WHAT ENTITLES ME TO WRITE ABOUT THE PRINCE OF WALES?
An early encourager of upstart quirks was the lovely Miss Theobald, our teacher back at the Primary School. When Sleeping Beauty was cast she had me down for the King.
Some other pupil brought in a red dressing gown (this was something unheard-of in our house; pyjamas yes, but what was a dressing gown?), and I was rigged out in that.
Someone else brought in black ‘stockings’. To my relief, these were actually like knee socks, not tights. Someone else brought in leather ankle boots.
My head was measured and an arty child in a class above ours hand-crafted an impressive crown.
Ron Keeley played Prince Charming, and I think that created some problems for him down the line as well. But there were no two ways about it, I was the King. No one seemed surprised.
When I entered through the backdrop during that First Night and only night, with one hand steadying that gold-painted cardboard crown studded with plastic rubies, I was a sensation.
There stood the Princess and Prince Charming holding hands and talking about love and all its phantasmagoria, while over the other side I, the authority figure, advanced and spouted my lines. Everyone accepted me as the King.
That night I tasted power.
No one else had to learn the King's lines, or assume command. It was up to me, a responsibility not to be lightly undertaken.
Yes, it was all a massive joke, the power was make-believe. But … I still crave it.
Are schools liable for all this? Is there any compensation due from education authorities that plant great expectations in a lad? So great as to be unreasonable? Surely they know that after all the glory, in a few years school is over and the pupil has to get out there amongst the piranhas?
My parents may have wondered what they had hatched when I succeeded in getting accepted for grammar school (one of the four pupils on the whole of the estate that year who did so) and later got into university.
They felt the betrayal bitterly later when according to their reckoning I should have been Charley Greybollocks, the man with the Good Job. Unfortunately I showed no interest in applying myself to anything except reading and writing. Everyone knew there was no money in that.
When I went into cleaning instead of finding something white collar which would enable me to skim along in the gold-plated Corvette out of the TV show 'Route 66', my parents and others were sorely unimpressed.
I was the Failure, the Loser.
But in my own kingdom, the kingdom of the imagination, I knew how to step it like a Royal. Had I not experienced a brush with destiny? Was I not a royal watcher and self-appointed expert by the power of a ‘so potent art’?
Consequently, to me it's somewhat natural to write about kings, queens, and sealing wax, also Dion Dalvad, the Prince of Wales.
[Dion, Prince of Wales. Get his story by clicking the cover below.]