Saturday 20 February

With not a sniff of the stolen coal to be had it could be that I’m relying on my nascent acting career to keep me in short shorts and ‘cowboy’ denim this coming season (see the new ‘Home on the...’ range at Post-Colonial Apparel). Certainly our formidable foreman believes that the untouchable mill owners and retired ministers of labour who struggle to steer our NGO (Nnngg Grrrr Organisation) will have no hesitation in recovering the price of their lost investment from our Voluntary Early Death settlements. And while five pounds per performance isn’t quite slave labour, as it might prove to be in 1965, or 2065, it is close enough to the mark for our Stage Manager to give careful instruction on how to stash it – deep within the ruffles of our costume to avoid anyone in the audience getting the slightest idea of our salary. Ironically enough, it is as prisoners – in chains – that we will perform our honest work over the weeks to come. Today, at the final run-through, Makepeace and I get a decent Exchange – a couple of sashays (tomato-based..? or will we cut the mustard..?) up and down the stage and the Director, Milton Beefheart, appears well-satisfied, giving the shuffling rabble a thumbs up and crisp round of applause as the SM raises an eyebrow. First round to the condemned Eurasian hordes!

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