Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Arthur Quiller-Couch - A Pair of Hands



Tender tale tugs at the heartstrings with its touching description of the antics of the "most harmless ghost in the world." The pair of hands that show up in the house rented by Miss Poulton belong to a girl Margaret, who had died of diptheria at the tender age of seven. Ever since, her little hands appear every now and then to dust and clean the house with an almost obsessive desire to keep it free of infection. So unobtrusive and gentle is the dead girl’s presence that hers is the friendliest ghost. As Miss Poulton says of this sweet spirit: she "smoothed my pillow, touched and made my table comely, in summers lifted the heads of the flowers as I passed"

I listened to this one because I was curious to hear something based on a story by Arthur Quiller-Couch whose name I know mostly as an old editor of The Oxford Book of English Verse and as the author of  the lyrics of a few songs other students would ask me to accompany for student recitals.  It's not long but it's a change from my usual posting.

I can't find a cast listing and they didn't give the credits on this video.  I could swear that it's Judi Dench who played Miss Poulton, I don't recognize the other two voices but they've probably been on countless other BBC productions.

Second Feature - Stephen Wyatt - Net Suicide 



Gerard McDermott
Tracy-Ann Oberman

It's sort of a modern take on the Robert Louis Stevenson short story updated only without a happy end.  It seems kind of appropriate the week that the putrid manosphere has been so much in the news.  The play was written in 1997, even then it was obvious that there were really sick things going on on the net.   

Stephen Wyatt has written a lot of plays for both theater and radio,  here's a bit from an interview he did where he compares the two media.

You’ve written a lot of work for radio. How does it compare to writing for theatre?

I think they’re very different forms. I actually think there is slightly too much radio drama that is just like stage plays. The two things that I really like about radio is that you can do subjects that in practically any other medium might be thought a bit esoteric or obscure. And the other thing I like is the freedom from any form of naturalism. You can create quite a heady, slightly disturbing atmosphere in which you never quite know what is real and what isn’t. And I think that’s something that radio can do really, really well.

Conversely, what does theatre give you that radio doesn’t?

What I’m looking forward to, going back into theatre, is that very direct contact with an audience, that – sometimes for good, sometimes for ill – they’re in there with you. And even if there are only five of them, you know what they’re feeling. That is, of course, something that you don’t get from radio.

37 comments:

  1. It's spelled Stevenson. Not Stephenson.

    You may have read one of his books. Usually the author's name is pretty legible on the cover.
    https://goo.gl/images/ppNYFt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I suppose since I had just typed Stephen Wyatt that spelling was on my mind.

      But, then, he didn't know that someone like you would use the "v" spelling, if he had maybe he'd have changed the spelling.

      It's funny that you were trolling me to jump on that before I came back to edit the post. That wasn't the only typo, I'm surprised you missed the other two. I always do that from the screen because the blogger editing screen uses such small print.

      Delete
  2. Oh bullshit. You've just never read Stevenson. Man up, already and admit it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, for fucks sake, anyone who reads English has read him. How do you think I knew this was a modern variation on his story about the suicide club? For that matter I've accompanied a number of the settings of Songs of Travel that Vaughn Williams did. One of my best friends in college was a bass who sang them quite well. They're some of RVW's most effective vocal writing.

      Delete
  3. Says the guy who's on record as hating Vaughan Williams.

    BTW, Vaughan is spelled with an "a."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've been through that at lest twice before, I never said I hated him, the only piece of his I ever said I hated was his syrupy Variations on Greensleeves.

      You're the one who made some rather ignorantly anachronistic claims about his Fifth Symphony, probably the only one you've ever heard.

      You're an idiot, Simps. Someone who doesn't read, who doesn't deal with anything requiring an attention span, who thinks in cliches and, so, never says anything that hasn't been said by other people.

      Delete
  4. Shows what you know. I love his 7th, which I first heard when it was used as the soundtrack to Michael Balcon's film SCOTT OF THE ANTARCTIC. And I'm also fond of the 2nd "The London."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, who used the second as a movie score?

      Figures that's how you'd know it, probably the most you've ever heard of it. Let me guess, you know the second movement of Mozart's 21st Piano Concerto, too.

      Delete
  5. Old Ralph wrote more film scores than symphonies. Unlike you, he wasn’t a snob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll bet if you asked him what he'd rather be remembered for it wouldn't be as a composer of film music. I'll bet you figure Beethoven was a lesser composer because he wrote no film music.

