As of yesterday another two people have bitten the dust: first Victoria Wood and then Prince.
Well I learned something new yesterday. Yes, I learned that Victoria Wood was dead and that she’d been ill with cancer and that she was only 62 – but I’ll come back to all that. The thing that really flabbergasted me was that her husband (ex-husband since 2002 apparently) who I always thought of as ‘that weird magician bloke’, was none other than Geoffrey Durham!
That won’t mean much to you but I’ve been reading his books on Quakerism for the last couple of years; and the fact that Quakers talk about him all the time and recommend his books without once mentioning that he was married to Victoria Wood and ON THE TELLY!!! just shows you how laid-back Friends are when it comes to celebrity. A lot of famous people are Quakers – Judi Dench is one, so is Sheila Hancock and so was the actor Paul Eddington – and yet I can just imagine them bimbling along to their local meeting and sitting there without anyone turning a hair.
So: Victoria Wood. I really missed seeing her on TV in recent years: she was one of the most original and hilarious comedians, managing to be feminist without being overly political (‘my boyfriend had a sex manual but he’s dyslexic. He spent half an hour looking for my vinegar’) and her partnership with Julie Walters was second to none. Walters is said to be devastated.
Wood was phenomenally talented as the above song shows; she could write songs, jokes, sketches and sitcoms and even did a spot of serious acting. ‘Dinnerladies’ was ground-breaking and very highly thought-of: but for me the song ‘Let’s Do It’ was her finest hour.
‘she licked her lips; she looked sublime/she turned off Gardener’s Question-Time’
‘I’m on fire with desire/I could handle all the tenors in a male voice choir’
‘This folly is jolly/bend me over backwards on me hostess trolley’
PS And now Prince!! OMG, where will it end?