A gig

The late great Linda Smith (1958–2006) was much loved by her colleagues. Simon Hoggart gives an affectionate tribute to her in A long lunch, including a story that strikes a generational chord—she told it herself, but here’s how he recalls it:

Though she had been to Sheffield University, and most of her early success as a performer had been around South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, she often returned to London and would always see her mother in Erith.* She’d explain why she was coming down—she had a gig in the West End on Saturday, but would pop over on Sunday before returning to Sheffield for another gig…
After some years of this, her mother would drop into that voice all children, of whatever age, dread hearing from their parents, the voice that means “I am about to ask a very serious question that I haven’t liked to ask for a long time, but now I need to know…” What is it going to be? Probably “Why don’t you marry and settle down?”

“What I want to know,” said her mother, “is—what is a gig?”

More gems from Linda Smith here. See also this post on the etymology of the gig.

*Erith in Kent, a town of which she said: “It’s not twinned with anywhere, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham.”

One thought on “A gig

  1. Pingback: Useful putdowns | Stephen Jones: a blog

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