Tom Stoppard signing an autograph.
This is only one column, cause I think I got fired from the Leader. They weren’t happy about a critical piece (critical of The Sunday Leader) I blogged a year ago. They also weren’t happy that I was also writing for The Nation, which I have been doing for months now. The latter I guess I understand, but I think I’d rather be free to write what and where I want.
Anyways, here’s one Sunday column. It’s about Tom Stoppard and the Galle Literary Festival. Rather bad sub-editing though.
The Galle Literary Festival is a blend of pretension and promise, brain farts and art. It’s a trip. Tom Stoppard was my favourite speaker. With a spray of gray hair, he’s got the moves like Mick Jagger. I saw his play (Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead) and found it particularly relevant to high school. It’s the story of bit characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet wondering what on earth the bigger drama is about. They die in the end.
Stoppard was my favourite for quotes like the above. He refused to take himself too seriously but still talked about serious issues with humour and aplomb. These quotes are my rough notes by the way.
“We happen to live in a time where artists are highly valued by society. As artists we shouldn’t draw attention to this extraordinary piece of luck. I’m embarrassed by the claims made about art.”
The danger of the GLF is that it can slip into self-indulgent pretension (like the session I’m writing this in now) but these are the hems and haws between time when someone actually says something. Like: “Every work of art is the breath of a universal idea, breathed by God into the artist,” (Stoppard reading from one of his plays, so not his personal voice).
The idea here is that art is something beautiful and almost natural, a truth that can be lost in the focus on authors – their flights and hotels, cars and meals. Yet, it is through these corporeal effects that the ineffable becomes real. So in that sense, it’s worth it. (Tom Stoppard And The GLF)