Monday, 26 May 2008

Pam Ayres

Pam Ayres was born at Stanford in the Vale in Oxfordshire.

She went to same school as my younger brother in Faringdon, and to this day lives down the road from where my family live.

As kids, my older sister was mad about her poems, and being a younger sibling, whatever tickled my sister's fancy, piqued my interest. 'I wish I'd looked after my teeth' prompted me to brush regularly, morning and night. This poem was also voted into the Top 10 of a BBC poll to find the Nation's 100 Favourite Comic Poems.

I discovered poetry at around the age of eight, thanks to her, and I learned to write poetry by reading her, basically. I used to write volumes of the stuff.

Her feeling for rhythm and wit was inspired by Lonnie Donegan.

Pam Ayres MBE (born 14 March 1947)

Friday, 16 May 2008

Claire Grogan

Some personally related facts about Claire Grogan:

1. I have her name as a middle name.

2. I once wrote to Jim'll Fix It to meet her and perform on stage with her. I wrote in my best handwriting and got my Dad to proof-read it, but two weeks after depositing in a shiny red letter box, another little girl from the Bristol area was selected instead of me. Watching TV that night, I think that was my first, heart-sink, kick-in-the-teeth moment. But of course, that's life, and so thanks to Ms Grogan for giving me the first tangible taste of NOT FAIR.

3. Gregory's Girl is one of my favourite British films. Grogan's also starred in Irish favourite Father Ted, of course, as the Sinead O'Connor pastiche - and not a bad Dublin accent too - could even rival mine at a push.

4. And what's this I hear about a story of a marriage between her and David Hepworth? Somebody please clear this story up for me.

Claire Grogan (born, 17 March 1962)