Big artsy fartsy day starts at 9am with the first beginners watercolour class. (Did I say 9am? Yes, I did. Bloody morning people.)
Melinda, the excellent instructor, asks if I’ve done any painting over the summer. Yes, I say, but although latex paint is water-based, the painting I’ve done has been of the decorating variety, not the watercolour variety.
Yes, yes, I know this is supposed to be about my adventures in pantoland, but, come on, I produced something which actually looks like something.
A bit of boasting is called for, surely? No? Okay, I’ll move on.
Tonight is the first night of rehearsals during which Rat 2 appears. It’s all very exciting.
The size of my role has increased by 40%. I’ve gone from five lines to seven! Okay, the extra two lines only involve five more words, but it’s a start.
We rehearse the first scene. Disaster! I’ve lost my voice. No, I don’t have laryngitis, but I simply cannot remember what I did for my audition rat voice. I know I thought it was pretty funny then and, as noted, I suspect it helped me get the part, but it’s gone. How does Rat 2 speak? What does he sound like? I’m all over the place with my two lines. I’m thinking maybe a bit of a spiv. Try it out. Not bad, but I also need a walk to go with my character. This requires some serious work. I’ll need to do some research when I get home.
Time to move on to the second scene. Oh, crap. It’s the song. Yes, That’s Amore has been rewritten to make it cheesier. Although the idea originally was to get Bas to sing it, with me doing back up (ha!), Herb, as Rat 1, like me, has no intention of taking the lead on a musical number. So, it’s down to Ginny in her wonderful General Scurvy voice to do the honours. Dean Martin this isn’t.
But it is funny. Herb and I both ham it up and are a hit with the director and cast. Okay, I have to admit, this is a lot of fun. It is only after the first run through that we are told we will be wearing trench coats and fedoras and will be carrying martini glasses in this scene. Oh, my god, the mind boggles.
During a break, Ginny suggests that the three of us should get together and try to do a bit of choreography for the number. Herb's not keen and I`m not sure. However, after we do the scene a second and third time, during which we`ve been directed to sway together and abysmally fail to do so, I begin to think Ginny has a point.
Get home and decide to spend a little time on character development. I can't afford to be buying DVD box sets – or wait for them to be delivered - so I head to YouTube for some spiv inspiration.
Del Boy is one possible role model.
Yes, there’s definitely potential there.
Then, of course, there’s Arthur Daley (little dodgy maybe, but underneath ’e’s all right). I type the name into the YouTube search. One of the hits that comes up is a sudden reminder of that other "great" British seasonal entertainment tradition: the crap Christmas song.
This cynical annual cash grab was perfectly portrayed in Love Actually. Annoyingly, I don't seem to be able to embed this one, so please click on this link. (You won't regret it.) For those lucky enough to have never seen the film, there is now really no need. This was the best moment in it.
Anyway, my Arthur Daley search throws up (and "throws up" is appropriate) a novelty item from 1983 which makes every top 10 list of the all-time worst crap Christmas singles ever.
Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear. Pen and ink, indeed.