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grandfather
knew T.S. Eliot quite well.
Really?
I'm not claiming that he was
a close friend.
But he was a damn sight more
than a nodding acquaintance.
He knew them all, in fact, Ezra Pound,
W.H. Auden, C. Day-Lewis, Louis MacNiece,
Stephen Spender, George Barker, Dylan
Thomas, and if you go back a few years
he was a bit of a drinking companion of
D.H.Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Ford M.Ford,
W.B.Yeats, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf,
and Thomas Hardy in his dotage.
My grandfather was carving out a niche
for himself in politics at the time.
Some saw him as a future
Chancellor of the Exchequer
or at least First Lord of the Admiralty
but he decided instead
to command a battalion
in the Spanish Civil War
but as things turned out
he spent most of his spare time
in the United States where he was
a very close pal of Ernest Hemingway -
they used to play gin rummy together
until the cows came home.
But he was also boon compatriots with
William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald,
Upton Sinclair, John Dos Passos -
you know, that whole vivid Chicago gang
not to mention John Steinbeck,
Erskine Caldwell,
Carson McCullers, and other members
of the old Deep South conglomerate.
I mean - what I'm trying to say is
is that as a man my grandfather was
just about as all-round as you can get.
He was never without his pocket Bible
and he was a dab hand at pocket billiards.
He stood four-square in the center
of the intellectual and literary life
of the tens, twenties, and thirties.
He was James Joyce's godmother.
Have you been working here long?
Years.
You going to stay until it changes hands?
Are you suggesting
I'm about to get the boot?
They wouldn't do that
to a nice lad like you.
To be brutally honest, I don't think
I'd recover if they did a thing like that.
This place is like a womb to me.
I prefer to stay in my womb.
I strongly prefer that to being born.
I don't blame you.
Listen, next time we're talking
about T.S. Eliot I'll drop you a card.
You would make me a very happy man.
Thank you. Thank you.
You are incredibly gracious people.
How sweet of you.
Gracious and grateful.
What a nice young man.
You won't believe this.
You're not going to believe this -
and I'm only saying this
because I'm amongst friends -
and I know I'm well liked because
I trust my family and my friends -
because I know they like me
fundamentally -
you know, deep down they trust me,
deep down they respect me -
otherwise I wouldn't say this.
I wouldn't take you all into my confidence
if I thought you all hated my guts -
I couldn't be open and honest with you if
I thought you thought I was a pile of shit.
If I thought you'd like to see me hung,
drawn and fucking quartered -
I could never be frank and honest with you
if that was the truth - never...
But as I was about to say,
you won't believe this.
I fell in love once
and this girl I fell in love with
loved me back. I know she did.
Wasn't that me, darling?
Who?
Her.
Her? No, not her. A girl. I used
to take her for walks along the river.
Lambert fell in love with me on the top
of the bus. It was a short journey.
Fulham Broadway to Shepherd's Bush,
but it was enough.
He was trembling all over. I remember.
When I got home I came
and sat on your bed, didn't I?
I used to take this girl for walks
along the river.
I was young.
I wasn't much more than a nipper.
That's funny.
I never knew anything about that.
And I knew you quite well, didn't I?
What do you mean you knew me quite well?
You knew nothing about me.
You know nothing about me.
Who the fuck are you anyway?
I'm your big brother.
I'm talking about love, mate.
You know, real fucking love,
walking along the banks
of a river holding hands.
I saw him the day he was born.
You know what he looked like?
An alcoholic. Pissed as a newt.
He could hardly stand.
He was trembling like a leaf on top
of that bus. I'll never forget it.
I was there when you came home.
I remember what

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