Tuesday 2 June 2009

Making Hay

Well my Saturday, my week and my Hay were made by the Alan Bennett and David Simon sessions. Alan Bennett was comforting, funny and rather like a warm bath. Simon a sharp wake-up call for those who value journalism and well founded serious fiction. He was more of an ice-cold shower.

Sitting in the Barclays Wealth Pavillion seemed a little incongruous -- listening to stories from the back streets of Leeds and the mean streets of West Baltimore -- but then again tickets for the National Treasure were £25 so perhaps not. I felt the youngest audience member for AB but rather the oldest for DS. The first group was full of chubby literary ladies falling in love with a gay man considerably older than themselves. The second more like Soho with sunburn.

David Simon was inspirational -- not because of genius but actually because his writing is grounded in decades of experience and acres of painstaking hard work. He lived those streets, he knew the people and the city so what he wrote was real. I do wonder if that could happen in TV here. I suspect he would have been be too old, too serious and be wearing the wrong kind of suit to have been listened to in the executive suites at Television Centre.

Rather than regurgiatate what he said I will let his talk inform -- as a primary source -- my further ramblings on The Wire. But there has been a health warning. Simon remarked -- amid the Omar Little T-shirts -- that we might be getting into the field of "get-a-life-ism". He may well be right.

The day itself could not have been more perfect for late May, particularly the drive home with intense blue light in the sky till after 11 pm, badgers and foxes in the headlights and owls flying off inot the hills beyond.

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