TCW Defending Freedom has heard once again from Britain’s leading crisis thespian, the ‘Jabbing Actor’ Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite. He describes his near-participation in a daring mission.
AS A highly respected member of the artistic community in Brentford and surrounding areas, I have felt it my duty, nay obligation, to do whatever I can for the benighted people of Ukraine as they grapple heroically with the rapacious Russian bear.
You may recall that I was instrumental in the formation of the Gunnersbury and Brentford Ukrainian Actors Solidarity Collective (GABUASC), and although our fundraising efforts have petered out of late, we have been able to send an almost three-figure sum to the valiant members of the Azov Brigade to help them repel the Nazi-like invaders from the East.
We have also sent several copies of With Love from Gunnersbury, our compilation of poems and extemporaneous recitals from GABUASC members, to be distributed to the valiant trench dwellers on the front line in the Donbas.
However, I am now tempted to believe that the contribution of the artistic community of the area to the war effort was far greater than I had imagined. It was revealed this week in the New York Times that a ‘pro-Ukrainian group’ was responsible for the destruction of something called the Nord Stream pipeline in the Baltic Sea. Apparently, the pipe was intended to deliver Russian gas to Germany.
I must confess that the incident, in September last year, had somewhat passed me by. I think it must have occurred at a time when I was particularly busy delivering essential food to new arrivals from war-torn countries such as Albania and Turkey.
I do, however, remember that after one fundraiser of recitals of Ukrainian poetry in Brentford Library, I was approached by Tarquin, a writer of post-feminist DIY manuals, who asked me if I wished to join a group who wanted to take direct action to help Ukraine. Naturally I accepted and was ushered into a darkened room where my fellow conspirators were gathered.
My recollection of the meeting was rather hazy as I was still reeling from my recital in Ukrainian of Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy, but I do now recall that the meeting was to plan some sort of seaborne escapade. Samantha, a mime artist, was volunteering her father’s 43ft Tiara cabin cruiser. Dominic, who specialises in street art, reported that he had learnt to dive in the Seychelles, and Arethusa, a poet formerly known as Arthur, told us she had a GCSE in chemistry.
I had to leave the meeting early to provide sustenance to some arrivals from Somalia, but it is now my conviction that the group were in the initial stages of planning an audacious commando-type raid on the aforementioned pipeline in the murky depths of the forbidding Baltic.
Had it not been for the urgent need to fill the stomachs of our new citizens, there is no doubt that Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite would have been a valued member of the thrilling expedition that delivered a stake through the heart of the Russian war machine. As dear, dear Dame Judi presciently remarked when she came to Rada to present the Alan Bennett Award for the Best Portrayal of Yorkshire Whimsy, ‘Dear boy, heroes don’t always wear capes. Be a darling and find me an Eccles cake.’