Tuesday, 17 February 2004

I was so young, and so terribly, terribly talented

Noel Coward’s memoirs don’t quote some of his best lines, perhaps because they are apocryphal:

Now tell me, Mr Coward, is it true that you actually have champagne for breakfast?
Doesn’t everyone?

Mr Coward, I’ve written a five-act play in blank verse. Would you care to read it?
Madam, I would rather be thrown, naked, into a vat of boiling pitch.

Uncle Noel, what are those doggies doing?
Well, you see, darling, the doggie in front has been suddenly struck blind and the doggie behind has very kindly offered to push her all the way to St Dunstan’s.

His better-known bits of repartee, about gherkins, and where to stick Bonnie Langford’s head, don’t come over well in print. I mean, it’s the way he told ‘em. The same goes for the version of Let's Do It which he sang in Las Vegas. I can only remember:
     Martians, I trust, do it,
     Ernest Hemingway can...just...do it....

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