Thanks to a link in Facebook, yesterday I discovered the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts at the University of St Andrews. The title reminds me irresistibly of the academic syllabus - Reeling, Writhing and Fainting in Coils - in Alice Through the Looking Glass or is it Alice in Wonderland. Johnny Depp famously starred in a recent movie of Alice, and stars in a film just released, The Rum Diaries, written and directed by Bruce Robinson, the same man who wrote and directed Withnail and I one of my favourite movies (along with This is Spinal Tap). I watched Withnail last night in the new knowledge that the photograph of Uncle Monty, improbably in football strip, is a still taken from a movie in which my son in law Terry starred as a child actor. As the film progressed, I picked out some dialogue that for some reason I found particularly guffaw-inducing, as follows:
'This IS the morning. Stand back. Stand back' (as Richard E Grant/Withnail strides manic and wild-eyed towards the kitchen to do the washing up).
'We are drifting towards the arena of the unwell' (I think this is said by Paul McGann, the fellow actor and Withnail's hapless flat-sharer.
'We've gone on holiday by mistake' (Withnail, pleading with the farmer, whose left leg is mysteriously encased in polythene, for fuel and food).
'GET INTO THE VAN' (the policeman cutting across Richard E Grant/Withnail's increasingly implausible representations and arresting him for drunk driving).
I was also rendered helpless by the shot of Grant making his way unsteadily across a muddy forecourt with plastic bags tied round his feet (no wellies being available).
Then: the scene in the tea shop in Penrith where the far gone Grant orders: 'I want the finest wines available to humanity. And I want them NOW' My sentiments exactly.