Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell

Once in a pub, with a friend, I met a hulking fellow with hands as big as standing rib roasts and a face quite red.

He smoked and drank vodka on the rocks. I was having a gin and tonic and smoking at the time as well as it seemed everyone was doing. My friend introduced me to the tall chap and after a chat he told me he was in publishing in London. We talked about writing and the business as he knew it. I had recently watched a play on the television called “Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell” starring Peter O’Toole and asked if he had known Bernard. Did he ever! After a few hours it seemed as if I had seen the play again from a very close and real angle, for here we were, near closing time on the verge of being “locked-in” like Jeffrey. We departed. Jeffrey didn’t in the play. In the play while “locked-in” overnight in a pub in Soho, he recounts stories from his life…the title of the play comes from the Spectator's editor’s note which frequently explained Jeffrey’s absent column when he was “otherwise indisposed”.

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