Author Topic: Michael's friends  (Read 12980 times)

JAQ

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Michael's friends
« on: April 23, 2007, 10:11:55 PM »
I am in the early research stages of writing a short graphic novel about Michael.  Thanks to this site and the book, I have plenty of photographic reference for him and the family, and the various settings (Kensington, Eton, Oxford) should be easy enough to find.  Do you know of any photos of Michael's friends (especially Buxton, but also Senhouse and Boothby [in his Eton/Oxford years]) or - lacking that - descriptions of them?  Telling a story such as this obviously will require a fair bit of invention, so any visuals that I can base on known facts, I'd like to do so.

andrew

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2007, 05:04:11 PM »
I'll be adding a couple of photos of Rupert Buxton shortly. There are a number of photos of Roger Senhouse in the database (on Eilean Shona) and youthful pix of Boothby can be found in his own autobiography. Good luck with the novel!

JAQ

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2007, 02:44:19 AM »
I've found a photo of Roger Senhouse with Michael and JMB in the database; not sure how I missed it before.  Thanks for the suggestion of Robert Boothby's autobio (I'll try to track down a copy).  And I look forward to seeing the face of "morbid" "doom" that the baron spoke of.

P.S. In case you haven't heard this enough: I greatly enjoyed both the BBC series and the book.

andrew

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2007, 11:20:06 AM »
An author can never hear such stuff enough! The new material on Buxton should be up within the next day or two, with a very different portrait of Rupert from the one Boothby painted. I'm happy to say this as it turns out his family are distant cousins of mine!

andrew

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2007, 10:21:38 PM »
The Rupert Buxton material is now online - just search for "Buxton" in the database.

andrew

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2007, 02:18:56 PM »
Sir Jocelyn Buxton has just sent Nicholas a letter from Barrie to Rupert's mother, Lady Buxton, dated 31 May 1921.  In it he says that Michael was both son and daughter to him, and that he tried to be both father and mother to Michael.  He goes on to say that his greatest wish was for Michael to form a friendship with someone worthy of him, and that although he had friends from Eton that continued at Oxford, Rupert was his one great friend.  Michael would talk about Rupert late into the night, and Michael's last letter to Barrie, which he received on the 19th, was largely about Rupert. Unlike Michael's other friends who were polite but edged away, Rupert was very friendly with Barrie, inviting him to dinner and "taking me in hand".

This is complete news to me: I assumed (fatal error) that Rupert Buxton was in the Roger Senhouse mould, but to learn that at last one of Michael's friends had warmed to Barrie makes the drowing doubly tragic. I never believed it was suicide, but now I am utterly convinced that it was indeed a tragic accident in which Rupert tried to save Michael and was dragged down with him.

AnnaPink

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2007, 04:22:36 PM »
Thank you so much for the new Rupert Buxton items.

First news item (the Disappearance) is very odd and intriguing, and sounds like it could take a book of its own, too. It honestly seems like a "hoax"...and I would theorize that Buxton (I'm going out on a limb, but I don't think too far) wrote that mysterious note himself - it doesn't make sense otherwise. Goodness knows how stressed or miserable an otherwise sane person has to be to perpetrate something like that...it kind of sounds like a mild nervous breakdown, and one can't help feeling terribly sorry for him. It must have been such a consolation for him to meet someone like Michael - a kindred spirit.

Anyone want to give an alternative opinion to the disappearance? Extremely interesting, whatever happened!!!


ecb

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2007, 06:30:21 PM »
Good Lord, how fascinating - and how very sad.  It does now seem as though Boothby must have been jealous of Buxton's friendship with Michael - and sought to posthumously blacken his reputation.  In Nico's letter to you of 1976-02-19, he seemed quite startled by Boothby's feelings about Buxton, whom he did not remember as darkly sinister at all.  When I originally read that, I thought - well. . . Nico seemed to tend to look on the bright side of most things anyway, maybe he was wrong there.  But he seems to have been right there - also Sebastian Earl, I believe.

andrew

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2007, 09:16:16 PM »
Yes, Boothby was most insistent in his condemnation about Buxton (as can be heard on the audio clips!) but I'm sure enough Nico was right and that Boothby was just plain jealous, particularly as the Michael/Rupert friendship seems to have been quite exclusive. The portrait of Rupert one gathers from his obituary - and those letters to his mother - seems very far from the life-and-soul-of-the-party crowd that Boothby hung out with - "we were always gay, frightfully gay!" 
I've written to Sir Jocelyn, asking if he has any more of Rupert's letters to his mother that he'd care to share, as well as anything else that might add to our feeling for his character - watch this space! 
As to Rupert's mysterious pilgrimage north, I'm as much in the dark as you - maybe one of R's letters to his mum might reveal clues? It seems unlikely to me that a Head of House AND Head of the School would behave in such an apparently irresponsible manner where it not for a very good reason - but what?

