Dear Mum, I’m beginning another letter, because since the time that I’ve felt better, all the silly little things that happen have seemed much more interesting. The rather obscure last sentences on yesterday’s letter were to say that I’d bought myself six scores (remember I was grumbling about how they expected you to buy stuff without money?) with a fiver that they paid me for some trifling work that I did on the Gianni Schicchi scores. Parts, not scores! Anyway it was far more than I felt I should have got but didn’t complain. John had arrived home from shopping on Sat (I’d had to go out: see below) with a score he’d bought in a shop (2nd-hand) around the corner, and he painted vivid pictures of the stuff they had going in the musical line for practically nothing. Well, 'nothing' in the English sense! But slowly and surely I’m beginning to understand that you need to take everything John says with a large number of grains of salts [sic] because when I arrived at the shop there were two scores that were of the least use, and the rest of the stuff was a load of old rubbish! Unless I’m going blind, but I couldn’t see any of the wealth of things he described. It was the same with the flat, before I first looked at it ˗ according to John, it was a luxury flat with all mod cons, and so on. Well, it’s got the occasional odd mod con, but as for luxury..! Anyway I’ll sift the evidence a little more carefully in future.
I did go into town later on in the day, and went to a bookshop in Cecil Court near the Coliseum, (where I knew they have a lot of music, 2nd hand, and finished buying four more scores there. They were worth it I think. If I’m to get anywhere, I must have some stuff of my own to work on, I think.
Back to Sat. The stage managers had to work from 10 till one, and then from 7 till 10 again, and so had all that time to fill in. Hazel had asked me if I’d like to meet her and David Gorringe at the theatre and go to the pictures in the afternoon. I had to go up to town with some Bamford stuff, so it worked out nicely. We met up with Pete Lyon who was also at the Wells, and he thought he’d like to come too, so we said we’d meet him at Oxford Circus later at 2.30. David and Hazel and I get on very well, as a group it seems ˗ we all understand each other fairly well, and ca’t offend each other unintentionally. It’s almost like it used to be with Kevin and Mike and I at home. Anyway we went and had some lunch, and decided we’d like to go and see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, [one of my all-time favourite musicals] because it was close, it was convenient as far as time went. (There were other films but David wouldn’t have got back to the Wells in time.) We got to Oxford Circus, and after losing and locating and losing each other again, found Peter, who’d brought two of the wardrobe girls with him! Well, they didn’t want to go and see what we wanted to see and as we would have spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get something to please everybody, we three departed to Marble Arch where the film was showing. On arrival we found it was showing for 10/- and upwards ˗ for a revival! ˗ and so we thought no thanks and decided to spend the afternoon in Hyde Park, just over the road. This was great actually, because it gave us some fresh air, and we really enjoyed it. We were going to go rowing on the Turpentine (as Dave insists on calling it) but it was a little cold for that. (Good heavens, the sun’s shining out here at the mo’!) So we just walked and talked etc.
Then we thought as we still had 3 hours to go we might pop down to Battersea Park ˗ nothing like going completely back to childhood! ˗ but discovered while we were waiting for a bus that it doesn’t open till Easter. So we waffled around Kensington for a bit ˗ the people there are a wonder to [handwritten] behold, clothes-wise. (The typewriter won’t type down here.) And then we thought we’d go to Charing Cross and spend the next hour or so at a newsreel theatre, where [typed] they show such brain-taxing pieces as Tom and Jerry, Mickey Mouse and Batman! But we didn’t have time to see the whole programme when we arrived and so went and had a cup of coffee and then Dave went back to the Wells while Hazel and I went to the NFT to The Thief of Baghdad* ˗ the English version of about 1940, and full of magic carpets and genies and flying horses and heaven knows what. It was very good, and had Sabu as the Thief and John Justin as the hero. Then I went back to Hazel’s and we had something to eat ˗ originally intended to be a snack, but she’s like you, she doesn’t like cooking unless it’s for someone, and so she cooked omelettes and other odds and ends.
On Sunday, after cooking our dinner, I went for a walk, though it was rather too cold, over to Greenwich Park, and wandered around the Observatory (it used to be, but now is a museum; the original house was by Wren) and the park, where there are squirrels and deer.
Last night, I saw that TheBofors Gun, which has Lindsay Campbell [originally from Dunedin] in it for about 3/4 of a minute (!), was on in Putney so I wended my way down there. It’s south-west while Blackheath is south-east. [handwritten] To my mind, Lindsay was Lindsay! He seems mainly cast over here as a typical English soldier type!!
I keep meaning to tell you about another Catholic Church I found near Leicester Square. It’s run by French priests (tho’ Mass is said in English) and I’ve been able to pop in twice around six and go to Communion. It seems fairly modern inside tho’ outside it doesn’t. A bit like the Moran Chapel on a larger scale. [A tiny chapel in the Moran Building in the Octagon, Dunedin.]
It's worth reading Roger Ebert's enthusiastic review of this movie, written at a time when the film was already nearly 70 years old.