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Pat Keenor: Back to the days of Donny Osmond, Kevin Keegan and Jackie magazine

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: October 03, 2013

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YOU boys had Tiger magazine with Roy of the Rovers strutting his stuff for Melchester. There wasn't, of course, anything so exciting for the girls. We had Jackie magazine with agony aunts Cathy and Claire suggesting ways to catch the attention of that cute boy with the trendy flares.

Whack him over the head with your platform shoes, would have been my advice, but despite working for newspapers for more than 30 years I have never been asked to be an agony aunt. Can't think why.

Jackie gave us vital information without which no teenage girl could function, like what Donny Osmond liked for his tea, how to apply bright blue eyeshadow and how to make your own tabard from an old frock.

We girls practised kissing on our hands before a gaggle of us swanned into the Ice Cream Parlour in our swirly skirts and floppy hats – hoping to put our scanty knowledge of boys to practical use.

They generally quailed under the onslaught of all that Charlie perfume and scuttled off to the barber's to get a perm like Kevin Keegan's.

Then there were Jackie's photo love stories. I'd swoon as the handsome hero with his kipper tie dived into the river to rescue a damsel in distress, the weight of her sodden Afghan coat dragging her down.

Now those halcyon days are being revisited with a new production called Jackie The Musical. There were no mobile phones, Facebook or Twitter in those days, remember, so girls with problems wrote to Cathy and Claire.

In Jackie The Musical a 50-something divorcée once more seeks advice from the pages of her old Jackie magazines, turning to "how to get a boyfriend" and all the quizzes, fashion tips and, of course, Cathy and Claire.

The production, set in the 70s era of the magazine, includes music from the Bay City Rollers, Mud, T-Rex and The Osmonds. Oh dear. Think I will be giving it a miss.

It doesn't seem possible these days to write a musical without adding "The Musical" to its title, as if the fact that the actors burst into song every few minutes isn't clue enough.

Anyway, following in the footsteps of the Jackie production, I'm thinking of writing my own musical. Living in the heart of Devon I've decided to call it Farmers Weekly: The Musical.

Here we will follow a group of farmers as they haggle over prices at South Molton Market or eat their bacon rolls in Hatherleigh Market cafe.

They will sing about the iniquity of milk quotas, complain about Defra, shake their heads in unison at the weather – which is always too dry, too wet, too hot or too cold – and do a little dance when a cheque arrives by post.

There will be no live farm animals on stage (for obvious reasons), apart from a cute collie called Rex who will round up mechanical sheep.

The hero will meet his heroine at the young farmers' club stock-judging competition, their eyes meeting over a troublesome Belgian Blue heifer.

She will wow him with her prize-winning six identical cheese scones at the Devon County Show and he will impress her with his silage-making skills before carrying her off into the sunset on his new generation John Deere 5115M tractor.

There. This musical has everything – singing, dancing, romance, drama, heroes and villains. What's not to like?

Watch out, Andrew Lloyd Webber, here I come.

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