EuroFiles (No.6) – Newdawn Grey and Newday Grey

‘It’s a Newdawn, it’s a Newday …’

For the songsters among you, yes, these two founder-Greys of the Eurocratic Union are indeed leading …

‘… a new life … and fee-eelin’ good’!

20170723_205609-1-1 (300x238)

They’re proud of their role in making the Union the sound and solid institution it is – by, for example, insisting that Atlantic pollock are not being caught too small; by reinforcing the ban on old-fashioned pounds and ounces; and by encouraging traders to sell eggs in tens rather than sixes.

Newdawn and Newday are leaders in the daily brainstorm for new regulations. It was Newdawn alone who thought up the idea of straightening cucumbers and bananas, and Newday who suggested that without bends in roads and railways we’d get everywhere much quicker.

20170723_205732-1 (400x378) (300x284)

It’s not all plain sailing. Here, during quality control of fruit and veg, Newdawn is shocked by a cucumber which appears to bend in different directions at each end. Hard enough for the Greys to classify – let alone what the poor Eurocratic shopper is supposed to think!

But don’t imagine for one moment that Newdawn and Newday are only concerned with crooked cucumbers. Along with her sidekick Wisecrack Grey, Newdawn leads the way in office naughtiness; and Newday’s roving eye is certainly caught by roving tai chi instructor Finski Feelgood.

After all, Greys are only human … I believe.

The Yellow Box original draft poster (2) (282x400)

Next week – in the final issue of EuroFiles: The Angel of Mercy – Leader of Germolena and prospective Head of Planet Earth

The Yellow Box – written and directed by Paul Costello

Bookings:  www.themarkettheatre.com

 

Copyright © Paul Costello    August 2017

http://www.paulcostello.me

 

 

Advertisements

EuroFiles (No.5) – Posh Grey

Posh Grey tries hard not to be posh.

20170723_205447-1 (275x400)

In the gallery of their Britvik home her seriously posh parents might describe a family portrait as:

“A moffler swirk of grey chooma. Quettex trod nerreh!”

Whereas Posh would merely say:

“An adorable painting rilleh!”

That’s right isn’t it, Posh?

“Oh – rar-therr!”

Posh is great fun. There’s a potty edge to her humour that other Greys find attractive. And she thrives on the frivolity that makes Bristles such a popular place to work. You should see ‘My Learned Posh’  hamming it up in the Greys’ mock courtroom! Equally unmissable, her demonstration of how to ride out a catastrophic earthquake – under an office desk. Ever the showman – or showperson as those pc people on the top floor would have it.

IMG_4181 (306x400) (230x300)

On a more serious note, Posh is an excellent box shifter. She gets through an enormous amount of document stamping and desktop paper manoeuvres, advanced skills that will surely bring her promotion as a Senior Grey at some point. Isn’t that so, Posh?

“Earce. Omshore fit.”

But it’s not likely to happen in the Bristles branch of basement box shifters. The present Senior Grey (The Senior) is part of the office furniture – not going anywhere in a hurry, like so many Eurocratic Greys. Shame eh, Posh?

“Earce – fecter flafe, ter coiner phrezz.”

Posh Grey – what would life be without you?

(Try making up your own answer)

The Yellow Box original draft poster (2) (282x400)

Next time, in the penultimate issue: Newday Grey and Newdawn Grey – and a shockingly shaped cucumber.

The Yellow Box – written and directed by Paul Costello

Bookings:  www.themarkettheatre.com

Copyright © Paul Costello    August 2017

http://www.paulcostello.me

EuroFiles (No.4) Senior Grey – Backbone of the Bristles Basement

Senior Grey. Affectionately known as The Senior. The backbone of the Bristles basement. A sound Eurocratican – yet still totally in love with his own country, The Duchy of Neverland.

At first glance he doesn’t look old enough to have been The Senior for decades.

20170723_205511-1 (315x400)

This picture was taken on his first day as a Grey all those years ago.

20170730_202813-1 (227x400)

… and this today as The Senior.

Spot the difference!

It’s down to careful management of time – always on his way to or from a meeting but rarely enough time to actually attend them or stick around for long, let alone make decisions. No stress, you see …

It’s also down to a sound relationship with the basement box shifters. The Senior nurtures loyal Greys like the reliably efficient and compliant Stickler Grey from Germolena, and Groveller Grey from The Shrek Republic, a past master at brown-nosing.

