Eddie’s Eye 9 – Goodbye

Rosette

Well, friends, it’s time to say goodbye. Sadly, this is the final edition of Eddie’s Eye.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse of our political shenanigans, and that you’ll laugh as much during the Show as we have at rehearsals. Come and see your favourite politicians as never before, facing a public that demands its say! The World Premier of Terms and Conditions Apply – coming to a theatre near you! Ledbury Market Theatre

But before I go, here are the parting thoughts of our colourful characters:

Dave Camshaft:                               Pffft!

Nick Clogg:                                       I know I can do it – please let me try.

Usborne:                                          Sorry, too busy – dining out all week.

Govis:                                              They got me all wrong.

Ducken-Sniff:                                  Yes, I’m still here.

Eddie Moribund:                              A new era is dawning. Make it Laborious.

Theresa Mayhem:                          Get them out!

Harriet Harmful:                              I’m the one sat by the Laborious Leader.

Nigella Gar-arge:                            Auf wiedersehen.

Middle England Residents:            Hard knowing who to believe.

See you at the Theatre!Rosette

Eddie

Eddie’s Eye folllowed by BBC Radio – has been brought to you by Paul Costello on behalf of the cast of Terms and Conditions Apply.

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

 

Rosette

Eddie’s Eye 7 – Henchmen

MAYHEM, USBORNE & CON SECURITIES

Take the worry out of life with a family-friendly 5-year renewable Security Contract. Our Exchequer Division has years of expertise transferring most of your money into government funds. Leaving you less money reduces your cash management problems and lowers personal risk – and you can’t be too careful with all the baddies around these days. And what’s left in your pocket is fully secured by our Protection Directorate which sorts out anyone posing a threat to you or your loved ones. Terms and Conditions Apply. Vote Con.

A leaflet containing this promotion was dropped by private Cessna aircraft before the last Election, targetting the marginal electorates of Rotherham, Runcorn and Burnley. Sadly, it’s proving hard to replicate this Con tactic in Terms and Conditions Apply  due to the problem of getting Cessnas in and out of Ledbury Market Theatre.  But we do use leaflets in the Show, and you’ll have plenty of candidates to choose from – not just big Parties like ConDems and Laborious, but niche groups like the Dream On Party which offers unbelievably generous policies.

So who are Mayhem, Usborne and Con (MUC)? As you’ll see, Dave Camshaft’s empire is minded by iron-grip henchmen. His primary protector is Usborne, whose boyish fringe belies a sharp-fisted, no-nonsense character fit to grace the doorstep of any town bar. If you think you spotted him last Friday wearing a yellow armband outside Wetherspoons, you were probably right. But bouncing is only his night job. By day Usborne heads the Exchequer Division of MUC, offering just what was promised in those Cessna drops – taking away your money for safeguarding in huge underground coffers deep below 11 Downing Street.

Now, clearly MUC doesn’t want to leave you too little to live on. So you’re left with a float, a monthly allowance as it were, to buy staples like Tenko Value Tea and Morrisons White Potatoes and to save towards gas and electric, or thermal clothing if these are not affordable. Here’s the bit from rehearsals where the man playing Usborne declines a request from a Doncaster resident for an increase in their monthly allowance during a particularly hard winter.

osborne sneer

Sadly, it’s a postcode lottery – South v North.

And for those little emergencies which the allowance never covers MUC will direct you to chic City bankers (The Henchman Reserve), always willing to tide you over with a loan – at the going rate, of course.

But how does MUC then secure your monthly allowance? Well, that’s where the Protection Directorate comes in. Theresa Mayhem, Camshaft’s other adjutant, is there to wipe out threats to your hard-come-by leftovers. Anyone coming within ten metres of you or your property is a suspect; anyone who’s a suspect is banged up, deported or taken out; and experienced Chinese builders are nearing completion of a great wall round the British Isles to stop invasion by people with dodgy passports. We rehearsed this scene outdoors, with the Mayhem actor and her best friends on their way to sort out a suspect found sneaking through the remaining gap in the wall.

May with police

So rest assured – your residual pocket money is fully protected.

In Terms and Conditions Apply  Camshaft’s henchmen might appear flippant. But don’t be fooled. Beneath the frivolity lies MUC, a system of protection dictators would die for. MUC, a fully-owned subsidiary of Camshaft & Co, Accountants.

Sounds a good racket to be in; wouldn’t mind a slice of it myself!

Eddie

In Eddie’s Eye 8, the penultimate edition of this highly acclaimed newsletter, I’ll tell you how a character called Govis systematically interfered with the production of Terms and Conditions Apply. Out soon.

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. Adults £10, Students £5.  Ledbury Market Theatre

Website: www.paulcostello.me                 Twitter: @PaulCostello8

  

Monsieur Costello va au bord de la mer

‘Vous parlez Français?’ says Jean-Yves after a hearty handshake.

‘Un peu,’ I say with the wide-eyed smile inculcated in me at American Convention-style training sessions – in Hackney.

‘Vous, Anglais?’ I say.

‘U-u-r-r …’ he says with raised shoulders and a palm-down swivel of the right hand.

‘The last skill you’ll need is speaking French,’ a colleague, Jetty Jones had assured me, having worked with the French-speaking Monaco team in the Olympic sailing a few weeks earlier. ‘They all want to practise their English.’

Except that is Jean-Yves, the Chef de Mission of the French Paralympic sailing team, who it seems doesn’t have much to practise. Jean-Yves cuts a grandfatherly figure and is utterly charming. And he is the man I shall be working for while the rest of the squad focuses on its real concern – sailing.

