Two Firsts!

My last two days in Canada have seen a couple of life firsts for GJ Strachan. My half century or so on this planet never previously exposing me to experiences of watching close hand a theatre production sound and lighting team at work, or in a position where I’d been required to undertake pool maintenance in a residential home (as was they case at my hosts home yesterday).

Being born and raised in the north of England the number of homes which boasted a swimming pool were few and far between. Across the street from my Dorchester Gardens family home in Gateshead, Jimmy Galloway had a coal powered fish pond in his back yard. I’m not sure what power the coal/coke provided, but Jimmy’s fish were always black of colour.

I’ve no idea whether these monochrome aesthetics were a consequence of our Scots-born neighbour keeping Alaskan blackfish, or whether the colouring was a result of coal dust. Clearly, I wasn’t as inquisitive a child as I’d previously thought.

Jimmy’s neighbour George Forsyth didn’t have a garden pond, or swimming pool, but he did have a big hole in his back yard which following heavy precipitation habitually filled with water. This geological flaw in George’s back yard, which boasted far reaching westerly views of the Team Valley Trading Estate, along with the villages of Lamesley and Kibblesworth, a sink hole consequential from mining subsidence……. Jimmy Galloway, clearly not venturing too far to acquire fuel for his coal powered fish pond.

As alluded to earlier, 1970’s/80’s residences in Gateshead with outdoor swimming pools were as rare as hen’s teeth…… In fact, their scarcity so high I’d add another level of specificity to the idiom by submitting they were as rare as hen’s teeth with the word creosote emblazoned across the molars***.

*** – Other type of teeth are available…… Well, apart from in the case of hen’s, where they clearly don’t exist!


The experience of watching the sound and lighting team at work during the Kingstown Players production of ‘Rabbit Hole’ saw my inaugural visit to a theatre’s mixing desk gantry. My invite from one of my Canadian hosts, who’s stage managing the project until it’s close following today’s matinee and evening performance at the Kingston Grand Theatre.

As a frustrated actor, singer, writer, being in that board treading environment moved me to add aspirations of playing dramatic roles to my gradually diminishing bucket list. I pondered with my gamy eye and creepy people watching perhaps I could play Lear in King Lear.

Yes, I know that to creepily staring is spelt leer; However, as there isn’t a play titled King Leer, the joke wouldn’t have worked if I’d have spelled the word correctly….. What’s that?!….. Oh, it didn’t work anyway!!….. Ok, moving on.

Anyway, I’ve expressed an interest with the theatre groups hierarchy to become involved in future Kings Town Players productions. This keenness leading to me providing group management with the following biography for future productions I may become involved in:-

Gary Strachan – Raised by coyotes in the north east of England, away from the stage Gary likes nothing more than sheep worrying, a strategy he fulfils by issuing them with final cable bill demands. A keen fan of boardgames, the Yorkshire born thespian once beat ex-US President Jimmy Carter 2-1 in a best of 3 series of Connect 4.

A devote vegetarian, the versatile performer has never knowingly overpaid for gouda cheese or humus. Gary proudly holds the accolade as the only member of his drama alma mater with wherewithal to recant all 417 verses of the Danish national anthem. A  skill learned while watching the Scottish play. Incidentally, that’s the Scotland teams football game with Denmark at Hampden Park, Glasgow; not that he’s seen MacBeth.

As a consequence of post traumatic stress manifesting from playing the knife in a 2015 theatrical remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho, Gary’s paucity of showering has led to personal hygiene issues in recent years. Subsequently, if you’re in the first three rows I’d probably sit downwind from him!

I’m awaiting the call any day now!!!……



  1. Entertaining as usual, my friend! I am pleased that your sojourning odyssey has been rewarding for you!

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