Saturday, 9 April 2016

Blast from the Past - out of my comfort zone


Yesterday, I was out of my comfort zone.

The reason for this was I went to see Jackie the Musical and I have to say that although I had read lots of very good reviews about the musical itself, I was rather nervous about going.

The problem was, I had made the mistake of reading a review which said that the atmosphere (in that particular theatre on the tour) was like a hen party, that the audience was all women and that there was a lot of audience participation. It didn't help when fellow writer Helen Yendall who saw it recently too, told me that she and her friends had gone there wearing Rubettes caps. Thanks Helen!

Now, anyone who knows me will also know that a) I don't do dressing up b) I don't like large gaggles of women (hen party style) c) I don't do audience participation.


What was I to do? All day I worried about it. Would I hate the whole experience? Should I give my ticket away? In the end I looked at it rationally. When I was a teenager, I loved Jackie and would count down the days until the weekly issue came out. I made up problems for 'Cathy and Claire' (which I never sent) and stuck the pictures of David Essex and Marc Bolan on my wall and read the stories avidly. I had to go. Of course I did.

So, at 7.30 last night, my four girlfriends and I walked through the doors of the Theatre Royal in Brighton. If I was expecting to see legions of drunk women wearing Bay City Roller scarves and platforms, I was disappointed (well, actually I wasn't). What I found instead was a foyer full of regular theatre goers in normal clothes. There were also (surprisingly) quite a few men.

I loved the show. It was such fun and so nostalgic and there was such a lovely atmosphere in the theatre. I was instantly transported back to those days of catsuits, chain belts and blouses with huge collars. Which made me think - what if I'd gone with my instinct and chickened out. I'd have missed a great experience.

Being out of my comfort zone is something I try and avoid, but I suspect that as my writing career progresses, I might find myself having to do things I'd normally shy away from. If that happens, I shall think back on my Jackie experience and remember that sometimes things aren't as bad in reality as they are in your imagination.

I wanted to find a photo of myself in the seventies but found that the best ones had turned orange! Instead, I have illustrated this post with photos of some drawings I did in the 70s. The girls I drew are a great representation of the fashions of the time. They were drawn between the ages of 12 and 15. My sister and I spent hours drawing them and I'm so glad I kept the books.

Did I ever mention I wanted to be Suzi Quatro?

Now a random fact: Jackie mag was published by D C Thomson - who publish The People's Friend (who I am a regular writer for). I didn't know that until I read the programme and I think that's rather fitting. 

Tomorrow (Sunday) is my birthday and we will be spending it in the Lake District. It's one of my favourite places and perfect timing after all the work I've been doing on the novel. I'll be having a complete break from writing and hope to return with re-charge batteries. See you all next week when I return.





37 comments:

  1. What a lovely post, Wendy. I loved Jackie magazine and your pictures are brilliant! I wrote unsent letters to Cathy and Claire too. I think it came out on Wednesdays and one or two girls brought their copy into school, which made them into magnets for all the rest of us! I'm glad you came out of your comfort zone for the musical. I would have felt the same as you about going, especially after hearing about the Rubettes caps! Wishing you a fabulous recharge and a very happy birthday. xxx

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    1. Thank you, Joanna. It was lovely to find the books again - so nostalgic. I wish I could remember how I came to name the girls. Some of the names are written in my sister's handwriting so I'm guessing she gave me a name and I had to draw someone to match it.

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  2. Love your drawings! My best friend was an ardent fan of Jackie in the late 60s, although I didn't subscribe (my choice was Petticoat). Glad you enjoyed the show.

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    1. I've never heard of Petticoat magazine, Lindsay. Was it around at the same time?

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  3. Glad you enjoyed the show, Wendy! When I went it was all pretty 'civilised'! No 'hen party atmosphere' just lots of nostalgia - and singing! Happy birthday for tomorrow!

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    1. Yes, we did lots of singing too, Helen - Just not in hats!

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  4. Ah The Rubettes! Now I remember. Loved this post and the drawings - maybe you should be illustrating your stories for mages. Big Hug & Happy Birthday wishes for tomorrow. I expect you're already in the Lakes, supping Old Peculier and reading by a lovely log fire. Enjoy the birthday meal too :) xx

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    1. When you wrote this, I was actually in a motorway service station! We are here now though and enjoying a fabulous holiday.

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  5. Love your drawings. Looking forward to seeing Jackie next week (in Edinburgh).

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  6. Great post, Wendy. I would have been worried about exactly the same things you did :) I'm glad you braved going and enjoyed it, after all. I had no idea Jackie was published by the same company as The People's Friend, either! Have a great birthday x

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    1. No, I hadn't until I read the programme, Helen.

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  7. Glad you had a good time Wendy. Happy Birthday for tomorrow. Margaret xx

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  8. Your post made me smile and the drawings are fab. Great that you kept them.

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  9. Great to see your old drawings, Wendy.

    I read Jackie too, and looked forward to going to the shop to buy it each week, no matter the weather. :)

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  10. I think it's important to sometimes step a little outside our comfort zone, but not too far.

    Hope you had a great birthday.

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    1. Yes not too far or we'll fall over the edge. Thanks for your birthday wishes - I had s lovely day.

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  11. Hope you had a very happy birthday, Wendy.
    What lovely memories you've provoked. My bedroom walls were covered in posters from Jackie - especially David Essex. I used to write for Jackie in the early 90s, but I'd stopped sticking the posters up by then ;-) xx

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    1. Thank you Teresa, I did. David Essex was my poster of choice too. I saw him in Godspell and it was love at first sight!

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  12. Ah, David Essex (swoon). I'm glad you enjoyed the show. Sometimes the things you think you'll hate turn out to be the best. Belated birthday wishes.

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    1. You're right. I've been to see things where the hype had been so great that the whole evening couldn't match up (particularly true for comedies).

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  13. Btw did you know Jackie was named after Dame Jacqueline Wilson? She started her career with D C Thmson

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  14. I really fancy this! I read Jackie from about 1968 to 1971/2 (when I moved on to Fab 208 and Petticoat, I think!). I, too, hate any hen party or audience participation scenario...

    You may like this, it's a post I wrote a few years ago about the magazines of my youth :)
    http://terrytyler59.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/my-life-in-magazines.html

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    1. Ooh, thank you Terry - I shall have a read.

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  15. Ah, the nostalgia! Thanks for writing this. And happy birthday on Sunday to a fellow Aries!

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    1. Thank you, Julia. I had a lovely birthday walking in the Lake District.

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  16. I used to read Jackie and I did similar drawings too!!!

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  17. Great post and drawings, Wendy. I loved Jackie but would have felt the same as you about going to the musical! Glad it was a good experience. My daughter used to do lots of fashion drawings in the 80s - hope she kept them.

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    1. You must ask her, Rosemary. It would be shoulder pads, leg warmers and ra ra skirts depending on the year.

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  18. Jackie wasn't around in my youth (just given my age away), but bet you glad you kept those really good drawings. If only we could see into the future and know what we should hang on to. Have a great birthday.

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    1. I really wish I'd kept a copy of my Jackie mag, Maggie but it would never have occurred to me to do it.

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  19. Hi, Wendy. If you weren't a writer, you could have been a fashion designer looking at those drawings, they're fab. And, hang on... I had David Essex and Marc Bolan on my wall, and I was Suzi Q in my jeans and scraggy hair. Didn't read Jackie though, it was Diana for me. Mum thought it was a bit too grown up with the content. Don't know how she knew that if I didn't have it. I always borrowed my friends copy though and read all about how to kiss etc. Not that I needed pictures and instructions when I got going. Great post. And I may have some D.C. news one of these days:)

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