Sunday, November 30, 2008

In his book “The Victorian Underworld” in the chapter headed “Magsmen, macers and shofulmen all of which really mean tricksters, twisters, and con artists, (there’s a glossary of a couple of hundred truly weird words and expressions of the period) Kellow Chesney makes particular reference to Sarah Rachael Leverson - I wonder why he put the “e” in Rachel – known as Madame Rachel, possibly one of the greatest confidence tricksters of all time with her message of being able to make women BEAUTIFUL FOR EVER. In my all women play of that title I tell the story of how Madam Rachel took one particularly silly lady by the name of Borrodaile to the cleaners an exercise which eventually led to her, Rachel, landing up in gaol. As far as I know, the play, although published by Samuel French a good many years ago has only had two productions, both in Wales. It would seem actresses who are forever bemoaning the fact that writers do not write parts for women simply do not want to play characters like Sarah Leverson or Mrs Borrodaile, neither of them what might be called prepossessing but most definitely extremely interesting and challenging characters. Although Madame Rachel used a fictitious romance with a minor nobleman, Thomas Heron Jones, Lord Ranelagh, to con Mrs Borrodaile out of everything she possessed, in writing the play I decided to exclude men altogether. This was made easy as the supposed romance was carried out by letter writing. In fact I have written three plays with all women casts, BEAUTIFUL FOR EVER, THRILLER OF THE YEAR and GENERATIONS, and some other fabulous parts for women like La Belle Otero and not necessarily for young women either so what are all these actresses moaning about not having parts written for them? What particularly interested me in Mr Chesney’s telling of the Rachel Leverson story is that he comes up with some derails of her character and carryings on that in fact, despite the amount of research I did at the time, make her out to be even more of a blackguard (can a woman be a blackguard? The dictionary defines it as a man who behaves in a despicable way but never mind) than I thought, for example that she used her bathhouse as a place of assignation and was therefore more of a madam than a madame. It wouldn’t really make any difference to the play as it stands but it’s always fascinating to make new discoveries. Madam’s treatments could cost up to £1000, a great deal of money in the 1880’s and one of her amazing cons at considerable price was her “Magnetic Rock Dew Water,” dew distilled sparingly from a rock in the middle of the Sahara desert and possessed of the most extraordinary property. I think the only extraordinary property was Mrs Leverson’s chutzpah but she got away with it for a long time although she eventually died in prison – but that was second time around.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Of course I neglected to mention battery hens, veal calves that can’t move and never see the light of day, force fed geese,and Koreans who eat their dogs but kill them only after giving them a sound beating all over to tenderize the flesh. There are probably more horrors that don't immediately come to mind.
Working in the garden or taking the dog for a walk I hear the guns popping all over the place as the intrepid Cretan hunters try to eradicate what is left of the tiny wild life on this beautiful island. I absolutely despair of humankind. I have been putting off and putting off this Blog all day because I really do not want to write it but it must be done because it is a horror story; not the ersatz titillating violence and horror story that comes out of Hollywood but true life and death horror. The evil deeds man perpetrates against his own kind is horrendous enough: think of what is happening in Zimbabwe where Mugabe and his cronies grow fat and rich whilst half the population evidently are starving, have no recourse to medicine and are literally brutalized: then the latest atrocity being the unholy massacre of 300 innocents in Mumbai presumably by Islamist fundamentalists, but this is mainly not about man’s inhumanity to man but about the atrocities committed by man against the animal kingdom, in particular against inoffensive, friendly, trusting, affectionate, defenceless creatures. The list is a fairly lengthy one. We can start right here in Greece where too many people have no empathy with animals at all. Dogs and cats suffer horrifying deaths by poison, even though it is against the law. We have lost both a dog and a cat to this outrage. Dogs on chains no more than a yard long are kept day and night in steel barrels, fed on a diet of stale bread and water when an owner puts his mind to it, roasting in the summer’s heat and freezing in the winter, with no affection, no stimulus other than to bark at strangers passing by which is presumably what they are there for, and to frighten away predators that could be after a farmer’s chickens. Once it has outlived its usefulness it is not unknown for it to be hung from the nearest tree which means death by slow strangulation.
