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Along Whiteladies Road

Poetry By: Carl Halling
Memoir



The Adventures of a Hopeful Actor in London, Buxton and Bristol in the late 1970s/early '80s
(Image dates from ca. 1979)


Submitted:Jul 15, 2007    Reads: 161    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   


Farewell Lauderdale Tower

In the summer of 1979, following a year at London's prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, my career as an acting student came to an end. I don't recall exactly how I felt about this, but what is certain is that there were those who wept openly at the thought of my imminent departure. Indeed, there were moving scenes at my farewell party held as I recall in the depths of the Barbican Estate's Lauderdale Tower. In the course of this party, a close friend Gill Abineri advised me to contact a London-based agent who was well-known for offering young actors their very first positions within the entertainment industry. I owe her alot because the agent in question, a warm, generous, flamboyant man with an office near Leicester Square, was as good as his beneficient reputation.

From Buxton to Bristol

Within a few months I was doubling as Christian the Chorus Boy and Joey the Teddy Bear complete with furry costume in the pantomime "Sleeping Beauty" that began its run in Ealing, culminating around Christmas time at the Buxton Opera House. Early on in the new year moreover, the celebrated theatre director Richard Cottrell offered me the part of Mustardseed the fairy in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Bristol Old Vic. My acting career was off to a flying start.
The following relic from an unfinished tale, which has been reproduced with only very minor alterations and editings, and which I have called "Along Whiteladies Road", I retrieved only a day or so ago from a notebook I habitually wrote in during spare moments offstage at the Bristol Old Vic while dressed in my fairy costume and covered in make-up and glitter; and while doing so, some of this glitter was transferred from the pages with which they were stained more than twenty six years ago onto my hands. It was an eerie experience.

Along Whiteladies Road

I remember the grey
slithers
of rain,
The jocular driver
As I boarded the bus
At Temple Meads,
And the friendly lady
Who told me
When we had arrived
At the city centre.
I remember
the little pub
on King Street,
With its quiet
Maritime atmosphere
And the first readthrough.
I remember tramping
Along Park Street,
Whiteladies Road
And Blackboy Hill,
My arms and hands
Aching from my bags
To the little cottage
Where I had decided to stay
And relax
In beween rehearsals,
Reading, writing,
Listening to music.
I remember my landlady,
Tall, timid and beautiful...




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