My workmate, Martin and I went for a drink after work today. Initially, we had thought of going to “Henry, Henry” at the Henry Dean Plaza, but as usual for a Friday it was busy and noisy. So we thought, then, of another nearby bar which, oddly enough was closed. And so wandered over to the Crystal Palace, one of those older-style pubs which hasn’t had one of those chrome and timber makeovers. It’s kinda daggy, and most of the crowd probably have drinking problems. But had we not chosen the Crystal Palace, I would not have met Linda Robson who played Tracey in “Birds Of A Feather”.
Just like the pub itself, “Birds Of A Feather” was a little daggy. But it was one of those great English comedies which survived for many years thanks to its simple honesty. I first remember watching it on a Saturday night sometime after “The Bill”. At its heart was the story of two sisters forced to live together after their husbands were sent to gaol. Working class girls through and through, they became unlikely friends with their middle-class next door neighbour, Dorian. Like the girls, though, she was also a little lonely, as she and her husband seemed to lead separate lives, and though Dorian was often portrayed as a bit of a slut, you knew she also had a heart of gold.
As Tracey, Linda Robson was the “nice sister” who remained in love with her husband behind bars, caring for the welfare of their son, and providing home and shelter to her her less well-off sister Michelle, played by Pauline Quirke.
Almost fifty, Linda Robson is in Australia for the “Grumpy Old Women Tour”.
When she and her grand-daughter (I imagine) sat down next to us she caught my eye. “Is it OK for us to sit here”, she inquired, concerned that the girl (who was maybe 10 or 11) wouldn’t be allowed to sit on the footpath bar outside the “Crystal Palace”. I assured her it was fine, even though I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a breach of the licensing laws.
As Martin and I were on our second beer, I had decided to ask her if I could have a photograph and had asked Martin if he would take the photograph. As we were about to leave I asked her, apologising for interupting the conversation she was having with her daughter (I think) and grandkinds. “No worries she said, though I better put on some make-up”, she joked. Of course, she could have told me to piss off, but didn’t and was really nice about the invasion of her private space.
As a way of apologising, I guess, I told her I was going to see the show next Wednesday night. “Hopefully, it’ll be alright by then” she joked in that wonderful accent of hers.
I thanked her, and immediately SMS’d a couple of friends who would know who she was. A nice moment. And of course, I couldn’t wait to blog about this.