Wed­nes­day, 12th July 1967

The Oldie - - LETTER FROM AMERICA -

‘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.’

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