A PINT For Pinter is a wonderful proposal that emerged at a literary gathering in Hackney last weekend. (My corny alliteration is one clue why some people are litterateurs and some people are reporters.)
To the 50 people assembled to gaze into a hole in a private garden watching recitals by writers and musicians, Gareth Evans, the event’s curator, announced that he had just decided to commemorate the 10 October birthday of Clapton-born Harold Pinter.
Evans, the Whitechapel Gallery’s film authority, invited the public to join him at the Clapton Hart on the tenth, a Friday, at 6.30pm to talk about the life of the playwright, screenplay writer and political agitator, which started at 19 Thistlethwaite Road in 1930.
He admitted he had not put the idea to the Hart. It’s unlikely to be a problem, although one hopes the pub staff don’t go all Pinteresque, trying to load significance to long pauses when all you want is a beer.
Not only was Pinter born in the borough, he went to the Victorian edifice that was Hackney Downs Grammar School where, he once said, he got his lifelong love of literature from a master who used to take him for long walks while they discussed Shakespeare and other great writers. Nowadays that might get the master a few months’ jail.
The Victorian edifice that housed the grammar school was replaced with a short-lived collection of buildings that were themselves replaced by the striking Mossbourne Community Academy.
Pinter is widely recognised as one of the great writers of the 20th century. In 2005 he won a Nobel prize, despite the oft-demonstrated preference of prize judges for literary figures few people have heard of.
David Altheer 230914
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