Further afield, where does one start? The patient little donkey in various parts of the world we know doesn’t have too good a time of it and a charity for horses has this advertisement in the newspaper, “Every year 100,000 terrified horses from Poland, Romania, Spain, and other countries are packed into trucks and driven thousands of miles across Europe in appalling conditions, predominantly for slaughter in Italy. Many journeys breach EU legislation with insufficient stops for water, food or rest. The horses often travel for days at a time. No horse should be made to suffer these unnecessary journeys. Other animals due for slaughter suffer the same way.
What about that gentle giant the mountain gorilla, a truly wonderful creature, being hunted almost to extinction for bush meat served up not just in Africa but, from what one gathers, trendy restaurants for those who should know better but whose taste is all in their mouths?
My sister has sent me two e-mails with attachments, the first concerning happenings in Denmark, the second the flaying alive of animals so that their pelts can make cute little toys. I opened the first set of sickening photographs showing the Danes butchering dolphins wholesale – Dolphins! Those wonderful friendly innocent creatures, the sea running red with their blood, crowds on the shore watching the slaughter, how can this ever be justified? As for the second attachment I’m afraid I simply do not have the courage to open it and never will. The description in the e-mail itself is horrific enough and every time it comes to mind my blood runs cold. A petition has been started to try and stop this atrocity and somehow it must be stopped as must the slaughter of the dolphins.
Christians, Jews, Muslims, how can you believe in an almighty merciful god who allows his all things bright and beautiful all creature’s great and small to be treated in this hideous fashion? It simply does not make sense. I hope all who read this agree with me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Continuing: no it’s not logical at all. His name is Daniel, not David, so see how easy it is for the mind to get distracted, especially in one’s dotage.
Two disappointments yesterday, if they can be called that. Firstly yet another rejection to add to the pile – my play “A Corner For Dreams” that I wrote way back in 1959 (see autobiography) was submitted to David Pugh as a possibility for David Radcliffe and the response by e-mail was “Thank you for sending David Glyn Jones’ play A Corner For Dreams. (David??? I’ve been called many things in my time – see autobiography – but never David. I wonder where that came from) Whilst our reader enjoyed the play he didn’t feel it was the right vehicle for Daniel Radcliffe. His comments did suggest, however, that Mister Jones’ may find a big success with it in some small northern rep. We wish you the best of luck in finding a suitable home elsewhere. Best wishes and do let us know if the play does go on to be produced. Jake Brunger.”
Well that’s all very interesting but I wonder what the reader had in mind by small northern rep! There aren’t that many reps left and those that are still with us are hardly small – Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield? Anyway, if at first you don’t succeed as it is said and another play with a terrific part for a young man will be sent for consideration.
So mentioning the autobiography, that was the second disappointment. I collected with anticipated glee what should have been the edited proof copy when it arrived through the post yesterday only to find the printers hade made a big booboo in that, instead of printing Douglas’s amended copy, they had reproduced in error the original which now means another delay before the book can go out.
Watched the Bond movie “The World Is Not Enough” which contained more boring hokum than was good for it. How, one might ask, when so much unbelievable mayhem is being created can it possibly be boring? But I’m afraid for me it was, even when the action was at its most dramatic I found myself thinking “Oh get on with it.” Perhaps it’s the dire lack of humour in Bond movies, the latter ones anyway, that makes them boring, pretentious and boring. Another channel was showing “True Lies” the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jamie Lee Curtis movie which I had seen previously and which is just as totally unbelievable but much much more fun.
Tomorrow night in Athens it is the big occasion for the play “Mister Episkopakis” that Chris and Douglas have been working on. It’s already had a number of performances but this one is the premiere. Presumably the forerunners were what in England would be called previews. So break a leg, guys. Here’s hoping for a big success.
Thinking of the derivation of David Glyn Jones, obviously it absentmindedly follows on the David Radcliffe, yes? It’s a theory anyway and logical, the kind of thing that happens.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The mystery of the 1962 Anthony has been solved. The giver was one Mr Christopher Beeching (I should have recognised the handwriting) who signed himself Anthony because he had always wanted a second Christian name, something his parents neglected to give him, so we gave him two – Anthony and Alexis because Christopher Anthony Alexis Beeching sounded rather theatrical, no?.
