Sunday, 28 June 2009

Jack your body

I was buying my lunch in M&S at London Bridge on Friday when I noticed a girl, early-20s but it's hard to tell (when I was in Norfolk recently, a bus driver asked me if I was UNDER 19 and it was the greatest moment of my life), roaming the aisles in black and white face paint.

In my usual open, non-judgmental way, I assumed she was on her way to her first Glastonbury, and demonstrating to all the stiffs staying in London exactly what an anything-goes time she was going to have down there.

Then, when I was queuing up to pay for my Mexican three bean wrap and half-price cherries, I found myself standing right next to her. In a way that was both sheepish and slightly attention-seeking, she shouted to her friend who was being served, 'Will you wait for me? It makes me look slightly less weird.'

We had a moment of catching each other's eyes, and she did a bit of eye-rolling and 'I'm so embarrassed.' I told her what I had surmised about her kerazee Glasto get-up, but she shook her head and said glumly, 'I'm Jack The Ripper.'

She worked at the London Dungeons, as it turned out.

'It's alright for her,' she said, nodding at her friend. 'She's a plague victim.'

I can confirm that the friend did look dramatically, and terminally, fake-ill.

'She gets a costume,' Jack said. [She was right. Plague Victim was working a generic olden-days skirt, and a dowdy blouse item.] 'So everyone knows she's playing a character. I just have to put a big coat and hat on over my own clothes.'

I was interested in the gender politics of a woman playing the prolific murderer of prostitutes. Obviously I didn't say that. I just went, 'But you're a girl. Cool.'

She explained that since she was pretty much covered up, with a scarf across half her face, she could loom out of the shadows and slash away with drama-student abandon, and no one would know that under her coat she had been concealing not just a knife, but also breasts (two).

[Has anyone ever written a horror film set in a chamber-of-horrors re-enactment experience? I went through one at Madame Tussaud's a few years ago, when I was there in the evening for a work party. I honestly thought that was the way I was going to die. Incidentally, the evening ended prematurely after someone spilt red wine on Wax Madonna's white suit. A couple of years before that, I had been to a record launch there [Moments Where My Life Sounds More Exciting Than It is No 64] and the management became quite distressed when one of my colleagues pulled Wax Alan Titchmarsh's trousers down. But really, what do they expect?]

Anyway, I was excited by my brush with grim-faced wearers of horror facepaint. However, not everyone is so easily impressed. We ended up paying at adjacent tills, and her cashier looked her up and down, before saying in a voice of sighing and ennui, 'Who are you today, then?'


Robert Hudson said...

I know an amazingly good actor who works at the Dungeon. Or did until relatively recently. Whoever picks them seems to have a good eye. You may have seen him act.

Miss Jones said...

I feel like I could have a pretty good guess at who you mean. If I'm correct a) he is a very good actor, b) he does an excellent line in demonic laughter c) one of our party fancied him [not me, or Wiggers]

Robert Hudson said...