where I lampoon myself so relentlessly, I’m not quite sure.

Anyway, I must tell you about Nick Clogg at rehearsals. I bumped into him in Acacia Avenue, waiting nervously outside Number 3 – that’s next door to Mr Wildbore (who I’ll tell you about some other time). At first I was cross because Acacia Avenue is my canvassing patch on Sundays; clearly he’s out of touch with Parliamentary etiquette having had to venture out on his own for the first time in ages. But the laugh was on me. I watched from a distance as, time after time, Clogg flexed his knuckles and made to knock on the door, only to pull away at the last minute – like a snooker player who gets down for a shot but after a few tentative prods decides to stand up and chalk the cue again.

This seemed so unlike someone with such a, you know, ‘fortunate’ education; I’d been led to believe they were made of sterner stuff. But feeling a bit sorry for him, I ran through the knocking process until he was confident enough to make contact with the door by himself and, at his suggestion, I explained to the lady inside (Penny) that Clogg was in training.

‘They have to start somewhere,’ she pointed out astutely, happy to let him ply his apprenticeship on her. I left them to it.

Clogg Crying

I was pleased with this pic of the actor playing Clogg; Bob has obviously drilled into him exactly how a failed door knocker would portray utter despair.

 

Only four weeks to go! Senior Cabinet members in the front row on the Saturday, I hear …

Till soon!

Eddie

Terms and Conditions Apply – a play by Paul Costello. Fabulous political satire about a 5-year coalition government, seen through the eyes of ordinary, suburban households and, in stark contrast, the rose-tinted spectacles of politicians. Director, Bob Maynard.  31st July – 2nd August   Ledbury Market Theatre