Its been a quite an emotional roller coaster over the past couple of months.
In fact the whole year has been very difficult for my family as our dear old mum steadily became more frail and weak, starting with a terrible fall when she broke her hip and had to have surgery for the first time in her life at the age of 92.
The decline after that was shocking and fast,
All of the shows I had been booked to perform hung in the balance throughout those months, with Team Dean shielding me as much as possible but juggling with the possibility that I would have to pull out of events at the last minute.
This included Pete Watermans “Life in Song” at The Royal Festival Hall. I really didn’t think I would be able to perform, even up to the rehearsal day things were so up in the air and I was so emotional, I almost backed out.
Its times like this that you need your friends around you, so after I left for the rehearsal studio, co-pilot texted Pete (and the lovely Helen) at PWL and asked them to please drop into rehearsals to give me some support, and I have to say their arrival was most welcome and was just what I needed.
Pete does give good hugs.
Ditto my girls Angie Brown and Jaki Graham, in fact the whole event was so chilled and filled with respect and friendship and it was exactly what I needed, and kept me grounded.
I made a surprise appearance at a 40th birthday party, almost spoiling it by putting the birthday boys home address into my sat nav instead of the venue details – finding myself sat outside his house thinking “this doesn’t look right!?”
Thankfully Simon didn’t look out of his window that afternoon to see a baffled diva at the end of his drive.
Suffice to say the surprise, a birthday gift from his partner Ross had the desired effect.
Many thanks to Steph for the loan of her sound equipment.
Team Dean did have to cancel my appearance at Sunderland Pride as mum had passed away a week earlier, and I was in no condition to perform.
In fact I have taken the whole of October off to breathe and grieve with family and friends, all of whom have been wonderful, always there with a shoulder to cry on.
So October has been a month of reflection and crying, as my daughter says “happy cries and sad cries” at all the lovely memories of a wonderful mother & grandmother.
October is also the month of my birthday, and this year the missing card and phone call left a huge void.
Co-pilot and Miss Dean Junior arranged an early birthday surprise for me, on the 24th, and took me into London for a very delicious dinner and to see “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”
We spent the afternoon ambling around Covent Garden, shopping and chatting.
Stevie is desperate for a ride in a (death trap) rickshaw, which we refused. “Its not fair. I bet you have been in one!” she complained as we walked to the restaurant.
Its true, we had, and the memories came flooding back making co-pilot and I laugh as we reminisced over dinner.
Brace yourself for some serious name dropping…..
One hot Summer evening co-pilot and I were out in London with a very dear friend of ours (who happens to be an American Supermodel) visiting from New York.
We were supposed to be having dinner with her, but plans were suddenly changed after she received phone call and announced “I have go go to ‘The Ivy’ to see Harvey, and you are coming with me”
plans often change where Supermodels are concerned, and we know just to go with the flow as it usually ends up being quite memorable, and this evening did not disappoint.
Meeting Harvey was obviously of MUCH importance as she insisted that we had to go immediately and get a cab.
Supermodels in a flap and not to be argued with, despite the fact neither co-pilot or I knew who the hell the mysterious Harvey was, we did as we were told.
Obviously this was destined to be one of those evenings when you could not find a cab, regardless of our favourite Uberbabe, who is quite used to stopping traffic (when in her underwear on billboards) being unable to hail a cab no matter how much she waved, whistled (New York style) or flashed her ridiculously long legs.
So this is how we found ourselves squished into a (death trap) rickshaw swerving alarmingly through London traffic, with a very tense Supermodel wedged between us.
We a finally arrived at The Ivy and were ushered through and presented to Harvey, who turned out to be movie mogul & producer Harvey Weinstein, co-founder (with his brother Bob) of MIRAMAX
who happened to be the producers of some of my all time favourite movies!!!
The evening was surprisingly fun, but not for our Supermodel, in fact Harvey pretty much ignored her and spent the entire evening chatting very animatedly with Co-pilot and i about his love of movies, his background, and how he set up MIRAMAX (named after his parents Miriam and Max).
I kid you not when I say each and every one of the (very famous) actress’s in “The Ivy” that Friday night casually passed by our table to utter a “Hello Harvey” which he dismissed, and continued chatting with us.
He had some great stories, regaling us with who his favourite actresses (at that time) were, and how we should really meet Nicole, Demi and Toni (Kidman, Moore & Collete) as we had the same sense of humour.
Stories about meetings with various US Presidents. So much great Hollywood gossip!
Supermodel, not used to being upstaged by mere mortals, could only sit and wait petulantly for Harvey to talk to her about a potential role, but no, he carried on answering our questions and telling his stories. He was utterly charming and we were thoroughly enthralled.
