The forthcoming Appledore Book Festival kicks off with this lively troupe of artistes, which the ABF brochure (see http://www.appledorebookfestival.co.uk/events/) describes in these terms:
Moscow Drug Club
Now that's a jolly good write-up, apart from obbligato being miss-spelt. (Children! Spelling matters! It's so uncool to make such mistakes) Just the thing to get the Festival off to a rip-roaring start. There are a number of other music-related events too. Elkie Brooks is going to be there, for instance, although speaking not singing. It's not just flatulent old men in tweed jackets, droning on about their new book on umbrella-repairing. There's poetry. There are writing workshops. And feminism - the women speakers usually take a strong feminist slant. Humour, too. BBC Radio 4 quizmaster Nicholas Parsons is a star guest (although I'm giving him a miss). And outspoken politicians, historians, documentary-makers, journalists, and sundry people who get in the national news, or on national TV, are a staple (this year's line-up includes Ann Widdecombe, Jonathan Mayo, Helen Rappaport, Terry Waite, Martin Bell, Pam St Clement, and Vince Cable).
And there's the attractiveness of the place, its old-world streets, it's smallness, which seems to intensify the buzzy atmosphere. This isn't the only book festival in the country, nor even in the south-west, not by any means, nor is it the only festival with a maritime setting; but there is something about the warm and intimate feel of Appledore that charms the pants off your bottom, and draws you back for more. (I mean that it's all wonderfully charming and friendly, and not that it's non-stop orgy - although, who knows what people get up to?)
Back to the Moscow Drug Club cabaret. For some reason I'd overlooked it when booking my tickets last July. So when Appledore friend Sara emailed me thus...
Lovely to hear from you and of course I remember you. My friend Sue [I met her last year too] is down for the week and we are stewarding and have tickets for various events. It would be lovely to meet up for lunch or dinner. Are you going to the Moscow Drug Club on Friday evening as I am stewarding that evening and we could try to fit something into the week.
Have a good journey, where are you staying this time?
Jayne [another local friend: see my previous post] is well and...Callie her dog is now fully grown and gorgeous. I will tell her you have been in touch and I am sure she will want to join us.
Best wishes, Sara X
...you can see how a pleasant get-together (maybe two) began to take shape! I emailed back to say that unfortunately I had overlooked the opening cabaret evening, and they had now sold out. But then Sara said she might get hold of a ticket for me, and if she was successful [we'd speak over our mobile phones], could I see her at 6.30pm at the venue to collect the ticket? Aha, cloak and dagger stuff! So I emailed back:
Oh, yes, please reserve me a ticket, if you possibly can!
If one does become available, I will be lurking there in the shadows at 6.30pm, dark glasses on, raincoat belt tied, coat collar turned up, and you can surreptitiously pass me a plain envelope in exchange for a crisp tenner! Our password can be 'Moscow Drugs'. (I can do demi-monde melodrama)
To which Sara replied:
Thanks, Lucy, you will be one of many I am sure in the same guise. I look forward to catching up with you and hearing all your news!
I'd best have some news ready! (Memo: have I done anything in the last year?)
I was joking to Sara about a shady whispered clandestine deal, as you get in spy thrillers, involving a ticket of dubious origin changing hands in a dark doorway for spot cash. But actually, she was hinting that many people attending this stylish 'underground' cabaret might in fact make some effort to dress up. In which case, I could pay attention to wearing something in keeping with the event. What fun!
I did indeed own a girl-detective raincoat, as in this shot from last year:
But as there was going to be a Russian flavour to the proceedings, it might (especially if it were a chilly evening) be more appropriate to turn up wearing outer garments like this:
I could take both coats on holiday. And underneath the coat? I haven't got a basque. But what about a slinky body-hugging dress, as would befit a sophisticated and voluptuous demi-mondaine? Long gloves? A haughty but seductive look? Over-the-top jewellery and accessories? The Prada bag and the pearls, for instance? This silvery-gold dress, perhaps:
Or what about this ensemble, but with pearls?
And I could still have the dark glasses on, so that nobody will guess who I am. These very glasses:
Who says that caravan holidays are spartan, boring, cheerless affairs involving tatty anoraks and endless fish and chips? Phooey.