Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Covid Snake and Talking Heads!


As lockdown draws to a slow end the vicar has started a bit of local art in the shape of a multicoloured covid snake .The village children and indeed everyone have been asked to add to the snake by decorating a pebble and laying it towards the Church.
I laid mine a few minutes ago ...
Well why not?

I've ticked six boxes from my list today. Fitted in a beach bike ride, Mary's trip to the groomers, the clearing of the drive of weeds, a collection of a load of plants from Meirion Jones's prize winning garden and just managed to join in with the last few songs of Zoom choir before settling down to a much looked forward to Alan Bennett on BBC 1

Beneath the chintz , and the cardigans and the perms and the brown furniture, Alan Bennett's Talking Heads , ventured into the darker side of the life of  the  1980s Northern middle aged, with studies tinged with the effects of mental illness, loneliness, sexual abuse and exploitation, grief and alcohol abuse.
His humour shines through quite wonderfully though and cushions the monologues and the protagonists lack of awareness of their own motivations.
A Lady Of Letters is perhaps one of his most uplifting pieces. Originally performed by the powerhouse Patricia Routledge , this is an up to date study of a lonely and mentally ill woman who communicates with a world through an obsession with writing letters and has the wonderful Imelda Staunton in the lead role. Staunton excels in this initially tragic tale and unlike Routledge she plays her character more unsympathetically.....so when, Irene ,eventually finds some unexpected happiness she breaks your heart in it's telling .


The second monologue is a new piece with a rather dowdy looking Sarah Lancashire in the lead. This is an all together different bleak study and has at its core a mother's incestuous feelings for her 15 year old son, a monologue that would never have been aired back in the 1980s
This was a harder piece to sit through, given the subject matter, but Lancashire gives Gwen a tragic depth as her character  decends into mental illness


Bennett is the king of the monologue that is a god given fact  , and there is 10 in the series to enjoy , most of them  centred around middle aged women with little to do.
Perhaps that fact dates Bennett somewhat......which is a shame.

38 comments:

  1. That’s a cool idea, the stones.
    And that series seems quite dark, doesn’t it? It may be worth the watch, though.

    XoXo

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    1. Some of the talking dead pieces were classic works of art

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    2. Or even Walking Head!!

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  2. I like the snake idea better than the dark-themed monologues. But then, I expect no end to our self-imposed lockdown over here, so that's enough depression-inducing material to be going on with.

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  3. E watched Bennett tonight (as I did the previous series) - brilliant. In many ways Ienjoyed Imelda Staunton better than Patricia Routledge - but it set me thinking maybe Routledge would have played it differently today from how she did then. Absolutely gripping I found them both.

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    1. Patricia played it for laughs where Imelda played it with anger

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  4. Sorry John obviously hit the E instead of the I to begin.

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  5. Barbara Anne11:17 pm

    Interesting series but methinks a bit dark for this time as we're all still home and trying to keep our chins up. Just sayin'.

    I like the decorated rocks and well done in getting more tasks on your list ticked as done. What color paint are you considering for your hallway?

    Hugs!

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  6. The Covid Snake is a nice idea! Enjoy your Bennett monologues.

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  7. The rocks reminded me of the great walk in the woods I had with my granddaughters two weeks ago. My daughter has them paint rocks (lady bugs, unicorns, northern lights to name a few) and we placed them beside the path all along our way. They are for others to find and hopefully bring a smile. It is quite the thing here in Northern BC and you can find them where you least expect them. Box ticking seems to be going well, good job!
    Barb

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  8. Paint more rocks,

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  9. Love Alan Bennett, so envious you got to see these. Glad your lists are working out.

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  10. lovely rock, john. what a clever idea by the vicar!

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  11. Talking Heads is one of the most brilliant pieces of writing. Thora Hird made me cry.

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    1. Yes I will watch with interest who will try to follow her performance ..it was stunning

      Staunton put her own twist on her piece playing it angry which in retrospect was a stroke of genius

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    2. It wasn't clear to me but it sounds like a new series.

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  12. Thanks for telling us Alan Bennett. I found the videos on Youtube here in the US.

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  13. Three of my favorite actors. Brilliant women!

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  14. I love to find these painted rocks in unexpected places, the church snake is a really good idea. Good on you for completing more tasks on your list. I must try and find the Talking Heads series sounds right up my alley I like dark brooding kind of shows, to much happy always seems to bore me.

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  15. Much looking forward to these re-done 'Talking Heads' which, being past my bed-time, I'll catch via BBC iPlayer. I have all the old ones on audio cassette from when, around 30 years ago, they were first done on radio, as well as the TV ones done a few years later. Treasured gems all.

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  16. Anonymous6:49 am

    John, l loved the new Talking Heads series very much.
    We still quote bits of the original ones, such as 'Sulema hasn't done much dusting' 'Graham is my boyfriend' and 'Gustav says the play will be enhanced no end if l take all my clothes off'
    These miďdle aged lady types do still very much exsist in enclaves generally in bungalows on little estates in the Home Counties of England. I know 'cos we tried one, lasted 10 monthes and ran away kicking and screaming to be let out!
    We didn't 'quite' fit in! aaahhhhh!
    Tess xx

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    1. I agree they do Tess. And I shall watch with interest just how the julie Walter's characteristic is changed

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  17. I loved the " Talking Heads' last night. Two of our best actresses ..superb . Loved the ending of the first one. Not seen it before.

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  18. Talking heads was gripping I even stopped knitting so that I could fully appreciate it , both disturbing and powerful in their own way , can't wait for the next two .

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  19. What a fun idea. Is your stone pictured? Also, thanks for the recommendations. They sound excellent... and depressing.

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  20. We have a covid snake in our park, I have painted a stone green so when grandson come he can make it into a bug and add it to the snake. Not watched talking head from last night but it is recorded.

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  21. Imelda lives on our street! I'll have to watch this show.

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  22. I remembered the plot of the Lady of Letters from the original broadcast, I think that gives my age away! Alan Bennett is one of my favourite authors, and, via work, I have a hand written postcard of his, which I keep tucked inside my copy of his autobiography. I'm a lucky lady.

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  24. I only saw the Sara Lancashire one and thought it quite disturbing but I'm sure it happens in real life.I've seen the previous ones too and always try to watch Alan Bennett as I remember my mum used to love him x

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  25. Oh we've got a COVID snake too in my little seaside town on the prom- it's amazing what artistic talent I've seen on a small pebble x

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  26. Both actresses are my absolute faves. I have never seen anything by Alan Bennett.... I wonder why?

    Jo in Auckland

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  27. Reminded me of some blogs.

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