Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A Good Read

I have often in recent years found myself thinking rather unkind thoughts about Alan Bennett. I have been guilty of imagining that he is not that great - just a purveyor of his own self-made cliches, a kind of parody of his, at first engaging, personal style. I realise, having just read this beautiful essay, that I was wrong.

4 comments:

  1. When one has thought unkind thoughts about Alan Bennett one has surely plumbed the depths of one's baseness. But I got turned off (again) from the opening sentence: "I have always been happy in libraries". Yes, so have I, but I'm not going to bother anybody with my thoughts about them. My mother says that playing Alan's recorded monologues at night never fails to get her off to sleep. Having said that, yes, he is very good, and rather adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love your mother, that's brilliant. He does too often seem like a parody of himself. But I think there is some kind of push in the UK, under the guise of cutting spending, to get rid of libraries so I think his opening sentence is okay in that context. I am happy to cut all kinds of government spending except libraries. There is some mad right wing argument that says libraries don't fit into a market model and therefore have no logical role in the world unless paid for by somebody else. In pure economic terms that may or may not be right but I don't care - it's an argument that needs to be countered wherever it appears, I think. Libraries provided so many things - from a warm, quiet place for drunks to sit to the opportunity to discover all sorts of things you'd never have known about otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, you're absolutely right of course, and if the essay was a treatise on why we should stop library cutbacks then he has my vote. But even so, if the first line of his next essay is "I've always loved my beige cardigan" then I may get turned off again, which will be my loss.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I won't mind as long as he doesn't say, 'I've always loved my beige cardigan, and it's always loved me.'

    ReplyDelete