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Messages - andrew

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Inscribed above the Temple to Apollo at Delphi: "Know thyself" ...

A fascinating subject, and although it would appear to be well-nigh impossible, I believe that 50% of the answer lies in our genes, and the other 50% amounts to the degree time/circumstance have switched on (or off) those genes. Furthermore I would go out on a limb and suggest that our personality genes amount to no more than 12 in total, and are either dominant or recessive in each of us, eg extrovert/introvert is one gene, with which we're born either dominant or recessive. Leadership/follower would be another, curiosity/disinterest might be another ... I have about as much proof for any of this as Trump has for winning the election, and as Einstein warned, "Simplify, but don't over simplify" ...

As for Barrie, a fascinating question, but as hard to answer as it is to truly know oneself.  Introvert?  Well yes, on occasion, but according to Nico he could often set the table on a roar, depending on his mood. Although initially nervous (on delivering "Courage") he quickly evolved into a confident public speaker. Does that in some sense make him a closet extrovert?  Are you an introvert?  Am I?  I've often labelled myself as an anti-social socialist = caring about people in the abstract but being bored silly by pleasant chit-chat ...

As you say, I think Barrie was more intuitive than a realist, though don't forget that the moral of "Dear Brutus" is that even if we were given a second chance, we'd all probably make the same mistakes again...

(btw, I did that test = apparently I'm INFP-A/INFP-T - sounds like a type of tropical disease
General topic / Re: Andrew’s Version of Hook
« on: November 05, 2020, 09:44:02 AM »
A misunderstanding, I never wrote any version of "Hook", in fact had nothing to do with it, other than visiting the set in LA.  Mine was more or less based on Peter Pan, with Barrie as a character who flits in and out.
The idea originated with Francis Coppola, who read my Barrie book (bizarrely, while editing "Apocalypse Now!") and wanted to base a film around it, without realising that we’d already made The Lost Boys.
We had a few meetings (I liked him a lot, and was a big fan of the first two Godfather films as well as Apocalypse) and between us came up with the idea of making Peter Pan but somehow interweaving it with the Barrie/Davies story.
To cut a long story short, Coppola’s studio Zoetrope went bust, so I took the idea to Paramount. I was having lunch in the canteen with Jeff Katzenburg when Michael Eisner (who was running the studio) came sauntering over. Katzenburg whispered “Here’s your chance to sell him the idea“ then introduced us.
“Why would we want to remake Peter Pan? What’s your pitch?“
Munching a few extra seconds on my hamburger to give me time to think, I re-giggled an Oscar Wilde line with Barrie's:
“All children grow up. That is their tragedy. Except one. That’s his.“
Eisner nodded. “You gotta deal.“
After he’d gone, Katzenburg patted me on the back. “Well, you’ve got your picture, but first I want you to write us mine.“
“What’s that?“
“The story of David.“
“David who?”
“The guy who killed Goliath.”
Groan - and another, even a longer story ensued ...
JMBarrie / Re: Deleted Scenes of The Lost Boys?
« on: November 05, 2020, 09:35:01 AM »
I’d completely forgotten those bits, but I imagine I took them out for one reason or another (I was never under any pressure from the BBC to cut anything unless it was to do with cost, i.e. the opening sequence). The only one I remember cutting was the woodpecker line, which was said to me verbatim but as his mother was reading the script I thought she might have guessed and been hurt, so took it out.
As to deleted scenes, BBC budgets were so tight in those days compared to movies that only studio scenes (or parts of scenes) shot on 2” video master tape would have been cut/edited down, in which case the unused tape would have been wiped and reused. In fact I don't remember any substantial cuts. The 16mm location footage may have had a few bits taken out, but no whole scenes – I have them in a barn somewhere as I was given them after the telecine edit, although they’ve probably faded beyond all recognition by now and besides, I’ve no idea what happened to the audio tape.
The only scene that was actually filmed and cut in the edit – at my urging – was Michael’s poem as I thought the performance/reading too feeble ...
Not to my knowledge, but it's quite possible, although their personalities were poles apart so I doubt that they'd have had much in common other than being dramatists ...
I don't suppose anyone could give you a precise answer to this, probably not even JMB himself. In those days homosexuality was considered (at any rate under UK law) to be a "perversion", along with necrophilia, bestiality and a whole host of other forbidden fruits. Those with a curious mind about such things might well have investigated further, but to an asexual - and perhaps to many heterosexuals - why would they necessarily want to know the precise details of what went on behind the bedroom doors of people generally regarded as "perverts"? 

