Tuesday, August 04, 2009

OU Pretty Things**

"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


  1. I think Lennie Henry is just an inately funny man and I don't think the OU contributed to Theopolus P. Wildebeast in the slightest.

    Rispeck to the Bettster vis a vis title.

  2. Oh dear
    I sense a darkly comic sense of alienation here - with premonitions of doom for London life in the months before the Olympics.
    Perhaps you should have taken Chemistry.

  3. Well you understand Lit now, don't you? What's the problem?
    Everything I did in English Lit at 'A' Level went completely over my head. But, I kind of get it now!

  4. Rog - Lenny did his degree because he felt left out amongst Dawn's hyper-intelligent friends. He must have been at a pretty low ebb, feeling inferior to Adrian Edmondson. I'll give Betty some respect.

    Kaz - I wish I was good at the sciences. The only subject I had any real enthusiasm for was English Language and we stopped that in the third year.

    Scarlet - For the 'A' level you just had to write what the examiners wanted. I never really worked out what that was.