I was just thinking this morning over breakfast how; as you grow old, things that once meant so much to you, no longer seem important, if at all. Apart from attending a few live performances I can’t remember when last I sat down to do nothing but listen to some music and, once upon a time, music was always a part of my life. Now I simply don’t miss it. As far as popular music goes I wouldn’t know one group or one artiste from another – they seem to change by the week anyway - and the same applies to more serious stuff, not the changing every week but knowing who they are. I am simply not up with both the performers and composers of today.
There is no reason for me to write plays anymore as I have in a sense retired from what goes on in the great wide world. Apart from the musical written here, the last play I wrote was “Rosemary” in 1989 and that is a period piece anyway. In fact all my plays are now period pieces and a couple are well over their shelf life. One for example relies on old-fashioned photography and the dark room for its plot so where is that in relation to digital cameras? With one of these, even the simplest, together with computers, taking fantastic photographs is at everybody’s fingertips. You have to be as complete klutz not to be able to do it.
And computers? Moving faster and faster every day it would seem. I was looking at five inches of computer chip and thinking how much our everyday lives are now in hock to man’s ingenuity., that this small object could contain so much information. I sit here at the keyboard facing the screen over which is a videocam through which, and providing my correspondent also has one, we can see each other as we talk. Seventy years ago (as is written in my biography) this would have been science-fiction. if my parents wanted to call me at my boarding school forty miles or so away as the crow flies, a bit longer by road or rail, the call had to be booked in advance through the telephone exchange and the call lasted three minutes unless further time was paid for and, as it was a party line, something unheard of for many a year now, anyone interested could listen in to the conversation. What a long way we have come in such a short space of time and if progress moves any faster will we be able to keep up with it?
I see a Polish monk has written a sex manual for the edification of Catholic couples. People are asking how a monk who is supposed to be celibate can write a complete book on sex but, golly, he’s got an imagination hasn’t he? And what an imagination! The book is a runaway best seller and Catholics, provided they are Catholic and legitimately married of course, will be pleased to read that, as they are frolicking between the sheets in an ecstasy of sexual enlightenment, god is watching them and enjoying every minute of it with them. Have you ever heard such nonsense in your life? It’s truly amazing how people will find a way to legitimise something, a perfectly normal phenomenon that usually terrifies the wits out of them.
In the meantime the Vatican is also having a spot of PR bother denying the Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth and, by golly again, there is a photograph of him in the uniform of a German air force assistant and looking quite cute in a sulky sort of way. Pity about the ears.