His article in the new Music Hall magazine is very good but now, despite all the distractions, he really must get on and finish his biography of George Leybourne, aka Champagne Charlie. And talking of biography, the second proof of “No Official Umbrella” still hasn’t arrived, that’s six days in the mail so far. Strange to think that in Victorian London there was a mail delivery every hour and even when I was first in England, there were two deliveries a day, if not three – not too sure if the memory is playing me false with three but, even so, the price continues to rise, the service gets worse. The GPO must have lost a great chunk of its income though with the advent of e-mail, so easy, so instantaneous, so cheap. When my nephew Evan first told me about e-mail I hadn’t a clue as what he was talking about. And talking of cost and deteriorating services, just think of council tax and rubbish collection once a fortnight. Here on Crete it’s twice a week, down from three times a week but still a long way off once a fortnight. That word “fortnight” evidently was originally an American expression, later adopted by the English and then dropped by the Americans. Youngsters over there don’t usually know what you’re talking about. but then if councils in the UK want to spend their money on all sorts of ethnic services like signs printed in four or five languages for example and cosy clubs for Chinese ladies what can one expect, Especially in view of the salaries paid to jobsworthy councillors and are they really worth it one has to ask?
“The 88” has surfaced again. In the clear-up of my desk I came across a tiny yellowing newspaper cutting dated (by hand) November ’89 which informs me that a Mister Sean Mulcahy, Director of the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton has offered a production and is also approaching a well known Canadian producer who having read the play is considering further productions with a distinct possibility of taking it to New York. Presumably the cutting is from “The Stage” but I have no memory of this and obviously and naturally nothing came of it.
But it has also surfaced from a different direction as having been approached by an Irish actor by the name of Kevin Geough who wants to present a documentary about The Connoughts to Irish Television. he has asked if it is possible for him to see a copy of the play. We have responded by asking him to send us what he has written so far with his documentary and we will take it from there. Interesting. Interesting also that in his-mail, Kevin gives an Irish thanks – tanks!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The theatre scene in Athens is a pretty busy one there being any number of small theatres dotted throughout the city but Stelios described it as being like a lift, only so many people can get in and, if a newcomer arrives, someone has to leave. Consequently there is a fair amount of enmity and back-biting engendered. The way theatre is run is also very different from the way productions are mounted in England and America, including actors’ remuneration. When I was teaching in Denmark I thought aspiring actors there had a pretty hard time of it but nothing compared to Greece where I wouldn’t be an actor – I can’t say if they paid me or for all the money in the world because neither applies! Although the strength of Equity was reduced somewhat by Mrs Thatcher it still seems to carry enough clout to afford some protection to hard done by actors in the UK. Evidently even television stations in Greece are tardy in paying their actors and, from the stories I have heard, how they are expected to live is something else.
Watched the delightful film Bell Époque last night and found it fascinating that in 1931 in Spain, the period and place in which the movie is set, a father and mother living in an out of the way tiny village seemed to quite happily accept their daughter’s lesbianism, the mother’s advice to her daughter being not to bother with dreadful men but to find s nice pretty girl to live with.
Christmas 1962 someone by the name of Anthony gave me a book titled EROS “an anthology of friendship” which is my current bedside reading. It was one of two books I took off the shelves, the other being “The Victorian Underworld.” All these years later I have no idea who the Anthony was who presented me with this volume but, following on the attitude of the Spanish couple in the film, in this book there is a letter written by Lord Chesterfield to his son who was doing sort of Byronesque things in what would then have been called Arabia, advising him on sexual matters, part of the advice being to have it off, in moderation of course, with both sexes, men in spring and summer, women in winter. How many people have such an understanding daddy?
