Sweetpea Slight - Get Me the Urgent Biscuits - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Hardback £14.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474605199
    • Publication date:06 Jul 2017
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474605212
    • Publication date:06 Jul 2017

Get Me the Urgent Biscuits

An Assistant’s Adventures in Theatreland

By Sweetpea Slight
Read by Sweetpea Slight

  • Downloadable audio file
  • £P.O.R.

The dazzling coming-of-age memoir of a young woman's apprenticeship to a maverick theatre producer, against the backdrop of London's West End in the 1980s and 1990s.

'A sparkling memoir full of charm and wit' NINA STIBBE
'Anyone who loves the theatre will love this book' ZOË WANAMAKER

At eighteen, after moving to London with dreams of becoming an actress, an impressionable girl who paints freckles on her face begins work experience in a West End theatre company. In between mail-outs and making cups of coffee she meets the formidable producer Thelma Holt. Within a fortnight Thelma has stolen her, cancelled her audition for RADA, sent her to evening classes to learn to type, organised a minuscule salary and renamed her. From that moment she becomes Sweetpea.

Her days are spent in an eccentric office where Alan Rickman or Vanessa Redgrave might pop in at any moment. Evenings are filled with the adrenaline of an opening-night performance or the chatter of a smart restaurant where casting for the next production is discussed. Existing somewhere between glamour and penury, Sweetpea finds herself surrounded by dynamic personalities and struggling to trust her own creative instincts. Over the years her apprenticeship takes in unusual demands, misbehaving actors, divinely inspired directors and a hot-air balloon ride with British theatre's finest.

GET ME THE URGENT BISCUITS is a keenly observed memoir about the vanishing world of London's West End in the 1980s and 1990s, in which a young woman is swept into the orbit of a theatrical impresario. Shrewd, poignant and irresistibly funny, above all it is a coming-of-age story about the search for independence and an ode to the beguiling nature of theatre.

Read by Sweetpea Slight
(p) Orion Publishing Group 2017

Biographical Notes

Sweetpea Slight spent twenty years working with renowned theatre producer Thelma Holt. Their working relationship spanned the National Theatre, the Peter Hall Company and finally Thelma Holt Ltd.

She lives in London and Dorset.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781409179177
  • Publication date: 31 Dec 2017
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Orion
A sparkling memoir full of charm and wit, with moments of poignancy and lots of gossip. If you love theatre, you'll adore this book - it's a delight from start to finish — Nina Stibbe, author of LOVE, NINA
A sparkling memoir [that evokes] the rougher glamour of backstage life ... With its anecdotes, backstage intrigue and charming portrait of a young woman navigating theatre's enchanting parallel worlds, Get Me the Urgent Biscuits should find itself a wider audience to amuse — Victoria Segal, SUNDAY TIMES
A superbly written and moving account of one woman's efforts to understand the world and her own place in it ... Part of its beauty comes from the air of sadness that hangs over it ... In the end, this is a story about learning who you are by pretending to be other people — Mark Mason, DAILY MAIL
As this sparkling memoir reveals, it was a heady life of first nights, famous actors, mad deadlines and long, underpaid hours ... But as the years pass, she realises that the long hours, poor pay and her conflicted sexuality are making her unhappy and this adds a dash of melancholy to the deliciously entertaining froth ... Sweetpea's sobering honesty transforms this hugely enjoyable memoir into something more poignant and serious — Eithne Farry, SUNDAY EXPRESS
Sweetpea's memoirs catch beautifully (and without malice) London theatreland's engaging resilience ... I loved this book for its selfless, slightly dazed sketch of the clattering chaos of theatre production — Quentin Letts, DAILY MAIL Books of the Year
An utterly beautiful description of what it's like to move to London, and come to terms with your changing ambitions as well as yourself — Mark Mason, THE SPECTATOR Books of the Year
A charming memoir about offstage theatrical shenanigans ... Get Me the Urgent Biscuits is an elegy for a London that is wholly lost ... [It] contains a number of enchanting thespian vignettes — Roger Lewis, THE TIMES
Sweetpea, like Alice following the White Rabbit into the hole, takes us on an extraordinary adventure in theatrical wonderland. An insight into the theatre world which she shares with the reader with such ease and charm. The successes, the failures, but most of all the characters, and her homage to the wondrous Thelma Holt, who takes her on her fantastic journey. Anyone who loves the theatre will love this book. A must — Zoë Wanamaker
This glorious description of the maverick flame-haired theatre impresaria Thelma Holt by her hapless, charming assistant Sweetpea Slight made me put the book down and laugh loud and long, sweeping away tears so I could carry on reading — Anna Chancellor
The dazzling debut of a born storyteller. The book crackles with wit while knocking you sideways with its poignancy — Anne Robinson
The uproarious memoir about the author's apprenticeship to maverick theatre impresario Thelma Holt. Slight was en route to drama school when Holt snapped her up, cancelled her RADA audition and changed her name to Sweetpea. Helen Mirren, Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman all have cameos. It's irresistible — SAGA Magazine
Slight is brilliant at conveying the intoxicating world of theatre ... [A] triumph of a book — Emily Bearn, THE OLDIE
Destined to become an instant classic. For the hardcore theatre buff, it has it all: a passion for performance, beautifully observed backstage howlers, celebrity gossip, devotion beyond the call of duty and, at its heart, a dazzling portrait of one of the great eccentrics of contemporary British theatre — Nick Smurthwaite, THE STAGE
A treasure trove of who's who in theatre ... An utterly beguiling book, full of hilarious and tragic incidents. Absolutely wonderful, darling — Claire Looby, IRISH TIMES
Anyone who's ever dreamed of working in theatre will love Sweetpea Slight's memoir ... It's simply hilarious, darling — GOOD HOUSEKEEPING
Gloriously gossipy ... You'll love it, my darlings — Sarra Manning, RED online
The latent luvvie in me adored this piquant coming-of-age memoir — Caroline Sanderson, THE BOOKSELLER
A funny and poignant memoir of London theatreland in the 1980s and 1990s ... full of witty anecdotes — TOWNSWOMAN
Orion

Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Rebecca Front
Authors:
Rebecca Front

Rebecca Front has always drawn on experiences from her life in her award-winning acting and comic writing. In her brilliantly funny second book, she cements her reputation as a master storyteller: sharp, witty, honest and highly attuned to the absurdities of life and the oddities of human nature.By turns poignant, comic and uplifting, Does This Feel Weird to You? is a book of stories, all of them true, though sometimes perhaps a little bent out of shape in the telling. We learn, among other things, the repercussions of doing the bare minimum at PTA meetings, how to prepare for a role as a villainous 'she-mountain', why beach holidays require military-precision planning and the joys of wearing a cape. The result is a (sort-of) guide to life's quirks for anyone who has ever thrown a self-help book at the wall in frustration.(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018

Trapeze

The Electricity of Every Living Thing

Katherine May
Authors:
Katherine May
W&N

Close But No Cigar

Stephen Purvis
Authors:
Stephen Purvis

WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 2017'In its tragic absurdity, Close But No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud' Daily TelegraphFor over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana's expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba's crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security's microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro's purges in 2012, while his family slept, the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. Close But No Cigar is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.

Trapeze

The Most Beautiful

Mayte Garcia
Authors:
Mayte Garcia
W&N

Making a Noise

John Tusa
Authors:
John Tusa
W&N

The Reading Cure

Laura Freeman
Authors:
Laura Freeman
Trapeze

Too Scared To Cry

Maggie Hartley
Authors:
Maggie Hartley

Maggie Hartley is one of the UK's most prolific foster mothers. This inspiring collection includes three heartbreaking, true short stories about the children who have passed through Maggie's care. TOO SCARED TO CRYWhen Ben and Damien arrive on Maggie's doorstep, the two toddlers are too scared to speak. More disturbingly still, their baby half-brother Noah is completely unresponsive - he doesn't smile or play or crawl. The three siblings have been conditioned to be seen and not heard, and it's up to Maggie to unpick what has caused this terrible void. THE GIRL NO ONE WANTEDEleven-year-old Leanne is out of control. With over forty placements in her short life, no local foster carers are willing to take in this angry and damaged little girl. Maggie is Leanne's only hope, and her last chance. If this placement fails, Leanne will be put in a secure unit. Where most others would simply walk away, Maggie refuses to give up on the little girl who's never known love. A FAMILY FOR CHRISTMASA tragic accident leaves the life of toddler Edward changed forever and his family wracked with guilt. Maggie must help this family grieve for the son they've lost and learn to love the little boy he is now. But will Edward have a family to go home to at Christmas?These heartwarming and inspiring short stories show the power of a foster mother's love, and her determination to help the children who come into her care.Note: These stories have previously been published as individual ebooks.

Orion

From Here to Eternity

Caitlin Doughty, Landis Blair
Contributors:
Caitlin Doughty, Landis Blair
Orion

Heal Me

Julia Buckley
Authors:
Julia Buckley

Julia Buckley needs a miracle. Like a third of the UK population, she has a chronic pain condition. According to her doctors, it can't be cured. She doesn't believe them. She does believe in miracles, though. It's just a question of tracking one down.Julia's search for a cure takes her on a global quest, exploring the boundaries between science, psychology and faith with practitioners on the fringes of conventional, traditional and alternative medicine. From neuroplastic brain rewiring in San Francisco to medical marijuana in Colorado, Haitian vodou rituals to Brazilian 'spiritual surgery', she's willing to try anything. Can miracles happen? And more importantly, what happens next if they do?Raising vital questions about the modern medical system, this is also a story about identity in a system historically skewed against 'hysterical' female patients, and the struggle to retain a sense of self under the medical gaze. Heal Me explains why modern medicine's current approach to chronic pain is failing patients. It explores the importance of faith, hope and cynicism, and examines our relationships with our doctors, our beliefs and ourselves.

Orion Spring

Calm

Fearne Cotton
Authors:
Fearne Cotton

THE FOLLOW UP TO THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, HAPPY: FINDING JOY IN EVERY DAY AND LETTING GO OF PERFECT'Calm for me is less about thought and much more about feeling. It is a stillness that allows my lungs to expand like hot air balloons. It is an acceptance of the noise around me. It is a magic alchemy that might last a second or a whole day, where I feel relaxed yet aware; still yet dynamic; open yet protected . . . '***In today's always-on world, for many of us it seems impossible to relax, take time out or mute the encircling 'noise'. It is easy to feel trapped in this frenzied state of mind: we are surrounded by negative stories in the press, weighed down by pressures from work, family life or school and subject to constant scrutiny under the all-seeing eye of social media. As a result, mental health illnesses are on the rise in every age group, and more of us than ever before yearn for silence, peace and calm.CALM is Fearne's mission to find the simple things that can inch us away from stress and over to the good stuff. Including expert advice, conversations with wise friends from all walks of life, easy ideas to try, activities to complete - and the little things that have made a difference to her own, sometimes-bumpy life - this book is a friendly reminder that Calm is a place that exists in us all, we just have to find our way back to it.

Trapeze

Dogs With Jobs

Laura Greaves
Authors:
Laura Greaves

Meet Molly Polly, the diabetes alert dog whose round-the-clock job is to keep her two young owners healthy; Bailey, the Assistant Director of Seagulls, who keeps the pesky birds away from the heritage vessels at the Australian National Maritime Museum; and Daisy, the Collie mix who's a full-time guide dog for another dog. From inspirational moments of bravery to dogs doing the jobs that no one else can, these are the life-affirming stories of the most remarkable dogs on the planet.

W&N

Goodbye Europe

Various
Authors:
Various

From Paris to Prague, from the past to the present, authors and artists say farewell in this unique collection.In these pages you'll find personal letters, reminiscences, poetry, art and brand new fiction from some of the most talented and important voices at work today, including Jessie Burton, Alain de Botton, Matt Haig, Richard Herring, Owen Jones, Mark Kermode, Robert Macfarlane, Kate Mosse, Chris Riddell, Lionel Shriver and many more. A fascinating, funny and moving must-read for anyone who wants to understand the times we live in, our relationship with the continent, and ourselves.INCLUDES PIECES BY: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Tom Bradby, Jessie Burton, Ben Collins (aka The Stig), Colonel Tim Collins, Robert Crampton, Adam Dant, Alain de Botton, Kate Eberlen, Matt Frei, Nicci French, Simon Garfield, Former Prime Minister Jim Hacker (Jonathan Lynn), Matt Haig, Richard Herring, Jennifer Higgie, Afua Hirsch, Owen Jones, Oliver Kamm, Alex Kapranos, Mark Kermode, Hari Kunzru, Olivia Laing, Marie Le Conte, Amy Liptrot, Robert Macfarlane, Henry Marsh, Val McDermid, Ian McEwan, Hollie McNish, Kate Mosse, Jenni Murray, Sarah Perry, Ian Rankin, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Chris Riddell, Andrew Roberts, Will Self, David Shrigley, Lionel Shriver, Sunny Singh, Ece Temelkuran, Rob Temple, Bee Wilson, Sara Winman

