Gill Sims is the author of the parenting blog Peter and Jane and four novels, beginning with ‘Why Mummy Drinks’. Victoria Roberts met her before her show at the Trinity Theater this Friday…
A storyteller who seems more comfortable with conversation than scripted narration in front of a passive audience, Gill Sims has an “interviewer” to start with when she appears on stage at the Trinity Theater this Friday.
“It’s ‘in conversation with’. It’s not really a routine, it’s an interview. More of a conversation between friends,” Gill told The Times.
“There is a bit at the end where people can ask their questions. It’s always nice to hear people’s thoughts and ideas. I still really enjoy that part.
Introducing his ‘interviewer’ – Jo Middleton, of the ‘Slummy Single Mummy’ blog and author of ‘Playgroups and Prosecco’ – Gill says: ‘We shouldn’t really be allowed to date because we tend to get wild a bit . when we do. I’m really looking forward to it.”
However, having an “interviewer” is really just a starting ingredient for his oddly inviting way that can turn almost any everyday misfortune into a story that not only soothes the storyteller, but prompts listeners to make their own confessions.
Even without their own stories, people seem to want to connect with her, like in Gill’s anecdote about a woman who had the chance to say something at the end of an event and blurted out a request. some advices”.
“I had a lovely lady ask me if I had any parenting advice for her, which was very kind of her, really, after hearing about my failed parenting for about an hour.”
The famous part of her character on social media is the application of wine to metaphorical cuts and bruises, but she swears by time, distance and storytelling, which is where audiences come in.
“Nine times out of ten, if you talk to someone about something, they’ll say ‘it happened to me too’. Or ‘you think that was bad? Well, it happened to me. Sharing your problems doesn’t minimize them, but certainly helps keep them in perspective.
“What seems at the time to be the worst day of my life. You see other aspects of it that you wouldn’t have seen if you were sitting at home and crying all alone.
This loneliness is something many parents — especially mothers — will recognize, but social media is a “double-edged bread knife,” Gill acknowledges.
“I think social media has put so much more expectation on parents, and mothers in particular. There’s so much more opportunity to compare yourself to millions of parents, as opposed to those around you.
“Sometimes it’s fine, if you can find like-minded people and stuff, but (there can be) tremendous pressure on you to put a white bread ham sandwich in your son’s lunch because that’s all he’ll eat – while someone in… I don’t know… Canada creates a bento box every day with paintings of Shakespearean tragedies out of carrot sticks, and you think – ‘Okay… [expletive]. I can’t do that because they wouldn’t eat that… Would they eat it if I did that? I don’t know how to do this.
“You can kind of fall down a rabbit hole, on the internet, of things that you ‘should’ do and you end up not doing all of those things, and that’s only nine times out of ten, kids don’t know really, or demand one of them. It’s the other parents you’re trying to impress with that kind of stuff.
Unlike those competitive parents, Gill disarms all opposition by performing his “parental failure.”
Telling a story about almost picking up the wrong kid from the playground, she casually says: ‘We all did that I think – tried to kick the wrong kid out of the park – then I realised’ oh, no you’re not my only one.’ I will try to choose the cleanest looking one, which is never mine.
“Not you – that one. The one who rolls in the puddle. He’s my only one. It’s still my only one.
In response to a question about her trip to the Trinity Theater for her appearance, she turns this disarming charm on Tunbridge Wells himself, saying, “It’s my first time. I’m really looking forward to it. It would be nice to have some time there.
Then, when asked if she plans to walk around the city and see if the school children are “terribly clean”, she laughs.
“I’m sure they’ll be clean. I’m sure they’ll be clean. Children wouldn’t dare to be dirty.
An Evening with Gill Sims is at the Trinity Theater on Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m.