Friday, 24 May 2013

Y is for You Make Me Feel So Young

Y is for You Make Me Feel So Young!

You singing the song?!
     Oh, birthdays were something to look forward to in your youth!  A year older.  How grown up.  What bliss.
     I can’t remember when birthdays stopped exciting me, but for a long while now, I know that at the start of every new year, September is already on the horizon and I will be another year older.  The impending depression starts in earnest during the summer.
     I remember attaching the new 2010 calendar to the office wall.  It was a good one, from my daughter.  It was called ‘Another Shit Year’  – Amen to that. I remember thinking that 2010 was, indeed, going to be a particularly ‘Shit Year’.  I would be 50-10.  I am so NOT going to say the ‘S’ word.
     Anyway, I had a call from a cool young thing who had seen me performing my jazz/blues standards somewhere and wanted to book me.  She was in her final year at college, studying photography.  As part of her final year she had to organise an exhibition of her photographs, and she wanted some quality background music for the launch.  This 19 year old girl had picked ME!!!  How wonderful.  I felt ten years younger already.
     On the evening of the ‘do’, there were loads of youngsters (her college friends) and older folk (family and friends of family).  Anyway, the evening was going well and I was enjoying myself, when a woman came up to me and said, “Didn’t you used to be Nonny Leetham?”
     Gosh.  She referred to me by my maiden name.  She obviously recognised me from decades ago, before I’d launched into a series of doomed and unsuitable marriages (another story).  I felt even younger. I’d obviously not changed that  much.
     “Yes” I said, probably grinning a little too much.
     “I thought so.  You were at school with my sister” 
     Uplifting conversation and memories continued until I went back to entertaining the ‘Young Ones’.  At the end of the evening, my young photographer friend came up to me and said,  “Oh that was great.  Thank you so much”.  I felt young and funky.  “All my friends think you’re absolutely great”.  I felt even younger and even funkier.  “And what a small world – you were at school with my Granny’s sister”

     I felt very old and absolutely gutted.

Y is for Yehudi

A precious memory from my days at the BBC.
     I remember being busy in the production office,  making phone calls, doing some research, writing scripts.  My close friend and colleague was in an ‘off air’ studio editing material for his classical music programme.  I was very busy.  An intercom message came through to the production office from the studio: ‘Would Nonny James please come to Cubicle 1B’.  Grrr.  I’m busy!  So I went through to the studio and said, “What do you want?  I’m very busy”.
     “I wonder if you could go and pick a guest up from the [railway] station?  I’m interviewing him in half an hour and I’m not ready.  I’m very busy”.
     “You’re busy?  I’m flipping busy.  Who is it?.”
     “Oh – um – Yehudi Menuhin”
     I dropped everything and went!  What a totally wonderful man.  Charming, polite, and totally unassuming (considering who he was!).  He seemed in awe when we told him that we operated all the equipment ourselves (local radio!). 
     “Oh how clever.  You are both so clever.”  HELLO?! Yehudi Menuhin thinks we’re clever?  I’ll never forget that day.  And he signed an old Menuhin vinyl album of mine with a wonderfully personal message.

No, it’s not for sale!

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