Our annual ‘Words’ meeting was well attended with eleven members presenting personal choices. Their readings ranged from the familiar to the unknown and were, as our theme stated, very entertaining.
We started with John Clegg’s exuberant rendering of Noel Coward’s ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ followed by Louise with ‘Of Mice and Meeces’ from Gyles Brandreth’s ‘Have You Eaten Grandma?’ Richard Davies then gave an amusing anecdote on various embassy meals eaten during his time in the diplomatic service. ‘Santaland Diaries’ by David Sedaris from Lois told of the trials of being Santa’s Elf at an American department store. ‘A Visit to Portsdown Fair’ followed, read by Nigel from Captain Marryat’s ‘Peter Simple’ (1833). Beryl admitted she had cribbed from Judi Dench with her offerings of a cat poem and modern takes on well-known nursery rhymes. We could not have a literary afternoon without some reference to Dickens and Kevin obliged with an excerpt from ‘Our School’, an autobiographical essay published in Household Words about mice in the classroom. Louise read ‘The Cat and the Moon’ by W B Yeats and Robbie followed with a reading from her own novel ‘On Wings of Song’ about a music hall singer. New member Phil Berry read from an American writer Henry Blake Fuller and, as a complete contrast, Marjorie gave us ‘The January Sales’ in a wonderful Geordie accent. How many of us have heard of the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’? And yet Brian told us, the play he read from ‘La Cantatrice Chauve’ (The Bald Prima Donna’) by Ionescu had been playing in Paris continuously since 1957. It really was absurd with the conversation between two couples repeatedly saying ‘How bizarre!’, ‘How curious!’. We rounded off a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with John Clegg’s boisterous ‘rap’ of Jack Ousby’s ‘Gran Can You Rap?’
Our thanks to Robbie for this report.