John Lewis informs me he has always known it as … when the devil drives. He also tells me that GBS borrowed Arms And The Man from Virgil – I sing of arms and the man. So there you are, for those who knew it not, a piece of culture. Go read your Aeniad. I wonder if there is something psychological in that when I mean to type “are” it invariably comes out as “arse.” I only mention it now because I have just corrected it above. Nothing to do with anything else. I have to admit I have never read any Virgil, in fact my knowledge of the classics, except for plays, is woefully lacking. I’m not that much up on the great Russians either, except for Chekhov, and again only theatrically.
Lewis and I were at high school in Durban a thousand and odd years ago and appeared on the stage together. There’s invariably at least one school teacher who’s keen on dramatics and this was the very first time I trod the boards. I can’t remember the play Lewis and I were in together, maybe he could remind me, but the one I do remember is that glorious old one act melodrama “The Monkey’s Paw.” I remember too, while the plays were on and it was so strange being in the school building at night, three or four of us sneaking up to the sixth form classroom, opening all the windows and having a crafty smoke in the dark. Much later I had the most amazing dream, the first time I realised I dreamt, or could dream, in colour. I can still see it so vividly all these years later. My sister was sitting at a desk in this very same classroom and had obviously just learnt that I had died. Now I heard when a child that if you dreamt you were dying and you didn’t wake up before the point of no return (sorry Mr Webber – sorry Lord Webber) then you really did cash in your chips but that is obviously an old wives’ tale because in this dream I was well and truly dead and I was trying, that is me as a ghost, was trying to comfort my sister but of course making no headway at all as to her I was invisible and inaudible. Just then an angel appeared, nine foot tall, beautiful, glowing, enormous wings snowy white and all, and placed an open book in my sister’s lap. I looked over her shoulder and, as she turned the pages I saw the most vibrant and colourful pictures that seemed to literally dance off the page. I can’t actually remember the subject matter but they were so wonderful they stopped my sister’s tears and happy as Larry (full of the clichés today) I floated gently out a window and across the upper playing field to disappear into the night.
Lewis and I as boarders also had altercations with the headmaster when we wanted permission to go to symphony concerts in Durban’s city hall. Can’t remember the outcome, maybe John can put me right on that one as well. I remember the conductor of the Durban Symphony was one Edward Dunn and very full of himself he was too. I did attend concerts there because I remember my mother singing solo with the orchestra and I remember guest pianists (who?) Names gone in the mist of time.
Quite accidentally caught the majority of a British film on the Crete Channel last night. I saw accidentally because Athens News doesn’t list their schedule. Haven’t a clue what it was called but it must have been made some time ago because most everyone in it is dead, including those who died before their time like Oliver Reed. It was a period swashbuckling romantic drama, set in the time of the restoration, Michael York as Charles ll and starred Hugh Grant as a young nobleman, friend to the king, turned highwayman (sort of Robin Hood figure) by the name of “Silver Blade!!!” And the cast included every character actor of the period plying one scene bit parts: John Mills, Robert Morley, Bernard Miles, Christopher Cazenove, etc etc. After a while it became a game of spot who’s going to appear next. Have just looked up Oliver Reed on Google and see he died in ’99. Also watched clips of him pissed out of his mind on chat shows. When asked why he drank he replied the nicest people he met were in pubs. He evidently boasted of having a tattoo on his cock . Thankfully he didn’t whip it out and show it.