Text from

Romancing The Apocalypse

PINK NARCISSUS

(Barbara Cartland 1901-2000)

“I'll keep going till my face falls off”

Stubborn vision in pink and writer of 723 romantic novels, Barbara charms us with her wholesome views.

In the psychiatrist's chair; Dame Barbara Cartland talks to Dr Anthony Clare

 

Anthony Clare:

Barbara Cartland, do you like being interviewed?

 

Barbara Cartland:

Well everybody likes talking about themselves, I never met anybody who didn't.

 

AC:

And you do?

 

BC:

And I was born dead, and they said “that's dead” and threw it on the bed, and then I was determined to live, so I lived.

And I always believed there were fairies in the garden, we had a very big garden, and I was frightfully romantic then and used to go and listen to the trees to hear the goblins, and um, it was all, to me, er very very very beautiful.

We were very poor, we had two servants, we had a nanny and a daily maid.

It's awfully difficult now to explain to people the difference of those days, just like with morality, you know people don't understand you see that everybody was very moral, and everybody was a virgin, and everybody took it as a matter of course and nobody talked about sex, they don't understand today. I had six proposals of marriage before I knew how babies came.

(Belch)

I mean I had my first proposal of marriage nine days after I left school, I was horrified and I ran away and Mummy said now you have to get used to coping with things yourself; so I did.

 

(Dog panting and growling)

 

Girls were not very well educated, when I look back I was very badly educated in lots of ways though I'd been to lots of schools, simply because you were brought up to get married. I think it was very very very much more romantic, very much happier for women, and women were women in those days, you see, and the great excitement was to get to know a man.

 

AC:

But at the time, your first child was a daughter

 

BC:

Yes

 

AC:

Were you disappointed?

 

BC:

Yes. Of course I wanted a son, I'd like to have had a dozen sons, the real ambition of my life was to have a dozen boys.

I so much prefer men to women, always have. I don't like women very much, because all the unhappiness that one has had in one's life has come through women and therefore I so much prefer, I like working with men, I like being with men, I admire men, and I think, I think men are marvellous. I mean it's no use saying I don't, they're just like the heroes in my books, I adore the heroes in my books they're all wonderful wonderful people.

They're demasculising the men, they have done, and they've one this terrific harm. Along come's women's lib, breaks all this down, all due to women's lib messing everything up! If you think that's clever, I think it's appalling and I, we've got to get back and that's why every country now and every Prime Minister and every Statesman is saying we've got to get back to morality, which is why they want me, because we've simply got to get away from this appalling behaviour of the women – it's the women who are behaving badly, not the men!

You see I despise men who don't who cant' run their own houses, who aren't the head of their own houses, the head of their own businesses. A man must be a man and must have his own way, of course he's right.

What is fatal, for a girl to just think 'oh well I can give in' and what I say to the girls, I say to them “look, you'll be pressed by men today, in my day they asked you to marry them and now they ask you to go to bed with them, don't do it, and I'll tell you why, 'cause in his heart of hearts he despises you, in his heart of hearts he knows that you oughtn't to do it, and if he's got a mother, a mother said 'a nice girl doesn't', and therefore he'll always despise you even though he says it's wonderful, so just remember that when he asks you.”

And of course I've had a lot of people wanting to sort of stamp me down, you know, they thought I was uppish, which I am.

 

AC:

What is it that you don't much care about, in relation to women, because you've identified a lot of very impressive things about women, er, but what is it you don't much like?

 

BC:

cutting across AC

Well I've I've had, well I've had great women friends, I've got a lot of women, lot of women friends, I've got a lot of women friends I always have had, and er they've been, they've been very sweet to me, but on the whole, I find women rather tiresome. I find they're not very intelligent, first of all, they they they, they're they're very spiteful, they're very spiteful, if a things go wrong a woman always be spiteful, now a man won't, he has certain ideas that he will do and won't do, you know what I mean? And therefore, I find women just be a little pricky behind your back, just little bit inclined, and of course if they get the chance they'll take your husband, your lover and your anybody else from you if they possibly can, that's a woman's job, alright, well then you've got to fight them, to prevent it happening.

