Don’t put your daughter on the Facebook, Mrs Worthington

Noël Coward is one of those people I’ve picked up a few facts about through osmosis, such as the song ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ (which is totally a rap), and a vague idea he probably invented Pimms and cigarette holders. The only other things I knew were that he was friends with David Niven (something I’d have loved to have been) and did lots of troop entertaining during the war.

With regards to the title of this post, someone needs to re-write ‘Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs Worthington’ for all the parents out there filling up our newsfeeds with Nutella-smeared toddlers and eight year olds with swimming certificates. I got my 25 and 50 meters badges, where’s my parade?!

I digress…so, yesterday morning, I watched one of his plays on Digital Theatre. I often work weekends, and when I’m not, I’m catching up on household rubbish and trying to teach a teenager to iron, as I’m sick of doing it for her, but decided that this particular Sunday was not going to be spent watching her melt her clothes, screeching up the stairs about how there is not a single mug or glass left in the kitchen, why on earth can’t you take the same one back up and down rather than accumulating them up there!

I had a very civilised, non-shouty morning watching ‘Private Lives’ with Toby Stephens (Maggie Smith’s son) and Anna Chancellor. It was very funny in a one liners and humorous rowing couples kind of way, with slightly alarming cartoon domestic violence that really showed how it was of its time (1930), but then exchanges such as this are more forward thinking-

Elyot : It doesn’t suit women to be promiscuous

Amanda : It doesn’t suit men for women to be promiscuous.

All the yelling back and forth and throwing things at each other seemed to stem from not just a fiery relationship, but because they were rich so neither had a job, and they spent all day talking to each other. Clearly this, especially in the days before television, was terrible idea.

Along with song and plays, Coward wrote short stories and one novel, ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ which I have ordered a cheap second hand copy of. It received wide critical acclaim when published, although now people say it is rather like a play in novel form, lots of scenes and conversations ticking along in a very stage-like fashion. And, if Noël Coward comes up in a pub quiz, I’m going to be ready.

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