You are currently browsing the daily archive for November 22, 2011.

Sad news from the Beeb today:  John Neville, OBE, is dead at the age of 86:

Shakespearean actor John Neville, who also starred in The X Files and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, has died from Alzheimer’s at the age of 86.

The British-born actor died at Toronto’s Wellesley Central Place on Saturday.

Neville emigrated to Canada in 1972 and directed its Stratford Shakespeare Festival between 1986 and 1989.

In 1956, he alternated the roles of Othello and Iago with friend Richard Burton at London’s Old Vic theatre.

The following year, he was cast as Hamlet opposite Dame Judi Dench in her first major stage role.

He took over the helm at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival when it was under financial and artistic pressure.

“John Neville’s brave programming and careful stewardship helped save the festival at a time of extreme financial hardship,” said Antoni Cimolino, the festival’s current director.

Alas.  On the other hand, a (certainly) long, (apparently) prosperous and (hopefully) happy life (he’s survived by his wife of 62 years, together with six children and six grandchildren, so I would certainly think so).

Regular port swillers will know that Baron Munchausen is one of ol’ Robbo’s very favorite movies.  Perhaps I’ll run it off this evening by way of tribute.


Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

In my twenty years (yikes!) of practicing law, I’ve always noticed a curious thing about Thanksgiving week:  Either it is an all-hands-to-the-lifeboats panic or else it is completely dead.  Never in between, but always polarized.

Just saying.

♦   Following last week’s visit to the doctress, I’m off today to have a “consultation” with the gastro-intestinal medicos about the workings of ol’ Robbo’s insides and the possible need to take a closer dekko at same to make sure nobody has tossed a spanner into the doings.  I’ve been teasing the Mothe by adopting a blasé approach to the whole biznay, which probably isn’t very nice, but really, given my ulcer-like symptoms and the family history for this sort of thing, of course I understand that getting probed is the prudent thing.  Doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy it, even if they let me see the pictures.  I thank Heaven routinely that my early hope of going to med school foundered on the rocks of organic chem, because really, I have no stomach whatever for that sort of thing.

♦   I’m currently reading Anthony Powell’s biography To Keep The Ball Rolling and finding it quite enjoyable.  One is continually impressed at the small and tight-knit, practically in-bred nature of the Brit arts culture of the early to middle 20th Century.  Not only am I learning a great deal about the “real” lives behind Powell’s own masterwork, A Dance To The Music Of Time, I’m also picking up all sorts of useful insights about other authors and their works.  Por ejemplo, I was just reading about one Rosa Lewis, cook (and perhaps mistress) to Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales, who eventually set up a hotel called the Cavendish, a meeting place of all sorts of odds, sods and eclectics over which she ruled with a dominating personality and a steady flow of champers.  Evelyn Waugh skewered the Cavendish (and Lewis) good and hard in Vile Bodies.  Heretofore, I  had been quite ignorant of the source of his fictional hotel.  Apparently, Lewis never forgave Waugh for the slight.  One can see why.

Powell also mentions an early connection with J.F.C. Fuller, British Army officer and mystical crackpot, which made me smile because I’ve got a couple of Fuller’s military histories lying about somewhere.  Small world.  Small world.

♦   Ah, adolescence!  The other day, Mrs. R called my brother’s house to make arrangements about our trip out there for Thanksgiving.  My 14 year old nephew answered the phone.  The last time we had spoken with him, his voice was high and shrill.  Apparently, however, he’s now such a basso that at first Mrs. R thought she was speaking to my brother instead.   In the meantime, the eldest gel has suddenly realized that, now her ears are pierced, she can start raiding Mrs. R’s jewelry box.  (The gel already raids her wardrobe.) Aye, there be pirates here!

Yes, we are headed to the port swiller’s brother’s house for the festivities.  Other than a bottle or two of the right stuff, we are under orders not to bring anything with us.  I’m feeling deliciously irresponsible about the whole thing.

♦   I see where one can now buy a “wedding” gown modeled on the one worn by the girl in the new Vegi-Vampire movie, for a cool $800 or so.  One shudders to contemplate who might think this a good idea.

♦   Actually, I suppose I ought not to mock such things.  Mrs. Robbo and I were married eighteen years and change ago and to this day she still accuses me of not liking her gown.  The truth, which I’ve been forced to point out many times, always to incredulous ears, is that I was really too preoccupied to pay much attention to it at the time, and all these years later I simply have no recollection of what it looked like one way or the other.  So if I take the line that the dress really doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things (within reasonable bounds of propriety, of course), then I suppose if people want to dress up like ridiculous moovie characters, that’s their lookout.

  ♦  Finally, speaking of the greater scheme of things, I love this headline:  Pelosi whines about Catholics having “this conscience thing.”  Darn those Catholic kids and their meddling consciences!


Blog Stats

  • 488,890 hits
November 2011