Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A Life Like Other People's - Alan Bennett

This shorter version of Alan Bennett's biographical memoir "Untold Stories" is the story of his own family - and the tales that every family has.  How people met, married, who died and when; how people conducted themselves.  For example, his Mam and Dad got married at 8.00 in the morning, so
that there wouldn't be any fuss, or splother as his father put it.  Two rather shy people who had two sons, Alan and his brother, and who cared deeply for each other are described;  together with sisters, mothers, and Alan Bennett's feelings about all of it, including the long and interminable wait for death his Mam had, suffering for 15 years  from dementia.  He is not kind-hearted, our Mr Bennett, but he is oh, so truthful.  Tell me you do not see yourself acting in the same way under the same circumstances. He's a great wordsmith and you can hear his soft, Yorkshire tones behind every word.  How did he do it?  My guess is that he is and has always been a diary man.  Life's little gems recorded for "later", and as he admits himself, often turning up in his plays.