Well, here it is folks, my very last column for this esteemed publication.
I’ve written about litter, toilets, seagulls, being kidnapped by a mad bus driver in Turkmenistan, how I met the president of Costa Rica dressed as Lady Margaret (me in the frock, not El Presidente), being rescued from up a tree by a fully liveried butler, eating live fish in Tokyo and dressing as a Greek soldier for the opening of the European Games in Athens (my disguise was spotted immediately).
I’ve recounted many an adventure with the fantastic Natural Theatre Company (now in its forty-fifth glorious year) including leading the Queen’s jubilee procession down (or was it up?) the Mall, an experience that did wonders for our live audience figures (one million and counting, meaning our meagre annual subsidy worked out at .0000001 pence per person.)
Or how our paper party hats distributed to a sweaty German audience left permanent purple stains on their foreheads. Not forgetting getting arrested while dressed as Hari Krishna devotees in Vienna, getting arrested for throwing confetti in Brighton and getting arrested in Bath for ‘acting funny’. Concerning that last one, when I explained somewhat haughtily to the officer that this was my job and I got an Arts Council grant for doing it, he replied ‘The Arts Council must be bleedin’ mad!’
I started off years ago simply telling stories about the theatre company’s latest japes. In fact my column was called Thespian Thoughts. Then the editor at the time said I could write about anything and everything. Flicking through the back titles in my files I can see that he certainly got what he asked for. I honestly don’t remember writing half of it! What the heck did I have to say about collapsing chairs in the Caribbean, Belarusian passport control or a hippo with diarrhoea in Munich? One day I’ll re-read the lot.
Meanwhile all is not lost. In case you didn’t know it, I have a blog. If you miss my ramblings, log on to www.ralphoswick.com and if I’ve bothered to get out of bed and fired up the old PC, there will be a new titbit of nonsense every Thursday. It’ll be just like reading the Chronicle, only free!
So long and thanks for all the fish.