Thursday, May 22, 2008

Alone again or

Yet more proof, if any were needed, that the Daily Telegraph does the most fabulous obituaries on the planet. This time it's the theatre director Frith Banbury, who went to Stowe School:

"He ploughs a lonely furrow," observed his headmaster, JF Roxburgh. "You know what this means?" thundered Rear-Admiral Banbury [Frith's father]. "It means the other boys don't like you."

"But father," replied the young Banbury, "I thought it meant that I didn't like the other boys."

7 comments:

pleite said...

"He never married."

Never heard of the man, but, yes, he made for a good obit.

Annie said...

'He ploughs a lonely furrow.' Hahaha! I'm in the middle of end of year reports and shall adopt this phrase forthwith. Any more good euphemisms you know?

dh said...

Sounds like Frith had all the right credentials. Strange that he wasn't better known. Too 'establishment' maybe?

Tim Footman said...

Pleite: The thing is, in the bad old days, "He never married" or "He was a confirmed bachelor" was usually a euphemistic code for homosexuality. Now, even the DT obituaries are quite happy to describe the late Marquess of Welywn Garden City as "an ostentatious woopsie with a passion for buff Filipino youths and the recorded works of Bette Midler" but they still feel obliged to note at the end that he wasn't the marrying kind. A point that we'd rather got, ta.

Annie: "He keeps himself to himself". Which either means he smells funny, or he's an obsessive masturbator.

DH: I vaguely remember his name from John Gielgud's memoirs. Of course, JG was very establishment, but was also prepared to do modern stuff as well (Brook's Oedipus, Beckett, Pinter, Bond, Storey, etc). Maybe directors don't have the same leeway.

Christopher Campbell-Howes said...

He never married and He was a confirmed bachelor probably appeared in J.F.Roxburgh's obituary too. Before becoming headmaster of Stowe he was a housemaster at Lancing, where Evelyn Waugh was a pupil. There's a detailed portrait of him of Waugh's part-autobiography A Little Learning, where he writes 'J.F.'s passions ran deep. I do not think he ever gave them physical release with any of his pupils, but...he certainly fell in love with individual boys.' Roxburgh once returned some work to Waugh with the comment 'A mere orgy of dittography'.

Another bullet for Annie's report armoury, maybe.

Billy said...

I'm a confirmed bachelor (I'm not married) and I quite like musical theatre. If I were to drop dead now would the Torygraph think I was a samesexer?

Tim Footman said...

I'd completely forgotten the Waugh link, Christopher, thanks for that. David Niven gave him a better write-up, as I recall.

This is the blogosphere, Billy. For all we know, you might be an asexual Venusian.