Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas Day: Pinter 2:2 Kitt

The Homecoming: Ian Holm, Vivien Merchant, dir Peter Hall, 1973.

"Sorry, I've lost you." Pure Pinterism.


With Nat King Cole

The bleedingly, camply, ironically obvious.


The second sickly Christmas in a row. C goes down with flu on Christmas Eve and is in bed now. Otherwise, the children here, plus R and a friend S. S's medication, a Canadian brew, is very effective in that it enables C to stay up some of the time and join in board games such as Chronology, Frustration and Cranium. We watch one DVD, The Matrix, by popular vote. Presents. A cold, crisp walk round the back with a stop at The Green Dragon just before afternoon closing time. The light thin, faintly electric, the whole sky like a translucent sheet across the real sky. The children have just left.

The two deaths above. Pinter was indeed a poet but not in verse, not even in what is normally called poetry, but in drama. Even so he was a poet of affectations, the sinister always just half a step from the comic, and ever more so as time went on, the waiting for the punchline ever more anticipated. I suspect one or two plays will survive and will always be seen as great landmarks. YouTube has the whole of 'The Collection' available with Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates, Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren. Olivier is brilliant in it. Yes, it is Pinteresque. Pause. Repeat. Pause. Repeat another way. Pause. Repeat. Pause. Pause for ever. No repeat. The pause is the punchline.

Eartha Kitt was one of my mother's favourites, but that aspect of her - of them both - properly belongs in the Domain series that I intend to continue. Eartha Kitt and Mae West would have got on well with Camille Paglia, had they ever met. There is, somewhere, a school of 'make what works against you work for you'. A tough, edgy, ultimately admirable school. Maybe that is the definition of camp.


ps I won't be watching Channel Four, not even by accident.

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