Alan recently blogged about a fantasy dinner party.
I've given this a lot of thought, and I think I'd like to have several fantasy dinner parties. The number of guests seems to be limited to six, but there doesn't seem to be a maximum number of dinner parties one could hold... Or am I cheating?
For my first dinner party, I'd invite authors.
Quentin Crisp would be a first class choice as a dinner guest. I could just listen to him for hours. And that would be good for both of us. I think, during his lifetime, he was better at talking than listening. But that's not a criticism. Why bother listening if no-one's got anything interesting to say? Do we really want conversations about the weather and the price of fish? You certainly wouldn't get that with Quentin.
Graeme Aitken would be a great dinner guest, too. I have two of his books, Fifty Ways Of Saying Fabulous and Vanity Fierce. I'm not sure if he's come up with any others. I don't think so. I'd ask him why not. We'd talk about what it's like to be gay in Australia and New Zealand. Quentin would show him a fifty first way of saying fabulous.
H V Morton blew my mind with his account of travelling through the holy land between the world wars, In The Steps Of The Master. I'd have so many questions for him, he'd be up all night, long after all the other guests had left. I went to Israel with my Mum in 1999 and much of what we saw was exactly as described in H V Morton's book. I'd like to know how deeply his experiences differered from mine and if his visit changed him as a person. I know it changed Mum and I.
I've always adored Spike Milligan. He'd certainly have all the other guests in hysterics. I'd like to chat to him about his mental illness.
I'd like to know more about his relationship with his daughter, Jane, for whom he wrote:
I cannot tell you in words,
I cannot tell you in sounds,
I cannot tell you in music
How much I love you.
I can only tell you in trees,
I might be heard to say it
In the bark of a seal on moon misty nights.
It can be heard on the hinges of dawn.
Tho' my muse is slain,
All else says I love you, Jane.
Michael Carson is the author of the first gay book I ever really enjoyed. I think I loved Sucking Sherbet Lemons so much because I could relate to it. Ok, so my Mum was alive and well and I'm not a Catholic, but I was a weird homo. It was good to know I wasn't alone.
Parts two and three of the Benson trilogy deal with the lead character going to University and then out into the big, wide world. Michael tells the story with such gentle realism, yet with such grit. It's an amazing work.
I'd like to chat to him, at length, and hear questions from the other dinner guests, about these books and how much of himself is hidden there (or jumping out) in between the lines.
My sixth dinner party guest would be God/Jesus/The Holy Ghost. We'd talk about plagiarism and I'd cook a dinner of pork, shellfish and blancmange. We'd soon find out if Jesus is Jewish or Christian! He might even be Hindu!
Other dinner parties would consist, in multiples of six, or the authors of the blogs I read on a daily basis. I'm sick of order and alphabetical lists, so would put all names into a hat and draw out six at a time.
For another dinner party, I'd invite Judy Garland, Lorna Luft, Liza Minnelli, Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe and Madonna. We'd have a fabulous time and Chris Lowe would flash his meat and two veg.