Seeing my daughter on stage brings back memories of youth
There’s no business like showbusiness, like no business I know. Of course I’m plagiarising from the classic song written by the legend Irving Berlin, but there has never been a lyric written more apt or that summarises just how it feels to stand on a stage in front of people and have them in the palm of your hand. Oh, the smell of the greasepaint! And, just as a little aside, it’s the only profession that I’m aware of where you wish the participants harm while wishing them luck. It’s quite bizarre – “break a leg”. I didn’t have the best of schooldays, as regular readers of this column are well aware. I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and was very small, which led to various problems – including a bit of bullying, but mainly being overlooked, literally. But I did find solace when I happened upon the subject drama at secondary school and a lovely teacher called Miss Purnell. I will never forget her, for many reasons. First, I had my first ever crush on somebody who was real, instead of Sally James from Tiswas or a Farrah Fawcett poster hanging on my wall. Secondly, she believed in me and saw something in my personality that nobody had to date. She quite literally gave me a stage to show off a talent that I knew I had, but never had a chance to express, namely, showing off. I would show off indoors to a point, or to my close friends, but in crowd situations I would always take a back seat and try to become anonymous. What Miss Purnell did was give me a confidence that had never been there before and I thrived on it. It became an obsession of mine and has basically brought me to where I am now, on the radio, showing off. My greatest moment was getting the title role in a school show. But I have to say the biggest kick ever was having the “comedy part” in a musical production written by our head of music Mr Lewis called Moses Rules OK!, in which I was “Israelite 3”. There is not a better feeling than hearing the audience laugh (as long as it’s with and not at you), and I don’t think it has ever left me. So when I went to watch my daughter appear for Showbiz Academy at the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks, performing Thank You For The Musicals, I cried like a little baby. So many emotions coarse through your veins in a moment like that. The over-riding feeling is of just how proud you are, watching your little girl having fun and enjoying the experience, and long may it continue. But it also transports you back in time and I could almost see myself standing there, milking the applause and never wanting to leave the stage. I take my hat off to you Rachel Dickson, who basically put the whole production together, with of course a little help from her friends. And also to your mum Kathy, who puts in an enormous amount of work behind the scenes and is obviously so proud of her little girl and the extended family called the Showbiz Academy. And just one last little aside, wouldn’t it be great if we could all be able to watch such shows at our very own theatre in Ashford?