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JENNY ECLAIR ON THE POST-TOUR BLUES

The Camberwell comedian is struggling to come to terms with reality after the Grumpy Old Women Tour comes to an end

For the past two and a half months, I have been on a 42-date Grumpy Old Women tour with the Fifty Shades of Beige show. I’ve been cooped up in the back of a Toyota Land Cruiser with two other women of a certain age, one of whom required sub-Arctic air-con on at all times to combat hot flushes so powerful they misted up the car windscreen; the other pointing at trees as they blurred past shouting ‘Oak. Sycamore. Bushy one…’.

It’s a good job I’m so easy going, I thought, as I sat there casually peeling bananas and picking my toenails on the back seat, while simultaneously watching a vein in the (male) driver’s neck throb dramatically.

Anyway, it’s over for now and I’m back in my lousy hotel of a house where the room service is shoddy and the Old Man keeps looking at me as if to say, ‘what are you doing here?’.

Coming down off a tour is a tricky thing, there’s no excuse not to be a proper grown up anymore, people expect you to be a functioning adult and do things like put petrol in your own car and buy food from a supermarket rather than a motorway service station.

I have spent so much time stopping on the motorway recently that now, when I wash my hands in my own bathroom, I spend a whole two minutes looking for the hand drier before giving up and using an old fashioned towel, which I then leave in a crumpled heap on the floor because, at some point during the day, a ‘girl’ will come along and pick it up.

Yes, I am ruined by Moto service stations, hotels and riders. The Grumpy Old Women rider – that’s refreshments supplied by the theatre, to the non-showbiz types – consisted of M&S salads and one bottle of Chardonnay, which was drunk in no time. Any edible salad leftovers, however, got squirreled away into the ‘tour Tupperware’. Forget the Class A drugs and whatnot, the thing that really keeps tours things ticking is easy access to picnic equipment.

In hindsight, one of the plusses of having a rehearsal room all those months ago down the Walworth Road was its proximity to the largest selection of pound shops in south London – oh, the choice of snap-lid storage! While touring might have made divas out of us all, we haven’t not gone completely mad – if we were ever to have a Grumpy tour motto tattoo, it would read ‘waste not, want not’. One Direction, take note.

Anyway, now I’m back and south London is looking mighty fine. There is a new Ben and Winifred Nicholson exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Art and Life, Brockwell Lido is calling, tempting me in for a swim, and as someone recently said on Twitter, its time to play that amusing summer game of Drink When You See Someone From Clapham Lost On The Way To Frank’s Cafe…

Get the latest from Jenny Eclair here

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