The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
ENO's production of La Boheme is a triumph,
PATRICK Marber's play, lauded in London and on Broadway, was full of pretentious dialogue and unattractive characters.
Now, Marber has adapted it for the screen, Mike Nichols has directed it and it is just as tedious and seemingly endless.
But, naturally, posturing pretentiousness pays in the cinema - it's known as "art" if its trendy credentials seem respectable - and so the film has been garlanded with award nominations.
Personally, the only award I'd give it is Best Anaesthetic - I fought sleep and sadly won, watching Marber's deeply repellent quartet couple and uncouple, bicker and bitch.
Marber's terminally tiresome screenplay rewrites two of the characters as US citizens - photographer Julia Roberts and stripper Nathalie Portman - without making them even slightly interesting, while Jude Law as an aspiring writer and Clive Owen's uncharismatic dermatologist are even less appealing.
Roberts's trademark smile, Law's supreme self-adoration and Owen's amazingly white teeth are the sum of their dreadful performances and, while Portman is excellent in the face of dire dialogue and sleazy situations, it's hard to see why she or director Nichols, who made such classics as The Graduate and Carnal Knowledge, bothered with the film.