A diary of one man's utter failure, depression, frustration, cock-ups, and impecuniousness, starting in August 1947
In their wisdom, (and having no one left to pick) the Bridgeway Hall Methodist Chapel's Theologian committee chose me to play the (small but essential they said) part of Charley Bates, one of Fagin's pickpockets.
I surprised myself with how easily I digested the few lines that I had, and I impressed others in the early rehearsals.
The final rehearsal night:
In one scene, I was to blow out a candle, shout "This way", and wave to the others to follow me, as I left the stage.
Exactly how I managed as I reached to snuff out the candle with my fingers, to knock it off the tea-chest and onto the window netting we were using to cover the chair, I do not know.
When the fire-brigade had left the Mission Hall, I learned I had lost the role.
I was in bed with Sophia Loren and Diana Dors, with all sorts of wonderfully unhealthy and stimulating activities being carried out...
I then found myself sat in the rain, on a coalman's dray (horse's-cart) discussing the problems of getting the plastic pilot to rest evenly in the cockpit chair of his Airfix Messerschmitt Bf 109 model kit, without getting glue on the canopy window, with Burnley FC forward Andy Lochhead...
Then found myself down a street drain being chased by giant rats...
Only to find myself playing a part in a Tony Hancock episode, in which I could not remember my lines...
Then I was back in bed with Sophia Loren and Diana Dors, with all sorts of wonderfully unhealthy and stimulating activities being carried out... then I woke up and realised it had all been a dream.
I think I cried.
In my ten years with the company, I had never had a day off sick, and had only been late on duty once.
With so many of the lads knocking off with sickies, and then my fellow controller joining them, I ended up working straight through for 66 hours over the holiday period.
One of the supervisors brought me in a Christmas dinner, and the night men took me off for two hours each night shift so I could wash shave and have a nod to keep going.
The Operations Manager thanked me profusely, The Owner thanked me, the Night Manager thanked me.
Two weeks later I was made redundant as they had out-sourced the control room duties to save cash in their effort for survival.