The not so secret emails.., p.9
The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard (A Romantic Comedy), p.9Robert Bryndza
With best wishes
Sunday 29th March 14:48
I didn’t know you had given Christian a key! Your Nan was dozing in the living room, when he let himself in the front door. He woke her up as he was stuffing your iPod and some CD’s into his bag. She thought he was an intruder and whacked him over the head with a Jamie Oliver Milk Pan full of wee.
He’s lying down wrapped in a sheepskin rug. His suit is dry clean only, and being a fashion expert, he has refused all of your father’s clothes. The living room is a no go area so your Nan is draped across a beanbag in the music room. She is kicking off because the portable TV in there doesn’t have Sky. Could you come home please?
Monday 30th March 12:03
There are further ructions between my new houseguests. Christian offered to do some Reiki healing on Ethel’s new hip, as an apology. Halfway through, lying face down on the sofa she broke wind so violently that Christian, who has a hyper sensitive sense of smell, was taken ill. He is still retching in the bathroom. Rosencrantz is furious. Ethel is still laughing and I must admit I had to keep a straight face. She keeps saying,
“It was a ripper, I’ll give him that.”
Monday 30th March 13:45
Please can I put in an order for The Socialist Worker newspaper. My Mother-In-Law appears to be staying here now.
Also could I stop my order for Nuts, Loaded, and Zoo. Rosencrantz came out over a year ago and I never got round to cancelling them.
Tuesday 31st March 10:00
I know you are under pressure with your play starting on Friday but it doesn’t mean that you can be disrespectful to your Nan. Ignoring her this morning was rude. She adores you.
I am going to ask the doctor about her noxious emissions when I take her for physiotherapy this week. Luckily, it’s sunny and warm outside, so I’ve put her on a chair in the garden. Christian needs the kitchen to finish your costumes.
Wednesday 1st April 11:01
Ethel just came into the kitchen with an article from The Daily Mail. Apparently, scientists have engineered a silent crisp, which makes no noise when eaten.
“It’ll be a boon,” she said excitedly.
She asked me to hot foot it to the Tesco Metro on Baker Street and get some for Rosencrantz, as his noisy mouth manipulation of crisps drives her mad.
I pointed out that today is April Fool’s day, and that it’s probably a joke article but she refused to believe me saying,
“The Daily Mail don’t lie!”
Then I had a phone call. A strangulated Margaret Thatcher style voice came on the line. She congratulated me on reaching the top of the waiting list for a local Allotment, with three sacks of manure as a welcome gift.
“Ha ha, Rosencrantz,” I said. “You won’t April Fool me with that stupid voice.” There was silence. Then the voice said it was no joke, that her name was Agatha Balfour, and she was calling from the Augustine and Redhill Allotment Association.
“You and your husband put your name down for a local Allotment in 1991,” she said. “You’ve just reached the top of the list.” I babbled around, apologising and said that I couldn’t even keep a Virtual Cactus alive on Facebook. She advised me to take it. Allotments are like gold dust and she has been bribed by all and sundry to jiggle the list.
“Just this morning I turned down tickets to see Leonard Cohen at the O2,” she said. “And I do love Leonard…”
I asked how much it was.
“Is that per week?”
“No, Mrs. Pinchard, per year.” She went on to say that it has unparalleled views of London and a well-equipped shed with furniture. I had a vision of writing in the shed and gazing out at the view. I said I would take it, and apologised for thinking she was an April Fool.
“Not to worry Mrs. Pinchard,” she said. “My son is the same, I’ve spent the morning pulling cling film from all my lavatory pans,” then she rang off. She must have a big house.
Ethel snorted when she heard.
“You? Gardening? Those poor earth worms.”
You and Marika can come and help dig in your wellies and I can start writing again. I need to do something apart from drive Ethel to and from the Hospital.
