Friday, 20 January 2012

Snaresbrook Crown Court and Dennis Potter

Above is Snaresbrook Crown Court in East London. There have been strange goings on there of late. Stranger than usual that is. The advocates' lounge has been closed following concerns as regards the food. Of itself this would be little surprise to anyone who has ever eaten there but there is a particular reason. Namely what? I hear you cry.

There have been fears that the food may have been contaminated. With what? I hear you cry. Ermmm ...

Well it is not official but the suggestion is that traces of urine have been found in soups, sandwiches and salads. Complaints were made that the food 'smelled a bit off'. The rabbit was in fact at Snaresbrook on Wednesday afternoon this week but (coincidentally) had eaten lunch before arriving.

But here is the best bit. Police have become involved and are looking for - erm - 'someone with a dislike of lawyers or judges'.

No doubt.

After the Everly Brothers' Love Is Strange clip in the last posting Tony commented referring to the Buddy Holly version. Good point but not today - though the comment did send the rabbit on an excursion around YouTube in hot pursuit of different versions of this song. Above is the original by the relatively obscure Mickey & Sylvia but with a twist. The clip is from playwright and total rabbit hero Dennis Potter's Lipstick on Your Collar. Potter largely wrote for television as the medium he felt would reach the most people and  Lipstick on Your Collar was a 6 part television mini series. Mickey in the clip above is the young Ewan McGregor. Potter used popular music to frame magical realist scenes as above. if I am not mistaken the cartoons are by those Biff jokers.

Potter, a heroic chain-smoker, became a playwright as he spent most of his adult life desperately ill with regular hospitalisation from arthritic psoriasis, thus making ordinary employment impossible. You can see from the hand with the cigarette the distorting and paralysing effect of his condition. His plays are (largely) great, he was great. I'd quite forgotten that the only time that he ran for elected office - in his twenties - he became so disenchanted he didn't even vote for himself. 'Nuff said. Except this...

He was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer - probably a by product of the medication he had to take for his arthritic psoriasis. He gave a television interview to Melvyn Bragg in the Channel 4 Without Walls series. I think it is the most moving thing I have ever seen on television. Here's a taster.

He had two months to live at this point, through the interview he is swigging oral morphine, sipping a glass of champagne and smoking away. He was also caring for his wife at the time of the interview - she had terminal breast cancer and died 9 days before him. The full interview is up on YouTube in segments - go check it out or here is an edited transcript. Almost 18 years later I still remember the emotional impact of the interview and thinking' I love this guy'.

For the really time pressed, here are some of his points from the interview...

Resist cynicism, invite criticism.
Remember what's truly important.
Appreciate the now.
Don't be seduced by conformity.
Nurture and cherish talent.
Figures aren't everything.
There are reasons for tradition.
Fight the commodification of public life.
Be true to your idea.
Put wood to good use.
Find your own voice.
Consider what you leave behind.
Always make time for your dad.

As the page these quotes are assembled on says 'cut them out and keep them in your wallet; it will make you a better person'.

Above is his gravestone in St Mary's Parish Church Ross-on-Wye. It connects with that of his wife.  The inscription across both stones reads, 'All the way to heaven is heaven ... All of it a kiss'. It is taken from Alice Hoffman's novel Turtle Moon. Respect from the rabbit. Proud to be a fan.


sybil law said...

I always learn something here - thank you. Potter sounds awesome. Going to do some googling about him now. :)

tony said...

A Politican Who Doesnt Vote For Himself! Potter Was Something Of Hero......Such A Shame He Is Not Remembered More.

Petit fleur said...

Sorry about the pissy food thing... ick.

Mr. Potter is now one of my new persons of interest. I will also have to look into Ms Hoffman as well. Thanks.