This morning I woke up with “one of my heads” and not the nice one. Today, therefore, has been one less dynamic than the norm. After the pain subsided I sat and read, something I have done little of recently. Not enough anyway, especially as I have ample opportunity.
For Christmas I was given the script of Alan Bennett’s play Allelujah! Up until this afternoon I have only given it a cursory glance, I like to keep a book’s innards secret until I come to explore them. I am a massive Alan Bennett fan; his turn of phrase, his characters, his humour, his humanity. He didn’t let me down with this one.
Serendipity is a wonderful word. It transpires that this was the right time for me to read this play. First published in 2018, it is the story of a geriatric ward in a hospital threatened with closure. This book snuggled within the nether reaches of The Pile for four months until its time was right. Then it whispered “now, now, now”. Or maybe I imagined that, I have had a bad head. Whichever, I can highly recommend it and would love to see it one performed one day.
I was suppose to have a “computer off day” but as I finished it, I felt compelled to quote from this play. These words are part of a short monologue very close to the end of the book. It is spoken by a doctor who has failed his citizenship exam and is waiting to be deported.
“…. I must leave the burden of being English to others and become what I have always felt, a displaced person.
Why, I ask myself, should I still want to join? What is there for me here, where education is a privilege and nationality a boast? Starving the sick and neglecting the poor, what makes you special still? There is no one to touch you, but who wants to anymore? Open your arms before it’s too late. “
And I shouted, most probably internally, “don’t go we need you!” Serendipity.