Thursday 2nd April 13:44
This afternoon, I took Ethel to see a room in The William Shakespeare Rest Home. The manager, Miss Jeanie Lavelle had replied enthusiastically, saying a space for Ethel had come available. The far from Shakespearean home is in a yellowing Victorian terrace, on a dirty street in Penge.
Miss Jeanie, as she asked us to call her, is what you would term a frustrated actress. At the back end of her fifties, but heavily made up, dressed in a mini skirt and a tight flowery top with a plunging neckline, which looked as if it was slowly regurgitating her enormous crinkled bosom. She greeted us like old friends and led us down a hallway, filled with the smell of old school dinners and disinfectant. We passed pictures of Miss Jeanie showing her acting achievements; posters for long forgotten plays and several stills of her in television shows Prime Suspect, Cracker, and Silent Witness. In all she was pictured on the mortuary slab.
“ Guess what my casting type is?” she said.
“Old floozy?” said Ethel, giving her the once over. There was an awkward pause, and Miss Jeanie showed us through to the ‘dayroom.’
Six elderly actors and actresses were sat in a dingy lounge in high backed chairs staring listlessly at a television. A film with Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave was playing. If I remember correctly, the film is called The Devils and has been banned since the 1970s due to its story of sex-crazed Nuns in seventeenth century France. Daniel took me to a special BFI screening of it at the Barbican a few years back, for the art, of course, nothing to do with the huge amount of nudity.
“The residents are enjoying one of my performances,” said Miss Jeanie, “I played sexually crazed Nun number four.”
Most of the residents were snoring, an elderly gent called out for a commode.
“Ooh! We’re just in time!” said Miss Jeanie ignoring him. She turned up the volume as a scene began, with Nuns ripping off their habits and engaging in an orgy around a statue of Christ. A shiny-faced ginger haired nun (and you could see she had been an authentic ginger) romped past the camera.
“There! That’s me!” said Miss Jeanie grabbing the remote and rewinding. Her pendulous bosoms swung backwards slowly then leapt back to life.
“Oliver Reed was wonderful,” she said.
“Have you got Sky?” said Ethel, disgusted.
“No, but we have a lovely big box of videocassettes which you would be free to rummage around in,” she said, as if Ethel were five. “Let’s go and see your new home!”
“They’re all bloody out of it,” hissed Ethel as we went up in a lift.
The free bed was in a shared room Miss Jeanie barged into without knocking. A sad looking old lady was sat in a wheelchair. Miss Jeanie seemed annoyed to find her there, and pushed her out into the corridor.
“There, now you can see,” she said closing the door.
It was a squash for the three of us between the single beds and it stunk of urine. A small window overlooked a square of concrete, which had once been the garden.
“I would need you to write me a cheque today, for six months in advance,” said Miss Jeanie hopefully. “There is a queue of people wanting the room.”
Ethel’s face crumpled. I couldn’t leave her there.
Friday 3rd April 10:31
I came down this morning to find the kitchen
As I put the kettle on, I noticed Christian sticking a Swastika onto a jacket with his hot glue gun. I realised with everything that has been going on, I know nothing about this play.
I asked if Ethel would enjoy it, as she wants to come along too.
“Course!” said Rosencrantz. “ It’s all about stuff in the Second World War.”
I left them to it. After the shock of seeing Miss Jeanie’s watsit on television, Ethel will enjoy a wartime story. Do you want to come? Marika has parents evening.
Friday 3rd April 23:36
Just back from Rosencrantz’s play. I say play, it was called Anne Frank: Reloaded. What a shocker. Rosencrantz played Anne Frank! For a story set during World War II, there were an awful lot of disco tracks. Ethel looked very confused. She had been looking forward to singing along to ‘Roll Out The Barrel.’ I watched most of it through my fingers.