 

AC:

When you look at the miseries and the disease and the sins of the world, so to speak, are you saying that if blame is to be apportioned, women deserve more of it than men?

 

BC:

No if blame is to be apportioned it's to women's lib. It's women's lib who's broken up the guidelines and I say, what I say is that if you marry somebody you love, it's your fault if he goes of the rails. It's your fault. You're the one who guards your husband. You've got to keep him away from temptation, you've got to make him so happy, so thrilled with you that he doesn't want another woman. You see the women are awfully hard now, they don't sort of play up to him as a man.

I said, “and drop her, drop her! She's bad news, don't have anything to do with her” and he said, “do you mean that?”, I said, “go straight back and drop her, fin another girl who loves you, who wants to have your children, who wants to have a home, for God's sake don't marry a girl who wants a career, what's she marrying you for?”

 

Slow church bells continuing under text

 

God first of all made one man, you see, and he was lonely, so he cut him in half, and then one half was the woman and the other half's the man and you go through life looking for the other half of yourself.

 

I don't believe in death you see.

 

AC:

Tell me about that.

 

BC:

Hmm?

 

AC:

How do you mean, you don't believe in death?

 

BC:

Well there isn't such a thing.

 

AC:

What sort of format, have you any idea?

 

BC:

Hmm?

 

AC:

Does your premonition tell you what sort of Barbara Cartland it will be the next time around?

 

BC:

Hmm?

 

Hmm?

 

Don't you see, and (mumbling) if you, if you've had as many men, people in love with you as I have, I had so many men in love with me, there's always been people in love with me, there are people in love with me now at 90, if you're going to have people in love with you at 90 I think it's very clever of myself. I know exactly, I'm very, very, very feminine when I'm with a man, I may be aggressive when I'm talking to you, I'm not aggressive when I'm talking to a man who I, who I want to keep in love with me. I tell him he's wonderful

 

 

SONG (Barbara Cartland singing)

 

I think all men are wonderful, and the man we love is the most wonderful of all, and we must never forget to tell him so.

 

Why this feeling?

Why this glow?

Why the thrill,

When you say, “hello”?

It's a strange and tender magic you do,

Mr Wonderful, that's you.

 

CHORUS

And why this longing to know your charms,

To spend forever, here in your arms?

 

Men are wonderful, but so many women are afraid to admit it, in case it detracts something from them. But a man one loves is part of oneself, and to make him wonderful, we too must be wonderful, in thought, word, deed and, of course, heart.

 

One more thing,

Then I'm through,

Mr Wonderful,

Mr Wonderful,

Mr Wonderful,

I love you.

 

AC:

Barbara Cartland, thank you very much indeed.

 

BC:

Thank you. I've enjoyed it a lot. I thought I would.

 

EMPIRE

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

“Are we to saddle ourselves with colour problems in the UK?”

Icon of wartime Britain, Churchill led campaigns in the British Empire which caused immense suffering in India, Wales, Ireland and beyond. We consider how past and present immigration and foreign policies continue to affect those home and abroad in devastating ways.

 

Winston Churchill:

British Empire (edited into Kathak rhythms)

 

Silence

 

Winston Churchill:

Ladies and Gentlemen, are you following the Indian situation with the attention it demands? Things are going from bad to worse. Great mismanagement and weakness are causing unrest and disturbance to three hundred million primitive people.

 

Enoch Powell:

We must be mad (mad), literally mad (mad) as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some fifty thousand dependents who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.

 

Margaret Thatcher:

People are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture. And you know, the British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world. But if there’s any fear that it might be swamped, people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in.

 

Theresa May:

There are millions of people in poorer countries who would love to live in Britain. And there is a limit to the amount of immigration any country can and should take.

