I watched David Hare’s TV adaptation of My Zinc Bed, his play about three drunks, gripped by its weird tensions & astonished by the oblique intensity of the interactions between Paddy Considine & Uma Thurman as they hoovered one another up. I say “oblique” because I was never entirely sure what I was being shown. Was this just kissing ? Or was it something else ? Why was it so sudden, what was I to understand by that ? I couldn’t get my eyes off it, or off the millionaire house in Regents Park, or Jonathan Pryce’s ego (was it just his ego or was it something else ? What was I to understand by it ?), the way I sometimes can’t get my eyes off a Poliakoff. There was a frying intensity of focus on objects & exchanges that could barely handle it. There was a discontinuity between the content & the delivery so massive that you could only ever call the content “apparent”. You expected the narrative to skid off suddenly into completely unexpected territory–when it didn’t your expectations were only ramped up another notch. “Charged” was a word you might use. Everything–a scene, a gesture, two lines of dialogue–called itself into question. Well, of course, I was very excited by that. I felt drunk on it. Then when I woke up this morning, I realised that was exactly what I had been–drunk on it– & that if My Zinc Bed had been made about alcoholic taxi drivers for ITV’s 9 o’clock slot, by the usual suspects, with the usual suspects in the cast, I would have spotted its ordinariness right off.
“You sound as if you liked it then but you’re trying to find ways not to like it now.”
“Maybe that’s true.”
“You haven’t been conned, Mike.”