Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monday evening - It has been raining heavily and almost continually for twenty four hours and tomorrow our first seasonal guests arrive. The forecast is gloomy for the first three days of their visit and they’re only here for a week! Hopefully the forecast is wrong as it so often is.
Tuesday morning – So far the forecast was correct: cold, wet, and windy.
The Sunday Times Culture section informs me there are something like two hundred million blogs swirling around the internet but not to worry, they have chosen the best two hundred to make it easy for us. How they managed to do this is anyone’s guess. Someone read the whole two hundred million? It also assumes that your taste and mine is the same as whoever it was who decided on the two hundred as being the best. I didn’t notice if No official Umbrella was among the favourites! Shame.
Am still engrossed in “Human Traces” and, having finished the Kenneth Williams diaries, started on “City Of Ice” and could hardly put it down until the very last page and I didn’t notice any holes in the plot. No pretensions to being a literary work but a humdinger of a page turner and very scary; better than Dan Brown and twenty times better than old Jeff Archer. I really shouldn’t denigrate Jeff so much. After all I’ve only managed to struggle through one of his books and that was enough.
As for the Joe Orton Diaries that preceded my reading of the Kenneth Williams, I came to the conclusion that Orton, consciously or unconsciously committed suicide using Halliwell as the instrument thereof. It was a case of ‘Live hard, die young, and be a good-looking corpse.’ Everything certainly points in that direction, he being fully aware of how unstable Halliwell was, how he had been previously threatened and even physically attacked. There is no mention of his retaliating or defending himself. The coroner in his summing up spoke of the ever increasing tension but could have chosen his words a little more carefully when he ended with ‘it all came to a head’; considering Orton died from eight hammer blows to that part of his anatomy.
So on what evidence do I think suicide? Here are a few examples. On page 130, ‘Arguments continue spasmodically. Breaking out like sudden flames on a dying fire.’ 182. Quote from Kenneth Cranham ‘He thought he was really beautiful, Joe did. His buzz was himself.’ On page 186 Orton writes about how happy they both felt and that it couldn’t last. They would be struck down by disaster from afar. Page 221. ‘Kenneth became violently angry after this and attacked me, hitting me about the head.’ Page 225. ‘Yellow-jersey very upset because I’m leaving. He doesn’t believe I will return. October seems so far off. Such a lot of things can happen.’ Page241. ‘I shall be a disgusting old man myself one day, I thought mournfully. Only I have high hopes of dying in my prime.’

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