Reading “The Victorian Underworld” I cannot help but feel that what is happening in South Africa today as far as rampant crime is concerned is exactly what was happening in Britain in the middle of the nineteenth century when the most awful poverty was the norm in terrible city slums and it is going to take a long time for the shanty-town existence and unemployment to be phased out. That won’t get rid of crime completely but should hopefully, providing the police aren’t too corrupt, lessen it. To be one of the undeserving poor in England in Victorian times must have been hell on earth. It can’t be all that different now in SA.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In my clean-up a few days ago and having discovered in my out tray the cutting from a South African newspaper with the article on the Holford diet, and goodness know how long it had been lying in there, we ordered the book which duly arrived and has been dipped into. I say “dipped” because I found I was unable to or didn’t want to really read it with any kind of thoroughness. Chris said he had his doubts about it when he read the article but didn’t say anything. I, having dipped into the book, now also have doubts. Why? Well in the first place the book is supposed to be about the Holford diet and what results can be obtained by sticking to it but why should it be necessary to interlace the text with letters of approbation from satisfied dieters? Surely if the diet is all it’s cracked up to be it doesn’t need this kind of bolstering puff, not in an instruction manual anyway? Is the diet merely another fad making someone, i.e. Mr Holford mega-rich on the flab of the poor desperate overweight who have been struggling with their avoirdupois (like me) for eons with little or no success. Diets come and go come and go. The last one we tried was the Atkins which worked up to a point and then stopped working and I have the feeling the same will apply to the Holford diet though I will give it a try. This is not just for the sake of losing a few pounds but because of the discovery that my blood-sugar level is far too high and could be indicative of incipient diabetes.
But now what really made me wonder about the whole thing was a review in Friday’s Mail of a book called Bad Science which informs me that Professor Patrick Holford has produced a “Qlink pendant” that protects against “evil electromagnetic fields” and can be got for£69.99 – except for the price we’re back in Victorian times here with pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo. The question one asks is, has the good professor not made himself rich enough with over a million books sold world-wide and presumably still selling, after all I have just bought one, that he has to come up with this nonsense – and for seventy quid? And do people fall for it? As Barnum said, “There’s one born every minute” which must be true because, according to a survey, there are evidently mothers who actually believe Jaffa cakes are fruit! Whatever happened to education?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

With thousands of redundancies being announced daily due to the world-wide recession I wonder what Malthus would say were he alive today. The question that comes to mind as well is, if a company can suddenly cut its workforce by such huge numbers, why did it need to employ that number in the first place? If ever there was such a thing, there can never ever again be full employment. In those areas that don’t produce much worth talking about (am I right in thinking Palestine for example?) where the hand has to be continually outstretched for aid, the unemployed must remain an army. In more advanced countries, each new innovation in technology means fewer and fewer workers and the pace of development is ever quickening. We’ve come an awful long way since the invention of the loom and the population of the world just keeps on growing and growing and, with the possible exception of AIDS, with the advances made in medicine, Malthus’ population control by disease no longer really applies. War and starvation of course are another matter.
A book my stubby little fingers withdrew from the shelf yesterday and which I have started to read is “The Victorian Underworld” by Kellow Chesney, copyrighted 1970. Again it’s a book that‘s been on the shelf for goodness knows how long but I came across the following passage on page 18 and I am going to be in breach of copyright because I think it is worth repeating. I don’t know whether it is part of Chartist philosophy or from the pen of Mr Chesney, it’s not clear, but whoever wrote it, I would like every politician and town hall functionary who believes it is not only his/her duty, but their right, to stick their noses into everyone else’s business and dictate to them the way they should lead their lives because dictatorship, when you boil down to it, is what it is, to take note. After all, look where it has got the UK after ten years of this way of thinking!
“Freedom and human advance clearly go hand in hand and, to many, freedom that does not embrace a man’s liberty to order his own affairs is double-talk and chicanery. The rightful function of authority is to keep the peace and protect property. Government agencies are traditionally associated with political finangling and ruling class parasitism and if they set out to regulate everyday activities it can only lead to tax-ridden regimentation and servility.”
Every politician and town hall jobsworth take note and learn that off by heart please starting with Bristol City Council who, in their joint wisdom have decided a boys’ club is politically incorrect and can no longer remain a boys’ club or it will lose its funding. If this isn’t blackmail of the nastiest kind someone please put me right. I am all for the girls having equal opportunities with the boys but the council will not put up any extra finance to facilitate a change or for example to hire a female leader whereas they provide £30494 to an all women Chinese group and £10984 to a Pakistani community aimed solely at women. Now tell me the world of PC hasn’t gone totally crazy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

After my two days in warmth and sunshine and in a summer shirt, hacking my way through the jungle known as the garden, today gave us the first indication of a coming Cretan winter; sky heavily overcast, leaden grey, thunder rolling ominously in the distance behind the mountains and a fair amount of rain to please the olive farmers. Although we lit the zompa in the saloni last night so we could watch “Ugly Betty” in comfort today was also the first day to don that extra garment for warmth and the cats very wisely have stayed in all day, even though the clouds dispersed around lunchtime. A clear sky means it will be colder tonight so time also to turn on the central heating. We’ve delayed up to now because of the price of heating oil though the tank is still almost half full from last winter, more than I thought when checked out and, if we delay too long, the house will get damp. In the old days, not all that long ago, before central heating, if a Cretan was cold he/she merely added layers of clothing (didn’t an English politician recently advise the hard-up to put on another sweater?) and the damp was ignored.
I’m beginning to grow just a little bit bored (wrong word – weary?) with this novel, mainly because I need to do a lot of research and Google just isn’t coming up with the answers I want, or I’m not asking the questions in the right way. Think I might give it a rest for a couple of days and then come back to it hopefully refreshed. Why is it proving so difficult when I am basing it on a previous finished work anyway so it’s not as if I am in unknown territory? It is definitely true – the hardest writing means the easiest reading – I hope. Which would seem to be the case with “Ugly Betty,” not exactly a masterpiece, whatever the definition of a masterpiece might be, but most enjoyable watchable well plotted television as opposed to so much crap that’s put out. I still can’t, despite my state of the art highly expensive hearing aid, understand a quarter of what the youngsters say but I guess for the rest of my days I might as well accept the fact that young actors no longer know how to speak. It’s a pity though to miss the gags. Chris says it’s a matter of balance of the sound so it’s the original sound mix which is to blame. I’m not too sure I agree with him as the older actors are perfectly understandable.
The Adobe software programme has been ordered and eagerly awaited!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well, we’ve had our rain, two days of intermittent drizzle, not the tropical downpours we can expect in deepest winter that create floods in a number of Cretan towns such as Kalyves and Souda so I doubt what we’ve had will have done much for the olive crop. The last two days though have been sunny and it has been back into the garden time. The only trouble is the amount of work now required is thoroughly daunting. Where does one start? It’s Hercules and the Augean stables but it’s going to be a very long day. Money money money: if only one could afford a gardener. Money money money: Douglas wants to buy an Adobe Master Suite – it costs well over £2000 which evidently is twice the American price, where to find the money? Money money money: fortunately we’re not in the position of negative equity or quids in to a bank but do have our heads above water, just, so long as nothing untoward makes waves.
He who I thought all along to be the murderer was sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime so clever clever author to lead me up the garden path, but wait – here comes the twist – he was actually innocent of the crime though still condemned and doomed to suffer his term in gaol. Unfortunately when it came to the denouement the name of the character who did commit the murder was a complete mystery to me so the moment of gasp passed without the gasp. I guess this character must have been mentioned earlier in the book but, if so, it was so far back, he was by now totally out of mind and all the justification that came after didn’t matter a diddlysquat.
So now I have to find something else to read. I’ve given up on the book Beryl left. Won’t mention it by name but the daily minutiae of Nigerian life has become tedious. How this has won prizes is beyond me but everyone to his or her own taste. In the meantime you would think with more than 5000 books in the house my chubby fingers would search out something to occupy me but it isn’t that easy. You have to find the exact volume to capture your imagination at a particular time even if it is something you’ve read before. Maybe I ought to go back to Dickens. There are some of his novels I’ve never read. And talking of reading, I don’t think people do read these days and I am not just talking of the submissions to Ealing Studios that were returned unread. Douglas as a literary agent sent an e-mail today to Harper Perennial asking for the name of an editor to whom he should submit a manuscript and received a reply saying he should (a) find a literary agent and (b) get the Writers’ Yearbook to which he has replied saying (a) He is a literary agent and (b) Thank you he already has the Writers’ Yearbook. So far no reply to that.
Chris is worried about his prostate and has an appointment for a scan but not until late in December. He feels he cannot wait that long so intends to go private. Fortunately medical expenses here are nothing like they are in the UK so it is not a case of money money money because it is hardly likely to break the bank and, if it puts his mind at rest, that’s how it should be.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This must be the very last mention of the devil either driving or riding. According to an e-mail from our friend Ian Dean, Google has examples of both, so riding it shall stay.
Derek Biddle who has supplied me with all the Reginald Hill books I’ve read and enjoyed has kindly lent me “A Small Death In Lisbon” by Robert Wilson because, as he said, he thought, seeing as to how I am an aficionado of Mr Hill, I would enjoy this one.. Well the answer to that is both yes and no. Yes because it is quite an interesting story, no because the writing is dire, the most absurd similes pulling me up every now and again extremely irritated. Some might consider these similes to be imaginative but I’m afraid I just find them ridiculous. And was tempted to give some examples but then I turned to the front of the book and read, not that I’ve never red this injunction before, “All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means etc., etc.,” and as this is definitely a retrieval system I guess I would be in breach of copyright if I were to type out even the smallest example. But if you have a copy of the book just take a look at page 404 second paragraph or 405 last paragraph and tell me amazement doesn’t sit on your eyebrow! The other annoying trait is that by now I think we have traversed the entire Lisbon A-Z of streets, alleys, parks, boulevards, beach fronts, docks, wharves, and interesting buildings. Our policeman hero seems to be in the habit of walking up one street only to cross another and then mooch down a third before turning left or right into yet another. It gets very boring especially as all the names (like the food and drink constantly mentioned together with the amount of cigarettes, cigars, cheroots smoked) are in Portuguese and are forgotten once the eyes have passed them by. The cigarettes, cigars and cheroots aren’t in Portuguese by the way which is just as well as they are mentioned so often, at one point one of the characters smoking from four different ashtrays.
I suppose there are those who would say that, as a writer, I shouldn’t be so critical of another writer’s work knowing how hard the job can be but it seems to me that these days grammar or elegant prose simply aren’t requirements in the world of modern publishing.
Witness Dan Browne and I was interested to read that Barry Humphries describes his prose as execrable to which I wholeheartedly agree, and with Mr Wilson I would describe his endeavouring to be ‘too slick and clever’ writing as very much sub Mickey Spillane. So I think I have every right to voice an opinion especially as, if I do take to a wonderful piece of writing, I am unstinting in my praise. The only thing to say in Mr Wilson’s favour at the moment is that I am not going to put his book aside but do intend to get to the end simply because I want to find out what the end is going to be, although I am quite sure I guessed the identity of the murderer a long way back. Could be wrong of course.

Monday, November 10, 2008

There is far too much information available on the internet, some of it quite rare, totally unexpected and most surprising like, for instance, this morning, there being a positive plethora of Glyn Joneses, dead, alive, and up and coming no doubt. Douglas decided to see if there was anything under my full name of Glyn Idris Jones and came up with this – The River Of Sand – A play in three acts by Glyn Idris Jones. Published 1956. Binding unknown. Publisher SN. Unavailable. WHAT! If The River Of Sand was published in 1956 it was done so without my knowledge let alone my permission. There don’t appear to be any other Glyn Idrises around though there is an Idris Glyn but he has nothing to do with writing. It must have been in 1956 that The River Of Sand was performed as a play reading at the actress Janet Barrow’s “salon.” I wanted to interest Flora Robson (who by the way was patron of the salon) in playing the lead but she turned it down with the strangest of objections – “What would my fans say if I played a woman like that?” A woman like what may I ask? I’ve never been able to figure this one out. The woman referred to is a strong moral devout loving Boer woman.
A very good director of the time, Casper Wrede wanted to do it but was unable to set it up and when I submitted the play to Granada Television the response was “Who’s interested in South Africa?” It wasn’t too long after that that South Africa became the world’s number one hot topic. So, apart from the reading at Janet’s, the play was never seen or heard of again but went into the script drawer where it has lain ever since, so how it got to be on Amazon and other book sellers lists I have absolutely no idea. Douglas has offered £20 for it so we will see how and if a copy turns up.
I still occasionally get enquiries for “The 88” (The latest from Ireland just a couple of weeks ago) but that is different in that it had a major production at The Old Vic in 1979 so had an enormous amount of publicity and flak! A While back a young lady by the name of Maher who is evidently a great niece of James Daly asked for a copy which I duly sent and then never heard another word; not a thank you or a kiss my arse. That seems to be very much the norm these days. Thank you is in scarce supply. Scripts cost money to print, scripts cost money to mail. These days it’s not so bad when a copy can be printed from the computer at a fraction of what it used to cost to have a number printed by an outside firm so now, when a work is submitted, we say return postage is not included so please destroy the material if not interested, printing is cheaper than postage.
If anyone comes across a copy of the play A River Of Sand please let us know.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Cretans are praying desperately for rain. There is still no sign of it even though there has been some cloud cover and, if it doesn’t happen soon, the olive crop will be badly affected. I was told some time ago, I don’t know how true it is but I presume it to be so, that the EU in its wisdom persuaded the farmers to root out their old olive trees and plant new species. The farmers unable to resist the subsidies that went with this plan did as they were bid. Up came hundred year old trees and in went the new ones. The only problem with this scheme is that the old trees were varieties that required very little if any water, the new ones require a lot. Why is it that busybodies can never leave well alone? Maybe one day someone will count up the number of trivial, not so trivial and idiotic decisions that have been made in Brussels. Reputedly since New labour came to power in the UK over 7000 new thou shalt nots have been added to the statute books.
The whole world seems to have welcomed the election of Obama who, apart from any other qualities he possesses, must be an extremely brave man to want to inherit the insane mess George Bush and his cronies have left him. In England the Bank have cut interest rates to an almost unprecedented low and one can’t help but feel available ammunition in fighting this crisis is now almost depleted. What next I wonder? Maybe Gordon Brown should call a general election now now now in cases things get even worse for him, if that’s possible. It’s possible.
Looking at the proof copy of the autobiography “No Official Umbrella” I can ‘t help thinking this is hardly the time to launch it but too late to worry about that and times anyway will eventually change so what’s the hurry?
E-mails from John Lewis to put me on track: Just found this by chance on the net – GLYN:
Just found this by chance on the net:
Needs must when the Devil Drives
The French say: “Il faut marcher quand le diable est aux trousses;” and the Italians say: “Bisogna andare, quando il diavolo è vella coda.” If I must, I must.
“He must needs go that the Devil drives.”
Shakespeare: All's Well That Ends Well, i. 3.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894 (a book that’s been in my own bookshelf since the year dot)

And -It doesn't bear thinking about. Bear meaning it can't take the weight, so to speak.
Bare means uncovered (or to uncover), and by extension undecorated.

So there you are – I am put right. As far as the screenplay is concerned maybe I had better change the title from rides to drives after all.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Taking a careful look at the returned material from Ealing studios, both the manuscript and the book are in such pristine condition I have a shrewd suspicion they were not even read. “Dead On Time” certainly looks as though it has come straight off the press and “When The Devil Rides” is spotless. No, I don’t believe either was even opened. It’s like theatre critics who leave a play after the first act and then make a horrible booboo in their review by mentioning something in the second act which doesn’t take place. It’s been known to happen, more than once, especially if the play is a classic the critic knows well and would therefore expect it to play as he imagined it would. I remember a performance of “A Man For All Seasons” many years ago in which I was playing King Henry (for the third time) and a critic somewhere in the provinces thought a certain actor gave a truly wonderful performance in the part. Unfortunately that certain actor he lavished his praise on wasn’t me. In fact nowhere in the programme would you be able to find the name of this phantom performer.