 

Boris Johnson:

The point I would just make to, er, people thinking of making this journey. One, it is very hazardous and the second thing is we will send you back.

 

Music

 

Winston Churchill:

We shall go on to the end. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall go on to the end. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall go on to the end…

 

SOUP

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

“I am a deeply superficial person”

As Warhol grows from a sickly child into a Pop Art superstar, Studio 54 regular and celebrity phenomenon, his mother continues to serve him soup.

 

Song

Have you (have you) had your soup today?

Campbell’s of course, Campbell’s of course

Have you (have you) had your soup today?

Campbell’s tastes good, mm-mm good

Have Campbell’s every day

You get vitamins that way

 

Proteins and minerals too

For breakfast or for lunch

For dinner or for brunch

Once a day, every day have soup – Campbell’s!

 

Have you (have you) had your soup today?

Campbell’s of course, Campbell’s of course

Once a day, every day you should have

a bowl of Campbell’s soup

Have some Campbell’s right now!

Hey! Have you had your soup today?

 

Andy Warhol:

Well I just like to have the same breakfast, have the same lunch, walk to work, answer the same phone calls, and do the same paintings

 

Advert:

Pop art, Op art, underground movies x10.

It’s 10pm. Do you know where your children are?

 

Song - 'Andy' by Les Rita Mitsouko

 

Andy Warhol:

Ah, yes. Um, oh yeah and it really, really. Well it… Uh, just well, actually. Uh, I try to make people look good, But not, not really. I, uh. I…turn it into…and then…Sometimes it’s hard but… sometimes it’s easy. Well I… Uh gee I don’t know how. Oh yeah. I always want somebody to… Oh yes, I’ve, oh yeah. Well yes I/They call me granny, they call me granny/It’s really great / They do, so. Cause I was able to, sort of. Uh yes they do. Uh, I wish I didn’t.Well just a feeling of…the same shoes actually. I don’t know. No, no I had some, yeah. Yeah. I think Liza Minnelli…Liza Minne-Minnelli…Liza...

 

Song - I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango) by Grace Jones

Strange, I've seen that face before,

Seen him hanging 'round my door

Like a hawk stealing for the prey
Like the night waiting for the day

Strange

 

[A hubbub of voices and street sounds]

You get that? You get that?

Got it! Got it!

Open up the door now!

I love Studio 54 and I think everyone looks just beautiful

…and Andy’s very cool…

Look at all my friends…

Studio 54 is open to everyone…

…limo please…

 

Song – Take A Walk On The Wild Side by Lou Reed

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.

Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.

Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her legs and then he was a she

She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.

 

Studio 54 conversation:

“Oh my God she looks gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous…”

“She looks all right”

“Uh. She looks much lovelier than she looked last week.”

“Was she here last week?”

“Yes, she was here.”

“Oh I don’t remember that.”

“She was here every night.”

“Really, were you here every night?”

“Don’t expect you are, working overtime”

“Who’s that?”

 

Candy came from out on the island,

In the backroom she was everybody's darling,

But she never lost her head

Even when she was giving head

She says, hey baby, take a walk on…

Doo-doo-doo-doo…

 

ENGEL

Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992)

“I'm worth more dead than alive. Don't cry for me after I'm gone; cry for me now”

Weimar cabaret and Hollywood film star; icon of sexual liberation; boxer; mother; angel; monster. Marlene Dietrich preserves her legend in troubled seclusion.

No text

 

 

ADIEU

Derek Jarman (1942-1994)

Celebrating the life and work of filmmaker, director, painter, gardener, activist and writer Derek Jarman. During his last years, while losing his eyesight, health and loved ones to AIDS, he created some of his most important and insightful works and brought a garden of colour and life to the stony landscape of Dungeness.

Stockhausen composed Adieu after the death of a friend’s young child. It is inspired by the strict composition of paintings by Piet Mondrian and is based on the Fibonacci sequence.

Adieu is a reflection on the transience of experience, the order of nature and the beauty of innocence. Thick & Tight and Corali Dance Company will transport you to a place that exists between a flowering sea, a nuclear garden and a primary coloured dream.

