Back in January, I wrote a post about how I felt when David Bowie died, about how his legacy touched my family and how he had become like the edgy, cool uncle when we’re listening to music. I had to acknowledge however, that he didn’t really have a defining influence on my life. I didn’t make a profound discovery about myself through listening to his music. I just love it and besides, I wasn’t that cool.
So yesterday, when I heard about the death of Victoria Wood, I knew that there had been a seismic shift in my life.
It wasn’t the fact that I cried when I heard The Ballad of Barry and Freda on the radio and then again when I watched the Spaghetti Sketch on the News.
Regular readers to this blog will know that on the 1 to 10 scale of sadness with 10 being utter despair and 3 being slight melancholy, I’m a lost cause at anything past two and a half.
It was more that it reminded me of when Victoria Wood was the defining influence in my life and it made me realise that much of my sense of humour and my frequent inability to take things seriously, are down to her.
So this is a letter from my teenage self, explaining what she means to me.
Dear Victoria Wood,
Hello. How are you? Sorry, I’m a bit nervous writing to you. I know I shouldn’t be. You seem really lovely on television so I expect you’re just as lovely in real life. You can tell that about a person, can’t you? It’s all in the eyes according to my Mum.
‘If the smile doesn’t reach the eyes then run a mile, Annie. Also never trust a man with a beard.’
Good advice I’m sure you’ll agree and it means that you are both trustworthy and lovely according to my mother because you don’t have a beard and your smile always reaches your eyes. In fact, you look as if you’re having the time of your life when you’re performing. It’s as if you’re talking to a room full of friends and I love that.
Sorry, I’m rabbiting on now instead of telling you the reason for this letter.
I wanted to say thank you. From the bottom of my heart and the heart of my bottom. Sorry. Again. I stole that line from Fry and Laurie. Do you know them? They’re my other favourites. I wrote to them as well.
Anyway, as I was saying, I wanted to thank you because you sort of saved me. That sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it? I do like a bit of drama but I like comedy more. I have filled my life with as much comedy as I can – I particularly love you, of course. And Blackadder. And French and Saunders. I watch everything over and over again. I memorise all the lines.
My friend and I performed your ‘Self Service’ sketch last year at the church revue. I played the Julie Walters part. I wasn’t very good and I didn’t understand half the references but I loved it. I love making people laugh. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?
You’re brilliant at it of course and I think the way you play with words is very clever. My friends and I can’t say, ‘Malibu,’ ‘pochette,’ or ‘you’d be very middling at modelling, Madeleine’ without laughing now. Actually, that’s another thing. I’ve made some really good friends because of you – friends I can laugh with and say,
‘Hello, I’m looking for my friend, Kimberley. Have you seen her?’
Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. For making me laugh and helping me to see the funny side of life in all the silly little things that happen. I’m going to try to keep making people laugh in some way if I can, ideally until chips come down their noses. I hope you approve. I reckon you do.
Much love and a plate of macaroons,