IN recent months we have oriented workshops around women
who for want of chances have not been able to make careers
in singing or acting. Having a friend Bettina who sang at the
Royal Court in the Sixties, with followers such as Peter Brook
and Bob Dylan, and was at the hospital sad‐end‐of‐life wedding
of George Orwell to Sonia, I spoke with her about how Professor
Jim Haynes, often on TV and in news for his part in starting
Edinburgh Fringe programme, as well as Traverse and the world
leading Writers Conference, which involves another friend these days, Jenny Browne, whose family I met at his Paris flat. These women who play such a leading part on the cultural scene are browbeaten for bringing up children; how little is mentioned in the annals of time of women.
With our trips to workshops at Kew we also found out that "Land Women" had made jams and other winter sustenance in the vicinity. In fact Twickenham was once described as the Garden of England and there are postcards at Kew of women leading all the gardening.
There is also something to be seen of Owl Time, a name Virginia Woolf
gave to sunset, or rise when the hoot of the wise old birds that appear to see in
the night watchfully observe.
Older more experienced women are behind a wall, where the wounds are healed: as the purple or black and blue dissolve into sunsets.
They are able to heal the
who have only arrived...
Like Lysistrata the first flesh and
blood woman hero, who brought
all her girl friends to stop sleeping
with their men until they had
left the wars: the Peloponessian
Wars were a time when people
had been fighting for so many decades
that every one was tired of its futility and knew someone who had
A magicianness also, she appears
to be able to transfer suffering
out of the hats she makes:
has covered in eyes open and
closed to represent the various
rousing or wakefulness.
There are myriad ideas in the play about how open eyes are: for example, is anyone who has their eyes open awake really, or are they more asleep than those who have their eyes closed?
Do we see more when we dream and have our eyes closed?
Is the darkness necessary in any case to create light? After all in Genesis we are told that the earth was dark, before it was light, so maybe closing one's eyes is the preliminary step to finding the light well within.
Is the child that Oblomov
lost in the storm really
Lissie's and will he
be a wise owl?
Women also seem to be barely appreciated when considering
Mother Courage, a play about a woman who profits from the war. It has
the air of suggesting mothers role is to be led, and she is misled by the
violence of war. A real Mother Courage is a character we are trying to
connect with, as a Mother Earth, protecting rather than cunning
Sam Beckett's life was influenced by Bettina invited to her flat regularly :
when he was nervous he would play the piano as a way of relaxing.
She also became his intimate after Calder, her husband, had an affair. Trinity College, Dublin
recently bought his letters to her and she gave me a copy of one analysing her play The Wheel that was on at the Roundhouse.
Suffice to say she has many interesting stories about Jim who also began the ICA. When she mentions several americans being involved in CIA I think I am mishearing, but then it occurs to me
that she is referring to how serious art as I have researched often
has had CIA backing. Rothko for example, was subsidized by
money they put in to scholarships, as Russian artists like vorticists
were receiving so much state support. I met someone Assange was
close to who told me her granddad Eng had been a founder of CIA.
These were people who cared about their country, perhaps too much!
Marie Luise from Putney and a young man Anton came to workshops: we
Green woman has a daughter suggest Marie Louise and Nadine.
Rangoli Sand Art by Jayson Singh, created entirely out of sand, as in his pieces of the sky that have fallen .
Hats with eyes that are looking within or out?