Saturday, 18 December 2010

Waterfall cardigans and sausage curry: An evening with Jenny Eclair

“Hooray for me! Well done me!” cried out professional grumbler Jenny Eclair on the success of her side-splitting self help book Chin Up Britain. A lecture theatre packed with fellow grumpy old women was offered tricks on how to pimp your middle-aged crib and warned of the dangers of Per Una. Waterfall cardigans are like heroin for older women, apparently. She even threw in a few tips on online tight shopping to interviewer Trisha Cooper, who incidentally had used clear nail varnish to mend her own. And before the conversation got under way she was adamant to make it very clear where she got her shoes from. Office, by the way.

With topics such as the pros and cons of pregnancy, knitted breast enhancers and reminiscing with the audience about Sheffield’s Red Wedge Tour ‘86, you can imagine there’s potential for a young student to feel quite out of place.  Especially when there’s a forty-something blonde with horn rimmed glasses shouting at a late comer that they’re “going to get a third!” However, Jenny did not fail to fill us in on her student antics and how to make the perfect sausage curry. Why sausage curry? The result of living with a Sheffield butcher’s daughter who insisted on relying on the 1970’s postal service to provide a constant meat supply.

We were also enlightened by the manifesto of the “Don’t Be So Silly Party.” This would be lead by sensible people, the type that wouldn’t be afraid to make a fist and actually shake it. Geography teachers and prefects galore. The hypothetical party would propose to improve the lives of the public by making litter pickers eat what they drop and creating a Jane rival channel for Dave jam packed with bonnet drama re-runs. Oh and not forgetting a plentiful stock of working biros for all.

Other hilarious hints included how to save money for beginners ie casual theft. Courses would be available on how to bite off security tags and look nonchalant in the alcohol aisle. Eclair joked about the ridiculousness of self service scanners. Unexpected item in the bagging area? You should check my pockets.

In all, the talk provided a witty insight into not only what awaits us in middle age (honestly hope I'm like her in 20 years!) but the amusingly tempting read of Chin Up Britain. Unfortunately though, as the winter month’s loom, Jenny couldn’t offer any festive advice as the onset of Christmas has always been a trauma for her. Instead, she solves her own present dilemmas by writing a book every year. Touché.

An evening with Jenny Eclair @ Pennine Theatre, 13/11/2010