Friday, 8 November 2013


Didn't get on very well with work yesterday, finished early as a result and went home for a break before going back out to the cinema.

I went to see the Encore NT performance of 'The Habit of Art'. It wasn't bad - but it seemed to be a very good play, trapped inside an intentionally bad play, bookended by a mediocre play. I think that was the intention - it was classic Alan Bennett. Lots of thin double entendres, someone pulls his pants down and shows the audience his bottom - usually they are practically the same person in all his plays, so we can assume that's his fantasy 'type'. Bennet repeatedly skirts around the subject of men and boys, ever single bloody play, it's the same thing - once he's dead and gone and the glint has faded from his National Treasure crown - a whole generation of pseudo intelectual investigative journalists will use millions of words to try and twist his to their thesis about who and what Bennett really was. In his discourse on Thomas Mann in this play - Bennett kinda does all the work for them. Interestingly - there is a bit about Benjamin Britten's adoring fan base in Aldburgh - where the upwardly mobile middle class mothers would be delighted to offer up their choir boy sons to extra lessons, in much the same way that my middle class audience-mates tittered and simpered through the sections on rent boys and pederasty -"oh, isn't it cheeky, what fun". I should stop there before I turn into the Daily Mail - I have to say that the cast were very good, it must be excruciating to be a good actor trying to play the part of an incompetent actor in a bad play... within a play... which is really about something else.

I spoke to someone afterwards who felt that the beginning and end felt tacked on and redundant - just there for the 'less sophisticated' audience who might have trouble with the theme - something that got 'worked out' in rehearsals - which was EXACTLY what happened with his last play, "People" - I think Bennet is far better with shorter pieces - if you have seen this play, or get the chance, the section between Auden and Britten in part 2 where they are just talking to each other is brilliant - but most of the bit around it don't work at all.

Yesterday, at lunch time - I went for a walk around the Charity shops (there really isn't that much to do in Hastings at lunch time). In Oxfam - a woman in her mid 50's who bore a very striking resemblance to the actress who played Polly Perkins' in Eldorado (go on - you did watch it, don't be coy) made several crude attempts to pick me up - eventually stomping past me - deliberately brushing her faux rabbit fur gillet against me - turning, and giving me what she may have considered to be a 'smouldering' look. Sylvia Miles in 'Midnight Cowboy' she ain't. I made a speedy exit.

Now that the temperature has dropped - Little Mouse is on winter mode, essentially - pissing all over the house 4 or 5 times a day. At the moment - mostly the bathroom, which is fine by me because it vinyl flooring and easy to clean. I have no idea why she does this - no bladder control at all. Yesterday they tore open the post - this included a set of bicycle gears - it took 20 mins to find one of them, and a new phone case - which came in a package that was impossible to open without cutting to pieces - and proved to not be a very good fit - but was now nonreturnable. This made me incandescent with rage.

I had a weird spike on here yesterday - very late last night a massive number of people viewed my last post, that always makes me uncomfortable. Talking digital - if you are of a certain age - the following Twitter exchange will delight you. When I was a child, Ms Goddard was already advertising Hostess Trolleys in all the press and on TV - impossibly glamorous devices that screamed of a middle class lifestyle we could only ever dream of - at the time I assumed she was about 40 years older than me... she's actually only 15. At least she has a sense of humour.


Mark Rochester said...

Have just discovered your blog and love your wry observations of modern life, I am an instant fan. I live in an even more obscure seaside town and feel so much in common.
Regarding A Bennett,I could have easily gone last night and knew that I should have, living so far from easy reach of culture, Your summing up captures everything that I feel about his most recent work and find hard to swallow, no pun intended. Lovely memories of his early work though.

Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said...

Cheers for that - I often think I live on the moon here, I really like it - but wish the transport was better, of I was better funded...


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