Yes, of course he'd have know about poor Oscar's trial, but the graphic details were not generally reported in the mainstream newspapers. He probably knew the vague meaning of the term "sodomy"*, but would have drawn down his mental safety curtain as to the physical ins and outs as it were. My own guess (stressing guess) is that Barrie assumed that homosexuality amounted to a romantic attachment between two males, but more than that he neither knew nor wanted to know.

* I thought I knew its meaning until I googled it just now. According to Wiki, sodomy covers a load of different permutations, including "any non-procreative sexual activity" - well I'll be buggered!
Bugs and Errors / Re: Photos missing from photo pages
« on: October 28, 2020, 06:44:48 PM »
Hopefully this has been taken care of. As you may have noticed, we're gradually working our way through the photos, uploading larger res scans without watermarks and deleting duplicates, but it will take some time till it's all finished ...
I'm sure Barrie knew about heterosexual sex - he'd been married after all, and although it may never have been consumated, I'm sure enough Mary had a shot or two at trying to get him fired up.  As to George's possible dalliance with Gaby Deslys, here's what Peter had to say (which I quoted in my book):

"Did George, during those last few hours of freedom, have anything more than just a mild flirtation with Gaby? I like to think so. Both were charmers, and it would have been a good finale. It is my belief that J.M.B., though so insulated himself [...] from the flesh and the Devil, had the perception and imagination and tolerance and sense of the fitness of things to smile on such a little piece of naughtiness, [...] and even pave the way for it. I have no evidence one way or the other, [...] but I will leave the theory in, because I think it a charming one, which George would have appreciated. And you never know. J.M.B. had his moments of profound insight and wisdom as well as his practically limitless generosity. And he loved George with an exceeding great love."

Others may disagree, but I would say that everyone, both male and female, has experienced emotional crushes on others of the same sex, which probably extended to physical hugs and even kissing, but I wouldn't consider that to be "gay" in the full-blown sexual sense, although such a fuzzy distinction is clearly dependent on genetic disposition.

I'm pretty certain that Barrie was asexual and, in Nico's immortal words, felt no "stirrings in the undergrowth" for anyone, male or female. Had he done so, I'm inclined to think that he would have been physically heterosexual, given all his crushes on actresses. Nico agreed that he was (platonically) in love with Michael, maybe George too, and his teenage friendship with James McMillan sounds very romantic as he later expressed it, but I would argue that love and lust are not the same, and that it's quite possible to experience one without the other.

