An Evening with Sandi Toksvig

I had the distinct pleasure last night to see the incredible and endearing, Sandi Toksvig. She was performing a one-woman show that highlighted her new book, Valentine Grey.

Sandi is someone that I have long watched on T.V. she is a regular on Q.I., a show hosted by Stephen Fry, which is a marvelously intelligent and hilarious show; I always learn something remarkable from watching it.

Her show was extremely personable; it was funny, but more than that, it was real life. She comes from a family who finds the humour in things. I can fully appreciate that, as I come from a family that does that as well. If you can’t laugh, well then what else is there?

She recounted fascinating stories about her life, her family, her friends and there was a bit of history tucked in here and there. She read aloud from her book, Valentine Grey, the story of a woman who takes her cousin’s identity and place in the Volunteer Regiment during the Boer War. They each in their own way are seeking freedom, but freedom comes at a price.

One little anecdote that she shared with us was that while waiting in the wings to go on stage she listens to her IPod and conducts an imaginary orchestra. As we were taking our seats music was playing throughout the theatre and she related to us that that particular piece of music was what she had been listening to. So as we are fumbling around for seats, begging a million pardons to get by and not step on any toes, she is hiding behind the curtains, arms flailing and alive with music.

She ended her show by informing us that she would be conducting. In fact, she enjoyed conducting so much she had a conductor’s tails made for her, stating that she felt a bit like Mickey Mouse when she had it on (her grandfather was an artist who worked for Disney). Cue the stage assistant who brought her coat out for her, she put it on and she looked truly splendid! Now, here it comes: she offered us the opportunity to join her, she wouldn’t see us, of course, as she would have her back to us and it would be awful if we were one of those people who went home thinking, “that looked like so much fun! I wish I joined in!”

So, up from our seats we all rose, the heavenly chords of Beethoven soaring through the theatre and off we went, laughing, conducting, tasting life. I left thinking, in some ways this is the public version of dancing around your house naked. You were alive with music, your soul trembled with excitement, you were free.

After such a long week and feeling that I have been going 100 miles an hour, full throttle, no break; that was a tremendous event to attend and as much as I have going on today, trying to gulp for air when I can, I am still replaying parts of the evening in my head and it makes me smile, it makes me laugh and that is a wonderful thing.

Today, put on a favorite song, wave your arms in the air, dance like no one is watching, for today might be all we have, we need to suck the very marrow out of it.