Three weeks ago the UK water authorities declared us in a drought situation. Since then it has rained every day since. But we British are enduring fellows. The British ‘stiff upper lip’ is well-known to be lying over a row of gritted teeth!
The rain may have settled in with seeming permanence, but it was doing nothing to stop the frolics at the Brighton Festival 2012, which began last weekend. Saddled with the choice to sit on my backside and moan about the incessant rain, or to get off my backside and go and do something, I took the decision to strap my bike onto the back of my trusty little Seat, and drive down to the coast to join them. I’d perused the Festival brochure of ‘comedy, theatre, cabaret, music & events’ (sewer walk anyone?) and put asterix alongside acts that piqued varying degrees of interest.
Sky…the cable people, have constructed a room on the lawns of the Royal Pavillion. For one month they are hosting live gigs and workshops, free gratis and for nothing. One of my ticks was placed against the listing of a guy called Seye. When I entered the room, not one purple bean bag or sofa was free so I sat on the floor by the small stage. A young guy stepped up in skinny jeans and faded red pixie boots. Seye was a thin, sprig of a boy. Intent from the outset for us pronouncing his name correctly. ‘Remember it’s eyes backward, but you say it like ‘share’. he said. I guess his prompting worked. A singer songwriter with a unique sound, African inspired with a bit of RnB and a little something else. He sang about his observations of life, and the women in it. More than one of his songs bear the title of a girl’s name. I guess he’s popular off the stage too.
He was talented and so sweet. Listen to him here
I decided to come down again next day. It was a Sunday. I craved something mellow. Comforting. The Fringe brochure listed ‘Storytelling with tea’. It caught my eye. ‘That sounds mellow’, I thought. I booked it online and made my way along the A27 to Brighton again. The storytelling was at the www.latestmusicbar.co.uk. I’d never been there before, so I pushed open the door with a slight drag of hesitation. Inside I was greeted warmly, and poured a cup of fresh green tea. There were seven of us in total. The storyteller, Lynne Ruth Miller, wore life experience on her elfin face and spoke with an American accent, with the confidence of one who was obviously, lovingly encouraged to use her voice. Her small frame in leggings and cornflower blue silk tabard, exuded more presence than geographical area.
We seven sat around a bruised pub table. The centrepiece a decorative bowl piled with homemade muffins, and frosted ring donuts. My brain muttered something about ‘oh God, what have I booked here’, before it was rendered voiceless by the woman at the head of the table. She stood. Came eye line height to us sat around the table, and began to tell stories of a little girl dressed in theatrical bows and starched Shirley Temple dresses. She spoke of her mother, a migrant from Romania, who feverently wished her daughter to be American through to the core like a sweet stick of Brighton rock, and her characterful grandmother who charmed that little girls imagination with stories and warmth. Sitting there, listening to Lynne Ruth, our emotions both rollercoastered and tea danced along her timeline of life. She was hilarious and animated. Her hands drew the stories in the air in front of us. We cried and laughed, and did that thing where your head falls to your shoulder and you let a little sigh escape your lips. My favourite story was entitled ‘farewell to the tooth fairy’ and I was wide eyed at her ability to morph into her six-year-old self, loosing her milk teeth. She delivered the punchline with aplomb. I was a little sad when the 60 minutes had counted down to nought. I had enjoyed my brief time with my temporary family and didn’t want it to end.
I fell in love with Lynne Ruth Miller and her effervescence. I also longed to tell stories with her captivating manner. I enquired if she held story-writing workshops. She said she was busy with other projects, doing cabaret and her stand up show: Approaching 80. Yes, incredibly this woman is 78, nearly 79, and is running around all over Brighton and has played to audiences at the Edinburgh Festival too. ‘But, she said, ‘what a lovely idea’. I clapped my hands with glee.
I talked her into it and I am thrilled that she is going to be holding a micro workshop on 21st May 6:30 – 8:30 at the www.latestmusicbar.co.uk It is going to be such fun and I cannot believe how fortunate we are to have her teach some of her skills to us.
I totally recommend you coming to see her performances. Click here for her schedule www.lynnruthmiller.com
Whilst putting this post together I googled Lynne Ruth and was gobsmacked to find her on YouTube. She was delivering one liners in front of the judges of Britain’s Got Talent, and even had Simon Cowell laughing! She got THREE Yes’! What an AMAZING woman, and it just goes to show it really is never too late. See her on YouTube here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wze9Wd_Jp2U I totally LOVE this woman!
Come on her course and you will fall for her too! Details here http://www.meetup.com/East-Sussex-Writers-Group/events/64085482/ or here http://www.meetup.com/The-Raw-And-The-Cooked-Vegan-community/events/64085702/