Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake

5 Quotes from the Gormenghast Trilogy

Let’s have some quotes from Mervyn Peake’s beautifully disturbing Gormenghast trilogy. I love the books and, unlike many, I also really enjoyed the BBC adaptation, but there are rumors that Neil Gaiman is going to have a crack at his own TV version!



Lady Gertrude Groane, by Braen on DeviantArt
Lady Gertrude Groane, by Braen on DeviantArt

1. “He had no longer any need for home, for he carried his Gormenghast within him. All that he sought was jostling within himself. He had grown up. What a boy had set out to seek a man had found, found by the act of living.” Mervyn Peake.

Peake's notebook for Gormenghast, bearing his own illustrations
Peake’s notebook for Gormenghast, bearing his own illustrations

2. “Never having had either positive cruelty or kindness shown to her by her parents, but only an indifference, she was not conscious of what it was that she missed—affection.” Titus Groan, Chapter 37 “The Grotto”


Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake

4. ““She thinks she’s a lady.” And then he grinned until the very lake seemed to be in danger of engulfment. “Oh, dear!” the poor thing. Tries so hard, and the more she tries, the less she is. Ha! ha! ha! Take it from me, Fuchsia dear, The only ladies are those to whom the idea of whether they are or not never occurs. Her blood’s all right—Irma’s—same as mine, ha, ha, ha! but it doesn’t go by blood. It’s equipoise, my Gipsy, equipoise that does it—with a bucketful of tolerance thrown in.” Titus Groan, Chapter 65 “By Gormenghast Lake”

5. “Countless candles dribbled with hot wax, and their flames, like little flags, fluttered in the unchartered currents of air. Thousands of lamps, naked, or shuttered behind coloured glass, burned with their glows of purple, amber, grass-green, blue, blood red and even grey. The walls of Gormenghast were like the walls of paradise or like the walls of an inferno. The colours were devilish or angelical according to the colour of the mind that watched them. They swam, those walls, with the hues of hell, with the tints of Zion. The breasts of the plumaged seraphim; the scales of Satan.” Mervyn Peake



The Friday Film: Wakefield

Wakefield is a film about a man (Bryan Cranston) who abandons his family. The protagonist explores the issues of abandonment as well as other social problems.

Most people know Cranston from Breaking Bad (and those of us of a certain age, Malcolm in the Middle) and his character here is similar in that he’s really very unlikable, yet still fascinating to watch.

Wakefield (Cranston’s character) moves into the upstairs of his huge garage without his family knowing, and begins to spy on them. He starts to enjoy his new lifestyle, foraging for food in the neighbors’ bins and getting back to basics.

He goes from big-shot city man to homeless (ish) down and out. Wakefield sees the appeal of being unreachable by anyone, yet he’s still able to check up on those he cares about.

LOUISE BOURGEOIS – documentary on a modern artist

Louise Bourgeois


Best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art, Bourgeois was also a prolific painter and printmaker. She explored a variety of themes over the course of her long career including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the subconscious. Although Bourgeois exhibited with the Abstract Expressionists and her work has much in common with Surrealism and Feminist art, she was not formally affiliated with a particular artistic movement.

This biography is from Wikipedia under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License.

“Louise Bourgeois was a significant artist of the last 50 years,” Schnitzer said. “She burst through a lot of glass ceilings.” – East Oregonian

The Friday Film – Beetlejuice (1988)

The film Beetlejuice is the home to everyone’s favourite family, the Deetz clan. It’s high on my list of Tim Burton favourites. It was obviously a huge hit and you can even get Beetlejuice Lego!

I’ve watched the film so many times and it delights me with every viewing. The Day-O dinner scene is one of the greatest comedy moments in the history of film.


To my delight and after months of excruciating waiting, TT Games and Warner Bros. have finally graced us with the Beetlejuice Fun Pack, a box consisting of the ‘Ghost With the Most’ in the flesh, as it were, and one angry Sandworm. As far as the actual toys go, Beetlejuice (or Betelgeuse, to be more accurate) comes outfitted with his signature black-and-white striped suit, ectoplasmic green hair and slightly rotten face. Saturn’s Sandworm also looks surprisingly representative of its counterpart fictional character, only in block form. The wriggly monstrosity can also be remixed into a delightfully Spooky Spider as well as something every creaky manor absolutely needs in its broom closet—a Haunted Vacuum. I mean, how else are you supposed to suck up all those stray spirits? Forbes

There’s also a Beetlejuice stage musical planned! Surely there’s no one as good as Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice was responsible for her teenage fame, along with Edward Scissorhands) to play Lydia, but I’d definitely give it a chance. Keep your eyes peeled.

