A Blog For Ellen
Object #8 – Suit
Pinstripe, washable, Marks & Spencer, lining removed, slight damage on lapel, 2004
Bought with a brown skirt suit from the same range for a Faultless and Torrance show, The Snag. Making it nearly broke us. The premise was a game of charades with the audience, which morphed into Scott and Oates’ final journey to the South Pole. (Judith, whose stage persona was insanely competitive, was Scott. I was Oates). She made me use my jacket as a flag at the Pole. I went for a pee by dropping an ice pop out of my trouser leg. The well-known phrase the audience had to guess was ‘I may be some time’. The denoument was Judith’s realization that no-one wins at charades – you just take turns – which made her furious with disappointment.
I had a baby carrot toe that fell off in the Antarctic cold, which Judith ate. For years there was a shrivelled baby carrot in the jacket pocket –. I don’t know how it survived, but it became my good luck fetish. It eventually disappeared, which unsettled me in passing.
The suits outlived The Snag, and became our uniform. We took the lining out of the jackets to make them less sweaty. My suit is from the petite range so my wrists and ankles stick out and my feet look even bigger. Seven pairs of big pants fit under the trousers for our strip act. The damage on the lapel is from a Victorian jet brooch that Will gave me. I pinned it on for a show.
When I was old enough that my vests and pants were no longer from Ladybird, they came from M&S. I have inherited an absolute, unshakeable trust in M&S pants. There was an occasion when Mum came back from a shopping trip to our nearest M&S in Cheltenham with new pants for Mark and none for me, because I didn’t need anything. I can still feel the disappointment, and picture the the settee in the drawing room at Hyde and Mum getting out her shopping that evening.
My M&S suit is indestructible. I have other clothes for performing, but I prefer to wear the suit.