The Beautiful Miller Maid
Encouraged by the fact I had quite a few readers I shall upload Chapter 2 part 1.
Song 2 Where?
Trevor and Simon were not involved with the rehearsals for ‘The Pied Piper’ in any way. Trevor did not have a part for once in ‘The Pied Piper’ much to his chagrin, Simon had deliberately not cast him. Trevor was destined to be cast as a villain in the nicest possible way. True there were lots of children in the cast and in the orchestra and that is where the two gentlemen spent most of their time.
In fact during the first weeks of rehearsals in London and at Churston, the cast saw virtually nothing of Mr. King at all except for the favoured young male tenor who just got One lift home in the Alvis, a particularly expensive open topped sports car the make of which Simon King was particularly fond. It made him feel young.
“The Pied Piper has an awful lot of boys.” the jolly Australian conductor Digger McQueen unwisely remarked to a gay colleague of Simon. Digger was one of the most talented opera conductors around, had a ready heterosexual wit and seemed unaware that anyone could take offense.
“Simon has gone overboard this time! Not one boy but hundreds of boys!” This comment landed Digger in hot water. One of Trevor’s ‘little clique’ who had actually wanted to direct The Pied Piper himself sneaked to try to curry favor with Trevor and Simon. He did the unthinkable and told Trevor.
For Simon and Trevor this was not only an insult but a blow. If this became public it would be the end of their careers and perhaps the start of a prison sentence. Simon liked children, he would have liked his own but Trevor really did like boys. Simon felt his partner was more of a voyeur than an active pedophile but nevertheless this was the most dangerous moment in their entire public career and he would be an accomplice. Like Adam and Eve’s children he would pay for that sin.
There was a nasty scene in the doorway of the local village hall where rehearsals of The Pied Piper were taking place where Digger McQueen and Simon King nearly came to blows. Simon it must be said landed a heavy right cut from which the Australian reeled. Fortunately none of the children witnessed this altercation and it was quickly hushed up.
Digger was summoned to The Mill, where Tring and King lived in great splendor. Two very angry men accosted Digger. King would have loved to have sacked the conductor on the spot but what reason could he give? That the conductor was sacked because he had made a somewhat humorous but unwise remark about the pair being pedophiles? Hardly.
“There are lots of girls too” said a very haughty Tring in his best upper class BBC voice in order to put the rough colonial in his place and so there were but out of sight.
The BBC Arts in Focus had been filming the opera but the young ladies all three of them had been banished to the beach while the boys did their bit in front of the cameras. Not a young girl in sight. One of the young ladies, Antoinette actually, had pointed out to Louis Crick who was wearing the tightest of trousers that it would be nice if the girls could be included in the documentary or words to that effect. Louis who would forgive a little boy anything could not bring himself to be questioned by a fourteen year old girl in such an outrageous fashion and banishment to the beach for the little girls was the punishment.
In the interests of ‘balance’ and to give a good impression the three little girl soloists were quickly retrieved from their isolation on the beach and without any rehearsal shoved in front of the cameras to restore the balance. For years after Antoinette felt that it was her outburst that had resulted in the change but she was mistaken.
Almost as bad was the fact that Simon King minus Trevor Tring was forced to waste a day and go and watch a rehearsal for the cameras. God how he hated rehearsals! It immediately became apparent after one take that a new star had arrived in Churston. The little girl he had auditioned and had enchanted him was quickly enchanting everyone else and yet she did nothing. She had no part, a couple of solo lines and even these were a duo and yet Simon could not take his eyes off her.
Antoinette stood out like a beckon. She just sort of “shone”.