• Upcomimg Trips

    October 14 to 21 Cruise - Bermuda
  • theatre and Concerrts

    November 3rd. Saw the much acclaimed “The Nap” by Brian Bean. By coincidence, Christine and I watched the world snooker championship on the BBC while we were in London last May; the play is about an elaborate con pulled on the championships. Billed as a comedy, it has, in the cast, a transvestite Mrs. Malaprop. The actor/actress playing the part did not have the timing to make the most of the mis-pronounced humour. There was a very clever coordination between the real table on which the contestants played (one of whom was a real snooker champion) and the screen above  it showing the action. The con included a somewhat unconvincing fake execution which scuttled the comedy in my view.

    October 3. Attended a beautiful memorial to the late Robert Mann at the Manhattan School of Music. The highlight was  sandwiched  between Mozart and Faure – Robert Mann’s setting of The Swedish Match Girl. The story was narrated By his 96 -year-old widow, Lucy. The piano quartet included Nicholas Mann, Robert’s son.

     Ocober 8. Susan and went to the 92nd Street Y to see a pre-screening of the film “The Oath” followed by a question and answer period by the author/director and a well-known television personality. Susan was,  I think, impressed–it is an obvious Liberal political piece–I was put off by the gratuitous violence and expletive-heavy dialogue.

    October 9. Susan, Christine and I saw a most-marvelous production of Chekov’s “Uncle Vanya” at The Kaye Playhouse. The action was brilliantly played out by the actors in the pit of the theatre with the audience rising in tiers all around them.

    All the actors were superb, but Jay O. Sanders in the title role gave a commanding performance and the audience was spell-bound from beginning to end.

     

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Introduction

The Memoirs of: bwthompson@lifeline/nr.end/hom.sap

(Full chapter index below right)

What manner of ego motivates an autobiographer, I wonder? Is there any justification for encumbering the minds of unsuspecting readers with memories of events which shaped one’s own life? Certainly, yesterday’s movers and shakers were confident that their successes improved the fate of mankind; that their failures were the fault of others; and thus owed posterity a duty to set down their version of history before the revisionists of the next generation got at it. My own view is that the passing decades, centuries and millennia will prove them wildly mistaken. Winston Churchill, for example, would he have waxed so eloquent if he had foreseen that the net result of his successes would be the impoverishment of Britain? That Germany and Japan, the very enemies the Brits expended so much of their wealth and blood to defeat, were soon to become the its economic masters, second only to the United States? And take Karl Marx and his monumental effort to devise a perfect social system which would function without the aid of human nature–would he have bothered if he had known that his most famous disciple, Joseph Stalin, would use it to murder a million of his own people and grind the rest into fearful poverty? Or would give rise to a Pol Pot or a ‘gang of four’?

But, what of the mass of ordinary people? Without them, the movers and shakers would not have much to move and their shaking would be fruitless. Tiny, as they may be, the contributions each of us makes, become the totality of the history of man’s existence, and the absence of even one alters the end result! Are the lives and tribulations of the common man of any interest though? They determine Homo sapiens’ path to glory or extinction, so the answer ought to be “yes”. But the common man has rarely been able to express his innermost thoughts in the past, let alone commit them to paper. He agonizes inwardly over his failures–“If only” starts many a long train of introspection. He is secretly proud of his successes; the little manoeuvres he performed in order to improve the lot of his family and himself; the backing he gave to friends and family in times of stress; his passing-on of his values and his pride of craftsmanship; his survival even; all give him a feeling of inner satisfaction. A feeling that he has, after all, changed the cutting-edge direction a little.

Why, then, should his flower be left to blush unseen now that technology has given him the chance to set down his thoughts with ease? The computer, chat rooms, web-pages and e-mail have released him from the bondage of silent acceptance–He may not command the attention of the masses but still, the satisfaction of engaging in the dialogue, even if it is only among his intimate circle of friends and family, is much the same as that of those power-wielders monopolizing the headlines. It may be a matter of degree, but, in the end, it is the individual’s own ego which senses achievement and failure.

In my case, my memories and perceptions are my very own. I have disdained all research—I like my memories and conclusions as they are. In putting them to paper, I have been guided somewhat by the adage: ‘Don’t confuse me with the facts–my memory is already made up!’

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