Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I was right in my assumption some time back that the new anti-smoking laws in Greece wouldn’t add up to a can of beans and so it seems. I never thought the Greeks would give up their smoking easily and evidently hardly anyone is taking any notice. Tavernas, restaurants and clubs have on the whole ignored it and no one as yet has been charged with breaking the law. In interviews in The Athens News one café owner said he tried to implement it but, when trade started to diminish quite drastically as his patrons disappeared, he did a U turn. Another withdrew the ashtrays but told his customers to use wet paper napkins and if the police happened to call they could roll them, up, evidence hidden. Obviously no one had thought of how they intended to explain a room thick with smoke. I remember as a schoolboy smoking in an empty classroom and when the word ‘Cave!’ was heard desperately trying to wave the smoke out the open windows. I don’t recall if the ruse was successful or not. Must have been I suppose because I don't remember ever being punished.
The weather these last few days, and nights, has been unusually warm which is a good thing as there is still no sign of heating oil.
Bedtime reading at the moment is Ginger Rogers’ autobiography and breakfast room reading is Rupert Everett’s autobiography – chalk to cheese. The first is all sweetness, light and Christian Science, the second tells it as it was. Ginger’s book reveals no warts except for those she had on her hands as a child and which Christian Science got rid of overnight. Poof! She woke up and they had just disappeared. Just like that. She does tend to blow her trumpet somewhat as she maintains there was nothing she didn’t excel at from a very early age but then, being a film star, I suppose blowing one’s trumpet is a necessity of life. The book is so saccharine to begin with I didn’t think I would travel very far with it but it does get better further along, because of “show biz” interest and names! How’s this for some names in the pit band for the musical Girl Crazy in 1930? – Gene Krupa on drums, Roger Edens on piano, Benny Goodman on clarinet, Jimmy Dorsey on saxophone, Glenn Miller and Jack Teagarden both on trombone. Occasionally Gershwin himself was on piano.
Everett on the other hand tells it as it is, reveals warts from the very beginning and his book is fascinating not just for that, but because it reveals so much of the business of which I was totally ignorant despite being a part of it for fifty years. It is also beautifully written. He has made the closest observation to the experience as I have ever read. “It’s difficult to describe a theatrical production. It exists for the moment it is on the stage and, even then, it is different for everyone who sees it. As the curtain falls the final tableau dissolves into the ether. A few pictures might remain to jog the memory, but photographs are performances of their own. And so the magic of theatre is its life, also its death. Both are contained and celebrated in the moment of applause. The curtain goes up again. The actors take their bows. It’s over.”
My one and only small complaint: I got a bit tired of the adoration; I adored him, I adored her, I adored them, I adored it, we adored each other! No wonder the press sometimes refer to actors as luvvies!

No comments: