Blowers Shaken not Stirred – 1st July 2012
Sarah and I spent an entertaining afternoon listening to Henry Blofeld’s one man show, ‘Blowers Shaken not Stirred’ up at Norden Farm.
As 2pm approached, we joined around seventy others gathered in the small auditorium for an amusing afternoon of reminiscing stories. The audience, comprising a majority of mature males, chattered in the semi-darkness as the hour approached.
Finally, dressed in trademark bright attire comprising navy jacket, white shirt with cravat, red trousers and blue shoes, the main man took to the stage after being introduced simply as ‘Blowers’, to be greeted by generous applause.
Immediately he was away, brain still pin sharp at the age of 72, cracking jokes about his recent birthday celebrations, before moving on to memories of time spent with the Queen Mother (‘she also had a place in Norfolk’), his upbringing (‘it’s true, I was born with a whacking great silver spoon in my mouth’) and time spent in a promising cricketing career.
Occasionally holding on to a lectern, as if delivering a lecture, Blowers spoke unscripted and speedily, moving seamlessly from one story to another. His rich, plummy tones brought regular peals of laughter from the floor.
Tales included fond memories of Ian Fleming, who went to school with Henry’s father and apparently based his Bond villain Ernst Stavros Blofeld‘s name on the Blofeld family after seeing them on the Members List at Boodles, in London.
He spoke solidly for an hour, before we adjourned for a short interval, during which his wife, Valeria, oversaw sales of books and bottles of wine.
After the interval there were more stories – of Noel Coward and Clive Dunn as well as many memories of happy times spent with the Test Match Special team, particularly the early commentators John Arlott and Brian Johnston.
Although it hadn’t been well publicised, there was also time for Blowers to answer questions which had been placed in a wicker basket on the stage. These ranged from his thoughts on working with Geoffrey Boycott to more topical ones pertaining to Kevin Pietersen‘s decision to retire from limited-overs cricket.
Eventually it was all over. With the sound of applause ringing in his ears, Blowers left the stage to take his place alongside his wife and generously sign books and merchandise for the masses.
We joined the queue and spent a couple of minutes with the main man who seemed eminently approachable.
Overall, it had been a very enjoyable afternoon. If you get a chance to catch Henry Blofeld, I can heartily recommend it.