Thursday, December 08, 2005


I watched Pinter’s anti-American diatribe Nobel lecture on Channel 4 last night. He reminded me of someone, sitting there in his wheelchair, ranting away.

I thought this bit was enlightening:
"I shall give two examples of two lines which came right out of the blue into my head... The first line of The Homecoming is 'What have you done with the scissors?' The first line of Old Times is 'Dark.'

In each case I had no further information.
So there we have it - he writes the first bit of rubbish that comes into his head and doesn’t have much of a clue beyond that. Who’d have thought, eh? Hang on a minute, isn’t that the Emperor over there, running around with no clothes on?

In the midst of his blethering against American foreign policy (y’know, the policy that succeeded in ending the tyranny of communism in eastern Europe) he quoted from Pablo Neruda’s poem "I'm Explaining a Few Things", a powerful expression of the horrors perpetrated by fascists in the Spanish Civil War. In those days the left tended to fight fascism not side with it, but such ironies are beyond the scope of Pinter’s fanatical one-track mind. He even said, "I am in no way comparing Republican Spain to Saddam Hussein's Iraq", missing the point that the poem was directed at "treacherous generals", fascists like Saddam.

He then followed the poetry of Neruda, Nobel Laureate in 1971, with a bit of his own. The contrast in quality could scarcely have been greater if he’d followed William Shakespeare with William McGonagall. I was howling with laughter by the end :


Where was the dead body found?
Who found the dead body?
Was the dead body dead when found?
How was the dead body found?

Who was the dead body?

Who was the father or daughter or brother
Or uncle or sister or mother or son

[Or cousin or second-cousin twice-removed
Or butcher or baker or candlestick maker
Or nurse. Nurse. Nurse! My medication!]
Of the dead and abandoned body?

Was the body dead when abandoned?
Was the body abandoned?
By whom had it been abandoned?

[Enough already! When’s the band on?]

Was the dead body naked or dressed for a journey?

What made you declare the dead body dead?
Did you declare the dead body dead?
How well did you know the dead body?
How did you know the dead body was dead?

[Doo Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Doo]

Did you wash the dead body
Did you close both its eyes
Did you bury the body
Did you leave it abandoned
Did you kiss the dead body

[Did you remember to get my pills?]

And this guy has just won the Nobel Prize for fuck’s sake! (Actually, the Nobel Prize For Fuck’s Sake sums it up nicely. “What about Harold Pinter? He’s an American-hating left-winger.” “Yes, give him the prize for fuck’s sake. Can we go now? My herring balls won’t cook themselves, you know.”)

The speech was littered with pauses, of course. I bet he was thinking, “They'll call these Pinteresque in the press.” Whatever they call them, they were the best bits. Next time, I suggest he makes the pauses longer - one extended pause in fact, with none of those silly words in between to break up the dramatic impact.


Blogger jonz said...

My god that man's a fucking prat. Excuse my French.

So noble, so ground breaking, Pinter used nearly his entire lecture of almost an hour to criticise the US

12:35 pm  

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