Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A first night and a funeral

I went to a funeral today. Annie Garven was an old friend of Susie's, fiercely feminist in those early days but a good friend to me too. Passionate and kind, a hugely intelligent individual it was always a pleasure to be with.

She died suddenly, falling down a tenement stair: someone I wanted to get to know better again and see more of,.

But didn't. And now it's too late.

So I at least wanted to be there to say farewell.

It was a beautiful service.

Her beautiful sister Jane had gone to the Poetry Library to choose a poem, and chose Jackie Kay''s profoundly moving "Fiere Good Nicht".

On the way, she happened to meet Jackie Kay herself. She went up to her and explained what she was doing and Jackie Kay very generously agreed to record herself reading the poem for the ceremony.

A beautiful poem. A lovely gesture. A piece of magic serendipity of a kind I always associated with Annie herself.

She had that kind of magic to her.

And the Loud and Proud choir she belonged to sang a beautiful arrangement of Tennyson's "crossing the bar" which made me weep but brought me comfort at the same time, and also David Paul Jones exquisite arrangement of "Auld Lang Syne", using the original words ("for auld Lang syne my jo") which Susie loved and always insisted we sing correctly, and I loved her for that, so she was there at the funeral too.

Afterwards I walked down the beautiful old railway path close by under the gentle winter sunshine and found myself loving life.

Loving life in all it's beauty and sorrow.

Which somehow helped put into perspective all the intensity of the first night of TREE OF KNOWLEDGE and the reviews which have started coming out, and are good, but not as good as I would like them to be.

So I discover, yet again, that my appetite for praise is disconcertingly limitless, and resolve, yet again, to take no notice of reviews which I know perfectly well, yet again, are really not helpful for me to read.

But which I know, yet again, I will read anyway.

None of which makes any difference to my fierce pride in the play.

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Comments:
Dear Jo,

You write so beautifully - full of love and wisdom.

Take care and much love,

Corinne xx
 
I went to see Tree of Knowledge last night, a packed house. As I got up the stranger next to me turned to me and asked me spontaneously if I had enjoyed it, and I told her yes (I had been sitting between her and her teenage daughter and teenage daughter's friends, who had started restless and ended enthralled), and we shared mutual appreciation of how wonderful it had been - she said "It gives you hope, doesn't it?" and I said yes, but more than that - I hadn't seen a play in years that made me think as I watched it - think, laugh, feel sad - it's brilliant. In the middle of a fairly miserable week, it made me not forget my problems, but reconsider them. I bought three copies of the script as I left, quelling a slightly mad inpulse to buy 50 and give a copy to everyone I know.

I miss Annie. Like you I wish I'd known her better. She touched so many lives so well. Thank you.
 
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