W&N

The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983–1992

Tina Brown
Authors:
Tina Brown

The sizzling diaries of Tina Brown's eight spectacular years as editor in chief of Vanity Fair paint a riveting portrait of the flash, dash and follies of the Eighties in New York and Hollywood.'A fabulous odyssey ... I read it in a mad frenzy' Stephen Fry'Fluent, funny, fierce' Sunday Telegraph'The juiciest of the year' Cosmoplitan'Hang on - it's a wild ride' Meryl StreepThe Vanity Fair Diaries is the story of an Englishwoman barely out of her twenties who arrives in Manhattan on a mission. Summoned from London in hopes that she can save Condé Nast's troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Tina Brown is immediately plunged into the maelstrom of the competitive New York media world and the backstabbing rivalries at the court of the planet's slickest, most glamour-focused magazine company. She survives the politics, the intrigue and the attempts to derail her by a simple stratagem: succeeding. In the face of rampant scepticism, she triumphantly reinvents a failing magazine.Here are the inside stories of Vanity Fair scoops and covers that sold millions: the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana's marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore. In the diary's cinematic pages, the drama, comedy and struggle of running an 'it' magazine come to life. Brown's Vanity Fair Diaries is also a woman's journey, of making a home in a new country and of the deep bonds with her husband, their prematurely born son and their daughter.Astute, open-hearted, often riotously funny, Tina Brown's The Vanity Fair Diaries is a compulsively fascinating and intimate chronicle of a woman's life in a glittering era.

W&N

Going on the Turn

Danny Baker
Authors:
Danny Baker
Trapeze

How to be Champion

Sarah Millican
Authors:
Sarah Millican

Hilarious, heartwarming and inspirational, this is the number 1 Sunday Times bestselling autobiography by comedian Sarah Millican. The funniest book of the year! *****'The naughtiest, helpiest, laughieoutloudiest and goodest book I've ever done reading on. Give that girl a banana!' DAWN FRENCH SARAH MILLICAN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH, FEEL NORMAL AND PROBABLY SNIFF YOUR LEGGINGS. Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican's debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life's blips - like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce. If you've ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny's, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is YOUR BOOK. If you haven't done those things but wish you had, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. 'Of course Sarah Millican's book will make you laugh out loud, but there are moments where she will touch you deeply. The dirty bitch.' KATHY BURKE

Trapeze

Dear Cancer, Love Victoria

Victoria Derbyshire
Authors:
Victoria Derbyshire
W&N

What I Learnt

Jeremy Vine
Authors:
Jeremy Vine
W&N

Some Fantastic Place

Chris Difford
Authors:
Chris Difford

Chris Difford is a rare breed. As a member of one of London's best-loved bands, the Squeeze co-founder has made a lasting contribution to English music with hits such as 'Cool For Cats', 'Up The Junction', 'Labelled With Love', 'Hourglass' and 'Tempted'. Even before his first release in 1977, his love of writing lyrics has never wavered. Over the course of a thirteen-album career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. His 'kitchen-sink drama' style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, and his influence is keenly felt today. The likes of Lily Allen. Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Razorlight and many more have recognized the debt they owe to Squeeze's music and to Difford's way with words, while journalists were moved by his winning combination with Glenn Tilbrook to dub the pair 'The New Lennon and McCartney'.In Some Fantastic Place, Chris Difford charts his life from his early days as a dreaming boy in south London with a talent for poetry to becoming a member of one of Britain's greatest bands and beyond. Along the way he reveals the inspiration and stories behind Squeeze's best-known songs, and his greatest highs and lows from over four decades of making music.

W&N

The Book of Emma Reyes

Emma Reyes
Authors:
Emma Reyes

This astonishing memoir of a childhood lived in extreme poverty in Latin America was hailed as an instant classic when first published in Colombia in 2012, nine years after the death of its author, who was encouraged in her writing by Gabriel García Márquez. Comprised of letters written over the course of thirty years, it describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing. Emma was an illegitimate child, raised in a windowless room in Bogotá with no water or toilet and only ingenuity to keep her and her sister alive. Abandoned by their mother, she and her sister moved to a convent housing 150 orphan girls, where they washed pots, ironed and mended laundry, scrubbed floors, cleaned bathrooms, and sewed garments and decorative cloths for church. Illiterate and knowing nothing of the outside world, Emma escaped at age nineteen, eventually coming to have a career as an artist and to befriend the likes of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Far from self-pitying, the portrait that emerges from this clear-eyed account inspires awe at the stunning early life of a gifted writer whose talent remained hidden for far too long.

W&N

Bringing in the Sheaves

Richard Coles
Authors:
Richard Coles