27 October 2017
Many years ago, in youthful ignorance, I walked out of Waiting for Godot. It was probably in 1956 before life became serious. It has taken me sixty years to catch up on the play which I have just read. No skipping a page either, bar a few snippets of Lucky’s monologue. The back cover of my copy defies me to forget it and I won’t.
We left the play partly because my escort had playfully slipped a few peanut shells down the back of the neck of the woman in front of us. She was wearing black décolleté as befits Beckett and she never felt a thing — at least not while she was sitting down. Exiting smartly at the interval we went to Mooney’s Irish Bar for oysters (yuk) and Guinness (yum).
Don’t you love reading a good play rather than seeing it?
W for G is destined for one of the many thesps among our fifteen grandchildren.
Another play is a reminder of the centenary of the First World War, very much in the media these days. It is funny, poignant and brave: The Wipers Times by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman (£9.99; also available on DVD and Kindle).
(A rare treat are facsimiles of the actual newspaper: £11.00 used, paperback.)
A memoir with a genuine “voice”, told without self-pity or frills, is: We Were a Band of Brothers: The Memoir of Captain Philip Heath (£12.99).
Stanley Spencer at Burghclere, Hampshire by Amanda Bradley (£4.99) is the National Trust Guidebook to the collection of Spencer’s works at Sandham. Don’t get it if you are no fan of Spencer, but hunt it down if you are — better still, take it with you when you visit the unforgettable Chapel.
All these books-for-presents are waiting to be wrapped in bargain sludge-brown paper with approximately green holly that I bought at a Charity shop where it looked quite cheery under a bright light.
The countdown has begun and don’t tell me you don’t secretly enjoy every festive minute of it, Virginia!