No text

 

GAY GARDENS

Derek Jarman (1942-1994) & Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

British film maverick Derek Jarman meets French literary icon Marcel Proust, author of the 7 volume novel In Search of Lost Time. Through the mass of writings, films, journals, paintings and gardens they left us with, we seek to reveal the enigmatic genius of these two artists and their queer lives, unveiled within the scene of our modern nature, a nature now filled with loss, longing and extinction.

In the pandemonium of image, I present you with the universal blue. Blue; an open door to soul, and infinite possibility becoming tangible.

 

Reading from 'Monsieur Proust' by Celeste Albaret, with interruptions from 'Chroma' by Derek Jarman:

(“Blue, the fathomless blue of bliss”)

The room was very big and lofty, with a ceiling 12 feet high, and two large double windows always sealed while he was there, as were the shutters and the blue… (“Blue protects white from innocence”) satin curtains lined with felt. The soundproofing was completed by big sheets of cork over the walls and ceiling. The most striking thing about the room, apart from the cork, was the colour blue… (“Blue drags black with it”) - the blue… (“Blue is darkness made visible”) of the curtains, to be precise

 

Distant woman singing

 

Reading from 'Monsieur Proust' by Celeste Albaret:

Perhaps, if he struggled so against time in order to finish as soon as possible, it was because he sensed the approaching end of many of the things he’d loved, which were already no more than shadowy memories. And because he himself was being pressed by death.

 

Reading from 'Modern Nature' by Derek Jarman:

The illness snatched me into its demon Disney world, where chairs and tables dance and fight and the room swirls about. Excruciating pain. Surely someone else is ill in bed with catheters and drips…

The nights dreams, aided and abetted by morphine derivatives, grew increasingly menacing. Demons lurked in the room.

The cold continues, the frozen larks creep about. I catch my breath. As the light fades, death comes - even for stones.

 

Music

 

Reading from 'Monsieur Proust' by Celeste Albaret:

When he woke up M Proust, who suffered terribly from asthma, burned fumigation powder. It was a very big room but the smoke absolutely filled it. The only light was from a bedside lamp, and that gave just a little glow, through a green shade. I saw a brass bedstead and a bit of white sheet with the green light falling on it. All I could see of M. Proust was a white shirt under a thick sweater, and the upper part of his body propped against two pillows. His face was completely hidden in the shadows and the smoke…, completely invisible except for the eyes looking at me - and I felt rather than saw them… I bowed towards the invisible face and put the saucer with the croissant down on the tray. He gave a wave of the hand, presumably to thank me, but didn’t say a word. Then I left.

 

Recording of Celeste Albaret, Proust's housekeeper:

Proust mangeait pas. Il prenait du lait et de l’essence de café. Mais il s’organisait pour que son valet de chambre le serve, mais entre temps on lui donnait souvent un croissant.

 

Music

 

Reading from 'Proust' by Edmund White, quoting Reynaldo Hahn:

I found him at the same place, staring at the roses. His head tilting forwards, his face very serious, he blinked, his eyebrows slightly furrowed as though from a passionate act of attention, and with his left hand he was obstinately pushing the end of his little black moustache between his lips and nibbling on it… How many times I’ve observed Marcel in these mysterious moments in which he was communicating totally with nature, with art, with life, in these “deep minutes” in which his entire being was concentrated.

 

 

Reading from 'Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time Volume I' by Marcel Proust:

That frail and precious kiss which Mamma used normally to bestow on me when I was in bed and just going to sleep had to be transported from the dining room to my bedroom

where I must keep it inviolate all the time that it took me to undress, without letting its sweet charm be broken, without letting its volatile essence diffuse itself and evaporate.

 

Song:

O my Luve is like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my Luve is like a melody

That’s sweetly played in tune.

 

So fair art thou, my bonnie luve,

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry.

