I’m really very surprised to be sitting here writing about John Barrowman. I have quite liked his Captain Jack, but without becoming a fan. But just as you inherit insanity from your children, a little bit of fascination can rub off when you’re subjected to John Barrowman this and John Barrowman that. Often. I even put his album on the iPod, and I enjoy some of the tracks. (But he’s no Roger Whittaker, I can tell you.) I volunteered to go to his concert in Manchester in the spring, and it was surprisingly good. I’m still trying to make sense of all the female fans over a certain age, who scream when they see him. Why, ladies?
Where was I? Oh yes, John Barrowman in Cheltenham. We almost overdosed on John on Sunday, sitting through both his sessions. The one with Russell T Davies I got out of the way yesterday, so let’s concentrate on the other one here. The one with his sister Carole. They were in Cheltenham to talk about John’s autobiography Anything Goes, which Carole wrote with him.
Having just read Anything Goes, it’s quite interesting to see John’s route to Doctor Who. I probably have less patience with the showbiz stuff, because it’s not my scene, but the growing up and living and working in two countries I find fascinating. And it can be fun to look into people’s private lives, up to a point.
With my interest in languages, and having had to change accents myself, I really like the way the Barrowman siblings can switch between Scottish and American. They call themselves bidialectical, which is a good made up word. They had some problems with it on Sunday as they speak Scottish with each other, but American with others. So, what do you speak when you’re on stage talking both to your sibling and to the interviewer and the audience? And then there are the things you can only say in one accent.
There’s the Glaswegian sense of humour, too, which thankfully has not been removed by the American Midwest. Carole and John behave much as brothers and sisters do, with friendly arguing and lots of laughs. It appears there was very little to shock Carole when writing the book and discussing her brother’s life with him, although on occasion they had to stop and say “eugh” in unison, before continuing.
They related a supposedly true account of the night before Cheltenham, when John seemed to think he was having a heart attack in the early hours of the morning, while Carole assumed the shouts and moans originated from something entirely different, and felt the need to inform John that his walls are too thin. It made for good entertainment when retold, but maybe John should see a doctor? The GP variety.
(Photos by H Giles)