So it is Obama – fantastic. Hollywood has made films in the past where the American president has been black and at the time one thought, yes well, and pigs can fly. But it has actually come to pass, Hallelujah! I actually cried watching Obama’s acceptance speech on video it was so emotional and such a truly historical occasion, and I say hallelujah because already the evangelical and fundamentalist holier than thou Christians, quoting chapter and verse and tuned in directly to the voice of their mythical god, are bemoaning the fact that Obama won and are puking up their religious bile on the internet. One in particular from South Africa wonders seriously if Obama is the Antichrist and there is a few seconds video of Obama’s head turning into that of the devil – what fundamentalists I presume still think of as ye ugly olde hornéd critter with a tail, cloven feet, and wielding his pitchfork over sinners roasting in hell fires. They tend never to think of Lucifer, the bringer of light, as god’s beautiful first born. Why, presuming he became what they call the devil, he should change from the radiant being he was before he was cast out, into the ugly monster they make him out to be is beyond me. You really would think we were still living in the dark ages but honi soit … evil unto him who evil thinks. The video is in the most disgusting bad taste to say the least. They should be grateful god didn’t let McCain win because at 72 years of age if he were to fly to heaven during the course of his incumbency and the gun-toting deeply devoted Christian moose woman became head of state, phew, it doesn’t bear thinking about! You know I’ve never known whether that should be bear or bare. Put me right, Lewis, if you read this.
Now though, Obama and his family have to be protected twenty-four hours a day. There must be no repeat of the Kennedys or Martin Luther King whose dream is surely now coming true, but sure as that mythical Christian god made little apples there is some crazy out there whose feverish brain has already made plans to blot his name into the history books. He could be one of these very same fundamentalists, he could be a white supremist, he could simply be crazy, wanting to become in his view famous, in anyone else’s, infamous.
It is interesting that white males could not find it in themselves to vote for Obama because of the colour of his skin, some making as their excuse rather that they didn’t believe in “socialism.” It’s in this section of the community that a possible assassin lurks.
Take care B.H.Obama, the world will soon be in your hands.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I was never a chid but I was a child and Mister Miles’ name was Bernard not Berenard though Berenard does sound quite romantic, rather like Abelard but with a Ber instead of an Ab. These were the typos in the last Blog. From Douglas I received implicated destructions, as Mrs Malaprop might have said, as to how to make corrections but failed lamentably in the attempt. He said he would put matters right. The simplest instructions can leave me impatiently baffled. As far as I am concerned this machine that can do no wrong (it’s always the human’s fault, the fault of my stubby fingers accidentally hitting the wrong key because I go too fast)) is nothing more than an extremely versatile typewriter that makes writing a lot easier than even a golf ball with limited editing such as I previously used. In fact I do believe we’ve still got it together with a couple of other ancient relics, gawd knows why. Don’t things ever get chucked out in this house when passed their use by date? How on earth did Messrs Dickens, Thackeray, Scott, Dumas et all write all those enormous volumes with pen and ink, quill and ink? Talking of Dumas I meant to say that the film I watched the other evening starring Mr Grant and all those character bags was really “The Three Musketeers” transferred to England and the musketeers themselves metamorphosed into Highwaymen. Is metamorphosed the right word? Doesn’t matter, its’ a very juicy word to use though maybe I should have said transmogrified, that’s even juicier. Transmogrification, there’s a juicy word to role around the tongue, almost Greek or German in its length.
So today is the big big day in the good ole US of A when pea-brains among others send their choice to the Whitehouse. That’s the only problem with democracy and universal franchise, it takes no note of pea-brains who vote for the likes of George W Bush to watch over them and just look at the results. I think I mentioned before the American penchant for choosing the worst candidate but then the Brits aren’t any better. Ten years of New Labour and the country is practically down the tubes. I wonder I wonder if he who looks like an ancient dry as a bone resuscitated corpse and moose lady will make it this time.
I really do hope it’s Obama. Think of it, a black (well half black) president of the United States is half way to next time having a black woman president. Wouldn’t that really be something? My vote goes to Femi.
PS: What on earth does Tony Blair have to say of any importance that he can charge a six figure sum for a ninety minute speech? He and the Clintons are also passed their sell-by date. Relegate them to the annals of history.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

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.