Sunday, January 15, 2012

And on the eighth day

Refreshed after a day off on Sunday, God went back to work. On the eighth day he created poliomyelitis, smallpox, bubonic plague, influenza, acne, halitosis and Total Amelia syndrome. He worked in a frenzy, the ideas poured out for hours.

On the ninth day he created volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides and droughts. Again, he was inspired and elaborated his new inventions for hours.

On the tenth day he populated the firmament with a sprinkling of asteroids, meteors and comets, millions of them on random paths, and that gave him the biggest laugh of all. He felt that if he laughed while creating them, others would too when they saw them coming.

On the tenth day he thought, I'm becoming a bit too predictable, let's dig a bit deeper and he invented schizophrenia, paranoia, clinical depression and narcolepsy. It will add weight to the whole scene - sombre, off-beat, violet coloured interludes.

On the eleventh day, he thought, "Follow that!" And then he thought, "It's still a little too obvious. The trick is to go from bad to worse, to be cruel to your characters." Let me think about it.

On the twelfth day, he spied on the people and saw with dismay how they looked at each other with love. That was not in the plan. For a while he was stumped.

Then he woke up in the middle of the night of the thirteenth day and he wrote it down on a post-it note. "Death."

Self-Portrait - Sylvia Beach

RTÉ Player: TV50

Watching this. Archive interview from 1962 with Sylvia Beach, publisher of Ulysses, who talks about her life and Joyce, Hemingway and lots of interesting times and people.

‎"Joyce was sitting at table and Ezra Pound was teasing him..." You get the idea of the calibre of her friends!

Good to know he pronounced "book" properly! I mean in the Dublin way.

Fascinating about Hemingway arriving in her shop with wounds still not healed from the war. "Would you like to see my wounds?" "Very much." So he showed her. ... She organised a boxing match ... Hemingway broke his thumb in the course of it. His opponent was subsequently killed fighting for the resistance. ... Now she's talking about Austin Clarke. ...

Onto Beckett now. Scott Fitzgerald. Thornton Wilder. ... What an interview. Louis Aragon.

Joyce would recite Walt Whitman to her, an enthusiasm he shared with her when Whitman was not liked at the time.

She watched the Germans arriving ... "The tears were streaming down our cheeks." A German soldier demanded her copy of Finnegans Wake from the window of her shop. She refused. He came back later and threatened to confiscate all her stock when he found that FW was no longer in the window. She moved everything out and hid the stuff in an empty apartment. Very brave! They came back and found the shop gone, name removed, shelves removed. shuttered.

She got a writer called Gordon Craig out of detention by appealing to the Gestapo. Later they arrested her and took her away, complained about her having a Jewish assistant in the shop and so forth. They were rounding up all Americans in the city and detained 400 of them at the city zoo. There were armed guards up above us and we were below in what we called The Monkey House...(not verbatim).

‎...moved to another prison for 6 months. ... on and on, fantastic interview. Retreat of the Germans - "shooting at us".

They machine gunned the people in the town while retreating. "We had to lie on our stomachs" ... later stretchers taking wounded away. "We were liberated by Ernest Hemingway .... I heard this big voice shouting Sylvia, Sylvia!"

...and he wouldn't stay for tea. He said, "Oh no, I have to liberate the cellar of the Ritz!"

Friday, January 06, 2012

Watching the Late Late Show - 1971

RTÉ Player: TV50 - celebrating 50 years of Irish television

About 11:00: Eamonn Andrews is dead wrong about the BBC being above censorship during the war. George Orwell was one of the censors, as point of interest. His war diaries about his work in censorship are quite interesting.

If you want to see Sir Matt Busby, the famous Manchester United manager, he comes on after 14 mins. Talking about George Best etc. ‎"a secular saint".

He has an idea for a transfer window (there is now one) but in the closed season to create more stability and less panic. Does the present transfer window mean players play for one team at the start of the season and a different one at the end? I don't know enough about it but that sounds wrong.

"Air-ay" is Éire. Nostalgia for people being able to smoke on the panel. I know it's bad but there is also something good about it, something, I don't know what. You will say, "no, nothing" and you'll be right.

Next up Trevor Howard criticising David Lean very wittily but acerbically.

Matt Busby and Trevor Howard looking for a match to light up. "Dingle had 52 pubs and nowhere to eat."

Gay Byrne to Trevor Howard: "Did you or did you not say that Irish people are only interested in drinking?" "No they are interested in other things." "Like what?" "Well, you should know."

A funny lady. Real trooper, type you hardly get now. a. days. Barbara Kelly

At least these interviews are getting somewhere, not the utter tripe you get now with Graham Norton etc.

‎"Helen threw a bicycle at me when we were at Cambridge and I said that's the girl for me. I had to marry her and get my own back." Trevor Howerd

Gay does ask some tactless questions. "Would you believe your husband Helen, if he turned to you and said you're beautiful?" Ouch. But wait for this. Wait till you hear Matt Busby. Gay: "What about you Sir Matt, do you ever tell your wife she's beautiful?" "Yes. Every morning. You have to use tactics as well!" (And he goes on to conjure the whole morning conversation.)

Next up Jack MacGowran, Beckett's favourite actor. Both Eamonn Andrews and Jack MacGowran left working for Hibernian Insurance in Dublin on the same day. (!)

Aw man. Best art story ever.

Three smokers out of four on the panel. Man oh man. Jack too.

Brilliant mime by Jack MacGowran, under protest. It's sewing. You have to see it. Hard to explain. Hilarious.

We may get a song from Jack from a Sean O'Casey play. And now Peter Sellers. It's unbelievable.

Sellers is on fire. His Italian is a masterpiece - a story about the Pope...

He was first one to be defibrillated - in the world - dead for 2 minutes in L.A. Oh man he's so funny. i rate him with Milligan now.

We're promised mind reading and quick change act from Sellers in the next part. Can it get any better?

MacGowran on Lorca ... and Polanski

Vaguely remember seeing this quick change before

I probably saw that whole show before when it was on. I was 17 in 1971. But the only thing that produced the smallest atom of deja vu was the quick change setup.