Not RADA ’97
I don’t know what it is about me except to say that I am two. One is F.T.S.H.D.M, more than you, who reels, rides, administrates and likes Fulham. The other is fabulous, a sex goddess, whore, politician, actress, singer, writer, dancer, don, lunatic, psychiatrist, witch, mother, murderer and all round genius.
In principle, these two identities are fairly straightforward. It is obvious that Frances is bored and unfulfilled, so she dreams to fill in time.
I challenge you to disagree that fantasy is memory
It is a Saturday afternoon and time for an excursion. My sister and I are driven by my mother down a park lane towards a castle. It seems to be closed but apparently we are expected. Mother mentions that we have been asked to tea with Lord Saye because he has just moved in and that we are jolly lucky. My mother married a man from Farthinghoe not long ago, so I presume that whoever it is must be the result of a supermarket encounter. The thought of an American bunch of golfers springs to mind as the place is in mint condition. I wonder how much the title cost. She says the family name is Fiennes and I say how delightful that we are on the list.
Earlier that day, I had been eating yummy food, admiring the swimming pool and just relaxing. She says it is frightfully important to be just relaxing. To be perfectly happy. Visiting country houses is a family pursuit my mother has always enjoyed, but after the divorce, there weren’t as many invasion opportunities. It is a relief that she is now married and closer to the silver spoon. Whatever she said next, I wasn’t listening because I don’t like my mother. Going places with her is like being unexploded, you set out with a map and no will to escape. It’s the saggy boob passenger slouch with jelly babies in the sweet tin and a tangerine for anyone. It’s her leopard skin bootees in the boot for the country, and the lipstick-in-the-car lipstick for when she gets-to-the-end-of-the-drive. Everybody comb their hair, would you like it first, have a sweet. As mummy the leader in a party of sulkers she’ll say
‘Smile in case you forget’ without sarcasm.
I presume the people on the grass in the courtyard are waiting for a guided tour. and we have just crossed the draw bridge. From that moment onwards, things go kids barmy. I feel deliriously stupidly wonderfully powerful like a tour guide on holiday. People are introducing themselves, very good, but I haven’t any name badges, that’s not a film star and they don’t look related. I want to be adopted too, the family rates booking is for cheap entry, but today is free. Coincidence I met Joseph at the Pony Club, Heaven I think entranced, talking outside myself calling people common tourists and do they have any genes.
I say, the finances are loaded!
What is that, a coat of arms?
Thank God you’re English!
Where’s the grotty tour guide?
God some people!
I seem to be shouting, and then I run off with Josephine into the castle. This is a National Trust trip. Mr Funny, has just brought a castle from the clouds, I’ll change to Clydesdale. To be adopted is my only chance to get away from she who is the trailer of the group, the jailor, she has the car keys, the carcass. Perhaps I must return for the carcass.
I don’t know what I said in the main foyer, except that I probably thought it was funny to call it a foyer. Relight my fire but the fire is un laid or is it? Rude about the family cheese, they should all go wash their feet! What monstrous feet! Then it is quiet. Time recommences but I am just minding my own business, seem to be staring at a table with a family tree on it. Who will inherit everything, I wonder.
Better get in there! I say, Mr Funny’s family tree!
The Mister Men!
Well, are they really all women?
Bunch of lesbians!
That man Rape is Mr Bump!
The attention is on me, sorry, I don’t know. Breathless, but there’s Georgy! Yes, we’re going round on a National Trust Sunday afternoon. Ahead, there is a small room of wooden panelling so I cross the room towards it. I start going on about the carving before singing Three Blind Mice.
This is now an audition and I go off into Consider yourself at home, more strenuous on the stairs, echoes feeling competitive on bad performance. A new college, this is Oxford.
Where is the Oxford Dum?
Too stupid to find it!
It’s a drama school and they know Judy Dench. Just dying to shag Josephine, to marry Josephine and to live sexily ever after. If he is a woman then I am a man, the best thing since sliced bread. I don’t like lice beds, the lice go brown or white according to the colour of your hair. Which colour has got more fibre? Mousey hair eat bran hair. Rentokil jail is coming to get us. I am being given the oddest look from a man with a beard. He seems very concerned for me, a very dangerous man with a ginormous magnum in his pocket. The special detective, perhaps he is a warden. The headmistress is coming up the stairs.
Martha the headmistress is going to get here to see what is going on when she was much younger. I tell her she is going to be a missionary and head mistress of St. Leonard’s School. Isn’t it odd I’ve already left St. Leonard’s! How she has changed! I am looking out of the window onto the grass below. Turning to Anna I comment on the gothic architecture.
We look at a portrait and wonder if the present laird likes hunting, probably polo!
Nouveau, ha ha! The film star doesn’t laugh.
Ha ha He won’t be allowed to stay in the castle!
I refer to the film star, Magnus Magnuson and to Mary James. Martha is now Mary James, where is Jane? They must be together! I decide to ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross to see a fine lady upon a white horse. The song comes like a nursery rhyme, but the actions are somewhat different.
Now I shall do a sweep, I shall sweep down the passage. Jin, Jin inie Jin Jin cheroo. Apparently the mother is Jini, quite different from Jane because Jane is shame and alchoholics have much more fun.
Such fun! Such fun! Spotty trousers, rather fun!
