It all started so well. The photo-book I ordered for my big sister’s birthday arrived just as we were setting off on a 600 mile round trip to her party. We arrived in good time for the big event at Waddesdon Manor and the slideshow ran faultlessly until the screensaver kicked-in due to lack of any keyboard depressions – the Rothschilds obviously don’t do PowerPoint. It was strange because I was mostly surrounded by people I had either never met or had not seen in over thirty years – “should I know you” is not a good opening gambit.
Then about ten minutes before ‘carriages’ (up t’north, we call it the last bus home) it got stranger still – I took a very unpleasant turn for the worse – not through over-indulgence I hasten to add. This was the start of something that continued for the next seven hours – I was then semi-comatose for the next twenty-four. My stomach muscles still ache.
Big sister had a great time though which was entirely the point of the exercise. I take no credit for any of the photos in the slideshow only the many hours spent re-editing in Photoshop CC, OnOne and PowerPoint – a labour of love. The edits were not always strictly necessary, it is just one of my compulsive habits. I trust Ray Davies, Guy Garvey et al will forgive me for ‘borrowing’ their music – the second track demands a decent sound system to get the full effect of Elbow’s magical production – something else the Rothschilds don’t do.
This is my favourite image from the slideshow – my sister is about three or four years old which makes it 1947-1948. A friend of the family is on the left, my mum is in the centre and my dad to the right is acting-up in front of the camera – it’s not just me, it’s in my genes. I’m Not There – not even thought about at this stage I imagine.
Act III, Scene 13
Alexandria. CLEOPATRA’s palace.
Come, Let’s have one other gaudy night: call to me
All my sad captains; fill our bowls once more;
Let’s mock the midnight bell.
It is my birth-day: I had thought to have held it poor: but, since my lord
Is Antony again, I will be Cleopatra.