      Delete
    2. A safer bet would be that you’re not just a snob, but a perishing snob.

      Delete
    3. You know what "perishing" means in that cliche? It means annoying. Only someone as stupid as you would be attracted to someone who annoys you as much as I appear to. Only I'm sure you had no idea what that phrase actually means.

      No one who's ever known me in real life accused me of being a snob, at least not in my hearing. If I wasn't so bored with you I'd go look up that place where you were judged the biggest snob among reviewers. I'm sure you remember me posting it and the link, it was about you.

      Delete
    4. "I'm not a snob. Ask anyone. Well, ask anyone who matters."
      -- Simon LeBon

      Delete
    5. I gather that's an admission of your unimportance.

      I saw you little exchange with DWD and the guy who named himself after two of histories more vicious anti semites. I used to figure DWD was smart. Anyone who would trust your characterizations of something someone else says has got a few voids in their reasoning ability.

      Delete
  6. "You know what "perishing" means in that cliche? It means annoying."

    No, it doesn't mean that, you brainless clod. It means you're a profoundly silly pearl-clutching snob. Think Waldo Lydecker in LAURA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the Simels Says Dictionary, again. Simps, you don't get to change the dictionary meaning of words just because you're an idiot who uses words without understanding what they mean so that other college-credentialed but ignorant people can read them and get a general idea that it means "he has cooties".

      perishing
      ADJECTIVE
      British
      informal
      1 dated Used for emphasis or to express annoyance.

      ‘I could murder that perishing kid!’
      as submodifier ‘you've been a perishing long time with that coffee!’

      That's the Oxford Dictionary. Notice that part that says "1 dated," which is rather funny considering your snarky comment attributing a dated term to me which I have never used in my life.

      The British Dictionary says:

      perishing
      /ˈpɛrɪʃɪŋ/
      adjective
      1.
      (informal) (of weather, etc) extremely cold
      2.
      (slang) (intensifier qualifying something undesirable): it's a perishing nuisance!

      It can also mean that something is dying, such as "The last vestige of Simels' mind is perishing under the weight of a lifetime of the pursuit of the unchallenging, the customary, the easy and the inevitable effects of aging on the unchallenged mind."

      Waldo Lydecker? Really. I wonder what Waldo Lydecker would have to say about people who work for a living and ate Kraft Dinner. Looking it up right now, it was first introduced in 1937, for sale to poor, working people, the same people who eat it now, so that make believe character (you DO know he's make believe, don't you?, I ask skeptically) would have known about it. I wonder if Alexander Woolcott - who I always figured was the model for that character, ever had anything to say about it. Of course, for the movies they had to make that old queen into a heterosexual epicurean scribbler, radio-babbler who was in love with Laura. Which shows how realistic the character was not. I think that denouement was a pretty bad way to end what was a pretty good movie. Now, if there's someone who has something in common with him, it would be you in so far as you were in the same business, the degenerate form of journalism that is pretentiously called "criticism".

      Skimming an online edition of his letters, I'm struck at how seldom he mentions food in them. Superficial and foppish as he could be, he wasn't as superficial and foppish as the Eschaton crowd.

      Delete
  7. Uh, sorry Sparkles -- the word "perishing" has a different meaning in the context of the word "snob" than it does in the context of "something else."

    But we've already had years of evidence that you have a completely tin ear for vernacular speech.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Produce standard dictionary citations to that effect, three, of them to top the two I produced.

      The Eschatots really have dwindled down to a rump characterized by conceit about an intelligence they don't much practice, haven't they. I used to figure there were a few of them left who weren't like that but my respect for them wore away as they didn't try to elevate the level of discussion. And apparently they don't go there as much as they used to. I wonder if that website listing "Atriots" is still up, I wonder how many of those people fled since that was put up.

      Delete
  8. I asked three living Brits. They confirmed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, if they're your buddies they're probably too stupid to know, second, identify them by name and contact information. I want to ask them what the origin of their claims are.

      Third, you're lying. Though as the saying goes, that goes without saying.

      Delete
  9. Tell me again that I’m an atheist. By which I mean, as you well know, lie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simps, you've denied you're a lying douchebag too and that's a transparent lie, no one who is familiar with you believes a word you say except when you say "words fail me" and that's just a rotely repeated cliché.

