AS THE Lush Places Book Club party left in two cars for Bridport’s Electric Palace Cinema, Mr Grigg turned to me from the driver’s seat and said: ‘Are you sure I’m going to like this?’
‘It’s the pictures,’ I said. ‘We love the pictures.’
I didn’t mention the author of Never Let Me Go was going to be there, interviewed by From Page to Screen film festival curator Jonathan Coe. That was a highlight for me. For Mr Grigg it would be anathema.
He was already accompanying this harem of village book lovers under sufferance, filling in for the outing organiser when she suddenly became a grandmother. The thought of a couple of literary luvvies stroking each other’s navels on the Palace stage would have turned his stomach.
And then a little voice piped up from the back seat: ‘It’s a very weird book, about cloning people for organ donations. I didn’t really like it.’
My neighbour, Mrs Warboys.
And then Mr Grigg remembered he was missing Champions League football on the telly. He almost did a handbrake turn and headed back up into the hills. Instead, he wore his grumpiness like a shroud for the rest of the journey, placated only when I promised him snogging in the back row of the movies if he was good.
Fortunately, we had to fill up from the front.
‘What are those two chairs doing on the stage?’ Mr Grigg said.
‘Oh, there’s going to be a quick talk about the film before it starts.’
He sighed as big as Devon.
And then author Kazuo Ishiguro came on with Jonathan Coe to rapturous applause.
‘I’m missing Spurs v. Real Madrid for this?’ Mr Grigg said.
I passed him his gin and slimline tonic and kicked his leg.
‘In the literary world, Mr Grigg, this man is bigger than Pat Jennings’ hands,’ I said, showing my age and also my ignorance of 21st century football.
Mr Grigg settled back and attempted to enjoy the insight of the interview. He warmed to Ishiguro and it was going well until Coe referred to the novelist as ‘Ish’.
‘It’ll be Angel Drawers next,’ Mr Grigg said.
And then Never Let Me Go began. We were spellbound by this beautiful film, which, despite its futuristic tone is a haunting story of love, friendship and regret as the protagonists gently make their way to their inexorable fate. It was beautifully acted, scripted, directed, photographed and lit.
As we filed out of the Palace, the editor of Black Beauty and Hornblower, who lives in Lush Places, breezed past and made a very intelligent comment I did not understand.
‘Yes, the lighting and cinematography did it for me,’ I said, turning to Mrs Warboys, who has very close links to a film director of international repute, and whose approval I seek constantly.
‘And what did you think?’ I asked Mr Grigg.
He wiped a tear from his cheek.
‘I liked it so much, I want you to read the book,’ he said.