At dinner the other evening Jenny Urwin asked me what I was reading at the moment. The conversation at some point will inevitably turn to books as she is an avid reader. I usually have three books on the go: one beside my bed, one for the loo, and one in the conservatory cum dining room. That one right now of which I am halfway through is Peter Ustinov’s delightful autobiography Dear Me first published 1977. We have the Penguin edition and I have no idea how long it has been on the bookshelf or even where it came from and the only reason I started on it was because one of our cats, Betty by name, has a habit of finding the strangest, usually high up, places in which to hide herself to sleep and a short while sago, and only for a while until she found somewhere else, it was a bookshelf above a door. In jumping up there she knocked down half a dozen paperbacks, one of which was the
Apart from the wit and the beautiful writing (one can imagine
Something else which struck me was, if I am allowed to quote, “It must be understood that the British theatre of the period was beset with distinguished elderly actors and actresses who were determined to be liked by the public even if they were playing totally unsympathetic characters …. The audience was beset by little signals from such performers, signifying that although they had just killed their wives or husbands on the stage owing to the exigencies of a particularly silly script which only the difficulties of the times had made them accept, they were not really like that in life at all.” Why this observation struck a chord with me was because, when I first arrived n
This book would make a marvellous present to any drama student about to step out into the big wide unjust world.