Cyrano De Bergerac & his Cat






Getting dressed up for the Asterion video started me thinking about some of the other times I have gone fancy dress in my life. I was sort of having a laugh to myself about book parades and other such things & it brought back some pretty funny memories.

Some of them possibly even repressed…

It started me thinking about some of the dodgy costumes that you always see at book parades. Go to any book parade in any part of the world & I’ll guarantee you will see:

a Wee Willy Winky costume – translation: parents forgot (1) = wearing the pyjamas you woke up in, a sock on your head & a candle in your hand.

Or The Ghost – translation: parents forgot (2) = worst sheet in the house with 2 holes cut out…

Still the worst costumes can often be much better than the best…

Take the following tale of woe, for eg:

I remember in 1st class one of my mates, Ray went as a Dalek. You know the killer robots from Dr Who. Absolutely fantastic costume – really elaborate & well made. It was sort of round & big enough to fit a small person in & it was made from some type of metal, which had been painted dark silver. It had all these buttons & gadgets glued to it & 2 big extendable arm type claw thingys. It had a thin eye slit cut out of it for vision & bars that you could place on your shoulders & lift it up with. His mum had to deliver it to school in a ute & his dad had spent weeks (maybe months) making it for him. It looked really realistic & Ray loved it – so did everybody else. There were only 2 problems with it. The first was that it was way too heavy for a little 7 year old kid to lug around. It took about 6 kids, his mother & a teacher to get the thing on top of him. So whilst everybody else would walk in a big circle around the playground about 5o times for book parade… Ray could only manage about 6 quick steps & he would be exhausted. He’d wait about 2 minutes & then he’d go again. 6 quick steps & then down. Classic! The 2nd problem was that it had no ventilation & it was a stinking hot day. After about 30 seconds in that thing he was sweating like a pig. So to solve the problem they put him in his undies underneath it. It was pretty funny! Every time you went past him all you could see were these fevered sweaty little eyes peaking out of the eye slits. The dude looked desperate in there. Then he’d take 3 or 4 quick steps & go down again. We still laugh about it whenever we see each other. On a happier note he did win 1st prize…

 I also remember some other absolute shockers. I remember my mum once dressed me as a leprechaun. Sounds cool, but all she really did was dress me in a pair of her green slacks, a very feminine shawl & glued cotton balls all over my face for a beard. I wasn’t a leprechaun – I was a 7 year old drag queen with a shaving problem! Stuff like that can ruin a guy in primary school… My brother went as Robin Hood & the elastic in his tights broke. He spent the whole day with his arse hanging out of his pants. Poor guys nearly 50 & he’s still traumatized. He goes into the foetal position if he sees a Robin Hood movie on TV. My sister got dressed as Prince Charming. Sounds cool.  But when you think about it my mum sent her to school as a dude! & my personal favourite… my wife got sent by her mum as a team costume with her sister.  Her mum dressed her sister as Dick Wittington & sent my wife as ‘and his cat’. Together, standing next to each other they looked great & made sense. “Dick Wittington & his Cat”. But unfortunately, my wife was in kindy & her sister was in year 4 – they didn’t stay together for long. So my poor wife had to walk around all day on her own with a sign that read “and his cat”. Nobody knew who she was – not even her! I still call her “& his cat” for kicks.

Those times were complete bedlam. Chaos! I remember kids walking around in garbage cans as R2D2 … people wrapped in aluminum foil as robots… mummys wrapped in toilet paper… kids just covered in cotton balls & socks – I still don’t know what they were supposed to be??  It was torturous… I’m surprised that there’s not a separate therapy group just for victims of book parades. I know I’d be a proud member of The VBP & I’d take & his cat along with me. Take Ray the Dalek, my cross dressing sister & my bum flashing brother along too!

 My next memory of fancy dress is a bit of a doozy & I have kept it repressed for as long as I could, but it’s time to come clean. It involves the story behind that comical & tragic photo at the top of the page. I’m about 7 or 8 & my parents get invited to a fancy dress party at one of their friend’s houses. My mum gets all excited & dresses the whole family up. She says it’s for kids and everything. Mum always had a thing for romantic literature so she decides to dress me up as Cyrano De Bergerac. You know him – The guy with the big nose who hides behind bushes & whispers poetry to his mate. Anyway, her version of Cyrano De Bergerac looks like this. Very tight Black tights. Big black pointy boots with silver buckles. A frilly white dress shirt with puffy sleeves. A bright purple padded parka that you’d wear to the snow. A big red cape. A round black hat with a huge apricot ostrich feather on top of it. A plastic sword on my hip & if that wasn’t enough… she draws a fake moustache on me & then glues this huge fake nose made of plasticine over my real nose. It was hard to breathe – & it made my 7 yr old voice even squeakier. Believe me I didn’t want to leave the house! But mum convinces me there’s cake waiting for me at the party. I’d like to say it took more than that – but I’d be lying – the 7 year old me would go anywhere for cake!

So anyway we get to the party & everything’s going great except for one thing. It’s an adult party – it’s not for kids! My mum got it wrong! Yes kids were invited, but not to the fancy dress party. What they were invited too was to be locked in the backroom & just sit there. You know the type of room – filled with angry teenagers & pre-pubescent’s that have been dragged to some crap party by their parents; Angry monosyllabic snarling youths. None of them dressed up or anything – just angry! They’re all wearing Kiss & Abba T-shirts & in rocks me in my purple parka, fake 4 inch nose & apricot ostrich feather on my head. They all look at me in disbelief & some kid with pimples all over his face snarls at me “Who the f@#! are you supposed to be?” & I say in a shaky voice “Cyrano De Bergerac” & another angry kid yells at me, “Who the f#@! Is that?” & I scream out in a sort of pig like squeal “I DON”T KNOW!!!” I can’t remember much after that – I think I may have passed out. Either from fright or the plasticine nose stopped me from breathing!

On the brighter side… at least now I know why Cyrano had to hide behind all those bushes!!!




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