each day they ask where
charing cross hospital is.
each day I tell them.
Cronenberg, it seems, is planning an opera based on ‘The Fly’, the seminal tale whose subtext is the rejection of those different from ourselves. Synchronistically, years ago, Jeff Goldblum, who starred in the remake of The Fly, made a film called The Tall Guy, about an actor. One of the jokes in the movie was that Goldblum had been cast to play The Elephant Man in a musical of the story called simply ‘Elephant’ , the single word title which seemed to be the fashion of the age, or else a necessity in order to get Americans to read the title. It was an idea that, at the time, was ludicrous. Today, it seems that it’s more or less compulsory to write a musical based on either the flimsiest of ideas, or the most terrifyingly ambitious. I am scared by the thought of ‘Lord of The Rings – The Musical’, whose centre-piece song surely has to be ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Moria?’
We must stand as one and reject all this Musical nonsense. With that in mind I have ordered some t-shirts with a picture of Andrew Lloyd-Webber on the front and the words ‘Just Say No!’.
Rejection is a thing we all have to come to terms with in our lives on all sorts of levels (Lloyd-Webber especially), and it hurts, but it is part of life. If we didn’t have rejection and despair in our lives, we would not have soap operas, and then where would we be?
Literary rejection is no less hurtful. I don’t mean being dumped by text, which seems to be the latest and most expedient way of getting rid of an unwanted partner, but receiving a response to one’s literary submissions to editors along the lines of ‘we enjoyed reading your work but cannot use it at this time’, one of which I received this morning.
I’m becoming philosophical about it, and am grateful that in this case, someone actually did respond, which can’t be said for quite a few publications to whom work has been sent, after having dutifully read their submission guidelines and followed the requested format.
However, once in a while, something will arrive unexpectedly bearing the news that one’s work has been pleasantly received and will be published in due course. It does, I assure you, make up for all the other occasions when one’s been cruelly repulsed.
On several mornings recently for some reason people have been approaching me outside Hammersmith Tube Station and asking me where Charing Cross Hospital is. Those of you outside London may not know that Charing Cross Hospital is nowhere near Charing Cross itself. It’s in Hammersmith, on the way to Fulham. Being the bipolar paranoid that I am, my mind begins to conjure odd scenarios in which TV companies have been following me for days and are running bets on how long I can go on answering the question honestly before sending some poor sick visitor off to Trafalgar Square.