Monday 8 March 2010

An alcoholic weekend

On Friday I had hoped to be at the Iraq Inquiry...I had been reassured that my ticket was in the post, and if it did not arrive, arrangements would be made to ensure I would get in. But the lines of communication went quiet and my pleading was to no avail. I went down there and was stonewalled, I went to the Secretariat office but there was no one there and I returned to the Inquiry building, but nothing going. The security guard was a jobsworth, and not willing to help even though I had any number of proofs of identity with me. I was in a foul mood for the rest of the day. Of course, the only link with the title of this piece is that my strongly held view is that we went into Iraq because Tony Blair was drunk on power. I'm resentful about that, and resentful that a simple matter of delivering me a ticket could not be wonder our troops don't have the equipment they need.

Saturday night we went to see Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. When I say we, I mean I saw it, but the boy saw only most of it as the night before he had stayed at a friends and as far as I can gather got to bed at 7.30 in the morning having played X-Box all night. It was a stirling performance by all concerned...and James Earl Jones was every bit as impressive as you would hope. In fact all members of the cast delivered their lines with aplomb...Adrian Lester though, as Brick - the alcoholic of the play - was probably the weakest...but then he has a particularly difficult part to play. Before he play we went to Joe Allens - a restaurant that in the '80's was a real hot spot...may be because it was the first of its food in a themed environment. But they say you shouldn't revisit, and indeed they're right (whoever they are)...and whilst the quality of food restaurants has come on enormously in the last thirty years, Joe Allens hasn't budged an inch. Our other observation of the night was that whilst west end theatre is almost exclusively a white middle-class past time, the audience was at least 25% black. With this being the first all black cast for Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, there was a simple explanation. We had a lively discussion about this...and whether it was a good thing because it was broadening the potential audience for theatre (enjoy this and then you'll go and see more), or was it a low-level racism whereby people will only go and see actors of their own colour....

And last night we went to see the now Oscar winning Crazy Heart. An alcoholic country singer who finds redemption. Bridges was superb, but the film is average.

So alcoholism makes for great plays and films...that is a great place for it to be...a story somewhat removed from reality, that we can watch, digest and comment on.

It was heart breaking, therefore to come back and catch up on some of the blogs I follow to find that the very brave, even saintly, Addy lost her alcoholic husband Greg to the ravages of drink over the weekend. For her and her daughter this must be an unbearably awful time, and no doubt full of contradictions. I wish them all the very best.