 

Reading of text from 'Blue', the film by Derek Jarman (adapted from text in 'The Wisdom of Solomon'):

Our name will be forgotten in time

And no one will remember our works

Our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud

And be scattered like mist

That is chased by the rays of the sun

And overcome by its heat

For our alotted time is the passing of a shadow

And will run like sparks though the stubble

Recording of Derek Jarman speaking:

Oh helichrysum, lavender, santolina... A daffodil came out the day before yesterday, believe it or not, and that looks completely surreal in the shingles, erm, there are some snowdrops out at the moment, marigolds are out still. I, I grow quite a lot. It's actually quite a beautiful garden in its own way, and like no other.

Interviewer: “You're on the edge of the world down there, do you see the sun rise and the sun set?”

I do. The sun comes up at the front of the house and goes down at the back. And I see the sun all day if it's there. And I can just, I'm fairly far back from the sea, but I can see the sea, and the sea, the great thing about the sea is it changes every colour you could imagine, I see the sea pink and brown and aquamarine, black, I sit and watch this and I was very unaware of that, I mean I've been a London for, you know, 30 years, and somehow you have to sit there and watch this to really realise it's happening.

 

Reading from 'Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time Volume I' by Marcel Proust:

And their scent swept over me, as unctuous, as circumscribed in its range as though I had been standing before the lady altar…. but it was in vain that I lingered beside the hawthorns, breathing in their invisible and unchanging odour, trying to fix it in my mind, which didn’t know what to do with it, losing it, recapturing it, absorbing myself in the rhythm which disposed the flowers here and there with a youthful lightheartedness, and at intervals, as unexpected as intervals in music, they went on, offering me the same charm in inexhaustible profusion but without letting me delve any more deeply.

 

Reading from 'Modern Nature' by Derek Jarman:

Day after day I turned from the dull regimental existence of an English boarding school to my secret garden - the first of many that blossomed in my dreams. It was here that I brought him, sworn to secrecy, and then watched him slip out of his grey flannel suit and lie naked in the spring sunlight. Here our hands first touched; then I pulled down my trousers and lay beside him. Bliss that he turned and lay naked on his stomach, laughing as my hand ran down his back and disappeared into the warm darkness between his thighs. He called it ‘the lovely feeling’ and returned the next day, inviting me into his bed that night.

Obsessive violets drawing the evening shadows to themselves, our fingers touching in the purple.

 

Reading from 'The Captive: In Search of Lost Time Volume V' by Marcel Proust:

Stretched out at full length on my bed, in an attitude so natural that no art could have devised it, he* reminded me of a long blossoming stem that had been laid there… as though by falling asleep he had become a plant.

I listened to this murmuring, mysterious emanation, soft as a sea breeze, magical as a gleam of moonlight, that was his sleep. So long as it lasted I was free to dream about him and yet at the same time to look at him, and when that sleep grew deeper, to touch, to kiss him. What I felt then was a love as pure, as immaterial, as mysterious, as if I had been in the presence of those inanimate creatures which are the beauties of nature.

The sound of his breathing, which had grown louder, might have given the illusion of the panting of sexual pleasure, and when mine was at its climax, I could kiss him without having interrupted his sleep. I felt at such moments that I had possessed him more completely, like an unconscious and unresisting object of dumb nature.

*we've change 'she' to 'he' throughout this passage

 

Flower film

 

Song: Silent Command by Cabaret Voltaire

 

Recording of Derek Jarman interview:

“Sex first and chatting afterwards?”

“Well sometimes chatting first and sex afterwards, it depends on the circumstances, Jeremy, really! There turned out to be many more people who were gay than one had imagined, I man you know one doesn't have sex with someone and just say goodbye, it was a sort of extraordinary world of connections. So it was never anonymous in that sense. It was a sort of, if you like, a brotherhood, or sisterhood, this area you know. Well even on Hampstead Heath I'm known."

 

Recording of Margaret Thatcher Section 28 Speech:

Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay. All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life, yes cheated.

