In a serendipitous bit of timing, Denise Scott’s tell-all tome about her family, All That Happened At Number 26, comes shortly after her good friend Judith Lucy’s similarly-themed book hit the shelves.
Scott, a Melbourne-based comedian familiar to audiences for her roles on Spicks and Specks, Full Frontal and The Big Gig, told Southern Star the two rarely spoke about their burgeoning manuscripts during the writing process.
She was three to four months ahead of me in the process, said Scott.
She was very supportive though. Whereas I wasn’t of her book. Oh, I hated her. I-˜d say, -˜Judith, I can’t stand you, you’re so brilliant, and your book’s so successful, this just isn’t fair’.
While Scott’s book deals with less heavy themes than Lucy’s, partly thanks to her family being on the right side of clinical insanity, there are still ups and downs. The rocky patches in her relationship with her long-time partner, John, are laid bare.
The book does head into some tricky territory for our family, in terms of affairs and things. But I deal with the affairs in a paragraph. I’m a bit wussy. My kids didn’t know that John and I had had affairs, so that was a bit of a revelation for them.
She may consider herself a wuss, but publicly discussing extra-marital affairs (including her dalliance with the family’s builder) seems a brave thing to do.
That’s what Judith and I would talk about -” is bringing up the less appealing stuff worth doing? In my first draft, we were a bit like the Brady Bunch. But then I thought, this is just a lie. I don’t want people to think we were that happy. John was, but I hated his circus.
John, a long time arty bohemian type , at one stage set up a not-for-profit children’s circus. Not only was Scott left to care for the kids and go to work, she also had to contend with the aphrodisiac properties of her partner’s occupation.
Women love a man in the circus, let me tell you that. Oh, the single mothers and the unhappy mothers love a man in a snakeskin leotard.
I’d be having to watch women fawn all over him. He’d be helping women to walk on stilts, she drew out the words in horror, as though he was helping them insert their diaphragms, and I’d be furious!
This bohemian life came with other quirks -” at one stage, Scott’s two children would watch Daddy leave for work in the morning dressed as a policewoman (as part of a cross-dressing street theatre routine), while Mummy went to work each night dressed as a bloke (as one-quarter of the popular drag king comedy act, The Normans).
Once she’s finished talking about Number 26, Scott plans to team up with her old friend Lucy to write a play.
It is going to happen, she said. We meet up to talk about it, then one of us will say, -˜Gee, I’m a bit peckish.’ Next thing you know, we’re saying, -˜Oh, let’s just leave it for today,’ and we go have a long lunch and a lot of wine.
info: Denise Scott’s All That Happened At Number 26, published by Hardie Grant, is out now.