ORWELL STATUE & SONG
To Orwell Today,
re: ORWELL THE FAMILY MAN and ORWELL & TRESSELL ASPIDISTRAS
As ever, your own examples have emphasised Orwell's endearing qualities as a stepdad and, in my opinion, added to his greatness as a writer and dare I say unique human being.
It would have been easily acceptable - and maybe half expected - to champion Orwell as a great writer, thinker and chronicler of his times without necessarily liking him very much as a person (many others have fallen into that category). But his obvious humanity - I find the grainy pictures of him with Richard as moving as any I've seen of the kind - multiplies his appeal and effectiveness many times over.
The line you highlight - "With a house of our own and a pram and an aspidistra" - says it all. His reconciliation with aspidistras was a master stroke and a great example to all of us who allow some aspect of our lives to have too big an influence on us.
One other point that springs to mind as I write and think about Orwell is the one we have touched on before - the fact that he is not now afforded the recognition that he undoubtedly deserves - no statue anywhere, for example.
My theory is that his greatness goes too deep for people, certainly politicians whose instincts would be the opposite to his own. He was TOO honest, TOO brave, TOO singular, TOO unusual, TOO Orwellian!
God bless him, eh?
(I received an email from a Canadian - a lecturer in English, I think he was - who said that Southwold Morning was the only song about Orwell that he had heard and believed there should be hundreds of them.)
It's true that Orwell can be championed based on his books alone, without even knowing what kind of person he was. But when a person finds out that Orwell is as good, brave and penetratingly honest as he comes across in his writing, then it is a wonderful added bonus. And, as you say, it multiplies his appeal many times over. It's not for nothing he's been described as "the first saint of Our Age". See ORWELL'S PERSONA
I also agree with what you say about why there isn't a statue of Orwell in England, and yet (as I noticed when I went to BOOKLOVERS' CORNER in Hampstead, where he wrote KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING) there's a statue of Karl Marx, Orwell's symbolic enemy.
Obviously, people and politicians are too "goodthinkful" to dare honour Orwell in such a way; he being, afterall, a "thought criminal" to the status quo.
When I was lamenting the fact of there being no statue of Orwell in England to the owners of BARNHILL ON JURA (where Orwell wrote "1984"), Mrs Fletcher (Demaris) said that the reason there's no statue of Orwell is because he isn't a dead author. When I asked what she meant by saying Orwell wasn't dead she said that Orwell's presence is everywhere in England and all over the world - his name is mentioned every day - and we hear his words being spoken, as though he were still alive, here with us. So really, she said, there's no need for a statue.
And those are now my sentiments too (although deep down in my heart I'd like to see an Orwell statue in Trafalgar Square where he slept "down and out" in A CLERGYMAN'S DAUGHTER).
God bless him, yes,
PS - It's probably true (as that Canadian lecturer in English said) that yours is the only song ever written about Orwell. That being the case (and based on its own merit) I think your ORWELL TRIBUTE SONG should be getting lots more airplay. Have you ever sent it to the BBC?
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