During proceedings another Supermodel strutted over to our Uberbabe friend, obviously hoping that by association Harvey would look at her (he didn’t)
It was quite a shock to have a hand thrust across the table at co-pilot and I and to hear “ Hi, Im Helena. We are going to move on to a club later, would you like to join us” from Helena Christensen, with a nervous looking Michael Stipe of R.E.M shuffling at her side.
Harvey simply wasn’t interested, and wanted to stay put, chatting happily to the only two people in “The Ivy” who wanted absolulty nothing from him, which it seems,is very rare in Harvey’s world, very rare indeed.
So Helena and Michael disappeared into the night without us.
Eventually the evening had to end, and Harvey summoned his car to take us home. We dropped our shellshocked Uberbabe at her hotel “Oh my God! Harvey Loved you guys!”
Co-pilot and I laughed all the way home at how bizarre and surreal the evening had been.
Our friend didn’t get the role in the movie, it was eventually offered to Salma Hayek, but never went into production. Shame!
Co-pilot and I however where the recipients of theatre tickets couriered over the following days from Harvey with fantastic seats at shows he had invested in. Which is how we got to see the great Dame Judi Dench in a production of “The Royal Family” followed a few days later with VIP seats at “Mama Mia”
Which brings me nicely back to Covent Garden on Saturday 24th October 2015, sat in a restaurant reminising over that evening, when our trip back in time was brought to an abrupt halt by Miss Dean Junior yelling
“Nobody drink the water! its got possum in it!!!” Thankfully no small furry animals had been juiced, she was reading the bottle label, and the possum in the water turned out to be potassium content. Phew!
After dinner we headed over to the Aldwych Theatre to take our seats for “Beautiful”, a show that I cannot recommend highly enough.
Katie Brayben played Carole King, and is a deserving recipient of an Olivier award for her efforts.
Miss Dean Junior was the only child in the audience, and obviously getting a very good musical education as she sang along throughout.
Not only do I have vivid memories of the wonderful “Tapestry” album, I also remember trips to Wembley with my childhood best friend Susan to the NME (New Musical Express) awards shows in the 1960’s,
where I saw The Shirelles performing the first really big commercial Goffin & King hits “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “One Fine Day”.
The production of the show was fun and clever, an extraordinary on stage costume change, causing Miss Dean Junior to gasp in surprise – pure theatre magic.
Co-pilot has been humming Little Eva’s “Locomotion” none stop ever since.
So it was a real shock to find Katie Braben, straight off stage, still in costume and mic’d up, with a collection bucket, raising money for various theatrical charities as we left the theatre.
It was a great opportunity to join the rest of the audience in telling her what an amazing job she had done, and quite touching to see the star of the show herself shaking a collection bucket. Well done Katie!
Do yourself a favour – go and see “Beautiful” its quite simply brilliant!
If a “Hit Factory” juke box musical ever hits The West End, I do hope Katie Brayben makes a (probably very brief) appearance as me!!! Over to you Mr Waterman…..
Halloween is a much anticipated event in our house, as co-pilot and Stevie enjoy dressing up as ghouls and taking Buddy the super dog out trick or treating, usually arriving back home with enough sweets for the entire Winter.
But before that a group of us spent the day at Madam Tussaud’s, on Baker Street.
Its been at least 15 years since I last went, and things have changed considerably. Back then it was strictly forbidden to touch the waxworks, but now it is actively encouraged and the whole exhibition is one massive opportunity
to take selfies with “the stars”. I felt vey uncomfortable taking my place next to Prince Charles as part of a “family portrait” with The Royals.
Miss Dean Junior however, a child of the selfie era had photos with just about everyone from Kim Kardashian (who??) all of the James Bonds and her particular favourites, the characters from “Star Wars”.
She has been in love with Han Solo since she was a toddler, so its no surprise that when given the opportunity, she snuggled up close for a cute photo!
A fun day was had by all……..The Marvel Super Hero show is great fun.
November has arrived and a sad task for my family. My brother, sister in law, sister, daughter, co-pilot and I joined together to say the last farewell to my mum, burying her ashes with my dad and grandparents.
She is at last where she wanted to be, back with her husband and parents. Again a day for laughing, crying and sharing memories with family.
November is the month of remembrance, and I leave you to your own thoughts of the ones you love who are no longer here.
The emotions of loss summed up in this very poignant and emotive quote attributed to our monarch, Queen Elizabeth II :
“Grief is the price we pay for love”
I will be joining the rest of the nation this month wearing my poppy with pride and in thanks to all those who have lost their lives to give us our freedom
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.