Dear Mum, there are so many odd fragments of news I thought I’d better write again to you. I’ve sent off the two foreign newspapers to Dale, but heaven knows when she’ll get them. They’ve both got news of the space men in them. [Not sure who Dale is, though it could be a second cousin.]
(As you can see I’ve finally been given one of these new type air letters: but I see that they don’t have on the outside where to cut them open except on one side; I almost invariably make a mess of one of these and cut them everywhere but where they’re supposed to be cut! Think I’ll put a wee note on the outside.) [These ‘new type air letters’ had only about two-thirds as much room to write on, which must have been frustrating for yours truly.]
I’m finally getting my tax thing away too, but I’m sending it to you if you don’t mind, because I quite honestly am not sure of completing it from such a distance, and I thought perhaps if you were to give it straight to Des, it might not get lost in the rush of the end of the year. Anyway, it’ll take a while yet. [Presumably my tax return for 1968/9. Des was one of my uncles, who worked in the Inland Revenue in Dunedin; this was in the days when you could go into the office, speak to a human being and get them to help you fill out your tax return. In fact, you could go in and ask for your uncle is you so desired.]
I’m sure I’ve got dozens of other things to say, now what are they all? I know: on Tuesday, I’d been informed that I’d got to go to a rehearsal at 5.30 in the evening, and so said to myself that I’d fill the day in on my own. When I finally arrived at the Opera Centre, the rehearsal had been shifted forward into the early afternoon, and I’d missed it entirely and the two pianists from the other show had had to do it. They’d tried to ring me here at the flat, by phoning upstairs, but of course D was out all the time. We can’t be expected to know they’re going to change their minds like this at the last minute all the time. It’s very poor organisation and quite a number of the singers have been complaining about it too.
Anyway, on the same morning I’d rung up George Bamford to see if he had any more stuff for me to check, and he said he still wouldn’t be ready until that night, and so I said all right then I’d call around in the late afternoon. He also said, of course you don’t do copying do you, he said, I could do with help on that more than anything else. Well, like the twit that I am, I said, No, I don’t, because he’s never sounded keen on my doing it before. Anyway, after I’d rung off, I thought to myself, well, perhaps I could force his hand a little, since he was in such an awkward position as far as time went, and go in and say would it be any use if I did do some copying for him. Well, I did go in, and he, without too much apparent second thoughting, said all right, he’d let me have a go. (He offered one other time to give me some pointers on the business, but never did.) So I sat down eventually, and got started, and apart from his scrubbing the very first thing I did ˗ actually it was a bit of a mess, the pen I’d started to use had scratched on the paper and ink dots had gone everywhere! Also I seemed to be picking up dirty marks from the pen all the time. So finally I went off and washed my hands, and started again, with a not too efficient blotter ˗ it was doing most of the mucking-up of things, I discovered ˗ and using the exiled piece of paper to cover up the page until I actually used it [wrote on it] each time, I got on all right. Didn’t do very much in the end ˗ he said he’d prefer that I went a little slower than not (I thought I was going slow!) and even though the place is away from the mainstream of things, there are a lot of people coming and going, and George and his wife talk a lot, always apparently starting a conversation up without informing the other who or what they’re talking about! And Mrs B made me a couple of ham sandwiches and an enormous cup of coffee, and this delayed things a little too.
Anyway that was that and I then went to the OC. Well, I felt a bit put out at not having anything to do, so in the end David Gorringe, and Hazel and I went to the pictures (a local cinema where it’s cheaper, but where the audience seems always to consist of morons ˗ they don’t laugh or do anything.) We went to Finian’s Rainbow ˗ a Monica-taking picture, if it hasn’t already been to Dunedin. [Presumably meaning my mother should take my aunt Monica to see it. She was the wife of my uncle Des mentioned above.] It is full of marvellous lines, with a lot of very clever jokes on racial problems in the South of America. But it all went over the heads of the people here ˗ they really are thick, you know. [Oh, dear, what a bumptious know-all this guy is!] (The same day I went down to our post office in Blackheath to get our mail delivered to our doorstep instead of the flats upstairs, and the first bit of mail arrived this morning ˗ Upstairs!). Heaven knows what’ll happen when they get decimal coinage. I think most of them will just give up!
Yesterday, I got up early and went in to get seats for the Dance of Death with Olivier. Got three quite decent seats, without having to queue with a very big crowd ˗ a dozen perhaps, and then since I had 3 hours to fill in before going down to East Croydon where the rehearsal are being held just now (the local art school is doing the designing of the show) I went to the cinema in Waterloo Station where they were showing On the Waterfront with Brando. Fabulous. A very moving story, with a priest who was a priest in it, instead of the usual wishy washy characters you get, and Brando is superb.
Last night Mike and a friend of his he found in a pub recently called John from Ohio (he’s here for an indefinite time, and very pleasant) and I went to D of D. It’s a rather rubbishy play though the first act is at least several times better than the second, but it was great to see Olivier in the flesh, and Geraldine McEwan, his co-star, is outstanding.
Lots of love Mike.