The Senior is simply all-round nice. Give him a yellow box and a counter bell to play with and he’s happy as a sandboy.

In fact, so idyllic is working life in the Eurocratic Union, that regardless of how long they’ve worked there, no Grey ever looks a day older than when they first started.  And they thrive on The Senior’s benevolence. One of his rare tickings-off feels as punitive as a pampering session in the Union’s onsite health spa.

All in all, The Senior and his team are perfect for promoting the Eurocratic Union’s role as – as – well, whatever it is …

The Yellow Box original draft poster (2) (282x400)

In the next issue: Posh Grey – Quettex trod nerreh!

The Yellow Box – written and directed by Paul Costello

Bookings:  www.themarkettheatre.com

Copyright © Paul Costello    August 2017

http://www.paulcostello.me 

EuroFiles (No.3) Wisecrack Grey – The Joker in the Pack

You know those people who have to crack a joke every five minutes? Or twist everything you say to try and be funny?

20170808_163145_resized (225x400)

Wisecrack

Well, Wisecrack Grey is one of them. Irritating, a bit vulgar and idle to boot. And she doesn’t always know when to stop. I mean, there are only so many times you want to hear tai chi referred to as chai tea.

And yet – she is the bright spark every bureaucracy needs to help box shifters through those tedious hours of stamping documents. Some offices have piped music for entertainment; Bristles has Wisecrack.

Her partner in crime is Newdawn Grey. They make a formidable pair.

20170723_205609-1-1 (400x317)

Newdawn

If things are quiet, a not infrequent occurrence in the Bristles basement, Newdawn will provoke Wisecrack into some sort of naughtiness. Their party piece is a (sideways) crab-step waltz around the office. Don’t ask! More nutty than naughty! And as ‘head judge’ in the Greys’ mock Eurocratic Court, Wisecrack is a sight to behold. Boy, can she handle a gavel! Yes – while The Senior’s away the Greys certainly play.

Wisecrack is never afraid to challenge The Senior about the values of the Eurocratic Club – such as chucking dead haddock back in the ocean or dreaming up new rules about the thickness of marrow skins. The Senior quietly enjoys Wisecrack’s brazen attitude, and only intervenes to try and show who’s in charge. Even then, when asked why she needs to be quite so sarcastic all the time, Wisecrack simply replies:

‘It’s just another service I offer.’

The Yellow Box original draft poster (2) (282x400)

In the next issue: Senior Grey (‘The Senior’) – Backbone of the Basement

The Yellow Box – written and directed by Paul Costello

Bookings:  www.themarkettheatre.com

Copyright © Paul Costello    August 2017

http://www.paulcostello.me

 

In The Best Possible Taste

All around, the audience goes silent as a tender drama unfolds on stage. Shoulders are shaking, tissues handed round. Here are 10 great ways you can liven up those pin-drop moments at the theatre.

  1. Test the call sounds on your phone.
  2. Rustle deep in the plastic bag containing all you need on a theatre visit (see below).
  3. Slowly open a Werther’s Original wrapper (other brands okay), or the tightly sealed top of a packet of digestives.
  4. Crunch, not suck, the Werther’s or digestives.
  5. Develop a tickly cough – frog-at-back-of-throat style.audience-silhouette
  6. Pretend to answer your phone, loudly, with: Sorry, the signal’s bad – I’m in the theatre. Hello … hello …
  7. Very slowly open the top of a well-shaken bottle of Coca Cola. Repeat frequently. For a more instant effect, try a can or two.
  8. Tell the hard-of-hearing people next to you what’s happening up on stage.
  9. Play solitaire with a wooden board and marbles. Drop marbles in a metal tin when spent. If you prefer Scrabble, the tin can be used for shaking the letters.
  10. Deal with any tutting from audience or actors with: Oh, get a life! It’s a free world, isn’t it?

Then, why not review your experience on www.maverickmonsters.com? All reviews will be entered into a random draw, with the winning entry published in the next edition of Trump’s Tasteless Titbits.

 

Copyright © Paul Costello December 2016

www.paulcostello.me

 

 

Being Alan Bennett

Me as Alan Bennett

Me as Alan Bennett

This morning I became Alan Bennett. It wasn’t a chance event but a mystery prize from one of those television game shows where the right answer sets off a klaxon and you win a pampering weekend for two in a Nottinghamshire spa – or in my case A Day as Alan Bennett.

