Thursday, June 14, 2007

comparison of Highsmith heroes.

I have often (far, far too often) remarked that while I would love to become Tom Ripley, I can only really see myself becoming Bruno- if Patricia Highsmith started writing my life that is, or I went off the rails again. The reason is this: Tom Ripley is a romantic ideal. He starts in the first book by becoming that ideal. It’s a mistake to say the virtue in the series is that he gets away with everything and gets what he wants without a price, because this isn’t true. Often he is tormented by guilt, often his plans go wrong (witness Ripley under ground and The boy who followed Ripley, if you want tragedy) but overall he accomplishes his goals. He doesn’t romanticise murder, he says at the beginning of Ripley’s Game that “there’s no such thing as the perfect murder, there are, however, a lot of unsolved murders”, but he has a status quo he wants to maintain, and he does so regardless of the cost. Often this actually involves him being noble, heroic, and unselfish. And he comes from being the boy who doesn’t fit in, who is talented and clever but not wealthy and surrounded by all these people who get everything they want without any effort, and he ends up getting the better of them, and at ease with himself and his surroundings. He gets an happy ending, and an harpsichord.

Bruno (from Strangers on a train) is different. He begins as an outsider as well, despite being wealthy, just because of the way his mind works. He is hopelessly romantic, with a list of numerous things he wants to do just for the hell of it- most memorably to give a thousand dollars to a beggar. He does so, and the next day the same beggar’s still on the street corner. And he has plans for perfect murders. But they don’t work, because of human variables and people being easily scared, and the fact that you can’t meet with someone, see them once and then never meet again if you’ve made that connection. And what he sees as the ideal relationship with Guy, and Guy comes to realise at the end, does exist in one sense but neither of them are fully aware of it ‘til the end of the book, by which time it is too late. And it doesn’t work either, because they were just supposed to be elements in a plan, to be strangers, and not to connect.

So although Ripley himself has some romantic thoughts, he ends up being the romantic ideal, the perfect social climber, whereas Bruno, the eternal idealist, is doomed to be a failed romantic, and drunkenly sing Foggy Foggy dew (that last bit is for those of you who’ve read it)

So that’s my Highsmithian ramble over.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

and the door of the newly refurbished hall fell apart...

< The "triumphant" re-opening of the festival, at which your narrator was an humble steward

First off, Frank Turner should be an icon. Go and google his lyrics or music to see why. He's rather brilliant, and manages queues going through the middle of his gigs very well.

Secondly, yes, I saw Billy Bragg, he was excellent- I only saw part of his set because I had a job there, and therefore had short breaks, but it was very good.

Now, the triumphant re-opening deserves to be reported, not least because of the RFH's reputation for being, um, a disaster with a very good restaurant. (Not that the events aren't wonderful, just that it's not brilliantly designed).

The great queue debacle: Frank Turner's gig was scheduled for 8pm to 8.45pm, in the foyer . A classical piano concert by Helene Grimaud in the auditorium was scheduled for 8.30pm to 9.15. The queue for that arrived about 8.15, and wove its way through the gig. During this I had to check whether we were allowed open the doors on the walky talky, with a loud gig going on around me and lots of people in a tizzy about their lack of concert piano. There were technical problems with the gig. We got mistaken clearance to open the doors, and then had to close them and drag people out. All this still during Frank Turner's gig. Therefore he, in a moment of genius, decided to unite his fans and the queue by having everyone sing along to Dancing Queen and We are the Champions. It worked. It was possibly the only time I'll be glad for the existence of ABBA. (And I was a gentleman and apologised to him afterwards)

Helene Grimaud
one of the technical problems appeared to be that the piano needed to be tuned, and was in an hurry during the great queue debacle. During the concert quite a few people came out in confusion, and then it finished 15 minutes early. This was because Mme Grimaud stood up in disgust half way through the second piece, said the piano was appalling and untuned and stormed out.

And I also had to steward a large brass band in and out of the auditorium. the joy of temping.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Excuse the random bloggyness, but so much of my life is a tad rubbish at present that I wanted to do an happy post: I love my job. Or rather, I love my internship (I love the money I gain from receptionisting). I get to read scripts, most of which are bloody dull/awful but my opinion is actually valued, occasionally I come across something really good and it means my day is vaguely improved, my colleagues are nice and understanding about my general weirdness, coming to work basically in fancy dress is fine, I get tea and coffee and some stationery, I have something to do during the day and I am in the company of people with whom I don't mind going to lunch (this is such a blip in the past 7 years or so, it is absolutely awesome). Plus I have the pleasant knowledge that I am, in my pathetic and small way, working in theatre. And I get champagne sometimes.

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