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CAMP LOCKDOWN

Starved of an audience and bored out of my mind, I have recently taken to strutting around the village, Queen blaring in my ears… Gallileo! (gallileo)
 Gallileo! (gallileo), Gallileo Figaro..magnifico –oh-oh-oh- No! No! No! No! No! No! No! whilst the neighbours, half buried in their award winning tulip patch, look up at me and scowl (yes! scowl!) because I am FREE and they are SWISS.

I know they don’t like me because every time I call out “Hello!” in that annoyingly happy sing-songy tone of mine, they never say hello back. They just stare, and wish I didn’t live in their street. I guess Camp is the opposite of Swiss. And I am the definition of camp which Wiki defines as: ostentatious, exaggerated, affected and theatrical.

Camp people are easily bored and must be the centre of attention. I had hoped that age would temper my campness but it seems to be getting worse and I swing between embracing the full Freddie to wishing I could be quiet and mysterious at picnics.

It all started at my sister’s 21st birthday party, a party I wasn’t allowed to go to because I was only 7. All I could do was stare out of my bedroom window, weepy with longing, at the big girls in their Laura Ashley dresses snogging their flick haired boyfs in double denim. But luckily someone took pity on me and gave me a glass of Bucks Fizz which inspired me to I draw pubic hair on my 6 year old foufoune in black felt tip pen and fantasize that Chachi from Happy Days was riding Black Beauty hell for leather en route to my Schiaparelli pink boudoir. Now, what business Chachi might have had with a 7 year old in a Wombles nightie with an ink merkin can not be dwelt upon in this blog, but suffice to say I was not your average 7 year old.

Nowadays at parties I behave like a closeted gay man who has chosen that particular night to come out. I am 52 but it doesn’t stop me throwing myself at gay and even hypothetically gay men who may not know they are gay at 9pm but are definitely gay by 6am. I love to dirty dance with them, giggle in corners with them and generally do everything I can to make them fall in love with me. Why? Because they are always wittier, braver and a million times edgier than anyone else at the party. Once at a party in Hampstead I was standing next to a gay guy who was so bored with the conversation that he threw himself on the floor and pretended to be dead. So I did too. Then everyone else did and in 60 seconds we’d gone from a tense cocktail situation to a writhing mass of giggling bodies. It was magical.

Apropos, this is my favourite lockdown song:

It’s the ruthless exhibitionism, the ‘I’m-just gunna-state-what-everyone’s-thinking’ courage of the camp that I adore. We all want attention, but most of us don’t care to admit it. Camp folk on the other hand are like kids marching into their parents dinner party, upstaging the Baked Alaska and forcing everyone to watch the show. That kind of blatant ’tood represents everything that is BIG to me – like the opening night of Studio 54 that I would have given my entire collection of Australian birdsong greeting cards to attend.

Watch this documentary. It’ll make you ache for ’78.

I dunno. Maybe it’s a white middle class thing, this longing I have to belong to a culture other than my own. I’ve always been a shameless Joupie because lets face it Jews are the wittiest people on earth. Any culture that has stuggled for millenia simply to exist invariably explodes with creative output whereas hegemonies are flaccid in comparison. Perhaps thats why so many trustafarians become junkies. Cos they get everything for free. Didn’t someone say that life stagnates without obstacle?

Talking of stagnation, I am told by enlightened friends that the pinnacle of evolution is to be content with the ordinary and there is nothing more ordinary than loading and unloading the dishwasher. Again. And again. And a-fucking-gain.

So here is the legendary Vivien Stanshall, who was both bored and enlightened.

More fool next week.

Rose 🌹

 

Post No.2: Dirty Bottom

I’m sorry. I know you’ve heard this a million times before but you’re about to hear it again:

This is one freaky time we’re living through.

And as things progress I notice that people are dividing into two camps:

Camp 1: those who can’t bring themselves to communicate
Camp 2: those who can’t stop communicating.

You see, I am one of six siblings – two of whom are introverts, two are introverted-extrovert, and the other one’s a raving extrovert like me and Madonna (who seems to have lost her mind).

If you ever catch me singing into a hairbrush about fried fish then please: SHOOT ME.

My third sister (an introvert) has adopted a Lutheran morning routine that I am secretly in awe of. Up at 6, down to the kitchen to prepare a pungent brew of masala, assam, ginger, cardamon & turmeric before bounding back upstairs for some Wim Hof breathing, followed by 30 minutes of meditation, followed by 8-minute abs, followed by half an hour of reading the unreadable Ulysses, followed by a cold shower, followed by a ‘duty’ ie) cleaning black mould off the bathroom window or sifting through agonisingly painful family photos before she is finally allowed breakfast – a swamp of spirullina, chlorella, chia seeds, linseeds, ground almonds, pumpkin seeds pre-soaked in hot water. Yummy.

Contrast this with my routine which consists of the following:

Sleep in till 9:30, wake up with hair like Jimmy Saville’s mother’s mullet. Have a jumbo coffee and drip fried egg all down my nightie, give Jane Garvey a chance before turning off Woman’s Hour in disgust. Send and receive funny memes and leave gratuitously long voice messages on friends Whatsapps until lunch, eat the things I promised I wouldn’t, frown over the news and google ‘when does a sore throat become a Covid-19 symptom?’ followed by ‘where is Shakira’s private island hide-away?’ Then consider doing Joe Wicks but only get as far as putting on my lycra so mitigate that by making a healthy smoothie with so many seeds that I bust the nutribullet extractor blade so abandon the idea in favour of going back online to like/post comments on Instagram & Facebook until it is wine time.