The activating pill which lasts twenty four hours looked much like a paracetamol but with an A on it, and a smaller one with B would deactivate the process should I want to call it off.

It’s not every day one expects to behave in ways other than those one has grown used to and are comfortable with, and my new persona was soon put to the test by our postman Richard who has delivered to the neighbourhood for as long as I remember, his youthful appearance suggesting he can barely have been out of shorts when he first started, if indeed he ever has been, going by the Post Office variety he wears come snow or shine.

‘Sign there please,’ he said, holding out the electronic gadget.

‘Just here?’ I asked.

It must have been the soft Yorkshire accent that triggered his reaction, the bundle of letters destined for numbers seven to fifteen and neatly secured with a strong elastic band falling from his grasp.

‘You’re, you’re …’ he spluttered.

Not wishing to disappoint him one way or the other I nodded reassuringly and invited him to have as good a day as he’d offered me. It seemed only polite to linger on the doorstep and reciprocate his thumbs-up gesture as he turned from time to time to catch a further glance before disappearing round the corner eager no doubt to tell others of his discovery.

Keen to exploit my new identity I thought it a good idea to travel into town to show myself off, as it were. Walking to the bus stop into low winter sun reminded me of the West End stage or playing a Talking Head under the bright lights of a BBC studio. I found passers-by staring at me for longer than one normally dares, and if I looked round after they’d gone by they too were glancing back, much as you do if you like the look of a person and want a further viewing without being too apparent.

The bus driver too seemed baffled, happy that the photograph on my pass matched the face in front of him but unable I imagine to read the name without glasses.

‘Mind if I join you?’ I asked an elderly lady with a kind face and blue hair.

The intake of breath down the bus would have graced a reputable community choir such was its exact unison, and the usual hubbub of unintentionally malicious gossip and exchanges of medical diagnosis quickly died down. The lady with whom I’d sat went into a sort of trance, like a pheasant in front of a moving vehicle unsure where to go or what to do, her eyes glossing over and protruding in a way they might not have done since her more productive days.

‘Aren’t you, aren’t you …’ she stammered.

I nodded.

From across the aisle and two rows back another woman who apparently thought she knew better called out,

‘You’re whatisname, aren’t you? On the telly.’

I glanced round with a celebrity smile.

‘Alan Partridge!’ a man shouted from one of the rear seats in a way that, were one to have a conversation with him, there might be many points of disagreement. I nodded and shook my head like a toy dog on the back shelf of a car, neither denying nor acknowledging his claim. No-one was quite able to put their finger on who I was despite the bold initials A.B. on the cover of the notebook in which I jotted reminders.

Once inside the bus terminus it was no easy matter forcing my way through huddles of mesmerized shoppers.

‘I don’t think it is Alan Partridge,’ said one voice.

‘Sugar,’ said another.

‘Shall we follow him?’ said what sounded like the man from the back of the bus, upon which I scurried through the exit thinking it imprudent to encourage stalking even though it might provide handy material for a play.

With the novelty of celebrity wearing off I bought a woollen hat, rendering the stallholder unusually speechless, and with the removal of my spectacles and a large upturned collar thereby gained some degree of anonymity.

Browsing Waterstones shelves, my appearance provoking sideways glances as if I were a commercial spy for a rival book chain or was about to pocket some paperbacks, I became curious about a panting noise beside me, and found a young woman barely four foot in height jumping up and down, hands above her head as if performing a fitness exercise. Had she not been gasping I’d have had little notion she was there.

‘Are you all right?’ I asked, causing the usual turn of heads.

‘I’m trying to reach that book,’ she said, pointing to a shelf at least twice her height. ‘The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett.’

‘Good choice,’ I said, feeling somewhat relieved that the book appeared more important than any hunch that the author was present. Much as I was tempted to offer my signature I decided there was more to be had from staying incognito and watching her pore over the sleeve, and that to sign it on the premise of a one-day passport would not in any case be quite in the spirit of the arrangement.

With the books shelved alphabetically from the top and Bennett positioned poorly out of reach, I wondered if I should stay on to help others of this height who might call in for my books between now and closing, which would in turn help towards my royalties – at least mine for the time being.

