Last week I got a message from the Sand in your Eye Team. This is great as I didn’t even write it.
“So have your balls dropped yet?” This was the question Andy Firth asked of me when I was just thirteen years old, it was my first week at the Big School. In that first week I had auditioned to be in the school play for a performance called Blood Brothers and had somehow landed a great part of the younger Mickey. I at that time was very small for my age, very skinny and very ginger, a recipe for disaster. Fortunately I also had quite a good singing voice which kind of saved my skin in this hard nosed comprehensive city school called Butter Shaw Upper.
Andy’s reference to my balls was a very direct way of making a comment about my voice and physical maturity, half jest to the fact that I was still very much just a boy and half compliment as my singing back then was quite something. I never really knew how to answer this question that Andy seemed to always ask me, but I knew it was just a gentle brotherly jibe. You see, he had got the part of Mickey as well but at an older age, we were playing one and the same person. Andy at this time was in his final year at school, five years older than me; dashing, tall, blond, and with all the girls swooning over him. He looked out for me in that first year and when ever he saw me again afterwards he would always ask: “So have your balls dropped yet?”
During my final year at school I landed the part of the Dentist in the musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ I by this time was very comfortable in the school and was no longer short with high voice, although still very ginger. I had spent many a good year performing in the school plays which set me out with fantastic memories and the wonderful tool of self confidence which is indispensible in public environments . In this final play I performed as the character of a masochistic womaniser and took great pleasure in thrusting my PVC clad pelvis in front of 300 people every other minute to their horror. My unfortunate sidekick was Helen Tidswell who played a nurse. We had to perform an evocative salsaesque dance to show just how sexy I was. My balls were in fine order by this stage.
It is some years on now, and Andy and Helen now have a family together. At this moment the three of us are sat eating Fish and Chips, our most glorious and world famous British cuisine that outclasses any Oyster dish. The occasion is our weekly meeting to discuss the Sandinyoureye world, as Andy and Helen are now very much part of it. You see, they have agreed to help me run my modest business which will reduce the rattling that often goes off in my overcrowded brain. When someone makes an enquiry, Helen answered it in her husky tones which varies depending on whether she has been singing that weekend. When a sand drawing needs to be done, then Andy the Grid King takes over. I am extremely lucky, as not only are they great at what they do, but I trust them implicitly from our performance days. This is harder to come by than any shiny orange metal.
So to Helen and Andy, welcome and may we enjoy!