Gert has had a lot of fun in the past few days.
Firstly, she saw the remastered version of M. Hulot’s Holiday. If you’ve never seen it, don’t let a day pass before you do. Who could forget M. Hulot’s car, his taste in music, his horse-riding, the unfortunate incident with the firecrackers, and, most of all, his tennis? Strangely enough, there was a tennis match on the big screen in the square when Gert came out of the theatre. Not a patch on M. Hulot’s game. Why haven’t Federer, Nadal and the Williams sisters adopted his stylish and unplayable serve?
(Don’t be put off by the Spanish subtitles).
The next fun was rereading Cold Comfort Farm. To stay with the film theme, here’s the Hollywood producer Mr. Neck on his search for a new leading man:
“I want a man to fetch the women,” he went on. “I want a new Gary Cooper (but lessee, that’s twenty years ago), only more ritzy. Someone who can look good in a tuxedo and yet handle one of them old-world ploughs. (Say, I seen four ploughs since I been over this trip). Well, who’ve I got? I got Teck Jones. Yeah, well, Teck’s a good kid. He can ride all right, but he’s got no body-urge. I got Valentine Orlo. Well, he looks like a wop. They won’t stand for no more wops since poor Morelli went to the chair in ’42. No, wops is off. Well, I got Peregrine Howard. He’s a Britisher. No one can’t say his first name right, so he’s no good. There’s Slake Fountain. Yeah, I’ll say there is too. We keep a gang of hoodlums on their toes at twenty a week each to sober him up every morning before he comes on the set. Then there’s Jerry Badger, the sort of nice egg you’d like your kid sister to marry, but nothing to him. Nothing at all. Well, what do I get out of it? Nothing. I gotta find somebody, that’s all.”
“Have you ever seen Alexandre Fin?” asked Mr Mybug. “I saw him in Pepin’s last film, La Plume De Ma Tante, in Paris last January. Very amusing stuff. They all wore glass clothes, you know, and moved in time to a metronome.”
“Oh, yeah?” said Mr Neck. “A frog, eh? Frogs is all under five feet. I want a big, husky fella: the kind that would look good cuddling a kid. Is there another cup, sweetheart?”
Flora poured him some.
“Yeah,” he went on. “I seen that film in Paris too. It gave me a pain. Gave me a lot of new dope, though. What not to do, and all that. I’ve met Pepin, too. The poor egg’s cuckoo.”
“He is much admired by the younger men,” said Mr Mybug, daringly, glancing at Flora for approval.
“That helps a whole heap,” said Mr Neck.
“Then your interest in the cinema, Mr Neck, is entirely commercial? I mean, you think nothing of its aesthetic possibilities?”
“I gotta responsibility. If your frog friend had to fill fifteen thousand dollars worth of movie seats every day, he’d have to think of a better stunt than a lot of guys wearin’ glass pants.” (182-3).
Attaboy, Mr Neck!