News ink and get­ting the Humperdinck...

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

IHAD planned a week of two halves. The se­ri­ous stuff at the be­gin­ning of the week, fol­lowed by a week­end of en­ter­tain­ment, from drag queens to opera. Ac­tu­ally come to think of it, there is quite a bit of over­lap there.

First, busi­ness, and at a meet­ing of the Ad­vi­sory board for Hayes Chil­dren’s Cen­tres I was im­pressed, as ever, by the en­thu­si­asm of staff to help fam­i­lies with young chil­dren, cov­er­ing a huge range of is­sues, from health mat­ters to education and em­ploy­ment.

Ear­lier in the week, I did a talk to mem­bers of the West Dray­ton His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety about my years at The Gazette. Yes, I am of­fi­cially his­tory, folks! It was a great evening, with many par­tic­u­larly fas­ci­nated by my copies of old black and white broad­sheet Gazettes.

They en­joyed anec­dotes about sto­ries they re­mem­bered well; also a pot­ted his­tory of the pa­per. The lat­ter was com­piled by for­mer editor An­thony Long­den, and is my favourite bit of any talk, as I can just read it out in my best teacher voice.

So – to the week­end. You will re­mem­ber that I con­fessed in this col­umn – to the de­light of some and hor­ror of oth­ers – that I love Euro­vi­sion, so I had to watch BBC 4 when they set about choos­ing this year’s en­try. I do wish I hadn’t.

The even­tual win­ner was a bland num­ber sung by two (un­suc­cess­ful) can­di­dates from The Voice. Oh right. Lovely. Nul points then, even with­out the political pos­tur­ing from some coun­tries when it comes to mark­ing us down.

En­gle­bert Humperdinck two years ago was a big mis­take, but the weak short­list of six was no bet­ter. There’s got to be a bet­ter of­fer­ing from the many tal­ented singers and song­writ­ers in this coun­try, surely? Where is our Con­chita?

I man­aged to re­cover from this to en­joy an early Mother’s day cel­e­bra­tion. FJ* treated me to flow­ers and lunch, then we went to a pro­duc­tion of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. No one could leave the theatre hav­ing seen those glo­ri­ous di­vas with­out a smile on their faces.

All of which cush­ioned me to face the mis­ery and beauty of Puc­cini’s Tosca the next day in Birm­ing­ham, ex­cept we never got there (long story) and I had to be con­tent with a meal out, and Mr F speak­ing to me in Ital­ian. Not singing, thank good­ness…

*FJ – Fisher Ju­nior

Ev­ery week BAR­BARA FISHER looks at is­sues that af­fect us all – the is­sues that get you talk­ing. You can join in by email­ing bmail­bar­


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