I’d spent three months revisiting the subject for which I got a ‘2’ at GCE, but which was thick with rust after half a century. Being offered a Games Maker role with the French delegation in Weymouth and Portland was a privilege, but could I cope with their mother tongue?

“Monsieur Dupont prend le petit déjeuner à sept heures, et part pour la gare où il achète un journal et une pomme.”

In Living French – Complete with CD borrowed from my local library, the lingo felt familiar despite the time lapse. Breakfast, newspaper, apple – this would be a cinch.

“Pierre était assis sur les rochers avec Madame Leblanc.” Rocks – that might be useful, what with being by the sea.

“Il a vu un homme dans un bateau de pêche.” Fishing, sailing – boats, just the same!

Armed with Jetty’s assurance and knowing I could make a real contribution when it came to men buying apples and women meeting friends in the park for coffee and cake while they watched pretty, green ducks, I was ready for action. Until, that is, Jean-Yves did the palm-down swivel. Bloomin’ French! The language I mean, not the people. The pressure was on.

Enter my French colleague Christine who’d lived in England for years and, like Jetty, had carried out the role of NPC (National Paralympics Committee) Assistant the month before – in her case with the French Olympic sailing team. To ensure Jean-Yves got the right support, we agreed she would be his main contact. For the next two weeks Christine translated at meetings, made transport arrangements and dealt with unexpected visits from French schoolchildren wanting to wish their heroes well, while I stood by like an apprentice waiting to pass the 15 mm spanner, ill-equipped to join in quick-fire conversation about sail measurement, registration of radios and the likely impact of a deep cyclone tracking through the Channel.

The pressure was off, but I needed to contribute more. On the second day, at coffee outside the team’s storage container, I slipped a banana onto the makeshift table, silently rehearsing what I’d practised to perfection in my B&B:

‘J’ai acheté cette banane dans l’épicerie à côté de la gare à sept heures trente ce matin.’

In spite of moving the banana from side to side and repeatedly glancing at Jean-Yves and the banana in turn, he didn’t take the bait. Nor did a personal approach bear fruit the following day. Jean-Yves seemed every bit a family man, so I casually left my wallet open when he and Christine were (I think) discussing the ballasting differentials of the 2.4 yacht being raced by Damien and the Sonar yacht of Bruno, Eric and Nicolas. As soon as Jean-Yves noticed the photo of my daughter Lily I was ready to say:

‘C’est ma fille Lily. Elle a seize ans. Elle vit dans un joli village où ils ont un boulanger, un boucher et un petit lac. Elle prend son petit déjeuner à huit heures avant d’aller à l’école, et prend toujours une pomme à manger plus tard.’

He never did. Despite freezing like rabbits in headlights when the other asked a question in his native language, Jean-Yves and I always managed a friendly smile, but our longest exchange was him pointing skywards and saying ‘vent’, which only led to a mutual chuckle and nod of the head, leaving me no wiser as to whether there was too much or too little wind for sailing.

After a few days I realised I was missing the point. And it was the Games Maker uniform that did it. From the first day I dressed up I’d felt proud to be one of seventy thousand volunteers chosen to represent Great Britain. The camaraderie and mutual respect between Games Makers reinforced this, as did drivers on the workforce shuttle buses who always offered a cheery: ‘Morning, how are you today?’

But I soon saw what the uniform also meant to those we were supporting. Each team had different needs. Singapore sought physical help preparing their boat, the Spanish wanted escorting to Weymouth to look around, the Danish liked domestic support at their house, and Jean-Yves looked for language and organising skills. But a common demand of athletes and officials across the twenty or so teams was simply for us to be there, in our conspicuous purple and scarlet, as a point of reference.

I forgot about contributing in the narrow way I’d expected, and helped however I could, displaying my uniform and wide-eyed smile with pride. Now I could detect the joy in a loud ‘Good morning!’ as the Japanese man and his wheelchair tore past down the slope like a seventeen year old in a Peugeot 106; I could feel the appreciation of a lone Argentinian whose boat trailer I helped push to the measuring sheds; and in the coffee queue I could share the frustration of a Brazilian sailor when zero wind meant no sailing.

In return I enjoyed the privilege of seeing dedicated athletes tend their boats, jumped at Jean-Yves’s invitation to follow races on a tracking screen in the athletes’ lounge, and basked in watching with the public from the ruins of Sandsfoot Castle. And it was utterly uplifting hearing Games Makers greeted in such glowing terms by athletes, crowds and the media.

Sailing finishes, with no medals for the French but a clear pride in taking part. The nine-man team lines up for the coach that will unite them with colleagues in London for the closing ceremony. I play down my joy at Helena winning gold for GB in the 2.4 class and Alexandra and Niki bronze in the Skud, but frankly my loyalties are divided after being attached to the French for so long.

As they board, there are air kisses and prolonged French farewells with Christine and a genuine handshake and ‘au revoir’ for me. Last in the queue is Jean-Yves who, outstanding manager that he is, courteously sees each colleague onto the coach first. He then takes me quietly to one side and with measured diction says:

‘This morning I got up at seven o’clock and walked to the beach. On the way I went to the shop with the little yellow door and bought a small bag of red apples. This one is for you. I shall eat two on the coach, and the rest I shall feed to the pretty, green ducks in London when I go to the park for coffee and cake. Goodbye Paul.’

‘Merci. Moi aussi, j’aime les pommes rouges,’ I say. ‘J’ai toujours deux kilos à la maison sur un plat bleu dans ma jolie cuisine. Au revoir Jean-Yves.’

Paul Costello © September 2012

Web:        www.paulcostello.me

Twitter:    @PaulCostello8