So. Who is happiest? The introvert or the extrovert?

Well the introvert is happy because her gut biome is singing and her muffin top is shrinking as she continues to defy the second law of thermodynamics which is entropy. (I had to get that in because that is my second favourite fact. My first favourite fact is that the earth spins on its axis at 1,000 miles an hour).

And the extrovert is happy because she has spent aaaaaaaaall day pleasuring herself and ringing her little bell calling out “Ting a ling a ling!!!! Here I am with my little bell, can you hear it? Can you hear my little bell? PLEASE TELL ME YOU CAN HEAR MY LITTLE BELL?!?!” and received enough validation to last her till Netflix at 9.

Here is my favourite french extrovert. But before you go, please come back again because I haven’t quite finished…

Watch video here

And finally.

Why was loo roll the most panic bought item? According to psychiatrists, the general public’s recent obsession is based on the need to take back control in a situation where everyone feels out of control. And everyone’s thinking the same thing: “Clean bottom, MUST have a clean bottom…If the Reaper has my postcode in his Satnav I will NOT have a dirty bottom as my legacy…I will NOT.

And then I imagined the scene of St. Peter summoning me to the pearly gates: “Rose Wadham? Former rollerskating waitress, wife of 19 years and mother of two? Hmmm…you seemed like a good woman except for that unfortunate business with the…Oh DEAR! What’s this I SEE? DIRTY BOTTOM??????

DOWNSTAIRS!!!!!!!!

Finally, for those of you who are suffering from a surfeit of time here is an episode from the award-winning Radio Four drama  ‘A Minute Passed

Watch video here

Much love. Stay Safe. More fool next week. 🌹 X

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Post No.1: Please don’t lick my face

I’m a Londoner by rights so I’m not sure how I ended up on a deserted Somerset canal path, scared shitless of the gangly youth with the ‘Ain’t-no-virus-gunna hold ME-down’ look in his eye who was steaming towards me with the intensity of a Kubrick villain.

I tried to reason with him telepathically. “Please don’t be a certified psychopath and lick my face. I may look genteel but in 1985 I wrestled a Columbian drug dealer to the ground and I do boxercise on a Thursday”

If I was still in London, I’d be in a hazmat suit by now, running the gauntlet from my tiny flat in Ladbroke Grove to Costcutters, dodging the tramp piss and dog shit cassoulet that marked the route from Providence Cars all the way to Chicken Cottage.

But I’m not. I’m here, alone in my civvies, taking my single daily exercise allowance with 2 meters between me, infected death and the idiocy that I allow to run my head. “Should we buy a gun?” “Could we eat the dog?”

“How long can I eke out my Clarins tinted moisturizer?”

Eccentric Londoner grapples with Country LivingI think I grew out of London. Of getting wasted in gay clubs and being dared a tenner to walk through Regents Park wearing nothing but a traffic cone. And I couldn’t hack being a jobbing actress. Signing on and living on Cupasoup for months on end before landing a TV ad that made me famous in Zagreb, then back to Cupasoup for 6 months. I’d never have lasted the distance. I like scented candles and frangipani hand cream too much.

So here I am. 20 years later, with husband, garden, two teens and a Ladbrador, living out the karma of my Bourgeois programming.

The first few years I avoided gardening because it felt like digging my own grave. Occasionally I’d challenge myself and scrutinise my garden searching for whatever it is that people find so replenishing about their gardens. Plants have never done it for me so I studied the birds. At least they’ve got a point of view – especially chaffinches – but their chatter sounded like football rattles which only made me pine for Chelsea matches.

Before this sodding pandemic I sought out the company of strangers but was eventually put off by what I call ‘dog talk’. I quickly learnt that in the country you can’t just stride up to someone and say “Hey! You look fun! Wanna hang out?” This isn’t Santa Monica Vegan Farmers Market. This is Somerset and if you want friendship you must go through a dog. And say things like: “A Bedoodle! And so shiny! Which conditioner do you use?” or “Ho! She’s a feisty one! It’s always the little dogs, isn’t it?” which is nuts especially since I only have a dog because two christmasses ago my 15 year old daughter put a gun to my head.

Country folk are nice and everything but I do miss the Variety Pack of London. Shivering Hipsters. Bangladeshi women in sarees. Japanese teenagers in brothel creepers. Iranian taxi drivers who remember the Shah. Yardies who smell of Paco Rabanne and Saudi princes in Knightsbridge sporting ceremonial daggers.

Look, I’m not a prisoner. In normal circumstances I can get to London whenever I want from the station in my village where you could easily imagine Jenny Agutter in soft focus running up the platform calling out “Daddy, my Daddy!” Sometimes, when I’m alone, I re-enact that scene, and it always makes me cry. Here is the scene so you can enjoy a good cry too.

 

Go on. It’s a pandemic. You’re allowed.

© Rose Wadham