Thursday, February 3, 2011

Historically Yours

I don't think I can ever say that my field of work on a day to day basis is anything less than varied. Today for example I spent time wondering around a Georgian mansion to find jokes that can be used to entertain three groups of children on a historical tours in two week's time, and tomorrow I have to do two auditions for two different adverts both of which require me in very small pants. Some might say 'but Tiernan that simply appears to be a downhill trip through dignity loss as your week continues, but I say nay to those naysayers, it is merely the erratic nature of a clown's job to be riffing on the concept of the Dovecote being tiny jackets for birds and then the next minute to be shaking his tushy in gold hot pants to Kylie's 'Spinning Around'. That's just the kind of multi talented guy I am / sort of person who will do almost anything for money. Yep. Sigh.

I will save further tales of tomorrow's tiny panted antics for tomorrow's blog as no doubt it will require memoirs of its own if my last venture into a casting in Superman y-fronts was anything to go by (see NORWEGIAN SEA LIFE DISCO ) so I shall instead regale you with today's adventures. Due to my inability to say yes and constant yearning to never sit down or sleep again due to workload, I have agreed to lead some family friendly tours in a few weeks time around the recently refurbished Valentine's Mansion in Gants Hill, a veritable structural piece of sweetcorn in the grey turd that is Ilford. The notion of doing such a thing sounded immediately fun - romping around grounds making up lies to confuse 6 year olds while fully pretending its all historical fact - what on earth could be better? And indeed who better for the job than someone like me, a man who during history lessons as a child would instead draw weird doodles of a moose dressed up as a viking and spend exams working out the best way to balance the text book on my knees so I could just copy the answers. I have over years managed to convince myself that I like history. When I think about the past and the prospect of discovering more about it, expanding my worldly knowledge of how things, people, places and civilisations all came to be, I can't help but assume that I am the sort of person that will happily romp around museums absorbing it all through my overly wide eyes. Check me out for I am History McHistorian.

Truth is, unless its the Vikings, Egyptians or some awesome bit to do with swords, wars, myths or curses I'm instantly hugely bored. I have never cared for the Tudor crop rotation system, or the way in a which people cooked in the 1600's. None of that, thankyoo. If the maid gets her head cut off while making tea, or a farmer drives a cannon to sow his carrot seeds then we are in Tiernan interestville, but otherwise I'm not remotely bothered. Sadly I forget that history has these dull parts. Of course it does. In the same way in 2150 there will be children in schools whining that they don't want to learn about the 'accountants' of 2011 or watercolour challenge. History has to have these bits as otherwise no one would do them and no one would learn the lesson that television should never ever be made about a beardy old man making other people paint flowers with colours so see through they may as well leave the paper blank for an hour.

So arriving at the mansion today, with Nat tagging along for comedy input, I suddenly realised that 30 minutes is a very long time to take children around a place I know absolutely nothing about, have no recollection of and wasn't 100% that I'd want to relate information about. Luckily, I was hugely wrong. After dispelling all easily distractional mindsets early on by seeing a really fat squirrel -

SEE! LOOK HOW FAT IT IS??? - a very colourful duck and a moorhen who's feet were disproportionately large in comparison to its body, we were lucky enough to get a private tour around the mansion itself which was otherwise closed to the public till Sunday. Our rather nice tour guide Chris took time out of his office duties to walk us around each and every room showing us the original features of the house, giving facts about the Belgian refugees housed there during World War One, the issue with Georgian wigs and exactly what a Ha Ha was for. Many many notes were taken and I'm hopefully returning on Sunday to have another tour from someone pretending to be the last owner Mrs Ingleby. Far from being bored at all I found myself being amazed that such a beautiful building with such varied history is still standing in an otherwise highly urban area. I mean urban there as in built up, not RnB music or in a faux racist manner. So hopefully I shall be able to lead the children around making the foibles of a Victorian kitchen actually fun, and do my bit for their learning. Either that or I'll have to find a way to make that fat squirrel dance.

Should you be from near that way and want to come, there are a handful of tickets left for Feb 22nd. Have a look:


Also, please don't forget that you can now download the podcast of my 2010 Edinburgh show Littlest Things right here:


Right, I'm off to practice my dance moves....

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