Saturday, March 05, 2005

Outside Inside

I'm in the theatre, high up in the stalls. On the stage, lovely long water-dappled banners in sea green and deep blue. "By words the mind is winged - Aristophanes" they say.

It's 10:30 on Tuesday morning, and I get to spend the whole day here. It's a work day. I feel ever so slightly guilty.

Scarily, I'm struggling to see anyone younger than me. And even in my rough 30-40 age bracket I'm am obviously not nearly bohemian enough. My earrings aren't dangly enough, my necklace not big enough. My scarves aren't shiny enough and my hair certainly isn't short enough.

But then, this is no different from message boards or comments threads on someone's blog. Sometimes it's easier to snort derisively and consider yourself an outsider, than to make an effort to fit in.

I find myself wondering how many of these people are writers, which is unfair for two good reasons. 1) This is a literature festival, not a writing one. 2) I'm making value judgements on visual assumptions. I should know better. Possibly there's a white head down there thinking, "I wonder how many of these people write?" and then feeling guilty for the assumption. ;-)

Oh, and I'm not nearly posh enough, either.

I'm going to enjoy this.

I love this theatre. There's something wonderful about the muted colours and cheap-but-solid construction of the auditorium. It was paid for by charitable grants and donations, and there's a grand sense of integrity in every pound spent. It's beautiful, but it's unashamedly basic and functional, too. The architecture welcomes me in a way the audience doesn't.

Roy Hattersley, politician and writer, is first up. He's talking about his new non-fiction about the Edwardian period, and he's good too. Elderly and portly, he marches up right to the edge of the stage and fiddles with the pockets on his jacket. He'd probably be mortified to learn that the last person I saw talk with that mannerism was HRH Prince Charles.

He's funny and intelligent, talking about the characters and achievements of an age overshadowed by the war that followed it. He mentions the suffragette movement - apparently they preferred to be called Suffragists - and the fact that a brother in the family died of neglect as a result of the devotion of Emeline Pankhurst and her daughters to the cause.

Quotes of the Session:-

"My doctor gave me the hearing aid he said Bill Clinton uses. He told me it's very effective. It won't make me hear any better, but it'll make me irresistable to eighteen year old women."

"[King] Edward came to the throne having settled down into a domestic life. He hadn't settled down with the Queen - she was just wheeled out for State occasions - but nevertheless he had settled down."


At 9:57 pm, Blogger Julie said...



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