The Scenic Route

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

Ursula K. Le Guin

What is my journey so far?

My childhood was spent in North London and although I hated school, always seemed to be bored and never seemed to get my own way my childhood was spent under the love, care and irreplaceable presence of my mum and grandma.

We moved about a lot and were always changing schools and houses so in the end where I was didn’t really matter; what mattered was who I was with.  And for me that was usually my identical twin, Avril.

She and I played games where we created worlds and characters in those worlds. These characters were firstly our dolls and teddybears and then, once we’d grown out of toys, were the people we would draw. Pages and pages of drawings and so many stories – we would make them up as we went along and built on them every day. The influence for me was my absolutely-cannot-miss-cause-if-I-do-the-world-will-end favourite tv programme – The Tomorrow People. Followed a few years later by the tv series version of the film Logan’s Run. Avril and I made up our own ‘city of domes’ and a host of characters for this world. An adaptation of this world was to become the basis for my first novel ‘Jamestown’.

Omnipresent throughout all however was my burning desire to sing. When I was three I used to use my grandmother’s old-fashioned vacuum cleaner ‘Hoover’ handle as a microphone and sing along to all her records. Music changed my emotions, it always made me happy. I loved music, I loved songs and the lyrics to songs, and I loved to sing.

By the time I was thirteen I’d plagued my mother long enough to send me to a singing teacher. Tona DeBrett was, I thought, amazing. She lived on the borders of Muswell Hill and Highgate – two buses and a blinking long walk for me to get there, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Every Saturday afternoon I would get the buses to Muswell Hill then walk up Muswell Hill Road and along Cranley Gardens to Wood Vale. (We had decided on that route as walking through Queens Wood seemed too dangerous – instead I used to walk straight past the house where Neilson was carrying out all those murders! Talk about appearances being deceptive!)

It was about this time I met my first boyfriend. He was nineteen, five or six years older than me with, of course, all that goes with a nineteen year old male. Oh dear! My mother tried everything in her power to stop things developing; I just played truant from school to go and see him. My mother stood no chance. I think she knew that though. She always said about me, ‘Adele will always do what Adele decides to do, no matter what anyone else thinks, advises or forbids!’

Even though I might have neglected my school studies for my boyfriend he couldn’t tempt me away from my singing lessons. I went every week to see Tona. She gave me all the expertise I required to develop my voice; however, I now needed somewhere to showcase it. One day I heard my sister and my mum chatting about Avril going to a part-time stage school called Boden’s and I said I too wanted to go.

All I ever learnt about theatre and showmanship I learnt at this stage school. Boden’s put on musical shows once per year and had mini courses throughout the school holidays and Avril and I went on them all.

By the time I left Boden’s I had already begun to sing in a restaurant /nightclub. This nightclub was going to change the direction of my journey completely.






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