“Hello Doncaster, what are you waiting for?”
“Hello Doncaster, who are you waiting for?”
I was standing at the front of the stage; the line-up was behind me, which was good. My face was made up with red, blue and green diamonds. I wore black cowboy boots and the usual white tee-shirt and shorts.
“You have seen that Eloise is not in the line-up today and you have probably guessed that Eloise is ill. Yes, she is watching the show from the Wonder Bus. In the last 92 shows Eloise has sung Eloise just before the break – you expect that, don’t you?”
“So bear with me, this is my first time in front of a large audience.”
Every night I'm there I'm always there She knows I'm there and heaven knows I hope she goes (Eloise) I find it hard to realize That love was in her eyes It's dying now She knows I'm crying now And every night I'm there I break my heart to please Eloise Eloise
I belted out Eloise and Anyone Who Had a Heart into a radio mic. I had the line-up of eight girls dancing behind me, they did not sing, but I can tell you, I could feel it, I knew that they were right behind me like having your back to the furnace.
Anyone who had a heart Would take me in his arms and love me, too You couldn't really have a heart and hurt me Like you hurt me and be so untrue Anyone who had a heart would love me too Anyone who had a heart would take me In his arms and always love me too Why won't you
“OK, Doncaster! That was not enough, we want everybody in Doncaster to hear Eloise. One more time!” This time the girls all joined in, perhaps everybody in Doncaster could hear Eloise.
I joined the line-up for the big Men of Harlech finale – lots of applause.
“Good bye Doncaster!” eight times.
“But before I say good bye, I want to sing a slow, quiet number.” I sang Eloise again, but slowly and quietly without a mic. The audience went quiet – 9gals! always end with a slow number.
I felt something soft and damp lurch into me from behind. I thought that it was a drunk from the audience. It was Eloise. I grabbed her to prevent her falling. I clamped my arms around her and kissed her. Her eyes were wide open and full of terror – she was having a fit.
The eight girls took over the singing and I helped two paramedics put Eloise onto a stretcher and carry her off the stage.
Eloise: Yes, Harlequin has sung Eloise at every show for the last six months, she’s just as good as me. Aren’t you, darling?
Harlequin: If you say so.
Jim Simes: So Eloise, you have recovered now…
Eloise: Yes, full nine girl line-up at tomorrow’s show in Cirencester. But don’t think that Harlequin won’t be on stage too – wait and see.
Jim Simes: You promised to tell me all about your illness...
Eloise: Did I? I suppose the story must come out now – perhaps not everything. Right, Harlequin?
Eloise: Eloise singing Eloise just before the break was just something we had to do – our fans demanded it. So we had to have another girl ready to sing Eloise if I got ill or something. None of the other eight wanted to do it, I had practised with Harlequin, still do. So we asked her, right, Harlequin?
Eloise: Good thing too. I got bad big time. An allergy to sweetcorn. And worse, an addiction to sweetcorn. And the attacks or fits if you like to call them that. Violent ones and quiet ones. The violent ones were not to bad, I broke everything I could get my hands on, I quite enjoyed that…
Harlequin: Not only things, people as well. And she bit us too. We had to tie her up and put a mouth-lock in her mouth.
Eloise: Yeah, I enjoyed that. The quiet fits were awful though, lots of daemons and crazy monsters who wanted to eat me. I was terrified, I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t move.
Harlequin: You also stank of sweetcorn. We banned sweetcorn from our house and from our diet. That was easy. Some A-holes send us cans of sweetcorn – we take them to the nearest food-bank. But not just sweetcorn, do you know that corn flour is in so many food products? We had to change all our eating habits – no takeaways, no restaurant visits, too dangerous.
Jim Simes: And now you’re fit, Eloise? Another question – about Harlequin this time.
Eloise: I know what you’re going ask.
Harlequin: Me too. A good question. See you in Cirencester tomorrow.
“Good bye Doncaster!”
Much laughter. The two of us were at the front of the stage, the line-up behind us, with just a last lullaby to sing.
“No, I meant that. Six months ago I sang on the stage for the first time in Doncaster and I forgot to say ‘Good bye Doncaster’. So I’m doing it now to please all you Doncastrians who are not in the audience. And when I say ‘Good bye Cirencester’ I’m saying it for all of us.”
“We had an idea – to ask you which one of two songs you would like as the final lullaby, by asking you to put a cross on a piece of paper.”
“We knew that you would make two crosses. So here goes!”
We all sang Summertime and Eloise slowly and quietly.