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Monday, October 02, 2006

Quotes from Dennis Potter 1935-1994 and his classic work, The Singing Detective.









When Dennis Potter was dying from cancer, he named his tumor Rupert Murdoch.
John/Togs Tognolini


The trouble with words is that you never know whose mouths they've been in

'83 through to the Spring of '84 when I went onto this other drug - combination of drugs, the basic one of which was etrethinate, which was another new drug.


And that would hold it for six months and then I would have these three month attacks in which literally I would look like a monster when it happened - 100% psoriasis and you also lose control obviously of your temperature, halfway between hallucination and, and whatever.


But also because ambiguity haunts one's mind and ambiguity... it's out of ambiguities that we make choices.

I think childhood is to everyone a lost land.

I'm also working on stuff for America at the moment through my draft of The White Hotel and it maybe that Singing Detective will be transformed that way as well so I may not be able to do it in October.

It's easier to show political drama if you're naturalistic or if you're an issue writer - you know, and you say this is a scandal and so on.

Material when it is thing and brute when it is life is what it basically is.

There is something very cruel about choices, a choice that is made without doubt and that explains so much the pain in the world.


From "The Singing Detective"

Philip E. Marlow: You just don't know writers. They'll use anything, anybody. They'll eat their own young.


Philip E. Marlow: What's the loveliest word in the English language, officer? In the sound it makes in the mouth? In the shape it makes in the page? "E-L-B-O-W"


Mysterious Man1: We're padding! Like a couple of bleeding sofas!


Philip E. Marlow: I've not seriously doubted since that afternoon that any lie will receive almost instant corroboration, if the maintenance of it results in the public enjoyment of someone else's pain, someone else's humiliation.


Reginald Dimps: You must lie there all day, thinking of murdering people.
Philip E. Marlow: Yes. Yes, I do.


Philip E. Marlow: Into each life some rain must fall.
Dr. Gibbon: Metaphysics?
Philip E. Marlow: Music.


Philip E. Marlow: Why is it when you lose your health the entire medical profession takes it as axiomatic you've also lost your mind?


Dr. Gibbon: Now listen to this. A purple passage.
Philip E. Marlow: No, a blue one, I hope.


Philip E. Marlow: There are songs to sing, there are feelings to feel, there are thoughts to think. That makes three things, and you can't do three things at the same time. The singing is easy, syrup in my mouth, and the thinking comes with the tune, so that leaves only the feelings. Am I right, or am I right? I can sing the singing. I can think the thinking. But you're not going to catch me feeling the feeling. No, sir.


Philip E. Marlow: Bastards. I'll wipe you out. Don't you know who I am? I'm the... I'm the Singing Detective!


Doctor: I know it's an embarrassing question, even between husbands and wives, but what do you believe in?
Philip E. Marlow: Malthusianism.
Doctor: Come again?
Philip E. Marlow: Malthus, but mandatory. Compulsory depopulation by infanticide, suicide, genocide or whatever other means suggest themselves. AIDS, for example, that'll do. Why should queers be so special?
Doctor: I see.
Philip E. Marlow: I also believe in cigarettes, cholesterol, alcohol, carbon monoxide, masturbation, the Arts Council, nuclear weapons, the Daily Telegraph, and not properly labeling fatal poisons, but above all else, most of all, I believe in the one thing that can come out of people's mouths: vomit.


Philip E. Marlow: Short people shouldn't sit places where their feet don't touch the ground.


Philip E. Marlow: Can I go back to the ward now? I lead an exciting and vibrant life there.


Philip Marlow: I had on my best pajamas, the ones with red stripes and blue forget-me-nots. I was all dressed up and talcumed under the armpits; a million dollars was about to call. I was ready for it.


1st Mysterious Man: His throat's been cut!
2nd Mysterious Man: I thought his voice sounded funny on the phone... Was that why his voice sounded strange on the phone?


Philip Marlow: I used to think that all I wanted was the good opinion of honorable men and the ungrudging love of beautiful women. Now I know for sure that all I really want is a cigarette.


Philip Marlow: So, psychiatry's not nasty enough for you? You still want to get into literary criticism?


Mark Binney: Money's not particularly one of my problems and I'll pay you well.
Philip Marlow: Oh, you don't know how much I want yet. And I'm not as cheap as I look.


Mark Binney: I'm not paying you to make me feel small, am I?
Philip Marlow: Oh, you don't have to do that. That's thrown in without charge.


Soldier: It's doing what we're told that makes us free.


Philip E. Marlow: [of nurses] Like all morons with a mania for order, they put everything you really want exactly where you can't get at it.


Mark Binney: You're cheap, Marlow.
Philip Marlow: Ten cents a dance, fella.


Mark Binney: Mr Marlow, you can't deny I'm paying you good money
Philip Marlow: Money, you're paying me money. Why put "good" in front of it? Who knows its virtue? I don't know where it's been. Do you?


Philip Marlow: Forget the cops. If they'd got enough they'd've nabbed you already: they're not broody hens, they don't sit on their eggs. You know what they do?
Mark Binney: What?
Philip Marlow: They break the shells straightaway and *fry* what's inside.


Doctor: [Doctors and nurses have been clustered round, discussing Marlow's condition while ignoring him] How do you feel about trying one of the new retinoids? Hmm?
[pauses]
Doctor: Do you understand the question?
Philip E. Marlow: Uh - no, I don't think so.
Doctor: [slowly] I'm asking you if you'd like to try one of the new -
Philip E. Marlow: I don't understand the question because I seem to have regressed into a helpless, pathetic condition of total dependency, of a kind normally associated with infancy. The last time I experienced anything remotely like this was in my bloody pram, being poked and drooled over by slobbering cretins, who turned out to be escapees from the local loony bin. They thought they were doctors and nurses!

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