In the light of Wednesday's atrocious Commons vote overwhelmingly in favour of the renewal of Trident -- preposterously excitable reporting of the far-from-impactful rebellion by fewer than a hundred Labour MPs having tended to disguise the scale of their defeat -- here are some admirably lucid remarks (from August 2006) on the topic, from one of the half-dozen greatest living English persons.
Just back from Cambridge and one of the most extraordinarily harrowing and bewilderingly beautiful nights I've had in a theatre in ages -- and a pleasurable (if somewhat discomfited) hurtle through Wild Why from yrs truly at the bitter end-of-part-one. I don't think I can describe what I saw tonight. And in view of the number of people I've evidently pissed off and dismayed with what I thought were fair, if ungenerous, comments on Petra's Pulse and the Shunt Lounge, I think I'd better anyway try and be a kinder and wiser mammal for a little while.
I am definitely a bit bipolar-erratic at the moment but I can't blame that for the chronic vehemence of my pronouncements on theatrical matters and my insistence that minute differences of opinion and emphasis have world-shaping consequences for good or ill. I think in a way I just have to believe that it's all a matter of life and death because my life is so utterly consumed by this work. All of my eggs are in this one basket. I might be wrong about the particulars, I guess I probably am much of the time; but I couldn't face being wrong about the potential importance of theatre, the aspirations we can have for our own work and each other's, because if I were, I'm then suddenly stranded in the middle of a no-man's-land of inconsequentiality, and with no fallback plan for what to do with myself, other than swap one baleful mess of triviality for another. To many Thompson's readers I probably sound pretty hysterical some of the time: but then, you know, I'm standing right on the edge of the most terrifying abyss. Sometimes composure is a bit of a stretch.
Anyway, if I was hurtful or intemperate, if I ever am, you're quite right to call me on it, and I apologise. This is obviously a David Gray lyric, but I mean it, nonetheless. I'm a lover not a fighter. Actually I'm neither but let's not split hairs.
If you don't know who David Gray is, you might well be the sort of person who would be pleased to know that Lol Coxhill came to me in a dream last night. (Actually it was sort of a wrong number, he was looking for Hugh Metcalfe, but we chatted a bit nonetheless.) He wasn't glowing or anything but I was awfully reassured to see him. I'm sure this is the right policy -- in case any of you feel like coming to me in a dream. Glowing is definitely de trop. Unless you're the Ready Brek kid, in which case it's de rigeur. But I must admit I've always assumed you're not.