It was fairly faithful to historical fact until the wall behind the wardrobe slid open, a huge disco-ball descended from the ceiling and lots of male Nazi’s burst out with their tops off. Then Anne and the rest of the Frank’s escaped in a giant glittery roller skate, made from a shopping trolley, which rolled into Berlin and squashed Hitler. I had made a big thing about wanting to come backstage and say hello afterwards. It hadn’t entered my mind that it might be awful. We waded through the throng in the student bar and found Rosencrantz amongst some fawning luvvies. Everyone was telling him what an amazing piece of theatre it was; most vocal in his praise was the Drama School Principal, Artemis Wise. He was red in the face and obviously pissed. When he saw me, he slammed down his Campari shouting,
“It’s Mum! What did you think, Mum? Don’t keep mum, Mum!” I didn’t know what to say. I said it was a spectacle.
“You mean specta-cu-lar,” he laughed flashing the bits of crisps in his fillings. “Your son is going to be a huge star!” Christian saw my face and I gave him an awkward smile. Artemis leant forward to ruffle Rosencrantz’s hair, but slipped off his bar stool. The Students rushed to help him up, and I used the diversion to leave. Luckily, I had the excuse of taking Ethel home. She’d had a bit of a turn. I think being pinged in the eye by a G-string emblazoned with a Swastika did it. The last time she saw Rosencrantz act was in 1985 when he was a chick in Mother Goose. All he did then was pop out of a papier-mâché egg and do a little dance. We drove home. Chris had stayed on to chat to the actors, (mainly the ones in the G-strings). I made Ethel a cup of Bovril to steady her nerves, and then Rosencrantz and Christian came home to pick up some wine for their first night party.
“What did you think Mum?” he said excitedly. “I wrote the script.” I asked him why he had picked such a controversial subject. He said I had inspired him to re-imagine historical events with Chasing Diana Spencer.
“I’ve read your Mum’s book,” said Ethel putting ice on her eye. “She told a good story… I’ve not seen such a load of crap since the BBC put Eldorado on… And that Chris, ‘e won’t need to buy a dirty mag for at least a fortnight! “
“It wasn’t that bad,” I said seeing Rosencrantz’s face drop.
“Oh,” he said. “Not that bad?” There was a horrible pause. I looked at Christian for help but he looked away. I thought, should I treat him as an adult and tell him the truth? On the other hand, lie and tell him it was wonderful? I decided to be honest.
“You were very good in it,” I said. “But I thought it was, well… cheap, sensationalism.” Rosencrantz’s eyes filled up.
“Well, we’ve sold out!” he said. “I bet you couldn’t do that! “ He straightened his Anne Frank wig and stormed out. Christian followed, stopping to hug me saying,
“I told him that the G-strings were too much, but he wouldn’t listen.”
“You need to nip this acting lark in the bud before he ends up in the gutter,” said Ethel. “Stripper Nazi’s! If you’d walloped ‘im once in a while, I’d never ‘ave ‘ad to sit through two hours of stripper Nazis.”
I went into the garden for a cigarette. I wish Daniel were here, being a parent is a two-man job.
Saturday 4th April 21:00
Did you stay at Christian’s? I feel very upset about last night. I decided to tell you the truth because I want to respect you as a fellow artist, but I should have worded it differently. It’s partly my fault. I came along in the same frame of mind as I used to with your Primary School Nativity plays.
I thought there was some very strong dialogue and I am proud of you. And remember, It’s the first thing you have written. If I think back to the first thing I ever wrote, it wasn’t nearly as good as Anne Frank: Reloaded.
Now this next bit is from your Nan, it’s all her words, typed herself with one finger. She missed Britain’s Got Talent to write this.
all right boy,
If bein close to death nots never taught me nothing its that you don’t get a second chance, I dont want to spend any more time fallen out with you. When I was a lass I didn’t have half the things you have. At your age I had to go out and wok. If I’d ave told my old mum I wanted to be an actress she would ave walloped me and sent me down the clap clinic. I’m sorry I ad a go at you. I was just shocked my little Rosencrantz could be in such a blue play. But i has to realise the world as changed and you were only doing whats the fashion these days, to be a bit blue. if you do another play. You should watch Dads Army, they never said nothing rude and still had us rolling in the aisles.
