Sunday, 5 May 2013

Coke Floats & Chemo

Sometimes, being busy is the best medicine there is, and certainly this week, being rushed off my feet has meant that I've barely been able to give this whole "will I live much longer or won't I" any head-space whatsoever. Obviously it's there, and I'm talking about it very openly with family and friends, but it hasn't been able to penetrate so that it's all I'm thinking about. Whether that's because, for the first time in my life, I'm being sensibly objective until I know all the facts, or whether it's because it is such a hugely big deal that I'm still in a sort of shock/denial phase I really can't tell. Anyhow, this week has been jam-packed, and a lot of the time I've been having quite a bit of fun. 

Coke Floats & Chemo, the stage-play of the blog, has taken up oodles of time this week. all enormously enjoyable. I've spent most of the week handling publicity for the whole thing, and it's been a steep learning curve, but very rewarding. I wrote and sent out nearly 300 press releases,   and this has generated some exciting interest already. We're being featured in the local paper as well as on a handful of websites promoting the Brighton Fringe. So now the photos are ready too, I'll be sending them out to the same mailing list. 

To simplify things, I've renamed this blog to match, and I've also set up a Facebook Page entitled Coke Floats & Chemo as well. The Facebook page has news and photos about the show, as well as every blog post I've ever written. In time, I'm hoping to expand it so that it also contains very useful links to information and support for anyone with Breast Cancer and their family and friends, and also link it to other blogs by other women who are going through the same thing, so that eventually it becomes a useful resource site. It would really help if you can suggest any blogs or links I should include. 

Here's the link to the Facebook Page

It's only 5 days old and it already has 49 "likes"! My friends are so supportive. I will now be posting each new blog on there as well as everywhere it already gets posted to. 

So the whole PR thing has been a bit of an education. I'm a total novice at the whole thing, and Social Media is now such a major part of information exchange, that I really need to get my head around a whole load of concepts relatively new to me. I've more or less mastered Facebook and Twitter, but Stumbleupon, Tumblir, Pininterest and Google+ are still all beyond me, plus all the dozens of other things I haven't even heard of yet. Hopefully I'll have cracked it all in a week or so, but if anyone can suggest any advice or tips to make it all a bit easier to master, I'd be very grateful. 

On top of all the PR stuff, we're had rehearsals too - it really is shaping up well, and hopefully will be entertaining enough to be able to still be able to go out in daylight afterwards without dying of humiliating embarrassment. Then again, that's probably a preferable dying method than the one that's likely to carry me away. At least I'm not expected to sing in the show. 

Here are some of the publicity photos for Coke Floats & Chemo. 

On Tuesday evening, Dave Roberts of Ridge Radio has very kindly invited  Alice, Francesca, miniYvonne and I onto his programme, Music for Grown Ups, to talk about the show. We are all expecting to be thoroughly upstaged by mini-Yvonne, who is developing a very naughty side to her personality, which is becoming bolder and more outrageous the nearer we get to doing it for real on the 18th May. Here's the link, if you would like to listen live, but I think the intention is to upload the show so it will be available afterwards, too.

To finish, I just can't resist telling you about a really proud "Mummy Moment" I had last night. We went down to Horsham to see my youngest perform with the Savvy Young Company (the sister company of the Savvy Adult Company, our lot who are doing Coke Floats & Chemo). They are taking part in the National Theatre Connections Project, which is a very prestigious annual event, with ten new plays each being performed for the first time by 10 young drama groups around the country. The play they are doing is called "We Lost Elijah".  The very best production of each play will get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform the play at the National Theatre. Now how cool would that be?!

Last night was a total triumph. The cast, all aged between 13 - 18, were just so professional, their timing was impeccable, and they had the audience in the palm of their hand. Believable, poignant and very funny word-perfect performances from everyone. They were just amazing. If they don't win, I really want to see whoever topped them, because I just can't see how that would be possible. It was also really surreal seeing my gorgeous baby-boy (OK so he's nearly 6 foot tall with a very deep voice, and nearly 16 years old) play the part of both a frighteningly aggressive rioter and a "dirty-old-man", when he is charming, kind and so far away from both those images in real life. 

If we can aspire to be even a fraction as convincing as the Young Company was last night, I think we'll have done ourselves justice. If you want to see some photos, here's the link to the Savvy Theatre Company website  If you search through their pages and find a couple in masks, that's me and WM in disguise from a show we did a couple of years ago. 

Over the next couple of posts, I'm hoping to include an update on Steve, our nearly-five-month-old puppy who must be the naughtiest dog on the planet, and if I can do so without ranting too much, I'll also fill you in on  the less positive parts of this week - making frustratingly difficult phonecalls to our local council concerning my severely disabled son. Sometimes it feels like they have completed training courses in "How to make a very difficult set of circumstances a thousand times worse" or "How to make people who are at the very end of their coping abilities want to find a very tall building to jump off". Maybe that's all part of their latest cost-saving initiatives. Many thanks, London Borough of Sutton.  Not everyone who works there; some, in fact probably most; are utterly lovely, but I unfortunately encountered a couple who really let their colleagues down this week. 


  1. Yvonne, it's great that your play is getting lots of media attention. I know it's going to be a big hit! Mini-Yvonne looks so mischievous!

    The Universe works in wonderful ways...I think it's perfect that you're being kept so busy and focused on the exciting things going on in your life.

    I saw the photo you posted on Facebook of the Savvy Theatre Young Company, but didn't realise your son was an actor too! Glad it was a success and I hope he and his theatre group wins the 'contest'.

    Because of the Canadian/UK time difference, I'll definitely be listening to the replay of your Ridge Radio interview...I can't wait!

    Haha! What on earth has Steve been up to now?! He'd hit it off with the naughty mini-Yvonne!

    So sorry to hear about your frustrating experience with LBS. I'm sure there are lovely people working in local council offices who really care about their customer service to the community. However, there are those who are so stuck in the bureaucratic 'red tape' mindset, that they are inflexible and impose totally avoidable administrative nightmares on the people they are employed to support!

    Well I'm loking forward to more of your candid posts, Yvonne. I wish you well.
    Sharon, Ottawa xox

  2. Thanks Sharon. I think Steve would eat miniYvonne alive! He is a chewing monster. My son is centre back, directly in front of my daughter, who was the sound engineer last night, and is also in CF & C. She was more nervous than any of the cast member in case she mucked up the sound cues, but she was magnificent. It was her first time ever in that role, a big ask when the event was so important and it was in a proper, professional theatre, but Sheree would never have asked her to do it if she hadn't been totally confident in her ability and commitment. I was a very very very proud mummy of both of them! xx

    1. Wow! You have such a talented family! Congrats to your daughter who was so nervous, but pulled it off beautifully! You lucky Mummy!
      Sharon, Ottawa xox

  3. If anyone has any questions they would like me to put to Yvonne, please e-mail on

    I will ask every question I receive.

    Dave Roberts

    1. Excellent, Dave!

    2. Oh heck - should I be nervous?!