Cultural Life: David Haig, actor

 

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The Independent Culture

Theatre: I recently went to see a reading of a new play called 'Coalition'. It was a political satire about the present coalition government. Written by Tom Salinsky and Robert Khan, it was witty, fast moving and hugely enjoyable. It started me wondering about the nature of great satirical comedy. I immediately thought of 'The Thick of It' and 'Yes Minister' and realised that one of the features of both is the paradoxical ability to be specific and non-specific at the same time. Subliminally one is constantly aware of contemporary resonances, but the resonances are never specific enough to give history the chance to overtake the comedy and render it redundant. That was my one reservation about 'Coalition'. It was so particularly about Clegg's Lib Dems that there is a danger that history will creep up and date it overnight. I hope not, because it was a terrific script.

Music: I'm listening to a lot of Nick Drake at the moment. His voice and phrasing sound to me like a saxaphone – breathy and melancholy. I love his songs. I never hear them without considering how sad it is that he never experienced much commercial success in his lifetime.

Books: I just read 'One Day' by David Nicholls, ready to be disappointed, ready to criticise the hype. But, no, I loved it. The two central characters were so beautifully realised – recognisable, universal and, crucially, funny.

Television: I've been watching 'Borgen', a beautifully written and acted series about the Danish government . I speak reasonably fluent Danish. Imagine the kick I get from watching it without needing to refer to the subtitles!

David Haig stars in 'The Madness of George III' at the Apollo Theatre, London W1 (nimaxtheatres.com) to 31 March

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