JAQ

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2007, 02:51:08 PM »
I don't find Boothby's description of Rupert particularly incompatible with this more flattering description, any more than the descriptions of Michael as "whimsical and full of tricks" vs. "dark, dour, and impenetrable".   What person of that age isn't as multi-faceted and contradictory as that, especially depending on whom he's with?  Don't try to apply Occam's razor to the personality of a young man who has barely begun to shave.

I agree that Rupert's disappearance is an intriguing mystery.  A "Robin Hood" mission he had to keep secret?  A clandestine tryst?  An alien abduction?  A cry for attention?

My take on the drowning is that it was an accident and failed rescue attempt.  Not that this rules out the possibility that a degree of self-destructive risk-taking might have been involved, of course.  He wouldn't have been the first - or last - youth to let his internal conflicts over (as Nico speculated) a "homosexual phase" drive him to put himself in danger on an impulse.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2007, 03:09:58 PM by JAQ »

andrew

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2007, 08:10:03 PM »
Having had 3 sons of my own, I think I know something about the multi-faceted aspect of adolescence - but Buxton was 21 (and had been presumably shaving for at least 6 years!), and I stand by my comment - Occam notwithstanding - that Boothby's take on Buxton is very different from the portrait that now emerges from the anonymous obituary in The Harrovian, as well as Buxton's letters - and Barrie's - to his mother. Boothby was a thoroughly unreliable OBJECTIVE source: subjectively, of course he was entitled to his own opinion, and from his life-and-soul-of-the-party POV, Buxton might well have appeared dour, dark and saturnine, as indeed did Barrie to Boothby, but not to Nico and many others. Nor would I necessarily assume on the evidence that Michael's relationship with Buxton was homosexual, at any rate in the physical sense.....
« Last Edit: May 07, 2007, 08:13:36 PM by Andrew »

Hannah High

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2007, 05:26:01 AM »
As for my worthless take this, I say what person at any age isn't as multi-faceted and contradictory as that (even if it's not always definable in an outer sense). However, I agree with Andrew. Can’t really back it up as it will all just sound redundant with past comments. Maybe it’s just my fondness for Barrie…but I also think is an understanding of Barrie’s love…well, we all know the story. As for Rupert…oh, this is all so fascinating! However, the disappearance and return, though curious, is not so strange to me. That may simply be the fact that my mum is known for her disappearances and even stranger returns, and it’s a trait passed down to myself. All those reasons you suggested for what he was up to are possible, JAQ, though what happens to me is a number of different things (but yes, quite a few alien abductions). But why for Rupert…? Maybe some event in a way or maybe the poet in him.  I also don’t think Michael was tempting his “doom” nor that he and R were homosexual…sounds like lovers, but as friends often are without the physical since…heart, mind…strongest of all the spirit. Hope the more treasures for archeologists come along…I’m just as curious as all of you!

andrew

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2007, 05:15:52 PM »
Barrie's letter of 31 May 1921 to Rupert's mother is now in the database. One or two words had me stumped for awhile, but I think I got it right: if anyone disagrees with my transcription, please let me know.  The letter is inimitably Barrie, and speaks volumes about his relationship with Michael.

ecb

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2007, 07:04:56 PM »
I just finished reading Barrie's letter to Rupert's mother.  What a beautiful letter it is - deeply touching.  Strangely it suggests that the letter that Andrew devised as Barrie's last letter to Michael might have been something like it was. 

In that letter (in the television series) Barrie says to Michael that he has been waiting for Michael to get to be 21 so they can grow closer. (I know that this phrasing originally came from a letter to George)

When I first heard it, I wondered at it figuring that in truth Barrie might have been fearful of Michael's being 21 as it would mean his leaving Barrie.  But now I think that Barrie might have indeed recognized that once Michael got past the "adolescent" stage - when you have friends who edge away from your parents, when you want to "break away"  that he might be able to be Barrie's friend in a more adult manner (the way one can with one's own parents) - and have friends (like Rupert) who could also join in that sort of friendship.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2007, 08:03:11 PM by ecb »

andrew

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Re: Michael's friends
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2007, 08:30:55 PM »
Many thanks, ecb. In fact that invented last letter to Michael was partly based on filched lines from JMB's letters to George at around the same age... but I think your point that Barrie welcomed Michael's coming-of-age for the reasons you give is entirely right.  Perhaps he saw in Michael's relationship with Rupert something of his own friendship with James McMillan (p 10 of my book)?