Dylan re-visted.

Published by: mike on 5th Jan 2018 | View all blogs by mike


I spent Christmas and the New year celebrations in the company of books, plays, tv, wine and the radio. This was due to having no close family  - and transport problems. Due to the completion of building work at London Bridge railway station, there were no trains into London on my line.  Transport links were restored in the New Year and i caught a train.  I walked around Trafalgar Square.

    One of my favorite productions - seen last year  - had been a play based around the songs of Bob Dylan. The production at the ‘Old Vic’ ended before Christmas.   The same production is now staged at a smaller theatre near Trafalgar Square,  It was the first night. I was lucky and got a day seat in the front row and saw the production again.  

       I had been intrigued by Whisks blog on original sin and the issues raised,  I tried to find the source myself. It’s origins seem to be in the Catholic Mass,  “mea Culpa‘     We are all sinners.   Whisks pointed out that a ‘sin’ has to be acknowledged before it can be forgiven - atonement.  A similar concept permeated most of the books  I read, and productions I saw - including the Dylan play. We are all sinners’ could be the theme.     

    (Sinning does seem to have a secular counterpart and atonement is required - viz, the current scandals at the House of Commons and Hollywood.  Saying sorry is not enough.) 

      In the play, written by Conor Macpherson, a group of disparate characters assemble in a boarding house during the American depression. A black girl is pregnant with no apparent father and  the baby was conceived when a wind blew through the window.   There is a bible.  It is in the suitcase of a traveling salesman for whom selling bibles is an occupation.  This seems an odd interpretation  but I don’t want to do a spoiler and the play is really a critique of the American Dream. Archetypes from the great novels, plays and films a of the 1930‘s act out a tragedy of Jacobean proportions.  I think!  If you are a Dylan fan I do recommend this play.  It might well turn up at a theatre near you.


    I also read a spy thriller, I returned it to my local library and then borrowed a life of Kim Philby.  On the wednesday,  I saw Simon Callow portray Oscar Wilde on the stage.  He read out an adaption of ‘Di Profundis‘  which Wilde wrote in Reading jail.  It is a long letter addressed to Bosie - his lover - and Wilde often refers to his legal trials.  There is some similarity between the two cases, though Philby never went to trial and seems to have acknowledged no sin.  Both Wilde and Kilby offended the rather strict moral code of the gentleman of their class.  Wilde seems to be asking Bosie - Lord Alfred Douglas - for some sort of acknowledgement of his own love for him.  A love that destroyed his life and turned comedy into tragedy.  But why had Wilde fallen for such a (****)  We now only have Wilde’s view of the affair.

    A company had hired a London theatre and the productions  are  celebrations of Wilde.  Simon Callow’s portrayal is only staged for a few days, but it might well turn up at another theatre or on TV.   From next week, ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ is being staged.





  • Caducean Whisks
    by Caducean Whisks 5 months ago
    You are such a theatre buff, Mike! Is there anything you haven't seen in London?
    At the recent author auction - I think it was for Grenfell Tower - a theatre critic was offering to accompany the bidder to some play and I wish I'd brought it to your attention; it would have been right up your street.
    With regard to my blog that you quoted, it wasn't that a sin had to be acknowledged before it could be forgiven - it was that a sin had to be acknowledged before it became a sin. i.e. if the sinner didn't accept the sin, no sin had been committed - and I found this notion interesting.
    Forgiveness - it seems to me - can be unrelated to sin or the acknowledgement of such. It's possible to forgive someone who's not sorry. Hard, though.
    Anyway, that blog is done and this one isn't.
    Back to the theatre!
  • mike
    by mike 5 months ago
    Dear Whisks,
    Kim Philby was given a fox which he kept as a pet. This was in Beirut but the biography did not say what sort of fox it was, I did see a story here, but it is not my field. If you are interested I can post you a plot. ( Just the few facts in the biography.)
    You blog on sin does have a secular counterpart. As far as some MPs were concerned they has not committed a sexual offence.
    My father become a Roman Catholic so that he could marry my mother. She came from the Catholic South in Holland. They married again in England and I think I am C of E on my both certificate. Neither parents were particularly religious and ceased to attend church. I do remember bering sent to confession in my youth,, I recall going on my own. What does a tiny tot confess?
    I recall a dark, depressing church in South London and the church filled me with fear. I think I made up sins.
    I recall reading 'De Profundis' But this was many years ago. The book had been on my parents' bookshelves. I looked at a Wiki and I must have read an early censored version. I recall something similar to a religious tract in which Wilde identifies with Christ. The play was mostly about the trial and a love affair. If Wilde had just visited brothels and had fallen for a young girl, would he have landed up in jail? He admitted no sin but, according to some religions he had. Kilby admitted no crime in that he adhered to a communist doctrine and was a hero ito Russians. I suppose there isn't really a parallel but neuter admitted to a crime.
  • mike
    by mike 5 months ago
    As there is not much drama on BBC or ITV I watch one of the free view channels, ( No 81, talking pictures.) I recently watched ;'Whistle down the Wind' I saw 'The Servant' and rather good film starring Peter Finch about the sexual life of a labourMP..
    I don't see many people and only spoke to a few, asking if they had seen' Litte women' over Christmas, They had given up quickly as they could not follow it. I watched with subtitles. There are quite a few film versions of this book. Jo sends stories to 'Penny Dreadfuls - shock horror! She meets a German professor who feels she is not doing justice to her talents. For one awful moment, you feel he is suggesting she writes religious tracts. But no! . He talks of German transcendentalism. There is 1933 version with Katherine Hepburn as Jo which seems much closer to the original.
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