CRIES & WHISPERS

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The Independent Culture
5 HUMBLY proffered, Hughes's regular New Year's Resolu-tions for Other People, or random thoughts for a better year: ce Alan Bennett: to leave Leeds and write something about Manhattan (where his Diaries tell us he also lives).

Elizabeth Esteve-Coll: to write her memoirs about her time at "the ace caff with quite a nice museum attached" and revenge her poisonous V&A critics.

Cameron Mackintosh: to produce a totally unknown play on the fringe and see if it will take off by word of mouth.

John Mortimer: to give Dickens a rest and Rumpole a few more briefs.

Faye Dunaway: to stop complaining about not appearing in Sunset Boulevard. She should be so lucky.

Jonathan Meades: to smile.

The Attorney-General: not to bring any more ridiculous cases against spoof musicals about Robert Maxwell if Betty Maxwell is allowed to publish her own book.

Joanna Lumley: to say absolutely no to any more interviews.

Angus Deayton: to say absolutely no to any more commercials.

Noel Edmonds: to say absolutely no to absolutely everything.

Emma Thompson: to get Ken a decent haircut.

TV news: to give us more matter and less art.

Richard and Judy: to work out on This Morning what broadcasting is and what plugging is (the only thing they'll need to plug then is the gap).

Jeremy Isaacs: to make sure that when Maria Bjornson next works for the Opera House her designs don't dwarf the dancers.

Merchant Ivory: to swap projects with Oliver Stone. A nice arrangement would be if Natural Born Killers took A Room With a View.

Barbara Windsor: to knock some sense into those boys of yours.

Barbra Streisand: not to change a thing (it would spoil the joke).

David Lodge: to make one New Year's Resolution and then stand back while the BBC films another.

Nigel Hawthorne: to be so busy acting on the London stage that he isn't able to go to Hollywood to pick up an Oscar for The Madness of King George.

The Beatles: not to release a compilation CD of themselves tuning their instruments and clearing their throats in time for next Christmas.

Theatre directors: to remember Ibsen. It's not just young writers who write new plays. Older ones do too (Arnold Wesker, Peter Nichols, etc).

Screenwriters: to stop copying that scene off each other (eg: Forrest Gump, The Lion King) where the father tells the son how much he loves him. We just know then that something terrible is going to happen to one of them.

The Moral Maze Panellists: to listen to the sound of their own voices (and each other's).

Jack Nicholson: to play Alan Clark in a major motion-picture version of the Diaries.

National Lottery Live: to make it a condition that the winner has to come back the next week, a la Blind Date, and tell us how they've spent it.

West End theatres: to sell those cramped seats and buy new ones with leg room.

Paul Daniels: to try one of those disappearing acts. On himself.

Jeremy Paxman: to ask a tough question on University Challenge and a polite one on Newsnight.

And, of course, record companies, you've guessed it: listen to what we've been saying for three years, keep the price down and you'll sell more CDs. Happy New Year!

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