Monthly Archives: December 2017

Don’t put your daughter on the stage

Noel Coward sings “Mrs. Worthington,” recorded on August 15, 1935.

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington.
Don’t put your daughter on the stage.
The profession is overcrowded,
And the struggle’s pretty tough,
And admitting the fact
She’s burning to act,
That isn’t quite enough.
She has nice hands,
Give the wretched girl her due,
But don’t you think her bust is too
Developed for her age?
I repeat, Mrs. Worthington,
Sweet Mrs. Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage.

Regarding yours,
Dear Mrs. Worthington,
Of Wednesday the twenty-third,
Although your baby
May be keen on a stage career,
How can I make it clear
This is not a good idea?
For her to hope,
Dear Mrs. Worthington,
Is, on the face of it, absurd.
Her personality
Is not, in reality,
Exciting enough,
Inviting enough,
For this particular sphere.

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage.
She’s a bit of an ugly duckling,
You must honestly confess,
And the width of her seat
Would surely defeat
Her chances of success.
It’s a loud voice,
And though it’s not exactly flat,
She’ll need a little more than that,
To earn a living wage.
On my knees, Mrs. Worthington,
Please, Mrs. Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage!

Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington,
Don’t put your daughter on the stage.
Though they said at the school of acting
She was lovely as Peer Gynt,
I fear on the whole
An ingénue role
Would emphasize her squint.
She’s a big girl,
And though her teeth are fairly good,
She’s not the type I ever would
Be eager to engage.
No more buts, Mrs. Worthington!
Nuts, Mrs. Worthington!
Don’t put your daughter on the stage!

Living With Your Parents

This sketch is so interesting to me, after having lived in Madrid and Bilbao for four years each.

In the USA and the UK, there is a deep shame to live with your parents when you are a young adult. When you turn 18, many many young people take their student loans and go to live in a big university city. For my parents, university was free. For my sisters, it was £1000 a year, for me, it was £3000 a year. I didn’t want to go to university and incur so much debt, but my family members insisted. The loans used to be publicly owned, but now they are a privately owned company. University is a big business, from the education itself to student halls and night clubs, and social pressure acts to strongly to push young people into economically precarious situations.

Here, it’s different. There is a more of a group mentality. People tend to live with their parents during their university years, and there is no loan system so only people who’s parents can pay can go. I know many people in their late twenties who still live with their parents, or if they live away from the family home, they live in one of the family properties, so they don’t pay rent. They also tend to live a short walk away from their parents, and go home for lunch during the week, and family Sunday lunch is a big thing.

The best week of my life in Bilbao was when I was invited for Sunday lunch at my friend’s house in Dima. Her mum, an immigrant for Bilbao as a young woman, was one of those foreigners who takes on the stereotypes of the place they have adapted to. The food was all excellent, and there was tonnes of it. When I was leaving, she gave me so many tuppers of food, so much cheese, so much meat, that the whole of the next week I didn’t have to go to the supermarket, cook, or clean up afterwards. It was heaven.

Sometimes, when I’m teaching, a student will say: “I had an argument with my mum because she lost my … when she was cleaning my room”. They are over 30 years old. I learnt in the masters that many women who are “housewives” are like workers, but they don’t get paid. They cook, they clean, they take care and organise everyone, so from a feminist stand point, all these tuppers and room cleaning comes with a price.

That being said, I am still envious of the young people here. I get annoyed when they (or my friends who have returned to their countries) complain about living with their parents. I’ve lived independently for 10 years now, since I was 18, in around 35 different houses. I am tired; so tired.How I would love not to have to call the electricity company, or pay rent, or take care of myself, I think.

One of the reasons I have never returned to the UK was that I don’t have a base there. My mother lived in a small town and I knew I would head into the depths of despair to return there. Now, it’s possible that a friend might let me live with her rent-free in London. The idea is starting to grow on me more and more.


Different voices

I love this sketch. It reminds me of staying with my best friend and hearing her “work voice”.

At the end, where they all change to a Scottish accent, reminds me of how I can’t yet consciously control my accent but it is incredibly malleable depending on who is around me.


Incidentally, at the beginning when the character says: “I think his fiancee’s brother’s going to be there so the stripper is a no go” is significant as in anthropology the position of women depends on where they live when they get married. If they stay with their family, and their spouse comes to live with them, they have more allies/protection, but if they go to live with their husband’s family, their situation is much more precarious and they are a lot more vulnerable to violence and economic abuse.

Clash of the Fanatics: Poor Jehovahs

Prayers for the Jehovah’s witness that knocked on my door to try to convince me that the bible is the word of god.
-“Yes, but it’s written by men”.
-“Yes, but what about homosexuals?”
-“Judge the sin, not the sinner”
-“I don’t think God makes mistakes. I think my gay friends should be able to be together”
-“Yes, but it says that Eve came from Adam’s rib, but really in biology, the female always comes first”
– “Yes, but what about Mary Magdalene?”
-“You don’t understand how highly the bible esteems women”
-“Yeah, don’t want to be a saint or a whore/puta, pardon my French”