One more of the delightful “Drinking With Dead Women Writers” short stories…this one about the extraordinary George Eliot. I met with Elaine Ambrose, the author just recently about maybe taking these readings “on the road”. We drank coffee at my favourite patisserie Janjou‘s …..a lovely meeting place which serves very good strong European coffee and delicious pastries. Elaine is an interesting and prolific writer…I came away armed with many more of her funny original books. She has a male counterpart book to the Dead Female writers called “Drinking with Dead Drunks”. This one of course is about raising a glass with a few of the extraordinary male writers, who liked a glass or two.
I can relate to all of this, as drinking was a large part of our industry when I was growing up in it in London in the 60’s and 70’s. It was unimaginable not to end a day of filming, or a night onstage, without heading to the local bar or pub for a glass or two, to round off the day/evening. And there were a few notable” serious” drinkers among the actors with whom I worked. Sadly it killed most of them in the long run. In those days heavy drinking was a badge of honour…now not so much, thank goodness. Of course one of the great notable proper drinkers was Peter O’Toole, but we can add a few others to the list: Richard Harris, Richard Burton, Oliver Reed, John Hurt, my dear David Hemmings and so on….It’s strange isn’t it that such a powerful destructive addiction seemed to add to a person’s attractiveness? However it IS a nasty and destructive depressant and I am sorry that it added to the glamour to the image of men and women, who were already extremely interesting and enormously talented, without their reputation as legendary drinkers. Of course many of them enjoyed their image and wouldn’t thank me for my comments…but for what it’s worth….those are my thoughts on the subject!
Anywhere here’s George Eliot for your pleasure