Faber £14.99 (473pp) £13.49 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Early Diaries, By Simon Gray
Friday 06 August 2010
Well done, Faber, on packaging together An Unnatural Pursuit and How's That For Telling 'Em, Fat Lady, both funnier and more addictive than Gray's later diaries.
The theatre provided Gray with a milieu rich in such generous wellsprings of humour as egotism, irritation and anxiety.
The "nadir" (as Gray terms it) of his first volume comes when he discovers a plan to omit his photograph in the programme for one of his plays, so there is more space for the actors and director (Harold Pinter). "The old gorge... rose rapidly like a barometer in a fevered mouth," writes Gray, "[but] somehow pride, pride, pride was important, [so] I said, 'I don't care what the fuck you do, that's fine with me.' Harold said contentedly, 'I knew you wouldn't mind.'"
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