Life was gritty but I felt witty
PAM Ayres' name will forever be synonymous with poetry. The witty little ditties for which she made her name are still very much part of Pam's performances but, as her loyal fans are well aware, it's not all about the clever rhymes.
"I come up against that quite a lot actually," explained the much-loved writer, broadcaster and entertainer, who appears at The Roses Theatre, in Tewkesbury, on Thursday – which is also National Poetry Day.
"Many people think all I do is recite my poetry and are a bit put off by that, but it's not the case.
"Of course I do include some poetry, with new material as well as the old favourites – people get very upset if I don't include I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth – but I also tell some funny stories about a range of different subjects. It's very much an evening of comedy," said Pam, who lives near Cirencester.
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"I get a lot of people come up to me after the show, especially men, to say they'd been dragged there and weren't expecting to like it but they'd had a really enjoyable evening, which is always nice."
Pam burst into the public's consciousness with a memorable performance on Opportunity Knocks in 1975, and her observations on the comic details of everyday life have made her a firm favourite ever since.
Her books of poetry fly to the top of the best-seller lists and her autobiography, The Necessary Aptitude, published in hardback last year and about to be released in paperback, did the same.
She said: "It's the story of my life from childhood until the age of about 30, not because I'm going to come back with another one but because I wanted to record the story of ordinary family life in a rural village at that time.
"I have very fond memories of childhood and I wanted to record it because I'm not sure that anyone else has.
"It has lots of funny stories in it, but it also records the more difficult side of life back then, when people had TB and other nasty diseases.
"I really enjoyed writing it, remembering little things that had happened and working out where they fitted in the story."
All the proceeds from the show will be donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, a charity close to Pam's heart.
She said: "The vicar from my home village of Stanford in the Vale, in Oxfordshire, was diagnosed with the disease and contacted me after the diagnosis to see if there was anything I could do. I'm delighted that so many people have come out to offer their support of such a good cause."
Thursday night's show is sold out, but fans can call the box office on 01684 295074 for returns.
They can also catch her talking about her autobiography at Cheltenham Literature Festival on Wednesday, October 10. Tickets cost £10. To book, call 0844 880 8094.