Wednesday, 12th July 1967
‘It’s difficult to judge the Desert Song on this production. It was clearly written for great stars of the old type. Very funny. We all laughed at the ridiculous lines – though v discreetly because most of the audience (of old ladies) were taking it seriously and enjoying it. Kenneth Halliwell said a lot of it reminded him of my writing. Not surprising really, since my writing is a deliberate satire on bad theatre. The plot gave me an idea for my next play… The Desert Song has wonderful numbers. High romance. Very moving, in spite of their silliness…
We went to Lyons for tea afterwards. Kenneth Halliwell had the photographs we’d taken in Morocco, including the naked ones of Hamid and me. We passed them across the table to Kenneth Cranham and Sheila as they ate their toasted tea cakes... [It was quite an achievement to get a photo of a naked Joe past the developers in the chemist’s – this was in the days before Polaroids.]
After tea, we sat by the fountain in Piccadilly Circus. There seemed to be a lot of beautiful, blonde, clean young men and women sitting around. I couldn’t understand what they were doing there.
“Being beautiful,” Sheila Ballantine said. “They’re the beautiful people.”
From what I could see, they also seemed to be lacking sexually. Kenneth Cranham spoke to one girl who was nice and smiled a lot. It didn’t look as though he was ever going to f*** her, though.’