 

Recording of Derek Jarman speaking:

This is surely Margaret Thatcher and this is her cabinet, anyone you like, do you know what I mean, Mr Hurd, any of the other sort of meanies and beasties that rule us at the moment. Clause 28 is a direct attack on the family, any young heterosexual couple could end up with a gay daughter or son. It is of course completely indefensible, you know, and so one knew one was dealing with criminal elements finally. This government is criminal. And that was a terrible awakening for me to realise that,you know, this is a criminal government. What does one do?

 

Song: What A Day by Throbbing Gristle

 

Readings from 'Modern Nature' by Derek Jarman, interspersed with recordings of Celeste Albaret:

It’s six months since I became ill. I’ve lost a stone and a half. Demons lurk in the room. They play Mahler’s symphony from Death in Venice as I enter the brain scan.

 

J’ai accompagné le docteur Landowski à la porte et je lui dis, “vous allez bien le soigner, le sortir de là, Docteur.”

Il m’a prise par les deux mains…. Et il m’a dit, “ayez le courage… mais c’est fini.”

Je suis revenue près du professeur Proust car c’était devenu une seconde, et nous étions tous les deux près de lui; et il lui a dit, en le soulevant un peu, parce qu’il respirait mal, “je te fais souffrir mon petit cher Marcel,” et il lui a répondu, “oh! oh, oui mon petit Robert.”

My mind keeps floating back to Dungeness - how I would love to be putting the seed in the garden.

 

Tossed and turned on a wave of itching through the night. This drug exhausts me. Outside the sun shines.

 

Last night I slept in a bath of sweat - the sheets had to be changed 3 times. HB helped me through my sweat and then bathed me. All the touching brought strength so late at night. I felt total piece.

 

This morning I’m tottering, almost unable to walk, grasping at the furniture to get about the room.

 

Ed comes in, says he’s just received news he has the virus. This is exhausting.

 

So silly to lose your eyes. My face burns with inflammation, my eyes come slowly into focus.

 

Et puis il m’a dit, “ah, je ne peux pas; je n’en peux plus; je suis fatigué.”

 

Over the roof the sky is blue. A blizzard of pills, a rainbow-coloured confetti of serpent positions.

 

Next door a second death is expected. We sit like clay pigeons, shuttled nearer to death like bubbles travelling along a drop. I see blue sky veiled with shadows.

 

Song, “L'heure Exquise” by Reynaldo Hahn (words by Parul Verlaine):

La lune blanche
Luit dans les bois;
De chaque branche
Part une voix
Sous la ramée ...

Ô bien-aimée.

L'étang reflète,
Profond miroir,
La silhouette
Du saule noir
Où le vent pleure ...

Rêvons, c'est l'heure.

Un vaste et tendre
Apaisement
Semble descendre
Du firmament
Que l'astre irise ...

C'est l'heure exquise.

 

Recording of Derek Jarman speaking:

It's too easy to play this game of, sort of, leper, you know, and it's ridiculous. We actually had a wonderful time and we danced pretty well every night and I personally wouldn't go back or change anything that happened to me including that night, whichever night it was, that I actually got the virus, I wouldn't change it, I would leave that intact. I think it's, erm, part of a given. You could say I'm a fatalist, if you want to. I think it was actually a good thing to happen, to me. I mean there's nothing, I have, coming back to what you were saying, I must say that I managed to do everything I wanted to do with my life and more, and it's actually been completely blessed, and I can't think of anything nicer than, sort of, sitting down at this house at the moment. I mean to me this is perfectly, er, you know, this is heaven on earth, including the nuclear power station (laughing), just to remind us that all of that's going on.

 

Song: “Blue World” by The Four Freshmen:

It's a blue world without you,
It's a blue world alone;
My days and nights, that once were filled with heaven,
With you away, how empty they have grown!
It's a blue world from now on,
It's a through world for me;
The sea, the sky,
My heart and I,
We're all an indigo hue!
Without you it's a blue blue world.