…say nothing. That’s advice I’ve been following for the last couple of weeks, but a blog can only stay silent for so long before people Begin to Wonder. It’s like radio silence – if it goes on too long people begin to question whether the station is there at all.
Speaking of radio silence, the other day this was stretched to the limit during the broadcast of Pinter’s play ‘Betrayal.’ It’s a good title, since the play itself is a betrayal, heaping insult onto injury by making public Pinter’s affair with Joan Bakewell. She wrote her own play in retaliation (also broadcast) but no such redress was available to Vivien Merchant, the wronged wife, who not only had to suffer the pain of her husband’s affair but then the indignity of having it plastered all over the stage. I can’t begin to imagine how I’d feel if it was me.
But the Beeb were flirting with danger in other ways too. As anyone familiar with Pinter knows, his plays are pregnant with pauses, so much so that the phenomenon is known as the ‘Pinter pause’:
A Pinter character can barely say half a dozen words without lapsing into a brooding silence. Which is not to say that the pauses are contrived or meaningless; far from it – a pause, a silence, can convey far more than any number of words when used in the right way. Pinter could almost have been a Quaker (except that it is not very Quakerly to have an affair and then write a play about it!) Anyway, this is me breaking my radio silence and telling you all that I am Still Here. I’ve mostly been in the garden, digging up stubborn brambles with roots the size (although not the shape) of my head, and ivy that has convoluted and thickened everywhere. Ivy horrifies me, the way it embraces and kills every other living thing: it’s very cathartic to rip it apart and chuck it in the garden bin. We have just signed up to this scheme, which gets you a brown bin that’s emptied fortnightly.
I promise from now on to blog more often than the garden bin is emptied. Hope you all had a good Easter. Anyway, here’s the play, featuring Andrew Scott who was so brilliant as Moriarty in Sherlock:
and here’s Joan Bakewell’s riposte: