AB originally took Structuralism 101 with RB, and
the two became inseparable semiological pals after a brief fistfight
over the open-mid front unrounded vowel Schwa ə A few Caledonian 80/- ales cemented their friendship, and led to M/F, a tribute to S/Z.
Met after being sent the galleys of "Les Fleurs du
Mal" to review, Anthony went to Paris for a long drinking session with
Jim Joyce and Sam Beckett. The spirit of dear old Charlie's poetry
graced the air that summer, and was the buzz of all the trendy pavement
Adolph and Betty were having a few friends round
for a soirée, and we discussed composition over a few Piña Coladas.
There was talk of collaborating on a treatment of Voltaire - maybe Œdipe - but AB returned to Malaya.
at the Anti-Fascist Poetry Convocation in
Gibraltar 1942. We enjoyed badinage in the Old Norrøn dialect and some
fine Algerian schnapps. Bert sailed for America the following day, but
the two friends exchanged regular telegrams on the subject of punitive
randomly: in a laudanum den above the antiquarian
bookseller in Carfax Oxford, just a few doors away from Ædes Christi. A
jolly joint, but we couldn't get a decent pint there, and had to repair
to The Turf. And the Bird & Baby. And the Lamb & Flag for a
quickie with CSL and Tolkein before closing time.
Nadia and Lenny were having a soirée with GG and
Emily, and we were introduced. Our shared passion for music and
didactics was reinforced over a few boilermakers. We planned to
collaborate on a Broadway musical of the life of Emily Dickinson but
couldn’t get the clearance for the fire-eaters.
Jim Murray and AB were having a glass of chilled
gin and water in the Trout at Godstow Bridge, and chatting about their
pal J. R. R. Tolkien who was working on Waggle to Warlock. Jim’s team
were also looking for a researcher for Circumflex to Diaresis, and
after some more Tanqueray, AB took the job, but was forced to give up
at cliché. Nevertheless he later wrote that the OED was "the greatest
publishing event of the century.".
Esmé Valerie, nearly 40 years younger than her
husband TS, had always enthusiastically championed other writers, and
had occasionally shared a bottle or two of Weißherbst Rosé in the
Fitzroy with AB. Strangely the two writers had not run into one another
at one of Fitzrovia's literary watering holes years before.
randomly: at the French pub in Soho. It was the summer of
1940, and adventitiously we shared a decent bottle of Moroccan Rosé,
and a chat about how best to improve the morale of the Free French
forces. Le Général commissioned AB to write a speech to be delivered on
The King of Swing and AB collaborated on a rigid structuralist foundation for the Jitterbug, presented in the Æolian
mode, but did not get far with the popular audience in their naïveté. They
repaired to Tipsy McStagger's, and after a few Corpse Revivers with C
L-S, worked on the pardigmic ur-myth for Stompin’ at the Savoy.
When Anthony went to live in Wessex, times were
harsh. But the pubs were welcoming and drink was cheap, particularly
the excellent Isle of Wight Poitín. A young poet and novelist could
find a hearty welcome amongst good local folk. Tom was there too, in the saloon bar, naturally.
Gustav and AB collaborated on ideas for the
Planets at Fuller's Brewery in Chiswick, which was a handy lunchtime
retreat near Gustav's school. A couple of pints of Pride, and a few "à
votre santés" usually got the creative musical juices flowing. Uranus
was a tricky one to lick, though.
It was a magical time in Paris that spring, with
the flowers of a new post-Freudian poetic language blooming in the
fertile imaginations of every young litterateur. And the heady thrill
of absinthe was a novel indulgence. Or was it novels. Or poetry. I seem
to recall writing something. I've got my notes right here. Actually it
might have been Zürich. Another absinthe?
through the Society of Self-Invented Authors. At
our annual dinner and cocktail celebrations at the Ritz the maître
d'hôtel usually introduces new members with an amusing version of "spin
Claude and Gabriel were having a small cocktail
party for their musical friends, and AB and Maurice got chatting over a
few apéritif kir royales. AB was a great admirer of Daphnis et Chloé
and also of Shéhérazade, and offered to do a treatment of La
Marseillaise in the Mixolydian mode, in tribute to the great
Mixologists of France. He was very disappointed when Maurice turned
down the Légion d'honneur.
AB had always found Arnie’s work Mäßig, aber sehr
ausdrucksvoll, and arranged to have lessons with the master on a visit
to USC. Their vigorous discussions of serialism and non-pentatonic
atonalism late into the night over jugs of Sangría at Trader Vic’s were
the talk of the campus. Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht and his Ode to
Napoleon were an inspiration for AB’s Napoleon Symphony, especially
after a few bottles of Kaštelanski Zinfandel.
During a trip to sample the excellent Baile Átha
Cliath Guinness via the Dún Laoghaire ferry, we realised we both
admired each others work, and also shared a love of linguistics, though
not necessarily of polemics.
After a couple of glasses of rosé Игорь Фёдорович
and AB found that they had considerable common ground in Poétiques
Musicales, but agreed that "music is, by its very nature, essentially
powerless to express anything at all." [Chronicles of My Life].
while drinking fierce aqvavit in a pavement café in Uppsala and reading Från Fjerdingen och Svartbäcken. Anthony
commented "When it comes to relationships with women, I'm the winner of
the August Strindberg Award." a comment that would later be stolen.
The two friends had originally met in Würzburg
while studying fin de siècle European Literature and Language. It was
there that the germ of an idea for a stage show to be called "The
Playboy of the Eastern World" first came to light. Some years later,
after a large number of pints of Guinness in Durty Nellie’s near
Luimneach, and several dozen oysters, JMS decided to transfer the
action to Ireland. .
at the bar of the Chelsea Hotel in New York,
where the discussion turned to the possibility of marketing Welsh
Whisky (Gwyród Cymru). "Llaregub" seemed like a promising name,
but after moving on to Crème de Menthe Frappés, the concept got lost in
the general poetry of life.
At the dark end of Hut 8, we bombardière
cryptanalists used to meet for a warming brew late on a winters night.
Sherry Bovril was one of our favourites in those difficult days of
rationing. AB was sketching out the libretto for an opera to be called
"Enigma", but Geheimschreiberteknik proved to be a difficult rhyme.