I am grateful to Henrietta Garnett (pictured)for her support and encouraging me to write.
"'If you have nothing to say - be silent!'That's what the Latin says."
In this loud and crude age of celebrity fixations and noisy, petty and empty-headed rivalries in the arts I feel really fortunate that I had some amazing school mates who still amaze me, such as Tim Hare, who showed and translated these words from the Latin in the National Gallery.Tim has become a Buddhist monk and took the vow of silence, making me wonder every day if the words on the self-portrait of the Renaissance painter were not his own, in some peaceful echo of the violent "Shining"?
In preparing for a magazine I started a calendar which contains a pen and ink drawing called "the Meeting" by the UNICEF artist Sylvia Edwards, which she donated and which Sam Beckett wrote commending her on. I have written underneath it for May:"The huddle of humans whose identity seems blurred has a mystic appeal, representing the warmth that draws people together even in suffering. Bloomsbury too was a tormented landscape, but also one of hope through communication: the humour outweighs the suffering."While gathering funds for a children's charity for cerebral palsy I stumbled on the door of a dimly-lit house and was invited in for tea by Henrietta.
"I think we are going to be friends," she said warmly, having deduced my interest in literature and art, finally letting me know that I have met the latest "Bloomsbury child". Her mother Angelica Garnett is of course usually described as "the Bloomsbury child", as her mother was Vanessa Bell, aunt Virg and she married the "Aspects of Love" author . Angelica authored the brilliantly controversial "Deceived with Kindness" which won wrote the J.R. Ackerley Prize, going in to enormous depth about her personal sense of being unnoticed, as a child. The magazine intends to look at now social exclusion is a pattern that disturbs balance in our relationships.
I really appreciate women who can show their anger as Angelica Garnett does. So does Henrietta by continuing to inspire with her encouragement when her mother was at death's door last year.
As my blog mentions she has been highly original in her "Family Skeletons" which looks at families in all their complexity.
Angela Neustatter similarly has shown familial relationships in such a rich tapestry, encompassing the whole of society through her reading and interviews that I feel inspired to start a Literary London Peace Award. Her book "A Home for the Heart", is nominated for the first award. (Pictured left in her home, an adventurously converted pub, in Islington.)
Having worked from New York, Brazil to Croydon on social projects inspired by Lala Vula, Jean Findlay and Jeremy Weller you may find the best article ever written on www.grassmarketproject.org, "under what others say" in 'critics', by Angela. She glides effortlessly between interviews with participants at the National Theatre performance, a pinnacle of our work, with kids like Jamal who has risen to Hollywood thanks to powerful life training from Jeremy's ouevre, ending by describing him, as "an eternal optimist". Ultimately,whatever tears and fears we continued we led the way on a path for a New Theatre as Jean described, which I think will be remembered as an update on social models from Brecht and "Cathy Come Home".Who else was invited to Gaza, to work with Aborigines on Ayer's Rock and to East Berlin after the Fall of the Wall?
We worked with Volksbuhne, the best-recognised theatre since Brecht first started there, which for all the enthusiastic talk of the'National Theatre directors' others were not. Ann Pavett, in fact the winner of the First London Peace Prize, has been connected to the reincarnated Franz Kafkaesque Frank Castorf who now runs Volksbuhne.The reader will have noticed by now that social involvement and commitment is what counts in art I feel, which is why I am indebted to Francis Hare who set me in my trajectory by organising a play-reading at school of Hedda Gabler, the female Hamlet, in which his girl-friend read the lead part. He has been a leading voice for the young and dispossessed, a trustee of two charities and Chair of another. An Honorary Chairman London Peace Prize. ( He also played the lead in Equus at school and suggested projects and reading for his brother Timothy, the monk and I.)
Hey You get on my Cloud
'Who is the mythical or real Oblomov?' I asked Henrietta, signing off Zzzxx in our Oblomovian Code.
She replies:"Oblomov stumbled upon sleep and safety whilst in bed. Proust did the same wearing gloves and not venturing far from his apartment, or from the Georges Cinque, whilst dreaming of still being a flâneur. Their dreams were very different. Bed is a brainwave invention. I use it to write in and make love in and dream in.' 'You can be in my dreams if I can be in yours' is my reply, quite different from the Rolling Stones' 'Hey, You get Off my Cloud'. I propose: Hey You, Get on my Cloud! I very much hope Henrietta feels I am "finding my balls", not so "soprano as the Twitter-age" I am also thrilled that I took the most endearing photo I know of Tim West(above).
Here is my ol pal Lisa Goldmann, who has dared to think and support work brave and socially inclusive, as head of Soho Theatre 2006 til 10 that others would not dare.
I am touched that Henrietta has also written to tell me she felt "jazzed up by my mail. I'm off to the old folks' home," she concludes hilariously, adding in brackets ('Charleston') although I was worried for a while when she told me she was only eating almonds. She encourages me to "find my balls" as a writer to "attain the recognition receive you deserve".
Isla Ure has written and directed a tremendously moving short "the Passengers", which she hopes to change in to a bigger film.
Taking "the Desiderata" out of its historic,poetic context and with a Welsh lilt remisniscent of early Burton, combined with cockney, it is a bold and pure film of love on an estate.
Gabriella Apicella is the marvellous feminist who made Isla's best actress award possible in "Underwire Festival". Having written a dramatic "Do Nothing" herself she is well situated to judge
At present Gabriella runs the only workshop for female characters which shows her character