In the event I found a quiet bench by the river to review my notes, before ordering a much needed hot chocolate in a side street cafe offering sufficient privacy for me to remove my hat and coat. Perched at a narrow eating bar the kind of which is widely used by cafes to make the best of their seating and which usually offer a view of the street or occasionally a wall with local paintings for sale I was disturbed by a lady whose debilitated state reminded me of Miss Shepherd, the lady in the van.

‘Have you been waiting long?’ she said, presumably meaning the hot chocolate that hadn’t yet arrived.

Mindful of Miss Shepherd it looked as though this lady, who’d levered herself onto the stool next to me, did not herself have long to wait, leading me perhaps unfairly to reply,

‘Eighty-one years. How about you?’

‘That’s a long time for a drink and a biscuit, dear,’ she said, playing me at my own game. ‘You’re Alan Bennett aren’t you?’

‘Only for the day,’ I said, ‘but I’m really enjoying it.’

‘Oh that’s good dear. It’s nice being someone else sometimes.’

Late in the evening with my story almost complete and bed looming I considered staying as Alan Bennett overnight since the prize had been for a full day. The thought of delving into his dreams and learning his night customs was tempting, but in the event I felt it more respectful to leave that side of things for him alone to know. I finished writing while the A was still working, swallowed the B and went to bed.

*

Me

Me

 

I bumped into the postman on his rounds earlier today.

‘Hello Richard – nice and mild.’

‘Morning Paul,’ he called out cheerfully – as he went on his way.

 

 

Copyright © Paul Costello December 2015

Paul Costello – Writer       Website: www.paulcostello.me       Twitter: @PaulCostello8

 

 

 

CLICK.COM – REVIEW

Internet dating laid bare in this unflinching comedy-drama
click mouse heart
Exposing matching sites in such an entertaining way makes them far less embarrassing to own up to, says Olla Poltescu
From the off CLICK.COM gallops into the world of internet dating with Paul Smith’s  side-splitting portrayals of farmer Geoff and outrageous medallion man Donald – ‘don’t call me Donny or I’ll mimic The Osmonds’.
Recently divorced Hannah bats aside the attention of these suitors only to leave a void for other suspect characters, Vivienne Evans’ accomplished performance exposing the dilemma of a jilted woman intent on getting a life.
Janet, Deirdre and the cloying Betty, through dates with Harvey (a solid performance by promising Giles Lantos), show that problems finding a suitable partner are felt equally by both genders; I sensed a clear ‘there but for the grace of God’ murmur filtering around a crowded Bosbury Parish Hall.
With online matching sites firmly in the dating mainstream, I’d wondered what I could learn from this preview of aspiring local playwright Paul Costello’s new comedy-drama. Any doubts evaporated when, no spring chicken myself, I found it addressing the particular plight of women of a certain age; knowing nods across the room told me I was not alone. Hannah’s experiences place the sensitivity of ‘mature’ people in stark perspective. Not for them the ‘find-follow-and possibly forget’ formula that young generations arguably see as the norm; more one of a longing driven by hope eternal.
Despite its priceless humour, CLICK.COM never becomes a gratuitous exposé of dodgy dating and people behaving badly. When things aren’t going quite as they should a clever counterplot develops which, with the play’s reassuring romantic undertone, keeps the audience feeling as optimistic as feisty Hannah.
The notion of being supported by trusted others is particularly helpful. Hannah’s daughter Ellie, expertly played byHettie Guilding, (‘just chill, mum’) will be recognised by mothers across the land. The tough role of Sarah, Hannah’s fragile friend and confidante, is superbly delivered by Hilary Benoit, and even Hannah’s taxi driver (Dave Pollard) offers sound moral support.
As the plot unravels through a beautifully-worked, Ayckbournish piece of farce, it becomes clear that no-one can guarantee true love running smooth and has no absolute right that it should. Director Bob Maynard’s refreshingly funny production of this true-to-life drama undoubtedly gets that message across.
CLICK .COM is showing at Bosbury Parish Hall, near Ledbury                                     
Friday 24th/Saturday 25th July at 7.30pm    (£10)                                                           
Online: www.ticketsource.co.uk/ruraltheatreplayers  In Person: Ledbury Books and Maps, 20 High Street, Ledbury