“What did you think of Wolf Hall?” Seb’s text message says.
“Haven’t seen yet,” I reply. He means the final episode which aired on Wednesday. Was with MediaChap watching ‘Hitler’s Bodyguard’ and ‘The World of War,’ but can’t tell Seb this. Have been unfaithful to my darling: watching war programmes with another. “Was at David Starkey talk about Tudor royal deathbeds,” is what I say instead. In fact that was last night. “Fluffy monster sends cuddles. How is college?”
“OK so far. Still getting good grades back. I watched long Starkey documentary on Henry VIII. Very interesting I must say,” Seb replies. Resist the temptation to fire back: was this before or after you didn’t realise that he was Elizabeth’s father. Am nice person. Is not Seb’s fault that he didn’t learn anything at boarding school besides rugby, drinking and fighting. “I was too wrapped up in dealing with my mental state,” he says about his time at school. He is learning things NOW.
“Starkey is even better in the flesh. Spoke for exactly an hour with no notes. Love him! Also went to the Zoo and met Professor Wu, the new Chinese Giant Salamander,” I say.
On the subject of Seb’s education: last night started watching ‘War of Words: Soldier-Poets of the Somme,’ after the talk. Siegfried Sassoon went to Seb’s school and managed to get an education, as well as exhibiting superhuman bravery. Come to think of it, a soldier-poet is probably my ideal chap. Preferably one without shell-shock. And maybe even one who fancies ladies, or as John Lahr describes Kazan “he was a fan of the uterus.” Rupert Brooke was definitely a fan of the uterus. Although of course their intense love for other young soldiers is part of their appeal. Maybe will watch ‘Regeneration’ again when have a minute.
Argh it’s not a good use of my rather limited time and energy, putting dead soldier-poets in order of hotness. But have started so I’ll finish:
1. Siegfried Sassoon – think he has to top the list due to his excessive bravery and courage both on and off the battlefield. Also imagine him as quite good fun. And at least a bit Jewish (on his father’s side). And he got married and had a son, read an interview with the son at some point. Have just seen that there is a Tumblr thing called fuckyeahsassoon so am not the only one it seems…
2. Rupert Brooke – yum. He was in the Gallipoli episode of ‘The Great War’ that was watching at breakfast time on Wednesday. Think he was quite…um….promiscuous with the ladies. Think that read that in Hermione Lee’s Virginia Woolf biography. Just looking on the internet and it seems that he liked men too. Will read properly later.
3. Robert Graves – lovely dark intensity. Two wives – one after the other that is, so I would have been in with a chance. Maybe will watch ‘I, Claudius’ again.
4. Lord Byron – did he do fighting? Have just checked and he was just about to when he died of septicaemia. Pet owner extraordinaire: wombat and bear among others. Also, suspect, good fun at parties.
5. David Jones: hadn’t even heard of him till the programme. Amazing poem about the battle for a wood.
Anyway: had better get going. Happy Friday everyone…
*a book that they kept referring to in the programme. ‘A record of eight months at the front with a Welsh battalion’. By Bernard Adams. Sassoon gave a copy of it to Wilfred Owen.