Your granddad wasn’t a looker like you. He could ave eaten an apple through a picket fence, but I loved the old git. did you know when he died we’d had a row that morning? he stormed out, and that afternoon a bus squashed him. I’d give anything to ave made up with ‘im before he died. Come home, look both ways when you cross the road, and I will give you a big hug.
Yer Nan xx
Saturday 4th April 22:33
Rosencrantz came home after his show with a big bunch of flowers for me, and some pork scratchings for Ethel. They had a standing ovation for the performance tonight, led by the Principal. He is thrilled with the play. A member of the Arts Council is coming to see it and they are hoping for an increase in funding for the school.
Sunday 5th April 15:46
Christian was making us pancakes this morning when Ethel clacked in on her walking frame with a copy of The Mail On Sunday between her teeth. She showed us a small article tucked away on page thirty-seven called Wicked Whispers, where they dish dirt on people in the public eye. It read:-
“Rumour has it, that despite a million pound Arts Council cash injection, North London based drama school, The Dramatic Movement Conservatoire is in financial trouble. However, help could be at hand from the student body, in particular the muscled torso of theatrically named Rosencrantz Pinchard, writer and star of Anne Frank: Reloaded. Sir Ian McKellen and Graham Norton, both financial donors in the past, are said to be attending tonight’s performance with pockets bulging.
At Wicked Whispers, we wonder where Rosencrantz did his Second World War research. Maybe from his mother, the author Coco Pinchard? Her debut novel, Chasing Diana Spencer, went down like a V2 bomb!”
Ethel was the only one who laughed at the V2 bomb reference. Rosencrantz gave me a hug and Christian put a lot of Grand Marnier on my pancakes.
Monday 6th April 15:44
Ian McKellen and Graham Norton didn’t show up. Apparently, the Principal went very pale when he saw the empty seats. I asked Rosencrantz how the school could be having financial difficulties. There are three hundred students all paying eight grand per year.
Since The Daily Mail mentioned Anne Frank: Reloaded, Ethel has changed her opinion, calling it “a
“Well, I saw Elaine Paige sing Memory for a girl in a wheelchair on Cilla Black’s Surprise Surprise,” she huffed. “I got the gist.”
Wednesday 8th April 22:44
At eight this morning a journalist called Eva Castle knocked on the door. She said she was from The Daily Mail. She said she had nothing to do with the Wicked Whispers piece the other day and that she wants to do a nice fun piece on up and coming faces, and having a mother and son angle would be a great story.
We chatted for twenty minutes, then she asked if she could come back later with a photographer for a proper interview. Good job because at 8am my face was hardly up and coming. I spent all day thinking about what to wear and what to say. Rosencrantz rushed home from classes at six, but Eva Castle hasn’t come back or phoned. I hope she hasn’t been run over. The junction at the end of the road is very dicey.
Thursday 9th April 10:09
I wish Eva Castle had been run over.
On page seventeen of The Daily Mail, there is a big article about Rosencrantz’s drama school. It seems the Principal, Artemis Wise has embezzled five hundred thousand pounds! There is a sidepiece about how star pupil Rosencrantz Pinchard tried to save the school with his own self penned play, and how he has risen above hardship despite his ‘broken home.’
The broken home part is expanded on in another section, devoted to my literary downfall. There are quotes from Regina Battenberg who says I am ‘unpredictable,’ and Dorian, who says he had to let me go because I am a ‘loose cannon’ Anne Brannigan was ‘unavailable for comment,’ stupid cow. They have used an awful picture, taken yesterday morning of me, eyes half closed in my dressing gown with a cigarette. Someone must have been loitering in the bushes with a zoom lens when Eva Castle and me were talking. Rosencrantz was turned away this morning. The Dramatic Movement Conservatoire has closed a day early for Easter due to ‘an internal investigation.’ Artemis Wise has gone missing.
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