I’d like to apologise for the extreme boringness of yesterday’s entry on BFI Film Guides. It was only one stop above The History of the Apostle Spoon.
I had just returned from Kent and was overcome with fatigue, so I wrote about the nearest things to hand without thinking that they might proved staggeringly dull to anyone who had come to this site because they were interested in say, crime novels and not obscure film manuals (although they are marvellous).
Being boring is a curse. Several crime writers I know suffer from it. Two are terminal cases. We have one job, to be interesting, and yesterday I failed you. Writers pay their way by being amusing. It was either Mary Rogers or Dorothy Parker who said, ‘I don’t perform, except at dinner.’
We get invited to dinner to be interesting, to cast reflected glory onto the duller guests. The old rule is; The duller the client, the more expensive the restaurant has to be. The same goes for writers; the drearier the dinner, the more vivacious the writer. It’s hard work. Noel Coward must have been knackered most of the time.
But we now live in a world where wit counts for nothing, where anything will be believed if said with a straight face. Panache has vanished. Now we have bling and struggle and nothing between the two states. The middle ground of style, charm, grace, eloquent rudeness and wry amusement have been blasted aside by the twin evils of philistinism and cancel culture. Learning how to behave is a fine art almost totally ignored in the 21st century.
I’ve noticed this in conversations with certain people who exhibit no curiosity at all. They are, like Colin Robinson, psychic vampires. These are people who, passing a great mysterious commotion of people, will stop to see if they have something on their shoe.
It is my job to be their enemy. I must be ever vigilant. If I become tarnished again, I shall follow the great George Sanders, whose suicide note read; ‘I am leaving this world because I am bored.’
Thank you for your understanding.