This quote, whilst obviously true, is of course rather out of date. All the world is actually a High Definition DVD (with bonus features). And when the fade to black is complete on my life, the credits will roll for a very long time indeed. So long is the list of supporting players that most of the viewing public will have shuffled out blinking into the kitchen to put the kettle on long before the copyright notices appear. Some perhaps dabbing a moistened eye, others bemusedly scanning the cover blurb and wondering if Blockbuster do refunds. But those who stay on the sofa while all the names of the beautiful people who played their part in my story scroll gently skyward will definitely get their money's worth.All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances...
Obviously I'm not going to list all, or even some of this castlist here on these pages, but now and then one or two may make an appearance. Think of this as an occasional 'making of' documentary.
One such name that will be ascending towards the set-top aerial before the thought of a cuppa has a chance to traverse all but the quickest minds, is the one who calls herself Misssy M.
Her influences on me are legion, probably more than she realises, but my thoughts today turn to a Summer afternoon and a fantastic barbecue at her parents house.
Possibly intentionally, it was a few hours in when she struck up conversation. I don't remember the exact dialogue, but the memories I have are thus -
M - "So what do you think?"
K - "Oh yes, definitely... Um, what?"
M - "Would you be up for it then?"
K - "Absolutely. Why not. Up for what, exactly?"
At this point I took my nose out of my wine glass long enough to finally smell trouble. I realised that we had been discussing M's admirable efforts at running, and it appeared I had just agreed to join in. More than that in fact - to stand in. There was a 10K race in a months time which she was unable to attend, so I had just agreed to fill her Nikes. How did that happen? Ordinarily if anyone had asked me to run 10 kilometres, I'd have run a mile. I don't think I had actually run anywhere for over ten years. And even then I was being chased.
But of course by this time I was well enough lubricated to buy the snake-oil. Well, I thought, how hard can it be? Can't do any harm? Would probably do me good in fact. I was carrying an extra pound or two, maybe I could see them off in the process. And it was for an excellent charity.
So the next morning, even after the Resolve had fizzed away the 'wrath of grapes', my own resolve remained. I could do this. And I did.
My first run was memorable. I was smart enough to not set my goals too high to start with, so I was merely aiming to still be alive after running round the block. To be honest it was a large block, probably around a kilometre in total, but I did indeed manage to return in one piece. I had taken the precaution of running sometime after 11pm, so the streets were suitably empty, and my embarrassment was kept to a minimum even as I trundled along at a geriatric pace. But once I got home - bright red, sweating profusely and steaming gently - a remarkable thing happened. I wanted to go again. Whether this was oxygen starvation making me delusional, or endorphins kicking in to placate my indignant leg muscles I couldn't say. But the fact remained that I loved it. So after a couple of days rest, I did it again. And again. Every other evening I would go a bit further, until after a couple of weeks I was up to 5K. After that I could really say I was hooked. Or at least my bank manager certainly could. My local branch of 'Run 4 It' were already organising their second staff bonus night out, as I emptied their shelves of all the lycra, overpronator-stabilising rehydrating high-visibility wicking monitoring paraphernalia I could lay my pin number finger on.
So it was that four weeks after polishing off a cheeky rioja over a blackened chicken leg or three, I was transformed into an amateur but addicted athlete finishing in the top half of a large field in my first race. And certainly not my last. Credit to the Misssy.
Stay tuned, more cast featurettes will no doubt appear soon.