      Delete
  10. So you haven’t lied that I’m an atheist? You’ve got chutzpah, I’ll insult you that.😋

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Simps, all you do is lie, to the extent where you say mutually exclusive things and are unphased when someone points it out to you. You and Trump, separated at senility.

      Delete
  11. Says the guy who agrees with Trump’s refusal to concede the centrality of Jews and anti-semitism to the Holocaust.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, says the guy who has repeatedly pointed out when you have told that lie that the Holocaust is defined as the industrial-scientific genocide of Jews by the Nazis so, by definition, it isn't merely central to the Holocaust, it is 100% of it. You're the guy who lies that lie as he discounts the importance of the rest of the Nazi program of genocide.

      I'd tell you to feel free to reconfirm my point that you're a pathological liar who is immune to the truth, no matter how many times, with how many citations are given to disprove your lies, which is a prime characteristic of the Trump base. But you've never demonstrated an inhibition against lying.

      If it were possible for me to sue you for lying, Simels, you and Duncan would be sued for telling that lie. However our idiot Supreme Court has prevented that possibility so you lie with the freedom that Duncan was so happy to find in that ruling. That it also makes a country which will inevitably put a Trump, a Ryan, a McConnell into office doesn't matter to any of you.

      Delete
  12. Call me an atheist again. Please.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Seriously -- call me an atheist again. My lawyer can beat the shit out of your lawyer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The the atheists of Eschaton know you'd consider it libel for me to call you an atheist? Like it's something to be ashamed of?

      I was wondering what David Schwartz did now that they realized he wasn't ready for prime time. I think my lawyer could recover from the laughing fit he'd have from reading the lawsuit you'd bring on such a case.

      Delete
  14. Says the low-grade moron who thinks making home-made mac 'n' cheese disqualifies you from being a liberal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It takes a real boob to make a claim like that when the same page it appears on shows that no such claim was made.

      You just can't deal with the most slightly complex ideas, can you.

      Delete
  15. Apparently you forgot that you posted this yesterday.

    "I went back to look. If there's one dead giveaway that the lefties are pseudo-lefty it's that they're snobs about lifestyle stuff, food, decor, clothes. I think I'll go to the store and buy something really, really declassé for supper. Something dry in a box you have to add water to. Something really, really low-class.

    Blessed are those who eat Kraft Dinner. For they might have a real life. "

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually I changed one word this morning because it read better.

      Where in there did I say that making anything from scratch disqualifies someone from being a liberal? I didn't even imply that eating Kraft Dinner was a sign of liberalism, just that being a lifestyle snob, of the kind which are ubiquitous at Eschaton, was proof of not being one.

      And, clearly, that's too complex an idea for you to navigate.

      Delete
  16. So what have we learned on this thread?

    1. You don't understand what "words" "mean."
    2. Your conception of time and space is roughly similar to that of a garden slug.
    3. Humor, satire and irony are beyond your ken.

    Seriously, it's amazing your empty noggin generates enough energy for you to use your fingers to type.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What I've known for a while is that you're so bored at Duncan's that you come here to try to fight with someone who isn't boring and won't just say the same old things that you agree with. Maybe if you prod Chicago Dyke, Thinly Veiled and Tlaz they'll fight with you and you can stop boring me.

      Delete
  17. No, I come here because you refuse to apologize for your anti-Semitism and I plan to annoy you because of that until you do.

    Also, I come here because you have a wonderful habit of saying such unpredictably stupid and absurd things, like yesterday's "ome-made mac 'n' cheese being a signifier of being a fake lefty."

    In other words, it's a hobby, and a very enjoyable one.
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're the kind of asshole who pulls out an accusation of antisemitism at the drop of a hat because you're too lazy, stupid and dishonest to carry your end of an argument. Your definition of antisemitism, wishing that the Jewish population had been allowed to immigrate to the United States as your and my ancestors did instead of displacing Palestinians and creating an inevitable military fascist state, that someone who would like there to be millions of more Jewish residents in the United States is an anti semite is entirely and transparently dishonest. You obviously don't want more Jews living here, I do.

      You come here because the people left at Eschaton are a bunch of boringly predictable conformists. You might be too stupid to realize that's why you come here but you get mighty pissed off when I cut you off. I think I'll do it for the month of May, cut you off.

      Delete