Only Tim Burtons second full-length feature, it also starred Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Catherine O’Hara. Beetlejuice quickly became a pop culture phenomena and most recently has been brought to life as part of a pop-up themed bar, Beetle House, in Los Angeles. – Forbes

The Friday Film: Peeping Tom

This week’s Friday film is Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom. Protagonist Mark is subjected to constant surveillance by his father as a child under the guise of scientific research. This unusual upbringing results in Mark becoming the ultimate voyeur in adulthood. Working in a film studio by day, he captures scenes which are far more sinister in his free time. Mark films the murders of young women.

All this filming isn’t healthy. – Mrs Stephens, Peeping Tom

Causing anger on its release in 1960, this film is now a much loved classic. Film buffs will notice that this was also the year that Psycho was released and indeed, the two films have been compared many times. Personally, I think that Peeping Tom is a far superior film. It manages to get under your skin and is truly disturbing whilst remaining entertaining throughout.

It’s a long time since a film disgusted me as much as Peeping Tom. – C.A. Lejeune for The Observer

HOLLYWOOD—I recently revisited a classic in the cinematic universe that not many people are aware of. It’s a film that was quite controversial when it was released in 1960, and it preceded what many consider to be the movie that ignited the horror genre, “Psycho.”… The one thing I can say about “Peeping Tom” and many horror flicks before the 1970s is that blood was very tame to say the least. – Canyon News


Mark Lewis is a focus puller in a film studio. Severely disturbed as a result of his abusive and manipulative psychologist father, he is gripped by an obsessive voyeurism that leads him to murder. – BFI Screenonline

Director Michael Powell
Production Company Michael Powell (Theatre)
Screenplay and original story Leo Marks
Cinematography Otto Heller

The Friday Film: Rope (1948)


Last night, I watched Hitchcock’s ultimate suspense film Rope for the first time! It’s definitely near the top of my favourite films by this legendary director. In fact, it probably shares the top spot with Rear Window, although there are still many that I haven’t seen. I just love a film that’s set in a single location!

Jimmy Stewart has become one of my favourite actors in the last couple of years and he proved as excellent as ever in Rope. I’ve also found two new actors to look into in the leads; John Dall and Farley Granger. Both seem to have had good careers, but I don’t think I’ve seen either in anything else.

For those of you that live near London, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch are putting on a production of the play from late February to early March 2018. The show follows a string of collaborations between the two venues (New Wolsey Theatre), including the regional premiere of Made in Dagenham last year… As was announced last month, Queen’s Theatre has been selected to partner with the National Theatre for the Public Acts initiative, bringing in regional talent and hosting it on the National’s stage.What’s on Stage

It took a mischievous genius to make a post-WWII movie with subtle queer characters. Brandon and Philip’s special bond is apparent only to those mature enough to spot their intimacy. Out Magazine

Steven Toast

7 Wise Quotes from Steven Toast

Self-absorbed actor Steven Toast is the perfect comedy character from BAFTA-winning Matt Berry.

Hamm On Toast
Hamm On Toast


If your name isn’t big on a theatre poster, do some individual leafleting outside the building making sure that it’s YOU who has star billing!

Never speak in a sentence with more than six words in it.

Stay away from the BBC – especially charlatans like Mews Frumpty.

Don’t try and ‘make friends’ with the casting director. Keep things on a professional level. Never follow them home or become a sinister ‘stalker’-type hanging around their house.



The Friday Film – Fellini’s Satyricon


This is not a historical picture, a Cecil B. DeMille picture. It is not even a Fellini picture, in the sense of La Strada, or Nights of Cabiria, or even La Dolce VitaJoanna Paul

Fellini's Satyricon - Soundtrack by Nino Rota
Fellini’s Satyricon – Soundtrack by Nino Rota

Having only discovered Fellini over the past year or so, last night I watched Satyricon for the first time. It’s one of those films that you could pause at any moment and there you have a beautiful painting. If anyone is suffering from artist or writer’s block, I’m pretty sure that a viewing of Satyricon will sort you out!

Viewing this film is certainly more akin to watching a surreal fantasy or science fiction adventure than it is to settling down for a historical tale. The film mostly revolves around a poet, and Ascyltus and Encolpius, sometimes friends, often rivals competing for the affections of a young slave boy.

As viewers, we follow them on their adventures. In a fashion that echoes the even more wonderful director, Jan Svankmajer, Fellini treats us to a sickening feast scene, as we see the sights and are subjected to the sounds of gluttonous eating.

However, Fellini does withhold on showing a scene of cannibalism towards the end of the film, instead leaving us content with watching the faces of the feasters. Satyricon is bathed in an unusual and evocative soundtrack by Nino Rota.

Cruelty runs throughout the film. Encolpius watches a scene from a play in which a man’s hand is actually cut off to gratify the jaded Roman spectators. In another sequence a wealthy man Encolpius has married is decapitated. Nostalgia Central

I began my Fellini adventures in a foolish way, beginning with Casanova, a film so perfect that every Fellini masterpiece that I’ve seen since just can’t quite touch that height – but there’s hope because I have many more to watch, including 8 1/2.

Martin Potter
Hiram Keller
Max Born

Fredrico Fellini