"In the darkly-comic Hangover Square, Patrick Hamilton brilliantly evoked a seedy, fog-bound world of saloon bars, lodging houses and boozing philosophers, immortalizing the slang and conversational tone of a whole generation and capturing the premonitions of doom that pervaded London life in the months before the War."
Christ, it's no wonder I only got an 'E' for my English Literature 'A' level.
1. I didn't get the humour.
2. I didn't recognise the seediness.
3. I don't remember any fog.
4. I think saloon bars are sophisticated, especially in comparison with public bars.
5. I don't remember the characters philosophising.
6. Was there any slang? I can't recall any.
7. How did these few selfish people represent a whole generation?
8. Were they that bothered about the forthcoming war?
Still, that is the blurb on the back of the book. I was inside the main character's head, saying "Kill them, kill them, kill them." and "Run away, run away, run away." I got completely immersed. I didn't see all the things you're supposed to see as a student of literature.
And that's where my problem lies, where I don't fit into the world of literary education. I am either swept along by a book or I couldn't give a shit. Usually it's the latter.
And speaking of education, did you see the documentary about the Open University? Lenny Henry said that without his extremely hard-earned OU degree he would never have played Othello. Why? Because doing a degree made him into a natural actor, I presume.
Not only is he a new Gielgud, but Lenny now understands every nuance of every Shakespeare play, as mere mortals who haven't done a degree could never do.
Myleene Klass is also doing an OU degree. I just don't know where she gets the time as she is such a busy lady. If I were even half as busy as Lenny Henry or Myleene Klass there is no way I'd find the time to study for a degree.
Kudos to the pair of them.
** Title copyright Betty
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