Monday, June 27, 2005

There and Back Again

I think I'll work backwards to cover the trip. It might be easier and anyway, it will be great to end at the beginning. We were lucky enough to stay with our friends Brad and Liz Brooks in their Ealing home, entertained by little Sophie. It seemed a bit much, bringing our additional anarchy into their busy home -- they run a business, Sequential Design, are beginning renovations to the house, and have an active 2 year old -- add two houseguests and well, many would draw the line there. We tried to be helpful rather than another burden, but of course, we all know about houseguests and fish!

Of course our idea of 'useful' was generally things like helping to teach Sophie -- who was recently introduced to Dr. Who via the latest series -- to say "Exterminate!" in her best dalek voice. By the end of the week, even her baby dolls could say "Exterminate!" We disavow any ties, however, to the recent dalek disappearance.

Of course we would not impose on friends without bribing our way with some gifts; our currency of choice was the breakfast cereals and snacks far too unhealthy to be sold in Britain: Froot Loops (no longer Marshmallow Blasted), Lucky Charms and Doublestuff Oreos -- and the reasonably healthy Craisins. We are so very grateful to Brad and Liz for putting us up (putting up with us) -- hotels in London are outrageously expensive. Liz was kind enough to pick us up and deliver us back to Gatwick, as well as drop us off at railways before we got our Oyster cards, too.

The best thing was sitting around most nights just chatting and catching up. It's been a few years since we've been together, so there was a lot to talk about. It's great when you have the kind of friends who, even if you don't see them face to face for a while, can pick up with where you left off with ease. It was so relaxing and fun -- lots of laughs and silliness. We got a belated introduction to The Day Today, yet another terrific British comedy show. That ended up being the theme of the trip for me. I had planned to look for Sunshine on Putty and luckily enough, found it for 1/3 the cover price (yay!) at the Book and Comics Exchange at Notting Hill Gate. I also managed to get copies of recent books on Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, including Tragically I Was An Only Twin and Goodbye Again which includes many of their scripts together (Americans who only know Moore from his few films here are missing a lot, from Beyond the Fringe to the Pete and Dud dialogues). On top of that are several CDs of British comedy courtesy of Brad (thanks!) so I may keep laughing for months.

Much more to write, but I need to actually do a little work now. Good news - the Clive essay may be included in an anthology provided I can find the time to make a few alterations. But for now -- TO BE CONTINUED!


Brad Brooks said...

Aw, shucks... :)

C. Margery Kempe said...

How would we ever travel if not for the indulgence of good friends like you two (three!)? We miss you! We are enacting Plan A, win the lottery, in order to get back much sooner.

I finally saw episode one of Dr. Who, so I am catching up.


Stephanie said...

Excellent book finds, KAte! Marko gave me 'A Great, Silly Grin: The British Satire Boom of the 1960s' which looks marvelous....

Good luck on the lottery!


C. Margery Kempe said...

Hey, I have that book too. Haven't had time to read it yet, but I will eventually. Gene finds the cover (naked David Frost) frightening. Which reminds me: Alan Bennett said at Peter Cook's funeral that his (Cook's) biggest regret was saving Frost from drowning many years before. Ouch!

Gene Kannenberg, Jr. said...

According to Kate: Gene finds the cover (naked David Frost) frightening. May it please the court, let the record show that my reaction to said cover stemms from its "front-out" placement on a bookshelf in our living room - to be forced to view Frost's obvious humiliation on a daily basis is to creep ever-closer to the Great Depths of Dispair. What's truly frightening - or at least disappointing - is that Frost chickens out on the cover image, a bit of cowardice not displayed by Britian's clown prince of rock.

C. Margery Kempe said...

I stand corrected and yet wonder, who is Lewis Morely and why would he want to take a picture like this of Frost?

Thanks for the other Keith link which I enjoyed very much. Arrr -- who doesn't love a pirate?