Thursday, 4 December 2008

Life in pink

I went to see Piaf at the Vaudeville Theatre (transferred from the Donmar (btw did you know that the 'Mar' bit is from Margot Fonteyn, who started the place with someone whose name I can't remember (but they contributed the 'Don')?)) last night. Just as all the reviews had said, the play itself was a bit flaky but Elena Rogers was amazing - and in what seemed rather a Piaf-like way, too: that tiny, fragile frame, emitting a HUGE noise. But I wonder why writers find it so hard to tell Paif's story? Perhaps there's just too much to tell? The film - La Vie En Rose - was really incoherent: I do hate narratives that mess with the chronology purely for the sake of novelty.

I'm thinking a lot about story-telling as I've a third of the way through Russell T Davies' The Writer's Tale - a splendid book. I've been thinking about how gut-wrenching the end of series four was, with Donna Noble saving the world then having to have her memory wiped. I love the way Davies portrayed that as what it really was: a kind of death, real and tragic. One of the mailing lists I'm on had a discussion a while back about what a swizz the '... and it was all a dream' ending is, or even worse the 'and they forgot everything that had happened'. There's a John Masefield that does it, and I know it made my heart sink when I read it. We couldn't remember whether Dan and Una forget everything at the end of Rewards and Fairies. But what's the point of those two whole books, if they do? Oh, and the chap at the end of Silver on the Tree who asks someone else to decide whether he'll remember that his wife was on the dark side, and the supposedly wise old person decides to wipe his mind. Gah!

It made me think: is there anything in my past that's so awful that I'd want to erase it? (Now we've moved on to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - and wasn't that just absolutely the greatest movie title ever? And I love the sci-fi fan who commented that it could well have been called We can forget it for you retail (you'd have to be reasonably geeky to get the reference, I think - can I do a quick straw poll of all the, er, two or three people reading this (hello Mum!) and ask if you do?)) Anyway, I digress. I couldn't think of anything. The events that haunt me aren't the big emotional moments - I wouldn't lose a second of those, however much they hurt at the time - but the small snarly moments of acute social embarrassment, when I said something really tactless. Embarrassment is such a strong emotion, I think - you really feel it physically, in the pit of your stomach. The memories are so tangible: they take decades to fade. But even so, I'd keep them. I want to be reminded not to say something quite that stupid ever again.

(Anyone spot a running theme of nested parentheses in this posting? What's that all about? (Just my butterfly mind, I suppose))


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't get it. I'm not geeky enough. I bet I'm an addition to your straw poll that you weren't thinking of though. So that's one good thing about me, I can be unexpected ;)
The one at the other end of the village....

Beck said...

It's a totally sad sic-fi geek reference, which you'd be embarrassed to have known, my dear. There's a Philip K Dick story called "We can remember it for you wholesale", you see, which was the basis for the movie Total Recall - one of my all-time favourites. Arnie *and* Sharon Stone, plus a tricksy dual-narrative: terrific!