Mother always says such fun but never has any.
This one’s for Mrs. Brown! I sweep down the passage and the sisters are ladies in waiting. The performance is coming together, the audience is fairly engrossed. Why are all the room attendants following us around? I thought they were supposed to stay in one room each. It must be a modern policy to alleviate varicose veins, terribly dull.
Mother seems to be getting on with the Americans better than I had expected. She has an understanding, and when she has an understanding with somebody, boy does she communicate with them. It’s all about communication. Would you like a glass of blood and a hunk of fleshy arm? She is the cannibal type although at this stage it is not a taste in her that I acknowledge.
The manifestation of original sin lies in madness. My own performance is coming along nicely and she is assuming the sorrowful wisdom of La Grand Dame. I don’t know why she likes the sound of that title, but it is one which she would choose herself. Very suspicious of the French, her daughter is part of the painful occupation.
Well, anyway, there we are. I make some comments about The Importance Of A Long Passage. I ask if it is called The Long Passage, or perhaps the Top Corridor, the South Wing, what else? It is incredible how the words just pelt out, forty seconds of witticism overtaking split seconds of indecency or the other way around, Joseph is lurking on the stairs. Who is he?
Time is still again as I rush onto the landing and say that I can’t think why I am being so mental he laughs together. I think I am laughing but I am not aware of what I am doing particularly. I do not know him, this is odd, we kiss, it is everything. What a holiday romance! What travel group are you with? I want to live opposite a chip shop and throw eggs at passers by! Give me a medieval sword fight! He knows me more than I can remember I don’t do full on mouth kisses. Never done that, never done sex, committed. What about triathlon? I think we should lunge!
Out in the garden are some box hedges, shaped boxes, Fleur de Leys like the box Godmother Suzie gave me. Frances of a Suzie. lovely fleur de leys. Fleur de leys. That’s a fleur de lis. Ya Flirtily. Gathering flowers the past time of maidens and hurry up Georgy, get sued by the council. Don’t pick the flowers and the guides are checking.
Never mind Mrs. Danvers! Can anybody find out who lives here?
Back soon I expect!
Find out, back soon, zoom back, back packers.
This is a youth hostel, I’m a youth hostage, Jane’s the jailor.
Hail a jailor. Ging gang goolie goolie goolie goolie watch it ging gang goo ging gang goo. Hail a, oh hail a jailor, oh, hail a jailor hail a whore, hail a, oh, hail a jailor oh hail a jailer jail a whore,
Shally wally shally wally shally wally shally wally oompa oompa oompa LUMPA diddle dee dee, if you are wise you’ll listen to me, Oompa lumpa diddle dee doo, if you are wise you’ll need the loo! I take a pee on the lawn.
So there I am shouting around outside the castle in skeggy tracky bums, feeling over the moon and doing a moonie as I pee on the grass, not wholesome or savoury I don’t suppose. Can’t remember what I ate for lunch, contaminated Jane products probably. Will the grass ever recover? What about the water supply? I look like a pissing bullfrog, squatting by the moat. Are there any tadpoles?
Pull yourself together. To gather what? So I gather, I gather. What a phrase! She’d rather gathered that you know. We’d better gather together, but it is time for separation, because I don’t want to be gathered. Jane likes to gather people up. Gather them up together, gaffa tape bondage, Double 0 Heaven, bandages in the car. She prefers to drive. Double 0 Jane’s pond.
No, that is not a pond, it is a moat! A moat is quite different, it prevails upon consent of the inmates. She simply doesn’t understand. I call it swimming.
What I need now is a good game of hockey, nice flat lawn, any sticks?
Stones can break my bones!
Stones on the lawn.
Stones on the path!
Keep off the path!
Keep off the lawn!
The castle is on the lawn. The stone castle. I am a stoned bone. Ha ha. Best use my own bone stick in a game of football. It is all a bit far from clear what the jokes are. The forfeit of embarrassment is drawing in. I have been an embarrassment and am only just beginning to realize. The truth is fading into shuddering.
Warm sun rays fill my nose as I look at a herbaceous border. Where are the tea rooms? People are looking around but there is nobody about. It could be hide and seek. Maybe they’re all inside having lunch. Well, I came out of the back door, so I think I’ll go around to the front. Somebody asks me if I want a cup of tea. Perhaps we’ve broken down. Waiting for the AA. This is not the tea room or shop. I want a souvenir. So sorry I don’t know why I’m in the wrong place! I cannot look at these people. I’m sure they’re very busy and must be getting on.
They must be the house sitters. We went to France and looked after a chateau in Blois and there was an enormous dog called Baron with slobbery chops.
What? I can’t bear Nicola Williams and she is condescending and has a policy of not speaking to me because Judy Dench says. I think she is really nice but she is like a prefect and she thinks she’s so responsible. People like school and why is it always people like school writing reports on people? I want to be a reporter, Kate Adie BPC News, better be nice. Have you ever seen the English Patient? I am from Scotland, kids with Iron Bru, Jeremy Irons. My uncle committed suicide, Jane never stops going on, she is much richer because of it. She is very insistent and in dreams I say who cares.
People are saying it is not a dream, so I carry on shouting because I am the centre of attention, and that is a dream, and I am obnoxious, and that is a dream, and I am a martyr and that is a dream and I am dreaming and that is a dream.