With respect to Michael's relationship with Rupert Buxton, Barrie clearly not only approved but was greatly relieved that Michael had found such a very good friend. But I don't suppose for a moment he imagined anything sexual was going on, simply because, as Nico said, he really didn't know about such things. This innocence of the various sexual predilections on offer may seem hard to believe today, but 100 years ago this kind of information was not readily available unless you went out looking for it, and why would Barrie have done that?  My mother told me that she knew absolutely nothing about homosexuality, either male or female, until she was a grown woman - and working with Noel Coward!
That was a bit mean-spirited on my part, and maybe he’s found additional letters... besides which, the publicity might attract renewed interest which is always to be welcomed - so thanks for flagging it up,
Ahem - hardly lost - more like publisher's hype!  Janet Dunbar gave me several xeroxes of Barrie's letters to RLS back in 1976 - they've been in the Beinecke Collection, correctly catalogued, for at least half a century!  If you want to read one of them, just search for "Barrie Stevenson" in the database where you'll find the original letter plus a transcription ...
Boy Castaways / Re: Boy Castaways uploaded complete
« on: October 10, 2020, 09:52:15 PM »
You're so very welcome. i've been wondering why I'm even bothering to upload all this material, but your message gives me an answer.  Courage, mon brave, with your convalescence, and to keep you dubiously distracted from pain, I've just uploaded the rest of my literary intercourse with Nico for 1976, as well as revamping the photo section up to 1904 (and without watermarks). If you spot any major indiscretions in the letters, do let me know before I get trashed or trolled or whatever the word is by all those social media spooks. Stay strong, and thanks for all your support over the years, whoever ecb might be.
Boy Castaways / Boy Castaways uploaded complete
« on: October 09, 2020, 11:03:28 PM »
The Boy Castaways has now been uploaded complete, without any watermarks, as well as all the photographs we have from “that terrible summer” - just click on the tag ...
JMBarrie / Re: The Cause of Barrie's Impotence
« on: October 07, 2020, 08:21:09 PM »
Tricky. Had I been on a jury I'd have to find MJ not guilty since there's clearly a sizeable element of doubt, but I found the evidence of those two boys/men pretty convincing. As to whether he "harmed" them, well yes, I'd say so. But like so many historical abuse cases, who knows how "harmed" they'd have been had it not surfaced in the public arena.
I once had to write a movie for Warner Bros about runaway kids - a sort of modern Oliver Twist set in New York, and intended as a family musical (it was never made) ... so at Warner's expense I spent a few weeks in New York, riding with the NYPD Runaway Squad as well as hanging out with runaways themselves at various shelters. What struck me was that there was no clear pattern of behaviour. Most had been preyed upon at some time or other, but while one would weep while recounting his experiences, another would shrug them off as no big deal. I remember a couple of NYPD cops telling me that being picked up by a gentle/caring/loving paedophile was very often the best fate that could befall a runaway - how several years ealier, dozens of former boys had shown up as men at a well-known paedophile's funeral. No doubt some came to piss on his grave, but apparently most brought flowers with messages of gratitude.

Does this in any way justify child sex?  In my view, absolutely not, for while it may not do any lasting harm to some, it clearly causes serious psychological injury to others when they grow up and realise what happened to them, even more so if they harbour feelings of guilt, perhaps for having gone along with it or even encouraged it. And even if these damaged ones represent the minority (as some maintain), it is surely the duty of society to do everything in its power to protect the vulnerable among us ...

God this sounds pompous! Nor has it much to do with Barrie, for while I'm 70/30 sure that MJ engaged in sex, I'm 99/1 certain that JMB never even came close. As many have suggested, he was asexual, whereas MJ was most decidedly not - you only have to watch his live performances to know that, brilliant though they were. I rest my case, though feel free to blow it apart ...
Davies Family / Re: Letters to The Boys’ Children
« on: October 07, 2020, 07:27:10 PM »
I haven't added - nor taken away - anything (as they say on the Shedded Wheat packets).  I put the whole lot through an auto scanner, crossed my fingers they didn't contain anything too embarrassing, and hit upload.  I've also just uploaded the first chunk of my letters to and from Nico, also unvetted ...

Sacha was indeed a sweet boy, and still is - his daughter is good friends with my 11 yr old. Not only was he my living conduit to childhood at a time when I had none of my own (I've since had 5) but he also suggested I make Sredni Vashtar as a short - it's on youTube should you be interested, with Sacha playing the boy (and my mum as the unfortunate Mrs de Ropp) ...
JMBarrie / " ...
« on: October 06, 2020, 08:41:02 PM »
Nico told me a story that made him chuckle. In the 1920s, he and Peter were at a dinner party, and one of the guests started talking about Barrie and "his boys" - "oh yes, dontcherknow, his Adelphi flat is full of them" ... Instead of being horrified, both Peter and Nico found the whole idea highly amusing because so totally untrue.

Of course many defended Michael Jackson as being an innocent who loved the company of children because he himself had been deprived of any real childhood. It now seems reasonably certain that while this may have been true, there was a sexual aspect to that love; some have asked, could that not have been the case with Barrie? 

I personally think absolutely not. MJ and JMB were so totally different in nature, and while MJ clearly groomed both his child friends and their parents so that he could take them off and be alone with them, Barrie never did any such thing. Nor did any of the boys - including Jack, who harboured a certain antipathy towards Barrie - ever accuse him of any kind of sexual malpractice in later life. The chapter in the LWB where David spends the night with him is often cited as evidence of JMB's (albeit subconscious) lust for George, but I read it entirely as a cry from the heart of one who longed to father a child of his own, but was physically incapable ... 
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