Well here we are, it's 2016, I'm back from a successful panto run in Haverhill and who'd have thought we'd make it this far? I make a point of not making resolutions at this time of year. My decisions are brought on by more practical reasons ...
I usually say that people who make New Year's Resolutions have their head in the clouds if they think they'll stick to them for any period of time.
I gave up smoking because it was peeing with rain in Leatherhead when I was in a production there and I just couldn't be bothered standing outside the stage door getting soaked whilst puffing away.
I gave up drinking alcohol because my then agent thought it would be a good idea if one of us was sober during meetings, and as I suspected that it wasn't going to be her, I packed it in.
I'm not sure that I feel much better as a result, but apparently everyone else does. Neither of these seemingly momentous occasions happened on New Years Eve. They just happened.
However, I had plenty of time to think whilst in the green room at the Haverhill Theatre over Christmas, and this year I am going to make four:
I am going to say 'no' more often.
I've too often said 'yes' as a favour. The entertainment world is quite a curious one where many people think that because you enjoy your work you are happy to do it for charity, i.e., free.
Often the person who asks you to do a 'free one' is on a damned fine annual salary, or the person is volunteering in their spare time, but otherwise earning a decent salary in their day job. While asking me to do my day job for nothing.
Nicholas Parsons told me, many moons ago, that he was happy to do gigs free of charge, so long as absolutely everyone else was doing it free of charge. That is a very fair point and one that can get you out of almost anything as in most cases, someone is being paid such as a venue or organiser. A venue often charges a reduced rate for charity gigs, but surely that begs the question that we should all be paid at a reduced rate too? I know that Nicholas does do charity work, and I've often thought of his advice.
That's not to say I won't do anything for free. I recently directed an (Award Winning!) Christmas music video which in case you haven't seen it is here:
I was pleased with it. All the people who worked on the video did it for nothing from the producer, actors, camera operators, runners, to the pub where we based ourselves (The Two Brewers in Olney) who provided a warm Green Room and tea and coffee during the shoot. So the money raised all goes to the charity. You could argue that not all of it gets to the food banks as the charity have overheads, but you need to draw the line somewhere and the actual filming project was done free of charge by all of us and that's what I was involved in.
I'm not being a meanie, it's just I want to free up my spare time with my wife and daughter, so I'm going to do just a few a year. I always help with the MC bit at The Pancake Race at Olney as it's my hometown, they're a great bunch of people, and Willen Hospice does fine work in Milton Keynes. My band are sometimes wheeled out to play at their events and we're always pleased to do that.
I won't take on jobs or engagements that I don't like.
In a way that amounts to the saying 'no' argument above, but not quite. Some fairly lucrative contracts can be so full of trouble that you have to consider if it's worth the work or risk involved.
I shall in future consider it very carefully. I don't want to work with humourless people, as it's too much hard work and I'm not as young as I was and my knees are going so I probably won't be riding horses bareback through railway carriages anymore, as it's too much risk.
I have found a new diet that allows you to lose weight easily.
It's called 'eating less' and I'm told it's an extremely efficient way of losing weight sensibly, so I'll give that a go.
I'm not going to write a book.
It's true ... I'm not.
So looking at the above resolutions. I'll probably break the first one by saying 'yes' to something, I'll no doubt break the second one as if something is well paid enough it's too difficult to say no, and the third one is tricky as my wife and I have decided to host more parties and lunches, so it doesn't bode well - plus I love Steak and Kidney Pud, mashed spuds, carrots and peas.
Which - I've just remembered - is why I never make New Year's Resolutions, and is why I put the fourth one in. I certainly won't break that one, so one out of four as a success rate is above average I'd guess.
Onwards and upwards ... Happy New Year!
Until next time ...
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More about David Pibworth ...
David is the owner of David Pibworth Productions who provides entertainment for theatre and corporate events. This ties in very well with The Arches Theatre, an outside venue that David owns underneath a disused railway line, equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. This was one of the few venues that could operate with social distancing in place during the summer of 2020 and where they ran everything from Shakespeare to Richard Digance through the summer months.
David has been involved in light entertainment for many years, even going back as far as working on a production with Norman Wisdom in London. He has a knack of keeping in touch with everyone he's worked with and would bring such people as Chas and Dave, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk round to play locally when the chance arose.
His company also represent the stage rights for Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, the writers of Steptoe and Son and Hancock's Half Hour. He has recently negotiated permission with Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to produce Porridge on stage although this is all hampered by the current situation and the availability of theatres.
Next year, at the Arches Theatre, he will produce Ripping Yarns, written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. This will be an interesting production as not only does one episode involve playing a football match, but also with the agreement of Michael Palin and the wife of the late Terry Jones, it has been decided that all the profits on this production will go to a dementia charity as Terry Jones died as a result of dementia, as did David's father and uncle.
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