Saturday 9 May 2009


Yes, that National Treasure, Alan Bennett is 75 today.

It's rather hard to imagine him having a 'bit of a time' on this significant date, since he always appears - though it's doubtless only a cultivated image - somewhat lugubrious in his outlook on life in general and his own in particular.

Personally, I confess to being a Jekyll-and-Hyde Bennett fan: I like and am annoyed (or maybe just irritated) by his work on about a 50/50 basis, but the 50% that I like, I like enormously - possibly as much as 75%!

He has contributed generously to both the worlds of Art and Entertainment - I say both because Bennett is equally capable of writing stories and plays that are blissfully moving and transcendent as he is of tossing off sixth-form squibs and over-the-garden-gate music-hall comedy. Whatever form it takes we are, as a result, all the richer for his presence among us.

So, here's wishing him many more years of touching our emotions and tickling our funny bones and here are one or two priceless Bennett quotes from the man or his characters...

Life is generally something that happens elsewhere.

Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.

If you think squash is a competitive activity, try flower arranging.

I've never seen the point of the sea, except where it meets the land. the shore has a point. The sea has none.

Definition of a classic: a book everyone is assumed to read and often thinks they have.

Were we closer to the ground as children, or is the grass emptier now?

We started off trying to set up a small anarchist community, but people wouldn't obey the rules.

I have never understood disliking for war. It panders to instincts already catered for within the scope of any respectable domestic establishment.

The majority of people perform well in a crisis and when the spotlight is on them; it's on the Sunday afternoons of this life, when there is nobody looking, that the spirit falters.

I'm all in favour of free expression as long as it's kept rigidly under control.

Mark my words, when a society has to resort to the lavatory for its humour, the writing is on the wall.

See! That one even made Mr Bennett laugh!


SharonM said...

They certainly are priceless.

Boll Weavil said...

All this from someone who started out as a Fringe Player.

Brian Sibley said...

Yes, but what fellow players: Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller...

Boll Weavil said...

You enjoying that sandwich are you ?