15 April. Seeing a banana skin on the pavement reminds me how when I first read the Dandy and the Beano the presence of a banana skin meant that inevitably it was going to be slipped on. No matter that at that time, in the early 1940s, few children had seen let alone eaten a banana, the skin was still shorthand for calamity. Other comic clichés were a fish, almost certain to be stolen by a cat and always represented as a perfect skeleton devoid of flesh but still with the head on; a string of sausages, destined to be grabbed by a dog, the sausages trailing from the dog’s mouth like a scarf in the wind; a bull (beware of) in a field, a billy goat similarly, with a ladder another portent of disaster.
21 May. A plumpish young man gets off the train at Leeds just behind me.
‘Aren’t you famous?’
‘Well I can’t be, can I, if you don’t know my name.’
‘It’s Alan something.’
‘So which Alan are you?’
‘I’m another Alan.’
‘Are you just a lookalike?’
‘Well, you could say so.’
He pats my arm consolingly.
‘Be happy with that.’
14 October. Were I Adam Werritty and going into lobbying and PR I would have changed my name at the outset. Verity has the literal ring of truth about it, Adam Verity a dauntless fighter for justice, whereas all Werritty suggests is some anxious yapping dog which, whatever his faults, Werritty hardly seems to have been.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Story of Alan's life
From Alan Bennett's 2011 diary in the LRB (gated, I think; comes with peculiarly robotic-sounding podcast -- or perhaps that is how all podcasts sound, I rarely listen to any):