Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Dream Dinner Party?

Mrs Nige is of the opinion that there is something deeply, seriously weird about Theresa May (leader of the personality cult formerly known as the Conservative Party). Having seen Mrs May's guest list for her dream dinner party, I'm beginning to think Mrs N might be right... Stanley Spencer, for heaven's sake!? At a dinner party?!
 My own dream dinner party would ideally have no guests. Failing that, Anton Chekhov might be fun - I like his conversational style, as recorded in V.S. Pritchett's Chekhov: A Spirit Set Free:
'He had become notoriously an apparent listener who... was given to uttering apparently irrelevant yet gnomic or fantastic comments that killed the subject. He had once interrupted a wrangling discussion on Marxism with the eccentric suggestion: "Everyone should visit a stud farm. It is very interesting."'
 And Samuel Beckett could be counted on for plenty of silence too, and would be unlikely to want to talk about anything but cricket. To make up the numbers, perhaps I'd extend an invitation to Fernando Pessoa, knowing he would be unlikely to turn up...
 I know, I know - I should have Dr Johnson and John Keats and Oscar Wilde and... But a dinner party! Round one table? Really, it would be insufferable. 


  1. Get Van Morrison round as well and that could be the perfect evening.
    Apparently Jeremy Paxman described Mrs May as "The kind of woman you have lunch with - once."

  2. Mike Rowe, Nigel Mansell, Heather MacDonald, Sam Harris, Gary Sinise.

    And lots of booze.

  3. Louis Simpson's poem "Chocolates" is about Chekhov's conversational style. Here are the opening and closing lines:

    Once some people were visiting Chekhov.
    While they made remarks about his genius
    the Master fidgeted. Finally
    he said, "Do you like chocolates?"

    They were astonished, and silent.
    He repeated the question,
    whereupon one lady plucked up her courage
    and murmured shyly, "Yes."

    "Tell me," he said, leaning forward,
    light glinting from his spectacles,
    "what kind? The light, sweet chocolate
    or the dark, bitter kind?"
    * * * * *
    As they were leaving he stood by the door
    and took their hands.
    In the coach returning to Petersburg
    they agreed that it had been a most
    unusual conversation.

    Thank you for sharing the excerpt from Pritchett.

  4. Myles na gCopaleen, Baroness Trumpington, Brian Blessed, Roger Scruton...and even more booze.

  5. Thanks all - and to Stephen for the Louis Simpson poem, which I didn't know of...