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Friday, March 09, 2007

"Condemned by every syllable she utters"

Amazing how many secrets there still are in an area like Covent Garden. Killing time before a meeting this morning I stumbled upon the garden at the back of St Paul's, the Actors Church. Stood in front of the place hundreds of times but never been around the back where all the benches are named for famous theatre people: Beryl Reid, Lady Sinden and so on. Lovely little retreat. I read on their site that the opening scene of My Fair Lady (or at least Pygmalion) was supposed to be set under the portico at the front. So here's the setting for Shaw's great line about it being impossible for one Englishman to open his mouth without another Englishman despising him. After hearing the screeching of iPod deafened teenage girls in Chapel Market earlier this week, I felt the same pain that Professor Higgins complains of in the play when he hears Eliza Dolittle selling her wares. "Why Can't The English Learn How To Speak", the tune this triggers in My Fair Lady, was Neil Tennant's opening shot on "Desert Island Discs" the other week.